Zacharias Holladay (1761-1846)

Zacharias Holladay (1761-1846)

Zacharias HOLLADAY was born in Virginia in 1761, probably in Orange County.[1] He died on 7 Nov 1846 in Adair County, Kentucky,[2] and was buried on his farm in a plot near the Holladay Cemetery. According to the research of Dr. A. M. Holladay, his parents were Joseph and Winifred Holladay, and his only known sibling was his brother John.[3] [4]

Zacharias, the progenitor of the Adair County branch of the Holladay family, was a soldier and a Kentucky pioneer. During his military career he fought in three wars: the American Revolution, the Indian Wars of the Old Northwest, and the War of 1812. He was an early settler in the area south of Green River and by 1799 had established himself on a 200-acre tract owned by his brother-in-law, Robert Anderson. Zacharias farmed and raised his family on this property and lived there until his death.

Little is known about Zacharias’ childhood, but the lands to the west were being explored as he was growing up, and he must have heard many tales about the frontier country from family and friends. His brother, John Holladay, six years older, was one of the very early settlers of Kentucky and was at Harrodsburg by March of 1777.[5]

Zacharias was almost fourteen years old when the American Revolution began in 1775. He must have been caught up in the spirit of independence, which was especially strong in Orange County, Virginia, home of the Madison family. Upon reaching the age of seventeen, in 1778, Zacharias was finally old enough to enlist in the army. He first served in Col. Francis Taylor’s Virginia Regiment, and at the request of Capt. Burnley, he served part of the time as “drummer principal” for his company. Col. Taylor’s regiment served as guards at Albemarle Barracks, near Charlottesville, where the British prisoners were taken after Gen. Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga.[6]

Zacharias must have liked the army life because in April of 1781, on the same day he was discharged, he reenlisted and that fall was at Yorktown for the surrender of Cornwallis. He was later in a campaign in the South under Gen. Anthony Wayne, from whom he received his discharge after a tour of about 18 months.[7]

The next year, 1783, Zacharias went to Kentucky. At the time he arrived there, the settlers were in continual danger of attack by Indians, who used the Kentucky area as a hunting ground. As a result, all able-bodied men were required to serve as members of their local militia company. Zacharias’ name is found in the militia records of Nelson County in 1789, and from those records we know that he lived with or near his brother, John, since they are both listed as serving in Captain Wilson’s company. Later  he obtained a pre-emption of 300 acres of land next to his brother’s land on Pitmon Creek (“Sinking Creek”) in what is now Green County. He subsequently sold his rights to this land to Jacob Meyer.

As a member of Kentucky’s “Cornstalk Militia”, Zacharias saw action in a number of expeditions against the Indians between 1786 and 1794. These actions culminated with Gen. Anthony Wayne’s victory in the 1794 Battle of Fallen Timbers. After that battle, in which he served as a “spy” or scout, Indians were no longer a threat to the settlers in Kentucky.

Some time after returning from the 1794 campaign, Zacharias met and married Catherine (Kitty) Anderson. Kitty was born about 1765 in Louisa County, Virginia and died in about 1833 in Adair County, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Robert Anderson and Frances (Poindexter) Anderson.

Zacharias and Kitty were married in about 1796 but the actual date and place of their marriage are not known. Family tradition says that they were married in Virginia, but this author believes they met and were married in Kentucky, probably in Fayette or a nearby county. Kitty had family members in Kentucky from at least 1793, and all of Kitty and Zacharias’ children were born in Kentucky.[8]

By about 1798 or 1799 Zacharias and Kitty settled on land on Sulfur Fork, a tributary of Russell Creek and Green River, where they were to spend the rest of their lives. Zacharias first appears in the Green County tax records in 1799. At that time he was living on a 200-acre farm that was part of a tract of 1400 acres granted to Robert Anderson in 1791. In 1801 the southern part of Green County was split off to become Adair County, and in 1802 the town of Columbia was established. In 1808 Zacharias purchased the land on which he farmed from Robert Anderson.[9]

Zacharias and Kitty had at least four children, named below. The four children who grew to adulthood all appear to have made good marriages, and all raised large families. Among them they presented Zacharias with 22 grandchildren, and nine additional grandchildren were born after his death.

As Zacharias and Kitty’s children were growing up, he farmed and continued with his military activities. Though past 50, he answered Governor Isaac Shelby’s call for volunteers and served in the War of 1812, being present at the battle of the Thames.

Based on census information, Kitty lived until after 1830, and this author recently became aware of a letter indicating that she died in 1833.

By 1840 Zacharias was living in the household of his son, William. He is listed in the 1840 special census of Revolutionary War veterans as 78 years old.[10] In October of 1844, at the age of 83, Zacharias was interviewed by the historian, Lyman C. Draper. Draper was on one of his early research trips through the South and wanted to record the recollection of this veteran of the early frontier wars in Kentucky. Zacharias was apparently quite a story teller, and Draper’s notes of this interview occupy 30 pages of his notebook.[11] According to these notes Zacharias participated in many of the expeditions against the Indians that took place between 1786 and 1794 under such leaders as John Adair, George Rogers Clark, and Anthony Wayne.

By 1846 Zacharias’ health was in decline, and he made his last will on 8 July of that year.[12] He died on 7 November 1846[13] and was laid to rest beside Kitty in a small plot near the family cemetery where other members of their family had been buried.

Children of Zacharias HOLLADAY and Catherine (Kitty) ANDERSON:

+2                i.   Sarah (Sally) HOLLADAY (born abt 1797).

+3                ii.   John HOLLADAY (born abt 1800).

+4               iii.   William HOLLADAY (born abt 1802).

+5               iv.   Joseph HOLLADAY (born abt 1805).

6               v.   Mary (?) HOLLADAY Family tradition says that Zacharias and Kitty had a fifth child, possibly named Mary, who died young. Zacharias’ listing in the 1810 U.S. census shows one female under ten, which appears to confirm this story.

Prepared by Jay A. Holladay, P.O. Box 815, La Canada, CA 91012    e-mail:   Last update 3 January2009.


[1] Zacharias’ birth date may be estimated from two sources: the declaration that he made in support of his application for a Revolutionary War pension, made on 10 August 1832, states his age as 71; the 1840 special census of Revolutionary War veterans (census date 1 June 1840) lists his age as 78. From this we can conclude that he was born between 2 June and 10 August 1761. Other sources such the notes on his interview with Lyman C. Draper in October of 1844 giving his age as 83, and his age range in the 1830 U.S. Census, 60 to 69, are consistent with the above conclusion. See notes below for details of the above sources.

[2] Adair County, Kentucky, Court Orders, Vol. F-G, 1833-1849. Adair County Courthouse, Columbia. FHL Microfilm 829850. p. 353., Thursday, August 5, 1847, records the death date of Zacharias Holladay, a Revolutionary War pensioner: “Ordered that it be entered of record that satisfactory evidence was this day exhibited to this Court that Zacharias Holladay was a pensioner of the United States at the rate of $88 per annum; was a resident of the County of Adair in the State of Kentucky and died in the County of Adair in the State of Kentucky, on the 7th day of November 1846; that he left no widow.”

[3] Alvis Milton Holladay, Sr., The Holladay Collection, Vol. 3, Other English and Early American Holladays (Brentwood, TN: Alvis Milton Holladay, Sr., 1988). Section E contains an extensive history of William Holladay and his descendants. Page 44 of this section presents Dr. Holladay’s conclusions on the lineage of Zacharias Holladay. Note that circumstantial evidence was used to reach the conclusion that Zacharias’ parents were Joseph and Winifred Holladay. This would mean he had a brother named John, named in Winifred’s will as “son and heir of Joseph”. Zacharias did indeed have a brother John, as stated is his interview with L. C. Draper (note 5, below), further confirming Dr. Holladay’s conclusions.

[4] Alvis Milton Holladay, Sr., The Holladay Family. (Brentwood, TN: Alvis Milton Holladay, Sr., 1983). This massive work documents the extensive research of Alvis Holladay, assisted by his brothers, into the history of the Holladay family. Footnote 30 on p. 136 contains a summary of the life of William Holladay, Zacharias’ grandfather. The master chart on p. 58-59 shows Zachariah [sic] (M-282) and his brother John (M-280).

[5] “Notes Taken of Zachariah Holliday of Adair Co., Ky, in Octr. 1844,” Series J, George Rogers Clark Papers, vol. 9, pp. 206-235. Draper manuscripts, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison. [A copy of a transcript of the original source was given to me by Elizabeth Flowers Jones. I made extensive comparisons of this transcript with a microfilm copy of the original and found the transcript to be quite accurate.] On p. 225-226 Zacharias relates stories about the siege of Harrodsburg by Shawnee warriors in March of 1777: “These details my informant got from Ray, Linn, & his brother John Holliday, who was there.”

[6] Adair County, Kentucky, Court Orders, Vol. D-E, 1817-1833, p. 362.Adair County Courthouse, Columbia. FHL Microfilm 829849. Declaration of Zacharias Holladay in support of his application for a pension based on his service in the Revolutionary War.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Zacharias’ surviving adult children, Sally (Montgomery), William, and Joseph,  are all recorded in the 1850 through 1880 U.S. census as having been born in Kentucky. John died abt 1843, but his sons also state in census records that their father was born in Kentucky.

[9] Adair County, Kentucky, Deed Book, Vol. A-B, 1802-1811, Adair County Courthouse, Columbia. FHL Microfilm 828867.

[10] 1840 U.S. census, Adair County, Kentucky, no township, p. 14 (stamped), line 17, for Zachariah Holladay, pensioner in Wm Holliday household; digital image, ( accessed 27 January 2007, citing NARA microfilm publication M704, roll 103.

[11] Draper Manuscripts 9 J 206-235.

[12] Adair County, Kentucky, Will Book, Vol. E-F, 1845-1855. Adair County Courthouse, Columbia. FHL Microfilm 829843. p. 200-201, Will of Zacharias Holladay. Proven 4 January 1847 on oaths of Joseph S. Reynolds and James H. Reynolds. James was the husband of Zacharias’ granddaughter Elizabeth, and Joseph was his older brother.

[13] Adair County, Kentucky, Court Orders, Vol. F-G, p. 353. (Many family group sheets and other sources given to me by family members state that Zacharias died in 1847. As shown in note 12, above, his will was proven on 4 January 1847 which probably led to the 1847 date being used.)


5 Responses to “Zacharias Holladay (1761-1846)”

  1. Melissa Holladay Farsakian Says:

    Thank you Jay for all the work you have done on this. It is really appreciated.

  2. Patricia Holladay Bennett Says:

    Thanks Jay! I knew this in a broad way through our father but I really enjoyed reading it here.

  3. Justin Keeling Says:

    If my research is correct Zachariah Holladay is my 6th Great-Grandfather. There is a dispute though. My link to his is Melvina Monroe (my third great grandmother and if im correct Zachariah’s Great-Grand daughter) and the dispute is what her madden name is. I believe her to be the daughter of William Montgomery, son of Sarah Holladay, daughter of Zachariah. I have another source saying that she is actually Melvina “Porter” daughter of completely different people. But I cannot find any documentation of her existence except 1860 when she is 5 years old and 1870 when she is 15. But I do have Melvina Monroe with documentation that she is the mother of my 2nd Great-Grandfather, and her maiden name being Montgomery. They have the same birth years (approx.) the Porter one being born in Livingston Co. Ky. The Montgomery one being born in Adair Co. Ky. and THEN living and dying in Livingston, where this family line comes from. I would be so grateful for someone to help me confirm what I think is correct. I think Melvina Porter is someone different. Do you show a Melvina Montgomery in your records by chance?

  4. jholladay Says:

    Justin, there are a number of problems with your information, but I am interested in whether you are descended from Sarah (Sally) Holladay. Sally (1797-1880) was the eldest child of Zacharias Holladay (1761-1846) and Catherine (Kitty) Anderson. Sally married Joel Montgomery in 1825 and they had six children. Their second child was William Montgomery. I have little information about their children but will search a bit farther in Adair County and other KY records when I have more time.

  5. Richard Collins Says:

    I am a descendant of Sally Holladay through my great-grandmother. I have a microfilm copy of the Draper interview, however as I read your footnotes I see that you have a transcript of the interview. If this is a digital copy would you send it to me?

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