Steven Butler's Family History Website



NOTICE: Although you are perfectly free to use any information this site contains that was found in public records, verbatim (word-for-word) copying or posting on,, or any other website, or in any printed publication is a violation of copyright! Please respect it!

The Holder Family
Davis Holder | Jesse Holder | Solomon L. Holder | Ransom Holder

The HOLDER Family

By Steven R. Butler, Ph.D.

I am related to the HOLDER family by virtue of the marriage of my 2nd Great-Great-Grandmother, Martha Jane HOLDER to my 2nd Great-Great-Grandfather, James A. HODGE, whose daughter, Margaret HODGE, married my Great-Grandfather John W. MILES, whose son, Charles W. MILES was my grandfather, whose son, by virtue of an extramarital relationship with my grandmother, Alice TATE BUTLER, was my father, Raymond J. BUTLER.


This is a very good question. Unfortunately, it is not easily answered because there are several possibilities.

One of these was a man named Thomas Holder, who came from England to Virginia in 1638 as an indentured servant, transported to the colony by a man named John Robins, and that he (Thomas Holder) died in Isle of Wight County, where he received a land grant of 470 acres on April 23, 1681. Both these things are apparently true, but do these facts relate to the same person? They say too that Thomas Holder, the indentured servant to John Robins, had a son, also named Thomas Holder, who was born in Virginia in 1694, but to me that just doesn't add up. A man who arrived in the colony as an indentured servant in 1638 was probably around twenty years-old when he came off the ship. In 1694, if he was still alive, he would have been seventy-one, and though it is possible for a man in his seventies to father children, it is also unlikely. For that reason, I don't think the father of the Thomas Holder born in 1694 was the one who crossed the Atlantic in 1638. If these two men were related, it's more likely the older one was the younger one's grandfather rather than his father, but unfortunately, there appears to be no proof either way.

As it happens, there were quite a few Thomas Holders in colonial Virginia. One came to the colony in 1663 as an indentured servants transported by a man named Francis Roberts, Another, said to have been born in Gloucestershire, England in 1675, came to America at some point, and then reportedly died in Montgomery County, Virginia in 1734. Yet another is said to have been born in 1645, in Yorkshire, England, dying in Henrico County, Virginia in 1701.

There was likewise a Thomas Holder, said to have been born in Culpepper County, Virginia in 1700, who died in 1774, in Bertie County, North Carolina, where the county records do contain his will, dated January 19, 1773, in which he named his sons John, Thomas, and Elisha, and a daughter, Elizabeth. He also mentioned his wife, Susannah, whose maiden name, according to other researchers, was Bunch. I do not know how they determined that he was born in Culpepper County. At least one researcher claims that he was born in Scotland in 1715. Who's right? I don't know, but strictly on a hunch, I think that this particular Thomas Holder might very well have been my earliest known Holder ancestor in America.

Evidence that Thomas Holder may have been related to the Bunch family by marriage is found in the 1726 Bertie County, North Carolina will of Paul Bunch, who included Holder was one of his heirs, although interestingly, he does not mention a daughter named Susannah.

It's said that the John Holder named as one of Thomas Holder's sons in his will, was actually named John Bunch Holder, and that he was born in Bertie County in 1730 or 1731. Allegedly, his mother's maiden name was his middle name, although middle names were not generally commonplace in the eighteenth century. I think it is safe to say that he is my earliest verifiable Holder ancestor in America.

That being said, I should mention too that I have never seen any record of any kind in which John Holder is referred to specifically as "John Bunch Holder." I think that's most likely an appellation concocted by researchers, so as to distinguish him from other men named John Holder.

Some researchers say that John Bunch Holder was born in Massachusetts and that his father was a man named William Holder, but I've seen no evidence of it.

According to almost all other researchers, sometime after he reached adulthood John Bunch Holder moved to Sampson County, North Carolina, where he married a Catawba Indian woman named Ayn or Ann or Anna Katherine or Katerina Dempsey, daughter of Chief Haigler Hopkehe Catawba, Catawba Amerindian Chief. Unfortunately, I don't know where this information has its origin, nor have I ever seen any evidence of this marriage, although if true, it would account for the small percentage of Native American DNA that my 23 and Me DNA test says I possess. Ann or Ayn supposedly had fourteen children, although only nine-Jesse, Nathan, Mary, Sally, Anna, Martha, Glada, Lettis, and Lilla-are named in John Holder's will, dated June 30, 1790 in Sampson County, North Carolina. His wife is also mentioned in the will, but as "Ann," not "Ayn" or "Anna."

A number of researchers also refer to John Holder as "Major John Bunch Holder," which suggests that he served as an officer in the Revolutionary War or perhaps some earlier colonial war, but the only source for this information, Abstract of pensions of North Carolina soldiers of the Revolution, War of 1812 & Indian Wars, does not make it clear whether or not the "Major John Holder" briefly mentioned on page 10 of this publication is my ancestor. Personally, I think it's unlikely that a forty-five-year-old man with a family would have served in the military at this time, no matter how patriotic he might have been.

Whether his name was John Bunch Holder or just simply John, Holder's his will, probated in Sampson County, North Carolina sometime after he wrote it on June 23, 1790, mentions a son named Jesse, which is why, for about two years after I first found out that I'm a Holder descendant I believed that John Bunch Holder was my ancestor, but now I know that he isn't. Why? Because although I know for a fact that I am descended from a man named Jesse Holder, the one who's named in John Holder's will is not my ancestor. John Holder's son, Jesse, remained in Sampson County, North Carolina, where he was found by successive census-takers right up to the 1840s, whereas "my" Jesse Holder settled in Laurens County, South Carolina.

(Died about 1785)

Although I do not for sure, I now think that my earliest known ancestor in the Holder line may be Davis Holder, who was born in Virginia about 1725 according to some researchers, who have provided no evidence for that date, although it certainly seems plausible. Some researchers also claim, again without providing any evidence, that Davis Holder was the son of an English immigrant named Thomas Holder and his wife, Lady Mary Baird.

We do know for sure that Davis Holder died in Pittsylvania County, Virginia sometime after writing his will on October 6, 1782. His heirs, as named in his will, were sons William, Davis Jr., Benjamin, John, and Daniel, daughter Elizabeth, and Davis' wife, Susannah.

Although I have no proof positive, I believe that Jesse Holder of Laurens County, South Carolian, may also have been a son of Davis Holder, even though not named in his will. Why? Because one of Jesse Holder's grandsons (son of Solomon L. Holder) was named Davis Holder, and also a great-grandson. Where else could that name have come from? It's not a common one. Experience has shown me that certain names often run for generations in some families. I could be wrong, of course, but I think this applies here.

(Abt. 1750-Abt. 1802)

Jesse Holder, reportedly born about 1750, may have been a son of Davis Holder. If so, his place of birth was Fauquier County, Virginia. About 1770, almost certainly in Laurens County, South Carolina, Jesse married Mary Langston, daughter of an Irish immigrant named Solomon Langston. Together, Jesse and Mary had the following named children:

  1. Solomon Langston Holder (named for his maternal grandfather), born 1771
  2. Jeremiah Holder, born 1772
  3. Delilah Holder, born 1776
  4. Rebecca Holder, born 1779
  5. Martha, born 1782
  6. Sarah, born 1784
  7. Mary, born 1785
  8. Willie Holder, born 1789
  9. Jesse Holder, born 1793
  10. John Holder, 1795
  11. Elizabeth Holder, born 1797

I should mention that except for Solomon Lanston Holder and his brother Jeremiah, all the above birth years are taken on faith from other researchers.

During the American Revolution, following the fall of Charleston in 1780, Jesse Holder, age about thirty and married with children, enlisted as a private in Colonel Benjamin Roebuck's Regiment of South Carolina militia, a unit that took part in several important battles, including

  1. Musgrove's Mill, Aug. 18, 1780
  2. Fishing Creek, Aug. 18, 1780
  3. Kings Mountain, Oct. 7, 1780
  4. Enoree River, Nov. 1780
  5. Blackstocks, Nov. 20, 1780
  6. Williams's Plantation, Dec. 30, 1780
  7. Cowpens, Jan. 17, 1781
  8. Watkins, Feb. 1781
  9. Fort Watson, Feb. 24, 1781
  10. Mud Lick Creek, Mar. 2, 1781
  11. Fair Forest Creek, Mar. 2, 1781
  12. Lynches Creek, Mar. 6, 1781
  13. Siege of Augusta (GA), Apr. - Jun. 1781
  14. Bush Rive,r May 1, 1781
  15. Siege of Ninety-Six, May 21 - Jun. 19, 1781
  16. Saluda River, May 22, 1781
  17. Cunningham's Raid, Aug. 1, 1781
  18. Eutaw Springs, Sep. 8, 1781
  19. Gowen's Fort, Nov. 6, 1781
  20. Duncan's Creek, Nov. 8, 1781
  21. Edisto River, Dec. 20, 1781
  22. Farrow's Station, Apr. 1, 1782

Unfortunately, because Jesse Holder did not live long enough to apply for a Revolutionary War old age pension in the 1830s, the length of his service and the precise nature of it, to which he would have testified in writing, have been lost to history. All we can be sure of is that he did serve and that in 1786, three years after the treaty of peace that ended the war, he received a South Carolina state treasury warrant worth £3 and 4 shillings, apparently as back pay.

I should also mention that a man named Thomas Holder, who is known by deed, census, and military records to have resided in Laurens County, South Carolina at this same period, may have been Jesse's brother.

Not surprisingly, Jesse Holder owned property in Laurens County, South Carolina. Here is a list of transactions from county deed records.

February 16, 1792: Sold 200 acres, to which he refers as an "estate of inheritance," to Isaac Miller, for £20, Deed Book D, pp.121-2. This transaction, which is the earliest involving Jesse Holder in Laurens County deed records, raises the question: When, where and how did he obtain this land? Did he inherit it? Also, why did he sell it for so little money. Was Miller a relative of some kind?

January 28, 1795: Purchased 100 acres of land from father-in-law, Solomon Langston, for 100 Pounds "lawful money." Deed Book E, pp.

March 9, 1796: Sold 30 acres to brother-in-law, Henry Langston, for 20 Pounds Sterling. Deed Book F, pp.98-9.

July 16, 1798: Sold 100 acres to son, Solomon L. Holder, for $50. Deed Book F, pp.444-5.

Jesse Holder died in Laurens County, South Carolina, at the age of about fifty, sometime after writing his will in 1798, possibly as late as 1802. Cause of death is unknown but almost certainly either accident or illness.

Will of Jesse Holder

In the name of God, Amen. I Jesse Holder of Laurens County and State of South Carolina, being weak in body, but of perfect mind and memory, calling to mind the mortality of my body and knowing it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament, utterly revoking and disannulling all former and other wills, testaments, and bequests of what name or nature so ever and ratifying this and no other as my last will and testament. And first I recommend my soul to God, who gave it, and my body, I desire may be buried in a decent Christian manner at the discretion of my executors. Nothing doubting but I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in this life, i give and dispose of the same in the manner and form following, that is to say First, I give and bequeath to my first son Solomon, five shillings, I give to my son Jeremiah a young bay horse named Buck. I give and bequeath to my daughter Delila one feather bed and furniture. I give and bequeath to my daughter Rebecka one feather bed and furniture. I give and bequeath to my daughter Marther one feather bed. I give and bequeath to my daughter Sarah one feather bed. I give and bequeath to my daughter Mary, one cow and calf or the value thereof at the time of her marriage or freedom. I give and bequeath to my three sons Willie, Jesse, and John all my lands and tenements at my wife's decease if either of the three sons, last mentioned should die before their inheritance fall to my son Jerimiah is to have his share or if two of my three youngest sons should die or all three should die. I desire my youngest daughter Elizabeth the shares of the deceased and in case Solomon Langston, my father-in-law should make a good and sufficient title to one hundred acres of land that is my right after paying him about ten shillings, I desire it may be equally divided between my two sons Jeremea and Jesse. And lastly I give and bequeath to my beloved wife, Mary, all my lands and tenements during her life excepting that hundred acres before mentioned to Jeremia and Jesse together with all the rest of my goods and chattles of what name or nature so ever that is not before mentioned. And I do make and ordain my wife Mary and my son Soloman the sole Executors of this my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name this sixteenth day of July and in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety eight.

In the presence of us who in his presence and in the presence of each other who have hereunto subscribed our names. Roger Brown Jesse Holder SEAL Henry Langston Sarah [her mark] Langston [Original will not in files of Probate Judge.]

(Abt. 1771-1847)

Solomon Langston Holder, named for his maternal Irish grandfather, Solomon Langston, was born in South Carolina in 1771. His parents were Jesse Holder and Mary Langston Holder.

About 1799, when he was about twenty-nine years old, Sol Holder married Sarah "Sally" Mitchell," said by other researchers to be the approximately twenty-three-year-old daughter of James Mitchell. The marriage almost certainly took place in Laurens County, South Carolina. Together, Sol and Sally had the following named children:

  1. Vinson Holder, born about 1800
  2. Ransom Holder, born about 1803
  3. Davis Holder, born about 1805
  4. Lewis Holder, born about 1815
  5. Wilson Holder, born about 1816
  6. William Holder, born about 1822
  7. Alford Holder, D.O.B. unknown
  8. Cornelius Holder, D.O.B. unknown
  9. Judith Holder, D.O.B. unknown
  10. Lucinda Holder, D.O.B. unknown
  11. Mary Holder, D.O.B. unknown
  12. Solomon Holder, Jr., D.O.B. unknown

All children born in 1810 or earlier were born in South Carolina. All children born from 1811 onward were born in Tennessee, some in Davidson County, others in Franklin County.

After his father, Jesse, died, Sol Holder moved his family to nearby Anderson County, South Carolina. Here is a list of land transactions that record that move and also, ultimately, the move to Tennessee, which took place about 1810-1811.

  • March 20, 1802. Sold 100 acres of land to John Stiles for $150. Laurens County, South Carolina Deed Book H, pp.52-3.

  • October 13, 1806: Purchased 124 acres from Solomon Murphrey for $100. Anderson County, South Carolina Deed Book K, pp.91-2.

  • January 20, 1810. Sold 100 acres to Thomas Rowland of Rutherford County, North Carolina, for $100. Anderson County, South Carolina Deed Book K, pp.240-1.

Shortly after this last transaction, Solomon Holder and his family went to live in Tennessee, where they initially settled in Davidson County. There, in January 1814, either Sol or his son, Solomon Holder, Jr., enlisted in Colonel Archer Cheatham's 2nd West Tennessee Militia Regiment, which served under General Andrew Jackson in the Creek Indian War. This regiment was made of men who were largely from Robertson, Davidson, Rutherford, and Williamson Counties.

"With a total complement of 520 men, this regiment was part of the reserves at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (27 March 1814). Prior to the battle, many of the men transferred to the artillery squad. One of the transfers, young Private John Caffery, Jr. of Captain Charles Johnson's company, was the nephew of Andrew Jackson's wife, Rachel. After the battle, Jackson proudly wrote to his wife that her nephew "fought bravely and killed an Indian." Archer Cheatham was a prominent citizen of Springfield, Robertson County." From Regimental Histories of Tennessee Units During the War of 1812.

Sometime before 1820, Sol Holder and his family moved to Franklin County, Tennessee, where they were enumerated in the federal census for that year, with three males under the age of 10, 2 males 10 to 15 years of age, one male aged 16 to 18, one male aged 16 to 25, one male aged 26 to 44, and one male over 45 (Sol himself, obviously. There was also one female under 10, one female 10 to 15, one female aged 26 to 44, and one female over 45 (Sally, obviously). No slaves. A total of fourteen people, which matches exactly the number we would expect with two parents and twelve children.

The 1830 federal census for Franklin County, Tennessee lists the Solomon Holder family as follows: on male 5 to 9 years of age, two males 10 to 14, one male 50 to 59 (Sol, obviously), one female 5 to 9, two females 10 to 14, and one female 40 to 49 (Sally, obviously). Again, there are no slaves, Total number of persons: eight. This census reflects the fact that all the older children have left their parents' household and are now married, with families of their own.

The 1840 federal census for Franklin County, Tennessee is the last one in which Sol Holder appears. It shows two males 20 to 29 years of age, one male 60 to 69 (again, Sol, obviously), one female 20 to 29, and one female 50 to 59 (Sally, obviously). Once again, there are no slaves. Total number of persons: five. This indicates that even more children have left the nest, so to speak.

By 1827, Sol Holder had acquired a total of 525 acres of land in Franklin County. It was located, according to descriptions in the deeds, in "district 7," "on the waters of Rock Creek, a north branch of the Elk River," adjacent to the "lower tract of school land." The acquisition of this land is recorded in Franklin County, Tennessee Deed Book K, pp.373-5 and also Land Entry Book 1, p. 304 (entry 1528 for 100 acres), Book 2, p.253 (entry 2845 for 50 acres), Book 2, p.265 (entry 2900 for 200 acres), and Book 2, p.138 (entry 2251 for all 525 acres).

Solomon Langston Holder died about 1847 in Franklin County, Tennessee, at the age of about seventy-six. His wife, Sally, also died around this time. Unfortunately, some important county records for this particular period (the late 1840s) are missing. If he wrote a will, it has apparently been lost to history. Fortunately, we have a deed, dated April 6, 1849, which lists his heirs, who collectively sold some of the property they inherited. Recorded in Franklin County Tennessee Deed Book U, p, 622, it reads as follows:

We Ransom Holder, William Holder, Vinson Holder, Davis Holder, James A. Hodges assignee of Wilson Holder, Cornelius Holder, Teasdale & Co. assignees of Cornelius Holder, Lewis Holder, Benjamin B. Knight assignee of James Lakey and Lucy Lakey his wife, John Keck and Judith his wife, Alford Holder, Dennis B. Muse and Mary his wife, assignees of Solamon Holder and Sally his wife dec'd have this day bargained and sold and do hereby transfer convey relinquish assign & surrender to White and Davis heirs and assigns forever for the consideration of thirty two 50/100 dollars paid to every one of us the said heirs & assigns and heirs of Solamon Holder & Sally his wife dec'd the receipt of [which] is hereby acknowledged by us, all our right title interest and claim in and to the land of which said Solomon Holder and Sally Holder dec'd seized & possessed said land and situated in the county of Franklin in Tennessee and bounded & described in grants of the state of Tennessee to said Holder numbered 1704, 2432, 9298 in the deed of David Burton to Solomon dated 6th November 1827 and in the deed of David Burton to said Solomon Holder dated 6th November 1827. No 1704 for 100 acres…No 2432 for 200 acres, No. 9298 for 200 acres in the first of said deeds for 20 acres & the other for five in any interfearances of said grants & deeds with said other not being sold or conveyed hereby or to have and to hold said described land said interfearances except to the said White & Davis their heirs & assigns forever to the extent of the interest of every one of us. We respectively bind ourselves & our respective heirs to warrant and forever defend the title of the above described land & interfearances excepted to the said White & Davis their heirs and assigns against the lawful claims of every person, Witness our hands & seals this 6th day of April 1849.

Unfortunately, the final resting place of Solomon Langston Holder and his wife, Sally, have been lost to history.

(Abt. 1803-Aft. 1878)

Native of the State of Tennessee

Ransom Holder was the second oldest son of Solomon Langston Holder and his wife, Sally Mitchell. He was born about 1803, probably in Laurens County, South Carolina.

Sometime around 1810-1811, Ransom Holder moved with his birth family to Tennessee, where they eventually settled in Franklin County.

About 1820, when he was first enumerated in a federal census, Ransom married Martha "Patsy" McCraw, daughter of William McCraw and his wife, Martha Lumpkin McCraw. Together, Ransom and Patsy, who was about eight years older than her husband, had the following named children:

  1. Ransom Holder, Jr., born about 1825
  2. Martha Jane Holder, born about 1830; married James A. Hodge.
  3. Peter Holder, born about 1830
  4. James Anderson Holder, born about 1835
  5. Dennis M. Holder, born about 1837
  6. Mary Ann Holder, born about 1839
  7. Sarah Holder, born about 1841

The 1830 federal census for Franklin County, Tennessee, found the Ransom Holder family consisted of two free white males under 5, one free white male- 5 thru 9, one free white male, 20 thru 29 (obviously Ransom), one free white female 5 to 9, and one free white female 30 to 39 (Patsy, obviously). There were no slaves.

The 1840 federal census for Franklin County, Tennessee showed that the family had increased in size and consisted of three males under 5, three males 5 to 9, one male 10 to 14, one male 30 to 39 (obviously Ransom), one female under 5, one female 5 to 9, one female 15 to 19, and one female 40 to 49 (Patsy, obviously). There were no slaves.

The 1850 federal census, the first in which all household members were named, showed that the family then consisted of Ransom, age 50, Martha, age 52, Ransom Jr., age 25, Martha, age 17, James A., age 15, Dennis M., age 13, Mary Ann, age 11, and Sarah, age 9. Clearly, not all the ages were accurately recorded.

The 1860 federal census listed Martha, age 65, Ransom, age 57, Peter, age 30, Mary, age 21, and Sarah, age 18.

The 1870 federal census listed Martha, age 78, Ransom, age 72, Ransom Jr., age 40, and Mary E. Holder, age 28.

Interestingly, even though he is listed as a farmer in the 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses, there are no deed records in file in Franklin County for Ransom Holder, which suggests that he was a tenant farmer, renting land from someone else. In fact, in the 1850 census, in the column headed "value, of real estate," it says "none." In the 1860 and 1870 census, that column is simply left blank.

There is evidence, in the form of a city directory, that in 1859 Ransom Holder resided in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he worked as a carpenter. This listing, however, may be for his son, Ransom, Jr., rather than the elder Ransom.

Unfortunately, Ransom Holder and his wife came to a sad end. In April 1878, as paupers, the couple had to turn for support to Franklin County, which awarded them an allowance of $30 per year, which was raised in October 1878 to $50. This information, recorded in county court minutes, is the last official record of either Ransom or his wife, who are believed to have died sometime before 1880, owing to the fact that they are not listed in the federal census for that year. Their place of burial is unknown. As paupers, their graves were probably never marked.

The Holder Family
Davis Holder | Jesse Holder | Solomon L. Holder | Ransom Holder

This website copyright © 1996-2021 by Steven R. Butler, Ph.D. All rights reserved.