(My sincere thanks to my cousin Dortha Gamel who has provided much family information.)

My Holden ancestors originated in England.    The earliest use of the Holden surname is said to have appeared in Lancashire, England, about the year 1100.    Surnames, as a rule, began being used during the mid to late 1200's.    English surnames were generally taken from such things as localities or land features (such as Marsh, Hill, or Meadow), from occupations (such as Smith, Taylor, or Wheeler), from the names of flowers and animals (such as Rose or Fox), or from physical features (such as Stout or Longfellow).    The Holden surname is derived from a locality or land feature.    The surname means "a hollow or deep valley".

  The Holden name is listed numerous times in early immigration records.    Some of the earliest Holden immigrants to America included Richard Holden who immigrated to Massachusetts in 1634, at the age of 25 years; Henry Holden who immigrated to Maryland in 1658; and several Holden's who immigrated to Virginia, including Robert Holden in 1674, Thomas Holden in 1655, Peter Holden in 1658, John Holden in 1637, and sixteen year old Joshua Holden in 1699.

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 My 3rd great grandfather was James Holden, who was born about 1765, possibly in North Carolina.     He married my 3rd great grandmother, Biddy McDonald about 1790.   Biddy McDonald was born about 1770, in Virginia (according to the 1850 census).    Prior to 1804, James moved his family to South Carolina.     It is thought that James had a brother, Richard Holden.  

Pendleton District, South Carolina was formed in 1789 from Indian Land.    The District was discontinued in 1826 and became present-day Anderson County (formed in 1826 from Pendleton Dist.) and Pickens County (formed in 1825 from Pendleton Dist.).                                                                                                                                                      

The 1810 Pendleton County, South Carolina census shows James Holden, a male 26-44 (b. 1766-1784); one male 10-15 (b. 1795-1800); four males under 10 (b. 1801-1810); one female 26-44 (b. 1766-1784) and one female 10-15 (b. 1795-1800).

Prior to 1830, James Holden moved his family to Tennessee.  

The 1830 Wayne County, Tennessee census shows James Holden, a male 60-69 (b. 1761-1770); one male 20-29 (b. 1801-1810 - James, Jr..); one male 5-9 (b. 1821-1825); one female 60-69 (b. 1761-1770) and one female under 5 (b. 1825-1830).     Also living in Wayne County, some little distance from James, was his son Archibald Holden

James and his son Archibald paid a poll tax in 1832, 1836 and 1838 in Wayne County.

The 1840 Wayne County census shows James Holden, Sr., a male 70-79 (b. 1761-1770); one female 60-69 (b. 1771-1780); one female 15-19 (b. 1821-1825) and two females 10-14 (b. 1826-1830).  

 Listed next to James, Sr. on the 1840 Wayne County census was James Holden, Jr., a male 20-29 (b. 1811-1820); one female 20-29 (b. 1811-1820) and one female under 5 (b. 1836-1840). 

James Holden, Sr. died between 1840 and 1850 in Wayne County, Tennessee. 

The 1850 Wayne County, Civil District 8, census shows Biddy Holden, 83, $50 real property, born in VA and Biddy Middleton, 23, born in TN.    Living next to them was Biddy's son, James and his family.    The census shows James Holden, 40, a farmer, $400 real property, born in SC; Susannah, 39, born in TN; Polly, 12, TN; Sam, 9, TN; Catharine, 8, TN; John, 6, TN; Biddy, 3, TN and Charlotty, 1, born in TN. 

Biddy Holden died February 26, 1851, in Wayne County, Tennessee.   

 James and Biddy had several children including sons (1) Richard Holden; (2) Archibald Holden; and (3) James M. Holden

My great-great grandfather, Archibald Holden, was born about 1804, in Pendleton County, South Carolina.    He was the son of James Holden and Biddy McDonald

Archibald Holden moved from South Carolina to Tennessee prior to 1825.    He probably moved at the same time his father, James Holden moved his family from South Carolina to Tennessee. 

Archibald married my great-great grandmother, Jemima (maiden name unknown), about 1825, in Tennessee.    Jemima was born about 1804, in Tennessee, according to census records.

Archibald appears on the 1830 Wayne County, Tennessee, census.   The census shows one male 20-29 (b. 1801-1810); one female 20-29 (b. 1801-1810) and one female under 5 (1825-1830).    They were living a little distance from his parents.    Archibald was a farmer.  

Archibald does not appear on the 1840 Wayne County census.    Information on the 1850 census shows that Archibald's sons, Simeon and Jeremiah were born in Mississippi between about 1841 and 1845.    One of Archibald's brothers was in Mississippi during the 1840's and 1850's, and we believe that Archibald's family was there for a brief time. 

Archibald moved his family to Arkansas between 1845 and 1849.  

The family appears on the 1850 Jackson County, Arkansas, census in Cache Township.     The census shows Archibald Holden, 46, a farmer, born SC; Jemima, 46, born TN; Rebecca, 24, born TN; Prudence, 17, born TN; Richard, 15, born TN; Biddy, 14, born TN; Jonathan, 10, born TN; Simeon, 8, born MS and Jeremiah, 5, born MS.     Also living in Jackson County, in Village Township, was Isaac Holden, who was born about 1799, in Pendleton County, South Carolina.    Isaac was a millwright.    He appears on the census with his wife and four children.    We believe the two families were closely related.

Around 1853, Archibald moved his family from Jackson County to Izard County, Arkansas.

Arch's family appears on the 1860 Izard County census, in Sylamore Township, Green Bush Post Office.    The census shows Archibald Holden, 55, a farmer, born SC; Jemima, 55, born TN; Lucinda, 23, born TN; Jeremiah J., 15, farming, born TN and Mahala E., 9, born AR.

Jemima died between 1861 and 1867, in either Izard or Independence County, Arkansas.    Archibald moved his family to Independence County around 1865 to 1869.    We are unsure if Jemima was still living when they moved, or if he moved after her death.

Archibald married Frances A. Miller about 1867, in Izard or Independence County.    Frances was born about 1842, in Cherokee County, Alabama.   She was the daughter of John P. Miller (born 1803, SC; died Sept 1859, Independence Co, AR) and Sarah E. ____ (born 1808, SC; died in AR).     Frances was about 38 years younger than Archibald.

Archibald and Frances appear on the 1870 Independence County census in Franklin Township.    The census shows Archibald Holden, 61, farmer, born SC; Frances, 28, born AL; Harriett T., 1, born AR and Aaron, 7 months, born Oct in AR.

On April 21, 1873, Stone County was created from portions of Independence, Izard, Searcy and Van Buren Counties.     Franklin and Wallace Townships were taken from Independence County;   Blue Mountain, Harris, Richwood and Sylamore Townships were taken from Izard County; Locust Grove Township was taken from Searcy County and Turkey Creek Township was taken from Van Buren County.      

We believe, but cannot prove, that Frances died in childbirth in 1875, in Franklin Township of the newly formed Stone County.    (This township was in Independence County in 1870.)

Archibald died in 1879, in Franklin Township, Stone County, Arkansas.

 The 1880 Stone County, Wallace Township, census shows Archibald and Frances' daughter, Tennessee Holden, age 11, living with the family of George W. Howard.    Their son, Aaron Holden, age 11, was living with his half-sister, Jane Holden Roberts, in Sylamore Township of Stone County.  

Also appearing on the 1880 census in Franklin Township of Stone County (formerly Independence County) was William P. Holden, age 5 years.    (Note: Archibald's family was the only Holden family living in Franklin Township on the 1870 census.)     William Holden was living with Jacob Hancock and his family.    We believe William was the son of Archibald and Frances, but this has not been proven.   We believe Frances died in childbirth with William (speculation also unproven).  

Children of Archibald Holden and Jemima

1. Rebecca Jane Holden, b. abt 1826, Wayne Co, TN

2. Prudence Holden, b. abt 1833, Wayne Co, TN

3. Richard James D. Holden, b. 1835, Wayne Co, TN       (my line)             

4. Lucinda "Biddy" Holden, b. abt 1836, Wayne Co, TN

5. Jonathan Holden, b. abt 1839, Wayne Co, TN

6. Simeon C. Holden, b. abt 1841, TN or MS; d. Apr 1860, Sylamore Twp, Izard Co, AR from a "swell in throat"

7. Jeremiah Jasper Holden, b. abt 1845, TN or MS

8. Mahala Elizabeth Holden, b. abt 1851, Jackson Co. or Izard Co, AR

Children of Archibald Holden and Frances Miller

9. Harriet Tennessee Holden, b. Mar 15, 1868, Franklin Twp, Independence Co, AR; d. abt 1890-1891 (after birth of 2nd son); m. Joseph Record Siler on Apr 12, 1885, in Stone Co, AR. Joseph R. Siler b. Nov 13, 1862, White Co, AR; d. Jan 25, 1933, White Co, was the son of Record C. Siler and Mary Johnston McCauley (both from NC).    Joseph and Harriet had 2 sons: James Taylor Siler, b. Feb 24, 1886; d. May 13, 1947; and Johnnie Siler, b. Mar 22, 1890; died in infancy.

10. Aaron Isaac Holden, b. Oct 15,1869, Franklin Twp, Independence Co, AR

11. William P. Holden, b. 1875, Franklin Twp, Stone Co, AR    (We believe, but cannot prove that William was the son of Archibald and Frances.)     The 1880 Stone Co, AR, census, Franklin Twp, shows Jacob S. Handcock, 33, farmer, born TN; Rhoda J., 28, wife, born AR; Sarah A., 59, mother, born AR; Elizabeth F., 16, sister, born MS; and William P. Holden, 5, boarder, born AR.


I am not a professional genealogist and although I have researched much of the information found at this site, some of it was given to me by other researchers and may not have been documented. Each bit of information found here should be carefully researched and proved or disproved by you, the researcher. Researchers may copy information found at this site for their own personal use and to share with other researchers or genealogical organizations. Any commercial use or distribution without the written consent of this author is prohibited.

Others researching the Holden line:
Dortha Gamel
Melva Wilson (Aaron Isaac Holden line)
Kim Davis (Isaac Holden line)
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