My great grandfather, Richard James D. Holden, was born about 1835, in Wayne County, Tennessee. He was the son of Archibald Holden and Jemima (last name unknown).
Richard's family moved to Mississippi about 1840, according to the 1850 Jackson County, Arkansas, census. The family moved to Jackson County between about 1845 and 1849. They moved to Izard County, Arkansas, between 1851 and 1858.
Richard married my great grandmother, Martha Caroline George, about 1858, probably in Izard County. Martha George was born in 1838, in Tennessee, the daughter of James Sevier George and Nancy (last name unknown).
Richard and Martha appear on the 1860 Izard County census, in Sylamore Township, Green Bush Post Office. Listed with them was their one year old son, Presley S. Holden. This is the only record we have of the existence of this child. Richard was a farmer. Tax records show that Richard paid taxes in Izard County in 1861.
Richard joined the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He was mustered into Co. G, 8th Arkansas Infantry, on September 1, 1861, at Pocahontas, in Randolph County, Arkansas. He enlisted for one year. Apparently he re-enlisted at the end of that time, because on October 9, 1862, Richard was detailed as a nurse to Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky. The best we can tell from the few papers available to us, Richard left Kentucky in late January 1863, to return to Arkansas. He wound up in a camp near Bell Buckle, in Bedford County, Tennessee. He appears on a list of absentees dated May 7, 1863. We do not know when he returned to Arkansas, or where Martha was during that time.
Records indicate that Richard and Martha had a child born in Mississippi in 1865. We assume they moved there soon after Richard returned from the war. We have been unable to locate the family on the 1870 census.
Martha died April 1874, in Stone County, Arkansas. Her youngest child (my grandmother) was about a year and a half old when Martha died.
Richard quickly remarried, we assume to provide care for his small children.
Richard married Sary J. Moore on May 17, 1874, in Stone County. Sary Moore was born about 1854 according to their marriage license. The license shows Richard was 40 and Sary was 19. The 1880 census, however, shows she was born about 1849, in Arkansas.
Richard and Sary (who is listed as Mary) appear on the 1880 Marion County, Arkansas, census in Buffalo Township. The census shows Richard Holden, 44; Mary, wife, 31; Betty, 15, daughter; James, 9, son; Frances, 7, daughter, Josepin (probably Josephine), 11, daughter, and Nancy, 2, daughter. We believe Josephine was Sary's daughter. The 1880 census shows that Sary was born in Arkansas and that Josephine's mother was born in Arkansas. Census shows Josephine was born about 1869, in Missouri, but we believe she was actually born after 1870. She would have been a young child when her mother married Richard in 1874. We can think of no other explanation.
We believe Richard died between about 1882 and 1884. My grandmother, who was born in 1872, used to say that she grew up an orphan. She was raised by family members and friends of the family.
Children of Richard Holden and Martha George
1. Presley Sanford Holden, b. abt 1859, Izard Co, AR; d. 1861-1869, AR
2. Margaret Elizabeth "Betty" Holden, b. 1865, MS
3. James William "Jim" Holden, b. 1870, Izard Co, AR
4. Frances Adeline Catherine Holden, b. 1872, Izard Co, AR; m. Thomas Jefferson Howard Bridgman (my line)
Child of Richard Holden and Sary Moore
5. Nancy Holden, b. abt 1878, Independence Co, AR