Alethia Jane DICKERSON lived her life within a 30 mile radius in middle Georgia. She was born in an area called ‘Crowders’ in Monroe County. If you’ve ever eaten or heard of the Crowder pea, it was developed by John Crowder  of the same county. When ‘peas’ are on the menu of a family reunion of southerners, they aren’t talking about the green, English variety.  They’re talking about a field pea, such as ‘Crowder’ or ‘Purple Hull’ that make their own gravy color.

Alethia had almost as many versions of her name as there are field peas.  Her various names appear on documents throughout her life, ‘Letha’, ‘Leitha’,  ‘Lethy’ and ‘Aletha’.  They are all the same person.  She was so named by her parents Continue reading


Woodworker – Thomas Jefferson HOLDER

Waist up formal portrait of Thomas Jefferson HOLDER

Thomas Jefferson HOLDER 1839-1883

Here is a handsome man who worked with his hands. He had his own woodworking shop near Wynn’s (later LeGuin’s) mill on the Tussahaw creek in Henry County GA near Locust Grove.  The county was created in 1821 and “. . . began as the land of pioneering people who invested their labor and time in exchange for land” according to The New GA Encyclopedia. Much of the area is now being developed for home construction although woods and farms are still plentiful (see pictures of a current farm development – tempting purchase).

Thomas Jefferson HOLDER married Aletha ‘Letha’ DICKERSON in 1857 and had 9 children together according to current research.  Coming from a family of 11 children, his own abundant quiver of children probably felt like home for Thomas. The oldest son was James Solomon HOLDER (see previous post) the father of Eula Mae HOLDER LINN.

Thomas was born on the 2nd of March, 1839 in Forsyth, GA.  The move from Monroe, the county of his birth to nearby Henry county occurred before 1880.  Below is a page from the HOLDER family bible where births were recorded.  T. J. HOLDER is the 11th down on the left side.  His parents are listed first.

HOLDER family Bible of births

Thomas died at the age of 44.  By word of mouth it is known that he must have anticipated his death because he made his own casket, carving roses on the top.

A further description of living at Wynn’s Mill, Tussahaw Creek can be discovered by reading A Home-Concealed Woman. The diary of Magnolia Wynn LeGuin 1901-1913 published by the University of GA press.  Excerpts from the book will be published in a future post about Thomas’ wife Letha DICKERSON as she probably had similar experiences and feelings as Magnolia (don’t you love the name?).

James Solomon HOLDER

James Solomon was the 2nd child of Thomas Jefferson HOLDER and Alethia ‘Letha’ DICKERSON, born on March 6th, 1871 probably in Henry County, GA.  Sometime in his 14th year, his father died at the age of 44, leaving him the oldest male in the family.

Yes, he’s the one who eloped with his bride Alma Josephine JACKSON in 1897.  The 1900 census reveals that he was farming next door to his brother John where his mother and two younger siblings lived.

He had been married three years by 1900, had 2 children and a house boarder by the name of Madison P. HOLDER age 53.  There is probably a familial relationship with the boarder but it has yet to be determined. Any educated guesses?

Like his father, J.S. found a career working with his hands.  He was a Blacksmith with his own shop by 1910, a career path he would follow the rest of his life.  He had suffered the death of Alma just 4 years earlier.  His daughter Eula recalled that he employed a black ‘Mammie’ to help care for and raise his 3 little daughters until he remarried in 1909.

Delia or ‘Della’ Odessa HARKNESS would be his 2nd wife.  They lived in McDonough, Henry county, GA.  Della began her married life by becoming an instant mother to James’ girls.  That first year of marriage she also shared her home with with a niece, Sallie McDaniel, age 71 (old niece, huh?) and 4 lodgers.

At age 48, James and Della were living in a rented home in Griffin, Spalding county, still working as a blacksmith.  They resided in Griffin until James’ death in 1939. He is buried at New Hope Methodist Church Cemetery in Locust Grove, Henry county GA.