John Holladay is a founder and namesake of the settlement of Holladay's Burg, Utah which became Holladay, Utah. He was an early pioneer in the western US in Colorado, Utah, and California. He is sometimes erroneously referred to as John Daniel Holladay which was his eldest son's name.
John Holladay was born March 10, 1798, in Camden District, Kershaw County, South Carolina. A few descendants insist on calling him John Daniel though published historical accounts agree his given name was John not John Daniel. John Holladay's 1861 obituary in the Deseret News calls him John Holladay as does his original headstone now in Santaquin cemetery. John had a son named John Daniel whose own son was John Daniel Jr. who was born in San Bernardino in 1851 and died in Arizona.
John Holladay married Catherine Beasley Higgins, also Camden born, in South Carolina in 1822. They had 10 children, 9 of whom survived early childhood. John's earliest known forbearer in the New World, his great grandfather, is John "The Ranger" Holladay of Belfonte in present-day Spotsylvania County, Virginia. John "The Ranger", first appears in New World records in 1702. He probably came from the area of Chalford, Glouchestershire, England. "The Ranger" is also an ancestor of Ben Holladay, "The Stagecoach King".
After John "The Ranger" died in 1742, John's father, Daniel Holladay Jr., and his grandfather, Daniel Holladay moved to South Carolina. Both Daniels were signers of the South Carolina Declaration of Independence. While residing in the High Hills of the Santee, Daniel Jr. enlisted when South Carolina’s troops were first organized on 4 November 1775 as an orderly-sergeant in Col. William Moultrie's 2 South Carolina Regiment. He served under Captain James McDonald in the battle of Fort Sullivan on 28 June 1776. On 8 August 1777 he was reprimanded for gambling. He was reprimanded on 3 April 1778 for neglect of duty. He was discharged on 6 April 1778. Following his father's death In 1826, Daniel Jr. moved from South Carolina with son John and his young family, to join another son, William Daniel, at Moscow, Marion County, Alabama. Daniel Jr. subsequently applied for and was adjudicated a Revolutionary War veteran pension and land grant in Alabama. Daniel Jr. died on Feb. 4, 1837 and was buried at Mulberry Cemetery in Moscow, Lamar County, Alabama. Also buried there is John's sister Lettitia and her husband Col. John Hollis. Lettitia's daughter, Susana Fleming Hollis, married James G. Bankhead of the Alabama Bankhead political family. Their son, John Hollis Bankhead, served in the US Senate. United States Senator John H. Bankhead II and Speaker of the House William Brockman Bankhead were his sons and actress Tallulah Bankhead his granddaughter. The cross-country Bankhead Highway was named after him.
Mississippi Saints migration
In 1844, in Alabama, John Holladay joined the LDS Church as his son John Daniel may have already done. In the spring of 1846, at the urging of the Church, he joined the so-called Mississippi Saints migration west under the leadership of John Brown. He left Alabama with his wife and eight of his nine living children and their respective families. Their expected destination was California. The "Mississippi" party was supposed to meet the main Mormon migration party led by Brigham Young on the road west. Young postponed the departure until the next year but they were not informed of this change. When the "Mississippi" group did not meet up with the main party after traveling as far as Ft. Laramie, they headed south to Pueblo, Colorado for the winter with the guidance of trapper/guide, John Richard, Jr. commonly known as Jean Reshaw. In Pueblo, the Mississippi Saints party set up a separate camp, including a log chapel, near the trapper settlement on the Arkansas River and prepared for winter. John's eldest son John Daniel returned to Alabama before winter set in. The sick detachments from the US Army Mormon Battalion joined them in Pueblo soon afterward.
In late spring 1847, on receiving word that main party was en route, they retraced their steps to Laramie thence to the Salt Lake area arriving on July 29, 1847. From Pueblo they carried a seed supply of Taos wheat a hard wheat variety grown around Taos, New Mexico. This seed did well in the Salt Lake Valley becoming a commonly used strain.
In Utah, John eventually settled his family and others of his group on Spring Creek, a tributary of Little Cottonwood Creek at a place which was called Holladay’s Burg after him and which became the present-day town of Holladay, Utah.
In 1851, the Holladay family joined Apostle Amasa Lyman’s LDS Church sanctioned purchase and colonization of Rancho San Bernardino, present-day San Bernardino, CA. The family returned to Utah in 1857 after Brigham Young dictated the demise of the San Bernardino colony which he apparently considered a threat to the Utah project. The colonists had secured a mortgage collectively to purchase the Rancho San Bernardino. They were forced to default when it was almost paid off suffering heavy economic loss never compensated by the LDS Church. With the exodus their real estate became worthless. Some Holladays remained in the area and left the LDS.
Back in Utah, John settled first at Beaver, Utah then at Holladay Springs, Utah near present day Santaquin, Utah where he remained until his death on December 31, 1861 according to his obituary in the Deseret News which has his name as John Holladay. He was buried in a field near the home where Catherine was also buried when she died on April 19, 1877. Their grave markers were moved in 1960 to the Santaquin City Cemetery. The unmarked graves remain at the original burial place, which is now plowed under.
His children, who pioneered in Utah, Arizona, Idaho, and California, were:
and Sarah Elizabeth Hollis
- The Holladay Family, Alvis Milton Holladay Sr. Douglas Printing Company Nashville, TN, 1994
- Bagley, Will and David Bigler. "Army of Israel: Mormon Battalion Narratives", Kingdom of the West: Mormons on the American Frontier. Spokane, WA: Arthur H. Clark and Company, ISBN 0-87421-294-4, 2000.
- Ricketts, N. B. The Mormon Battalion; U. S. Army of the West, 1846 - 1848. Logan: Utah State University Press, ISBN 0-87421-215-4, 1996.
- Roberts, B.H. (1919), The Mormon Battalion: Its History and Achievements, Salt Lake City: Deseret News.
- Cooke, P. S. et al. The Conquest of New Mexico and California in 1846 - 1848. Glorieta, NM; Rio Grande Press, 1964.
- Tyler, Daniel (1881), A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War, 1846–1847, Chicago: Rio Grande Press
- LeCompte, Janet. Pueblo, Pueblo, Hardscrabble, Greenhorn: Society on the High Plains, 1832-1856, University of Oklahoma ISBN 0-8061-1723-0
- Alvis Milton Holladay Sr, "The Holladay Family", Douglas Printing Company Nashville, TN, 1994.
- Carter, Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol 2, Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers.
- Orson Ferguson Whitney History of Utah: comprising preliminary chapters on the previous history of her founders accounts of early Spanish and American explorations in the Rocky Mountain region, the advent of the Mormon pioneers, the establishment and dissolution of the provisional government of the state of Deseret, and the subsequent creation and development of the territory, Volume 4
- Arrington, L, "History of Holladay, Utah"
- William G. Hartley, "Gathering the Dispersed Nauvoo Saints, 1847–1852," Ensign, Jul 1997, 12...
- Francis Marion Order Book, Volume 1 (June 1775 - July 1777) General Orders by Cob Wm Moultrie Tuesday June 20, 1775