Hosea had immigrated from South Carolina with his family in early 1819.  He lived in Covington County for a time and was sheriff of the county for a brief period (1833) and then resigned.  He was married to Patsy Mancill about 1825 in Covington Co., AL.  Patsy Mancill, was born before 1810 in SC.  She died on 22 Dec. 1834 in Conecuh Co, AL.  Patsy and 2 children, a neighbor girl named Jordon Killed by 2 slaves, who burned the house after killing Patsey with a hoe, the children suffered the same fate, the Jordon child tried to bribe for her life with a fifty cent piece, they swing her against the gate post, then flung her into the burning house.  The father, Edward Mancill, took two women to jail, youngest said "Old Suze' threatened her if she didn't help, who were caught, hanged at Montezuma.


Columbus Enquirer December 1834

     Dec. 27, 1834, The house of Hosea Holly, of Covington County, Alabama was burned, and his wife, and small child, were all cruelly murdered.  Done by two Negro women belonging to Mr. Holley who was absent.


Columbus Enquirer December 27, 1834

     The house of Mr. Hosea Holley of Covington County, Alabama was burned Monday evening last.  His wife, infant child, and a Miss Jourdan, a niece of his about 12 years of age, were cruelly murdered by two negro women belonging to Mr. Holley.


Around the year 1835 (as legend has it), two women slaves owned by Hosea Holley murdered Hosea’s wife, their three small children, and a young neighborhood girl. These slaves were apprehended and brought to trial at Montezuma in 1835. John P. Booth, a lawyer who at that time was living in Conecuh County, served as prosecutor at the trial for which the state legislature (on January 9, 1836) appropriated the sum of twenty dollars to him, for prosecuting to conviction two slaves, the property of Hosea Holly’. It is probable that these slaves were executed shortly after the trial, but it was not until December 23, 1837, before the legislature appropriated to Stephen Cobb, late sheriff of Covington County, for executing two slaves the property of Hosea Holly, the sum of twenty dollars.


     (1)   Furnished to Robert D. Cassady by William Howard Holley, Sr., on May 22, 2001.



"Hosea Holley and his wife, Patsy, and three small children lived a few miles southeast of the present site of Andalusia.  The Holleys owned two slaves, both. women.  Mr. Holley went to Texas on a business trip and after he had been gone for some time Mrs. Holley noticed that the negro women had begun to act sullen and unfriendly.  All one afternoon they spent their time bringing pine knots from the forest and piling them near the house.  Mrs. Holley became alarmed at the attitude of the slaves, but having, three small children as well as a young neighbor girl who was staying with her while her husband was away, and having no means of transportation, she could not leave.  However, when a Mr. Hart, who had been to Montezuma for the mail fro the Seda community came by,  Mrs. Holley sent word to her father, Edward Mancil, and her brothers to come to her home.  The Mancils lived just off the Old Salt Road a few miles south of the present town of Sanford.  When the Mancils received the message they started immediately for the Holley homestead, but they were too late.  As that fateful day drew to a close, Mrs. Holley became more frightened and alarmed, and she and the children tried to hide in the smoke house.  The negro women, after setting fire to the house, found them hiding place, killed Mrs. Holley with a hoe and threw her body into the burning building.  The younger children then suffered the same fate.  A little girl, Mrs. Holley's niece, who was visiting, a Jordan by name, tried to run but was caught by the murderers.  She plead pitifully for her life and offered her only possession, a fithy cent piece, as a ransom.  The women ignored her pleas, swung her little body against the gate post and then cast her into the flames also.  The Mancells, with other men from the community, carried the women to the Montezuma jail, where they made a full confession of the crime.  The younger of the two, when questioned as to the motive, said that "Old Suze", the older one, had threatened her with death unless she would help in killing the Holley family.  After conviction both women were hung at Montezuma. 



     (1)  Information from Mrs. Gus Bryan, Opp, Covington County, Alabama  (Her Husband is kin to the Holleys)

     (2)  Mrs. Callie Mancell, daughter of E. J. Mancell, who represented Covington County in the State Legislature several times, has heard her aunt, Mrs. John Livings, who was a fourteen year old girl at the time, tell the above story many times.  Mrs. Livings was Mrs. Patsy Holley's sister.



Hosea moved to Coffee Co. near brother John and remarried.  However, in 1840 Covington County census, shows Hosea with woman and children in household.  If he married Nancy in 1838 as suspected then this would be her, not Patsy.  The only known record of his middle intial W is on an 1838 federal land grant in Coffee Co., Alabama.  The Wiregrass section of Alabama was never noted for large plantations.  Nevertheless, a few settlers found the rich bottom lands of the Pea River and Choctawhatchee basins highly productive for a variety of crops, particularly cotton.  One of the earliest settlers on the trail from Enterprise to Cross Trails was Hosea Holley.   He acquired a large tract of land in southeast Coffee County on the west side of the river.  Here he established a prosperous plantation, holding at one time as many as 35 slaves.   He recognized that the ferry crossing near what is now the concrete bridge on Highway 474 would be an ideal place for a traveler's rest stop or for an overnight stay.  Soon after settling in, he built a large two-story frame structure on the west side of the river near the ferry crossing.  The "White House", as it was called, spacious and elegantly furnished, was a show-place of the time and was known far and wide for its hospitality.  Many of the guests were river travelers.  If they arrived by night, a signal to the watchman on shore alerted the " White House" staff of the impending arrival of new guests.



1850 Coffee County Census, Number 582, Page 308, recorded Nov. 25, 1850 by Alfred McGee

     Hosea Holley         51    M    Farmer      SC   $8,000 Value of Real Estate

     Nancy                     25    F                      SC

     Martha J.                  4    F                       AL

     Mary J.                     3    F                       AL

     Elizabeth J.           2/12  F                       AL



 The White House of Coffee County

     The White House enjoyed widespread prominence during the early years of Coffee County, Alabama.

It was situated on the west bank of Pea River in the old flat field on the Hosea Holley plantation, about one mile up the river from the old concrete bridge and the present bridge.  Hosea's brothers, William and John, also owned plantations and were large slave owners in the same general area of Coffee County.

     The White House was a large, white, two-story building and was equipped with the most elegant furnishings of that period.  Large piazzas or front porches were on each level, and it was a favorite past time for people to sit in the large rocking chairs on the porches and visit as they watched the busy barge and ferry traffic on Pea River.  This was the social center for travelers in lower Coffee County and a thriving business for the Holley family for several decades.

     On the top floor, or upstairs, was the sleeping quarters fro the residents and travelers who came to the White House for its hospitality, convenience, and good food.  A handsome living room or lobby was on the first floor of the White House and a massive rock chimney was in one end of the room.  The lovely chimney was built from rocks which were gathered from the plantation along the banks of Pea River.  Across the large open hall or dog trot was the famous dining room.  Elaborate tables and the fine linens of the day graced this magnificent room.  The very nicest china and silverware completed its elaborate atmosphere.  The most delicious food imaginable was prepared in the kitchen, which stood some twenty feet directly behind the large spacious house.  The kitchen was connected to the house by a wooden walk with fancy banisters on each side.  The walk was without a roof because of the danger of fire spreading from the kitchen to the White House.

     The water supply was furnished from nearby Grancer Spring, which continues to supply water that empties freely into Pea River.  Slaves from the plantation would go to Grancer Spring with large buckets in the late afternoon and carry large quantities of water for the evening meal to the kitchen.  They would then fill all the pitchers on the lovely wash stands and pour water into pitchers in the bedchambers in all of the upstairs bedrooms of the White House.  The slaves always obtained their nightly supply of water from Grancer Spring before dark because of the legend that one would see a man without a head appear on a white horse at the spring after dark.

     The Ferry Landing was just below the White House and there was much river traffic on Pea River during the thriving years before and after the War Between The States.  The ferry operator was always available and was often needed at night by people who traveled on Pea River.  As people approached the White House and ferry landing, they would call or yell to the operator and he would have a lantern lighted and be ready to receive them by the time they anchored their raft, or reached the river bank to ride the ferry across the river.  Some desired overnight lodging at the White House while others remained in living quarters on the raft.  Most of the travelers took their meals in the elaborate dining room of the White House.

     The ferry also served as a means of crossing Pea River as people traveled the Old Salt Road, The Pensacola Trail, and the Ford Road in Coffee County to the ferry landing.  They drove their teams of oxen, mules and horses onto the ferry and the operator of the ferry would take them safely across Pea River.  Large hemp ropes were attached on either side of the river and this kept the ferry in place and prevented it from floating down stream.  The ferry operator always collected a fare for this service, and this was a very thriving business since crossing the river was necessary for people who traveled through that area of Coffee County and this landing connected several main roads of travel.

     Log rafts were common along Pea River during the thriving years of the White House.  Logs from Elba and other upstream locations were floated down the river on rafts and their final destination was Pensacola.  Each timber dealer had his own brand which was burned in the base of each log for identification purposes.  Log rafts were anchored near the ferry landing for the overnight stay at the White House as they made their journey up and down Pea River.

     Shortly before his death, Hosea Holley told his young son Tom that he would give him his jug of gold if he were able to lift the jug.  Young Tom, then in his teens, attempted desperately but unsuccessfully to lift the jug of gold that his father had offered to give him.  Soon afterwards, Mr. Holley lifted the jug of gold on his shoulders, told his family not to watch him, and he disappeared around the plantation house with the large sum of gold.  He quickly returned to the fashionable family home.  The family did not question him as to the whereabouts of the gold because they did not want to make him angry.  Soon afterwards, he died and nobody has ever known what happened to the jug of gold, but nobody has ever been successful in finding his hidden fortune.

     The White House continued to be operated by members of the Holley family for a number of years after Mr. Holley's death.  On January 19, 1958,  Hosea's brother John S. Holley was appointed the administrator of his estate to transact business and to divide the estate as his children became of age.  Columbus C. Holley, Hosea's Son-In-Law, who married Martha Jane Holley is believed to have been appointed overseer of the Holley Plantation.  During the War Between the States, not everyone was a supporter of the Confederacy - among these was a band of renegades who hid out in the Piney Woods (Tight Eye Swamp, now the Fairview Community).  "Ward Raiders", as they were called, pillaged and plundered the farms and plantations along the river destroying at will whatever they chose.  The Holley plantation was apparently a favorite target.  Furious at the continued destruction by the raiding raiding parties, Holley apprehended some of the culprits and turned them over to the Confederate authorities.  Bent upon revenge after his defeat by the Elba Home Guard for burning the Elba Court House and Pea River Bridge, Jim Ward hid out on the Holley Plantation to recover from his wounds.  He enlisted the help of two Holley slaves and murdered Columbus C. Holley as he stood in plain view before an open window.  Years passed before anyone knew who had killed Columbus C. Holley, until, Jim Ward on his death bed called his family together and told the story of the killing.

     This sad episode, however, was not the end of the Holley story.  After the Homestead Act was passed in 1862, Godfrey Holley, Hosea's Son-In-Law who married Mary Jane Holley, came across to the east side of the river and was able to acquire over a period of time, several hundred acres of land.  On what is known as Holley's Mill Creek, a thriving community sprang up.  Development included the establishment of a cotton gin, grist mill, sawmill, turpentine still as well as a commissary which supplied needs of families for miles around.  this settlement was granted a post office by the federal government and took the name of Huggins.  A one-room schoolhouse was built and given the quaint name of "Redbug". 

     Both Hosea and Godfrey Holley reared large families and became prosperous farmers and lumbermen.  The young Holley boys during the summer cut logs and ramped them along the creek bank.  When the spring rains came, the logs were floated down the creek to the Pea River.  Here they were lashed together and rafted down the Pea and Choctawhatchee rivers to Careyville, Florida.  Each raft carried three to four men to ensure their safe arrival.  The logs were sold to a large sawmill operator who paid the raftsmen in cash.  Robbers often hid out on the return trails.  The men always traveled in groups for protection as they walked the weary miles back up the rivers to their homes.

     The family grew and prospered and many of the direct descendants still own and farm the land first claimed by their ancestors 150 years ago.

      Transportation was improved and bridges were constructed across Pea River, therefore, the ferry was less in demand than it had been in the many years of its successful existence.  After the War Between the States, slave labor was no longer available to maintain the fashionable White House.  It gradually became less significant to travelers and slowly deteriorated.  Mr. Doll Adams maintained it for many years after it finally closed, and he was probably the last permanent resident of the historic White House.  He told many ghost stories about the famous old place and many residents of the area were afraid to go to the house after dark.  Mr. Adams assured people that as soon as the lights went out at night, something would track back and forth upstairs and up and down the stairs like a goat trotting.  A hissing sound as if you were swinging a walking stick or umbrella back and forth in the air could also be heard.  Other fascinating stories are also told about the haunted old place that gradually deteriorated.

     Today, the once famous landmark is only a dream of what life was like at the historic White House on the Pea River.  Signs of rock where the chimney stood and the gushing Grancer Spring are silent sentinels and probably whisper secrets about the bygone days of the White House on Pea River.  It is said that you can follow the old road down to the river and the deep ruts made by the heavy wagons can still be clearly seen where they came off the Ferry and up the hill.


Will of Hosea Holley


In the name of God, Amen: I, Hosea Holley, of State of Alabama, county of Coffee, being of sound mind and in my right senses, do, declare this to be my last will and testament- -that is to say:

1st After the payments of my last debts, I give and bequeath to my daughter, Martha Jane, and to the heirs of her body my Negro girl, Lugene.

2nd I give and bequeath to my daughter, Mary, and to the heirs of her body my Negro girl, Rose.

3rd I give and bequeath to daughter, Elizabeth, and the heirs of her body my Negro girl, Eliza.

4th I give and bequeath to my son Hosea Thomas, my Negro boy, Green.

5th I give and bequeath to my daughter, California, and to the heirs of her body my two Negro girls, Charlotte and Reldy.  I wish my children all well educated and be made to go to school.

6th The balance of my property both real and personal I wish keep together until my youngest child arrives at age and then to be equally divided amongst my legal heirs without a sale.

7th I hereby appoint my brother, John Holley, my legal agent to act and transact all business belonging to my estate in my .........and stead to sue and be sued and to have the same power in law and equity that I could have though I was still living.

8th It is not my wish to have my estate administered on by either administrators or executors.  I simply wish it to remain as it is, without any sale and equally divided amongst my heirs when the youngest child becomes of age as I have before remarked.  I leave it in the hands of my brother, John, my legally appointed and constituted agent-and it is not my will that he shall give any bond for any of his transactions in the discharge of any business connected with my estate.  And I wish him well paid for his service.  In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 19th day of January AD 1858 Hosea Holley.

      The above written instrument was subscribed by the said Hosea Holley in our presences and acknowledged by him to each  of us and he at the same time published and declared the above instrument so subscribed to be his last will and testament.  And we as the testators.....and in his presence have signed our names as witnesses hereunto.  William Simmons- - CC Holley- - Nace Rupell

     Above will recorded in Book of Wills Orphans Court records, on Pages 135, 136 and 137, February 6, A D,1858, P D Costello, Page 66, Judge, Coffee


Source:  Newspaper Abstracts from Pike Co, Al 1855-1861 compiled by Susie K Senn

                                           Chancery Notice  (pg 275 & 276)

In Chancery at Troy in the 10th District of the Southern Chancery Division of Alabama;  At Rules, the 9th day of March 1860.


                       Henry T Wilkerson  vs John Holley, Adm'r of Hosea Holley dec'd


This day came the Complainant by his Solicitors and moved the register for an order of publication against JOHN SYLVAN and wife, CALEDONIA  NEWELL, and CULLEN ALEXANDER, Respondents, who reside out of the State of AL, and in the state of TX., and it appearing to the satisfaction of the Register, by proof made, that said parties, Respondents aforesaid, are non-residents, and when last heard from resided somewhere in the State of TS,. but that they are all over the age of 21 years:

       It is therefore ordered that copy of this order be published in the Independent American, a newspaper published in said District, once a week for 4 consecutive weeks, requiring said Respondents to answer, demur to, or otherwise defend the Bill of Complaint by the 7th day of May next, or the

allegations therein set forth will be taken as confessed.

March 14 1860                             W M Murphree, Register


(ME - there was nothing further in book to show WHAT the complaint was or if it was ever answered). 

Source:  Lois Danley, 2001.



John Holley as Executor of Last Will and Testament of Hosea Holley, late of Coffee County, Ala. Decd. in account filed on annual settlement.

Date: 7 January 1861

Partial List of Accounts (There are many, many names)

4 Jan  1860  Cash from W.G.M. McDuffee for Corn

1 Apr   1860 C.C. Holley on Hoges, note and lard and rent cotton

1 Jan  1861 John Holley, Exr. Dr. for beef and honey

Page. 406

Transferring of estate of Hosea Holley to Court of Chancery

Date:  No date, but entry before dated 23 May 1861 and entry after dated 15 Feb. 1865.



Hosea was buried in the Holley Plantation Cemetery located near Kinston, Alabama on the west side of the Pea River Bridge.


The Old Holley Plantation Cemetery  is located off of county road 474 in Coffee County, Ala between Kinston, Alabama & the Holley Store Community. If traveling from Kinston turn left into the last drive before the Pea River bridge. (the road runs around the house there and out into a field).   It is nearly a half mile off of the paved road in the middle of a peanut/cotton field owned by Tommy Blackstock on what was once The plantation of Hosea Holley.   There are many more graves there than are marked.  Columbus Holley’s grave is also in this cemetery, but is marked only by a broken blank marker and some stones. The slave grave yard was across the Pensacola Road or Three notch trail ( the terrace that you come over before you get to the straight line of oak trees) from the Holley Grave Yard.  It is in the wooded area on the right as you come in, the markers was all wooden and have rotted away now.


Marked Graves are.

Coon, Lewis J. Nov. 17, 1820-Nov. 5, 1864.

Holley, Charlotte. May 25, 1778-Jul. 9, 1855.

Holley, Elizabeth A. Feb. 12, 1852-Sept. 20, 1855.

Holley, Hosea. Feb. 16, 1799-Jan. 23, 1858.

Holley, Hosie T. Jun. 26, 1852-Nov. 6, 1880

Holley, Infant, s/o G.L. & M.J. July 25, 1874-Sept, 1874.

Holley, John. Feb. 21, 1813-Apr. 27, 1861.

Holley, Nancy. Only date readable is May, 1859.

Holley, Nannie. Feb. 8, 1878-Jun. 24, 1881.

Holley, William, Sr. Aug. 1, 1771-Oct. 5, 1857.


Stories & rumors have been told that Lewis J. Coon, above, who was buried in the Holley Plantation Cemetery, married Hosea Holley's daughter, Mary Jane.  Of course this is not true.  Lewis Jerrell Coon (b. Nov. 17, 1820 d.November 05, 1864) was the son of Henry L. Coon (1791-    ) b. Virginia and Amelia Ann Pinson (1793-1880) b. Virginia.  His grandfather was John Henry Coon (1760 -    ).   Lewis most likely had worked for Hosea Holley on the Holley Plantation and was buried there upon his death.   Lewis married Mary Jane Meeks (1832 - 1907) who was born in Alabama.  It is easy to see where the confusion came about with his wife's name being Mary Jane.   Children born to their marriage are:  George W. Coon (1849 -    ), William M. Coon  (1851 -  1938), Martha Coon  (1857 -    ), Tescomiah Coon  (1860 -     ), John Lewis Coon  (1853 - 1927, b. Kinston, Coffee County, Alabama.



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