Cemetery Clearing Finds Common Roots for Families
Freemont, NC News Leader
Thursday, May 24, 2001
with permission from the publisher91
By John Feely, Staff Writer
|A group of people from Nahunta
and Fremont who knew each other for years learned they were more than
friends as they recently toured a graveyard rescued from the grip of
four decades of neglect. On the morning of April 21, Frank Hinnant met
members of the Velma Sullivan family and the Joy Aycock family at the
Elisha Holland graveyard, located off NC 581 near the Pinkney road
intersection. Compatriots with the Dr. B. T. Person Camp of the Sons of
Confederate Veterans had cleared the oblong-shaped cemetery, which is in
the middle of a crop field.
Allen Aycock, SCV camp commander and a descendent of Elisha by marriage, said it was the organizationís most difficult mission so far in its effort to reclaim local family graveyards from the overgrowth of time. The volunteers spent a Saturday cutting down trees and hacking through tangled bushes and briar patches that were taller than a grown man. On of the men used a bush hog to re-mark the borders of the cemetery.
Their labor revealed three Confederate soldier graves and a Confederate widowís grave. Mr. Hinnant placed small Confederate flags at the foot of each grave.
"I last went out there in the early 1960ís with my Dad and a Holland family researcher," said Mr. Hinnant who believes that was the last time the graveyard had been accessible until last month. "There were 13 small wooden markers in the middle of the graveyard identifying the graves of Elisha, his two wives, and many of their children. The lady researcher, who was a lawyer, told me I should take the wooden markers home with me and now I wish I had. Years later, some farmer was burning off the overgrowth for crop land and all the markers were lost in the flames."
The families first gathered by the cars and Mr. Hinnant showed them the photographs he had taken of the wooden markers four decades ago. The families than compared their individual branches of the Holland family tree to see how their families intertwined.
"Terry Aycock and I have been best friends all of our lives, said Terry Sullivan, a son of Velma Sullivan. "We grew up together, we went to school together; and I was at his wedding. I didnít know his wife Joy and I were cousins.
Mr. Hinnant, Joy (Whaley) Aycock, and the Sullivan family are all descendants of Absalom Holland who was the seventh of 17 children born to Elisha Holland. Their family branches veer off in different directions as they trace their ancestry through three different sons of Absalom.
great-grandfather was Rufus Holland who was the second of ten children
born to Absalom and Nancy Holland. Velma Sullivan is the
great-granddaughter of Simon Holland, the third child (Terry would be
the great-great-grandson of Simon Holland). Joy Aycock is the
great-great-granddaughter of Burdin Holland.
The visit to the graveyard kind of let me know where my family came from," said Joy Aycock. "I never knew I was kin to Mr. Hinnant. I grew up knowing Terry (Sullivan), but never knowing we were kin. It was all real interesting.
The three families are all descendants of one of the first settlers to Wayne County and a man who fought in the American Revolution. Jimmie Holland and his wife, Ruthie, are believed to have purchased land along the Great Swamp in 1769, near what is now Highway 581 and Pinkney Church Road. Mr. Holland fought the English (actually their Scottish allies) at the battle of Morris Creek Bridge, 12 miles north of Wilmington.
Jimmie and Ruthie Holland had twin sons born five years prior to them coming to Wayne County. Absalom never married, but Elisha was married twice. The descendants of his 17 children make up many of the families present in Wayne County today.
"It was kind of eerie walking through the graveyard," said Terry Sullivan. "I wish I could go back 100 years for a week and see how people lived back then, and how the country worked."
The SCV volunteers will return to the Elisha Holland graveyard next month to burn up the browning foliage they had chopped up. They may also lay new markers to recognize the early ancestors of the family whose original wooden markers were lost.
The poem chiseled on one of the preserved headstones aptly illustrates why the local SCV camp has been donating their time to recover these lost graveyards. The words from a time gone by are on the headstone of Needham Holland, the youngest of Elishaís children and a Confederate veteran himself. Rufus and Simon Holland were also Confederate soldiers. Under the heading of Gone but not Forgotten:
If you would like to thank two of the men involved in this project, or to ask questions, I am sure they wouldn't mind hearing from you. They are Terry Sullivan and Terry Aycock Terry Aycock's wife, Joy, btw, is a Holland descendent as well as a contributor to this web site.
Other related pages on this web site:
Elisha Holland cemetery graves
Transcription of the Elisha Holland Cemetery
Elisha Holland cemetery restoration 2001-2002
Holland Cemeteries table of contents
Album table of contents
To Holland names beginning with
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
To Surnames beginning with
Holland Family History and Family Tree: Cemetery Clearing
This Holland site Published 10 July 1996 This page added 4 June 2001 Last updated 21 January 2011
Contact Diana Holland Faust Corrections and additions not only welcome but encouraged.
This web site published 10 July 1996. All contents copyrighted © worldwide 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 Diana Holland Faust. US Copyright registration no. TX 5-037-197. All rights reserved. Commercial use or any other use of this information is strictly prohibited without prior permission. If used with permission, this copyright notice must appear with the information. Publication to any medium, electronic or non-electronic, without consent and without this notice is in violation of the law.