A Hollin Family Story

By Frank Downey

This is an interesting question concerning my grandmother Martha Hollin (?) Cobb born 1868 - 1873, MD, to William Cobb on June 8 1887 at the residence of Dillion and Sally Hollin. The Cobbs lived most of their life in Oneida. I think they moved there around 1908 after returning to Clay County from working in Arkansas. It is possible they lived in Oneida prior to the Arkansas trip for a short period of time. 
    Martha entered this world being born out of wedlock - the same can be said for her brother or half-brother Dillion Hollin, and although claimed by John E. White, born 1838, Dillion  was not given the White family name. Dillion was educated and was included in the White’s circle of friends; whereas, my grandmother was not educated or acknowledged. All of the Whites I spoke with claimed no knowledge of Martha; it was as if she never existed, yet, Martha spent many of her younger years in the White household.
    It is my understanding after Dillion married Sallie, Martha was sent to live with them. It is interesting to note in the 1900 Clay County census the Cobb’s are living in the house of William Washington White, born 1815, son of Hugh White. Although the census shows William Cobb as head of  household - the Cobbs are apparently attending to William White’s every day needs, because, after they depart for Arkansas, he strikes a legal agreement with Tennessee White in 1905.
    Additionally, during talks with one White historian, I was invited to attend the White reunion.  Clara White Burchell told me “I know the story of your grandmother but I cannot tell you.” Many years ago, I also corresponded with a Lillian Manning living in London, Ky. She knew Martha’s story but would not share it
with me, and told me, this information must come from the Whites. It  made me wonder why the Whites continue to hide this information after all these years. The same can be said for Dillion’s mother, to my knowledge, they never told the name of his mother.
    According to stories by family members, Martha was raised in what was referred to as “old Judge White’s” home. Her mother either worked for the Whites or she was the daughter of a woman working for the Whites. It was common knowledge that she was fathered by a White, and, since she was sister to Dillion Hollin, there appears to be little or no doubt that John E. White also fathered Martha. Martha always spoke of the Whites with esteem and fondness.  Dill Hollin’s family and Martha Cobb’s family where close and visited. The Cobbs named their first son after Dillion Hollin.  I have a photo of my mother with Sallie Allen Hollin and some of her boys taken around 1915.
    The information I’ve
gathered concerning Martha is interesting. Some referred to her as a White, while others referred to her as a Hollin, naming an Elizabeth “Lizzy” Hollin with an Isaac in her family as her mother. Yet, under the Hollin name you can not find my Martha Hollin in the 1870 or 1880 census…having researched not only Clay county but other surrounding counties. I know she was there as she told about standing on a box in the kitchen helping her mother prepare food. There are several Martha Whites  in the 1870-80 Clay county census with most being listed as mulatto. I also heard a story of the Whites taking a girl to Bell Co. to change her name but this was spoken of in a hush-hush manner. Some said there was a girl brought to the White home from a home on Paces Creek and one of these said, this could have been your grandmother.
     The years might be long since Martha’s birth, but I really think someone out there can name her mother. They only need to have the courage to do so and a willingness to own up and recognize Martha.  What was considered something “you just do not talk about” in the olden days is common knowledge in this day and age.
    My feelings concerning the Whites of Clay Co. are mixed; having not associated with them as a relative or friend. Should I be proud to be related to John E. White? This is a good question. I have researched the White’s of Clay Co. and read many things about members of these families and several things concerning John E. White.  In my opinion, with Dillion, John E. measured up with regard to the times but with my grandmother, Martha, I think he failed for whatever reasons. Maybe, he took the easy way out by paying off the mother, not uncommon in those days. 
    For all to know, Martha Cobb was a most gracious person, loved by so many, and affectionately called “Granny” by all



Clay Countians in Texas

Every picture needs a story: From left to right George Edmond Goforth, Louise Margaret Pennington, others are unknown. They were married in May, 1906. My grandparents are very young in this picture. Ed was born in 1888 in Madison Co, NC, the only child of Mary Cook and Humphry Posey Goforth, and lived with his grandmother, Margaret Freeman wife of George Washington Goforth, until her death in 1899 in Clay Co. Lou was born in 1887 in Clay Co the daughter of Mary Elizabeth Brummitt and John Pennington. The woman next to Lou is someone very close to her because her arm over the woman's sholders, something my grandmother did all of her life.

If this photo was taken in Wise Co Tx then it was most likely taken before 1908. The lady and gentleman next to my grandparents would have most likely been the granddaughter of Margaret Freeman and George Washington Goforth, Martha Ferguson the daughter of Margaret Goforth and John Ferguson, and the gentleman Nathan MacDowell Pennington. Martha and Mac were married in Clay Co. in 1893 File Book 24 and they were in Denton Co Tx by Oct 17, 1898. Denton Co. Deed Vol. 00068, page 487, 488 lists grantee N. M. Pennington and wife Martha Pennington, and W.S. Pennington and wife Susan Pennington. 

Another possibility of the lady and gentleman is Lizzie Young and Joe Allen Jones. Four of Ed and Lou's children married four of Lizzie and Joe's children. Three of Lizzie and Joe's children and their relatives, Wadie and Silas Williams, Elizabeth Baker and William Taylor Williams, W R Napier the child of Lighty Lunsford and Skellin Franklin Napier, grandchild of Winnie Williams and William Lunsford and the Youngs are all buried in Sams Minnerly Cemetery, Wise Co TX and from Clay Co KY. William Lunsford is the brother of Theo Lunsford, husband of Polly Pennington, Lou's sister. He died in 1935 is buried in Texico, NM. Humphry Posey Goforth signed an afidavit for Wadie Williams in 1913 stating that he had known Wadie and Silas Williams in Clay Co KY since 1896. 

As for the gentleman to the far right, I don't have a clue. Lou's brothers would not have been old enough. Also I don't beleive that Martha and Mac nor Lizzie and Joe would have been old enough in 1906 to be the couple next to my grandparents.

-- Margret Goodson

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Will and Ella Pittman and Dill Hollin