Friday, October 20, 2017

Amanda M. Holland

Amanda M. Holland, daughter of Aaron Berry Holland and Malinda Kelly, was born about 1840. She was the 4th child of 6—Margaret Gracy Holland, Frances M. Holland, Elisha Moses Perry Holland, Amanda M. Holland, Philip Allen Holland, and Aaron Berry Holland Jr. Amanda would be my half 1st cousin 5x removed. Our nearest common relative is Moses Holland, my 5th great grandfather.

On September 10, 1850, Amanda and her family lived in the Eastern Subdivision of Anderson County, South Carolina. Her father was a farmer with real estate valued at $400. A 63-year-old woman named Gracey Evans, born in Maryland, lived with them. Amanda, Elisha, Philip, and Aaron (enumerated as Alford) were all attending school at the time.

On July 20, 1860, Malinda, her parents, and brothers Allen and Berry lived in the 42nd District of Anderson County. Her father’s estate was now valued at $1,800 and he had a personal estate valued at $2,300. Both Allen and Berry were farm laborers, probably helping their father. Gracy Evans, now age 75, was living next door.

On July 7, 1870, Amanda, her parents, and brother Berry lived in the Brushy Creek Township of Anderson County. Berry, now married, was also living there with his wife Sarah (Ashemore) and daughters Martha Ann Holland (age 4) and J. Fannie Holland (age 2). Both Amanda’s father Aaron and brother Berry were farmers. Amanda, her mother, and sister-in-law Sarah took care of the house. Amanda’s father had real estate valued at $1020 and a personal estate valued at $380. Berry had a personal estate valued at $184.

Tragedy struck the Holland home in 1875. Amanda’s parents left home and headed to a church meeting in Grove Station on February 6, what was probably a normal Saturday morning in Anderson County. During the meeting, they were notified that their house was on fire so rushed home. To their horror, they found Amanda, the only person at home when the fire started, had burned to death in her bedroom. The Newberry Weekly Herald reported on the fire and death of Amanda on February 17, 1875:
Miss Amanda Holland, daughter of Mr. Aaron Holland, whose residence is two miles from Grove Station, on the Anderson side of Saluda, was burned to death, Saturday, 6th inst. Her father and Mrs. Holland were absent at Church. On reaching home he found some of the neighbors collected there, and the shocking fate of his daughter. The remains of her body being found in the locality of her room, where the dwelling had been, for it was burned together with kitchen and smoke house, with nearly all of their contents. It is supposed the clothing of the young lady caught fire first, accidentally. [Greenville Mountainer.]
The Greenville News (via the Anderson Intelligencer on February 11, 1875), reported that neighbors, upon seeing the smoke, made their way to the house and were able to save a sewing machine, some chairs, and bacon, but not poor Amanda. It was assumed that she accidentally caught her clothes on fire in the kitchen and then ran into her room where she burned to death. They found her “remains, consisting of the heart entire, a few bones and a portion of one arm.” The Greenville News also reported that “she may have been taken with a fit, to which she was sometimes liable, thereby setting her clothing on fire.” It sounds like she may have had health issues so perhaps that’s why this “maiden lady some thirty years of age” was still living at home with her parents.

The news was also reported by The Abbeville Press and Banner on February 17, 1875:
Miss Amanda Holland, daughter of Aaron Holland, at Grove Station, was burned to death last week by her clothing taking fire.
I haven’t been able to find Amanda’s final resting place. But that’s not the end of Amanda’s story. By the end of the year, the story took a different turn when The Anderson Intelligencer reported this story on December 30, 1875:
Horrible Development.—Our readers will doubtless remember the burning of a dwelling and all its contents in February last, belonging to Mr. Aaron B. Holland, near the Saluda River, in which the daughter of Mr. Holland was consumed. It was supposed at the time that the clothing of the young lady caught fire, and the calamity was thought to be entirely accidental, as the rest of the family were absent at Church, and no explanation could be given as to the origin of the fire. A correspondent of the Greenville News, however, gives fresh developments in the horrible affair, which would make it possible that the young lady and her family were at once the victims of rape, murder, robbery and the flames:
“It appears that a negro, named Stokes, lived near Holland’s at that time, but soon after went over into Pickens and committed some rascality. Officers got after him, and he returns to Holland’s neighborhood. In the meantime, he got married, but soon after left his wife. Said wife now states that Stokes told her that he went into Holland’s house on that day for the purpose of robbery, but that Miss Holland resisted his operations so vigorously that he killed her—threw the body on her bed, and set the bed on fire. This statement exactly coincides with the facts of the fire. Her bedroom was where the fire first broke out. When Mr. Holland first heard this report, he had Stokes arrested, and on Wednesday last he was taken before Trial Justice Smith, in Anderson, for examination. The result I have not heard.”
I haven’t found any news on what happened to Mr. Stokes but I hope he got what was coming to him. She didn’t deserve what happened to her.


  1. My maiden name is Holland-my oldest daughter is Amanda and my Mother was Frances Holland (married a Holland). Although the family was from the Union/Buffalo area they eventually moved to Anderson SC

  2. I had actually picked Amanda as the name for the daughter I never had. And that was before I knew it was a family name.