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Levi Jordan
Plantation

Interview with Ken Brown

On Hester Holmes' House

Also go to Holmes Family Genealogies and Ewing Martin's remembrances of Hester Holmes.

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This is a picture of Hester Watson Holmes, included here with the permission of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Holmes and Pauline Baker, members of the extended Holmes family. The picture was taken by John Carradine, who married Helen Martin, the daughter of McWillie Martin. It is believed that this picture was taken some time around 1930, because that is when Helen Martin and John married. If that is correct, Hester would have been at about 71 years old when this picture was taken.

On Hester Holmes' House

[there is more about the Holmes' in the section of the interview with Ken Brown that deals with Sallie McNeill's Diary.

KEN: We think we know where Hester’s [Hester Holmes] house was – based on that photograph and the tree and fence – although we haven’t definitely found it. There’s been no testing done up there but…You know how Ewing told us about a big brick area that was cleaned off that they played on?

[go to our interview with Ewing Martin for more on the layout of the plantation grounds as well as his remembrances of Hester Holmes.]

I do know where that large brick area is. It's outside the corral area toward the house probably about thirty or forty feet. I think maybe this brick area was part of the work space behind her house. It’s an area that David [Bruner] and Jorge [Garcia-Herreros] went over with a metal detector and thought maybe it could have been the blacksmith's shop. I don’t think it has anything to do with a blacksmith's shop, but if you probe in that area there is clearly a flat brick deposit just below the surface. (see site map, which shows this area of brick).

CAROL: Why did they build her a separate house? Do you have any idea?

KEN: The impression that I got from one of those account books – or one of those sources, anyway – was that she was hired to take care of Emily. So maybe that's why they built a separate house. In any case, she and Claiborne, Jr. were the ones who remained on the plantation afterwards most of the people seem to have left.

CAROL: There are a couple of references in the account books to Emily’s house being built by Claiborne Holmes.

A copy of a record in the McNeill Family account books, which refers to paying Claiborn Holmes $20.00 for building a house on January 28, 1885, and for paying $2.50 for the nails. Another record in the account book makes it clear that the house was for Emily McNeill, Levi Jordan's daughter. The entry below it says "Paid Momma [Emily McNeill] to ___ Willie's saddle....$20.00. It is unclear what this refers to.
 

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Carol McDavid 1998