Selected Notes From E.M. Holt's Diary 1844-1864
March, 1844: E.M. Holt elected County Commissioner of Orange County, together with Cadwaleder Jones, J.W. Kirkland, O.F. Long, Dr. W.M. Holt, Dr. J.S. Smith and William Murray.
April 1, 1844: E.M. Holt sent $1,000 in cash to his brother, Dr. William Rainey Holt, who lived in Lexington, NC. Money sent in barrel of flour.
April 9, 1844: E.M. Holt began traveling to Raleigh to hear Henry Clay speak. The next day, April 10th, he “camped at Crabtree”. On April 12th, Clay “arrived about sundown amidst the shouts of the people and was escorted to the Governor’s Palace by an immense concourse of people.” The next day, April 13th, Clay addressed the crowd for 2 hours and 25 minutes “to the general satisfaction of both Whigs and Democrats.”
October 9, 1844: Attended a two-day Whig meeting held at the site of the Battle of Alamance. About 2500 people attended. Speakers were Hugh Waddell, O.K. Badger, H. Miller, Johnathan Kerr.
March 17, 1845: Left Alamance for New York and New Jersey to purchase machinery for mill. Arrived in NYC on Wednesday, March 25th, after visiting Henderson, NC, Richmond, VA, Washington, DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Bought 528 spindles from C. Danforth & Co. of Paterson, NJ. Returned home, arriving at Alamance on April 5th.
June 18, 1845: Began construction of rock wall around Holt family cemetery. The rocks were “blasted” from the mill race site on Alamance Creek. The wall was laid by “Manor” (?)
December 28, 1845: “Old Jim (slave) died suddenly about 8 o’clock. We suppose appoplexy---he fell off his chair and died instantly.” Note; Jim was born in 1779 and was probably 66 years of age. Holt reports another slave, “Amy” as sick
January 2, 1845: Holt calls Dr. Michael Holt because of sickness in slave row. “Darkies taken sick”; 9th: “Negroes sick, no better” 14th: “Philip died” 17th: “Lindy (slave) sick.” 18th: “Sick all better but Harry (slave).”
April 6, 1846: Smallpox breaks out in Hillsborough. E.M. Holt’s sons, Thomas and Alfred, are brought home from their school in Hillsborough to avoid the epidemic.
November 8, 1847: E.M. Holt begins construction of a brick kiln. By the 13th he is “burning brick”; by the 29th he has enough brick to construct a chimney.
March 19, 1849: Eli Denny begins construction of E.M. Holt’s new house.
April 10, 1849: “Commenced laying foundation wall of my house.”
April 19, 1849: Election for the division of Alamance from Orange County. “Division carried & Alamance County established.”
April 20, 1849: “Raised my new house---a fine day”
July 17, 1849: E.M. Holt buys three lots in Graham. He contracts with Eli Denny for the building of the new county courthouse at a cost not to exceed $6,400.
July 25, 1849: Sent my “hands” (slaves) to help Carrigan with threshing wheat; Following slaves sent: Harry, Amos, Harry, Bob, Eliza, Tildy, Guilford, Peter and Turner. Men worked 16 days at this task; the women worked a total of 8 days.
October 16, 1849: E.M. Holt gets bid on new county jail, to be built by John Trollinger and Henry Bason, contractors, at a sum not to exceed $2,700.
May 15, 1850: Holt sends his “hands” (slaves) to Graham to help make brick for new courthouse. They work for exactly one month, and are brought home on Saturday, June 15th.
September 11, 1850: Alfred Augustus Holt is married to Elizabeth Anne (Betty) Mebane. The wedding party arrived the day before (10th), and departed on the 14th.
July 11, 1850: Ground is broken for the N.C. Railroad at Graham. Holt is elected a director of the railroad.
August 17, 1851: A child is born to the Holt slave and cook “Darcus”. The child will be named “Joe”
September 26, 1851: E.M. Holt buys out Carrigan’s interest in the Alamance Cotton Factory and becomes sole owner
October 1, 1851: Holt begins operating the Alamance Cotton Factory on his own. Alfred Carrigan leaves Alamance and heads west to Arkansas on Tuesday, October 7, 1851.
January, 1852: Holt orders fencing material from Joseph Albright: 150 planks, 12 feet long and 6” wide. Orders lumber for flooring and sills.
February 15, 1853: Buys a carriage in Fayetteville, NC for the sum of $435.00.
May 20, 1853: “Sarah Holt married to R. Hopkins…runaway marriage and a terrible fuss, done a bad business.”
September 3, 1853: E.M. Holt buys Alfred Carrigan’s remaining land holdings in Alamance County for the sum of $7,000.
October 15, 1853: Attends the first NC State Fair, held in Raleigh.
Sunday, December 11, 1853: Lawrence Holt sick with scarlet fever. His health does not improve until Monday, December 19th.
Wednesday, December 21, 1853: Began construction of house for slave “Tildy”. On Tuesday, December 27, Dick Leovins (?) began construction of chimney for the house; he works for 3 days.
Friday, December 30, 1853: Holt states he “salted down this year 90 hogs of my own, nearly weighing 14270 lbs.”
Tuesday, January 10, 1854: “put up 27 loads of ice, 1 ½” thick”
Wednesday, January 11, 1854: Slave “Rena’s” child died
Saturday, January 21, 1854: Sale of Alfred Carrigan’s land; purchased by E.M. Holt for $7,330.00
Tuesday, March 2, 1854: Alfred and Thomas Holt set out for Philadelphia
Sunday, February 26, 1854: “Tremendous rain and freshet, all the bridges on Haw River gone.” Holt later on Monday March 6 state that county commissioners voted to rebuild 5 bridges on the Haw.
Sunday, March 19, 1854: Thomas Holt returns from Philadelphia, PA.
Thursday, June 1, 1854: Attend the end-of-term exams at Edgeworth Female Academy in Greensboro where daughter Fanny was a student.
Wednesday, July 5, 1854: “Went to Greensboro as Committee of Finance to audit the treasury of the N.C. Railroad.” One week later, on Wednesday July 12, Holt attends a railroad meeting in Hillsborough.
Monday, July 31, 1854: “Made this year 1483 bushels of wheat.”
Sunday, August 13, 1854: “Went to St. Paul’s church.” Later, the same month Holt attended “camp meeting at Lowes Church” (Sunday 20th), where “Emily professed to have religion” and a camp meeting at Shoemakers Church (Thursday 24th). Holt also attends a camp meeting at Mt. Herman Church on Saturday, September 24.
Thursday, September 8, 1854: Alfred and Thomas Holt go to Philadelphia. They return home on Monday, September 19.
Monday, September 11, 1854: Oliver Boon came to clerk in Holt’s store.
Sunday, October 8, 1854: Went to camp meeting at Hawfields Presbyterian Church.
October 11, 1854: E.M. Holt’s children, Thomas, Alfred, and Fanny profess religion at a camp meeting held at Hawfields Presbyterian Church, south of present-day Mebane.
Saturday, October 14, 1854: Thomas Holt went to state fair in Raleigh.
Saturday, December 9, 1854: “Filled my ice house; ice near 2 inches thick.”
Friday, December 15, 1854: “Daniel Wagoner’s negro hung at Graham.
Tuesday, January 2, 1855: Takes daughter to Edgeworth Female Academy in Greensboro.
Saturday, January 13, 1855: “Bought two negro boys, Jo and Mike.”
Saturday, February 10, 1855: Nel (horse) died with “bots”
Saturday, March 31, 1855: “Amos (slave) died at 7 o’clock in the evening, a good and faithful servant.” Amos is buried on Sunday, April 1, 1855.
Monday, April 30, 1855: "We have had a very dry April and unfavorable for crops, water low, has not run over the dam since the 15th. Have to stop some of the mill machinery."
Monday, July 9, 1855: Goes to Greensboro for railroad stockholders meeting. Returns to Alamance on Friday, July 13th.
Wednesday, July 18, 1855: slave “Rena’s” child died
Saturday, July 26, 1855: Attended protracted meeting at St. Paul’s Church. On Monday, July 28th Emily Holt joined the church and was given communion.
Tuesday, August 7, 1855: “Sent 30 Barrels flour by railroad to McIlway and Sons. Emily and myself were on railroad to Mebanes”
Wednesday, August 8, 1855: “Returned from Mr. Mebane’s on the railroad. Ludwick Sharpes leg torn off by the gear of the threshing machine. Doctor took it off above the knee.”
Thursday, September 6, 1855: “Ashworth married”. Ashworth was E.M. Holts machinist at the mill. His daughter, Virginia Agnes Ashworth (1856-1913) married Julius Yancey Holt in 1877. Julius was a grandson of E.M. Holt and son of Alfred Augustus Holt.
Sunday, September 23, 1855: “Alfred Carrigan left here for Mr. Moore’s to be married”. He marries Betty Moore of Caswell County at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 25th, and left at 8:00a.m. “on his way to Arkansas.
Saturday, September 29, 1855: Holt states that he has made 27,400 bricks at his kiln since work began there on Thursday, September 6, 1855.
Wednesday, October 17, 1855: Thomas Holt marries Louisa Moore of Rockingham County, N.C. Thomas returns home with his new wife on Friday, October 19th and a “small party” is given in their honor. The couple returned to Rockingham County to visit her parents on Saturday, November 17, 1855.
Wednesday, December 5, 1855: Deposited $1,000 with factor in Raleigh in order to buy cotton.
Friday, December 14, 1855: “Putting up brick kiln.” Holt fires the new kiln for the first time on Wednesday, December 19th.
Thursday, December 20, 1855: Attends “sale of negroes.” Buys “Harte” for $706.00 and “Orange” for $716.00
Thursday, December 27, 1855: Attends Masonic celebration in Graham
Wednesday, January 9, 1856: Takes son, William Holt, to Dr. Alexander Wilson’s Preparatory School. The school was located south of Mebane, NC.
Tuesday, January 15, 1856: James Holt marries Laura Cameron Moore
Wednesday, January 23, 1856: Sends slaves “Stephen” and “Fowler” to Madison; purpose is unstated.
Wednesday, January 30, 1856: “Thomas commenced housekeeping at the old mansion.”
Thursday, January 31, 1856: “This has been the most extraordinarily cold month within the recollection of our oldest inhabitant. More snow has fallen this month than in the last four years. Ice about 8 to 10 inches thick on Mill Pond.” Holt states temperatures ranged from 0 to 4 degrees. By the end of February, 1856, the ice on Alamance Pond was 14 inches thick. No farm work was done between January 1st and February 18, 1856, due to the severity of the weather.
Tuesday, April 29, 1856: Attends circus in Graham, NC
Saturday, August 9, 1856: Attends camp meeting at Lowe’s Lutheran Church. On Monday, August 11 “all the servants went to church, very able preaching and much solemnity.”
Monday, September 1, 1856: George Ingold killed Stenford Steel at George Kimbro’s by stabbing him. He lived 12 hours.” On Friday, September 5, George Ingold was taken to Graham and committed. Ingold was tried and convicted of murder on Thursday, November 20, 1856. Holt states that Ingold was “branded” on Thursday, May 21, 1857.
Wednesday, October 15, 1856: Slave “Tom” becomes ill; Sickness persists and Dr. Michael Holt is called on Tuesday, October 21. Tom dies at 8:30 am on Thursday, October 23, and is buried the next day.
Sunday, November 9, 1856: Attends SC state fair in Colombia, SC.
Monday, December 1, 1856: Louisa Moore Holt, wife of Thomas Holt, gives birth to a daughter at 4:00 pm.
Friday, December 19, 1856: “Considerable excitement and rumored insurrection among the negroes.” The next day Holt states “much excitement and I think without any cause.”
Monday, January 7, 1857: Bought 80 bales cotton in Raleigh
Tuesday, January 13, 1857: Bought cotton in Charlotte, NC, “Gave Mr. Oats $6,500.”
Friday, January 16, 1857: Hauled cotton from train station in Gibsonville. Hauled 50 bales in 2 days. Due to frigid weather and snow, Holt did not complete hauling his cotton until Friday, February 6, 1857.
Monday, March 15, 1857: Holt leaves Alamance, bound for Philadelphia. Traveling by train, he arrives in Petersburg, VA, on March 16th and in Philadelphia the next day. He visits Paterson, NJ on Tuesday the 23rd. He arrives back at Alamance on Monday, March 29th.
Monday, July 13, 1857: “William and Banks started to school. I gave William $80 dollars.”
Sunday, August 9, 1857: Holt travels to Morganton to visit Col. Erwin at Belleview Plantation. While in Morganton he attends Episcopal church service on Sunday, August 16th.
Monday, August 31, 1857: Slave “Alice” died at 10:00 am. She is buried on September 1st.
Thursday, September 17, 1857: Holt repair “pearhead” (pierhead?) and finished gearing. He resumed operations at Alamance Cotton Factory on Wednesday, September 23rd.
Tuesday, December 15, 1857: In Salisbury, Holt spent $2,500 to buy cotton from R.M. Oats & Company.
Saturday, January 9, 1858: Thomas Holt’s wife, Louisa, gave birth to a son.
Thursday, January 14, 1858: “My birthday – 51 years old. My children all here except Alfred who was detained on account of wife Betty’s sickness.
Tuesday, February 2, 1858: Alfred and Betty sick. Alfred subsequently dies at 4:15 pm on Friday, February 19th, “in the fullest assurance of a blissful immortality.” He is buried on Sunday, February 21st at Hawfields Presbyterian Church. On Monday, March 1, E.M Holt qualifies as administrator of Alfred’s estate. Alfred’s property at Graham was sold on Tuesday, June 1, 1858. His funeral was preached at Presbyterian Church in Graham on Sunday, June 20th by Rev. Archibald Curry. A second funeral for Alfred was preached at St. Pauls by Dr. Wilson on Sunday, September 12th.
Monday, March 22, 1858: Thomas and James Holt leave Alamance bound for Philadelphia. They return on Sunday, April 4, 1858.
Tuesday, April 6, 1858: “Robinson’s school commenced”
Wednesday, May 19, 1858: “Mr. Englhardt here to fix the yard.” Englehardt remained at Holt’s until Saturday, May 22nd.
Wednesday, May 26, 1858: E.M. Holt, his wife, and daughter, Fanny, travel to Greensboro’s Edgeworth Female Academy to observe end-of-term examinations of daughter Mary Elizabeth.
Monday, July 5, 1858: E.M. Holt buys half-interest in Trolinger factory (Granite Mill) at Haw River for $2,000.
Sunday, August 1, 1858: “Camp meeting at Lowes. All hands went to church”
Monday, August 30, 1858: Holt buys James Montgomery’s interest in Granite Mill at Sheriffs sale. Sale price: $1,330.
Monday, September 13, 1858: Thomas Holt goes to Philadelphia. Returns to Alamance on Sunday, September 26th.
Wednesday, October 6, 1858: E.M. Holt holds first stockholders meeting of Granite Manufacturing Company.
Wednesday, December 15, 1858: Sold deceased son, Alfred’s, Greensboro lot to Reverend McAden for $2000.
Tuesday, December 21, 1858: Slave “Rena’s” child born
Saturday, January 22, 1859: “I bought William Trollinger’s 20 shares in the Granite Factory and I now hold 2/3 and my son Thomas owns 1/3.”
Monday, January 31, 1859: “A good deal of sickness at the factory. Cold and pneumonia. 15 hands out.” Mary McDaniel, a factory employee dies at the factory on February 6, 1859.
Monday, February 21, 1859: Sickness begins in slave row with “Orange” very sick. The sickness continues into March, 1859. Neely’s child “very sick on Friday, March 18. Shadrick and Peter become ill the next day. Shadrick dies at 8:00 pm on Sunday, March 27, 1859. Jenny’s child dies at 9:00 pm the next evening. Neely’s child dies on Saturday, April 9, 1859 and Rena’s child dies the next day.
Monday, May 9, 1859: E.M. Holt organized the Bank of Lexington and the Branch Bank at Graham. The Graham Branch “discounted its first note” on Monday, July 25, 1859.
Wednesday, May 25, 1859: Attends examinations at Edgeworth Female Academy, Greensboro.
Thursday, September 1, 1859: Thomas Holt leaves Alamance for Philadelphia. Returns to NC on Sunday, September 11.
Monday, October 17, 1959: Went to fair at Company Shops.
Tuesday, November 1, 1859: Slave boy “Jerry” died of “scrofula” a form of tuberculosis.
Friday, November 11, 1859: E.M. Holt lost 3 barns to fire. Loss estimated at value of $2,000.
Saturday, December 10, 1859: Horse barn rebuilt
Thursday, January 12, 1860: “Getting timber for barns”
Monday, March 12. 1860: “Meeting of stockholders of the Bank of Graham; took $19,000 stock”
Monday, May 7, 1860: “Alvis Cheek commenced framing barn”
Thursday, May 24, 1860: “Mary Elizabeth (Holt) graduated at Edgeworth; took a gold medal.”
Monday, June 1860: “Went to (Company) Shops to audit the railroad account.”
Wednesday, July 25, 1860: Slave “Orange” (or "Mink"), age 17, died.
Friday, August 3, 1860: “Meeting of the Stockholders of Bank of Lexington at Graham”
Tuesday, November 5, 1860: “Presidential election, Lincoln elected over Bell and Everett and Brickenridge and Lane”
Monday, December 31, 1860: “This ends the year 1860. We have been blessed with ususal health and fair crops – Great political agitation prevails. South Carolina has withdrawn fro the Union and other states will soon follow, may the good Lord preserve and protect us from war, blood shed and confusion and restore peace to our once happy country.”
Thursday, January 17, 1861: Bank declared 10% dividend.
Saturday, May 25, 1861: Slave “Darcus” child died.
Wednesday, May 29, 1861: E.M. Holt, Emily Farrish Holt, Mary Elizabeth, and Lawrence start to the coast to visit sons Alexander and Banks, who wished to enlist in the Confederate Army. They arrive at Morehead City on Thursday, May 30 and go to Fort Macon on the 31st. They see Alex and Banks on June 01, 1861. Alex and Banks return to Alamance on June 2nd.
Tuesday, July 2, 1861: “Banks and Alexander join Fisher’s Regiment at Company Shops”
Monday, July 8, 1861: “Colonel Fisher’s Regiment left the Shops”
Sunday, July 21, 1861: “Great battle at Manassas. Colonel Fisher killed. Great victory won by the Confederate Army – terrible slaughter. Alexander and Banks in the battle, both escape unhurt”
Friday, August 2, 1861: “Election of bank officers. James (Holt) resigned the cashiership and I sold my stock to G.W. Swepson for $28,750.00.”
Monday, October 21, 1861: “Commenced lighting up factory”
Tuesday, November 12, 1861: “Met Banks (Holt) at Raleigh”
Wednesday, November 13, 1861: “Banks returned from Manassas in bad health”
Tuesday, December 10, 1861: “Banks started to Roanoke Island”
Thursday, December 19, 1861: Holt travels to Ridgeway and Wynsboro, SC. He buys “one thousand bales cotton at 7 ½ cents and 97 bales at 7 ¾ cents” from Frank Myers. He returns to Ridgeway in mid-January, 1862, and again in April, 1862.
Monday, January 27, 1862: “Raised cotton house at Gibsonville”
Monday, February 3, 1862: Mary Elizabeth Holt has measles, and by Monday, February 10, she is “better”
Friday, February 14, 1862: “Took stock in the Thomasville Bank and closed the books”
Monday, June 16, 1862: “William [Michael] Holt, [son of William Rainey Holt] died at Richmond”
Thursday, June 26, 1862: “Battle commenced at Richmond”
Monday, November 17, 1862: “Berry Davidson came to put in wheel”
Wednesday, March 18, 1863: Holt states that the Confederacy has begun “conscription of Negroes”
Thursday, March 26, 1863: William [Edwin] Holt is sent to Fredricksburg to retrieve Alexander Holt “who is sick in Camp”
Saturday, April 11, 1863: “Alexander returned from Camp Fredricksburg in bad health.”
Sunday, April 12, 1863: “Battle at Charleston, Confederates victorious”
Saturday, May 2, 1863: Banks Holt returns from Charleston
Sunday, May 3, 1863: “Battle around Fredricksburg – another great victory”
Monday, May 25, 1863: William [Edwin] and Banks Holt leave for Charleston
Sunday, May 31, 1863: William [Edwin] returns from Charleston
Tuesday, January 5, 1863: “Capt. Slade started to army” Captain Slade returned to Alamance on Thursday, February 18,1864. (Thomas Slade was married to E.M. Holt’s daughter in 1862. He was killed in June 1864 at Cold Harbor)
Wednesday, January 20, 1863: E.M. Holt is at “Linwood” the plantation of his brother, Dr. William Rainey Holt located near Lexington, NC.
Tuesday, February 23, 1864: E.M. Holt returns to “Linwood”, due to the illness of his brother, Dr. William Rainey Holt. By October of 1870 E.M. Holt was supervising all the agricultural work at “Linwood”.