Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's Here, It's Here!

I so feel like Navin Johnson from the old movie THE JERK.
If you are a person of a certain age, you know what I am talking about.
The scene from the movie when the new telephone books come in and he finds his name in print and goes bananas.

The mail came yesterday and you probably heard me doing a dance of joy from where you are.
If not, you felt the earth move at least cause when I dance, everything

Anyway, WHAT you ask got me so excited?
Getting this.....

This is a book called "I Wrote You Word".  It was published back in the 1990's as part of a historical series having to do with Virginia history.
This is a collection of the letters that Private John Lee Holt wrote home to his wife while he was serving as a soldier in the Confederate forces during the War of Northern Aggression.
Or what yankees like to call it, The Civil War. 8-(

John Lee Holt was born in Campbell County Virginia in 1829, the eldest son of James Holt and Sarah Mason Holt.
He was a school teacher as well as a tobacco farmer in the Summer months.
He enlisted in July of 1861, at the age of 32, 2 days before the Battle of Bull Run.
He left a wife of only 2+ years and a 16 month old son to go off to war.
John Lee Holt, being a literate man, in a time when so few were, was quite the prolific letter writer.

These letters were bound into print in a small edition of 1000 books.  Each one is numbered and signed by the great granddaughter of John and Sarah.

I have been waiting and watching to find this book at a price I was willing to pay.....and knowing me, you KNOW it was quite frugal.
I finally found a used and rare bookseller in Indianapolis who made this available for purchase online.
And after sending a check away, what seems like eons ago, my book finally arrived and I did my best Navin Johnson impersonation yesterday.

So why did I want this book so badly?
Well, ya see......he is kin.
John Lee Holt was my 2 x Great Grandfather's Nephew.

If you want the twisted branches of the tree play-by-play......

My 2 x Great Grandfather is James Harper.
His brother is John Harper.
John Harper married Elizabeth Frances Holt.
Elizabeth is the sister of Nancy Holt.
Nancy Holt is the second wife of James Holt-who is the father of John Lee Holt.
James' first wife, Sarah Mason Holt, John Lee's mother died in 1862.  James Holt decided to marry him a "trophy wife"-Nancy was 31 years younger than her husband and 7 years younger than her stepson John Lee Holt.  She only lived another 1-2 years so there were no additional children added to the family from this union.

I haven't looked into it yet, but I may be related through John Lee's mother, Sarah Mason, as well, since I have other branches of my tree that intermarried into the Mason clan in Campbell County too.

Anyway, let's just call him kin and move on, shall we?

I have just begun to read the book so I will leave you with a photo of John.....

This is a photo of a brooch John Lee Holt had made for his wife......or in his words....
"I have had my likeness taken in a breastpin for you & will send it to you the first opportunity as I do not wish to send it by mail"

Off to dive into the world of John Lee Holt now.....



  1. Thats so neat!! :) Enjoy it!

  2. Cool!!! For a second, I thought it was your passport and you were going somewhere exotic!
    How cool is that that he's kin??!


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