Neither Black Nor WhiteThis is the paternal family tree of Joseph E. Holloway starting with my father James Thomas Holloway, who was really Jimmie T Holloway, his father James Holloway, his father Joseph Holloway and his father Deter Holloway, who are direct  paternal descendants of J T Holloway Joseph E. Holloway, Theresa Holloway and Linda Marie Holloway. The origins of the Black Holloways can be traced back to Charleston, South Carolina to a black slave owner by the name of Richard Holloway.  In my search for family history I will put forth why I think and believe that the origins of the Black Holloways might go back to the Black slave owner Richard Holloway and to the free Black Holloway family of North Carolina.  The further you go back in time the fewer the Holloways become.  We know that the epicenter for the Black Holloways was North and South Carolina, where there existed two wings of the Holloway family either related directly or members of the same extended family, who probably mixed in with their slaves as Richard Holloway did and possibility his son Richard Holloway Jr.  However before venturing into this possible connection I will first start with my mother’s own story and what she told me regarding my father James Thomas Holloway. I touched on this subject in my first historical novel regarding my mother maternal side of the family in Neither Black Nor White: The Saga of An American Family. I never really knew my father and only remember shadows of a man passing into the sunset driving a 1952 Green De Soto, but I will present what I have discovered through the United States Census records.

My search for family history began with me asking my mother why she left Colfax, Louisiana. She had left Colfax, Louisiana in 1944 and arrived in Los Angeles, California with her first cousin Luke Hadnot.  She related an incident on 3rd street in Alexandria, Louisiana.  She was on a bus and a black soldier with his uniform on decided to sit in the section reserved for whites only.  The bus driver told the soldier to get his black ass to the back of the bus with the other Niggers.  The soldier refused.  One black lady from the “Negro”  section of the bus came up to the soldier and said “sir this is Louisiana and these white folks down here are meaner than other white folks, and I am begging you to come to the back with rest of us.”  The soldier replied: “I just left Germany fighting for his freedom against that Nazi mother fucker Hitler, and I am not going to let this red neck cracker make me move to the back of the bus.”  The bus driver said to the soldier, “Nigger this is the last time I am going to ask you to take your Nigger black ass to the back of the bus.”

The soldier refused to move and the bus driver stopped the bus got his bat from behind his seat and with one powerful blow shattered the soldier head with particle of his brain and blood materials on my mother’s Sunday best white dress.  She told me she ran off the bus with others screaming that the bus driver killed the soldier and she said “from that moment on I knew I could no longer stay in Louisiana.  My cousins Ellis, Rock, Willie Lee, and Rueben Hadnot were already in Los Angeles, so this was the logical place for me to go.”

Not being satisfied with her answer, I asked my mother again  why did she really leave her home in Colfax, Louisiana and she said that she could not fit in because she was considered  neither black nor white. So, I asked her what she meant and she replied: “I was too white for black folks and not white enough for white folks.  My mother Clara known as Sister passed her white first cousin daily on the Colfax dirt road and they would not speak, as was the southern tradition, but would lower their heads in acknowledgement of each other, even though, they looked like sisters.  I moved to Los Angeles to have a new life not determined by race, class, color or status.  When I married your father I looked for the blackest man I could find on the planet, and that was your father the preacher man, but he was no good.  I only have one wish.” “Okay mother what is that wish?” “That you don’t grow up to be like your good for nothing daddy.”

She met the Reverend James Thomas Holloway after attending his church with her cousins, Ellis Hadnot, Rock Hadnot, Luke Hadnot and Willie Hadnot.  I discovered this when my cousin Ellis Hadnot was on his death bed, and I came to visit him at the hospital and he said: “Do I have to be on my death bed to get a visit from you?  I am going to tell you a little about your history.  My wife Dorothy, your mother and myself where members of your father’s church.  We use to sing in his choir.  She met your father and they married and out of this relationship your sister Theresa, yourself and your sister Linda were born.  Your mother and father owned a four-plex on Bunker Hill.  Her house overlooked China Town on Broadway.  I lived there while I was working on building the Los Angeles City Hall. One of my brother lived in one unit, me and your aunty Dorothy in another, and her sister Leola and your Uncle Gus lived in another unit.  Your father liked young beautiful women and your mother was a real beauty like all the Hadnot women—straight hair, white skin, blue or green eyes.  Your mother eyes were olive like Elizabeth Taylor.  She looked almost white and your father liked that because he was not yellow like the rest of us.  I don’t think that you knew this about him.  There is much more, but I won’t discuss that with you because I am tired and need to rest and besides it is personal and private.”

Later my mother told me the reason she left my father was because he never came home and she discovered he had families up and down California.  She told me that he was once arrested for getting the Deacon’s 13 year old daughter of his Church on Central Avenue pregnant.   She left her Bunker Hill house and moved to the Aliso Village Federal Project when I was three years old.  I have no memory of my father other than a shadow of a man driving off into the fade of night in green 1951 De Soto.  He would come to my Aunty Leola house and they would try and get me to come over without my mother discovering that he was in town.  But every attempt to reach me failed because my mother always discover what they were trying to do.

Now regarding my brother J. T. Holloway my father’s first son with Minnie Finley.  I recall my mother mentioned that my father had one son when she met him.  She said he would always bring him with him and that she remembered that he was a little fat boy.  Unknowing to me and my sisters my aunty Dorothy called us over and said that we have a brother name J. T. Holloway and here is his address and phone number. He had been a world champion rustler until he broke his neck in a match.  One day J. T. arrived at our duplex weighing almost 700 pounds saying I am your long lost brother J. T. We had a great relationship with J. T. and his mother Minnie Finley for a number of years.  J. T died of a massive heart attacked on the day he was being released from the hospital while still at the hospital, in that, he was brain death from that moment.  Minnie worked as a house keeper for some rich white folks in Beverly Hills, who retired her and when she passed they paid for her funeral and had this poor washer women buried in an expensive tomb.

J. T. Holloway

I was once in Fresno, California interviewing for a job at the university and the chair of the Department of History commented there are Holloways out here and they all looked like you except they are all white.  Once I returned to Los Angeles I related this incident to my mother and she confirmed.  Yes, your father was with a white woman in Fresno and yes I knew about it.  He also had a family in San Diego with a Hawai’ian women and they are known as the black Hawai’ians.  But we know them as the Hawaiian Holloways.  How come you never told me about this and she answered “because it is none of your business what adults do.”

In 1971, I was at a family reunion in Pineville, Louisiana and became interested in family history.  I noticed that some at the family reunion were white and related. I asked my mother about all the white folks at the reunion and she commented.  “Best to let sleeping dog lie.” So, not knowing anything about the Hadnot side of the family I started researching my mother maternal side of the Hadnot family

Cora Hadnot with her mother Helen Newman HadnotThe young girl in the picture is Cora “Lady” Hadnot with her mother Helen Newman Hadnot, who was the second wife of William Hadnot my great-great-great grandfather.  While in Alexandria, Louisiana I met a distant cousin from the Newman-Hadnot side of the family. His name was William Snyder and he started telling me family stories that went back to slavery.  At the time cousin Snyder was 71 years young. He approached me: “Hey do you want to see one of the slave plantation of one of you Hadnot relative?”

I answered “are you serious?”  Not knowing anything about family history at the time. He said: “come on I am going to give you a tour of family history.  You will not find any of these things I am going to tell you in any history books.”  He took me to a very large plantation in the heart of Alexander.  We walked out to the door to be greeted by a woman who I though was white.  She saw the surprise on my face and said: “By the way, I am a Black women.”  She could easily passed for white without any effort.  “My name is Cora Hadnot, but everyone simply call me “Lady.”  She was indeed a Lady with bluest of eyes and very aristocratic Lady, who was proud of her rich southern culture and heritage.  At 96 year old, she was born in 1875 and still a diva cultured in the best of southern manners and heritage.  She was an extremely attractive woman and full of grace.  She was living on a sprawling plantation just outside of Alexandria city.  Lady proceeded to tell me about her family and her father William Hadnot Jr. The estate she was living on had been one of the original plantation of her grandfather William Hadnot Sr.  She remembered her great-grandfather somewhat, but she had a better memory of her father’s first wife Celia Hughes Hadnot.  She described Lucille (Celia) Hughes Hadnot.  Celia had long red hair and could pass for white; her brothers and sisters were white.  Her father, Captain Hughes, owned one of the largest plantations in Jasper, Texas and was a member one of the most prominent families in the area believed to be direct descendants of the Billionaire Howard Hughes.

Celia was born in 1835, reputedly a distant relative to Howard Hughes, “the aviator.” In New Orleans she had children with five white men—Hadnot, Daniels, Torry, Davis and Briggs.  With Celia William Hadnot Jr. birthed Reuben and Catherine Hadnot.  Later, she had a son with John Torry, who was named Robert Lee Torry.    She also had a son with Benjamin Davis, Lonnie Briggs and Ernest Daniels.  Daniels had Jewish heritage.  William Hadnot later married Helen Newman, the women in the picture holding her daughter Cora “Lady” Hadnot.  Helen Hadnot bore most of his children---William, Corina, Charles Henry, Loleta, Helen, Dorothy, Loubertha and Hazel.

I traced my mother Hadnot roots to Gloucester, England in 1585 to a Hadnot Plantation in Onslow, North Carolina in the 1700s to New Orleans with the birth of Lucille Catherine (Celia) Hughes-Hadnot, the matriarch of six families—Briggs, Davis, Daniels, Douglas, Hadnot and Torry.  These descendants were Blacks, who were never enslaved but owners of slaves.  They were people who regarded themselves as “Neither Black Nor White.” From my 30 years of research, I told my mother what I had discovered regarding family history and she made me promise never to write about it until she passed.  Six months after her death I wrote my historical novel Neither Black Nor White: The Saga of An American Family.


Now my investigation into the history of my father side of the family—the Holloways.  I always had assumed that his descendants were enslaved until I found evident which suggested the opposite as a will discuss much later. My mother refused to discuss anything regarding family other than “you can be anything you want to be except you cannot be a preacher like your no for good daddy.” Aunt Dorothy who was married to my mother’s first cousin Ellis Hadnot once told me that she saw my father in Hollywood practicing medicine.  He had several akas including Dr. Holloway, Rev. James Thomas Holloway and was also known as the Rev. Joshua Holloway. I remembered every time white worker came to our house they always addressed my mother as Chief.  I asked her “how come these white men always called you chief?” And, she would applied: “because they think I am an Indian because of my high cheek bones."  She would always end her replied with “that’s the reason I left Colfax because I did not fit in. “Too white for black folks and not white enough for white folks.”

My father name on my birth certificate is James Thomas Holloway.  I searched the U.S. census data and found numerous James Thomas Holloway, but they were all white.  Something was wrong, but I could not put my finger on it.  Finally, Cousin Laverne said you will have to find out about your father through other people he had been associated with, and at that moment I remembered his first wife Minnie Lou Finley.  I found her marriage certificate and her husband was listed as Jimmie T Holloway.  Eureka! To my discovery James Thomas Holloway was Jimmie T Holloway. Minnie Finley told me that my father and her never divorced and she had one son J. T. Holloway.  Minnie and my father married in 1935 and they lived in Leary, Texas before moving Texarkana in Bowie, Texas on April the first in 1940.  Minnie Lou Finley was born in 1913 in Bowie County, Texas, and Jimmie T Holloway was born in Texarkana in 1917.  They moved to Los Angeles around 1940.  J. T. Holloway passed a number of years ago and recently my sister Linda Mae Holloway passed in 2018 at age sixty-eight.  Of my father’s children, only two remain Joseph E. Holloway and Theresa Holloway-Howell.

On the 1930 U.S. Census the father of Jimmie T Holloway, James Holloway was 41 years old, which might not be his correct age because on that census his birth is estimate that he was born in 1866.  If you subtract 41 from 1930 it gives you 1889. There was a Joseph Holloway who vote in George in 1867. More likely there were two Joseph Holloway in the family. On the Fifteen census of the United States population schedule. James Holloway children are listed as Jimmie T Holloway, who was 13 years old.  Jimmie T had a brother named F T Holloway, who was born in 1913 and he had a sister Lucie Ann Holloway born in 1914.  James Holloway had a brother name John Holloway and George Holloway. Both James Holloway parents are listed as being born in Georgia and not Bowie Texas. So, we know that after the family left North Carolina there first stop was the State of Georgia.

My great-great- grandfather Joseph Holloway was born in Georgia in 1838.  After the Civil War, he qualified as a voter during Reconstruction in 1867 in Jasper, Georgia.  He must of have been free black because many laws such as the grandfather clause were used to keep blacks from voting unless your grandfather voted in the last election, and for most newly freed blacks their grandfathers had been enslaved and thus without the right of citizenship and the right to vote.  This provides some possible glues that the origin of the black Holloway family might be related to Richard Holloway of Charleston, S.C., who is listed as a voter in 1790 because he owned real property and enslaved Africans.  We know that there was a thin line between master and their enslaved Africans.  Just as the white Hadnot had father mixed slaves, black slave owners did the same.

James Holloway, Jimmie T Holloway father was born in 1866 in Jasper, Georgia.  His residence was 1870 Grubbs and Niblett District 373.  According to the United States census of 1910 James Holloway was 44 years old which means that he was born in 1866 after the Civil War.  Joseph Holloway father was Deter Holloway and on the United States Census of 1880 he was 55 years old, which means he was born in 1825 during slavery.  Both of his parents are listed as being born in Kinston, Lenoir, North Carolina. He is listed on the regular census which means that he was a free person.  His place of birth is listed as Kinston Lenoir, North Carolina his race is listed as Black and his occupation was a Laborer and according to the census record he could not read or write.  Deter Holloway wife was Jane Holloway age 42 and his sons Avis Holloway was 19, Ishmael Holloway 10, and Joseph Holloway 14.  His daughter Lizzie Holloway 17. Flora Holloway 8, and Cinda Holloway age 1.  All were born in North Carolina. So we know North Carolina is a starting point from 1825 on, which means that the family migrated first from North Carolina to Georgia then Bowie, Texas.


In the search for the possible origins of the Black Holloway takes us to Charleston City, South Carolina, which seems to be the epicenter starting with Black slave owner Richard Holloway Sr., who owned more than 17 enslaved Africans and his sisters both Elizabeth Holloway and Catherine Holloway owned 4 enslaved Africans apiece. It is my conclusion that James Holloway descendants were either related to this Black slave owners or individuals who were enslaved on their plantations and freed after slavery in 1865.

The origins of the Holloway family are traced to South Carolina the epicenter of the Holloways.  The Holloway family were among the 900 free families of color in Charleston during the 1790s.  Richard Holloway who was a carpenter and slave owner.  He was one the riches black slave owners in Charleston at the time.  All the black slave holders in South Carolina including William Ellison, William S. Bonneau, Henry and Reuben Ellison, the Westons, the Dereefs, Sasportases, Kinlochs, and William McKinlay were members of the mulatto elite and the Brown Fellowship similar to the Blue Vein Society in New Orleans.  Where membership was based on brown or yellow skin.

While the black mulatto class wanted to keep the color in the family, many fathered children with their enslaved Africans and some started out life as enslaved African such as April Ellison, who later changed his name to William Ellison after his slave owning father.  William Ellison would become the wealthiest of the black slave owners.  The Charleston, Mulatto elite usually married among themselves.  For example, Richard Holloway Sr. and William Ellison, the two largest black slave owners in South Carolina.  Ellison’s daughter, Frances Pinckney (Bonneau) Holloway married Richard Holloway Jr.

The U.S. government did not start taking census until 1790 and only free blacks appeared on the census.  Enslaved Africans where only listed on the slave rolls, which only mentioned the number enslaved Africans owned by the slave owner. Richard Holloway Sr. appeared to purchase enslaved Africans to guarantee them de facto freedom.  For example, Richard Holloway permitted several of his enslaved Africans to have their freedom.  He owned Charles Benford so that he could enjoy freedom.  Benford was Holloway’s nominal slave, who worked actively in the Methodist Church of Charleston City proselytizing enslaved and free lacks throughout the area.  Although Benford was a slave, his status did not stop his quest for freedom.

In 1833, Richard Holloway purchased Maria Tunno and her two children named Joseph and Benjamin from Robert Bentham for $350.  He allowed her to work for herself and reimburse him for the money he spent to buy her freedom.  Once she fulfilled her obligations, she was released from all claims to her by Richard Holloway.  In 1845 the Holloway family declared that Maria Tunno and her children were freed from bondage and under no obligation to the Holloway family.  On one hand Richard Holloway appears to be a caring master, but on the other hand, he showed that he was in the business to make a profit.

In 1834, Richard Holloway Sr. purchased a woman named Sarah and her two children, Annett and Edward from Susan B. Robertson for $575.  He became unhappy with them three years later and sold the slave family for $945, he made a profit of $370. While he purchased some enslaved Africans and allowed them to live a nominal free lives, he sold others for profit.  Richard Holloway interaction with his slaves he showed benevolence and at the same time solve to make a profit from his enslaved Africans.

Richard Holloway Richard Holloway was born in 1776 in Charleston, South Carolina and died on June 22, 1845 and is buried at the Brown Fellowship Society Cemetery. His household members included the following. Richard Holloway married Elizabeth Mitchell.  He was a carpenter by trade   He established Holloway’s Harness and Carpenter’s business in the late 18th.  The business prospered and Richard Holloway eventually own 22 houses, many of which were rented to white people.  The houses were located on 39 Beaufan Street between Comings and St. Philip streets in Charleston.

His wife was Elizabeth Mitchell Holloway, children were: James Williams Holloway (1804-1840), Sarah Dianah Holloway Clark 1805-1839), Thomas C. Holloway (1809-1810), Joseph Holloway (1811-1823), Benjamin Holloway (1813-1815), Isaac C. Holloway (1816-1874), Samuel D. Holloway (1818-1890); Mary Jane [twins]; Missing child 1820-?; Edward Holloway (1820?); Daniel F. Holloway (1822-1824). His son Richard Holloway Jr in the 1880 census was 77 years old, which means that he was born in 1803.  His race is listed as Mulatto and his wife was Eliza Holloway.  Eliza is a slave name.

Other Holloways like all regarded as members of the Holloway clan. Harrison Holloway was elected member of the Marion Town Council and was also the Vice President of the Brown Fellowship.  James Harrison was also the Postmaster in Marion, SC for 15 years before moving on to Washington.  There also was William Holloway (19th century) that was a publisher for the Charleston New Era 1880-1885.  Richard Holloway Clark left Charleston and went to Toronto, Canada because it was said that Blacks there were treated like human beings.  He was a trader there before declaring bankruptcy a year later and some Holloways migrated to Liberia.  Elizabeth Collins Holloway was married to Robert Collins Jr. they had two children Sarah and Martha.  Richard Holloway Jr. married Frances Pinckney Bonneau and they had one daughter Jane Holloway. James H. Holloway, a member of the Brown Fellowship Society recalled that it was members of the Society, as individuals saved Charleston from the fired ignited by Union bombardment.  While not able to serve in the Confederate army they did their share as free citizens to protect their interest in slaves and property.


I could not find information regarding who were Deter Holloway parents.  But the 1790 and 1800 censuses should reveal who they were. One puzzling situation.  Both Deter Holloway and Richard Holloway families lived in close proximity to each other—North Carolina and South Carolina.  Both families were free and not enslaved.  Most free black families with the same last name were generally related or part of same extended clan. In the late early 1800s and 1700s there were fewer Black and Mulatto Holloways, who were not related.  In my search I am limited because I did not know my father or any of his relatives and because of the various names he used throughout his life time made it difficult for to discover who he really was.  It took over thirty years of search to discovery my father’s true identity.  Even my mother the late Elsie Mae Holloway did not know his true identity.  She thought his name was Joshua. I had searched all the false glues until I realized that the real James Thomas Holloway did not exist, then it was only then that I discovered that his real identity was Jimmie T Holloway. Again his father was James Holloway [James T[homas] Holloway] and his father was Joseph Holloway my name sake born in 1855, and his father Deter Holloway born in 1825.  More research is necessary to determent who were Deter Holloway parents because they are the key to understanding what their relationship was to Richard Holloway.  We know that he was born free in 1825 and was a contemporary of Richard Holloway Senior and Junior  What I have given is my testament to what I know about the Black Holloway family and my direct line to it in North Carolina.

Additional resources concerning the Holloway family:

This scrapbook, compiled by James H. Holloway (1849-1913), contains legal documents, personal and business correspondence, receipts, ephemera, clippings and photographs pertaining to the Holloway family, a prominent free family of color in Charleston, SC. Legal documents include deeds (1806, 1821, 1871), a conveyance (1811), slave bills of sale including one for the slave "Betty" (1829), an agreement (1829) to apprentice the slave boy Carlos in the carpenters and house joiner's trade, exhorter licenses to preach and a photograph of a 1797 document declaring patriarch Richard Holliday (Holloway) a free mulatto. Personal and business correspondence include letters concerning the hiring out of slaves, an offer (1837) to buy the "Holloway Negroes", a letter (1831) from Samuel Benedict about emigrating to Liberia, agreements for carpentry work, and information about the Brown Fellowship Society, the Century Fellowship Society, the Minors Moralist Society and the Bonneau Literary Society. Also included are invitations, Confederate and corporate tax receipts, receipts for general merchandise, and Confederate scrip. Other letters and newspaper clippings, including letters to the editor written by James H. Holloway, concern Negro taxes, Negro slaveholders, the Liberia movement, the Methodist Episcopal Church, civil rights and related topics. James H. Holloway's niece, Mae Holloway Purcell, preserved the scrapbook after his death and added to its contents. The bound scrapbook was microfilmed by the South Carolinian Library in 1977 but was later disbound and reorganized. Using the microfilm as a guide, archivists at the Avery Research Center attempted to recreate the original order and this digital presentation of the scrapbook reflects those efforts.