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Benjamin Franklin Holland

By Spessard Stone

Benjamin F. Holland, a pioneer settler of Bartow, Florida, was a Confederate soldier and businessman.

Benjamin Franklin Holland was born December 15, 1846, Carroll County, Georgia. He was the son of Lindsey and Elizabeth (Lassetter) Holland and grandson of James Hodson and Mary (Smith) Holland.

During the Civil War, he served as a recruit in Company I, 2nd Regt., Georgia State Line, in which his father was orderly sergeant, from January 1864 to May 1864, when Benjamin was brigaded with regular troops in Cummings Brigade, Stephenson Division, Hood’s Corps, and, along with his father, was wounded on June 22, 1864 while making a charge on the federal line at Kulp’s Farm. His company was disbanded in March 1865.

A graduate of Bowdoin College, he in 1882 moved to Florida and settled at Bartow where he founded Polk County’s first abstract company.

At Monroe County, West Virginia on September 7, 1890, he married Fannie (or Fanny) Virginia Spessard, born ca. 1861, Craig County, Virginia. She, prior to her marriage, was a schoolteacher. The Hollands, who lived at Stanford Street, Bartow, helped organize the First Methodist Church of Bartow. (1)

On July 11, 1921, Benjamin F. Holland applied for a Confederate pension from his service in Company I, 2nd Regt., Georgia State Line and Cummings Brigade, Stephenson Division, Hood's Corps. He stated he had enlisted on January 1, 1864 at Camp Ruff and that his command was dissolved near Columbus, Georgia only a few days before the close of the Civil War, and did not desert the service of the Army of the Confederacy. He further stated that he "was severely wounded on right hand on June 22, 1864 while making charge on enemy at 2nd New Hope fight, five or six miles from Marietta, Ga. on the Powder Springs Road, where more than half of my company was killed or wounded." He gave his birth as December 15, 1846 in Carroll County, Georgia and further declared he had resided in Florida since the "20th day of February, 1882."

Continuing his claim on December 3, 1921, he gave the following afffidavit:

"State of Florida.
"County of Polk

"Whereas it has been intimated from the office of the Pension Board of Florida, that some record has been found, indicating that I, as a soldier, appeared on such record as having been absent from my command, without leave, from May 1864 to the time of Lee's surrender, April 9th, 1865.
"I now affirm that such record is impossible, that it is an absurdity. That I was never absent, without leave from time of enlistment on first of January 1864, at the age of seventeen, to the close of the war in 1865.
"I entered Company I 2nd Regt. Georgia State Line as a recruit in the company of which my father was Orderly Sergeant at Camp Ruff, nine miles from Atlanta, on the Chattahoochee River, where I remained for drilling and for bridge guard duty, to the first part May 1864. Sherman's army having entered the State on the North, I marched with my command to Big Shanty, north of Marietta, at which place we were brigaded with the regular old troops in Cummings Brigade, Stephenson Division Hood Corps. Went on through what came until shot out of line on June 22nd, 1864, about five miles to southwest f Marietta, where in charge made by our army on the Federal line across what is known as Kulp's Farm, my company going in with 60 men, losing in the fight 35 men killed or wounded, I being one of the number. My father and the Captain of my company were also wounded.
"The next day, June 23rd, I was shipped with others to a distributing hospital in Atlanta, where I was given ninety days leave and sent home. Dr. J. R. Hood took charge of my case through my wound and a long spell of typhoid fever. When this ninety days was up, Dr. Hood secured an extension of sixty or ninety days from a Board established at Carrolton for such purposes. Before this had expired I returned to my command, finding it at Lovejoy station, from thence to Macon and Savannah, crossing out into South Carolina December 22nd, 1864, re-entering my State at Augusta first part of January 1865. From this point I was detailed on special duty, which duty was performed as well as could be before expiration of the time set for in my order. I started back to make report to my command, was intercepted by the Captain of my company at Depot in Newman, Georgia, where he informed me of the disbanding of my company two or three days previously near Columbus and directed me to return home to await his further orders. This was in March 1865 before surrender April 9th 1865. My company was not re-assembled, no formal discharges were issued. So I was never away from my command without leave, and any man or record indicating to the contrary is absolutely and damnably false.

(Signed) Benj. F. Holland

"Sworn to and subcribed before me this 3rd day of December, 1921.
(signed) R. E. Collins Notary Public, State of Florida

His claim, as pensioner no. 8611, was approved with pay from July 27, 1921 at the rate of $300 per annum.

Benjamin F. Holland died on January 5, 1925 and was buried in Wildwood Cemetery.

On January 20, 1925, Fanny V. Holland, a resident of Bartow, Florida, applied for a pension as the widow of Benjamin F. Holland. She averred: "She was lawfully married to the said Benjamin Franklin Holland under the name of Fannie V. Spessard in the County of Monroe State of West Virginia on the 9th day of September, 1890, and that she was not divorced from him before or has she remarried since his death, which occurred on the 5th day of January, 1925, in the County of Polk, State of Florida...That she is a resident of Bartow Polk County, Florida, and has continuously resided in the State of Florida since the 1st day of September, 1889." She gave her Postoffice address as Bartow, Polk County, Florida and signed her name "Fanny V. Holland." R. Borden Wilson and Frank L. Wilson attested to her claim. The County Commissioners of Polk County on February 2, 1925 recommended that Mrs. Fanny V. Holland be granted a pension. The claim of Mrs. Fannie V. Holland as pensioner no. 4462 was approved on March 31, 1925, with pay from January 5, 1925 at the rate of $300 per annum. (2)

Fanny V. Holland died in 1930 and was buried in Wildwood Cemetery.

They had three children:
1. Spessard Lindsey Holland, born July 10, 1892; died November 6, 1971, Bartow, Fla.; married on February 8, 1919 Mary Agnes Groover.
2. Frank L. Holland, born October 7, 1895; died in March 1966, Winter Haven, Fla.
3. Virginia Holland, born May 23, 1898; died February 1986, Bartow, Fla.; married in December 1919 Roy Trent Gallemore.


(1) "Register of Marriages" (see copy below) has that Fannie V. Spessard was 29 years old when married; thus she was born ca. 1861. In her "Widow's Pension Claim" (see below), her name is printed "Fanny V. Holland," and she signed her name "Fanny V. Holland."
(2) Widow's Pension Claim.

     Excerpts from the Confederate pension applications of Benjamin F. Holland and Fanny V. Holland follow:

February 12 & 13, 2002, February 3, 2005