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Wives of William Houlditch (1763-1803)
Laurens County, South Carolina
Proof Summary

Problem

William Houlditch of Laurens County, South Carolina died in 1803, leaving a will in which he named seven children, James, Luvine, William, George, Polly, Lucy, and Zachariah. No wife was named in the will and no marriage record has been found.

Alternative Possibilities

Although no direct evidence has been found, Bailey descendants in Laurens County believe Leuvicy Bailey, daughter of William Bailey (d. 1791), and sister to James, William and Zachariah Bailey, Sr. was married to William Houlditch.

Some descendants of William Houlditch have named Mary Pollard as the wife of William Houlditch. Often reference is made to DAR lineage applications, which used William Houlditch's Revolutionary War service for admission and named Mary Pollard as his wife.

Leonard Andrea, a South Carolina genealogist in the 1940's theorized that Lovina Holcombe was the wife of a William Houlditch, but that she was married to William Houlditch, Senior, and that she was the mother of William Houlditch of Laurens County.

The Facts

William Houlditch died in 1803. In his will he named James Bailey and William Bailey as his executors. He directed that his entire estate be sold for "the peace and willfare of my children and to prevent all disputes", and the proceeds divided between his seven children James, Luvine, William, George, Polly, Lucy, and Zachariah. No wife was named. The minor children were to be in the care of various families, "William, Zaichiriah and Lucy parts to be paid to Messre Young and Boyce, for them to keep and make use of and to pay it to them as they come of age" and "George's to be paid to William Burnside Esq." and "my daughter Polley's part to remain in the hands of James Bailey to be paid to her when she comes of age." [1]

There are many persons named in the estate sale and other records in the probate packet, including many Baileys, but there are no Pollards. Other names are James Boyce, James H. Dendy, James Young, witnesses; William Burnside Esq. guardian for George; Isac Michel, Samuel Powell, Andrew Rodgers, and James Shackelford appraisers, approved by Zachariah Bailey, J.P.; William Wilson, John Bailey, William Leagon, Isham Fuller, Elias Halcom, William Bailey and Zachariah Bailey owed the estate; Henry Hall, William Bailey, Thomas Burnsides, Isham Fuller, Thomas Burnsides, William Bailey, James Houldich, James Bailey, Solloman Fuller and Lucy Clardy were purchasers at the estate sale. During the following years, until 1820 when the last child received his share and the estate was finally settled, these individuals paid into the estate and/or were paid from the estate: Isham Fuller, Soloman Fuller, John Baley, John Wilson, James Holley, Thomas Burnside, George Brown, John Black, David Anderson, John Hemphill, David Baley, Thomas Babb, Widow Brown, William Ludguns, Henery Fuller administrator of Isham Fuller, John Black, James Young, John Simpson, Wm Oneil, Lura Clardy and Wm Ligon. [2]

William Bailey of Laurens County named nine children in his 1787 will, David Bailey (deceased, identified as a son through a bequest to a grandson William), John, Zachariah, Marjary, Mary, William, James, Lucy and Leveicey. He did not include any married names of the daughters. His wife Ann was also named in the will. He died in June 1791. [3]

Five children of William Bailey and William Houlditch share the same given names, James, Zachariah, Mary (Polly is a common nickname for Mary), William and Lucy. Leveicey Bailey and Lovina Houlditch, although similar, are not common variations of the same name. Lavinia/Lavonia/Louvinia is sometimes nicknamed Vina, Viney or Vonnie; Levicy is sometimes Vicy.

Lovina Houlditch was administrator of the estate of William Holcombe, deceased, and in 1786 she received his indent for service "For duty as a Sergeant under Col. Robert Anderson on a Tour to the Fall & Reduction of Charleston." Since she was not named as a widow, South Carolina genealogist Leonardo Andrea proposed that she was the sister of this deceased William Holcombe, and that she was the mother of William Houlditch of Laurens County, South Carolina. [4]

Lavinia V. Bailey, sister to James, William and Zachry Bailey, is said to have married William Zones Holcomb, son of Grimes Holcombe. He died about 1786 "in his 33rd year of life leaving the above widow and five small children". They had five small children when William Holcombe died; Grimes, Philemon, Thomas and two unknown. [5]

William Holdridge is enumerated in the 1790 US Census, Laurens County, South Carolina. Names of family members are not included in the early census, but if we place known children of William Houlditch and the five children of Lavinia Bailey from her first marriage to William Holcombe in the categories, the family composition matches that in the census. One free white male 16 and over [William], five males under 16 [Grimes Holcombe, Philemon Holcombe, Thomas Holcombe, James Holdridge, George Holdridge], four females [wife Lavinia, daughter Lavinia, Unknown Holcombe, Unknown Holcombe]. [6]

William Holdridge is enumerated in the 1800 US Census, Captain William Burnsides Company, Laurens County, South Carolina. Names of family members are still not included in the early census, but there are more discrete categories. The family composition has changed. Three of the older males are not there [Grimes, Philemon, and Thomas Holcombe have come of age]. Lucy, age 4, and Mary, age 7, are not accounted for. Two free white males under 10 [William and Zachariah], two free white males 10-16 [George and James], one free white male of 26-45 [William]; two free white females 10-16 [Unknown Holcombe stepdaughter, and daughter Levina], one 16-26 [unknown Holcombe stepdaughter], and one free white female 45 and over [second wife Mary Pollard?]. [7]

In November 1791 Ann Bailey and William Houlditch of Laurens County sold land in Orange County, NC: Nov 1, 1791 Ann Baylie and Wm Holdritch of Lawrence [Laurens] Co., SC to James Wood of Orange for $100, 225 acres on both sides of Allibees [Ellerbees] Creek". [8]

The names John Bailey and William Bailey, but no Houlditch, were found in an index of Orange Co. N.C. Land Grant Records, 1752-1885 [9]. Those search results and the following reference to land bordering William Bailey indicate that the land in question was originally Bailey land, not Houlditch: Oct 6, 1778 Richard Clements enters 600 ac in Orange Co on waters of Ellebys Cr of Nuce River; border: on E. by the entry made by Robt Abercromble & Richard Clements, on S by the land of Wm Bailey & Lewis Howell, on N by Wm Crisen Hall, & W.; includes his improvement: warrant issued Feb 4, 1779. [10]

From the Houlditch bible record, "William Holditch Senior was born in the year of our Lord 1763 March the 2nd; James Holditch was born May 6th 1785; Levina Holditch was born April the 10th 1787; William Holditch was born April the 15th 1789; George Holditch was born February 15th 1792; Mary Holditch was born April 5th 1793; Lucy Houlditch was born November the 19th 1796; Zecharah Houlditch was born September 11th 1798." [11]

Leonardo Andrea, South Carolina genealogist, researched this family in 1940, and reported that Bailey ancestors in Laurens County believed that they were related to William Holditch because his sisters had married Bailey men. [12]

The naming patterns of William Houlditch's grandchildren:

  • James Holdridge named his daughters Elizabeth and Vina Ann [13]
  • Levina named her daughters Sarah, Mary and Mirandy [14]
  • George Washington named his daughters Margaret Carolina, Mary E, Jane L., Emma Elizabeth, Laura F. and Susannah Dorothy [15]
  • Mary named her only daughter Delphia Dorinda
  • William named his daughters Mary Pollie, Susan, Frances and Adelaide [16]
  • Lucy named her daughters Mary E., Lavinia, and Sarah I.
  • Zachariah Houlditch named his three daughters Luvinie, Mary and Susan Jane. [17]

Source for Martha Pollard

Willis David Houston, in his history of his family, states: "My mother Susan Jane Houlditch Houston traces her paternal line back to Norfolk, England, possibly to a crown head. Tracing from there back to Laurens District, SC to WILLIAM HOULDITCH, who was the father of nine children. We have no knowledge of any of them except WILLIAM, who was my great grandfather. He married Mary Pollard and had seven children as follows: James, Luvinie, William, Zachariah, George, Pollie and Lucy." Willis David Houston was the grandson of Zachariah Houlditch and Sarah Martin Caldwell. Zachariah was the youngest son of William Houlditch of Laurens County. It seems reasonable that Willis Houston, born in 1861, knew the name of his great grandmother. [18]

Descendants of William Houlditch who have submitted applications to the DAR have named Mary Pollard as the wife of William Houlditch. Two of these are Mrs. James K. Searcy, whose descent is from George Washington Houlditch and wife Jane Finley, and Mrs. John F. Gannon who traces her line from Mary Houlditch and husband John Hall. Both of these women hired South Carolina genealogist Leonardo Andrea in 1945-1946 to help prove the parentage of William Houlditch of Laurens. In the Andrea files are letters that indicate that Mrs. Gannon's source for Mary Pollard as wife of William Houlditch was the Houston Family Tree by Willis David Houston, and that she did not know the parentage of Mary Pollard until a Washington, D.C. genealogist provided a copy of the Houston pamphlet. [19]

The Conclusion

The Ann Bailey who sold land with William Houlditch of Laurens County in November 1791 in Orange County, NC, is most likely the same Ann Bailey named as wife in the 1787 will of William Bailey of Laurens County. The fact that William Houlditch and Ann Bailey sold land together indicates that they shared an interest in the land. Several explanations exist, one is that Ann is the sister of William Houlditch of Laurens and they are selling an inheritance from their father. But that is disproven by the Orange County land records, which indicated that William Bailey, not William Houlditch or any Houlditch, received early grants in Orange County.

This land sale could be related to the appraisement of William Bailey's estate which included an account against William Holdridge. If he entered into an indenture with William Bailey for this land, Ann Bailey could have been concluding the sale of the land. But the Orange County records do not indicate a sale to William Houlditch, instead the sale is to a third party.

The other alternative is that they are selling an inheritance for Leveicey, one of the daughters named in William Bailey's 1787 will, and this Leveicey is now William Houlditch's wife. This is more likely since William Bailey directed that his land be sold and the proceeds divided between his children; he died in 1791.

The fact that William Houlditch appointed William and James Bailey as executors of his estate, and made James Bailey guardian of one daughter, the inclusion of the Houditch records in the Bailey bible, the naming patterns of the William Houlditch and William Bailey family, the revolutionary pay record of William Holcombe, the Holcombe family and Bailey family traditions, all support the premise that William Houlditch married Lavinia Bailey.

A marriage to Lavinia Bailey Holcombe does not rule out the marriage to Mary Pollard, another family tradition. If Willis Houston, the ancestor of Zachariah Houlditch, was correct in naming his great grandmother Mary Pollard, then they married sometime before the 1798 birth of Zachariah. When did this occur, and which of the seven children of William Houditch are children of Lavinia, and which later ones the children of Mary Pollard?

Lavinia was named in her father's 1787 will, but he did not die until 1791. There was no record of William Bailey updating his will due to her death, so lacking other evidence she was still alive in 1791. The naming patterns of grandchildren are not much help in dividing the families, as James, the oldest son, and Zachariah, the youngest son, named daughters Lavinia. Lavinia, George, William and Zachariah named daughters Mary. The spacing between births of children is also not definitive. There were two years between the first three children, James, Levina, and William, then less than three years between William and George. George Holditch was born February 15, 1792 and Mary Holditch only fourteen months later. That would be a very brief time, five months, for William to marry a second wife and for her to become pregnant, but that would not be unusual in those times.

There was a gap of three and a half years between Mary and Lucy, born in November 1796. While not a long gap, it is longer than average for that time and longer than previous spacing between children. A gap between children can indicate death of a wife and a remarriage, but it is not the only possible explanation.

There is another piece of evidence to take into consideration. In the 1800 census, Lucy, age 4, and Mary, age 7, are not accounted for. Zachariah was already two years old, so we cannot assume that the girls had been sent to relatives during the birth of a new sibling. But this can be explained if these girls were the children of Lavinia; they may have been infants at the time of her death, and remained with these relatives even after William's remarriage.

We are left with three possibilities for the time of the marriage of William Houlditch to second wife, Mary Pollard:

  • Least likely, Lavinia died very shortly after the birth of George in 1792, William remarried within five months and Mary Pollard became pregnant almost immediately, making her the mother of Mary, Lucy and Zachariah.
  • Lavinia died after the 1793 birth of Mary, and William Houlditch and Mary Pollard married between 1793-1796. Mary was the mother of the last two children, Lucy and Zachariah.
  • Most likely given the evidence available at this time, William married his second wife Mary Pollard after the 1796 birth of Lucy, and only Zachariah is a child of Mary Pollard.

The indirect evidence clearly supports Lavinia (Bailey) [Holcomb] Houlditch as the mother of the oldest child, my ancestor James.


  1. William Houlditch will (proven October 19, 1803), Laurens County Will Book C-1, page 74
  2. William Houlditch, Will and Estate Records for Laurens County 1785-1900, Box 37, package 6 (microfilm copy), Laurens County Library, Laurens, South Carolina
  3. Frances Terry Ingmire, compiler, Laurens County South Carolina Will Book A-C 1777-1809 (St. Louis, Missouri: no publisher), p. 25. Although I have seen the microfilm of the will of William Bailey, it was very difficult to read. I did not make a copy, as I already had a transcript. The spelling Leveicey comes from this published transcript. This discrepancy in the names needs to be verified.
  4. William Holcum, Accounts Audited of Claims Out of the Revolution in South Carolina, microcopy no. 8, file 3680 (Columbia, SC: Scholarly Resources, Inc)
  5. Hannah E. McPherson, The Holcombes Nation Builders (Washington, D.C.: Publisher not given, 1947). Lavinia is named in the Holcombe book Lavinia V., but in her father's will she is Leveicey. Vicy is a common nickname for Leveicey, possibly her name was Lavinia Leveicey, but this is not proven.
  6. William Holdridge household, 1790 U.S. Census, Laurens County, South Carolina, page 74
  7. William Holdridge household, 1800 U.S. Census, Laurens County, South Carolina, Captain William Burnsides Company, page 32
  8. Orange Co., NC Deed Book 4, pp.89-90. There was an Ellerbees Creek in Claremont Co., SC, present day Sumter Co.
  9. Orange County Land Grant Records 1752-1885, Surname Catalogue H and B, photocopied by Diane Mundle and mailed to me, January 2, 2006
  10. Orange County, NC, Miscellaneous Deeds 1778-1795, online http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/nc/orange/deeds/how0002.txt, no. 701
  11. Brent Holcombe, "Holditch Bailey Bible Record," South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, VOLUME XVI (Spring 1988). Holcombe wrote, "The following bible is preserved by the Bailey Family of Laurens County, where both the Bailey and Holditch families lived. From all evidence, William Holditch married Leuvicy Bailey, an aunt of Silas Mercer Bailey."; The bible was published in 1793. In a bio of Sidney F. Holditch, of Pontotoc Co., MS, son of George and Jennie (Finley) Holditch, George Holditch's birthdate is given as February 14, 1789, not February 15, 1792.
  12. "Andrea Collection of Genealogy Reports To Clients, Houlditch file #422", 1945, Leonardo Andrea (Columbia, SC), to Mrs. James Searcy and Mrs. John F. Gannon (Rolla, MO and Montgomery, AL), Family History Library, Salt Lake City, UT.
  13. Nancy Holdridge household, 1850 U.S. Census, Henry Co., Georgia, district 42, page 298a, line 22, dwelling 1595, family 1595, online ftp://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/ga/henry/census/1850/pg0288b.txt, Sharon Wilson, transcriber, reel M432-73; Wilson Hardy household, 1860 U.S. census, MyFamily.com, Inc., Provo, Utah, southern division, Middle Ridge post office, page 88, dwelling 615, family 632, Ancestry.com; Jordan Dodd and Liahona Research Group, compiler, Georgia Marriages 1851-1900 (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com (database online), 2000)
  14. "Descendants of William Houlditch", July 2000, Bob Tucker and Frank Tucker (unknown author address), to Cindy Holdridge Smith (Maumee, OH)
  15. George Houlditch and Jane Finley Bible Record, (no publisher: no date). In October 2001 copies of the loose bible pages were given to me by Jackie Smith.
  16. Nathan Halsell household, 1850 U.S. Census, Sumter County, Alabama, page 676, dwelling 1227, family 1257, Ancestry.com image 17; Francis Holdridge household, 1850 U.S. Census, Dallas County, Alabama, page 272, dwelling 591, family 592; William Holditch, Sumpter County, Alabama, Will Book 1, 1828-1851, p. 68
  17. Willis David Houston, The Houston Family Tree of the Family of John Young Houston of the County Down Ireland (Alabama: unknown publisher, after 1935)
  18. Willis David Houston, The Houston Family Tree of the Family of John Young Houston of the County Down Ireland (Alabama: unknown publisher, after 1935)
  19. "Andrea Collection of Genealogy Reports To Clients, Houlditch file #422", 1945, Leonardo Andrea (Columbia, SC), to Mrs. James Searcy and Mrs. John F. Gannon (Rolla, MO and Montgomery, AL), Family History Library, Salt Lake City, UT.