Joseph Mitchell Holder

Joseph Mitchell Holder was born 09 Aug 1838 in Tennessee or Mississippi. He enlisted in May 1861 with the First Tennessee Infantry Regiment, Cowan Station, TN. In 1866 he married Sally Jane Gregory. In 1877 they moved to Big Valley, Parker Co., TX, and in 1878 to Kickapoo Creek, Erath Co., TX. Joseph died 01 Sep 1914 at Lipan area, Hood or Erath Co., TX, and was buried at Bishop Cemetery, near Lipan off F.M. 1189, Erath Co., Tx.

Letter published in Dallas News, c. 1914

I am an old confederate soldier and have come to tell you all some of my experience in life. I enlisted in the First Tennessee Regiment. It was commanded by Pete Turney, best known by the soldiers as "Old Pete". I was in Company I, my captain was my uncle Joe Holder. We enlisted at Cowan Station and left Winchester on the 1st of May 1861 for Lynchburg, VA. We were kept there several weeks before we drew arms. Our first guns were improved muskets. Our first brigade commanders were Gen. Bell and Gen. Archer, Stonewall Jackson's Division, Lee's Corp.

I was in many hot places, Bull Rull (second battle of Manassas), Fredericksville and Chancellorsville. At the time my health began to fail and I was assigned to Richmond to help defend the city against raids.

It would take a big book to tell my ups and downs. At one time I was nine weeks without a change of clothing, as I had put my other clothes on my brother, who was shot in the arm at Manassas.

Being in bad health, I got leave of absence and was at home at the time of surrender. After the surrender I made a trip to Mississippi where I married Miss Sallie Gregory. She was the daughter of Alfred Gregory. I was then 30 years old. This was in 1866, and we lived in Stawamble Co. until 1877, when we came to Texas and rented land in Big Valley, Parker County, and from there we moved to Erath Co. on Kickapoo Creek where I bought a home.

Then hard times began sure enough. My horses died and for three years I worked oxen. I had to clear my land, as there was not a foot of land in cultivation. We built a little log house without any floors. Then my wife took sick and lay at death's door for 40 days. But the neighbors were kind and helped us in many ways. We were about 9 years paying for the homestead.

After that I bought 337 acres and settled two of my children on part of it. We had some hard times and lived most of the time on bread and butter and milk. I had to use much economy to keep from being involved in debt. Four of our married children live on the home place, and the rest near by. I lost one son after he was grown and four died in infancy. I feel like my many hard trials are numbered in the past.

I am 78 years old and on account of bad health my life is still full of worry. I haven't seen a well day since my exposure of the war. I came near losing my eyes soon after the war and was away from home four months, under the care of an occulist at Union City, Tenn. My afflictions have kept me in hard circumstances.

In 1867 at Moorsville, MS., I was made a Master Mason. I have nine brothers-in-law, all Master Masons.

My mother is still living. She lives in the old home in Franklin Co., TN. Her youngest son cares for her. If she lives until September she will be 95 years old. She has three children living, and four dead. She has 29 grandchildren, 111 great grandchildren alive.

We are having some hot weather now and if the drought continues, I believe the Government will have to give aid. It hasn't rained since April.

I am fond of reading all letters, especially those of the old veterans. Have read with interest the letters on the coming campaign, and will say with all good feeling that I am a natural born Anti. and hope my country will always have liberty and freedom for which I have helped fight. I have the greatest respect fot law and order, and think we should not pass laws that can not be at least partly enforced.

If any of the old boys see this I would be glad to hear from them. With best wishes to the good old news and all its readers, I will close my letter.

J.M. Holder
Lipan, Hood Co. Texas

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