Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Richard Valentine Holleman

Today I post brief bios of two first cousins, Richard Valentine Holleman (1874-1969, son of Clinton Marion Holleman) and Roe Thomas Holleman (1884-1912, son of Robert Houston Holleman). R. V. was a Primitive Baptist preacher. R. T. was a Missionary Baptist preacher. Both were first cousins of my maternal grandmother, a daughter of Moody Valentine Holleman. One candle burned brightly and quickly. Cousin Roe Holleman died of spinal meningitis in the 27th year of his age. He was licensed to preach in March 1901, and ordained December 21, 1902 – making his time in the ministry about ten years. The other candle burned slowly and steadily. Cousin Richard Holleman died in the 95th year of his age, after nearly 63 years in the ministry. He was ordained December 15, 1905. Surely now any religious differences they had are all resolved!

At least two other Holleman-side first cousins were also preachers – Nehemiah Morris “Nead” Holleman, son of John Lawrence Holleman, and Moody Cunningham Hays, son of Parmelia C. Holleman Hays. I have little biographical information on either of these, but may be able to post something later. I once heard the following story about Nead Holleman. He received a call to a church to the south – perhaps around Livingston where he is buried. He moved, did not harvest his crop, but left it for his neighbors to harvest and to have.

FROM ELDER AFTON RICHARDS IN THE “BANNER OF LOVE” OCTOBER 1961: Our Profile this issue is of Elder R. V. Holleman, a pioneer minister of Southeast Texas.

I have not been very closely associated with this good man, but have corresponded with him for some 20 or more years, and heard him preach a few times.

He is counted as one of the truly great old fathers in Israel. While he retired a few years ago, he is still a great influence for good among Primitive Baptists.

My father, who was more closely associated with him, especially in the mid 40’s, said the courts missed one of their best gifts when Brother Holleman did not study law. He said that he had a brilliant technical mind. And my observation of him has proven to me that this is true.

I remember some two years ago some time after he retired, at a session of the Primitive Association, Brother Rowell, the moderator, whom custom said should preach Sunday morning, in his kind way bowed out and gave the time to Brother Holleman. His mind was so clear, and he took a subject and discussed it from a technical standpoint, like an attorney briefing his case. This too, presented in the spirit of the Lord. It could not be put into words the great worth to the cause of Christ of such able old soldiers as Brother Holleman.

WRITTEN BY ELDER HOLLEMAN: I was born in Rusk County, Texas, August 28, 1874 and moved to Leon County October 1884. I have lived in the Wealthy Community since. I united in marriage to Miss Eva Mae Gilbert (who was born Dec. 25, 1884) Dec. 15, 1907. She has been loyal.

I united to Union Church in Leon County on Saturday before the second Sunday in October 1894 and was ordained Dec. 15, 1905. I was in the constitution of Mt. Zion Church at Wealthy in April 1904, and I am the only living charter member.

During my ministry, I have served the three churches in Leon and Madison Counties, one of them (Shiloh) for 47 years. I have served as moderator of our association for 19 years. I have united in marriage 210 couples. I have estimated that I have been in 750 funerals. I have baptized 169 persons.[i]

WRITTEN BY DAVID MONTGOMERY: Elder Holleman had a wide influence in southeast Texas, and the memory of his ministry still lingers in the hearts of the Primitive Baptists in that area. He served the Fellowship Church in Madisonville, Texas for 45 years. He was a civic leader, being instrumental in the extension of rural electrical service into his area. He was postmaster of Wealthy, Texas from 1905 to 1914. He ran a general store at Wealthy for several years and almost went bankrupt when he accepted cotton for more than its value in lieu of money just to help his neighbors out. He served as a school trustee and was a member of the Leon Country Volunteer Parole Board. He was well respected in the church and in his community. He was laid to rest September 12, 1969 at the age of 95 years and 14 days.

The above is taken from Biographical Sketches of Primitive or Old School Baptist Ministers, Volume 2 –  Published 2001 by David Montgomery and Mark Green, and used by permission.

Additional information from his niece, Opal Holleman Miller, who described him as “a gentle smart man”:
  • R. V. Holleman was baptized by Elder J. C. Denton on Sunday October, 14, 1894, the morning after he united with the Union Primitive Baptist Church by experience.
  • R. V. Holleman taught music and was a song leader, in addition to his preaching ministry.
  • R. V. Holleman resigned the pastoral care of his churches in 1952, but continued to serve Mt. Zion and Union in other ways, including church clerk.
  • Beginning in 1948, couples he had married started a tradition of visiting Elder Holleman and his wife every 3rd Sunday in May, and continued the tradition until his death.[ii]

[i] Sometime after writing this, Richard Holleman remembered one other baptism he had forgotten, bringing the total to 170. A complete list of “Baptisms Held by Elder Richard Valentine Holleman, Primitive Baptist Minister” can be found in Leon Hunters Dispatch, Vol. 14, No. 3, Spring 1993, pp. 80-85.
[ii] When Gilford Vaughn pastored Crossroads Missionary Baptist Church at Normangee, Texas, he told me that R. V. Holleman had married most all of the older couples in his church.

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