Erasmus Lee Holford
My great-great-grandfather, Erasmus Lee "Buck" Holford, the elder child of Solomon and Elmira (Gardenhire) Holford, was born 4 June 1836 in Overton County.
Not much is known of his early life. His father died when Buck was 8 years old. It is unknown when his mother died, but in the 1850 Census, at the age of 14, he is living with his maternal grandparents, Adam and Alcey (Tippet) Gardenhire. His mother seems to have died between 1844 and 1850.
To get an idea of home in which Buck was raised, the 1850 Census shows Adam Gardenhire was a farmer with real estate valued at $3000 and 32 slaves. Alcey was still living in 1860, is listed as a farmer with $5000 in real estate and a personal estate valued at $14,000. By this time, Buck had his own household.
The date of Buck's marriage to Selina Elizabeth "Bettie" Eldridge, the daughter of James and Harriet (Christian) Eldridge is unknown. Buck and Bettie had four children:
1. James Solomon, born 15 September 1857 in Putnam County, Tennessee.
2. William Donaldson "Don", born 21 June 1859, in Overton County.
3. Mary Lee, born 22 May 1861, in Overton County.
4. Erasma, born 28 August 1864, in Overton County.
In the 1860 Census, no value is given for Buck's real estate. The property on which he lived may have belonged to the Gardenhires or the Eldridges, both of whom lived nearby, but there is no specific evidence. His personal estate is valued at $3000, at least part of which was his sole slave, a black male 35 years old.
Buck was enrolled as a Private in Company B (Captain J. H. Bilbrey's Company) of the 25th Tennessee Infantry Regiment on July 29, 1861 at Livingston. Company muster rolls indicate that Buck deserted 20 September 1862. The last muster roll to show this is dated 7 April 1864. Buck died sometime in 1864 in unknown circumstances. His death has been the subject of an elaborate, but impossible family story.
Bettie died 27 April 1888 and is buried in the Holford Cemetery alongside Mary and Don.