Reverend Matthew Holford was the first child born to John and Sarah Holford. He was born 13 March 1808 in North Carolina, moving with his parents to Overton County.
Nothing is known of his childhood. He married Harriet Alley, the daughter of Walter Alley about 1828. She was born 2 February 1812 in Tennessee. Walter Alley moved his family to Overton County some time before 1820, the first census in which he appears. Harriet had at least two brothers and maybe four.
About the same time he got married he received a land grant from the State of Tennessee for his military service to the state.1 In the 1830 Census - Matthew owned one slave, a girl under ten years old. As Matthew was only 22 at the time, perhaps this was wedding present.
Matthew professed religion in 1838 and joined the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. It did not take him long to feel the call to the ministry, because he placed himself under the care of the Chapman Presbytery in April 1839 as a probationer and was licensed in October. By 1840, he had moved his family to Carroll County, Arkansas, where he was ordained to the whole work of the ministry.
In the 1840 Census, Matthew and Harriet had five children and six slaves.
In the 1850 Census, Matthew owned ten slaves and had land valued at $4800. He made a trip about 1850 to Grayson County, Texas, where he established a ranch on the present site of Gordonville, in the northeast part of the county near the Red River. He moved his family to Grayson County in 1858 and became a member of the White Rock Presbytery. On 13 September 1858 he paid $700 for 160 acres on the waters of Mineral Creek in Grayson County.
By the 1860 Census, he only owned two slaves and had an estate valued at about $6000. On 6 February of that year, he sold his land on Mineral Creek for $800. On 24 October 1864, he purchased a tract of land for $112.52 at a tax sale auction. I don't know if this is the same place to which he moved in 1864 near Elizabethtown in Denton County. That is where he was engaged in missionary work when he died in Pilot Point, Denton County, at the home of of his brother Willis on 2 November 1869.
Harriet died on 2 August 1870. They are both buried in the Skinner Cemetery on Debbie Lane off of Highway 377 in Pilot Point.
Matthew and Harriet Holford had the following children:
1. Winny, born about 1832 in Tennessee.
2. John, born in 1835 in Tennessee. He married Nancy Ann Carson.
3. Sarah, born in 1837 in Tennessee.
4. Jane, born 1839 in Tennessee.
5. Alice, born in 1843 in Arkansas.
6. Waler Alley, born in 1845 in Arkansas.
7. George Mifflin Dallas, born in 1846 in Arkansas.
8. Mary, born in 1850 in Arkansas.
9. Daniel B., born in 1852 in Arkansas.
10. Taylor C., born in 1852 in Arkansas.
1 The late Ruth Alexander stated that this land grant was for services as a Lt. Colonel in the National Guard. The Tennessee National Guard wasn't created until 1887 and 20 years old is rather young to be a Lt. Colonel, so I need further evidence.
Throughout this page, I have quoted and paraphrased liberally from Elaine Russell Coffman, "The Holford Family".