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HOLMAN, JAMES SANDERS

HOLMAN, JAMES SANDERS (1804–1867). James Sanders Holman, soldier, public official, and entrepreneur, the son of Isaac and Anne (Wigglesworth) Holman, was born in Harrison County, Kentucky, on February 7, 1804, and moved to Lincoln County, Tennessee, in 1817. In 1822 he married his cousin Martha Wilson Holman; they had nine children. Holman and his brother, William W. Holman, arrived in San Augustine from Tennessee in the fall of 1834. Their father and two younger brothers arrived by the end of the year, and their mother and three sisters arrived on March 21, 1835. James Holman fought in the siege of Bexar, for which he was awarded land by the Republic of Texas and later by the state.

By 1836 Holman was an agent of Augustus C. and John K. Allen, the founders of Houston. Signatures of Holman, the Allen brothers, and Thomas J. Gazley, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, are on the original 1836 survey of Houston by Gail Borden, Jr., and Thomas H. Borden. In August 1837, as agent for the Houston Town Company, Holman advertised lots and a bank to be located in the new town by the Texas Railroad, Navigation, and Banking Company. Holman served as clerk of the Houston-Galveston district court from February 1837 until January 1841. He served as mayor of Houston from August 28, 1837, through December 1837. In August 1838 he ran unsuccessfully for Congress. After stepping down as district clerk, he appointed Thomas M. Bagby his agent and in the early 1840s traveled to New York and Washington, advocating annexation of Texas to the United States, promoting railroads, and engaging in land speculation. During this period he also traveled to Tennessee, where his wife and children still resided. His family moved from Tennessee to Travis County, Texas, about 1854. In 1856 Holman was in Philadelphia and New York representing Texas business interests and wrote Ashbel Smith that he was expecting success in his enterprises. A James S. Holman, who may have been the same person, was a delegate from El Paso to the Democratic state convention in Dallas on April 18, 1860. During the Civil War Holman served on the Texas State Military Board (see MILITARY BOARD OF TEXAS) from April 1864 until the board ceased to function in 1865. After the war, while supervising construction of the Houston and Texas Central Railway, Holman succumbed to yellow fever near Bryan, Texas, on December 8, 1867.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Feris A. Bass, Jr., and B. R. Brunson, eds., Fragile Empires: The Texas Correspondence of Samuel Swartwout and James Morgan, 1836–1856 (Austin: Shoal Creek, 1978). Malcolm D. McLean, comp. and ed., Papers Concerning Robertson's Colony in Texas (13 vols., Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1974–76; Arlington: University of Texas at Arlington Press, 1977–87). Andrew Forest Muir, "Railroad Enterprise in Texas, 1836–1841," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 47 (April 1944). Charles W. Ramsdell, "The Texas State Military Board, 1862–1865," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 27 (April 1924). WPA Writers Program, Houston (Houston: Anson Jones, 1942).

Dixon W. Holman

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Dixon W. Holman, "HOLMAN, JAMES SANDERS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fho38), accessed December 26, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.