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The Ballad Of Mary Crider Holder


I'm spending a little time on Ancestry these days, and between online resources and talking with relatives, I'm learning quite a bit about my forebears. My paternal great grandparents have proven to be a fascinating study. Let's take a look at the story of John Wesley Holder and Mary Crider Holder

John Wesley is a bit of a mystery. He was a sharecropper on the Crider farm in Rocky Face, Georgia. No photos exist of the man, and very little is known of him. What is known is that in 1909, John Wesley, age 37, married Mary Crider, age 25 and a daughter of landowner Elijah Crider, on December 26. This didn't go well with her father, who disowned his newlywed daughter. As they say, nevertheless, she persisted, embracing the life of a laborer's wife and giving birth to four children. Life was hard; they lived in a shack on the farm, subsisting only on her husband's labor. Before his death, my grandfather recalled waking many a cold winter morning to find snow or frost on his blanket, the frozen precipitation having been blown in through spaces between the boards in the walls of the shack.

In later years, the couple moved to nearby Dalton. John Wesley passed in 1939, his bride followed in 1940. These were the lean years of the Great Depression; no stone marks their graves. I visited the cemetery recently with my wife and young son. In spite of not knowing where they are buried, I couldn't help but feel close to them.

Mary Crider Holder, the young lady who gave up everything to be with the man she loved, you have my eternal love, respect and gratitude.

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