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Benjamin F. Holland letters

Identifier: LH-0076

Scope and Contents note

This collection contains two letters written by Benjamin F. Holland during the late 1890s. Both letters revolved around a court case, called the Pharr Case, which involved Captain George Alexander LeMaister. Captain LeMaister was born around 1840 and died on January 7, 1897. He worked as a superintendent for many years for Walton, Whann & Co., phosphate manufacturers in Wilmington, Maryland. He also worked as a superintendent for the Etiwan Phosphate Co., located in Charleston, and the Keystone Chemical Co.

During this period, LeMaister was involved with two court cases, although there is no indication if these relate directly to the Pharr Case. The first case, Richardson v. Walton et al, occurred sometime in 1891-1892 since a decision was made on January 28, 1892. In theis case, it was stated that LeMaister, along with a man named Albanis L. Anderson, entered into a secret arrangement with Walton, one of the owners of Walton and Whann & Co., while acting as superintendent in Wilmington. The arrangement was that these two men would enter into the service of the Wando Phosphate Co., located in Charleston, South Carolina, and take an interest in it. Furthermore, they would do this after Walton had purchased his own private stock in the company. This case was dismissed.

The second case, Bartol v. Walton and Whann Co. et al, occurred on February 7, 1899. In this case, it was stated that “Capt Lemaister” determined a valuation bid on Keystone Chemical Co. for the Walton and Whann Co., which was a bid included in the valuation of the Etiwan Phosphate Company and that it had been valued as worth less money by Walton and Whann than it had been previously. Therefore, in both of these court cases, LeMaister was implicated in differing fraud scheme.

There is little known about the Pharr Case. Based on the letters, it most likely had something to do with the phosphate business and the Walton and Whann Co. since there was a Pharr Phosphate plant located south of Bartow, Florida. We also know that LeMaister was ill in 1896 when B. F. Holland was writing about the case in the first letter and had passed away by the writing of the second in 1897. Based on LeMaister’s death record, it is shown that he was ill from February 15, 1896, to January 7, 1897, when he passed away. His cause of death was listed as influenza, with the most immediate cause being an “adema pulminural” which can be speculated to be a pulmonary edema, an abnormal buildup of fluid in the lungs.

Holland addressed the first letter, written in 1896, to a Richard S. Garrett. Based on the title Holland provides, it appears that Garrett was an esquire or a lawyer in Wellford, South Carolina. Furthermore, based on the contents of the letter, it appears Garrett was directly involved with the Pharr Case on the side of LeMaister.

Holland addressed the second letter, written in 1897, to Misters Simons, Singling, and Cappelman. Based on the information provided in the letter, these men were most likely lawyers in Charleston, South Carolina, where LeMaister remained until his death shortly before this letter was written. Also, as in the first letter, it appears that these men were directly involved in the Pharr Case and had asked Holland for any information he or his lawyer had obtained.


  • 1896-1897


Conditions Governing Access note

Open to all users; no restrictions

Conditions Governing Use note

Rights have been transferred to the University of West Georgia.

Biographical/Historical note

Benjamin Franklin (B. F.) Holland was born in Whitesburg on December 15, 1846, the only son of Lindsay Holland and Elizabeth Lassetter. Holland remained with his father and his mother throughout his childhood; however, by 1860, at the age of fourteen, he was living with his uncle, Tyre W. Holland, in Carroll County.

There is little evidence that Benjamin F. Holland served within the Confederate Army. He is not listed on any known Confederate soldier roster for the state of Georgia. In an affidavit written to the State of Florida on December 3, 1921, B. F. Holland claims that he entered the conflict in January 1864 at the age of seventeen, joining the Company I, 2nd Regiment Georgia State Line, the same as his father. He states that he remained with this regiment and was later combined with Stevenson’s Division. On June 22, 1864, B. F. claims he was wounded within Stevenson’s Division in Marietta during an engagement at Kulp’s Farm (most likely meaning the Battle of Kolb’s Farm which occurred on this date in what is now Kennesaw, Georgia). He states he was then sent to a distributing hospital in Atlanta (distributing hospitals served as triage centers) where he was given ninety days leave while he healed from his wound and from typhoid fever. After the ninety days, he was given an extension from a Board established out of Carrollton, but he states that he returned to his regiment, who were at Lovejoy station, before his leave was over. He claims he stayed with this regiment and was detailed to special duty, going into South Carolina and back into Georgia, until it was disbanded in 1865 and he was told to go home. There is no record of where Holland went or did after 1865. In the 1880s, Holland is listed as living in Carroll County, Georgia in the home of a Jethro Jones, his uncle through marriage (to his father’s sister), and working as a farmer. After boarding with the Jones family, Holland is believed to have attended and graduated from Bowdon College.

In 1882, Holland moved to Polk County, Florida where he set up the county’s first abstract company, becoming the proprietor of the Polk County Abstract and Tax Agency, and also helped organize the First United Methodist Church. Holland married Fannie Virginia Spressard (a native of West Virginia who had moved to Florida in 1889 and was a schoolteacher) on September 7, 1890 in Monroe County, West Virginia.

Between 1890 and the 1900 census the Hollands had three children: Spessard, Frank, and Virginia. In 1900, Holland and his family continued to live in Bartow, a city of Polk County, and he worked within an abstract office, yet by 1910, Holland had switched professions from working in the office to being a fruit grower and living at 72 Stanford Street. His family, including his children and their spouses, continued to live in this home and Holland continued to grow fruit until his death from an unspecified cause on January 15, 1925. He is buried at the Wildwood Cemetery in Bartow, Florida.


0.03 Linear feet (1 folder)




Letters written by Benjamin F. Holland while he lived in Polk County, Florida pertaining to the Pharr Case.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Donated by Brian D. Hardison in January 2014.

Processing Information note

Processed by Candice Larson in 2014.

Guide to the Benjamin F. Holland letters LH-0076
Finding aid prepared by Written by Candice Larson
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English

Repository Details

Part of the University of West Georgia Special Collections Repository

Special Collections, Ingram Library
University of West Georgia
1601 Maple Street
Carrollton GA 30118-2000 United States