Sarah Katherine “Kate” Stone was born on 8 Jan 1841 at Mississippi Springs in Hinds County, Mississippi (402). She was the second child of William Patrick Stone and Amanda Susan (Ragan) Stone. Her older brother, William Ragan Stone was born in Oct 1839, likely also in Hinds County, Mississippi. At her birth, Kate Stone’s father was about 27 years old, and her mother was age 18 years. Two younger brothers to Kate were also born in Hinds County, Coleman Stone in about 1844 and Frederick Walter Stone in about 1845.
At the 1840 federal census, William and Amanda Stone as well as their son William R. Stone were likely living in the Hinds County, Mississippi household of Amanda’s father, Jesse Battle Ragan (389). Although Kate’s father owned land in other parts of Mississippi, the William and Amanda Stone family, including Kate, her older brother William Ragan Stone, and her two younger brothers, all born in Mississippi, may have continued to live with Jesse B. Ragan for some period prior to Oct 1846.
Before Oct 1846, the Stone family migrated to Madison Parish, Louisiana where by 1848, Kate Stone’s father established Stonington Plantation near the town of Delta (87). Kate Stone was about five years old when the family moved to Madison Parish. A brother, James Armstrong Stone, was born in Madison Parish on 1 Oct 1847 (403).
The 19 Aug 1850 federal census of Madison Parish, Louisiana enumerates the William P. Stone household including Amanda S. Stone, age 28 years and born in Mississippi; William R. Stone, age 11; Sarah Stone, age 9; Coleman P. Stone, age 7; Fredrick W. Stone, age 6; and James A. Stone, age 4 years (404). William Patrick Stone was 36 years old and a planter. With the exception of James A. Stone, who was born in Louisiana, all children of William and Amanda Stone were born in Mississippi. Also living in the William P. Stone household was Thompson E. Stone, a student 18 years old and born in Tennessee. Sarah Stone was 9 years old and born in Mississippi.
Kate Stone’s brother, John Beverly Stone, was born in Madison Parish, Louisiana after the 19 Aug 1950 census. Her younger sister, Amanda Rebecca Stone, was born on 23 Dec 1852 (424). Both siblings were born in Madison Parish, likely at the Stonington Plantation.
As a young girl, Kate Stone as well as her older brother William R. Stone attended boarding schools at Clinton in Hinds County, Mississippi (401, 24 Mar 1863). Clinton was about six miles north of Mississippi Springs where Kate was born. In the fall of 1853, Kate Stone entered the Nashville Female Academy in Davidson County, Tennessee. Her father, William Patrick Stone, died likely of cholera or yellow fever on 6 Dec 1855 at about 41 years of age; Kate was 14 years old. After the death of her father, the Stone family likely resided in Warren County, Mississippi, perhaps again in the household of Kate Stone’s grandfather, Jesse Battle Ragan. Kate, however, was at school in Nashville much of the time. A Nashville newspaper notes her graduation from the Nashville Female Academy, typically a four year program, in Jun 1858 (256).
On 16 May 1859, Kate Stone’s mother, Amanda Susan Stone, purchased 1,280 acres of land in Carroll Parish of Louisiana where she established the Brokenburn Plantation (391, 392). The Stone family were living at Brokenburn by 11 Jul 1860 when the federal census enumerated the household of Amanda Stone as it was at the beginning of the American Civil War (308). In addition to Amanda Stone, then 36 years old, and her children, Ashburn B. Ragan, age 16 and born in Mississippi, as well as a teacher, Albert B. Newton, age 24 and born in Mississippi, were also living in the household. Ashburn B. Ragan was Amanda Stone’s youngest brother. At the 1860 census, the Stone family received mail at both the Omega Post Office in Madison Parish, Louisiana and the Pecan Grove Post Office in Carroll Parish.
On 26 Jan 1861, Louisiana voted to secede from the United States of America. Three months later, Kate Stone began a journal that would chronicle her experiences through the Civil War and into the period of reconstruction that followed (401). By Oct 1862, Kate’s three older brothers; William Ragan Stone, Coleman Stone, and Fredrick Walther Stone; were serving in the Confederate Army (401, 10 Apr 1863). Having taken New Orleans as well Confederate fortifications on the Mississippi River north of Vicksburg, the Union military were pressing Vicksburg and its actions extended into Madison and Carroll Parishes of Louisiana. With Union soldiers ransacking plantations near Brokenburn, the Stone family fled their home at about midnight on 27 Mar 1863, eventually seeking refuge in Lamar and Smith Counties of Texas. Stone family refugees included: Amanda Susan Stone; Amanda’s sister, Vansa Laura L. (Ragan) Buckner; Laura Buckner’s daughter, Beverly Buckner; Sarah Katherine “Kate” Stone, James Armstrong Stone, John Beverly Stone, and Amanda Rebecca Stone. On 9 Jun 1863, Laura Buckner and her daughter Beverly returned to Mississippi to join Laura’s husband Dr. Buckner. In route to Texas, difficulties arranging transportation delayed the family’s progress, and they paused along the way to rest and recuperate from their trials. The family arrived in Lamar County, Texas on 7 Jul 1863, about three months after leaving Brokenburn. The Stone family remained in Texas as refugees until 8 Sep 1865 when they began the journey from Tyler, Texas back to Brokenburn (401, 11 Sep 1865), arriving two months later on 11 Nov 1865 (401, 16 Nov 1865).
On 7 Mar 1866, a cutoff of the Terrapin Neck on the Mississippi River that had been predicted for more than half a century finally occurred (485, 486). The Terrapin Neck had narrowed until it was only about 30 feet wide, and the channel that the river cut across it rapidly enlarged. On 28 Mar 1866, it was reported that the little steamer Lida Norvell had come down through the new cutoff instead of taking the bend way, and her captain said he believed the new channel was now safe for all boats. Perhaps this diversion of the Mississippi River channel eventually reduced flood risk to Brokenburn, but at the time, the cutoff likely damaged levies and may have been responsible for periodic inundation at Brokenburn for some time (401, 22 Sep 1867).
After a break in the Harris levee about five miles east of Brokenburn, the Stone family again sought alternative living arrangements (401, 22 Sep 1867). They moved to Mr. Goodrich’s plantation and eventually rented part of the Wilton Plantation house. Kate Stone’s brother, William Ragan Stone, rented land from Mrs. Henderson as well as Rose Hill Plantation on the Mississippi River in Madison Parish, where Amanda Stone and the rest of the family joined him.
On 8 Dec 1869, Kate Stone married Henry Bry Holmes at Yazoo City, Yazoo County, Mississippi. The ceremony occurred at Walton Bend Plantation, then the home of Kate Stone’s brother, William Ragan Stone. At their marriage, Kate Stone was 28 years old, and Henry Holmes was age 31 years. Henry Holmes was born in Louisiana, a son of Henry Holmes and Julia (Bry) Holmes. At the 1870 federal census, Henry Holmes age 32 and Kate (Stone) Holmes age 25 were living in Ouachita County, Louisiana (481).
In Apr 1873, twin boys, William Holmes and Emmet Holmes, were born to Kate and Henry Holmes in Louisiana. Emmet Holmes died in about 1878. Amanda Julia Holmes was born in Sep 1878 also in Louisiana. Kate Holmes was 37 years old at the birth of her daughter Amanda Holmes.
In 1879 and again in 1881, H. B. Holmes paid tax on property at Delta in Madison Parish, Louisiana. The 15 Jun 1880 U.S. federal census of the Town of Delta in Madison Parish, Louisiana enumerates the Henry B. Holmes household (487). Henry Holmes was 41 years old, born in Louisiana, and working as Clerk of the Court. His father was born in North Carolina, his mother, in Louisiana. Kate Stone was recorded as 32 years old and born in Mississippi. Her father was born in Virginia, her mother in Mississippi. William Holmes, age 7 years was born in Louisiana, and Amanda Holmes, age 3 years, was born in Louisiana.
After 15 Jun 1880 and before Madison Parish, Louisiana assessed 1885 taxes on land holdings, the Henry and Kate Holmes family migrated from Delta to Tallulah in Madison Parish, Louisiana. Before 1885, Henry Holmes acquired an additional 533 acres of land in Madison Parish, Louisiana (117). He had a home built on part of this land near Tallulah and bordering Walnut Bayou (or Brushy Bayou) and established the Wayside Plantation. The 1890 Madison Parish tax list includes H. B. Holmes as taxed for Wayside as well as livestock, wagons, jewelry, and guns (117).
Kate Stone’s mother, Amanda Susan (Ragan) Stone died on 12 Mar 1892 (469, 470).
The 17 Jun 1900 federal census of Madison Parish, Louisiana enumerates the Henry B. Holmes household in Township 17 North of Range 12 East. Henry Holmes was 62 years old, born in Louisiana, and working as a farmer (408). His father was born in North Carolina, and his mother was born in Louisiana. Kate S. Holmes was 58 years of age and born in Mississippi. The census records her father as born in Virginia and her mother as born in Mississippi. Also living in the household were the Holmes children, William S. Holmes, age 27 years and Amy J. Holmes, age 22 years. Both children were born in Louisiana.
On 15 Mar 1902, the United Daughters of the Confederacy admitted Kate Stone Holmes as a charter member of the Madison Infantry Chapter, Louisiana Division. Mrs. Kate S. Holmes, Mrs. Amanda R. Stone, and Miss Amy J. Holmes are listed as a charter members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Madison Infantry Chapter #561, Tallulah, Louisiana. The charter is dated 15 Mar 1902. (From records of Hermione Museum, Tallulah, Louisiana, 27 May 2002).
In Nov 1900, Kate Stone Holmes began transcribing her journal pages from the Civil War era into bound volumes. She signed the first volume on 12 Jul 1907. Sarah Katharine “Kate” Stone died six months later on 28 Dec 1907 at Tallulah in Madison County, Louisiana. At her death, Kate Stone was 66 years old. She is buried in Silver Cross Cemetery at Tallulah in Madison Parish, Louisiana (441).
Handwritten transcription of the Journal of Kate Stone, Front Page, Volume 1, 12 Jul 1907. (Courtesy of the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, Louisiana State University Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.)
Notes and Comments
Located approximately 30 miles east of Vicksburg, Mississippi, Hinds County was acquired from the Choctaw Indians in Oct 1820. Mississippi Springs was located about four miles east of the present-day county seat at Raymond and 11 miles southwest of the state capital at Jackson.
Kate Stone wrote about news of the Terrapin Neck cutoff on 1 Feb 1865, suggesting that it would place Brokenburn and neighboring plantations above possible overflow (401, 1 Feb 1865).
The 1850 federal census of Madison Parish, Louisiana enumerates Kate Stone as Sarah C. Stone (404).
The 1880 federal census of Madison Parish, Louisiana records the birthplace of Kate Stone’s father as Virginia; most other sources list his birthplace as Tennessee. The 1880 census enumerates William Stone Holmes as Willie S. Holmes and Amanda Julia Holmes as A. J. Holmes.
Kate Stone’s date of birth as 8 Jan 1841 is as stated in her own handwriting on a petition to join the United Daughters of the Confederacy (402). This date of birth is consistent with the 1850 federal census that recorded her as 9 years old. But inconsistencies with the census begin with the 1860 enumeration of the Amanda Stone household on 11 Jul 1860, recording Sarah K. Stone as age 18 years. If Kate was born on 8 Jan 1841, then she was 19 and 1/2 years of age at the 1860 census. As the census progressed, Kate aged more slowly. At the 1870 census, she was 29 and 1/2 years old; the census enumerates her as age 25 years. At the 1880 federal census, Kate and Henry Holmes were living at Delta in Madison Parish, Louisiana. The census enumerates her as 32 years old; she was over 39 years of age. The 1900 census is more consistent with the best documented date of Kate Stone’s birth. at the census on 17 Jun 1900, Kate Stone was 59 years and 5 months old. The census enumerates her as age 58 years. Sarah Katherine Stone died on 28 Dec 1907 at age 66 years and 11 months.
Previously, Thomas Warren Briscoe, Jr. owned this land as part of Eureka Plantation. He died on 30 Nov 1871, and his wife, Margaret Scott Briscoe, and daughters, Florence Claiborne Briscoe and Elizabeth Moore Briscoe, likely inherited the property. On 1 Sep 1875, Margaret Scott Briscoe married Kate Stone’s brother, James Armstrong Stone, and likely Henry and Kate Holmes acquired the 213 acres of land from James and Margaret Stone.
The 1900 U.S. federal census of Madison Parish, Louisiana enumerates Kate Stone Holmes as born in Jan 1842, and as age 31 at the time of the census. Additionally, the 1900 census records Kate S. Holmes father as born in Mississippi and her mother as born in Virginia. The census reversed the birthplaces of her father and mother. Elsewhere, Kate Stone stated her date of birth as 8 Jan 1841 (402).
Silver Cross Cemetery at Tallulah, in Madison Parish, Louisiana is located at coordinates: 32.403100° north latitude, 91.167797° west longitude.
87. “Louisiana Map Showing Townships, Sections and Plantations.” John La Tourrette, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1848.
117. Tax Rolls, Madison Parish, Louisiana. Richard P. Sevier, “Madison Parish, Louisiana Historical and Genealogical Data,” 1999.
256. Nashville Union and American. Nashville, Tennessee, 17 Jun 1858. (Images: Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. U.S. Library of Congress. Image on file.)
308. Amanda Stone Household, 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Madison Parish, Louisiana, 11 Jul 1860. Ward 1, Roll: M653_409, Page: 347, Image: 350, Family History Library Film: 803409. (Images: Ancestry.com, Image on file.)
389. Jesse B. Ragan Household, 1840 U.S. Federal Census, Hinds County, Mississippi. Roll 214, Page 203. (Images: Ancestry.com. Image on file.)
391. Deed by Malvina McAlpine to Amanda S. Stone. 1,280 acres of land, Carroll Parish, Louisiana, 16 May 1859. Carroll Parish Deed Books, East Carroll Parish, Louisiana. (Images on file.)
392. Map of Plantations in Carrol Parish, Louisiana and Issaquena County, Mississippi, ca 1860. A. McFarland, Plantation Agent, Skipwith District, Mississippi. (Image: U.S. Library of Congress. Image on file.)
401. Stone, Sarah Katherine. Brokenburn: The Journal of Kate Stone 1861-1868. John Q. Anderson (Ed.). Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1972.
402. Petition to United Daughters of the Confederacy, Louisiana Division, Tallulah, Madison Parish, Louisiana. Kate Stone Holmes, 21 Oct 1903. (Original and image on file.)
403. Obituary, James Armstrong Stone. The Madison Journal. Tallulah, Madison Parish, Louisiana, 1905. (Image on file.)
404. William P. Stone Household, Madison Parish, Louisiana, 19 Aug 1850. Western District, Roll M432_233, Page 382, Image 95. (Images: Ancestry.com. Image on file.)
406. Gravestone, John Beverly Stone, Silver Cross Cemetery, Tallulah, Madison Parish, Louisiana, USA. Find A Grave Memorial 13762812. (Image on file.)
408. H. B. Holmes Household, 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Madison Parish, Louisiana, 16 Jun 1900. Township 17 North, Range 12 East. Enumeration District 69, Page 10B. (Images: Ancestry.com. Image on file.)
424. Petition to United Daughters of the Confederacy, Louisiana Division, Madison Parish, Louisiana. Amanda Rebecca Stone, 5 Mar 1902. (Original and images on file.)
425. Roberts, Giselle. The Confederate Belle. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri, 2003.
441. Gravestone. Sarah Katherine “Kate” (Stone) Holmes. Find A Grave Memorial 114246050.
469. Obituary, Mrs. Amanda S. Stone, The Daily, Vicksburg, Mississippi, 15 Mar 1892. (Print and images on file.)
470. Gravestone, Amanda Susan (Ragan) Stone, Silver Cross Cemetery, Tallulah, Madison Parish, Louisiana. Find A Grave Memorial 13762786. (Images on file.)
481. H. B. Holmes Household, 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Ouachita County, Louisiana, 29 Jul 1870. Ward 3, Roll M593_526, Page 67A, Image 137, Family History Library Film 552025. (Images: Ancestry.com. Image on file.)
483. Recollections of Amanda Julia Holmes, Tallulah, Madison Parish, Louisiana. (Original and images on file.)
485. Bragg, Marion. Historic Names and Places on the Lower Mississippi River. Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, Department of the Army. Mississippi River Commission, Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1977.
486. Board of State Engineers. Report of the State Engineer of the State of Louisiana to the General Assembly, Session — January, 1867. J. O. Nixon, State Printer, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1867.
487. Henry B. Holmes Household, 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Delta, Madison Parish, Louisiana, 1 Jun 1880. Enumeration District 043, Roll 456, Family History Film 1254456, Page 197B, Image 0394. (Images: Ancestry.com. Image on file.)
512. Mrs. Kate Stone Holmes, Certificate of Membership, Madison Infantry Chapter, Louisiana Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy. (Original and images on file.)
727. Drawing of the Nashville Female Academy. Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, Tennessee. Image 26531, Box 10A, Folder 7. (Image on file.)
Revised 25 Jun 2017
Image of Sarah Katherine Stone is courtesy of the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, Louisiana State University Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.