Orlando Newton Hollingsworth (1836-1919?): New Light on the Mystery of His Final Years

Orlando N. Hollingsworth’s listing in United States Confederate Officers Card File Index, 1861-1865, compiled by Military Order of the Stars and Bars, Springfield, Tennessee; digitized at Fold3

Or, Subtitled: Texas Ranger’s Account Casting Light on a Mysterious Disappearance

As the previous posting indicates, though the life of Orlando Newton Hollingsworth (1836-1919?), son of Benjamin Benton Hollingsworth and Joicy Jones, is well-documented in a number of biographies, information about when and where Orlando died seems surprisingly difficult to find. Orlando was a Texas state legislator with a degree from the University of Virginia, a lawyer in Austin, founder of an academy in San Marcos, and was for some years Texas Superintendent for Public Instruction. The high profile he enjoyed as a public figure accounts for the several well-documented biographies written about him. But these biographies either state that his date of death is “unknown”[1]or that he died in 1919, with the day and month and place of death unspecified.[2]

Children of Benjamin Benton Hollingsworth (abt. 1785-1844) and Wife Joicy Jones

Orlando Newton Hollingsworth, son of Benjamin Hollingsworth and Joicy Jones, from his biography page, “Orlando Newton Hollingsworth,” at the Legislative Reference Library of Texas website 

Or, Subtitled: Distinguished Careers in Public Service, Law Firms and Oil Wells, with a Mysterious Disappearance After the Law Comes Knocking at the Door

As we saw in the previous posting, in his 1 May 1841 Benton County, Alabama, will,[1] Benjamin Hollingsworth states that he and wife Joicy Jones Hollingsworth had had the following children: Stephen, Wyly B. (whose name appears as Wiley in other documents), Asenath (Allen), Mary Ann (Kelly), Hannah Belzora, Benjamin, Benton, and Orlando. The will notes that Wiley had predeceased his father. 

Children of Mary Brooks (1745/1750 – aft. 15 May 1815) and Jacob Hollingsworth (1742 – 1822) — Benjamin Benton Hollingsworth (abt. 1785-1844) and Wife Joicy Jones (2)

[Resolutions] of the citizens of Benton County, 1836 June 6, Jacksonville, [Alabama to Clement C.] Clay, Governor of Alabama, Montgomery / [signed by] W[illia]m Wood … [et al.], a manuscript held by the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Felix Hargrett Papers, box 01, folder 01, document 01; online at the website of the Digital Library of Georgia of University of Georgia Libraries

Or, Subtitled: Long Trek of a Family from Franklin County, Georgia, to Tennessee, Alabama, and, Finally, Texas

At some point not very long after his 29 July 1831 sale of land with son-in-law Alexander E. Patton in Franklin County, Tennessee (with the deed being recorded 2 June 1834), Benjamin Hollingsworth moved to Benton (now Calhoun) County, Alabama — perhaps around 1835, Sadie Sparks thinks.[1] Benjamin was in Benton County by 6 June 1836 when citizens of Jacksonville in that county presented a resolution to Alabama Governor Clement Clay, noting that at the meeting at which the resolution was passed, a committee of six persons had been appointed to draft the “sense of the meeting.”[2] This committee included Col. Benj. Hollingsworth. Digital images of the first and last pages of this resolution are above, with Benjamin’s signature on the last page.