Source: News-Journal, February 15, 1940
INTERESTING LETTER BY FORMER RESIDENT
Mrs. Alberta Bond Laufman, a descendant of the Holderman family and who now lives with her daughter, Mrs. Paul J. Morgan, in New York City, was sent copies of The News-Journal containing articles about the old North Manchester Cemetery and the proposal to convert it into a public park, and her letter in reply not only expressed approval of the project but contained much additional information of the early days of this community.
February 8, 1940
"Thank you for the copies of your paper with the article about the old cemetery, and also for the founding. I know the location of my Holderman grandparents' graves and that of Sarah, who was next in age to my mother, Lavina, and Alfred, who was my Uncle Edmund Holderman's twin.
"I went to the graveyard with my mother in my childhood. We always went to my father's grave and then to my grandparents' graves nearby. My mother said that they did not have stones because they were not satisfied that the graveyard was so near the town. It was crowded then and when my father died in 1872 he could not be buried where the family were but near the north fence. Perhaps cousin Ada Holderman Freeze will remember the location of the monument which stood there many years.
"It is said that my grandfather, Allan Holderman, was in the legislature, but I never found the report. Any any rate, grandmother made him a beautiful broadcloth suit in which he went to legislature in Corydon.
"The Goshen Indiana, Holdermans were our distant relatives. Their ancestor, Christopher, I think that was his name, had the adjoining farm to our Revolutionary ancestor, Christian Holderman, in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Christian bought the width of a ditch from Christopher and in payment each year was to give him the largest ear of corn that grew on the land.
"Christian later moved to Eaton, Ohio, and was the grandfather of Allan. The first ancestor we know about was Nicholas Holderman. He and his brother, John, are given in history as Dutch patroons. According to my mother, the family still owned land in the heart of New York City in 1875. But this was not the land famous as the estate of Annetje Jans. At least we did not lay claim to it.
"I have the wills of Nicholas and Christian Holderman. Allen Holderman's grandmother was Susannah Gray Neff, born in Virginia and after her marriage she lived in Eaton, Ohio. She descended from Edward Gray, of Rhode Island, who was of Pilgrim ancestry.
"My grandmother, Jane Parker Holderman, was a descendant of the Parker family who came early to New England and migrated from Massachusetts to the part of Virginia which later became Kentucky. They lived at Lexington. Her father, Abraham Parker, was a cousin of Sir Peter Parker who was such a menace to Long Island during the American Revolution. They came from the Macclesfield Parker family in England.
"Jane Parker Holderman was the great-aunt of Dr. Frank Kitson of North Manchester. Allen Holderman's mother, Sally Neff Holderman, came to his home when he was taken ill and insisted that he be bled and this supposedly caused his death.
"In regard to the gift of the land for the graveyard, Grandfather Holderman gave it to the town whether it's now in his heirs name or Uncle Edmund;'s heirs, I suppose would be found in the court records.
"I want to ask if any one knows of an Old Chester township atlas? Maybe it was taken from the old Wabash county history. I recall ours was like an atlas. I would like to show it to my daughter for it showed our farm with mother's name on it. I could return it in the next mail. My daughter or her husband, Paul J. Morgan, of the New York Herald-Tribune would see that the book was returned safely.
"It must have been printed after my father's death in 1872. Because he owned a farm he threatened to vote for Horace Greeley, I remember, but since my brother aged seven was staunch for General Grant he must have gotten his idea from my father.
"My father, Milton Bond, bought more land to enlarge my mother's inheritance from Grandfather Holderman. My father built the house that now stands. It was partly copied from the home of Cornelius Holderman's house in Roann. That was in Civil War days near the time of my grandmother's death. My father thought it would be a temporary home and later he would build another house in the grove at the northwest corner of the farm, but he thought it would be a long way to walk. I hope someone has their home there, but we had everything a child needed to be happy, a brook, the old swimming hole wider and deeper than Riley's, the shivery Devil's Hole and the orchard where the squaws after demanding and getting a meal gave Granma the seedling apple switches which were worn to a frazzle from whipping their Indian ponies. They grew under grandmother's care and looked like snow apples, but they would make a pig squeal. There was a new orchard by the side of the road with sweet cherries and one peach, large May cherries and rambo apples. Can you still remember their fragrance in the pantry? There were sweet harvest apples and Northern Spies and Maiden Blush. There were wild plum trees. Oh, the blossoms and the wild tang of the preserves. The old orchard was near granfather Holderman's pioneer cabin, the walls of which lasted through our days on the farm. It was on the road on the north side of the farm on the way to Cook's, I think, opposite to where the first college buildings now stand.
"My father had a grain elevator and bought lumber from Big Rapids and Grand Rapids, Michigan. He went there and on business trips to Chicago. He worked hard to get the railroads through to North Manchester. What are the names? The North and South Railroad and the Eel River Railroad. When he failed the first time he worked harder for the second one.
""Our first trip on the train was after my father's death when my mother had business in Wabash. It was a sober trip for she had her little family of four children with her. We did not have tickets and when my mother was paying for us, the official stopped and said that Milton Bond's family did not need tickets. The whistle was hoarse and kept up constantly as if to help the puffing engine, but they said it was because of cows on the track. Besides the train went so fast you didn't enjoy pasting your nose to the window. That was a ride to remember sixty-eight years.
"The article on 'A Pioneer Experiment in Teaching Agriculture' interested me because my father was a Hicksite Friend and we had birthrights in the Friends Meeting.
Sincerely, Alberta Bond Laufman"