For today's post, we visit Evansville, Indiana and one of that city's more oddly named residents.....Fredonia Ellsworth Holloway! Mr. Holloway is truly obscure, so much so that a date of death or place of death originally couldn't be found for him. Since discovering his name a few months ago (courtesy of an Indiana Legislative roster from 1895), little else has been found in regards to his life, although I do get a chuckle out of the fact that his odd first name is also the name of a small town here in my home county of Chautauqua, New York! The rare portrait of him shown above was located in the 1899 History of the Republican Party of Indiana, which stands as one of two biographical resources on him that I've been able to locate.
Born in Martin County, Indiana on March 23, 1867, Fredonia E. Holloway was the son of the Rev. James B. Holloway and Eleanor Jackman, who had immigrated to Indiana from Ohio some years previously. Research is also inconclusive as to why Holloway received the unusual first name "Fredonia", as the Holloway family has no connection to the town of Fredonia, New York mentioned in the opening to this article. "Fred" Holloway, as some sources list him, attended school in Martin County and later enrolled at the Ft. Worth University in Indiana.
Holloway eventually left school to pursue a career in law, studying in various law offices in 1884-1885. He returned to his studies soon a short while later and later became engaged in newspaper work, serving as a reporter on the staff of the Ft. Worth Gazette. In 1888 Holloway journeyed to California where he began attending the University of California. He eventually encountered money troubles and was forced to leave his studies behind, and in 1891 relocated to Chicago where he engaged in real estate. That same year he married Ms. Adelaide Ruth Compton, and it is unknown at this time if any children were born to them.
Fredonia Holloway relocated to Evansville, Indiana around the time of his marriage and here reestablished his interest in journalism, becoming involved with the Evansville Evening Standard and the Evansville Journal. Holloway also began taking an active interest in local politics, winning election as a Republican to the Indiana State House of Representatives in November 1894.
Officially taking his seat at the start of the 1895 term, Holloway represented Vanderburgh County during his service, which extended until 1897, and a roster from the session in which he served has been posted below. One should also note that Holloway was one of the youngest legislators in Indiana during the 1895-1897 session, being elected at the age of 27. He was remarked by the History of the Republican Party of Indiana as having an "ability in debate" and "his sound common sense and a few bursts of genuine eloquence on the floor of the house sufficed to attract him very general attention."
After leaving the legislature, Holloway took part in a speaking tour of Indiana, stumping for numerous Republican candidates seeking office that year. He was a delegate to the Indiana Republican Convention of 1896-97 and was elected as President of the Indiana State League of Republican Clubs in February of 1898.
Holloway's later life is also of note, as it is a complete about-face from his earlier political pursuits. It seems that around 1910 Holloway had a spiritual calling of some sort, leaving Indiana and relocating to Colorado with his wife. Shortly after their arrival he became ordained as a Congregational minister in the town of Pueblo, remaining here until 1912. He removed to Ohio that same year and in 1913 he became a minister in the towns of Plymouth and Newark. Holloway returned to Colorado in 1914 to accept a pastor-ship in Denver, remaining here until 1918, when he went overseas to England to serve as a chaplain in a Red Cross Hospital in London.
The Congregational Yearbook Volume 43 notes that Holloway returned stateside in 1919, accepting a pastorate at a mission in San Francisco. His stay in California was relatively short, as he succumbed to the effects of Bright's disease on August 15, 1920. Holloway was only 53 years old at the time of his death and was survived by his wife Adelaide, whose birth and death dates are unknown. A burial location for Fredonia E. Holloway is also unknown at this time, and it is presumed that he was buried somewhere in the San Francisco vicinity.
Fredonia E. Holloway, from the 1895 Indiana Legislative composite portrait.