The Civil War in Holly Springs

During the Civil War, the Holly Springs community was stripped of fighting-age men. Local schools shut down and the progress of the once-thriving community was put on hold. Near the end of the war, when a flank of the Union Army was sent to cut off retreating Confederate forces and then was recalled, the Union troop’s headquarters was established in the Leslie house.

“Legend has it that the lady of the house charmed the soldiers so that they didn’t burn the house down,” longtime Holly Springs resident Sylvian Brooks said. “They did get the chickens, though.”

The Leslie house was one of the more lucky local homes. Bummers, bands of renegade soldiers that scoured the countryside without supervision, raided other local homes.

Rebecca Jones Alford, mother of George Benton Alford who later bought the Leslie house, had a run-in with one of these bands as she was cooking a meal for Confederate fighters. The epitaph on her tombstone reads, “A devoted Christian mother who whipped Sherman’s Bummers with scalding water while trying to take her Dinner Pot which contained a hambone being cooked for her (Confederate) Soldier Boys.” The tombstone can be seen in the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church graveyard southeast of Town.

Another historic home that survived the Civil War and remains standing today is the Needham Norris house off Avent Ferry Road. Norris' nephew, Simpson Washington Holland, and his family lived in the house during the war. Holland's widow is said to have taken in a wounded Union officer and nursed him back to health during the encampment of Union troops in the area in April of 1865; consequently, the home was spared from destruction. John Norris, Jr., father of Needham and who most likely was one of the first English settlers of the community, was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. His home is located across the street. In 1935, the Daughters of the American Revolution erected a memorial stone for Norris on the west side of Avent Ferry Road, not far from where Norris is reported to be buried in the Norris Family graveyard.

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