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Her Tree Story, My Genealogy Blog
Her Tree Story,
My Genealogy Blog

Ann Makemie Holden

2004 Virginia Women in History

Presented by the Virginia Foundation for Women

Women have always been an integral part of Virginia history since their earliest days as Native American wives, mothers and frontier settlers. For centuries, history was defined by heroic deeds, great warriors, and famous statesmen. Women by definition did not make it into the history books. If women were included, they were considered the supporting cast.

In celebration of Women's History Month, The Virginia Foundation for Women honors these eight women for their accomplishments and important contributions. Frequently, these women did what they had to do, based upon the circumstances with which they were faced. They saw things differently from their contemporaries. They developed new ideas about old problems. They had the courage to speak and act based on strong convictions. They initiated changes in Virginia and America that continue to impact our lives today.

Anne Makemie Holden 1702.1788 Accomack County. Landholder and Businesswoman

The parents of Anne Makemie Holden met in Onacock on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and married in 1687. Naomi Anderson Makemie, her mother, was the eldest daughter of a thriving, wealthy merchant. Francis Makemie, Anne's father, had arrived from Ireland in 1683 as an ordained Presbyterian minister to establish missions. At the time, the Anglican Church was the established church to which everyone had to pay support taxes. In 1699, after Makemie had financially established himself as a rising merchant and a landowner, he obtained a certificate under the English Toleration Act to preach Presbyterianism freely officially breaking the Anglican monopoly. He successfully combined trading expeditions with preaching missions throughout the Chesapeake area.

Anne Makemie, the younger daughter of two, was born in 1702 at the Pokomoke plantation her parents inherited from her grandfather Anderson. Her father's success in growing tobacco and raising cattle for market allowed him to expand the estate, but in 1708, he died. Anne's sister died shortly after. At age seven, Anne was an heiress of nearly 6000 acres of land and numerous slaves. Her mother remarried and her stepfather helped with her upbringing and education. In 1725, Anne married Thomas Blair, a merchant of Virginia and Scotland who had a fleet of ships and storehouses throughout the Chesapeake. Blair's health failed and he died leaving his land, slaves, personal property, and cash on hand to Anne in 1739. She became the executor of his estate at age 38 managing the lands of her parents and husband. Within a few years, she married a widower with three children, Robert King of Maryland, who had a distinguished public service record. This marriage thrived until King's passing in 1755. Anne kept her original property holdings in tact and received additional land and cattle from King, whose will secured her property against any stepchildren's claim.

Within a year, Anne married for the third and last time. At age 54, she had become an astute businesswoman and estate manager. Before this marriage, a prenuptial agreement was made with her intended, George Holden, securing all of her property and possessions and conveying all they might accumulate during their marriage to her should he die before her. As Accomack County Clerk of the Court, Holden was also financially well-off in his won right with several Virginia plantations. Over the 14 years of this marriage, the couple's properties merged. Widowed in 1770, Anne chose to return to her Pokomoke plantation where she built a new home on Crooked Creek. There as a recognized, capable businesswoman, she managed thousands of acres of plantation land. When she died childless in 1788, her final will provisioned deeds of land to her nephews provided they "proved themselves real friends to American Independence." And held "places of leadership in the new Government."