Peter Holland McCall



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Peter Holland McCall (1800-1867)

Peter Holland McCall was born in 1800 in Glade Hill, Franklin, Virginia, as the first child of William S. McCall and Mildred Holland. He had nine siblings, namely: Lydia, Jane, Robert Henry, Mary Lyle, Thomas Fewell, William Stokes, James Elbert, Frances, and John Meador Holland.

Peter grew up on his parents’ plantation at Glade Hill, Franklin, Virginia. When he was about 23-years old, his father William passed away.  He left a Last Will and Testament to distribute his property. He wanted to make sure that all of his debts were paid and directed that the “lands belonging to me on the South side of Pigg River be sold. Also my Waggon and three Horses and their gear, likewise all the surplus property not needed for the support and use of my family.” It was up to the executors to determine what property was surplus.  The will mostly provided for the widow, Milly, and ensured that she would be able to care for the younger children. The document did not name Peter by name, but he was referenced several times. For example, he would get his share of the same of any property deemed surplus, “…the ballance of the negroes and other surplus property not needed on the place be sold for the best Prices in any my Executors may think proper and the money arising from the same be equally divided among all my children.” It also stipulated that upon Milly’s death, any remaining property was to be sold and equally divided among all the children.

William also wrote, “I will that my sons that are of age may be employed by my Executors to look after the business of my wife & family as long as they do will & no longer.” So, it sounds like William considered his oldest sons to be independent from the family unit and didn’t expect them to have to take care of things after he died. But, another item in the will said, “It is my desire that all the surplus money that can be raised over & above a comfortable support of my family be equally divided between my two eldest sons who shall receipt for the same.” That again gave a lot of power to the executors to decide how much constituted comfortable and whether or not Peter and Robert, the oldest boys, would get any of that surplus money.

William S. McCall, Last Will, excerpt.

A few years after the death of his father, when Peter was 26, he married Zilpha Hodges, daughter of John Hodges and Rebecca, on 10 Apr 1826 in Franklin, Virginia. Before getting a marriage license in those days, the couple had to post a bond that would insure against legal action if, for any reason, the marriage didn’t take place. So, Peter and Zilpha’s brother Gabriel, posted the $150 bond. Zilpha’s parents also gave written consent for the marriage.

McCall-Hodges, marriage bond.
McCall-Hodges marriage, parental consent.

Peter Holland McCall and Zilpha Hodges had at least the following children:

  1. John William “Buck” McCall was born about 1827 in Franklin, Virginia. He died on 20 Nov 1866 in Portland, Callaway, Missouri.
  2. Robert Henry “Bob” McCall was born on 08 Mar 1829 in Franklin, Virginia. He married Elizabeth K Kemp on 15 Feb 1850 in Callaway, Missouri. She died. He married Nancy Agnes Huston on 14 Jul 1854 in Osage, Missouri. He died on 04 May 1909 in Iowa.
  3. Samual Christopher “Sam” McCall was born on 18 Jan 1833 in Franklin, Virginia. He shared his birthday with his mother. He married Elizabeth A. Linville on 13 Dec 1860 in Callaway, Missouri. He married Sarah Janava McClellan on 04 Jan 1877 in Missouri. He died on 03 Mar 1922 in Ham’s Prairie, Callaway, Missouri.
  4. Nancy Ann McCall was born on 24 Mar 1836 in Franklin, Virginia. She married Henry F Harland on 06 Dec 1860 in Callaway, Missouri. She died on 30 Jun 1890 in Callaway, Missouri.
  5. Thomas Alexander “Horse” McCall was born about 1839 in Virginia. He died in 1869.
  6. Mary Mildred McCall was born on 04 Mar 1841 in Callaway, Missouri. She married Benjamin Estill on 06 Nov 1857 in Callaway, Missouri. She married James Edward Scott on 16 Jan 1873 in Callaway, Missouri. She married John Dill McClellan after 1882. She died on 30 Aug 1923 in Callaway, Missouri.
  7. James Franklin “Jim” McCall was born on 07 Jun 1846 in Portland, Callaway, Missouri. He married Martha Alice Scott on 16 Jan 1873 in Callaway, Missouri. He died on 06 Jul 1923 in Castana, Monona, Iowa.

Peter and Zilpha started their family in their native Virginia, but, sometime between 1839 and 1840, moved from Virginia to Callaway County, Missouri. Nearly all of Peter’s siblings and their families made the move about the same time.

Peter was recorded in Callaway County at the time of the 1840 Federal Census. Only the head of household was listed by name. The counts include Peter, Zilpha, John, Robert, Sam, Thomas, Nancy Ann, and one more male. That extra male could possibly be another son that died young, a relative living with the family, or even a hired man or boarder.

1840 Federal Census, Peter McCall.

On 28 Jun 1843, Peter and Zilpha McCall sold 47 40/100th acres of land to William Gilman for $60. The legal description of the land in Callaway county was, “North half of lot No. 2 of Southwest quarter of section No. eighteen in Township No. forty-six north of Range No. seven containing forty seven acres and forty hundredths more or less.” Physically the land was east of the town of Reform in what is now part of the Reform Wildlife Area.

1843 Land Sale, McCall to Gilman.

Five years later, yes later, Peter registered this same land with the government, or in other words, obtained the land from the US government. This raises questions. Was the process just slow such that the official land record wasn’t processed until years after Peter has already sold the land? Did Peter sell land to Mr. Gilman before he really owned it?

Peter McCall, land purchase.
Peter McCall, land purchase.

Zilpha and Peter McCall lived in Callaway, Missouri, for the remainder of their lives. They were recorded there in the 1850 and 1860 Federal Census records.

McCall, 1850 Federal Census.
McCall, 1860 Federal Census.

Zilpha and Peter saw their sons go off to fight for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Callaway County had only recently been settled and most of its citizens had roots in the south, so the area was mainly loyal to the rebel cause.

Peter Holland McCall died on 20 Apr 1867 in Reform, Callaway, Missouri. Family tradition says that he died of tuberculosis, but no death record has been found. He was about 67-years old at the time of his death. He was buried in Old Salem Cemetery, Reform, Callaway.

Where is he in the tree?

Relationship chart, Thomas Leland Estes to Peter Holland McCall.
Pedigree chart, Peter Holland McCall.

Selected Sources:

“Early Virginia Marriage Records,” Library of Virginia : accessed 15 Jul 2018).

Estate accounting, “Franklin County Probate records,” database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 Jul 2018); Catalog Record: Will books, 1786-1906 ; general index, 1786-1948, Film/Digital Note: Will books, v. 3-4 1825-1837, 1840 (In v. 3, first entry is dated Feb. 1824 but corrected in next entry to Feb. 1825. In v. 4, only 2 brief entries at end are dated 1840.), Will Book 3: pages 283-6, 369-71,Will Book 4: pages 15, 598-602.

“Franklin County Probate records,” database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 Jul 2018); Catalog Record: Will books, 1786-1906 ; general index, 1786-1948, Film/Digital Note: Will books, v. 1-2 1786-1825, pages 549-50, 557-9.

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