Roots of the Black Golladay, Golliday, and Goliday families 

Russell Golladay

Grave of Russell Golladay
- soldier in U.S. Colored Troops -
Nashville National Cemetery

Frederick W. Golladay of Tennessee, Jacob Shall Golladay of Kentucky and George Shall Golladay of Grenada, Mississippi were slave owners. All three were sons of Isaac Golladay in Lebanon, Tennessee.


Most African Americans with the Golladay/Golliday/Goliday surname can trace their roots back to these farms:

Logan County, Kentucky & Montgomery County, Tennessee

Wilson County, Tennessee

Yalobusha/Grenada County, Mississippi

After the Civil War, these former slaves acquired the Golladay name. Many of the descendants of these African slaves use the "Golliday" or "Goliday" spelling variation.

In my sorrow, Lord walk with me
In my sorrows, Lord walk with me
When my heart is aching
Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me

- Lyrics from Negro Spiritual



The Golladay families in Virginia fought for the Confederacy. However, at the start of the Civil War, there is no evidence that any Golladay families in Virginia owned slaves. Only one Golladay is listed in the 1860 slave schedule. This was Jonathan Golladay of Augusta County, who employed a 50 year old black male and a 22 year old black female. Jonathan was not shown as the owner, so he likely he paid the slave's owner for the work.

David Golladay in Augusta County owned slaves in the early 1800's. However, family records indicate that David and his son Frederick were part of the effort to free the slaves and return them to Africa to settle in Liberia. Years later, Frederick daughter's Mary and Martha could still recall the memorable day when David's former slaves departed for the trip back to Africa. This was after David's death. The U.S. census in 1810 and 1820 shows that David had slaves. David made a will in the autumn of 1823, just before his death. David was a wealthy man at this time, but his will does not list these slaves. This will seems to verify the story that David's slaves were freed.

Also, David's son (Reverend Peter H. Golladay) attended the Ohio Anti-Slavery Convention held at Putnam on the 22 April 1835. This conference advocated "the principle of immediate emancipation without expatriation" for the slaves. Peter held the office of Manager in the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society for Preble County from 1835-39.


George and Martha Golladay's ten year old daughter Medora died early in 1858. Because of their grief, George and Martha took their family on a trip to Tennessee in the summer after Medora died. While they were gone, their relatives wrote several letters to them concerning the happenings back at their plantation in Grenada. These letters give some information about the blacks working on the plantation.

Grenada, 06 Jul 1858

Your negroes are all well and at work except Harriet. She is grunting a little. Everything is going on right at your place in Town. The negroes are taking good care of everything so far.

from letter written by C. H. Guy (Martha Golladay's stepfather)

But the flooding of the Yalobusha River and the resulting mosquitoes caused a lot of illness that summer.

Grenada, 15 Jul 1858

Your negroes are all well with the exception of Monroe. He was quite unwell yesterday. I gave him some medicine last night. He is better today. He had a high fever yesterday.

While writing John came up from your place. He tells me Ennis and Henry and some of the children are sick today. I will go down this evening and see them. I will give them every attention they need . So don't give yourself any uneasiness on that score.

- from letter written by C. H. Guy (Martha Golladay's stepfather)

In a letter written later in the summer, an update on the black workers was given:

Grenada, 20 Aug 1858

There has been a great deal of sickness at your plantation. Chills and fevers, but there is none that is very sick.

- from letter written by Eliza Guy (Martha Golladay's mother)

Other blacks mentioned by name in these letters are Smithy and Harrison.


Several of these former slaves fought in the Civil War for the U.S. Colored Troops in the Union Army:

Edward Golladay 13th Colored Infantry, Company A
Godfrey Golladay 13th Colored Infantry, Company K
Israel Galladey 13th Colored Infantry, Company B
Jeremiah (Jerry) Golliday 13th Colored Infantry, Company C
Major Golliday 13th Colored Infantry, Company A
Russell Golladay 13th Colored Infantry, Company B
Spencer Golladay 13th Colored Infantry, Company K

History of the 13th U. S. Colored Infantry

The seven black soldiers listed above had been workers on the farm of Jacob Shall Golladay of Logan County, Kentucky. Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation did not free the slaves in Kentucky and the other border states that did not secede from the Union. Jacob had remained loyal to the Union, so Jacob wrote a letter to General Ulysses S. Grant on 17 November 1863 requesting the return of these black men. Jacob had a contract with the Nashville and Kentucky Railroad and needed these workers to cut wood for the railroad. General Grant replied to Brigadier General Robert S. Granger on November 23 stating that "the negroes" should not be returned "if they had been sworn into the service." So they were not returned to Jacob because by this time they were enlisted in the Union army at Clarksville, Tennessee.

Way down yonder in the graveyard walk,
I thank God I'm free at last,
Me and my Jesus gonna meet and talk,
I thank God I'm free at last.
Oh... On my knees when the light passed by,
I thank God I'm free at last,
Thought my soul would rise and fly,
I thank God I'm free at last.

- from slave song "Free At Last"



After the slaves were freed, almost all of the black Golladay/Golliday's remained in Grenada. George Shall Golladay kept his plantation for a short period after the war.

The hog killing incident

After the death of George's wife in 1866, he left Mississippi. George's children Davidella and George (Jr.) remained in Grenada. Davidella's husband owned a dry goods store and George (Jr.) worked there, so the white Golladay family was no longer involved with farming.

It is not currently known what happened to the farm that had once been the Golladay plantation. Additional research is needed to determine the exact location of this farm, but it was about three miles west of the town of Grenada.

So far, only one black Golladay from Mississippi has been found outside the state in the 1870 census. Jesse Golladay had moved to Fayette County, Tennessee. He was 22 years old and his wife was also from Mississippi.

The large majority of blacks still worked on the area farms during this era. A newspaper article noted:

"Lands about Grenada are especially famous for the production of melons and sweet potatoes, and for all products of the garden. The land in the vicinity produces corn and cotton very profitably."

Memphis Daily Appeal, 01 September 1873, Page 6

This article also noted that white people had the majority of voters in Grenada and controlled the town government. However the blacks had the majority of voters in Grenada County and they elected Northerners to run the county government.


At least five of the seven black men serving in the Union Army who had worked for Jacob Shall Golladay died during the war. They were between the ages of 21 and 33 years old when they enlisted, so they probably had wives and children when they died. Their wives may have remarried and taken different last names, thus making researching their families difficult.

Jacob Shall Golladay was active in national politics after the Civil War, but he kept his farm. Eddie Golladay shown as a black farmer in Jacob's household in the 1870 census. He may have been the Union soldier Edward Golladay, although this needs to be verified.

William Golladay moved his family to Nashville, but some of the black Golladay's/Golliday's stayed in Logan County, Kentucky and Montgomery County, Tennessee.


Frederick W. Golladay's wife and oldest son died, so he moved with his youngest son to live with his brother Jacob Shall Golladay in Logan County, Kentucky. What happened to the black Golladay's who worked on Frederick's farm is not currently known. On 10 November 1870, the Lebanon Herald reported the murder of a black man named Nathan Shorter. It stated that Nathan lived on "the Fred. Golladay place" which was about two and a half miles northeast of Lebanon and between the Hartsville and Hunter's Point pikes. Frederick Golladay did not live in Tennessee when this crime occurred, but this article is useful in identifying the location of the Golladay farm.

    Black Golladay's in the 1870 Kentucky census
    Black Golladay's in the 1870 Mississippi census
    Black Golladay's in the 1870 Tennessee census

The Cedar Grove Cemetery in Logan County, Kentucky contains the unmarked graves of some of these black Golliday's.

Hilliard Golliday

Harriet Golliday

Ewing Golliday

This page last updated on January 28, 2014