William Harrison Holden

Headstone of William Harrison Holden (1826-1913), Nancy A. Mizell Holden (1836-1902), and Florence C. Holden (1876-1903) at the Conway United Methodist Church Cemetery in 2003. William Harrison Holden arrived in Orlando from Virginia in 1865, after serving Watson’s Company Florida Mounted Troops during the Civil War. The Holden family settled on the south side of Lake Holden and homesteaded 1,200 acres of land. Holden raised cattle on his land and was the first to bring the Brahman bull to the Florida strain of cattle. He also was known as one of Central Florida’s largest commercial citrus growers and began the first grapefruit grove in the area. Holden served the Orange County Commission from 1874 to 1887 and sat as a member of the Convention Committee in Tallahassee in October of 1875.

Holden’s wife, Nancy, was the daughter of David Mizell, Jr., the first white settler of Winter Park. She and Holden had six children together: William Holden, Norman Holden, John Holden, Mary Holden, Cora Holden, and Florence C. Holden. Also buried here is the Holden’s youngest daughter, Florence. Both Nancy and florence died of tuberculosis.

Located at 3401 South Conway Road in Conway in Orlando, Florida, the Conway United Methodist Church (UMC) was formed in 1870 as the Prospect Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MECS). In 1874, Morgan Montgomery Mizell and his wife donated two acres of land to build a church for the congregation. One acre was designated for the cemetery and a log cabin-like structure was constructed on the other acre, which was located at the corner of Conway Road and Anderson Road. Reverend James D. McDonald was the first to lead the church. In 1881, a new wood-frame building was constructed and was used by the Prospect MECS until it was replaced by Callaway Hall in 1959. A new sanctuary was completed in 1973. The hall was remodeled in 1994 and currently serves as the administration building. The cemetery includes graves of several members of the English Colony, which was platted in 1892 as the East Conway Churchyard Cemetery.

(source: Riches of Central Florida)

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