Dr. Timothy Hudson
Eudocia Holcombe was born in 1809 near Cross Keys, Union District South Carolina. She was the daughter of Rev. Hosea Holcombe (1780 – 1841) and Cassandra Jackson (1780 – 1848). Her father was a Baptist minister, who later became a staunch advocate for the cause of missions in Alabama Baptist churches. When she was two years of age, Eudocia’s parents moved their family north to Lincoln Co NC. There they met the family of Richard Rockett and most likely attended church with them. About 1816 or early 1817, Hosea Holcombe moved his family back to Union District SC and lived there for a year before moving to Alabama Territory. He settled in the Jones Valley in what is now Birmingham, Jefferson County Alabama. In that year Hosea Holcombe and Richard Rockett, their wives, and one of Rockett’s female slaves founded Ruhuma Baptist Church. Holcombe served this church for 4 years, and it later grew into one of the largest Baptist Churches in Birmingham, as it remains today. About 1822, the Holcombes and Rocketts left the area of Ruhuma Baptist Church and moved to what is now Bessemer. There Hosea Holcombe helped to found Canaan Baptist Church, where he served as pastor for the rest of his life.
Holcombe worked very hard for the Baptist cause in Alabama over the next 20 years. He helped to found the Alabama State Baptist Convention and served as its president for a number of years. He wrote religious articles, founded numerous churches, and preached against slavery, tobacco, alcohol, etc. The state convention requested he write a history of the Baptist churches in the late 1830’s, so he traveled over 1000 miles on horseback collecting materials for this work. He finished it in 1840, titled “History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Alabama”. The strain of traveling had worn him out, though, and Holcombe died at his home in 1841.
In 1831, Eudocia Holcombe married James William Rockett, the son of Richard Rockett and his first wife, Eleanor Abernathy. James was born in 1792, making him 17 years older than Eudocia. They lived near they parents in Jefferson Co AL until 1841, but after Hosea Holcombe’s death, many of the Rockett and Holcombes moved west to Lafayette Co MS. James and Eudocia bought a farm near Water Valley, in Lafayette Co MS, and they lived there until his death in 1857. In the mid-1850s, Eudocia’s sister Teresa and her husband William Hunt moved to northern Union Parish Louisiana. In the fall of 1858, Eudocia Holcombe Rockett packed up her household and moved across the Mississippi River to Spearsville, in Union Parish LA. Her son William H.Rockett remained in Mississippi, along with her daughter Martha A. Rockett Royal, but the rest of her children moved to Union Parish.
Eudocia joined Spearsville Baptist Church and bought a farm from her brother-in-law William Hunt near Spearsville. During the war, her son Hosea H. Rockett traveled back to Mississippi and joined a military unit with his brother William H. Rockett. They trained and were sent to Richmond, Virginia, where they both became quite sick. They were discharged from the army in late 1861 due to illness and were sent home. In the spring, William H. Rockett joined the cavalry and later served under General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Hosea H. Rockett joined the army and served in the Vicksburg campaigns of 1862 and 1863. He fought against General William T. Sherman at the Battle of Grand Bayou in December 1862, and saw heavy action at the Battles of Grand Gulf and Port Gibson. He was captured there and sent north to a Yankee prison, but was released in the fall of 1863. Hosea lost a eye in the battle or while in prison.
Eudocia’s sons Joseph Cannon and Thomas Martin Rockett were too young to serve in the army during the war.
Eudocia Holcombe Rockett died in 1879 at the age of 70 and was buried in the Spearsville Cemetery.
I wrote this brief biography based upon family information first given to me by my cousin Wayne Barrett, as well as my own personal research into the Rockett and Holcombe families.
Dr. Tim Hudson is the mathematics department head at Southeastern Louisiana and an avid historian on Union Parish. Hudson is a Union Parish native and graduate of Farmerville High School.