Rev. M. J. Holifield, one of the active local ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, of Lake County, is the son of Rev. William and Elizabeth (Copeland) Holifield. His parents were both natives of North Carolina. The father was born in 1782; the mother in 1786. They moved to Kentucky when young, and had sixteen children; seven boys and three girls lived to be grown. The entire family was Methodists, and three of the sons were ministers. Reverend William Holifield was a local minister for forty years. He was in the war of 1812 with General Jackson, and was at the battle of New Orleans, and was always a democrat. He was regarded as one of the best farmers in his neighborhood. In 1860 he died a faithful servant of the church and a worthy member of society. In 1865 his wife died.
Rev. M. J. Holifield was of German descent on his father’s side and English on the mother’s. He was born in Graves County, Kentucky, July 12, 1881. He remained with his parents until twenty one years of age, then commenced farming, and by private study prepared himself for the ministry and was licensed to preach when only twenty three years of age. He volunteered as a private in the Confederate Army, Twelfth Kentucky Cavalry, and after a year was made chaplain of the regiment, continuing in that position until the close of the war. In 1850 he married Ruth A. Hatchel, born February 28. 1882, and they had two children: William L. and James L. In 1869 his wife died and in 1871 he wedded Martha A. Watson, who was born February 10, 1833. In 1865 he moved from Kentucky to Weakley County, Tennessee, and in 1871 to Lake County. In 1878 was elected county trustee, held the office for four years and resigned.
In addition to his ministerial labors, he engaged in farming, owning a farm of 150 acres. For thirty two years he has devoted his life’s best efforts to advance his Father’s cause and has been a shining light in the Methodist Faith.