Biographical Note

John Milton Holley (1777-1836) : John Milton Holley, who went simply by Milton until he came of age, was born in Salisbury, CT in September 1777. He was the eldest son of Luther and Sarah (Dakin) Holley. Milton's formal education began in 1788 when he was sent to Boston to study English and penmanship under Caleb Bingham. He excelled in his academic pursuits and, accompanied by his younger brothers Myron and Horace, enrolled in the Academy at Williamstown in 1793. Milton eventually entered Williams College, but only studied there for one year since he was needed at home to help his father with his merchandising business. In 1794, the Holley family moved to Dover, NY and resided there for five years before returning to Salisbury. During that time, a thriving business and a seat in the General Assembly often kept Luther away from home, and Milton managed the affairs of his absent father.

Milton displayed a keen aptitude for business and worked as his father's partner until Luther retired in 1810. After his father's retirement, Milton formed a partnership with John Coffing, and the firm of Holley and Coffing became one of the most prominent iron operations in the area. On March 9, 1800, Milton married Sally Porter and with her had three sons and five daughters. Sally Porter Holley died in 1816 and, later that same year, Milton married Mary Ann Cogswell with whom he had five more children. Milton retired from active business in 1834 and died two years later on November 14, 1836.

Myron Holley (1779-1841) : Myron, the second son of Luther and Sarah Holley, was born in Salisbury on April 29, 1779. Like his older brother Milton, Myron received his higher education in Williamstown. Myron, however, completed a full four years at Williams College and graduated in 1799 at the age of 20. In 1800, he began studying law and was admitted to the New Haven County Bar in 1802. He soon discovered, however, that he was ill-suited to this profession and abandoned it after a few years. On December 4, 1804, he married Sally House and with her had 12 children.

Myron Holley was a talented man who led a life of influence and distinction. In 1816, he was elected to the General Assembly and was reelected in 1820 and 1821. In 1816, Myron also became a member of the New York Canal Commission for the building of the Erie Canal. Although he was implicated in a scandal in 1824, and lost his house and property in Lyons as a result, Myron was later found innocent of any wrongdoing and his property was restored to him in 1828. Myron was also an integral part of the New York Anti-Masonic movement and was one of the State's delegates to the National Anti-Masonic Convention in Philadelphia in 1830. An ardent abolitionist, he began publishing the Rochester Freeman in 1833 and helped to establish the Liberty Party in 1840. Myron Holley died in Rochester, NY on March 4, 1841.

John Milton Holley (1777-1836) Papers, 1793-1799


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