Family2Remember Home page

Return to Biographies page

Nicholas Holt
1602 - January 20, 1685

(Ed. Note: Nicholas HOLT is one of my G-G-G-G-G-G-G-G-G grandfathers)

The progenitor of the American branch of the HOLT family was a pioneer settler in two towns and a man of influence among his associates. There is a tradition that the dwelling of Nicholas Holt, the immigrant, is one which still stands on Holt's Hill, sometimes called Prospect Hill, in Andover, Massachusetts. The descendants of the immigrant in Andover have been noticeable for their attention to learning. The Holt family in that town included four college graduates previous to 1800. The family in this country in all its branches is very large and includes many names of considerable orominence in the town of Andover and elsewhere. Nicholas Holt was a passenger in the ship "James," of London, William Corper, master, which sailed from Southampton, England, about April 16, 1635, and arrived at Boston, New England, June 3 following, after a voyage of forty-eight days. The names of forty-three male persons are found as passengers on the ship's roll, "besides the wives and children of Dyvers of them." Among the former occurs the name of Nicholas Holte, of Romsey (county of Hants), England, "Tanner." Undoubtedly he was accompanied by a wife and at least one child. He proceeded the same year to Newbury, where he was one of the first settlers and resided there some ten years. There he received his proportionate share of the lands allotted to each proprietor. In 1637 his name appears as one of the ten persons who in order to prevent the relection of Sir Henry Vane to the office of governor, and to strengthen the friends of Governor Winthrop, went from Newbury to Cambridge on foot, forty miles, and qualified themselves to vote by taking the freeman's oath May 17, 1637. This defeat was a severe blow to the pride of Sir Henry Vane. On April 19, 1638, Nicholas Holt was chosen one of the surveyors of highways "for one whole yeare & till new be chosen." February 24, 1637, it was agreed that "William Moody, James Browne, Nic. Holt, Francis Plummer, Na Noyse, shall lay out all the general fences in the towne, that are to be made, as likewise tenn rod between man & man for garden plotts this is to be done by the 5th of March on the penalty of 5s apiece." In June, 1638, all the able-bodied men of Newbury were enrolled and formed into four companies under the command of John Pike, Nicholas Holt, John Baker and Edmund Greenleafe. They were required to "bring their arms compleat on Sabbath day in a month and the lecture day following," and "stand sentinell at the doors all the time of the publick meeting." The first church records of Newbury prior to 1674 are lost, and consequently the name of Nicholas Holt is not found, but it appears in the following order of the town record: "Jan. 18, 1638. It is ordered that Richard Knight, James Brown & Nicholas Holt shall gather up the first payment of the meeting house rate, & the town within one fourteennight on the penalty of 6s 8d apiece." In 1644 Nicholas Holt was one of the ten original settlers who removed their families from Newbury and accompanied their pastor, the Rev. John Woodbridge, to "Chochichawicke," now Andover. On a leaf in the town records containing the list of householders in order as they came to the town his name is sixth. He was one of the ten male members, including the pastor elect, who composed the church at the ordination of Mr. John Woodbridge, October 24,1645. May 26, 1647, he was appointed in connection with Sergeant Marshall "to lay out the highway between Reading and Andover, and with Lieut. Sprague and Sergeant Marshall to view the river (Ipswich River) and make return to the court of the necessity and charge of a bridge and make return to the next session of this court." At a general court held May 2, 1652, he was appointed with Captain Johnson, of Woburn, and Thomas Danforth, of Cambridge, "to lay the bounds of Andover," and May 18, 1653, he was appointed with Captain Richard Walker and Lieutenant Thomas Marshall to lay out the highway betwixt Andover and Reading and at the same term of court, September 20, 1655, the committee made a report of said survey.

Nicholas Holt died at Andover, January 30, 1685. In his early, life he carried on the business of manufacturer of woodenware. A few years before his death, in distributing his property among his children, he styles himself "dish-turner." The word "tanner" on the roll of the ship "James" is probably an error of the recording official who mistook the word turner for tanner. There is no doubt but that the same motives that actuated the other early settlers of New England in leaving their pleasant homes in England and emigrating to this country had their due influence on him. That he was a religious man is made evident by the fact that he was one of the original members of the Andover church, and by his forsaking his native home in England to encounter the privations and difficulties of the wilderness in order that he might enjoy the privileges of worshipping God according to the convictions of his own mind and his understanding of God's word. While honestly and conscientiously discharging his duties in this regard he took an active part in public affairs of the town and his appointment on important committees in laying out roads and other improvements indicates that his services were valuable and appreciated. Nicholas Holt was married in England a few years before he came to Massachusetts. The name of his wife was Elizabeth Short, of whom nothing more is known except that she died at Andover, November 9, 1656. He married (second) June 20, 1658, Hannah, widow of Daniel Rolfe, and daughter of Humphrey Bradstreet. She died June 20, 1665, at Andover, and he married (third) May 21, 1666, Widow Martha Preston, who died March 21, 1703, aged eighty years. He had by his first wife four sons and four daughters; by his second wife, one son and one daughter. His children, born in Newbury, were: Elizabeth, Mary, Samuel, Andy; and in Andover, Henry Nicholas, James, John and Priscilla. Various members of the Holt family removed from Andover, Massachusetts, soon after the revolutionary war, in the settlement of the towns of Maine, back from the coast. Captain William Holt, of Andover, a master mariner, with his two sons, Stephen and Nathan, settled in Wilton and later in Weld, Maine; the sons in 1807, and the father in 1812. The sons took up land, and were for many years farmers. Another son of William was Asa, who lived in Weld, where he died in 1825.

Bibliographic Information: Cutter, William Richard. New England Families Genealogical and Memorial: Third Series, Volume IV. 1915. Reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., inc., 1996.

Back to Top

Back to biographies

Family2Remember Home page

This document maintained by webmaster@family2remember.com.
Material Copyright © 2001 I-Net Memories