Warren De F. Holly, who represents the dairy interests of Palmyra Township, hee being extensively engaged in that line, as well as in general farming and stock-raising, is a native born son of Lee County, coming of one of its oldest pioneer families, and the homestead that he operates and occupies on section 36, of the aforementioned township is his birthplace. Here he was born June 22, 1849, and this has always been his home. He attended the local schools during his boyhood and gained a practical education, and since arriving at years of discretion has devoted himself to farming and the dairy business, for which the farm is in every way admirably adapted. its two hundred acres of well-tilled soil affords ample pasturage for a fine herd of forty cows, the farm also being otherwise well stocked, and its equipments are complete as regards commodious buildings, etc.

Our subject is a son of the venerable James N. Holly, a retired farmer of this township, whose name will always occupy an honorable place in the history of Lee County as one of its early settlers who did a good work in redeeming a portion of its soil from the wilderness. He was born in the Province of Ontario, Canada, September 15, 1806. His father, Jesse Holly, who was a son of Noah Holly, was a native of Orange County, N. Y., where he grew to manhood, and was married to Miss Anna E. DeSharrar, who is supposed to have been a native of York State. Jesse Holly and his wife went to the Province of Ontario, Canada, to live, and after the birth of their children returned to the States, and took up their residence in Illinois, spending their remaining days amid the pioneer scenes of Franklin Grove in this township, where Mrs. Holly died when about sixty years of age, and Jesse Holly when past ninety-six, leaving behind them good records as two of our most worthy pioneers.

James N. Holly grew to manhood in his Canadian birthplace and subsequently crossed the border to this country and settled among the pioneers of Ohio. He was married in that State to Miss Sophronia Harrison, their marriage taking place near Bellville. She was a native of Ohio, and was a daughter of Norman and Deliverance (Standish) Harrson, who were also born in that State, coming of some of its earliest families, and they were of distinguished ancestry, Norman Harrison belonging to the Harrison family that has figured so conspicuously in the history of this country, he being a cousin of General William Henry Harrison, the President and grandfather of our present ruler; while his wife was a direct descendant of Captain Miles Standish, one of the i'ilgrirn fathers. Norman Harrison and wife left Ohio several years after their marriage anil going to Clinton County, Iowa, died there when full of years. They were farmers by occupation, and were well and favorably known.

The parents of our subject lived on a farm in Ohio until after the birth of their first two children, and then they came across the intervening country with wagon and teams to Illinois. They located on a settler's claim in Franklin Grove, Mrs. Holly being the first white woman to live there, and her brother Charles Harrison took the first claim that was taken in that grove or in that region for a distance of many miles. They made some slight improvements, but two years later sold their claim and moved still further Westward, crossing the Mississippi, and taking up a claim on the west bank of that river on the site of the present city of Clinton, Iowa. Mr. Holly, with a man by the name of Murray, and possibly one or two others, laid out a town on his claim, and gave it the name of New York. The town, however, never materialized to any great exteut,as during the two years that the Hollys remained there its population never exceeded fifteen whites. The Indians, who were generally peaceable, were numerous in that region, ranging up and down the river at will, and occasionally gave our friends a call. One fall night they were roused from their slumbers by some fifteen of these dusky visitants creeping under the quilts which served as a door to their primitive dwelling and arranging themselves comfortably around the fire in the rude fireplace.

After some two years residence in Iowa, the father of our subject decided to return to his former settlement at Franklin Grove, and locate in this county permanently. After a time he came into Palmyra Township, and secured a desirable tract of land from the government, which has since been transformed into the fine farm which is now owned by his son. After living on it to make a home, he went to Dixon to keep a hotel, but was very unfortunate in that venture, as the very first night that the establishment was opened it was burned to the ground. About this time he also lost heavily by having to pay a bail bond, which amounted to $1,000 for his share, for the land office agent at this point. He afterward devoted himself exclusively to farming with good success until the infirmities of age obliged him to abandon the arduous labors connected with his calling. September 15, 1891, was his birthday, and marked for him a long and honorable life of eighty-five years duration, and during that time he had witnessed the wonderful progress of the country at large, which has been made through discoveries and inventions that have revolutionized the world; he had been an eye-witness of that which more nearly concerns, him, the remarkable growth of this county, which he has aided by his work, and which has been his home for so many years. He was formerly a Republican in politics, but later a Democrat. His first vote was cast for his kinsman, Gen. William H. Harrison, and he also supported Stephen A. Douglas at the polls, he having been his schoolmate in his boyhood days. His wife is yet living, and is nearly eighty-three years old, having been born February 15, 1809. Both have long been connected with the Christian Church. James N. Holly died September 16, 1891.

Warren Holly is one of eight children, the youngest son, and the youngest but one of the family, three of whom are now dead. He was married in this, his native township, to Miss Mary Catherine Carpenter. One daughter, Belle A., a bright and accomplished young lady, completes their pleasant home circle. Two other children have been born to them who are now dead, James E., and a child who died in infancy. Mrs. Holly is a native of Bradford County, Pa., born October 4, 1850, and one of the three daughters, all of whom are living, of Edward and Eliza (Goodwin) Carpenter. Her parents were natives respectively of Pennsylvania and New York, and were married in the former State. Mr. Carpenter was a carpenter by trade, and carried on his calling in Pennsylvania until after the birth of his children, when he emigrated with his family to Dixon, in this county, in 1854. He pursued carpentering in that city until his death in 1864 when only forty-two years old, he having in the meantime spent six years in Minnesota. His wife died January 16, 1890, aged sixty-four years. Both were consistent christians of the Methodist persuasion. In polities, Mr. Carpenter was a Republican. Mr. Holly and his amia- ble wife are progressive people, who occupy a high place in their community where they are so well known, and their cordial, unaffected, hospitable manners have won them the warm regard of all with whom they associate. Mr. Holly is a Republican, and as a loyal citizen should, has always manifested a keen interest in his native township, and has done all in his power to promote its welfare. He has held the office of Township Collector, and performed the duties thus devolving upon him to the entire satisfaction of all concerned.

Portraits and Biographical Pg 300-302


Lee Co Bios

Illinois - "Our Way"