HOLMAN (Attleboro family). For something more than two centuries the Holman family of which the Attleboro Holmans are a branch has been identified with the history of this Commonwealth, and for half of that period the Holmans have been people of distinction in the town just named, closely identified with its social, religious, educational and business life.
The progenitor of this Massachusetts Holman family, Solomon Holman, with his brother John, is said to have come from the Bermuda Islands to Newburyport, the family tradition being that the Holman family came from Wales to the Bermuda Islands some time between 1670 and 1690; that the two named were seized by a press-gang and brought to this country and escaped from a British ship at Newburyport; that John, the youngest, went to North Carolina and Solomon settled in Newbury. Coffin’s Newbury says Solomon Holman and wife came there about 1693 or 1694. Solomon Holman married Mary Barton and their twelve children were:
- Mary Holman, born Feb. 24, 1694
- Solomon Holman, born Nov. 25, 1697
- Edward Holman, born Jan. 26, 1699
- Elizabeth Holman, born Oct. 24, 1701
- Elizabeth Holman (2), born March 14, 1703
- John Holman, born Oct. 24, 1705
- Sarah Holman, born Oct. 11-30, 1707
- Ruth Holman, born in December, 1708
- Rachael Holman, born Sept. 23, 1710
- Sarah Holman, born May 8, 1713
- Anna Holman, born April 25, 1715
- Thomas Holman, born June 24, 1717
From this source came the Attleboro settler, Rev. Nathan Holman, who for forty and more years was one of the most useful citizens of his community. For twenty years of that period he was the beloved pastor of the Congregational Church at East Attleboro, and as preacher, teacher and citizen did much to elevate his fellowmen; and his posterity after him have worthily worn the family name and sustained its reputation, being men of learning, of scholarly attainments, and adorning the professions they have followed or are now active in, one of them being the present David Emory Holman, M. D., of New York City and Attleboro.
From Solomon Holman, the emigrant settler, Dr. Holman’s lineage is through Edward, Lieut. David, Rev. Nathan and Maj. David Emory Holman. These generations somewhat in detail and in the order given follow.
Edward Holman, son of Solomon, born Jan. 26, 1699, married May 19, 1726, in Newbury, Mass., Hannah Emery. Their children were:
- Hannah Holman, born Feb. 4, 1727
- Mary Holman, born Oct. 24, 1728
- Edward Holman, born Oct. 13, 1730
- John Holman, born July 21, 1732
- Elizabeth Holman, born Oct. 4, 1734
- David Holman, born Feb. 19, 1737
- Solomon Holman and Sarah Holman (twins), born April 12, 1738
- Joshua Holman, born May 13, 1741
Lieut. David Holman, son of Edward, born Feb. 19, 1737, married Lucy Thurston, July 4, 1760. Their children were:
- John Holman, born Dee. 26, 1761
- David Holman, born March 26, 1764
- Abigail Holman, born Sept. 6, 1766
- Rev. Nathan Holman, born May 17, 1769
- Maj. Peter Holman, born June 28, 1772
- Dr. Thurston Holman, born April 27, 1775
- Rev. David Holman, born Dec. 13, 1777
- Aaron Holman, born Sept. 7, 1780
- Emery Holman, born Sept. 28, 1783
- Parley Holman, born Sept. 5, 1786
Two of these sons, Nathan and David, were graduated from Brown University and entered the ministry of the Congregational Church. Rev. David was a member of the class of 1803. He studied theology with his older brother, Nathan, and Rev. Dr. Emmons, and for many years was pastor of the church at Douglass, Massachusetts.
Rev. Nathan Holman, son of David, was born in Sutton, Mass., perhaps that part which became Milbury, May 17, 1769. His father having a large family it was necessary for the older sons to aid in the work of the farm, which fell partly on Nathan, who remained at home until the age of twenty-one. Desirous of a college education, to obtain which under the circumstances meant self-denial and economy, he nevertheless resolutely set out for the task. Suffice it to say that he entered Brown University, became a diligent scholar, won honors and was graduated in 1797. He then studied theology with Rev. Edward Mills, of Sutton, Mass., and Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Emmons, of Franklin, and in 1800 was ordained pastor of the Congregational Church at East Attleboro. He continued in this relation with the church until the spring of 1821, and for twenty and more years thereafter, while not regularly settled over any church, often preached, was engaged in teaching, and did much to uplift and elevate mankind where his preaching and teaching and Godly life were heard and seen. He died Oct. 8, 1844.
Rev. Mr. Holman was a man of perseverance and firmness, one of dignified bearing and manner, solemn in his style of preaching, and possessing a kindly heart and nature that endeared him to all. His home was ever open to his friends and one in which in his time and since has been dispensed a generous hospitality.
On Nov. 25, 1801, Rev. Nathan Holman married Lettice, born Dec. 25, 1768, daughter of Hon. Samuel Morey, Esq., of Norton, Mass. She died March 6, 1848. Their children were:
- Samuel Morey Holman, born Dec. 1, 1803, is mentioned below
- David Emory Holman, born Oct. 12, 1805, is mentioned below
- Mary Hodges Holman, born Feb. 24, 1808, married Col. Mason Stone, of Norton, Massachusetts
Samuel Morey Holman, born Dec. 1, 1803, in Attleboro, was reared there, attending the public schools of the place and being under the direction of his father, who, as stated, was also engaged there in teaching. He was occupied in farming, served as postmaster of East Attleboro, as selectman, assessor, etc. He was a member of the famous Washington Rifle Corps. He married (first) Lois Lincoln, of Norton, and (second) Christina Abigail Hamlin, of West Falmouth, Mass., a woman of fine executive ability and literary attainments. He lived to be eighty-seven years old, dying March 10, 1891. His son, Samuel Morey Holman, born Jan. 1, 1862, to the second marriage, is a native of Norton, Mass. He received his early education in the public schools of Attleboro, later attending Mowry & Goffs School and the high school in Providence, Bryant & Stratton’s Business College, the Massachusetts Agricultural College at Amherst, Mass., Boston University and the Harvard Medical School. He has been prominent in the public life of his city, Attleboro, Mass., having served three years as school com-missioner, thirteen years as tax collector, four years, 1907-08-09-10, as representative in the State Legislature of Massachusetts, and at present holding the offices of grade crossing and sewage commissioner and collector of taxes. During his service in the State Assembly he was chairman of the committee on Harbors and Public Lands, and chairman of Public Charitable committee. He is prominent in many connections, being treasurer of the N. E. Photo Society, president of Company C, Commodore of the Edgewood Yacht Club, of Providence, R. I., and a valued member of various fraternal organizations; he was Grand Chancellor of the Knights of Pythias, of Massachusetts.
On Jan. 1, 1886, at West Falmouth, Mass., Mr. Holman married Virtue E. Swift, who was born at West Falmouth, daughter of Silas and Martha Gifford (Bowerman) Swift. To this union have been born five children:
- Grace Morey Holman, born Oct. 8, 1886
- Samuel Morey Holman, born Nov. 2, 1887, a student at Brown University
- Laura Swift Holman, born July 19, 1891, who died Nov. 18, 1891
- Virtue Swift Holman, born June 4, 1895, who died Nov. 17, 1907
- David Emory Holman, born Nov. 15, 1896
Mai. David Emory Holman, son of Rev. Nathan, was born Oct. 12, 1805, in East Attleboro, Mass. He acquired his education in the common schools of the town and at the Wrentham Academy. After his school days were over, for a time he was occupied in teaching school, but ere long gave this nip for business.
In his early life Mr. Holman became a member of the old Washington Rifle Corps of Attleboro, serving as its captain; and on the breaking out of the Civil war he enlisted in the service of the government, and June 15, 1861, was commissioned major of the 7th Massachusetts Regiment of Volunteers. Ill health, however, he having received a sunstroke that summer, compelled him to resign from the service. He returned to his home and later resumed his previous business, removing his works to London, England. He retired from active business in 1873, and passed his remaining years at the old home in East Attleboro, where he let a quiet life.
Major Holman was a man of fine presence, of dignified, soldierly bearing and at all times a gentleman, one of the old school, ever civil, courteous and kindly. His figure was tall and well formed, that of a vigorous man, his stalwart form ever attracting attention; and withal he was one of “nature’s nobleman.” He dispensed a generous hospitality. In his early life he represented his town for several years in the State Assembly.
In 1848 Major Holman married Charlotte Jane Balcom. Four children blessed the union:
- Nathan Emory Holman, born May 29, 1849, died Aug. 12, 1857
- Mary Amelia Holman, born March 10, 1854, died Nov. 11, 1856
- David Emory Holman Holman, M. D.
- Samuel Francis Holman.
David Emory Holman (2), M. D., son of Maj. David Emory, was born April 17, 1852, in East Attleboro, Mass., and in the public schools and at the high school of the place acquired his preparatory education. He also furthered his studies at the Classical School of Mowry and Goff, in Providence, and then entered Brown University, from which he was graduated with the degree of A. B., with the class of 1876; he has also received the A. M. degree from his alma mater. After teaching school for some time in Wisconsin and California he returned East, and he took his M. D. degree in 1880, at the Long Island College Hospital; he had also studied medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, in New York City. He has since practiced his profession, mainly in New York City, where he was deputy health officer in 1884, and has since served as a member of the health board of that city, and he was deputy health officer at the Bay of New York.
On Dec. 29, 1885, at Norton, Mass., Dr. Holman was married to Sarah Palmer Round, daughter of Dr. Round, of Norton. Mrs. Holman was a woman of liberal education, of fine literary ability, and possessed of a rare character that attracted friends and held them. Brilliant and accomplished, she was a favorite in any social gathering. Her married life was of but short duration, her death occurring Oct. 22, 1886, in New York City, and her remains rest in the Old Kirk cemetery. Her infant son died the same day.
Dr. Holman now resides at the place of his birth, the old homestead in East Attleboro, Mass. Like his father in many respects, he is notably dignified and courteous in bearing. We quote the following from “The Holmans in America”: This gentleman is making a brilliant career and wresting from fortune everything called success in life. Gifted by nature in feature and physique, he has added to his acquisitions by every opportunity of education, travel and social life, until he stands a prominent figure among a large circle of musical and literary people of New York City, where he was established as a physician.
Samuel Francis Holman, son of Maj. David Emory Holman, was born Jan. 15, 1859, and now resides in Paris, France, where he is known as an artist of note, occupying a fine studio in the avenue de Breteuil. He is probably best known as “Frank” Holman. Mr. Holman was reared in New York, and after studying for a time in the National Academy there went to Paris, where for three years he was a student at the Ecole de Beaux Arts, being under the tuition of Cabanel and Carolus Duran. One of his early pictures, the “Interior of St. Germain-de-Pres,” exhibited in New York, made a most favorable impression and was at once purchased at an encouraging figure. In 1885 he exhibited his first Salon picture, a full length portrait, and he has since produced many notable works. He is a figure painter and colorist. Among his best known productions are “Melody,” “Rose of the Alhambra” (which won nattering praise from Meissonier) , “Morocco,” “Judith,” “Titan Beauty” and “Santa Maria della Salute.” In connection with the latter it may be said that he is now one of the most celebrated painters of Venetian scenes.
Mr. Holman has devoted himself to art for pure love of his profession, and his tastes and inclinations are as evident in his surroundings and occupations as in his serious work. He has collected many beautiful pieces of furniture and art objects, and his studio is noted for, the taste and discrimination shown in its furnishing. His travels have been extensive, carrying him into every European country except Russia, and across the Mediterranean into northern Africa. Spain and Morocco have afforded him especial delight.
Mr. Holman is a musician whose playing and singing are the delight of his friends, and socially he is noted for his pleasing qualities, as well as his generous and broad nature.
Further information about this Holman family line can be found in David Emory Holman’s The Holmans in America.