The People of Iowa
SPECIAL TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR, INDUSTRY,
EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A. M.
Curator of the
Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and New York
THE HOLLEY FAMILY. The mercantile business of the L. W. Holley & Sons
Company, stationers, printers, binders and marking device manufacturers, and
dealers in office and bank supplies, located at 100 E. Grand Avenue, Des Moines, since 1921, was established in 1899 in Madison, Wisconsin, by L. W. Holley. About three years later a branch was started in Des Moines. Both businesses grew, but as the territory covered was largely west from Des Moines the two houses were consolidated in 1909.
LeRoy W. Holley was born at Stoughton, Wisconsin, August 11, 1850. His
father and mother at that time operated the Village Tavern. His father, Hollis
Holley, and mother, Laura Jane Finch-Holley, had migrated from Moravia, Cayuga
County, New York State, a few years before that. His father was Michael
Holley, who had a brother, Justice Holley.
Hollis Holley was a joiner or cabinet maker by trade, and afterwards settled
on one of the finest prairie farms near Janesville, Wisconsin, where he
lived almost up to the time of his death in 1893.
During the Civil war he was very active in stimulating enlistments and
supporting the Union, he himself being crippled in one foot, and rather too old
for military service. As only son, George, by a former marriage was badly
wounded in the throat, and captured in the first battle of Bull Run. He was
confined in Libby Prison, where he died.
L. W. Holley grew up on the farm, from which he migrated at maturity to Iowa, and spent two years here in various employments. He wished to homestead, however, and moved to Orleans, Nebraska, where he homesteaded a valley farm. He afterwards engaged in contracting and building, also well drilling.
It was while in Orleans that he met and married Allie Newton, a school
teacher, who, with her parents, had located in that section, going there from the
Muskingum Valley in Southern Ohio. Her father was Abel S. Newton (July 23,
1832-July 11, 1884). Her mother was Marie Jane (Forsythe) Newton, who was
born August 28, 1836, and is living in 1930 at the age of ninety-four. His
father was Gideon Newton, born June 26, 1804, and was the first white male child born in Ohio. The birth occurred in the block house at Marietta when settlers were there for protection during an Indian uprising. Gideon Newton's father was Sylvanis Newton, who was born in New York State. His wife was Elizabeth Stacy, born March 2, 1766, a daughter of Col. William Stacy, of Massachusetts, who commanded a regiment during the American Revolutionary war, and was buried at Marietta, Ohio.
Abel S. Newton himself, served with the Seventy-eighth Ohio Infantry during
the latter part of the American Civil war, and was with General Sherman on
his march to the sea. Several of his brothers also served in the war.
During the pioneer days in Western Nebraska all of the crops were taken
clean by the grasshoppers for two seasons; and at one time the early settlers
were threatened by an Indian uprising, which, fortunately, did not reach their
section of the state. Buffalo, antelope and other wild game were very
plentiful in the early days, and were depended on by the early settlers for their
meat supply. L. W. Holley, being an excellent shot, always provided plenty of
meat for their homestead farm. The carcass of an animal could be hung high
up in the tree and would not be molested by flies, they being unknown in the
There were three children born to L. W. and Allie (Newton) Holley; Claud C.,
October 23, 1883; Mabel A., April 25, 1887, and Harold H., September 26,
1889. In 1890 the family moved to the Puget Sound section of the State of
Washington. Here the mother, Allie Newton-Holley, died in 1893. The grief
stricken father and children then returned to Nebraska for a short time and then to
his old home in Southern Wisconsin, where they spent some years.
As mentioned above, L. W. Holley moved to Des Moines about 1901, and it was here that he married Lula Steele, and they have lived here since. No children were born to the second marriage. He retired from active management of the business in 1910, and the three children, Claud, Mabel and Harold, have been in charge ever since. The firm employs from fifty to sixty people, besides about forty traveling salesmen who cover territory from Ohio to the Pacific, and from Wisconsin on the north to Alabama on the south.
Claud C., manager of the business, is a member of the Des Moines and the National Chambers of Commerce, the Grant Club, the Conopus Service Club, and is also affiliated with the First Methodist Church, of which he is a trustee. He is a member of the Pioneer Lodge No. 22, A. F. and A. M., in Des Moines; also a Scottish Rite Mason, Shriner and a Knight of Pythias. July 2, 1912, he married Grace Brown, daughter of Dallas M. and Eliza Brown, of Greenville,
Indiana. They have one child, Helen Marjorie, born October 13, 1914. Mabel A. acts as treasurer and office manager of the company. She is a member of the First Methodist Church, of the Woman's Rotary Club and of the Kappa Tau Delphian.
Harold H., superintendent of the printing department, is a member of Pioneer
Lodge No. 22, A. F. and A. M., a York Rite Mason, Shriner and a member of
the Grotto. He married Caroline Myer November 29, 1911. They are both
affiliated with the Christian Science Church. They have two sons, John, born July
10, 1913, and LeRoy, born September 27, 1917.
*Check your facts, don't know how accurate.