Tuesday, April 6, 2010

William Humphry Holt & Mary Noss: 1803 through 1896

        Together, they lived almost the entire 19th century. Mary was the longest lived, 8 may 1803 to 8 August, 1896, 93 years and 3 months to the day. She entered this world during Thomas Jefferson's firtst term and left during Grover Cleveland's term just 4 years short of the beginning of the 20th century.
     William Humphrey Holt (left) and his twin sister, Dorcas, of whom, unfortunately, I have no picture, were the only children of Thomas Holt Jr. and Elizabeth (Humphrey?) Walker. Thomas was a batchelor for 44 years and was 45 when the twins were born. It is thought, but is by no means certain, that Elizabeth, who was the eldest daughter (?) of William and Jane Humphrey,  had been previously  married to a fellow named Walker who had died. It appears that Thomas, for whatever reason, gave the  twins to his in-laws(?), William and Jane Humphrey. They apparently kept Dorcas to raise  and William was raised by  their daughter, Margaret and her husband, Thomas Fritz. William's twin sister Dorcas married Francis Windle and moved to Ohio. At some point in William's youth he was "bound" out for his keep. To whom is not clear. What is known is that when Margaret Humphrey, wife of William Humphrey, died, she mentioned in her will her daughter Peggy, wife of Thomas Fritz, and "bound" boy William Holt, to who she left a sum of  money. William named his first male child Thomas Fritz. Could he have been bound to Thomas? Probably.
    William married Mary Noss, daughter of Jacob Noss, on 2 September, 1828 in McVeytown, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. I have  made the assumption that Mary was the daughter of the Jacob Noss who died in the Mifflin County, McVeytown area c1820 without a will. I make that assumption because she named one of her sons Samuel Jacob. Unfortunately, Mary could neither read nor write. She was described by her grandson,  Frank Holt, as a small, very active individual, who in her declining years loved to sit on her porch and smoke her small, white-clay pipe. I would love to have a picture of her.
     William's life span was a little shorter. He came along during Jefferson's second term,  4 June 1806 and lived to 31 July 1877, 71 years and 27 days. Both he and Mary lived through the War of 1812,  Andrew Jackson's two turbulent terms, the Mexican War, and the  very trying times of the Civil War. During that time, communication took a giant leap forward with the advent of the telegraph. William died one year after Ulysses S. Grant's  administration came to an end.
     Mary, most of whose life was lived during the period when candles were the primary source of illumination, lived to see the very beginning of the use of electricity for lights and the very begining of the shift from the horse and buggy for transportation to that new fangled thing called an automobile. They lived through one of the most dynamic centuries of all times.
     William and Mary Noss were married on the eve of the beginning of Andrew Jackson's tumultous two terms as President of the United States. It is my understanding that in those pre-Civil War days, the Holt males voted Democratic. If that was the case,William, if he voted, voted for one of the country's most dynamic, and controversal, President's of all time.   They didn't waste much time in consumating their marriage as their first child, Mary Jane was born the 22nd of June, 1829. She was followed by Thomas Fritz Holt (at left) on 26 October, 1830.
     The family then moved to Vanport, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Living in Vanport, at that time was a Jacob Noss whom I believe was one of Mary's brothers. I have no proof of this however. I suspect the family may have lived with Jacob while William was building their cabin home several miles away in the then wilderness of Mudlick Hollow. As I stated previously, I had a grade school chum, Bill Bailey, that I visited regularly,who was raised about 300 yards from that cabin. I frequently passed the remains of the old cabin on my way to visit Bill, totally unaware of its family significance to me, and would occassionally poke around the old crumbled logs and tumbled down fireplace stones.  It wasn't until I began doing the family genealogy some forty years later that I became aware of its significance.
     On November 24, 1834, in the family's newly constructed cabin, a set of twins, John C and Samuel Jacob Holt were born. It was nine years later,17 November 1843, before the next child, Rachel Ann, was born. Then last but not least, Dorcas was born 13 May 1848. Tragedy struck the very next day when one of the twins, John C., now 13,  died. I have never been able to determine the cause of his death.
     If anyone reading this has a picture or pictures of anyone mentioned in my blog along any of the family lines at any time, or anyone related to anyone in this blog, I would greatly appreciate a copy of that picture. I would gladly pay the cost of duplication and mailing. Also, if anyone has additional information on anyone or their descendants please do not hesitate to send me that iformation.

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