Bio: George W. Holeton, 1840

Contact: stan@wiclarkcountyhistory.org

 

----Source: History of Clark County, Wisconsin (1918), by Franklyn, Curtiss-Wedge




            George W. Holeton and Family

GEORGE W. HOLETON, whose record as soldier, farmer and business man is one to command respect, now lives retired at Abbotsford, and is one of the best known men in this part of the state. He was born at Poland, Mahoning County, Ohio, July 9, 1840, son of Richard S. and Mary Ann (Miller) Holeton. The father, who was a native of New Jersey, was a millwright by trade and resided for many years at Niles, Ohio, where both he and his wife died. The latter was born in Ireland and was but one year old when she came to America with her parents, they locating in Philadelphia. She was married to Richard S. Holeton, in Poland, Ohio. Richard S. Holeton was of one-half Scotch, one-quarter English and one quarter Holland Dutch blood, while his wife was three quarters Scotch, and one-quarter Irish.

George W. Holeton acquired his elementary education in the district and public schools of Poland, Ohio, and afterwards took a seminary course. He then took up millwright work with his father, being thus occupied for three years, after which he engaged in business as carpenter and contractor. On the breaking out of the Civil War, when President Lincoln issued his first call for volunteers, Mr. Holeton, then 20 years old, enlisted as a private in Company E, 23d Ohio Volunteer Infantry, for three years' service, and on June 8, 1861, was appointed corporal. This regiment contained among its members two men who afterwards attained to the highest office in the nation, that of President, namely, William McKinley, captain of Co. G, and R. B. Hayes, major of the regiment.

On April 13, 1863, Corporal Holeton was made sergeant. On Dec. 29, 1863, he re-enlisted as a veteran volunteer in the same company of the same regiment, and on April 20, 1865, was commissioned as second lieutenant of Company G, that regiment under Captain McKinley. He was honorably discharged at Cleveland, Ohio, Aug. 3, 1865, having served four years and two months, lacking three days. Among the battles in which Mr. Holeton was engaged were those of Carnifax Ferry, Giles Court House, South Mountain, Hockingsport, Cloud Mountain, New River Bridge, New Market, Piedmont, Lynchburg, Monocacy, Cable Town, Snicker's Ferry, Winchester, Stevenson Depot, Carter Farm, Martinsburg, Cedar Creek (first), Halltown, Berryville, Apequon, Fisher's Hill, and Cedar Creek (second), besides a good many skirmishes. On Sept. 14, 1862, at the battle of South Mountain, Maryland, he was wounded in the right leg by a gunshot, and for two days lay in an orchard at Middletown, Md., being then taken to a church at Fredericks City, where he remained three days. From there he was taken in a box car to Philadelphia with many other wounded soldiers and put in the old armory building, then being used as a hospital at the corner of 16th and, Filbert streets, where he received good care. After, remaining there for about three months he rejoined his regiment. On several other occasions during his period of service he received minor wounds. After his discharge from the army Mr. Holeton returned to Niles, Ohio, and resumed his trade of carpenter, also engaging in business as a jobber, Contractor. in October, 1871, he came to Clark County, Wis. making the journey by rail to Humbird, from there by stage to Neillsville and from Neillsville going to Marathon County, where he located a soldiers homestead of 160 acres in section 20, Town 29, Range 2, his tract being the southwest quarter of the section. His homestead certificate is No. 372 dated Aug. 1, 1874, and signed by U. S. Grant. Upon his arrival he put up a board shanty, hauling the boards from Loyal. His first load of goods he sent up from Neillsville, where he was then living and doing carpenter work.

In March, 1872, his family arrived from Ohio, with the goods landing at Stevens Point, then the end of the railroad onto the farm April 1. Soon afterward there came to live with them, Mrs. Holeton's sister, then in her teens, now Mrs. August Homsted, of Dorchester. Mr. Holeton erected a good log cabin, 18 by 24 feet, with a scoop roof. He sold forty acres of his farm to his brother-in-law, Charles Ferguson who was not then old enough to take a homestead. Mr. Holeton's land was all wild and covered with heavy timber, most of it being hardwood. He worked early and late in improving his place and by industry and perseverance, coupled with farsightedness and general good judgment, he made steady progress which was gradually accelerated as conditions improved. In time his log house was replaced by a small frame houses and the latter by a modern farm house of nine rooms. A good barn and a complete set of out-buildings were also erected. Mr. Holeton cleared ninety-five acres of his land, of which eighty acres were under the plow. Thirty acres are still in timber. One of his principal industries was sheep raising and he kept usually from fifty to 100 head, full-blooded animals of the Leicester breed. He also raised horses and mules and was engaged in diversified farming, becoming one of the most successful farmers of Marathon county, and was so prominent as a citizen that the township in which he settled was, in 1876, named in his honor, with a slight difference in spelling, the name given to it being Holton.

He was the second chairman of the town board, serving two years, and on April 15, 1875, had the first school district set off--District No. 1, in the western part of the township-Miss Florence Barker of Loyal, Clark County, being the first teacher. Mr. Holeton was clerk of the school board for twenty-six years, and also served with credit for many years as justice of the peace and in other offices, and as a public spirited citizen took a warm and helpful interest in every worthy cause. He helped to build the little church in his community and also the grist mill at Dorchester. In 1910 Mr. Holeton purchased his present residence in Abbotsford, rented his farm and retired from active work. He is still ready, however, to perform the duties of a good citizen whenever his services may be needed and since coming to Abbotsford has served two years on the village council. In 1915 he joined Abbotsford Lodge, No. 298, A. F. & A. M. He was a charter member of Howard F. Prime Post, No. 168, G. A. R., of Dorchester, being later transferred to the Isaac N. Earl Post, No. 112, at Colby, where he now belongs.

Both he and his wife are members of the Eastern Star, Mrs. Holeton also belonging to the Woman's Relief Corps at Colby. Mr. Holeton was married, April 4, 1867, at Niles, Ohio, to Emma A. Ferguson, who was born in Wethersfield Township, Trumbull County, Ohio, Sept. 17, 1843, daughter of Aaron and Elizabeth (Carleton) Ferguson. 

He and his wife are the parents of four children: Ralph C., born Jan. 8, 1868; Gertrude Emma, Jan. 27-, 1870; George R., Jan. 2, 1878, and Mary Maude, April 29, 1881. Ralph C. is a representative farmer and breeder of pure blooded Guernsey cattle in Holton Township, Marathon County, this state. He married Grace Jarvis, and has one child, Elizabeth. Prof. George R. is a resident of Olds, Alberta, Canada, where he has charge of the mechanics' department in one of the Provincial schools of agriculture. He married Mabel C. Glass, and they have four children: Richard, Mary, Douglass and William. Mary Maude is the wife of S. A. Jerdee, who is engaged in the mercantile business at Arkdale, Wis., where he is postmaster and notary public. Gertrude Emma married Lorell M. Cole, who was born Nov. 24, 1866, at Hicksville, Ohio, and is now professor of manual training at the James Millikin University, Decatur, 111. Their children are: Ruth Esther (adopted), born at Chicago, Nov. 16, 1892, and married Dec. 25, 1915, to John S. Hyer, of the United States Navy; Evelyn Percy, born April 22, 1896, at Colby, Wis., now a teacher at Decatur, Ill.; Merry Mirth, born at Colby, Wis., Dec. 15, 1898, now a student at the James Millikin University; George Lorell, born at Menomonie, Wis., July 25, 1906; and Richard Holeton, born Jan 2, 1909, at Decatur, Ill.

 The fourth of April, 1917, was the golden anniversary of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Holeton, but on account of the latter not being in good health at that time, its celebration was postponed to August 26, when all their children gathered at the home, and the occasion, though quiet, was a very enjoyable one. They were the recipients of many handsome gifts. They are members of the Presbyterian Church at Abbotsford, in which village and the vicinity, as in Marathon County, they have numerous friends, keeping open house and showing a generous hospitality.

The Holeton family, on both sides, has long been noted for its intense loyalty and patriotism, a reputation which George W. Holeton's distinguished war record has most admirably sustained. Richard Holeton, father of Richard S. Holeton, was born and reared in New Jersey, and was wounded in the leg in the war of 1912. Francis Carleton, great grandfather of Mrs. George Holeton, and grandfather of her mother, Elizabeth (Carleton) Ferguson, was born in County Down in the northern part of Ireland in 1756, of Scotch ancestry. He came to America in 1774, and was a valiant soldier in the terrible struggle which gave birth to this Nation. Through seven years of the Revolutionary War he bravely fought for our National independence. He was in some of the hardest fought battles of the war, including Monmouth and Trenton. His high and noble spirit of patriotism inspired his three sons during the struggle of 1812, and led quite a number of his later descendants to enlist in the Union Army during the Civil War, and the noble traditions of the entire family are upholding a number of the present younger generation of the family who are fighting now in France under Old Glory for Freedom and Liberty.

 

 


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