Tuesday, January 24, 2012

David Hollister & the Hollister Family (1)

Part One - Connecticut and New York

David Hollister's lifespan encompassed most of the 19th century. He was born about 1802 in New York and died 101 years later in 1903 in western Iowa. He spent a good part of his life on the move, pioneering, in New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin and finally Iowa. David's life is fairly well documented but up until now, his exact ancestry has been illusive. There are at least 40 Hollister families in New York in the 1810 census and since children's names are not given, it is hard to tell who David might belong too. In addition, the Hollister lineage in Colonial America is well known but David does not show-up in that body of work either. Recently, an on-line source has provided a possible ancestral line and I will list that here but, beware, it has yet to be verified.

Captain John Hollister built this house in Glastonbury in 1649. It has been noted
that he lived across the river in Wethersfield and probably rented out this house.
Later Hollisters would claim it as their ancestral home and live in it for generations.
The Colonial Hollisters

John Hollister (often referred to as Lieutenant John Hollister) arrived in New England in 1642 and settled in Wethersfield, Connecticut. He was born about 1612 and died in 1665. He married Joanna Treat (d.1694) and they had nine children. The colonial Hollister family is well documented in the book “The Hollister Family in America” compiled in 1886 by Lafayette Wallace Case. The book can be found on-line at Google Books and other places and read for free. It contains hundreds of Hollisters but also has many missing and incomplete entries and, as is the case with many 19th century genealogy studies, may have errors or jump to conclusions that are incorrect.

I have made the assumption that David Hollister was a descendant of John Hollister as John seems to be the progenitor of most of those named Hollister in this country. Another reason for this assumption is that the trek from Connecticut to western New York, right after the revolution, was the natural migration pattern of many. It is entirely possible that there were other Hollister immigrants to America but until proven one way or the other, it seems to be a good assumption that David Hollister is from the line of John Hollister.

John Hollister (noted as baptized in 1609) was reported to be the son of Roger Hollister and Alice Fisher who were married in 1607. Roger Hollister was reported to be the son of John Hollister and Maryan (d.1558). This family lived at the manors of Stinchcombe and Bradstone in Gloucestershire, England. In reading through the Hollister book, it seems to be a bit of a stretch that these are the ancestors of John Hollister of Connecticut, though many sources still list this ancestry.

Western New York State

Recent on-line sources have traced David Hollister back to the colonial immigrant John. According to these sources, David’s parents were John Hollister (b.1762, d.1845) and Elizabeth Van Scoter (b.1776? d.1844) who lived in Steuben County, New York. John’s father was Nathaniel Hollister II. Nathaniel Hollister II was the son of Nathaniel Hollister I (b.1702). Nathaniel Hollister I was the son of Captain Stephen Hollister (b.1658, d.1709) and Abigail Treat (b.1659). Stephen was born in Wethersfield to John Hollister the colonial immigrant and his first wife Joanna Treat (b.1618, d.1694). The Hollister book lists both Stephen and Nathaniel I but has no information on Nathaniel I's marriage or children. His parents both died when he was a child and he was appointed a guardian from the Welles family. He reportedly was in New Fairfield, Connecticut by 1744. An alternate lineage claims that Nathaniel (II) (or Nathan) was the son of Gideon (Thomas, John, John). The Hollister book has fairly complete information on Gideon and his son Nathaniel but Nathaniel's son named John died at infancy. So the lineage back to Lieutenant John Hollister is not totally proven.

Was David the son of John and Elizabeth? Here is what we know. David has been reported to have been born in Livingston or Genessee County in New York. Livingston County was carved out of Genessee and both are very close to Dansville in Stueben County. John and Elizabeth farmed in that area and are buried at Bluff Point, a rural cemetery near Dansville. It has also been noted that David had a brother named Abraham. Abraham (or Abram?) Hollister has been recorded in the 1820 census living in Benington, New York, also in the same general area of the state. Also, a biography about David's son, Hiram Hollister, notes that Hiram was born in Steuben and later "removed with his family to Pennsylvania." So, while I do not have conclusive evidence of the ancestors of David Hollister, there is some merit in the conclusions that have been drawn here (and by others).

John Hollister and Elizabeth Van Scoter had 10 children: Anthony (b.1796, d.1873), Abraham or Abram (b.1797, d.1825), Eleanor, twin of Abram (b.1797, d.1840), Elias (b.1800, d.1874), Polly (b.1802), Aseneth (b.1803), David (b.1805?), Jennette (b.1807, d.1880), James (b.1810) and John (b.1814, d.1894). Elizabeth was the daughter of Anthony Van Scoter who was a descendant of the Van Bunschoten (or Van Benschoten) family. They were Dutch colonial settlers to New York. In a book on this family, David is listed as being born in 1805 and "went west, all trace lost." Once again, it is unclear if this is the right David as his birth is off by three years but it does add some evidence to the case. Unfortunately the Van Bunschoten book does not list the wives of Abraham or David.

The landscape of rural western New York State in the area of Steuben County
has not changed much since it was first settled after the Revolutionary War.

The Movement West

David Hollister married Celinda Giddings (b.1803, d.1841) in about 1825. She was first married to Abraham Hollister (Abram). The marriage of Celinda to the Hollister brothers is confirmed in "The Giddings Family, the Descendants of George Giddings" compiled by Minot Giddings in 1882. Abraham and Celinda had at least two children, Phebe and Asenath. Information on Phebe has not been found but Asenath married Hiram French. They farmed in Crawford County, Pennsylvania and raised at least three children.

David and Celinda had at least five children: Rachel (b.1830, d.1921), Emily (b.1834), Hiram (b.1836, d.1886), John (b.1838, d.1924) and Niles (b.1840, d.1929). At some point, David, Celinda and family moved to Pennsylvania and then briefly to Indiana. Most of their children are reported to have been born in New York but at least two might have been born in Indiana and they appear to have lived there for a short time around 1840. A few years later, David and family were back in Pennsylvania and that appears to be where Celinda died. In the biography of David and Celinda's son Hiram, it notes that Hiram went from New York to Pennsylvania, then to Indiana, then back to Pennsylvania and then to Wisconsin.

The gravestone of Celinda Giddings at State Line Cemetery, Crawford County,
 Pennsylvania. She was the wife of Abraham Hollister and then David
 Hollister. The cemetery report indicates that Abraham died in Dansville,
New York and that both Abraham and David were the sons of John Hollister
 of Steuben County. The record also indicates that a "baby Hollister" is
 buried at the cemetery and died at the same time as Celinda which may
 indicate that she died during childbirth (image added to post on 11/2013).
David Hollister and Caroline Wheaton (b.1806, d.1881) where married about 1844, probably in Pennsylvania. She is believe to have been from that state and of German or Prussian descent. Within a couple of years, they, along with David's children from his first marriage, would head west and settle in the Town of Ridgeway in southwestern Wisconsin. The family was recorded in the 1847 Wisconsin Territorial Census living in Iowa County. David and Caroline had at least six children of their own: Wilbur (b,1845, d.1906), Laurissa (b.1850, d.1936), Orestis (b.1852, d. 1932), Thomas (b.1855, d.1924), Deraine (b.1857, d.1939) and David (b.1858, d.1934). The family would spend over 30 years in Wisconsin and all but the oldest of the children from this marriage, appear to have been born there.

David Hollister was born in Western New York at the turn of the century and is most-likely a descendant of the Puritan settler, John Hollister of Wethersfield, Connecticut. His movements in New York, Indiana and Pennsylvania have been tracked, mostly by later census records that indicate the birthplace of his children. Unfortunately, some census records contradict others so exact information is hard to verify. Later movements to Wisconsin and Iowa are backed-up by more evidence. By the middle of the 19th century, David would be married for the second time, raising another family and living in southern Wisconsin.

Part 2 - The move west to Wisconsin and then to Iowa can be found here . . .


  1. Hello Bruce, I am doing a research on a family as a result of an old family bible that I purchased to resell at my bookstore. The bible belonged to a Hollister family based out of Steuben County, New York. The names in the family record of the bible match up with the names of David Hollisters parents and siblings. I am curious if they are the same family. Are you a descendant of David Hollister? Please contact me at Kmschneider1@gmail.com

    1. Thanks for the comment, I will contact you and we can see where it leads . . .

  2. Update,

    Thanks to new information that came about as a result of this post, it now appears as if David Hollister was the son of John Hollister and Elizabeth Van Scoter of Steuben County, New York. A family bible of John and Elizabeth has been found. It lists the names of their children and contains a number of other documents. These documents include the will of John Hollister and a partial letter from David Hollister with an address at Adamsville, Wisconsin.

    1. Steve HollisterMay 1, 2017 at 9:31 PM

      Bruce, glad to hear you found the Bible from John & Elizabeth! Did it indicate John's parents? I am researching their genealogy as well because I am a direct descendent of David. His son, John, was my great grandfather. Any chance you could put a copy of the genealogy info from it on this site or in Ancestry.com or email it to me? I would greatly appreciate it!
      Steve Hollister

    2. Steve,

      Good to hear from you and thanks for stopping by and reading. I do not have the bible, just some excerpts and the partial letter from David. The only names listed (as far as I know) are the kids of John and Elisabeth. Unfortunately, the person that had the bible sold it to someone else but she did photograph a few pages for me. I would be happy to send then to you. Click on one of my contact buttons (there is one in the right-hand column of this page) and that will send me an e-mail and then I will e-mail what I have directly to you.

  3. my grand father was judson jay Hollister. i saw him maybe 4 times growing up. from the marretia ohio washington county area.his dad was malcolm HOllister.other then that not sure were my bloodline direction goes

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. While I cannot 100% guarantee it, there is a good chance that your ancestry can be traced back to John Hollister, who arrived from England sometime prior to 1642 and settled in Wethersfield, Connecticut. His descendants spread out across New England, New York, the great lakes states and beyond.

  4. Most Hollister in Syracuse, NY are buried at Woodlawn Cemetery. Some can still be viewed.

    Mother - Rosemary Stoner
    Father - Ovie Lee Stoner (born Harlan, KY)
    Grandfather - George W Hollister (father Hiram)
    Grandmother - Pearl Hollister
    Oldest Sister - Bertha Stoner (Hayes & Kuhrt) no children
    Aunt's - Louise Smith & Regina Potter
    Aunt's by marriage - Betty Hollister & Bertha Hollister
    Uncle by marriage - Reginald Potter Sr
    Uncles - Charles, Howard, Frederick, William, Ernest and Paul
    Cousins - Leon Hollister, Paul Hollister, Joseph Potter, Brian Potter Sr, Reginald Potter and Dennis Smith

    1. Lisa,

      I appreciate your input and thanks for visiting my site.

  5. I am looking for the parents of Nathaniel Hollister. He was born in Genoa, NY about 1800. He died prior to 1840. He married Deborah Miles of Genoa. They had three children, George, Minerva and another daughter.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. I do not have any information on your Nathaniel and that is a hard time period to track down ancestors. I wish you the best of luck.

  6. Jennett Hollister (1807-1880), wife of Walton Hale is my husband's 3rd great grandmother. They moved to Cattauragus County and owned a large farm there. They 13 children. Walton was enumerated in the NYS 1855 census as being born in Canisteo which is just a few miles from Dansville. If you have come across any information on Walton Hale, I would greatly appreciate it if you would share it. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for visiting and ready. I see Walton at Find-a-Grave and Ancestry.com in the census but have not seen anything on his parents. That timeframe is hard because the census records are not very detailed and people where heading west (like western New York and then the Midwest). Probably too early for reliable county birth certificates but you could try Steuben County and see? If I every find anything I will let you know - good hunting.