Holborow in America 1: New York, New York

I thought it only fair to officially start my next set of geographically-themed Holborow posts by looking at Holborows who have emigrated to America and their families. And I say officially as technically I’ve already started, with one historic post and another much more recently!

But onward and backward (only not as far as you might imagine) …!

I have to say that I was quite surprised to find that currently, the earliest Holborow I have in American records only dates to the 1840 census. Once America opens up again and trips to archives are possible, I’ll likely ask (i.e. pay) somebody to check the 1835 New York State census (as this is only on film and hasn’t been digitised) to see if they are present. But I’m all ahead of myself.

If we go back to 1781, William Holborow marries Ann Guest in Luckington, Wiltshire. In fact, we’ve already met them. They were the parents of William the Convict who was sentenced to transportation in 1832. However, their youngest son, William’s younger brother James, would also leave the country at around this time, although presumably by his own volition, and heading west instead of east!

By 1840 we find James living in Montgomery, Orange County, New York. Much like the early UK census returns, the early US censuses don’t give a huge amount of biographical detail about residents. That wouldn’t come until the 1850 (national/Federal) census in America. In 1840 the head of the household is named, with householders grouped by gender, age bracket and race (although as this is post-emancipation the columns are split into “free white persons” and “free coloured persons”).

James Holbrow [sic] in the 1840 Federal census

James’ entry shows that the house is made up of 8 white people: 1 male between 30 and 40, 1 male between 20 and 30, 1 male between 10 and 15 and 2 males under 5, 2 females between 20 and 30 and 1 female between 40 and 50. It would be an easy assumption to make that at least one of those females is his wife and some of the others are his children.

Skipping to the 1850 census, it becomes clear who at least some of these people are, and that James was in America by 1835/1836 at the latest:

James is enumerated as a Wool Sorter, with his wife Miriam and three sons T[e]unis, John and James. A later death certificate for one of the sons gives his mother’s maiden name as Van Arsdale but so far I cannot locate a marriage certificate for James and Miriam, nor any form of birth registration for the boys. Comparing this entry with that of 140 shows that there are 3 people unaccounted for: 1 male and 2 female. Were these other children who died between census returns, or members of either James or Miriam’s family who were staying with them temporarily? I have no answers.

Montgomery started life as an industrial, planned settlement on the banks of the Walkill, built to serve the outlying agricultural areas. As the town grew, it founded its own railway, serving Goshen which opened up rail access to New York City for the local dairy farmers, which in turn meant these farms could afford to expand.

Of course, as trade goods went off to New York City, so did people. Although James remained in Montgomery, dying in Walden on 8 March 1891 (the modern Town of Montgomery is actually made up of three villages: Walden, Montgomery Village and Maybrook), both Teunis and James junior made their way to King’s County, New York (better known today simply as Brooklyn).

In 1868, Teunis is listed as a police sergeant with the 47th precinct, a post to which he had been appointed in 1862 according to an article in The New York Times. Teunis, it seems, thrived in the NYPD. For the majority of his career he was in charge of the House of Detention for Witnesses, located on Mulberry Street in Lower Manhattan where he gained a reputation for fairness, but was also known as one who “brooks no nonsense from his men”.

He was retired from the force in November 1890:

Form The New York Times, 6 November 1900

It seems that his love of literature and education lasted a lifetime. One of his earliest mentions in Brooklyn was of his membership of the Protestant Episcopal Mission Sunday School in Greenpoint – where his future wife, Josephine Collyer, was an infant teacher – and he went on to become a member of the Green Point Literary, Christian and Social Union where he was often listed as an essayist and speaker, including speaking against slavery.

Sale of some of Teunis’ library, as advertised in The New York Times 25 Feb 1892

Following his retirement, Teunis moved back to Montgomery and then moved again to the nearby town of Newburgh where he died at Christmas 1918.

From New York Tribune, 26 December 1918

In his Will, he left his property and the vast portion of his library to his daughter, Lucy, who had continued to live with him for many years. This didn’t stop her, a few years later, from holding another sale of her father’s library:

I’ll come back in more detail to Teunis’ children in more detail at a later date, but of his nine children, only three were still alive at the time of his death. Furthermore, none of his sons had any children. But what of his brothers, John and James?

John remained in Montgomery, at first apprenticed to and then becoming a wagon maker. He later also took in his stepbrother, William Brown, when his father remarried a single mother after Miriam died. In 1896 he was elected Justice of the Peace for Walden, a role that he would keep for the rest of his life. Although the father of three children, his only son died unmarried and with no children.

The third brother, James William Holbrow, found employ in New York as a bookkeeper. He married Julia Blanchard around 1865, and the pair had two children, Nettie and William. Life was obviously fairly comfortable for James, and summers were spent on Long Island.

Times Union, 2 July 1887

Although not everything always quite went his way …

Times Union, 27 Jan 1914

Julia died in 1912, and James followed in December 1926.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 20 December 1926

As may be surmised by his obituary, his son William had predeceased him. In fact, William had only been married six years when he died in 1914.

So in terms of leaving a lasting Holb(o)row legacy in America, it seems that this line only lasted a few generations. But, of course, by the 1860s they weren’t the only Holborows to be resident in America, and certainly not the only Holborow family in New York …

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