Also see [Railway Officials in America 1906]
Among the successful farmers and early settlers of Barry County the name of Francis Holden will long be remembered.
He was a man of more than ordinary sagacity and perception and of remarkable energy and determination, and had
he received a liberal education would have made an enviable reputation in any calling. He was born in Vermont,
June 9, 1812 his father was a farmer and emigrated to Cortland County, N. Y., in an early day, but little is known
of his history further than that he was an industrious, hard-working man, but lacked that faculty of accumulating
property which was a marked feature in the character of his son. Francis was thrown upon his own resources at an
early age, and for several years was employed in some capacity orythe Erie Canal. In the autumn of 1836 he came
to Michigan. A brother-in-law had preceded him, and had settled near Alboin, Calhoun Co., with whom Mr. Holden
spent the winter. The following spring he went to Richland, Kalamazoo Co., and hired to Foster Gilkey, one of the
pioneers of that town ; with him he remained several years; his wages were carefully husbanded, and his first investment
was in eighty acres of government land in the town of Prairieville, Barry Co. This was in 1837, and from that time
until his death, in 1877, a period of forty years, his career was remarkable from the fact that upon his arrival
in Calhoun County he had but three dollars and died the wealthiest man in the county. He dealt in farm property
extensively, and at one time was one of the largest real estate owners in the county. He seemed to have an intuitive
knowledge of values, and his judgment in business matters was almost infallible. In 1841 he married Miss Kairainziek,
daughter of Frederick Davis, one of the early settlers of Kalamazoo Co. Mrs. Holden possesses many of the distinguishing
characteristics of her husband, and his success is, perhaps, attributable in a large measure to her thrift and
industry. She was born in Livonia, Livingston Co., N. Y., Jan. 8, 1822. She is the mother of five children, three
of whom are living: John, the only son, resides upon the old farm; Ann, now Mrs. Doty, lives in Nebraska; Mary
is the wife of Mr. Norton, of Hastings. The life of Mr. Holden is one worthy of emulation in many respects, and
his history shows the result of a life of economy and industry. In political mat.. ters Mr. Holden manifested a
lively interest. He was a staunch Republican, and did much to advance the interests of that party. He was a man
of marked social qualities; he loved a good joke, and enjoyed the society of his family and friends. His early
life was one of toil and privation, and his early associations were such as invariably depress, although they probably
developed many strong points in his character that might otherwise have remained dormant; but starting in life
as he did, with only a good constitution and a strong pair of hands as his capital, he is worthy of a conspicuous
position among the self-made men of the county.
History of Allegan and Berry Counties, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of Their Men and Pioneers.
D. W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincoff & Co., Philadelphia.