Biography of Nelson Holland
Erie County, NY Biographies


Holland, Nelson, Buffalo, is the eighth generation from John Holland, the first of the family in America, who came in 1634. He was a merchant and the whole line were men of unusual longevity, averaging over seventy years. Mr. Holland is one of the best types of a self-made man. He was born in Belchertown, Mass., June 24, 1829, removing to Niagara Falls in 1836, and one year later to Springville, Erie county, where he lived on a farm and received a common school education, sawing wood to pay for his tuition. In 1850 he went to Buffalo and worked for his uncle, Selim Sears, who was then operating a mill at Saginaw, Mich. A year later found him in Michigan, purchasing and shipping lumber to Oliver Bugbee, a Buffalo dealer; three years later he joined William Oaks, of Detroit, in purchasing the Barnard interest in the firm of Barnard & Brooks saw mill, which stood near where now stands the Michigan Central Railroad station. They soon after purchased of S. S. Barnard 4,000 acres of Michigan pine lands, and in 1855 Mr. Holland and Mr. Oaks purchased a mill at St. Clair. In the year 1863 they dissolved partnership, Mr. Holland taking the mill and Mr. Oaks the standing timber to supply the Fletcher mill. In 1864 Mr. Holland bought 4,000 acres for $16,000; this tract cut 100,000,000 feet of good timber, leaving much waste. In 1864 he left his mill in St. Clair in charge of his brother Luther, and went to Buffalo to look after the sale of the output. He then purchased an interest in the planing mill of Eton, Brown & Co., and later added to his purchases more mills and pine lands, extending his possessions into Canada. After forty years' of active operations in the pine forests of Michigan, seeing all the ups and downs of the lumbering industry in that State, including the panics of 1857, 1873 and 1893, Mr. Holland retains much of his old time vigor, ambition and force with which to carry forward his plans of future operations. In 1887 the Buffalo firm of Holland, Graves & Montgomery was organized, since which time they have handled over 500,000,000 feet of pine lumber. Mr. Holland is a past master in the art of manipulating pine forests and getting the product into marketable form. He has probably cut and consumed both directly and indirectly more pine lumber than any other man.

Our County and its people
A descriptive work on Erie County, New York
Edited by: Truman C. White
The Boston History Company, Publishes 1898


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