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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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Alexander Lyman Holley

HOLLEY, Alexander Lyman, metallurgist, born in Lakeville, Connecticut, 20 July, 1832; died in Brooklyn, New York, 29 January, 1882. He was the son of Alexander H. Holley, who was afterward governor of Connecticut. The son was graduated in the scientific course at Brown in 1853. He then entered the shops of Corliss and Nightingale, where for eighteen months he served as a draughtsman and machinist, and afterward secured employment at the locomotive works in Jersey City. In 1856 he took the management of "The Railroad Advocate," to which he had previously contributed when it was edited by Zerah Colburn. Its name was soon changed to "Holley's Railroad Advocate," and it was published until July, 1857, when it gave place to "The American Engineer," of Holley and Colburn, which suspended with its third issue. He then went abroad with Colburn to study foreign railway practice, and to report on those features of it which would be of greatest importance at home. On the return of the two engineers they published "The Permanent Way and Coal-burning Locomotives of European Railways, with a Comparison of the Working Economy of European and American Lines, and the Principles upon which improvement must Proceed" (New York, 1858), in which it was shown that the annual operating expenses of an American railroad was one third more for the same mileage than in England. Their statements were taken up by the daily journals, and many of the leading editorials which appeared at this time were by Mr. Holley. He then became connected with the "New York Times," and between 1858 and 1863 contributed to it upward of 200 articles. In 1859 he was sent to Europe by the "Times," and wrote letters on engineering topics, including a series on the "Great Eastern," which was then in course of construction. A year later he went to Europe again for the "Times," returning on the first trans-Atlantic trip of the " Great Eastern," and meanwhile contributing to the " American Railway Review," of which he was editor of the mechanical department. During these years he had in preparation his "American and European Railway Practice" (New York and London, 1860; 2d ed., 1867). At the beginning of the civil war, when he had a professional standing of the highest rank, he offered his services to the United States government, but no notice was taken of his letter. In 1862 he was sent abroad by Edwin A. Stevens to study the subject of ordnance and armor. This led to his subsequent publication of " A Treatise on Ordnance and Armor" (New York and London, 1865). A year later he again visited England, at the request of Corning, Winslow, and Company, of Troy, to obtain information concerning the Bessemer process for the manufacture of steel. He returned after purchasing the American rights of the Bessemer patents, which were subsequently combined with the conflicting American patents of William Kelly. The first Bessemer plant was established at Troy in 1865 under his supervision, and enlarged in 1867. He also built the works at Harrisburg in 1867, and later planned those at North Chicago and Joliet, the Edgar Thompson works at Pittsburg, and the Vulcan works at St. Louis, besides acting as consulting engineer in the designing of the Cambria, Bethlehem, Stanton, and other works. The history of his career after 1865 is substantially that of the Bessemer manufacture in the United States. After the formation of the Bessemer association he issued confidential reports to it on the various branches of steel manufacture. During his lifetime the capacity of the American Bessemer plant was raised from that of about 900 tons a month to more than 10,000 tons for the same period. In 1875 he was appointed a member of the United States board for testing iron, steel, and other metals, and was one of the most laborious of its members. Four years later he became lecturer on the manufacture of iron and steel at the Columbia school of mines, and continued this work until his death. Mr. Holley obtained about sixteen patents, of which several were for improvements in the Bessemer process, and of these his last, that of the detached converter-shell, is perhaps the most important. In 1878 he received the degree of LL. D. from Brown, and he was a trustee of the Rensselaer polytechnic institute from 1865 till 1867 and from 1870 till 1882. He was president of the American institute of mining engineers in 1875, vice president of the American society of mechanical engineers in 1880, and vice president of the American society of civil engineers in 1876. In addition to the books already mentioned, Mr. Holley was the author of numerous technical papers. From 1877 till 1880 he prepared, with Lenox Smith, a series of forty-one articles on "American Iron and Steel," which were published in the London "Engineering." A statue to his memory is to be erected in Central Park by the societies of mining, civil, and mechanical engineers, from a design furnished by John Q. A. Ward. See "Memorial of Alexander Lyman Holley" (New York, 1884).

--BEGIN-Hyron Holley

HOLLEY, Hyron, reformer, born in Salisbury, Connecticutt, 29 April, 1779; died in Rochester, New York, 4 March, 1841. He was graduated at Williams in 1799, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1802. He began practice in Salisbury, but in 1803 settled in Canandaigua, New York Finding the law uncongenial, he purchased the stock of a local bookseller and became the literary purveyor of the town. In 1810-'14 he was county-clerk, and in 1816 was sent to Albany as an assemblyman. The project of the Erie canal was at that time the great subject of interest, and through the efforts of Mr. Holley a board of commissioners was appointed, of whom he was (me. His work thenceforth, until its completion, was on the Erie canal. For eight years his practical wisdom, energy, and self-sacrifice made him the executive power, without which this great enterprise would probably have been a failure. On the expiration of his term of office, in 1824, as canal-commissioner and treasurer of the board, he retired to Lyons, where with his family he had previously removed. The anti-Masonic excitement of western New York, arising from the abduction of William Morgan, soon drove Mr. Holley into prominence again. This movement culminated in a national convention being held in Philadelphia in 1830, where Henry D. Ward. Francis Granger, William H. Seward, and Myron Holley were the representatives from New York. An "Address to the People of the United States," written by Holley, was adopted and signed by 112 delegates. The anti-Masonic adherents presented a candidate in the next gubernatorial canvass of New York, and continued to do so for several years, until the Whigs, appreciating the advantages of their support, nominated candidates that were not Masons. This action resulted, in 1838, in the election of William H. Seward. Meanwhile, in IS31, Mr. Holley became editor of the Lyons "Countryman," a journal devoted to the opposition and suppression of Masonry; but after three years, this enterprise not having been successful, he went to Hartford, and there conducted the " Free Elector" for one year. He then returned to Lyons, but soon disposed of his property and settled near Rochester, where for a time he lived in quiet, devoting his attention to horticulture. When the anti-slavery feeling began to manifest itself Mr. Holley became one of its adherents. At this time he was offered a nomination to congress by the Whig party, provided he would not agitate this question; but this proposition he declined. He participated in the meeting of the anti-slavery convention held in Cleveland in 1839, and was prominent in the call for a national convention to meet in Albany, to take into consideration the formation of a Liberty party. At this gathering the nomination of James G. Birney was made, and during the subsequent canvass Mr. Holley was active in support of the candidate, both by continual speaking and by his incessant labors as editor of the Rochester "Freeman." Mr. Holley's remains rest in Mount Hope cemetery, at Rochester, and the grave is marked by an obelisk, with a fine medallion portrait in white marble, the whole having been paid for in one-cent contributions by members of the Liberty party, at the suggestion of Gerrit Smith. See "Myron Holler; and What he did for Liberty and True Religion," by Elizur Wright (Boston, 1882).--His brother, Horace, educator, born in Salisbury, Connecticut, 13 February, 1781; died 31 July, 1827, was graduated at Yale in 1803, and studied law for a short time in New York, but, abandoning this for theology, was ordained at Greenfield Hill, Fairfield County, Connecticut, in September, 1805. In 1809-'18 he was pastor of Hollis street church (Unitarian), Boston. He was president of Transylvania university, Lexington, Kentucky, in 1818-'27. A plan was formed for erecting a seminary in Louisiana, to be placed under his charge, but while at New Orleans in the summer of 1827 he became ill, and died while on the passage to New York. He had a great reputation as a pulpit orator, published several sermons and addresses, and contributed papers to the "Western Review" and other periodicals. See a discourse on his life and character by Charles Caldwell, M.D. (Boston, 1828).--Horace's wife, Mary Austin, died in New Orleans, 2 August, 1846, married Mr. Holley in 1805, and in 1831 emigrated to Texas under the protection of General Austin. She published a "History of Texas" (Baltimore, 1883), and a memoir of her husband.--Another brother, Orville Luther, editor, born in Salisbury, Connecticut, 19 Nay, 1791; died in Albany, New York, 25 March, 1861, was graduated at Harvard in 1813, studied law in New York city, and practised successively at Hudson, Canandaigua, and the city of New York. He edited in succession the "Anti-Masonic Magazine" in New York, the "Troy Sentinel," the Ontario "Repository," the Albany "Daily Advertiser," and the "State Register." In 1853 he arranged and indexed twenty-three folio volumes containing the papers of Governor George Clinton. He was surveyor-general of the state in 1838, and during the last ten years of his life was employed in the office of the secretary of state of New York. He was the author of "Description of City of New York" (1847), and " Life of Franklin" (Boston, 1856).

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