Henry Holland was born at Omskirk in Lancashire, England in 1661. He was the son of Thomas Holland and Margaret Hitchen. During the 1690s he was an English soldier stationed in Ireland. There, he met and married young widow Jenny Seeley Edwards of Bandon, County Cork. By 1699, the couple had crossed the Atlantic to New York where Henry had been commissioned an officer of the garrison company stationed at Albany.
From a rented house on Court Street, Holland became a leader of the Albany garrison - earning extra income supplying the fort with candles, firewood, and other supplies. Settling in Albany, the Hollands began to raise a family that included several sons and daughters. By 1709, he was the owner of the Court Street property and had become an Albany mainstay as well. His children were baptized in the Albany Dutch church and he later became a member and warden of St. Peters Anglican church.
Henry Holland's military career spanned more than three decades. He was a lieutenant, captain, and then commander of the Albany fort. As early as 1701, he was attending Albany court sessions - serving as liaison between the fort and the people of colonial Albany. His sons also served under their father in the garrison companies.
As garrison commander, Holland was a member and often attended the meetings of the Commissioners of Indian Affairs. In 1706 he was appointed sheriff of Albany. He held that post until 1712 and served again as sheriff in 1720. Well-regarded by royal officials in New York, he also held the office of "Searcher of the Customs" for the entire Hudson Valley.
Henry Holland's various appointments and offices provided a substantial income enabling him to participate in land patents, invest in slaves, and build an impressive new home on Market Street. His sons utilized their father's status to establish themselves in Albany, New York, and on the frontier. Edward Holland became a particularly prominent Albany personage.
While still in command at the Albany fort, in 1732 he was stricken, became incapacitated and was replaced as garrison commander. His health declined further and he died in Albany in May 1736. His widow later moved to New York to live with their son, Edward. Henry, another son, was appointed sheriff of Albany in 1739. The landmark Albany home later was sold to Sir William Johnson.
The life of Henry Holland is CAP biography number 8489. Our presentation on the Holland family is further informed by the work of genealogist Henry Hoff in an article published in NYGBR volume 111:219-20, and in notes on file at the project offices. An earlier genealogical article appears to be more readily available online.
Liaison: Ongoing issues included the quartering of troops, supplies and facilities, and the behavior of his soldiers with Albany women.
His frontier lands were north of Albany but not on the site of today's Holland Patent in Oneida County - the lands of English Lord Holland (Henry Fox).
first posted: 10/3/00; last updated 12/27/12