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   NELSON HOLLISTER, who died on March 2, 1897, was for a long period one of Hartford's prominent business men and substantial citizens. He was a picturesque figure on the streets where his flowing pure white hair and beard, clear complexion, and kindly smile attracted general attention.
     Born Feb. 12, 1810, in Andover, Conn., son of Gideon and Mary (Olmstead) Hollister, our subject was a descendant of one of the historic families of the Colonial period of New England and Connecticut, and a family of prominence, too, in the history of the State.
     (I) John Hollister, the ancestor of the American Hollisters, is believed to have been born in England in 1612, and to have emigrated to America about 1642, sailing from Bristol, England. His name is of record in Wethersfield, Conn., as early as 1642. He became one of the most prominent men of that town and the Connecticut Colony, and represented the town many times in the Legislature. He married Joanna, daughter of Hon. William Treat, Sr. John Hollister died in 1665.
     From this emigrant ancestor the late Nelson Hollister was a descendant in the seventh generation, his line being through John (2), Thomas, Gideon, Nathaniel and Gideon (2).
     (II) John Hollister (2), son of John the emigrant, born about 1644 in Wethersfield, married in 1667 Sarah, daughter of William Goodrich. Mr. Hollister was one of the leading men of Glastonbury, where he died in 1711.
     (III) Thomas Hollister, son of John (2), born in 1672 in Wethersfield, married Dorothy, daughter of Joseph Hills, of Glastonbury, and lived and died in that town, passing away in 1741.
     (IV) Gideon Hollister, son of Thomas, born in 1699 in Glastonbury, married in 1723 Rachel, daughter of Sergt. Nathaniel Talcott, and settled in the East Parish of Glastonbury. Mr. Hollister was a lieutenant in the militia, and a deacon in the church in Glastonbury. He died in 1785.
     (V) Nathaniel Hollister, son of Gideon, born in 1731 in Glastonbury, married in 1754 Mabel Matson. He died in 1810.
     (VI)   Gideon Hollister   (2), son of Nathaniel, and the father of Nelson Hollister, born in 1776, in Glastonbury, married Mary Olmstead, of East Hartford, and settled in Andover, Conn., where he was a manufacturer of paper, and a valued and respected member of society. He died in 1864.
     Nelson Hollister, the subject proper of this sketch, in youth became engaged, with his father and brothers, in the manufacture of paper. Subsequently he removed to Hartford, and in about 1840 engaged in business on Front street, as a dealer in paper stock and rags, where he laid the foundation of a large fortune. Late in the sixties he disposed of his business and retired. Mr. Hollister was identified with a number of banks and corporations, among them the old Charter Oak Life Insurance Co., the Etna Fire Insurance Co., the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co., and the State Bank, in all of which he was a director. He superintended the erection of the large granite building on the corner of Main and Atheneum streets, now the property of the Etna Life Insurance Co. He was the first treasurer of the Hartford & Connecticut Valley Railroad Co. He was president of the Cedar Hill Cemetery Association, and took an active interest in the cemetery's development. He was an original member and a deacon of the Pearl Street Congregational Church, organized in 1852. Mr. Hollister was also a member of the Veteran Corps of the Governor's Foot Guard, in which he ever took an active interest. In 1894 he was admitted as a member of the Connecticut Historical Society. Up to two years before his death, in spite of his years, Mr. Hollister was one of the most active men of Hartford. He was poss-essed of a vigorous constitution and good health, was a great lover of outdoor life and sports, and enjoyed seeing played the National game of baseball.
     On May 12, 1834, Mr. Hollister was married to Edith Sawyer, born Nov. 21, 1815, daughter of Elijah R. and Fanny (Spencer) Sawyer, of Windham, Conn. They had four children, as follows: (1) Arthur N. Hollister, born Dec. 28, 1835, died Jan. 18, 1897. (2) Erskin B. Hollister, born May 4, 1842, died Nov. 21. 1859. (3) Edith Sawyer Hollister, born May 15, 1845, was married May 13, 1867, to Charles Augustus Robinson. (4) Lucy Sawyer Hollister, born Aug. 3, 1848, married June 14. 1870, Albert H. Olmsted.

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Biographical Record
Hartford County,



J. H. Beers & Co.


pg 8

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Elaine Kidd O'Leary
May 2002

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