His obituary appears in the September 20, 1917 Markdale Standard, page 5.
Mentions his parents as Adam Holley and Sarah Chenie. Cause of death listed as senile decay. Also mentions he was a farmer.
Lived with his parents in Albion Township, Peel County at the time of 1851/1852 census.
The 1861 census shows him as a 24 year farmer in Artemesia, Grey County, spelling his last name “Holly”. It also shows that he lived in a log house.
1881 census shows him and his family in Artemesia, Grey East, ON. It shows him as a C. Methodist Farmer, born in Ontario, of Dutch origins.
By the 1901 census, John and Hannah were living by themselves, but with 6 of their kids living together next door (Robert, Charles, Ida, Peter, Isaac & Samuel).
He passed away in the home of one of his sons. His funeral service was conducted by Rev. Belfry, pastor of the Methodist Church in Flesherton. His obituary notes that “Mr. Holley was the last surviving early settler of those whose names are inscribed on the Pioneer Monument, erected a few years ago in the Vandeleur School Grounds, to perpetuate the memory of those who formed the school section in 1857.”
A family history written by his grandson Elmer Howard Holley has him being born in 1833.
From his nephew’s (Elmer Howard) family history:
I have tried to give you some idea of my Grandfathers family, but before I leave it I must say something of the characteristics of my grandfather, John Holley.As far back as I can remember him, I fancy seeing him sitting in his old home made chair at the head of the table, or jogging along the highway with his pony and cart, or possibly bringing in a wheel barrow of wood from the huge wood pile in the lane. He was a great horse trader. He consumed all makes of patent medicines and used all makes of liniment to cure the nary imaginary ailments from which he was supposed to be suffering. I well remember one remedy he had on hand always. He called it ile-a-rignum. This he used either on his pony or himself when he figured either one of them had a sore spot. He used to have the odd beef animal to take to market, and when he had this to so he often called on me to drive the pony while he led the beast with a rope to the village. The idea was that he could ride back with me in the cart. First trip he bought me a straw hat, also my dinner at the hotel. The second, and trip we had bad luck as the beast got out of control while I was leading it. The old gent got tired and asked me to lead the beast a while. Of course I tried, but it got away and ran back towards home a mile or so Granddad had then to lead it the extra distance. This sort of upset him and when we finally got to town he gave me ten cents to get something to eat. I never was asked to go again, and I was quite well pleased as that ten cents did not buy much food for a hungry boy.As I remarked, Granddad was quite a horse trader. Must tell you of a little deal he had with the Gypsies. One day as he was making his usual trip to the village with his pony and cart, he stopped by the gypsy tent by the roadside, and paying $2.00 cash made a trade for the one that he thought better (one horse, not one gypsy). The following morning he hitched his new pony to the cart to go again to the village, however, he had great difficulty with his new pony, and when he finally got him going he decided that he would again stop by the roadside tent and endeavour to get back his other pony. This was of course managed with the payment of $2.00, also a few apologies on the part of the Gypsy. Granddad with his on old pony drove happily on to the village. Now as the Gypsies make their living by their wits, they figured that Granddad would again call on his way home. They accordingly arranged to have a little bait ready. Seems they clipped the mane of the pony, docked its tail, trimmed its fetlocks and made him quite smart looking and also so different. Sure enough in came Granddad on his way home and seeing this new pony (as he thought) was quite anxious to trade, which he did with a two-dollar help. O.K. all’s well until the next day when he wanted to go to the village, and he had the same trouble as previously and had to get help form some of the boys to get going. Well with the help of another $2.00 he got back his original pony. I think that figures to $8.00 he was out in the different transactions. Such were the characteristics of my Grandfather John.