John Holly and Mary

My 10x Great-grandparents, John Holly and Mary raised their family in Stamford, CT. John was born in England around 1618 to Samuel Holly and Elizabeth. It is unknown when the family came to America but it is estimated to be around 1636 where they settled in Cambridge, MA. His father died in 1643 and his mother died around 1645. He is seen in the town records of Cambridge, MA. His fathers will gave him 10 acres of land and the rest went to his mom. The will stipulated that after John’s mom died, the entire estate would go to John. So on 4 October 1645 John is selling  his house and land.

Mary was born about 1621 in England. Her surname is thought to be Waitstill but I have searched Massachusetts and Connecticut (where they eventually move to) for that surname and have come up empty. I suppose she could have emigrated without her parents. Interestingly, there are children named Waitstill in following generations in this family but that is a Puritan name. The name is thought to be given to children when the parents were hoping for a child of the opposite sex. So, I am not comfortable attaching that surname to Mary at this time and will devote more time in the future trying to find more information.

John and Mary got married around 1640 in Cambridge. They had 9 children, the first 3 born in Cambridge, MA and the rest born in Stamford, CT. They are: Samuel 1642, Increase 1643, Elizabeth 1645, John 1649, Hannah 1651, Bethia 1654, Elisha 1659, Jonathon 1662, and Abigail 1664.

After the land was sold in Cambridge, MA, John Holly’s name is found in records in Stamford, CT the earliest is 1647 when he purchased land. He was active in the community holding many offices. He was a Marshall, a representative to the General Court multiple times, a Judge to the Fairfield county court, and a signer of many documents including purchasing land from the various tribes in the area. He was also on numerous documents taking inventory of estates.

John’s will was dated 14 April 1681. The will names his wife, Mary and all of his children. All of his sons received land. Three of his daughters were married and received 12 pounds and his daughter Abigail received 20 pounds. The will stipulated that after his wife Mary died, the land that she had was distributed to his 9 children equally. Three of his sons had previously received land from John. Even after that was given away, his estate was appraised at 312 pounds when he died.

It seems that Mary did not remarry and she died in 1714. Thus far, no will has been found for her but since John’s will stipulated that upon her death the estate was to be divided among the children, she may not have needed to make a will.

It is not known where they are buried but may be at the Stamford Burying Grounds. This cemetery was largely destroyed in 1806 when the Connecticut Turnpike was constructed.


John Holly married Mary their daughter,

Elizabeth Holly married Robert Turney their daughter,

Rebekah Turney married Timothy Wheeler their daughter,

Rebekah Wheeler married Joseph Bostwick their son,

Joseph Bostwick married Bette Hurd their son,

David Bostwick married Currence Hard their son,

Jabez Bostwick married Freelove Frisbee their son,

Jabez Bostwick married Sarah Jane Chase their son,

John Day Bostwick married Ida Shelby their son,

Charles Bostwick married Alpha Wilkins their daughter,

Florence Bostwick -my grandmother


The register book of the lands and houses in the “New Towne” and the town of Cambridge, with the records of the proprietors of the common lands, being the records generally called “the proprietors’ records” [1634-1829]
Cambridge (Mass.). Proprietors Published 1896 page 119.

History of Stamford, Connecticut : from its settlement in 1641, to the present time, including Darien, which was one of its parishes until 1820 Huntington, E. B. Publish Data 1868

Ancestry. com John Holly Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999
Death: Abt 1681 – Connecticut, USA Connecticut Town Death Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection) Stamford Vital Records


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