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William Holt

A transaction between merchant and customer.

A transaction between merchant and customer.

  • Born 1737
  • Williamsburg landowner and entrepreneur
  • Died 1791

Area merchant and entrepreneur

William Holt was a merchant, entrepreneur, and landowner in Williamsburg, Yorktown, and James City County. Holt was first noted as buying land in Williamsburg in 1760. In addition to operating a store in Williamsburg and owning a mill in James City County, Holt imported African slaves for sale, arranged for the shipping of tobacco, and sponsored with others the building of a causeway over Sandy Bay. As a merchant and entrepreneur, Holt vigorously pursued his payments, and in 1762 he brought 12 successful suits for debt in the York County Court.

Held various public positions

On November 16, 1761, Holt was added to the Commission of the Peace for York County. He served there until he moved in 1771, when he became a justice for James City County. As a justice, he took the list of tithes, supervised the rebuilding of the tobacco warehouse and its road at Capitol Landing, examined the scales and weights of the warehouse, and attended court sessions. In 1762, Holt was made quarter master of Williamsburg's militia, and on December 17, 1776, he was appointed to the Admiralty Court by the Virginia legislature.

Birth of triplets noted in Virginia Gazette

William Holt's personal life is not well-documented. His parents are unknown. Holt married twice and had at least six children. Three of his children were triplets whose arrival was noted in the Virginia Gazette: "Last Sunday evening, the spouse of Mr. William Holt, near this city, was delivered of two stout boys and a girl, all well, and likely to continue so."



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