Henry Whitcomb Holley was born in Jefferson County, New York, May 5, 1828, the son of David and Betsey (Randall) Holley. He graduated from Norwich University, Vermont in 1849. From 1849-1856, he was a contracting engineer for railroads in Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
Holley came to Minnesota in 1856 and settled in Chatfield. He was editor of the Chatfield Republican (1856-1861); a state senator (1859-1861); and receiver of the U.S. Land Office at Winnebago City (1861-1869). He began his engineering career with the Southern Minnesota Railroad in 1865, became chief engineer of construction, and was also the company's general manager and superintendent.
Other interests of Holley included: the Root River State Bank, of which he was one of the organizers, and land and real estate in Faribault County. Holley was also one of the organizers of the Root River State Bank and was in land and real estate in Faribault County. He also published a number of volumes of poetry.
Holley married Eliza Jane Christie in 1855. The children born to the couple were Maud, Kate, Elizabeth, Mabel, and Henry. Holley died in Everett, Washington in either 1897 or 1898.
From the guide to the Henry Whitcomb Holley papers., 1854-1888., (Minnesota Historical Society)