Michael Joseph Holland
(1847 - 1918)

Michael Joseph Holland was born on July 30, 1847 in Ireland.1 He was openly connected to the Irish Separatist Movement, which flared into open rebellion in 1865-1867. Following the British crackdown, Michael “escaped” to the United States.

Michael registered with the O’Donovan Rossa Circle 159 of the Fenian Society in April 18692, but was living with his mother and brothers in Boston in 1873. On June 9, 1874, Michael married Mary Jane Fennon of Providence, Rhode Island in Boston.3

Michael was back in New Jersey in time for the birth of their first child (Mary Frances) on June 12, 1876. He introduced his brother John to Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa that same year. On July 6, 1876, Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa introduced John Philip Holland to Jerome Collins who, in turn, introduced him John J. Breslin and John Devoy. Breslin was appointed by the Trustees of the Fenian Society's Skirmishing Fund to investigate John Holland's propasal to build a submarine.4

Michael and Mary's second child (Alice) was born in January 1878. Mary and Alice were followed by Patrick (17 March 1880), Sylvester (1882), John (July 1884), Frederick (31 March 1887), Alfred (11 July 1889) and Bridget (14 June 1890). All the children except Alfred and Bridget were born in New York state. Alfred was born in Massachusetts.5

Michael's mother died on March 17, 1884 of pneumonia.6 The funeral was held in Michael's home at 234 Warren Street, Newark.7 Sylvester died prior to the 1890 Census. Bridget died on 30 August 1891 of Cholera. She was 14 months old.8

In 1890, Mary and Alice were working as dry goods salespersons. Patrick was a machinist at the U. S. Navy Yard, and John was a messenger for the telegraph company. Frederick and Alfred were in school. Their father was working as a machinist and their mother was pregnant with Bridget.9

John C. Holland (son of Michael Joseph Holland) married Agnes M. O'Donnell of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania on June 6, 1910.11 John and Agnes had two children - Alice born in 1911 and John born September 30, 1913 in Jersey City, New Jersey. In 1920, John, Agnes and the children were living in Jersey City and John was employed as a railroad brakeman.12

Michael died on December 11, 1918 in East Orange, NJ. The cause of Michael's death was listed as cerebral apoplexy.13 Mary Jane Holland died on March 29, 1931.13

  1. Certificate and Record of Death of Michael J.Holland provided by John Scanlan.
  2. Letter of Warrant, Edward Max Graf Collection, Patterson, NJ.
  3. City of Boston Consolidated Index of Marriages 1870 to 1881 provided by John Scanlan.
  4. Morris, R.K., John P. Holland: Inventor of the Modern Submarine. Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute, 1966; 2nd ed., Univ. S.C. Press, 1998.
  5. 1900 Federal Census and other data provided by John Scanlan.
  6. Death Certificate and Holy Sepulchre Cemetery daybook provided by John Scanlan.
  7. Obituary published March 17, 1884 in the Newark Evening News provided by John Scanlan.
  8. Burial record provided by John Scanlan.
  9. 1890 Federal Census provided by John Scanlan.
  10. Certificate and Record of Death of Michael J.Holland provided by John Scanlan.
  11. Certificate and Record of Marriage provided by John Scanlan.
  12. 1920 Federal Census provided by John Scanlan.
  13. Obituary published March 30, 1931 in the Newark Evening News provided by John Scanlan.

Ó1999,2000,2001,2002 Gary McCue