Holland, John Henry (ca. 1785–1864)

By: Chester V. Kielman

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: January 5, 2022

John Henry Holland, lawyer, city official, and Masonic leader, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, about 1785. He moved to New Orleans before 1803, served as sheriff of Orleans Parish, and subsequently practiced law in New Orleans. For many years he was associated with the Masonic order in Louisiana. He was grand master of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana from 1825 to 1828 and again from 1830 to 1839. In 1825 he delivered the welcoming address, in French, to the Marquis de Lafayette at a special meeting of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana. In 1827 he was credited with interceding with Manuel de Mier y Terán to obtain the freedom of Adolphus Sterne, who was imprisoned at Nacogdoches for his part in the Fredonian Rebellion. During the 1830s Holland was a central figure in a controversy between French-speaking and English-speaking Masons over the control of Louisiana Masonry. On January 27, 1836, he issued a charter for the first Masonic lodge in Texas, Holland Lodge No. 36 (now Holland Lodge No. 1), to a group of Masons in Brazoria. On September 22, 1837, he issued charters for Milam Lodge No. 40 at Nacogdoches and MacFarland Lodge No. 41 at San Augustine. The Grand Lodge of Texas was organized and met for the first time on April 16, 1838, at which time Holland's authority over Freemasonry in Texas was ended. Holland moved from New Orleans to Nacogdoches in April 1839 and was joined there by his family in May 1840. He was admitted to the practice of law in Texas in October 1839. By March 1846 he had returned to New Orleans. From 1856 to 1864 he was grand master of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of Louisiana. He died in New Orleans on March 29, 1864.

James David Carter, Masonry in Texas: Background, History and Influence to 1846 (Waco: Grand Lodge of Texas, 1955). Glen Lee Greene, Masonry in Louisiana: A Sesquicentennial History, 1812–1962 (New York: Exposition, 1962). James B. Scot, comp., Outline of the Rise and Progress of Freemasonry in Louisiana (New Orleans: Clark and Hofeline, 1873; rpt., New Orleans, 1923).

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
  • Religion
  • Freemasonry

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Chester V. Kielman, “Holland, John Henry,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/holland-john-henry.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 5, 2022