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Holt, Lynn Banks

by Larry W. Fuqua, 1988

28 June 1842–23 Oct. 1920

Lynn Banks Holt, circa 1908. Image from the North Carolina Digital Collections.Lynn Banks Holt, textile manufacturer, was born near Graham in Alamance County, the son of Edwin Michael and Emily Farish Holt. He was a descendant of Michael Holt, who settled in present Alamance County about 1740. In 1837 his father founded the Alamance Cotton Mill near Graham, one of the oldest mills in the South and the first southern mill to make colored cotton goods.

L. Banks Holt was educated in local schools and at Hillsborough Military Academy. When the Civil War began, he left the academy to enlist as a private in the Orange Guards. For gallantry displayed in the capture of Fort Macon by his company, he was promoted to second lieutenant and assigned to Company I, Eighth North Carolina Regiment, Confederate Army. Later he became a first lieutenant. Holt participated in many important battles in northern Virginia and was wounded during one of the engagements before Petersburg. In the assault on Fort Harrison on 29 Sept. 1864, he was severely wounded and taken prisoner; he was confined first at Point Lookout and then at Fort Delaware until June 1865.

After the war, Holt joined his father at the Alamance Cotton Mill, which the elder Holt later turned over to his sons. L. Banks eventually purchased the interests of his brothers. In 1879 he and one brother, Lawrence S., built near Graham the Bellemont Mill, of which he became sole owner in 1887, and in 1883 founded at Burlington the E. M. Holt Plaid Mills, named for their father. Later he purchased his brother's interest in the plaid mills as well. Meanwhile, he also acquired the Oneida Mill at Graham and the Carolina Mills, both manufacturing colored cotton goods. In 1909 Holt consolidated the Alamance, Bellemont, Oneida, and Carolina mills and incorporated the business as the L. Banks Holt Manufacturing Company. He remained president of both the E. M. Holt Plaid Mills and the L. Banks Holt Manufacturing Company until his death. In addition to these properties, he owned a one-third interest in the Altamahaw Cotton Mills near Burlington and stock in many other mills. He was also a director of the Merchants and Farmers Bank and the Commercial National Bank, both of Charlotte, and of the North Carolina Railroad.

For many years Holt was an elder of the Presbyterian church in Graham. He was active in educational, charitable, and religious movements, to which he contributed generously. In politics he was a Democrat; although keenly interested in local matters, he declined to hold public office. His hobby was agriculture, and on his Alamance and Oak Grove farms near Graham he raised purebred livestock, including Jersey and Holstein cattle, Shetland ponies, and standardbred pacers.

Holt married Mary Catherine Mebane of Caswell County. They had eight daughters: Mary Virginia, Elizabeth Mebane, Frances Yancey, Caroline Banks, Cora Alice, Emily Louise, Martha Lynn, and one who died in infancy.

References:

Cyclopedia of Eminent and Representative Men of the Carolinas, vol. 2 (1892).

Robert O. Holt, The Holts of Alamance County, North Carolina (1920).

Julian Hughes, Development of the Textile Industry in Alamance County (1965).

Additional Resources:

Ashe, Samuel A. "Lynn Banks Holt." Biographical history of North Carolina from colonial times to the present volume 7. Greensboro, N.C. : C. L. Van Noppen. 1908. 204-208. http://archive.org/stream/cu31924092215494#page/n315/mode/2up (accessed April 18, 2013).

"The Oneida Mills." Sky-Land 2, no. 3 (June 1915). 251-256. http://archive.org/stream/skyland1915smit#page/252/mode/2up (accessed April 18, 2013).

United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service. National Register of Historic Places Inventory -- Nomination Form: L. Banks Holt House. By Michael Southern and Joe Mobely. Raleigh, N.C. http://www.hpo.ncdcr.gov/nr/AM0004.pdf (accessed April 18, 2013).

Stokes, Durward T. "Diary from a Yankee Prison." The State 52, no. 8 (January 1985). 16-17.

Image Credits:

"Photograph of Mr. L. Banks Holt, President of the L. Banks Holt Manufacturing Company, of Graham, Owning and Operating the Oneida, Carolina, Bellmont and Alamance Cotton Mills." Sky-Land 2, no. 3 (June 1915). 254. http://archive.org/stream/skyland1915smit#page/254/mode/2up (accessed April 18, 2013).

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Copyright notice

This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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