It is always of interest to note how one may conquer obstacles and difficulties and wrest success from the hands of adverse fate. Such a story always claims the attention of the reader, and it demonstrates the possibilities that lie before those who are forced to start out in life dependent entirely upon their own resources. Such has been the life history of Mr. Hollister. He came to Kansas forty-two years ago, and by determined purpose and indefatigable energy has steadily worked his way upward, his efforts being crowned with the desirable success that now enables him to live retired.
A native of Greene county, New York, Mr. Hollister was born in the town of Coxsackie, March 2, 1829, his parents being Luther and Jane (Underdonk) Hollister. Back to England he traces his ancestry, and the line is not lost in conjecture or tradition but can be traced back to John Hollister, who crossed the Atlantic to America in 1642 and purchased the manor of Stenchcomb, at Glencent. He was born April 24, 1608, and was a son of Rodger Hollister. The grandfather of our subject was Timothy Hollister, a native of Connecticut, who became an early settler of Greene county, New York. He married Miss Althea Cornell, a native of New York and a near relative of the distinguished Cornell family of Kingston, that state.
Luther Hollister, the father of our subject, was born in Greene county, in 1787, and married Miss Underdonk, whose birth occurred in eastern New York, about sixteen miles from Albany. Her father was Abram Underdonk, who well remembered the trials that came to the family during the Revolutionary war, in which his father aided the Colonial army. During the latter part of his life Mr. Hollister removed to Belvidere, Illinois, where his last days were passed. Two of his sons, Lansing and Abram, were valiant soldiers in the Union army during the civil war and Lansing was killed at the battle of Gettysburg in 1863. His remains were then taken back to New York, but some fifteen years later were removed to Rosehill cemetery, Chicago. Another son of the family, Dr. William L. Hollister, is a prominent surgeon now residing in Austin, Minnesota, where also resides Abram. Sarah J., the daughter of the family, married Grove Lane, and resides in Belvidere, Illinois.
Samuel Hollister, whose name introduces this review, is the eldest. He began his education in the district schools and later attended Ames Academy, completing his course in Cherry Valley, in Cooperstown, New York. He afterward became a contractor and builder in Greene county, and in May, 1857, he came to Kansas, making his way to Leavenworth, but locating at Sumner, Kansas, where he spent twelve years. He engaged in the contracting business and later purchased a saw-mill, manufacturing native lumber. He also ran a grist-mill, and so sparsely settled was the district that his customers came from as far as fifty and seventy-five miles. At length his mill property was destroyed by fire and he then returned to Atchison, where he purchased a few town lots on which he erected buildings. These he disposed of, and as his financial resources increased he extended the field of his labors, legitimately carrying on a very extensive business as a real-estate dealer. He now owns five hundred acres of choice land, which he rents, and is not actively connected with business affairs, living a retired life. His industry and activity in former years enabled him to put aside business cares and to enjoy the fruit of past toil.
On the 2d of February, 1859, Mr. Hollister was united in marriage to Miss Harriet L. Carrol, a sister of John M. Carrol, formerly a member of congress from New York. She was born in Otsego county, New York, in 1828, and by her marriage became the mother of one daughter, Mary B., at home. Mrs. Hollister died October 11, 1891. Our subject and his daughter occupy a fine residence on South Third and T streets. In his political views he is a stanch Republican, but has never sought or desired office, beyond serving one term in the Kansas legislature in 1863.