Holden and his family of 10 children arrived in Penn Yan in 1816. He was
quite an addition to the new settlement, being a cabinet maker of supurb
He was born in Shrewsbury,
Massachusetts, in 1775, marrying Abigail Pratt of the same place in 1797.
He served his apprenticeship in the nearby city of Boston, and went from
there to Johnstown in Montgomery County, N.Y., in 1802. At that time three
children were part of the family.
When the War of 1812
started, Holden volunteered immediately, and brought with him his oldest
son Amasa Jr., who was 11 years old. The boy was a drummer, and his father
a fifer, and between them they became well-known as musicians. Both were
discharged at the end of the war, having become acquainted with a number
of the higher officers, including Generals Scott and Wool.
It should be noted
that Holden's son James served honorably in a later war; he was wounded
at Antietam in September 1862, and was discharged for disability after serving
two years of his three-year enlistment.
The Holdens settled
initially where 306 Main Street now stands, moving afterward to another
place on the east side of Main Street north of Head Street. His was certainly
the first cabinet-making shop in the village, and one of the first artisans'
shops of any description. His work was of a very high standard indeed, with
some of it now residing in museums in Montgomery County and in California,
where one of his beautiful sideboards ended up after making the long trip
west in a wagon train.
Amasa Holden died in
Penn Yan on 10 August 1868, at the age of 93. He was known locally for his
playing on the fife, almost up until the day he died. He outlived Abigail
by 17 years; she died in 1851, aged 74. They are buried in Lake View Cemetery.