Biography - Wesley Holt

WESLEY HOLT was born on a farm near Swedesburg, Henry co., Iowa, May 3, 1874. There he spent his early years assisting in the work on the farm in summer and attending the public school in winter. Desirous of a general education, he entered the State University of Iowa, from which he graduated in 1899, receiving the degree of A. B. Having decided upon the law as his vocation he pursued the study of it in the College of Law at the same institution. The following year he received the degree of LL. B. and was admitted to practice in the state and federal courts.
While in college, Mr. Holt early exhibited marked abilities as a debater and speaker. He was chosen to participate in the Inter Society Debate and the University oratorical contest. His ability as a writer was recognized in his selection as editor-in-chief of the State University of Iowa Quill, and staff representative on the Western College Magazine. He was looked upon as a leader among the students.
At the outbreak of the Spanish-American war, Mr. Holt was just entering upon his life work. For him to enlist at that time was no small sacrifice, but no selfish interest deterred him. As a true patriot he heard his country's call. He enlisted and served through the war with Co. I, 5oth Iowa Regt. Volunteer Infantry, a part of the 7th Army Corps under Gen. Fitzhugh Lee's command.
Mr. Holt came to Galesburg in the spring of 1901 and was admitted to the bar in Illinois in the autumn of the same year. He opened an office in partnership with Walter C. Frank under the firm name of Holt & Frank immediately after admission and was the only Swedish lawyer in Galesburg.
Mr. Holt was active in religious work, being a member of the First Swedish Lutheran Church and one of the members of its board of trustees.
In politics Mr. Holt was a zealous Republican. He took an active part in the campaigns of the party on the stump and otherwise. He made his first political speech in 1896 for Wm. McKinley.
In 1903, although he had lived but a short time in Galesburg, he had already gained the confidence of the community, as evidenced by his election to the office of city attorney in the spring of that year.
Mr. Holt's creditable and highly promising career was cut short by his untimely death July 8, 1904.

Extracted 17 Sep 2016 by Norma Hass from the History of the Swedes of Illinois, published in 1908 by Engberg-Holmberg Publishing Company, Part 2, Knox County, pages 30-48.

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