Austin Holden was born in White Creek in Washington County, New York in 1819. He was raised by his dad and step-mother from the age of four.
He arrived in Glens Falls in 1836 at the age of 17 and studied law with Hon. William Hay. He stopped after one year and became a cabinet maker in order to make money.
He taught school in Saratoga County, Fort Edward, and Glens Falls. He was county superintendent for the Common School District from 1846 -47.
He then studied medicine under Dr. Tabor Reynolds of Saratoga. He graduated from Albany Medical College in 1848. While in Medical School, he served as Warren County Superintendent of the Common School District.
On April 24, 1851 he married Elizabeth Buell and they had three children, James, Horatio, (died at age 27) and Pauline, (died at 11 months).
He was a leader in State and National Homeopathic medical groups and became Chief of Staff of Ward’s Island Homeopathic Hospital in New York City.
At one time Holden was editor of the Glens Falls Times, a daily newspaper. In 1854 he was a partner with Goodspeed, Mott & Co. that made stone castings. He was also Director of the Public Library from 1857 – 63.
He was the first man in Warren County to enlist for Union duty in the Civil War…22nd Regiment, Co. F., known as the Iron Brigade. He fought at the Second Bull Run, Antiem, Fredericksburg, and South Mountain. He served on the medical staff as an assistant surgeon. Holden was commissioned as Brevet Major for meritorious service. He carried the following in his field case: pocket case for pills, sewing kit, sulfur matches, pocket knife, soldier’s pocket booklet with verses from the New Testament, some favorite psalms and hymns.
He was elected to the State Assembly as a Democrat in 1874 from Warren County, which was primarily Republican. He served on the first Board of Trustees of the Unified School District from 1881 -87.
He collected historical materials for a life time and wrote the History of the Town of Queensbury. The materials from his collection became the core of the Holden Collection at the Crandall Public Library. He was considered the Dean of Local Historians and was awarded an honorary degree of AM from Union College.
He was an active Temperance man, trustee and secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Old Glens Falls Academy, a member of the Vestry of the Church of Messiah, as well as clerk, Warden and lay reader. A brass plaque is in the church in his honor.
He was a member of Glens Falls Lodge 121 and Senate Lodge 456. He was the only member to hold mastership of both lodges. He was also a member of GAR, (Veteran of the the Civil War: Grand Army of the Republic)
Abraham Wing III loaned Holden all his personal papers, and while they were in Holden’s possession, the Wing house burned to the ground. Thus, the Wing papers were preserved for history.
It is said that Holden befriended a member of the “older generation” to gain data for his records, and later his book.