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William Steele Holman

In office
March 4, 1859 – April 22, 1897

Succeeded by Francis M. Griffith

Born September 6, 1822
Dearborn County Indiana
Died April 22, 1897
Washington, D.C.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Abigail Knapp
Residence Indiana
Profession lawyer, judge

William Steele Holman (September 6, 1822 – April 22, 1897) was a lawyer, judge and politician from Dearborn County, Indiana. He was a member of the Democratic Party who served as a U.S. Representative from 1859 to 1865, 1867 to 1877, 1881 to 1895, and 1897, spanning sixteen Congresses. He died in office in 1897, a month after his last election.

Holman attended Franklin College from 1840 to 1842. In 1843, he was admitted to the Dearborn County bar association and served as probate judge from 1843 to 1846, followed by a two-year term as a prosecuting attorney from 1847 to 1849. Holman was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1851 and 1852; from 1852 to 1856, he served as Judge for the Court of Common Pleas.

In 1842, Holman married Abigail Knapp. They had one son named William S. Holman, Jr.

During his time in office, one of Holman's hallmarks was his contribution to the Forest Reserve Act of 1891, which repealed the Timber Culture Act of 1873 and authorized the President to set aside timber reserves to be "managed for the people" in the future. It is unclear who was responsible for this provision, but Holman had put forth an 1888 bill which used similar language to call for protecting public forests.

Holman is buried in Aurora, Indiana in Dearborn County.


  • Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress. [1]
  • Reserve Act and Congress: Passage of the 1891 Act




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