History of Ravenscroft

John Holt

John Holt was a merchant. He owned two lots in Williamsburg (numbers 49 and 50) on which his storehouse was located, and leased four others (#266, 267, 268, and 700) from Thomas Nelson between 18 Nov 1745 and 1753. Documentary sources indicate that he was living on the leased lots, which include 267 and 268, currently under investigation.

John Holt served in a number of public positions. He was Mayor of Williamsburg from 1752 to 1753, and served as Justice of the Peace for York County from 1748 to 1754. In 1753 he left Williamsburg for New York, where he became a printer. He died in New York in 1784.

John Holt’s Household

Holt was married to Elizabeth Hunter, sister of William Hunter, the property’s next tenant. In 1744, just before leasing the lots, Holt was named guardian to Roseanna and Mary Hunter, two of his wife’s sisters. Elizabeth and John Holt had at least two children of their own. Their daughter Elizabeth died on June 11, 1748, while their son John died six weeks later, on July 25. One presumes that all of these individuals were present on the Ravenscroft property between 1745 and 1753.

Enslaved members of the Holt household include:

  • Men: Stephen and Anthony
  • Boy: Juba
  • Women: Doll and Ellen
  • Children: Isabel, Judy, Billy, and Jammy

Records from Bruton Parish Church identify two other enslaved household members: “Negro child William,” baptized Nov. 6, 1748, and enslaved woman “Nanny,” baptized Feb 4, 1749/50.