HOLLINGER, ELI, was born in Reading township, Adams county, Pa., June 20, 1830. He is a son of the late George and Elizabeth (Asper) Hollinger. His great-grandparents on his fatherís side were natives of Switzerland; on his motherís side they were English. His grandparents were both natives of Lancaster county, and members of the Lutheran church. His grandfather was a Democrat in politics. At this grandfatherís death there were sixty-two living grandchildren, nearly all of whom were at his funeral. George Hollinger, father of Eli Hollinger, was born in Adams county in 1799, and was a farmer nearly all his life. He was married, in 1826, to Elizabeth Asper, of Adams county, born in 1803. They had fifteen children, five of whom are living: George, Eli, Rebecca, Kate, wife of Jacob T. Smith, and Lydia, wife of John Miller. Their deceased children were Michael, Leah, Jonas, Christian, Anna, Caroline, Jacob, killed in the war, and three who died in infancy. The father died aged seventy-six years. Both were members of the Lutheran church. The father was first a Whig and afterwards became a Republican.
Eli Hollinger received only a limited education in the public schools, but made up much of the deficiency by attendance upon night schools. He was a self-made man. His youth was spent on the farm. At nineteen years of age he learned blacksmithing and followed this occupation for twenty-eight years. During one of these years he traveled with the stone masons. He worked at his trade at Abbotstown. In 1851 he was coachsmithing with Squire Palmer. In 1852 he came to Harrisburg and worked at his trade in the car shops until they were closed. In 1854 he traveled through some of the western states and worked at his trade for some time in Chicago. During the next five years he worked at Altoona, Pa. On account of failing health he spent the next eighteen months at his old home in Adams county. In 1850 he was employed in Harrisburg by the Car Manufacturing Company for about six months. In the same year he began business for himself, manufacturing implements and farming machinery.
He was married, August 7, 1860, to Miss Melinda, daughter of John and Hattie (Hoffer) Livingston, a native of Adams county. They had three children: Eleanor, wife of Arthur Lescure; George B., married to Mrs. Miller, widow of Rev. Miller, residing in Baltimore, Md.; and Calvin Clinton, died July 9, 1862. Since 1860 Mr. Hollinger has been principally engaged in the sale of agricultural implements, roof painting, and teaching music. He also taught in a public school for one term. In 1853 he joined Altoona Lodge, No. 473, I.O.O.F. He was one of the charter members of Peace and Plenty Lodge, No. 69, when it was organized seven years ago, and he has long since passed the chair in this lodge. During his connection with this lodge he has been an indefatigable worker. Past Grand Hollinger has had the pleasure of witnessing the initiation of sixty-seven members proposed by him. Seven of his nephews are Odd Follows, George A., the present Past Grand, No. 69, being one of them. Mr. Hollinger is also an active member of Susannah Rebecca Lodge. He was a charter member and has always kept up his membership of Harrisburg Encampment, No. 301. He has for years been a member of the Junior Order of United American Mechanics and has been an active representative of his council. In years past he was district deputy and during his term of office organized twenty-one flourishing councils within fourteen months. During his official term he also instituted Eureka Council, Jr. O.U.A.M., of this city. He is at present past sagamore of Octorara Tribe, No.91 I.O.R.M.
In 1852 Mr. Hollinger cast his first vote for President of the United States. He voted for the Free Soil candidate, John P. Hale, of New Hamphire. Mr.Hale had only six votes in Harrisburg, of which Mr. Hollingerís was one; here is where he lost his first vote. He joined the Republican party and acted with it until 1873, when he became a Greenback-Republican.
He is a faithful member of the Second Reformed church; his departed wife also was a member of that church. Mrs. Hollinger died September 2, 1865. Her parents were natives of York county, occupied in farming. They had seven children: Alexander; Matilda, wife of Christian Kauffman, deceased; Eleanor, wife of George Hollinger; Malinda, Mrs. Eli Hollinger; Leah, wife of Henry Brenneman, and Granville. Mr. and Mrs. Livingston were members of the Lutheran church.