Holker, John (1719-1786)

Prominent Rouen businessman.

While on his way to Le Havre, Franklin visited him and his second wife, the widow of Jean Testart, in Rouen (July 1785).

A Jacobite, Holker was captured and imprisoned after he joined the forces of Charles Edward Stuart in Manchester (1746).

Escaped and made his way to Paris. Served as a lieutenant in Ogilvie’s (the Irish) Brigade (1747-51). Erected a cotton mill at Rouen. Assigned a military pension and appointed inspector general of manufactures (c. 1754). Began the first vitriol factory in France (1769). Chevalier de St. Louis (1770). Obtained lettres de noblesse (1775).

Born in Stretford, Manchester. Married Elizabeth Hilton (or Hulton). Father of Jean Holker, French consul in Philadelphia.