John Myrie Holl
Premier from 1854 to 1855
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THERE IS NO OTHER PREMIER in the history of Prince Edward Island about whom so little is known as
John Myrie Holl. Because he served in the post for only a few months and seems to have had
little effort on the community in other matters, information about him is very scarce.
Holl was born in England, probably in Devon where there was a family estate called "Kenwith". Land records indicate that Holl purchased property on the Island in 1836 and from this information it seems likely that he immigrated the same year. In a few years, he had acquired several hundred acres in the area between Winsloe and Milton, which he named "Kenwith" after the family estate in England.
Named to the Legislative Council in 1840, Holl obviously had political connections although the facts of his appointment are not clear. At a time when the family compact was being attacked in every colony, the governor, Charles Fitzroy, was careful to note that Holl was independently wealthy, connected to neither the proprietors, nor the government, nor the tenants.
In 1853, the Coles government was defeated at the polls and in early 1854 finally were forced to resign in the face of the Conservative majority in the House of Assembly. Edward Palmer, who led the Conservatives in the Assembly was asked to form an administration and Holl was chosen as leader of the government. Holl had been appointed rather than elected and as Premier was in the unique position of being leader of the government in a colony which had won responsible government only three years before, yet he had never been elected to any legislative post. A change in the franchise led the governor to call another election in June 1854 and Coles was returned as Premier.
Holl continued to sit in the Legislative Council until he returned to England, apparently in 1856. His death and burial there in 1869 received only passing mention in the Island papers.