Biography of Holmes, Samuel

Samuel Holmes has shown an ability amounting to genius for the successful handling of business affairs, especially landed transactions, and during his long residence in Kansas had accumulated some of the finest sections of farming land in Greenwood and surrounding counties. Mr. Holmes learned the value of industry when a boy, also the principles of straightforward integrity, and it may be said that in consequence he had always been a successful man. He is now eighty-three years of age and lives practically retired at Eureka. One of the connections he still retains is as vice president of the Home National Bank. Mr. Holmes is an honored veteran of the Civil war, in which he fought on the Union side.

He was born in Carroll County, Ohio, December 8, 1834, and lived on his father’s farm there until 1853. In the meantime he attended the rural schools. Most of the schools at that time were supported on the subscription plan, and their advantages were correspondingly meager. In the spring of 1853 he moved out to Wayne County, Illinois, where his father followed him in the fall of the same year. Mr. Holmes laid the foundation of his success as a farmer in Illinois, and from that state brought considerable capital as well as experience to Kansas in the spring of 1870. Locating in Greenwood County, he pre-empted a claim and paid $1.25 per acre. This land was in the Osage reservation near Climax. On his quarter section there he lived until 1886, and in the meantime invested his surplus capital in various other quarter sections. He still owned the old homestead, but for the past thirty years had lived in Eureka. His individual ownership now includes 182 acres. But in the meantime he had given away 1,040 acres to his children. Each of his seven children received 160 acres except his daughter Ida, who accepted eighty acres and the equivalent of the other eighty acres she took in bank stocks. Mr. Holmes had done a magnificent part by his children, and they are all prosperous and have done their individual share of the world’s work. Mr. Holmes also owned a comfortable residence on Mulberry Street in Eureka.

The beginning of his military service came in August, 1862, when he enlisted in Company D of the Eighty-seventh Illinois Infantry. He was in active service until the close of the war. His first important campaign was the siege of Vicksburg, and during the progress of operations against that city he participated in the severely fought battle at Jackson, Mississippi. Later his regiment was mounted and participated in Banks campaign up the Red River, and from that time until the end of the war he was engaged in scouting up and down the Mississippi River. He had numerous escapes from danger, and put in nearly three years of hard fighting for the preservation of the Union.

Mr. Holmes is a democrat, and for three years held the office of county commissioner of Greenwood County. He is a past master of Twin Falls Lodge of Masons and now had membership in Fidelity Lodge No. 106 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.

Mr. Holmes comes of long lived and rugged stock, and both he and his ancestors have shown great vitality. The family record is noteworthy in several ways. Mr. Hohnes was one of the eighteen children borne by his mother, while his father had fully twenty-six children by his three marriages.

The Holmes ancestors came from Scotland and were early settlers in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Mr. Holmes’ great-grandfather was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. His name was Joel Holmes, and he was the founder of the family on this side of the Atlantic. The grandfather was John Holmes, who was born in Pennsylvania, took part as a soldier in the War of 1812, developed a pioneer farm in the wilds of Ohio and died in Seneca County of that state. Thus there had been members of this family participants in every great war in which this country had engaged.

William Holmes, father of Samuel, was born at Tuscarora, Pennsylvania, in 1801. He was reared and married in his native state, followed farming there, later removed to Carroll County, Ohio, a few years before Samuel was born, and developed one of the best farms in that county. He also became a man of prominence in local affairs, serving four years as saditor of Carroll County and four years as county treasurer. In 1853 he removed to Wayne County, Illinois, and afterwards retired from farming and spent the rest of his years there. His death occurred in 1887, when eighty-six years of age. He was a democrat in politics.

William Holmes first wife was a Miss Joseph. Her four children, all now deceased, were Mary, Elizabeth, William and John. For his second wife William Holmes married Eliza Davis, the mother of Samuel Holmes. She was born at Tuscarora, Pennsylvania, in 1807, and died in Carroll County, Ohio, in 1849. A brief record of her large family of children is as follows: Isaac, who was a farmer in Putnam County, Ohio, and died in 1915; Catherine, who died in Carroll County, Ohio; Martha, who died in Carroll County; Jonathan, who was killed when a young man in Carroll County by a tree falling upon him; James, who was a physician and went to the Civil war as a Union soldier having charge of a Government hospital, and was never heard of afterwards; Miriam, who died in Wayne County, Illinois, in the summer of 1916; Samuel, who was the seventh of his mother’s children; Eliza, who died in Wayne County, Illinois, in 1914; David, a veteran of the Civil war, afterwards a farmer, and died in Wayne County in 1914; Oliver, who died in Wayne County, was a farmer, served as county clerk four years, and as county treasurer the same length of time; Martin and Daniel, both of whom died in childhood; Milton, who is a farmer in Wayne County, Illinois; Sarah, who died at Madison, Kansas, in 1908; Eleanor, who died in Wayne County in 1904; Samantha, wife of Jesse Robinson, a retired veteran of the Civil war, her home being in Edwards County, Illinois; Calvin, a retired land owner at Mulberry, Arkansas; and the eighteenth and youngest was a son that died in infancy, his mother passing away at the same time. William Holmes married for his third wife Martha Wiseman. She was born at Massillon, Ohio, and died in Wayne County, Illinois, in 1870. She became the mother of four children: Eli, who was a physician and surgeon and died at St. Louis, Missouri; Malissa, who resided at Glenwood Springs, Colorado, widow of Caney Staton, who was a farmer; George, who is a farmer on the Roaring Fork of the Rio Grande in Colorado; and Mary, wife of William Westfall, employed in the steel factory at Pueblo, Colorado.

Mr. Samuel Holmes was married in Wayne County, Illinois, in 1856, to Miss Elizabeth Porterfield, a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Thompson) Porterfield. Her father was a farmer and both parents are now deceased. Mrs. Holmes died at Eureka, February 14, 1911, about five years after they had celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. It is the privilege of few cuples to travel such a long part of the journey of life together as was the lot of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Holmes. Of their children the oldest is Elsina, wife of Marshall Moore, a farmer on Honey Creek in Greenwood County; Ehner, had been a farmer but is now living retired at Severy, Kansas; Alvin, whose home is on a farm at Climax, had completed one term of four years as county commissioner of Greenwood County and in 1916 was re-elected for another similar term; Mariett, is the wife of E. B. Powers, a farmer at Climax, Kansas; Arizona, who lives with her father in Eureka, is the widow of Harry Wyant, who was a farmer; Ida had always lived with her father and is unmarried; Murray, the youngest of the children, is cashier of the Home National Bank of Eureka. He was born in Greenwood County in April, 1882, was educated in the public schools of Eureka, graduating from high school in 1900, and also had a course in the Kansas City Business College at Kansas City, Missouri. On completing his education he became bookkeeper in the Citizens National Bank of Eureka, and in 1904, when the Home National Bank was organized he took the post of assistant cashier and bookkeeper and was advanced to cashier in 1912. He is an active democrat, is treasurer of the Board of Education of Eureka, and is one of the vigorous and progressive younger citizens of Greenwood County. Besides his home on Elm Street, he owned a 160-acre farm, given him by his father, in Greenwood County. Murray Holmes was married May 16, 1906, to Miss Jo Burris, daughter of A. P. and Lydia (McGanan) Burris, who reside on a farm at Virgil, Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Murray Holmes have two children: Burris, born August 11, 1907, and Horace, born January 8, 1909.

Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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