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Thomas Holmes is a well-known resident of Ontario, San Bernardino County. He has for the past thirty years been identified with the mining, mercantile, agricultural and horticultural industries of the Pacific coast. A review of his life is of interest. Mr. Holmes was born in Lancashire England, in 1834. His parents, James and Hannah (Mort) Holmes, were natives of that place. In 1844 his father immigrated to the United States and settled in Putnam County, Illinois, where he engaged in farming and stock growing. The subject of this sketch received the benefits of a common-school education and became practically versed in the duties of a farmer. When twenty years of age he started in life for him-self, and spent the next five years in farm labor and other occupations.
In the spring of 1859 he started on an over-land trip for California. After undergoing the usual hardships and labor attending a trip of that character, he arrived in August of that year and located in El Dorado County. His first occupation was in the placer mines of that section. He followed the calling of a miner in the various counties of California until 1868. In that year he entered Nevada and located in Elko County. There he combined cattle raising with his mining enterprises, and also established a general merchandise store at Truckee, under the firm name of Jones & Holmes. The various enterprises were conducted for several years. He was also engaged with the Central Pacific Railroad in the construction of bridges, buildings, etc. During the latter portion of his residence in Nevada, Mr. Holmes devoted the most of his attention to the stock business.
In the spring of 1884, he decided to seek a more genial climate, and he came to Ontario and located upon a twenty-acre tract on the east side of Euclid avenue, between Fourth and Fifth streets. This tract he had purchased in 1883. Immediately upon his arrival he commenced his improvements and heartily entered into horticultural pursuits. He also purchased the ten acres adjoining his land on the east. He has been eminently successful in his fruit growing. His lands now present a fine appearance and are justly classed as among the representative groves of Ontario. He has ten acres in Washington Navel trees, planted in 1884, and ten acres in raisin grapes of the Muscat variety. His east ten acres is devoted to deciduous fruits, comprising about seven and one-half acres in French prunes and two and one-half in pears. Every-thing about this model ranch denotes the practical care and attention of the thorough horticulturist. He has applied to this, his latest venture, the same energy and sound business principles that secured his success in other enterprises, and justly deserves the magnificent results achieved.
He is a public-spirited citizen and has done much to advance the interests of Ontario. In political matters he has always been a stanch Republican, and though not an office-seeker has taken a part in the councils of the party, and for years filled positions of trust and honor. He was the Postmaster at Carlin, Nevada, from 1870 to 1884; from 1876 to 1880 he was the County Commissioner of Elko County, and also road supervisor and school trustee of his district for years, and many times was a delegate to both State and county conventions. He has served as a delegate in the conventions of San Bernardino County, is at present a member of the Board of Supervisors, and is a member of the County Central Committee. Mr. Holmes is a member of the following orders: Elko Lodge, No. 15, F. & A. M., of Elko, Nevada, and Brooklyn Lodge, No. 46, I. O. O. F., of Red Dog, Nevada County, California. In 1877 Mr. Holmes was united in marriage with Mrs. Marcia W. Barney, a native of Maine, and a daughter of Hon. George Whitney, of Pittsfield, of the same State. Bernice, her daughter, is the only child.