The family bearing this name is one of long and honorable standing in New England and as well across the water in old England, its history there reaching back to the year 1066. One John Holmes, who took his surname from Stockholm, the capital of his native country, as the story is told, was the founder of the Holmes family. He is credited with having gone to England as a volunteer, with the army of William, Duke of Normandy, in the year above named.
“Being of ancient family and of handsome conduct, he was noticed by William himself, and made a captain in his army; and, having performed his part to the satisfaction of the Conqueror, he was rewarded by him with an estate in Yorkshire. He and his descendants continued in possession of this estate until the reign of King John, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, at which time Hugh Holmes was the head of the family. Incurring the displeasure of King John in the controversies of that turbulent period, Hugh fled to the northward, and found safety at Mardale, having for refuge a cave, still known as ‘Hugh’s Cave.’ He subsequently purchased the Dalesmans estate, which is still in possession of his descendants.” In time, in the early days of the peopling of New England, there came a number to our shores of the Holmes name, and from two of them, John Holmes of Plymouth and William Holmes of Marshfield, the most of the families bearing the name of Holmes in the Old Colony are descended, and of them said the genealogist Vinton,
“So far as the present writer (Vinton) is aware, they have always sustained a high character for intelligence, thrift and all the moral virtues.”
But it is the purpose of this article to treat with one branch only of the Marshfield-Rochester family, the head of which was the late Hon. Charles Jarvis Holmes, lawyer and public servant of distinguished official relation, as was his father before him, Hon. Abraham Holmes, and as was also the former’s son excepting that he was a banker and financier instead of a member of the legal profession, and a man of high standing and long service in his calling at Fall River, where he was succeeded by his only son, Charles L. Holmes, now treasurer of the Fall River Five Cents Savings Bank, an institution his father had served in the same official relation for approximately fifty years, and who is worthily wearing the family name and sustaining its reputation.
There follows in chronological order and in detail the family history and genealogy of the Holmes family alluded to above, beginning with the John whose traditional history has already been given.
John, of whom nothing further is known except that he was father of Robert, of Paul Holme. He and wife Annas had sons:
- Sir Oliver
- Ralph, the latter marrying Frances, and had descendants residing in Huntingdon, Yorkshire.
Sir Oliver, of Paul Holme, controller to Empress Maud and knighted 18th Stephen (1152). He was father of Robert, of Paul Holme, Esq., living 22d Henry II. (1175). He married Ursula, daughter of Sir John Frismarsh, Knight, and had
- Oliver (who married a daughter of Sir John Rison, Knight, of Ravenser)
John, of Paul Holme, Esq., temporary Henry II. (22d Henry, 1176). He married Sebastian or Keterine, daughter of Sir John de Lascello, Baron of Sayer, and had issue:
Stephen, knighted at Barhamstead, 22d Henry III., 1237, married Millicent, daughter of Sir Richard Sutton, Knight, and dying Jan. 22, 1254, left
John, Esq., his son and heir. About 1286 he married Ancoretta, daughter of Peter de la Twyer, Esq., and had:
- Sir Richard
- Elen, who married Sir Stephen Burstwick
- Ann, who married Sir William Acton
- Margaret, who married Rob Thorpe
- Elizabeth, who married Sir Peter Frothingham
- Ursula, who married Roger Welnick
William of Orange grants to Master John Holm all his rights in toft and eight butts in Holme, with marsh called Salem (Salun?) Marsh; tested by William Vavasour of Thorne, Robert Boothby, etc. [Holderness Records].
Sir Richard, son of John Holme and Ancoretta de la Twyer, was knighted 1st Edward II., and was alive 18 Edward II. (1324). He married Joan, daughter of Sir William St. Quintine, Lord of Brandsburton, and had:
- William “de Howom” (Holme-on-the-wolds) (who married Isabell; was a freeman in 1353; bailiff in 1366-67; mayor in 1374; M. P. in 1387, and had a son, Thomas de Howom).
Sir Bryan, knighted by Edward III. and master of his buckhounds in 1328, had for ensign a hound’s head, er., or. He married Dame Ellen of Blois and had: Robert. He died 22d Edward III., the same year he had armorial bearings for taking the King of Scots prisoner.
Robert, son of Sir Bryan, married Julian, daughter of Sir William Rockley, and dying 22d Richard II left:
- Richard (who married a daughter of William Harwich, 22d Richard II)
William, son of Robert Holme, alias Holmes, Esq., lived 6th Henry IV., 1405, and married Joan, daughter of Sir William Marflet, of Ripley; issue
John was of Paul Holme, was seized of Thorngumbold in right of his wife, 8th Henry VI. (1429). He married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Adam Wastneys, and she died before her husband, probably in 1429, when he had the estate of Thorngumbold. Issue:
John, of Thorngumbold, married Jane, daughter of Jno. Ellerher, of Risby, sergeant-at-law, about 20th Henry VI. He had Thorngumbold “jure matris.” Issue:
- Jane (who married Constable of Frismarsh)
- Anne (who married William Hodgskin)
Robert, of Paul Holme, 1485-86, married Margaret, daughter of Sir John Constable, of Halsham, and Laura, daughter of Henry Fitz Hugh, Lord of Ravensworth. Issue:
- John, who married Elland and had
- John (who died young)
- Joane (who married Ralph Rokeby)
- Anne (who married William Cheney)
- Stephen, who died s. p. 2d Henry VIII
William, third son of Robert Holme, entails his estate and honors at Paul Holme. He married Catherine, daughter of Sir Xr Hildyard, of Winstead, Knight, and had son
William, of Paul Holme, Esq., who married Catherine. Issue:
- Agnes, who married Paul Alkirk
- Johan, who married John Kelsby
- John, of Paul Holme
The last named, John, married Anne, daughter of Ralph or John Aiseley, of South (?) Darston, and had among other children Edward, who was twice married and had by his second wife (Ann Strickland) a son Henry, born in 1570, who among other children had son Christopher, born in 1591; one son of this Christopher, Henry, had a son Rev. Henry, who was father of Stephen, who left an only daughter, Betty, who married Rev. James Torre, their son Henry assuming the name of Holme; the other son of Christopher, Christopher of Skefling, had among other children a son John, who left two sons, Henry, who died unmarried, and Rev. John, who also died unmarried, in 1775.
William, son of William, was born about 1528 and married June 8, 1556, Margaret, daughter of Stephen Warwick. They had children:
- William (born Sept. 2, 1559)
- Margaret (born July 16, 1560)
Of these, William married May 8, 1591, Sarah, daughter of Thomas Hills, and had sons:
- William, born June 3, 1592, emigrated to Plymouth before 1632, served in the Pequot war, was lieutenant in Scituate, returned to England and later to Boston, Mass., where he died Nov. 12, 1649. He left no issue, and willed to daughters of his brother Thomas farm in Scituate, provided they came to New England; they were then living in London,
- Thomas, born May 12, 1593, married Henriette, daughter of William Martin, and had:
- Rachel, born Jan. 3, 1615
- Bathsheba, born July 23, 1617
Stephen, born March 22, 1557, married Aug. 4, 1590, Elizabeth, daughter of Israel Richardson, and had issue:
- William, born Jan. 3, 1592
- Israel, born March 19, 1593, who married June 7, 1616, Annie Warrick
- Elizabeth, born Jan. 8, 1595
William Holmes, born Jan. 3, 1592, near Holme, East Riding of Yorkshire, England, emigrated before 1636 to New England, living in Scituate as early as 1641. Pope has him at Scituate in 1636. He was on the list of those in Scituate who were “able to bear arms” in 1643; one of the “Conihassett Planters” in 1646 (a company of twenty-six individuals who in 1646 purchased a tract of land in Scituate), and a householder before 1647. He was a freeman of Plymouth Colony, 1658. In 1661 he removed across North river into Marshfield, and died there 9th of 9th month, 1678, aged eighty-six years. Elizabeth, his widow, died there Feb. 17, 1689, in her eighty-sixth year As shown previously, Mr. Holmes was a kinsman of Lieut. William Holmes, who was at Plymouth in 1632; appointed to instruct the people of Plymouth and Duxbury in arms in 1635; commander in the Pequot war, 1637, and afterward major in Massachusetts.
The children of William Holmes of Marshfield were:
- John, who married Mary Wood
- Josiah, who married Hannah Sampson
- Abraham, baptized in 1641
- Israel, baptized in 1642, who married Desire Dotey Sherman
- Isaac, baptized in 1644, who married Anna Rouse
- Sarah, baptized in 1646
- Rebecca, baptized in 1648
- Mary, baptized in 1655, who married a Cheney, of Newbury
- Elizabeth, baptized in 1661, who married Thomas Bourne
Abraham Holmes, son of William, born in 1640, baptized in 1641, married (first) Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. Samuel Arnold, pastor of the church in Marshfield (1659-1693). She died in May, 1690, and he married (second) April 19, i695, Abigail Nichols, of Hingham. Mr. Holmes lived in Marshfield till about 1698, when he moved to Rochester with his brothers Josiah and Isaac. He was town treasurer of Rochester in 1698. His house stood a fourth of a mile southeast from Snow’s Pond, on the westerly side of the road. He died April 17, 1722, aged eighty-two years. His children, all born to his first wife, were:
- Elizabeth, born in 1666
- Bathsheba, who married Samuel Doggett
- Rose, who married Thomas Blanchard, of Andover
- Experience, born in 1681
Experience Holmes, son of Abraham, born in 1681, in Marshfield, Mass., married Patience Nichols. He settled just within the line of Dartmouth, in what was afterward Fairhaven, on a farm which was afterward known as the Parish farm, having been purchased by the parish for the use and occupancy of Rev. Thomas West. He died in 1754, aged thirty-four. His widow married Deacon Ephraim Wood, of Middleboro. The children of Experience and Patience were:
- Elizabeth (married Jethro Ashley)
- Sarah (married Elias Miller, of Middleboro)
Experience Holmes (2), son of Experience, born June 9, 1716, in Rochester, Mass., married Dec. 13, 1737, Hannah, born Nov. 4, 1715, daughter of Abraham Sampson, of Duxbury. After his mother’s second marriage Mr. Holmes lived with his grandmother during the remainder of her life. After this he lived with Rev. Peter Thatcher of Middleboro. After his marriage he occupied the homestead of his father in Rochester. Here his first child, Susannah, was born. He lived subsequently at several other places in the town and from 1757 to 1782 he owned and occupied a farm in the Third parish of Rochester, near the Chaddock meeting-house. Mr. Holmes is described as a man of small size, never weighing more than one hundred and thirty-six pounds, but was agile and quick in his motions, and in wrestling, which was then considered a great accomplishment, few could excel him. He was an expert with a gun and fond of hunting. Although his education was limited he had strong reasoning powers, was well versed in the Bible and in polemical divinity, so that few clergymen could baffle him in argument. He had native wit and was prompt at repartee. He embraced Baptist sentiments in 1762. He died March 14, 1794, aged seventy-eight. His wife Hannah died Nov. 30, 1797, aged eighty-two. Their children were:
- Susanna, born in 1739, married Hezekiah Purington
- James, born in 1741, died in 1754
- Bathsheba married Joseph Rounseville
- Elizabeth, born Sept. 30, 1746, married Job Sherman
- Experience, born Aug. 14, 1749, died in 1768
- Abraham, born June 9, 1754, is the next in the line of descent
Hon. Abraham Holmes (2), son of Experience (2), born June 9, 1754, in Rochester, Mass., married Dec. 26, 1776, Bethiah, born Feb. 16, 1759, daughter of Ichabod and Bethiah (Blackwell) Nye, all of Rochester. Mr. Holmes was admitted to the bar of Plymouth county in April, 1800. He was then forty-six years old. He had previously been president of the court of Sessions, and though not regularly educated for the profession the members of the bar voted his admission in consideration of “his respectable official character, learning and abilities, on condition that he study three months in some attorney’s office.” He continued in practice till August, 1835, when eighty-one years of age, with a considerable degree of reputation and success. He was regarded as an acute and learned lawyer. He was full of anecdote and traditional lore, abounding in wit and humor. In June, 1834, when eighty years old, he delivered a very interesting address at New Bedford, to the bar of Bristol county, on the rise and progress of the profession in Massachusetts, giving sketches of the early lawyers, etc.
Mr. Holmes was a member of the Executive Council of Massachusetts, May, 1821-22, and May, 1822-23, under Governor Brooks. After his death the members of the bar of Bristol, Plymouth and Barnstable counties, at a meeting held at Plymouth Oct. 25, 1839, paid a most respectful tribute to his talents, learning and character, and adopted a resolution expressing a high sense of his professional worth; as a man
“whose mind was enriched with various learning, whose memory was a repository of the most valuable reminiscences; whose legal attainments gave him high professional eminence; and whose social qualities were an ornament of the circle of friendship during a long life of integrity and usefulness.”
Mr. Holmes passed his life in Rochester, and died Sept. 7, 1839, aged eighty-five. His wife Bethiah died Dec. 14, 1832, aged seventy-four. Their children were:
- Bathsheba, born May 18, 1779, who died unmarried in 1853
- Rosalinda, born Aug. 10, 1784, who married Anselm Bassett, Esq.
- George Bonum Nye, born March 1, 1788, who married Elizabeth Valentine
- Charles Jarvis, born May 9, 1790
Hon. Charles Jarvis Holmes, son of Hon. Abraham, born May 9, 1790, in Rochester, Mass., married (first) Oct. 17, 1814, Cynthia Crocker. She died Aug. 17, 1828, aged forty, and he married (second) in 1830 Louisa, daughter of Ebenezer and Bathsheba (Crocker) Haskell, who died Oct. 11, 1846, aged forty-four years.
Mr. Holmes studied law in the office of his father in Rochester, Mass., and was admitted to the Plymouth bar in 1812. He practiced his profession in his native town more than a quarter of a century; was identified with the feelings and interests, and enjoyed the confidence of his fellow citizens. He represented Rochester in the Legislature of Massachusetts in 1816, 1817, 1819, 1820, 1824, 1826, 1827, 1831 and 1832. He was a senator from Plymouth county in 1829 and 1830; a member of the Executive Council in 1835, and an elector of President and Vice President in 1836.
Desiring a larger field Mr. Holmes removed to Taunton in 1838. In 1842 he was appointed by President Tyler collector of the customs of Fall River, to which place he removed. He remained there till toward the close of his life. He filled at various periods other offices of importance, as master of chancery, commissioner of bankruptcy, et cetera.
“was a man of ardent friendships, genial temperament, of a high sense of honor. His intellectual powers were strong and well cultivated, although he was not educated at college. He was a careful reader of the English classics, and a thorough student of the law. In political life he was ardent, sanguine, strong in his convictions and indefatigable in maintaining them. He wrote his own epitaph, closing with these words: ‘By profession a lawyer; by practice a peacemaker.'”
Mr. Holmes died at Fall River, Mass., May 13, 1859, aged sixty-nine. He was buried in the same cemetery in Rochester where repose the remains of his father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather – five generations. His children, both born to the second marriage, were:
- Emma Louise, born Nov. 4, 1830, died March 31, 1881. Her husband, Daniel Stillwell, of Fall River, to whom she was married Aug. 20, 1856, was born Feb. 11, 1825, and died Dec. 20, 1878. They had one daughter, Louisa Holmes, born April 17, 1858, who married Sept. 6, 1882, John H. C. Nevius, of New York; and they have had children born as follows:
- Stillwell, July 23, 1883
- Louisa Condit, Feb. 10, 1886 (died Aug. 29, 1906)
- Richmond, Oct. 10, 1887
- Marian H., June 24, 1892
- John L., Dec. 28, 1896
- Charles Jarvis was born March 4, 1834.
Hon. Charles Jarvis Holmes (2), son of Hon. Charles Jarvis and Louisa (Haskell) Holmes, was born March 4, 1834, in Rochester, Mass., and at the age of five years accompanied his father and family on their removal to Taunton, Mass., and four years later to Fall River, to which point they then removed; and that city continued to be his home until his death. He attended the public schools of Fall River and was one of the first class formed in the Fall River high school, from which he was graduated in 1853. After this event he entered the service of the Massasoit Bank in Fall River, and at twenty-one years of age was chosen treasurer of the Fall River Five Cents Savings Bank, a relation he sustained to it at the time of his death, his term of service covering a period of over fifty years.
In the same year that young Holmes became treasurer of the Savings Bank he was chosen cashier of the Wamsutta Bank, which in May, 1864, became the Second National Bank, a position he held during the existence of the institution, his official career with it being one of approximately thirty-seven years, the bank going out of business through his influence. As the years came and went he grew in knowledge and experience in the financial affairs of a great industrial center and developed great financial ability, and as a writer expresses it was for the long period of fifty years the very capstone of Fall River’s financial structure; and as a banker especially he stood in the closing years of his life one of the city’s historic figures. He is credited with saving Fall River from one of the worst financial disasters ever visited upon it. As the father of the law known among bankers as the Stay Law Mr. Holmes performed a great public service.
It was not only as a financier that Mr. Holmes stood out prominently in the life of Fall River. He was a man of great executive ability and was interested and officially connected with a number of the enterprises of his city. He was president of the King Philip Mills, and of the Sagamore Manufacturing Company, and a director of the Border City Mills. He was active and prominent in public affairs and interested in the city’s moral and religious life, a most useful member of society. He represented Fall River in the lower house of the Massachusetts Assembly in 1873, and was a member of the Senate in 1877 and 1878. For some thirty and more years he was chairman of the committee of Associated Savings Banks of Massachusetts. Some years before his death, at the time it was proposed to tax the savings banks’ deposits for internal revenue, Mr. Holmes alone represented Massachusetts at the hearing in Washington, in protest of the measure. He was for sixteen years a member of the school board and exerted a strong influence in the educational affairs of Fall River. For the long period of forty-three years he was a trustee of the Fall River Free Public Library. He was for many years a member of the board of overseers of the poor. He served for a period as treasurer of the Fall River hospital. He was for years chairman of the civil service commission.
The religious faith of Mr. Holmes was that of the Congregational denomination. In 1857 he joined the Central Congregational Church at Fall River and all through life was prominent in that church. From 1877 until the time of his death, covering a period of nearly thirty years, he was a deacon in the church.
“As banker, alderman, member of the city government and of several of its most important subordinate boards, of finance, schools, libraries and charities, as member of both branches of the General Court of Massachusetts, as president and director of manufacturing and industrial organizations, of charitable and social bodies, as officer and leader in church and Sunday schools, there is scarcely a life in this city which has not in some measure felt the stimulus of his abounding energy, his devotion, his ardent faith, his higher religious and spiritual nature.”
On May 4, 1858, Mr. Holmes was married to Mary Anna, daughter of Joshua and Joanna (Lawton) Remington, and to them came three children:
- Mary Louisa, born May 15, 1859
- Anna Covell, born March 5, 1861, are unmarried
- Charles Lincoln was born May 21, 1866
Mr. Holmes died at his home in Fall River, Mass., Feb. 26, 1906.
Charles Lincoln Holmes, born May 21, 1866, is a prominent business man of Fall River. He is married to Anna Stamford Pratt, daughter of Judge Calvin E. and Susan (Ruggies) Pratt, the former a judge of the Supreme court of New York. Mr. and Mrs. Holmes have three children:
- Charles Calvin, born Dec. 4, 1897
- Stamford, born Oct. 2, 1900
- Lincoln Pratt, born Dec. 21, 1906