Yes, it’s been a while. I haven’t been doing much genealogy the past several months. But I spent the weekend in western Otsego County (NY) and decided to come home via Poolville, with a stop at Poolville Rural Cemetery.
Which you’ll have trouble finding if you go to Google Maps; they don’t have it marked. On top of that there’s no data signal there, at least not on the Sprint network. I hadn’t been there in some years and couldn’t quite remember where it was, so I did some driving around before finding it. It’s here.Coordinates are about: 42°46’06.5″N 75°30’14.0″W.
There’s bad news for Hiram Holmes. When I’d been there previously his gravestone clearly had been cemented together after being broken off at the base and in half. Since then the repair work has failed; the stone is down and in two pieces.
The gravestone of Hiram’s mother Grace is still standing. But it’s nearly illegible, and it seems to me more unreadable than it was last time I looked at it. Maybe I’m imagining that… but I don’t think so. Here’s a picture from today:
Compare that to this picture from the late 1990s:It says “In Memory of Grace wife of Nathan Holmes Died Jan 30 1840 [ae] 69 Years”, and I think you can tell from the older picture that the husband’s first name was Nathan and not, as it says in William H. Tuttle’s Names and Sketches of the Pioneer Settlers of Madison County, New York (ed. Isabel Bracy, Heart of the Lakes (Interlaken, NY)), “Needham”. Today, standing in person in front of the stone, I’m not sure I could convince you of that. I didn’t take care to get a good GPS reading of this or some of the other stones, unfortunately; Grace is closer to the front of the cemetery, further south than Hiram. Setting:
Here are Clarissa Holmes and William Saunders. Also near the front of the cemetery, more toward the south; I think 42°46’5.97″N, 75°30’15.2″W might be accurate. I don’t know who Clarissa was; if you believe the birthdate, she was born (on exactly the same day as her husband!) 8 months 10 days after Hiram, implausible for a sister of his (and besides, the 1810 census shows only one daughter under age 10 for “N. Holmes”, and that would more likely be Eunice.) She may be completely unrelated. I should investigate more, though.
Kenny and I paid a visit — our first — to Cattaraugus County, New York today. Our first stop was Farmersville Cemetery. To our surprise, the first surname you find upon entering the cemetery is HOLMES. Cicero HOLMES and members of his family are buried just by the entrance.
Cicero’s our relative but we were there mainly for others, and we found them. My phone GPS recorded N 42° 23′ 29.116 W 78° 22′ 8.670 but I suspect that’s off; never mind, there’s not much cemetery to search. Here’s Rachel HOLMES:
Her husband Peter HOLMES:
And Peter’s father, my great great great grandfather, Nathan HOLMES:
Nathan’s gravestone is broken, the bottom part is missing, and the rest is lying horizontal. It reads “Nathan Holmes died March 1, 18“. If his age at death was recorded on the stone, it was on the missing bottom portion.
From there we went on to the Cattaraugus County office building in Little Valley. I did some searching in the County Clerk’s office. They don’t have the state census records for 1825 to 1845 but they do have indexes to the surviving records. For Farmersville only 1835 survives. Peter HOLMES is listed as a head of household. I’d hoped there would be a record from 1845, showing or not showing Nathan (or anyway a male in his age bracket) living with him, but no.
I didn’t find Peter or Nathan in the deed indexes. Names of some of their sons do appear, but if there’s anything of relevance to Peter and Nathan to be found that way it’ll have to be some other time. But in the miscellaneous records index I did find a couple of interesting items, particularly this document:
Cicero S. Holmes to Scott Cummings. Asst. of Judgment
Cicero S. Holmes
John T. Cummings Executor of the last Will & Testament of Rachel Holmes deceased
To the Supreme Court of the State of New York this action was tried by and before me as sole referee on the 11th day of May 1869 at Franklinville in the County of Cattaraugus and from and upon the evidence and testimony produced on the trial by the respective parties I certify and report that I find the following facts that is to say that on the 12th day of April 1864 one Peter Holmes who at the time resided in Farmersville in said County died intestate leaving his widow Rachel Holmes the said testatrix and his children Wesley Lovilo Corydon Louisa Hosea and the plaintiff his children and only heirs at law him surviving that at the time of his decease said Peter was seized in fee of one hundred and fifty three acres of land situate in Farmersville which descended to his said children subject to the dower of his said widow that on the first day of April 1866 the said widow and the children Wesley Corydon Louisa Hosea and the plaintiff conveyed to said Lovilo their interest in said land by deed dated on that day expressing a consideration of $4496 that of said sum the sum of $3825 was the price agreed upon as the total value of the land including Lovilo’s interest the balance of said $4496 being the consideration of certain personal property sold by said widow and said other children to Lovilo at the same time that of the consideration of said sale and conveyance the sum of twelve hundred and seventy five dollars was paid to the testatrix in money at the time of said conveyance without any understanding or agreement between herself and said children as to how she should hold or use said money (although all of said children were present at the time of the payment and acquiesced in its payment to her) except that the other children told Lovilo to pay her said sum and she stated at that time that she was satisfied with the $1275 but that it made but little difference how much they gave her for if she didn’t use it up it would be divided among them and if she did they would have to support her that she shortly afterwards purchased a house and lot with $700 of said money which she occupied till about the time of her decease which disposition of money was well known to the children including the plaintiff that said testatrix died on the 30th day of October 1866 leaving her last Will and Testament in and by which she disposed of all her property including said house and lot and the reside of said $1275 or its proceeds by devise and bequest to her daughter Louisa and nominated and appointed the defendant as executor of said Will & Testament and that the share of said sum claimed by the plaintiff as one of said children is $212.50 beside interest and I further certify and report that I find as facts that prior to the first day of November 1865 the testatrix boarded with the plaintiff about thirty six weeks in all that said board was worth the sum of two dollars per week and that no part thereof has been paid and the sum of seventy two dollars with interest from the first day of November 1865 is due the plaintiff therefor that between the first day of April 1866 and the ninth day of October of that year the plaintiff furnished and supplied to said testatrix at her request groceries and provisions of the value of twelve dollars and eighty eight cents no part of which has been paid and that said sum with interest from the first day of November 1866 is due the plaintiff therefor, And upon the facts aforesaid I determine and decide as conclusions of law. First that the plaintiff is not entitled to recover any sum whatever on account of the payment to said testatrix of the said $1275 or on account of her use and appropriation thereof. Second, that he is entitled to recover the sum of one hundred twelve dollars and ninety eight (98) cents for and in account of said claims for board and provision. All which is respectfully submitted.
Dated September 16 1869
Fees $25 paid
Supreme Court County of Cattaraugus. D. H. Bolles Referee.
Following which are some additional records relating to the above judgment.
Well, looks like a bit of family drama there. Surprise, Rachel’s cut the boys out of her will! More pragmatically, this document does give confirmation of the death date of Peter… and contradicts the death date I previously had for Rachel (30 Nov 1866) which, as you can see above, comes from her gravestone. I suspect the date in the judgment is the one that’s wrong. One more good fact to note is that Peter HOLMES is said to have died intestate.
That’s consistent with the fact that he doesn’t appear in the index of will testators. But were there any other estate records? For that I went upstairs to the Surrogate Court office where a nice woman was very gracious in helping me with the estate files. Peter’s name doesn’t appear in the estate files index. Since he died intestate with a surviving spouse, there probably were no records to file.
I assume Nathan lived in Hamilton until at least 1840, when Grace died and was buried in Poolville, and he might well have stayed there any number of years before 1850, but in 1850 he died and was buried in Farmersville. Presumably then he was a resident of Cattaraugus County at the time of his death and his estate proceedings, if any, would have been recorded there. Anyway, there’s no estate file for him in Madison County, so I’d hoped to find one in Cattaraugus. But his name doesn’t appear in the Cattaraugus estate files index either. That, and the lack of any property transactions I’ve been able to find with his name, and his non appearance as a head of household in any census after 1810, suggests Nathan simply didn’t have any estate to speak of.
Rachel did write a will, as it says above, and she is listed in the estate files index — twice, in fact. The first entry apparently was to have been superseded by the second. This may have to do with the fact that her executor died before completing execution of her estate and a new executor had to be appointed. (He’s not the only one who died. I have Louisa’s full name as Maria Louisa HOLMES and her death date as 1865 — the year before Rachel named her her sole heir! But the above-linked cemetery transcription says her death date was 12-17-1866, which makes more sense.) Anyway, the documents were there in the second location, and I got copies of some of them including Rachel’s will.
Nothing, at first look at least, seems to provide any information about Nathan. He eludes me again. Onward.
I’m looking at land records involving the SMITHs, and I found these:
- Madison County deed book B p. 83, 9 Apr 1807 Noah TORRY and Abigail his wife conveyed to Simeon SMITH of Salem, Washington County, NY, 100 acres in Lot 36. I knew Simeon SMITH [Harriet (SMITH) HOLMES's father] came from Washington County, but I don’t think I had documentation of where in that county he was.
- Madison County deed book L p. 38, 5 Dec 1810 Simeon SMITH Jr. and Phebe SMITH his wife [Harriet (SMITH) HOLMES's parents] conveyed to Asa BEAL 25 acres in Lot 25. (These records are available online at familysearch.org.) Note the “Jr.”; also note that there is no “Jr.” or “Sr.” designation on the 9 Apr 1807 transaction, nor a wife’s name.
So was Simeon son of another Simeon? In fact it looks like he was son of another Simeon who himself was son of a third Simeon:
From vital records for Warren, MA: “Simeon, s. Simeon and Lucy, Aug. 11, 1751″.
The October 1834 pension application for Simeon SMITH of Erie County, PA says he was born 1751 in Brookfield, MA [actually Warren; Simeon and Lucy moved to Brookfield by 1754 when son Joel was born]; he enlisted in the Revolutionary War in Walpole, NH; after the war he moved to Salem, NY, then Madison County, NY and lived there 8 or 10 years, then to Pembroke, NY, and finally to Erie County, PA where he was buried.
According to a researcher, the vital records of Walpole, NH show Simeon SMITH, Jr. son of Simeon SMITH
born baptized 3 Jan 1779. (These vital records don’t seem to be online.) This is consistent with the age at death of Simeon SMITH buried at Hamilton Center.
I think this (pending verification of Walpole records) is adequate evidence that Harriet’s father Simeon Jr. was the son born 1779 in Walpole, NH of the Simeon born 1751 in Warren, MA.
(Edit: Paragraph added)
As for Charles SMITH: He (or someone of that name in the 16–25 age bracket) appears as head of household in Hamilton in the 1800 census. Ephraim SMITH (45 and over) appears on the next line, and Whealer SMITH (16–25) on the next. In 1810 C SMITH (26–44) and E SMITH (45+) appear on consecutive lines, and J SMITH (26–44), S SMITH (26–44) and E SMITH (26–44) are on consecutive lines on a different page. These presumably are Charles and Ephraim, and Simeon and his brothers Ezra and John. Two D SMITHs also appear in Hamilton, on the page before C and E SMITH. In 1820 David, Charles, and Nehemiah SMITH appear on the same page, and Ephraim SMITH on the next page, but not on consecutive or very nearby lines. Simeon and Ezra SMITH appear three pages later, six lines apart.
Furthermore, the Walpole records don’t show a son named Charles. Charles SMITH, father of Edwin, was born ca. 1874. The earliest birth to Simon and Lucy in the Walpole records is 1775. It’s possible Charles was born to that couple somewhere else — perhaps even Connecticut, which is where Edwin’s brother Landon said his parents were born (in the 1880 census). But it’s really starting to look doubtful. (Edit: Sentence added.) Instead Charles, and perhaps David, are looking a lot like sons of Ephraim.
Two receipts from the estate records for David MUIR, who died in 1836 in Hamilton, Madison, NY:
(The name “H. Holmes”, with the “l”, is written on the back.) That is, presumably, the autograph of my 2nd great grandfather, the first one I’ve found.
(The name “Hanner Holmes” appears also in a list elsewhere in the estate records.) It certainly looks like “Hanner”. Could this be the same woman later known as Hannah SMITH? I don’t know when Edwin and Hannah married but their first child was born 1841.
Here’s the above signature and that of Hannah SMITH from Edwin’s estate records:
Not overwhelmingly alike and in fact the start of the H is distinctly different. Then again, there’s 32 years’ difference between the two.
I don’t know.
David MUIR owned the half of Lot 83 that includes where Nathan HOLMES Jr. was living in 1853. MUIR died intestate and his property went to his widow Ann. In 1867 Nathan’s widow, also named Ann, apparently owned part of this same land jointly with Horatio G. SHOLES. So the question: Could Nathan’s widow and David’s be the same woman? Again I don’t know the marriage date but Nathan and Ann’s first child was born 1845. From burials in Earlville Cemetery the records are as follows:
PLUMB, Beulah L. d. 13 Oct 1888 ae 54yr HOLMES, Ann, wf Nathan d. 19 Aug 1883 ae 80yr Nathan d. 14 Mar 1856 ae 45yr Mott d. 10 Apr 1866 se 21yr MUIR, David d. 6 Jan 1836 ae 34yr
I presume this reflects the layout of the graves: the HOLMES family with Beulah PLUMB (who was a daughter of Ann and David MUIR — probably — Smith’s “History of Chenango and Madison Counties” says she was the daughter of a different David MUIR, who lived in Lenox and died in 1854, but her name and age correspond to a known daughter of this David) on one side and David MUIR on the other, and no sign of a separate Ann MUIR. I’ll buy it.
The 1853 map of Hamilton, Madison, New York shows someone named HOLMES owning land southeast of Poolville, on the south of Lot 76, near though not right at where Hiram and Jerome HOLMES appear to have been living around then, and near “Mrs. CHAPEL” who I believe was the widow of Grace HOLMES’s brother Peter CHAPEL. By 1875 this property was owned by E. BRAINARD. Looking through the land records for Madison County I find a deed (book CG page 442) for the purchase of what appears to be this land by Elijah BRAINARD from Bissell R HOLMES and Catherine BOOTH.
Who was Bissell R HOLMES? I’ve never heard of him. A quick attempt to find anything about him online has turned up next to nothing, except that he appears to have gone to Janesville, Wisconsin by early 1860. A man of mystery. He and BOOTH bought the land in 1848 (book BL page 335) at which time he’s described as “of Sherburne Chenango County”. Later on he buys some land that had previously belonged to Elijah HOLMES, and another piece of land from Lovina HOLMES, both of whom seem to be connected with the Hubbardsville HOLMES family, so perhaps he was too. In which case he’s not connected to my HOLMES line.
Looking further into the wills and estate records of various SMITHs I discovered those of Charles SMITH, ca 1774–1848, and he turns out to be the father of Edwin F. SMITH! Other children of Charles are Hyleman, Landon, Alnora; grandchildren are named as is Alnora’s husband Daniel YOUNGLOVE.
From census records, Charles’s children were born in Madison County. But Landon didn’t stay there. Documents in the estate records show he was in Painesville, Lake County, Ohio, and from the census we find he was a postmaster there in 1860, and in 1870 and 1880 an ice dealer. More to the point, in 1880 the census asked for the birthplace of each person’s parents, and Landon’s parents both are said to have been from Connecticut.
And… there’s a family tree on ancestry.com that says he was a brother of Simeon SMITH; both were sons of Ephraim SMITH, who died 1822 in Hamilton Center. They don’t cite sources for the family relation, and there is no will or estate record for Ephraim in the indexes online. Ephraim, Simeon, and Charles are all buried at Hamilton Center, though (according to findagrave.com), so it seems plausible. I don’t know, but I suspect the tree was built on assumptions based on the cemetery information.
If Charles and Simeon were indeed brothers then Rosaltha (SMITH) CURTIS and Chauncey HOLMES were second cousins on the SMITH sides. Is that close enough to account for Chauncey’s visit to Rose? It’s still possible Rosaltha’s mother Hannah was a daughter of Nathan HOLMES, making her Chauncey’s first cousin on that side of the family, a more plausible basis for a visit, I’d say. But I need better evidence than that.
At familysearch.org they’ve recently put some new probate records up: Estate records for Madison County up to 1876. These are the files of paperwork associated with probate cases. The index volume, unfortunately, shows no entry for Grace HOLMES, Hiram HOLMES, or Nathan HOLMES Jr. — nor indeed anyone with the surname HOLMES who I think is closely connected to my line. Madison County is known to have a bunch of documents missing. Several years ago some boxes of old records, apparently untouched for decades, were found in the county courthouse basement. I never did find out if there were any estate records in there. The ones online were filmed in 1965.
I did find the records for Edwin F. SMITH. (There’s an index entry for his wife Hannah’s records, too, but she died in 1878 so was not included in the uploaded files.) There seems to be no mention of next of kin other than Hannah and their daughter. Hannah’s referred to by her married name, of course.
Hoping for some light on the ancestry of either Edwin or Hannah I went looking at some other SMITHs. I found the records for Chauncy D. SMITH, who died in 1842 at the age of about 31. He had a big file: about 150 images. I get the impression his probate was complicated by at least a couple of factors: his sole beneficiary was his minor child, and his executor himself died before probate was finished. In addition Chauncy’s will has been online for some time, though I’d never looked at it before. I haven’t gone through these records with extreme care (and possibly never will!) but I’ve spotted a few things of interest.
The will mentions “my three sisters Phebe Willson Harriet Holmes & Angeline Shores”, and in Chauncy’s estate records Phebe WILSON is specifically described as a daughter of Simeon SMITH. Harriet was the second wife of Jabez HOLMES. (Four years after Chauncy’s death, they had a son they named Chauncy.) Phebe WILSON appears in Jabez’s household in one census and is described as the “sister” of the head of household. At first I thought she was a previously unknown daughter of Nathan and Grace, but I soon figured out she had to be a sister-in-law, and specifically I inferred she was a sister of Harriet. I have Harriet, Phebe, and Angelina in my database as daughters of Simeon SMITH (Angelina a half sister of the other two, with a different mother), but didn’t know about Chauncy, and the evidence for this family was rather circumstantial. Now it’s proved!
Jabez HOLMES’s name turns up a couple of times in Chauncy’s estate records. Between the handwriting, the abbreviations, and the legalese I’m not entirely sure what each entry means, but it looks like the estate was making some reimbursements to him as well as to many other people. At least one receipt bears his signature.
The file also contains at least one mention of Jonathan G. HOLMES. That would have been Jabez’s cousin, or so I believe he was, who was born in Montville, Connecticut, moved to Madison County, and later on returned to Connecticut. Nothing is said here to indicate kinship between Jonathan and anyone else, though.
Another name that caught my eye was H. Holmes TREADWAY. Who was that? I hadn’t recalled encountering him before, but it turns out Henry Holmes TREADWAY was a son of Ezekial TREADWAY and Sarah HOLMES, and Sarah is in my database. She was a daughter of Samuel HOLMES and Tabitha RATHBON of Colchester, New London, Connecticut; another of Samuel’s sons, Seth, moved to Brookfield and had a large family there. Samuel was a descendant of George HOLMES of Roxbury, Essex, Massachusetts, who was born in Nazing, Waltham, Essex, England. There’s nothing to indicate any close connection with my HOLMES line — though it’d be nice to have some yDNA results to verify that!
So far I’ve seen no mention of Edwin F. SMITH. Which is good from my point of view; I’m hoping he and Harriet were not related.