Cattaraugus, July 2013
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.