Skip to content

George N. Holmes of Griswold, 1823-1904

From Genealogical and Biographical Record of New London County, Connecticut, J.H. Beers & Co. (Chicago, 1905), pp. 833-835. Anyone with an interest in the HOLMES surname in Montville and the surrounding area is urged to contact meIn the process of trying to determine whether my HOLMESes were from Montville — they were — I’ve obtained some other Montville HOLMES material including census records, the will of Seth W. HOLMES, and some vital records and cemetery records.
Names included herein are:

AMES, Joanna
BACON, George
BARTLETT, Sarah (wife of Elisha (son of Elisha))
BARTLETT, Sarah (wife of Elisha (son of Nathaniel))
BILL, Lucretia
FORD, Rose C.
GATES, Marilla
GEER, Mary
GREEN, Althea T.
GREEN, John Edson
HOLMES, Alice L.
HOLMES, Asher B.
HOLMES, Asher Bartlett
HOLMES, Bartlett
HOLMES, Charles
HOLMES, Daniel
HOLMES, Edward Cogswell
HOLMES, Elisha (son of Elisha)
HOLMES, Elisha (son of Nathaniel)
HOLMES, Elisha (son of Samuel)
HOLMES, Florilla Amanda
HOLMES, George James
HOLMES, George N.
HOLMES, Gilbert
HOLMES, Harris
HOLMES, Harris S.
HOLMES, Harry Ford
HOLMES, Harty P.
HOLMES, Henry J.
HOLMES, John (immigrant)
HOLMES, John (son of Samuel)
HOLMES, Joseph
HOLMES, Lucretia
HOLMES, Margaret
HOLMES, Maria L.
HOLMES, Mary Ann
HOLMES, Mary Louise
HOLMES, Nathan (son of Jabez)
HOLMES, Nathan (son of Samuel)
HOLMES, Nathaniel
HOLMES, Prudence
HOLMES, Robert S.
HOLMES, Samuel (son of Elisha)
HOLMES, Samuel (son of Samuel)
HOLMES, Sarah Amanda
HOLMES, Sarah W.
HOLMES, Stephen
HOLMES, William Palmer
HOWARD, Frederick
HOWARD, Sarah L.
KIMBALL, Mercy Stanton
LESTER, Joseph
PALMER, Amanda R.
PALMER, James B.
PERRY, Ransom
SHERMAN, Charlotte L.
SHERMAN, Silas Eber
UTLEY, Lucretia
WILCOX, Thomas

GEORGE N. HOLMES, a retired agriculturist of Griswold, who died in Willimantic, at the home of his son, Asher B., June 10, 1904, throughout his long and useful life evinced remarkable power of adaptability as to occupation, and made an unqualified success of his work in various lines — first as master of a merchant craft between New York and Boston and the West Indies; at different times as a stonemason; and finally as an extensive farmer and stock raiser. He also prominently identified himself with the public affairs of his locality. A large capacity for work, great physical and mental endowments, energy, self-reliance, and a fearless outspoken manner — traits which thus gave him his mastery over circumstances and environments — he undoubtedly inherited from his long line of hardy New England ancestors.

(I) John Holmes, a native of Scotland, who landed at Plymouth, Mass., in 1632, is the first American representative of this branch of the Holmes family.

(II) Nathaniel Holmes, son of John, married and had several sons, among them Elisha. The family were residents of Plymouth.

(III) Elisha Holmes was reared in Plymouth, and upon reaching manhood made his home in that place. There he married a Miss Sarah Bartlett, and they had several sons.

(IV) Elisha Holmes (2), son of Elisha, was also a resident of Plymouth, where during his mature life, he owned large tracts of land. For an occupation he engaged in the mercantile business, and he also became the possessor of a large number of ships and several warehouses. He married Sarah Bartlett, and they had a large family of children, most of the sons becoming seafaring men.

(V) Samuel Holmes, son of Elisha (2), was born in Plymouth, Mass., in 1722. When a young man he settled in New London, where he probably spent the rest of his life, dying in 1774. He married Lucretia Bill, and they had eleven children: Jabez, Elisha, John, Samuel, Nathan, Sarah, Lucretia, Abby, Mary, Anna, and Prudence. He was a man of considerable means, and upon his death made his wife the executrix of his will, leaving his property to her and his daughter Prudence, who was unable to provide for herself. The will is recorded in New London.

(VI) Jabez Holmes, grandfather of George N., a man of thrift, and considerable note, made his early home in Groton, Conn. Later he settled in the Norht Parish, New London, now Montville, Conn., where he became the possessor of large tracts of land. Here he also spent his last days, and died. He married a Miss Harris, and they had six children: Nathan, proprietor of the “Thames Hotel,” of Norwich, who died in that place; Charles, who carried on the Montville homestead, and died there; Harris, who died of yellow fever in his young manhood; Stephen, during his young manhood a musician, who later went South and was never afterward heard of; Bartlett, who is mentioned below; and Gilbert, first a farmer near Syracuse, N.Y., who later returned to Connecticut, and died at Waterford.

(VII) Capt. Bartlett Holmes, prominent in the military affairs of his State, and a soldier in the war of 1812, who in civil life directed his energies to the development of the agricultural resources of his farm in Griswold, was both born and bred to a position of some means and high respectability. His birth occurred in Montville, Conn., Oct. 8, 1789, and there under the refining influences of a good home he remained until he was sixteen years old. He then went to live with his uncle, Robert Stanton, a prominent agriculturist of Preston, now Griswold, Conn. Here he remained for a number of years, assisting in the management of the farm. When the war of 1812 broke out, as a loyal American citizen, he enlisted under Capt. Joseph Lester, and went to the front as sergeant. He was on duty at New London, Groton, and Aug. 9, 1814, at Stonington Point, winning for himself the respect and confidence of his superiors by his conscientious performance of his duties. After the war he returned to the home of his uncle in Preston where he resumed his work as assistant farm manager, and continued as such until 1826, when his uncle died. Then, falling heir to the property, he assumed the entire management. The place was a well improved tract of one hundred acres, three-fourths of a mile west of Pachaug Pond, and here he spent the rest of his life carrying on a successful and profitable industry. A man of intelligence, who attended strictly to his duties, he was looked upon as one of the progressive farmers of his vicinity. On Jan. 1, 1809, he married Mercy Stanton Kimball (who was born Oct. 11, 1793), and after her death, he married Dec. 30, 1840, Lucretia Utley, who was born May 4, 1814. By the first marriage there were eleven children: Harty P., born April 9, 1810, died April 15, 1815; Alice L., born Nov. 11, 1811, died Aug. 29, 1838; Robert S., born Aug. 27, 1813, died May 15, 1814; Henry J., born May 20, 1815, resided at Saybrook, Conn., and lived to the advanced age of eighty-four (his son Daniel is now a merchant in that place); Mary Ann, born Dec. 8, 1817, married Thomas Wilcox, of Griswold (now deceased), and she resides with her brother George N.; Harris S., born Sept. 10, 1820, married a Miss Burdick, and, after her death, Marilla Gates, resided in New London, and died about 1881; George N. is mentioned below; Margaret, born July 22, 1825, who now makes her home with George N., is the widow of George Bacon, of Middletown, Conn.; Maria L., born Jan. 30, 1828, married Ransom Perry, and resides in Meriden, Conn.; Sarah W., born Jan. 27, 1831, became the wife of James B. Palmer, of Canterbury, Conn., and is deceased; Joseph, born Jan. 9, 1836, died July 1, 1836. Capt. Holmes was a born leader, and as a man of marked military ability served as captain of the Fifth Company, 18th Regiment, Third Brigade, Connecticut State Militia, from the close of the war of 1812 until Aug. 8, 1820, when, owing to ill health he resigned. As an influential Democrat he helt at different times several local offices, filling them with efficiency and fidelity. Both he and his wife were among the leading members of the Jewett City Baptist Church.

(VIII) George N. Holmes was born in Griswold, Conn., Feb. 2, 1823, and there on the family homestead grew to manhood. In the district schools of his neighborhood he procured his education, which he supplemented by extensive reading and intimate contact with the world. As a youth he was attracted to the life of a seaman, and at the age of nineteen he hired out as a hand before the mast, and went on a whaling voyage. So well satisfied was he with his experience, that upon his return at the end of the year, he engaged as mate on a merchant craft, making trips between New York and Boston and the West Indies. By strict attention to business and economy he was enabled in a short time to purchase an interest in the boat, and he rose to the position of master. Doing a large and extensive business he spent altogether twelve years in this service. Later this brig, known as the “Champion,” with all on board, was lost at sea. Eye trouble was the cause of his early retirement from seafaring. During these years he purchased the family homestead in Griswold, and there he often went for rest and recreation, and at the end of his “service,” made it his home for a while. Later he sold this property and moved to what was known as the Geer place, in the same town. On that attractive old farm he engaged in general agriculture and stock raising for about twenty years. Taking up the work with energy and enthusiasm, and managing it with discretion and the strictest attention to details, he made the place produce large and valuable crops, and handled some of the best stock in the market. Deciding later to extend his industry, he purchased, in 1888, of Mrs. Hinkley, the Capt. Boardman place, a splendid 300-acre tract in Griswold. This farm he worked with even better results than his previous ones, and for many years made a specialty of the dairy business. He always conducted his farming on a large scale and won the reputation of carrying on the most extensive industry of his kind in the vicinity. His wife was a great assistance to him in his work, and while on the Geer farm she engaged extensively in the poultry business, raising at one time two hundred and ten turkeys besides other fowls. Besides attending to farming Mr. Holmes found time to follow his trade as a stonemason, and thirty-eight cellars and thirty-six wells in the vicinity of Griswold have been walled by him. Some time before his death he turned over the management of his large farm to his son, but, having been a hard working man all his life, he found it difficult to sit with folded hands, and so busied himself about the place.

On Nov. 27, 1848, Mr. Holmes married Amanda R. Palmer, who was born May 27, 1828, daughter of Asher and Joanna (Ames) Palmer. To the time of her death, which occurred Nov. 9, 1866, she was a faithful helpmeet and a devoted wife and mother. In religious circles she was highly esteemed, and belonged to the Jewett City Baptist Church. On April 20, 1869, Mr. Holmes married Althea T. Green, daughter of John Edson and Mary (Geer) Green, and granddaughter of John and Polly (Downing) Green, of Preston, the grandfather having served in the war of 1812. Mrs. Holmes died Feb. 20, 1903. Mr. Holmes’s children, six in all, were by his first marriage: (1) Asher Bartlett is the well known proprietor of the paper and paint store in Willimantic. (2) Mary Louise, born in 1850, married Robert Sherman, of Pawtucket, R.I., and they have had four children: Frank R., Charlotte L., Silas Eber, and George (who died at the age of seven years). (3) George James, born in 1854, is now a practicing physician in New Britain, Conn., where he makes a specialty of diseases of the ear, eye, nose, and mouth. (4) Edward Cogswell, born in 1857, died in 1859. (5) Sarah Amanda, born in 1859, married James Howard, of Niantic, Conn., and they have two children: Sarah L., and Frederick. (6) William Palmer, who conducts the home farm, married Rose C. Ford, of Willimantic, and they have two children: Harry Ford and Florilla Amanda.

Mr. Holmes was throughout his life a decidedly positive character, never having failed to exert a strong influence among his circle of acquaintances and the community in which he lived. In politics a Democrat, he served his party very efficiently as assessor for six years, registrar of voters for nine years, and was for many years a member of the board of relief, filling the place with fidelity and marked ability. As an agriculturist he made it a point to keep himself in touch with all progressive movements along his line of work, and both he and his wife were leading members of the Grange, having served for a considerable time as officers. She belonged to the Jewett City Baptist Church, of which he was a regular attendant. Both occupied a high social position, and had many warm friends in their vicinity. Mr. Holmes was ill but about ten days when death claimed him, and his remains were laid to rest in Pachaug cemetery in Griswold.

%d bloggers like this: