Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 304-05.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  James Holmes

James Holmes, who owns and operates a farm of two hundred acres situated on sections 29 and 30, Washington township, is also well known as a breeder of pure-blooded Percheron horses. He was born in Stark county, Illinois, near Toulon, March 2, 1852, a son of John Holmes, a native of Ireland who, on emigrating to the new world, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he worked at his trade of a tailor.  He was married to Miss Sarah McKenty, and later removed to Stark county, Illinois, where he engaged in farming.  His family numbered twelve children, of whom seven survive:  George, a resident of Alta; Rose; John; Samuel; James, of this review; Elizabeth; and Mary Ann.  Robert, who served in the Civil war, died in Toulon, Illinois.


James Holmes, whose name introduces this review, was reared on the home farm in Stark county and was educated in the district schools near his father's home.  He purchased a farm when starting out to make his own way in the world and was engaged in farming in his native county until 1895, when, believing that Iowa offered better advantages to the agriculturist, he removed to Buena Vista county and purchased two hundred acres of land on sections 29 and 30, Washington township, and has since been engaged in general farming and stock-raising.  He also breeds pure-blooded Percheron horses and commands good prices for his stock, one two year old animal bringing him five hundred dollars.


Mr. Holmes was married in Stark county, Illinois, March 4, 1885, to Miss Jane McCurdy, and their union was blessed with three children:  John, a young man at home; Alexander; and Rose.  They lost their first-born, Nancy, who died in infancy.  The wife and mother died in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal church, September 9, 1900.


Politically Mr. Holmes is a republican and for a long period has served as a school director, while in Iowa and Illinois he has served as highway commissioner.  Mr. Holmes owns stock in the elevator at Alta, and also owns a good residence property in the village.  His home farm, too, has been greatly enhanced in value through the improvements he has here made, for he has built a large barn, has set out an orchard, installed a system of waterworks on the place, and now has a model farm property, his home being considered one of the attractive places of this section of the state, while the hearty good cheer which there is found makes it a favorite resort to many friends.