Category Archives: Holmes

Holmes Family of Old Kittery, ME, 1600s-1700s

The main source of information about the origins of Joseph Holmes appears to be the scant entry in Stackpole’s 1903 book, Old Kittery and her Families.

Thomas Holmes married Joanna Freathy of York County, Maine, probably c1670, give or take a couple of years, She was the daughter of William Freathy. If this was the first marriage for each, Thomas was likely born c1645 and Joanna, c1648.

From the we can hypothesize birth years for their three known children:

  1. Mary, born c1671; married Walter Allen
  2. Thomas, born c1673; died after 1732; unmarried
  3. John, born c1675; married Mary Abbot, daughter of Richard Abbott, c1699

Administration of Thomas Holmes’ estate was granted to widow Joanna on 23 February 1690/91. The Holmes lived in a garrison house, which was burned by Indians in 1689. It is possible that Thomas died in that attack.

John Holmes would be the only child to have Holmes descendants and his children were baptized at South Berwick, York, Maine:

  1. John, born 12 February 1700
  2. Samuel, born 15 November 1702; died 1755, Scarborough, Maine; reportedly married Mary Peavey, 14 December 1727, Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire
  3. Thomas, born 9 October 1704; died about October 1758, when his will was proved; married Sarah (MNU)
  4. Abigail, perhaps born c1706; baptized 3 November 1726
  5. William, perhaps born c1708; baptized 3 November 1726
  6. Patience, perhaps born c1710; baptized 3 November 1726
  7. Dorcas, perhaps born c1712; baptized 3 November 1726
  8. Joseph, perhaps born c1714; baptized 3 November 1726

There may be a simple reason why John Holmes had five of his children baptized on the same day – Maine was a wilderness at the time and settlers were subject to Indian attacks, which is what happened to his father’s home.

I take issue with most of the online trees, which claim that John’s son Joseph is the man who married Silence Brown for the simple reason that he is not known to have had a first marriage and would have been well into his 40s at the time he supposedly married Silence.

There is an alternate theory to be set forth – Joseph Holmes who married Silence Brown was born c1740 and was the son of Samuel Holmes, born on 15 November 1702.

No one seems to have shared the will of Thomas Holmes, proved in 1758. Given that he was married, it seems a bit curious to leave bequests to relatives other than his immediate family.

Stackpole clearly erred in assigning three sons to Thomas – Thomas, William and Samuel – there are no children named in Thomas’s will, but his brothers clearly are.

Notice, too, that Thomas Holmes made a bequest to Joseph Holmes, Son of my said brother, Samuel Holmes.

Samuel, born in 1702, is the correct age to have children born in the 1730s and early 1740s. I think it is much more likely that Samuel’s son, Joseph, is the man who married Silence Brown c1760.

Another possible reason why Thomas left a bequest to Joseph is that Samuel Holmes reportedly died in 1755. Having no children of his own to inherit, Thomas might have been close to nephew Joseph.

What do York County records tell us about Joseph Holmes? Not much. There is a Joseph who witnessed the will of Charles Pine in 1752. That man would likely be John’s son, Joseph.

There is also a Joseph Holmes who married in Berwick in 1773 to Abigail Goodwin. It’s impossible to know who this man was. However, there is a Joseph Holmes in the 1790 census living in Berwick, so I tend to believe it’s a third Joseph Holmes who is younger that John’s son and Samuel’s son.

There is one more possible twist in this Joseph Holmes saga.

Look at the deed, above whereby Joseph Holmes, late of Cambridge (Massachusetts) and now of Casco (Falmouth) bought property which bordered Andrew BROWN.

Brown is certainly not an uncommon name, but Holmes in that time period is rare in York County. This deed is the only record found so far for this Joseph Holmes. Could he be the grandfather of Joseph who married Silence, and might Andrew Brown be the grandfather of Silence?

At this point, anything is possible!

There are a handful of land petitions found in early Nova Scotia records for men named Joseph Holmes. Again, it is impossible to know if they pertain to my Joseph Holmes, but they were made, with others, in 1784, 1784 and 1786. It’s not even certain that all three petitions are from one Joseph Holmes.

My Joseph Holmes reportedly died c1788 and probably on Campobello Island, but most certainly in New Brunswick, Canada.

Thoughts, anyone???

Joseph Holmes & Silence Brown, York, County, ME, 1700s

It’s time to take a look at the family of Joseph Holmes and Silence Brown, who, it is believed, lived in York, County, Maine in the mid-1700s.

My Holmes line is a hot mess for several reasons. First, my documented Holmes line is through Robert Wilson, who married Dorothy (Dolly) Holmes in May 1790 on Campobello Island, Charlotte, New Brunswick, Canada.

Dolly was born c1769, probably in York County, Maine. She is said to be the daughter of Joseph Holmes and Silence Brown, likely based on the fact that she named a daughter Silence Holmes Wilson.

Assuming that Joseph Holmes married in his early-to-mid 20s, he would have been born c1738 and he reportedly died c1788, probably on Campobello Island.

He reportedly married Silence Brown c1760. The family reportedly lived in Scarborough or Berwick, at the time part of York County, Maine.


  1. Silence, born 11 January 1761, Scarborough
  2. Luther, born 23 May 1762, Scarborough
  3. Calvin, born 27 November 1763, Scarborough
  4. Dorothy, born c1769
  5. Daniel, born c1774; married Hannah Mitchell, 1 March 1795, Campobello Island, Charlotte, New Brunswick, Canada
  6. Thankful, born c1779; died 18 August 1857, New Brunswick, Canada; married (1) Ezra Mitchell, 1 May 1801, Campobello Island, Charlotte, New Brunswick, Canada (2) Mr. Parker, who died before 1851 census

The data on the first three children are found in Scarborough records. The last three children were probably also born in Maine.

The family was obviously in Canada by 1790, when Dolly married, However, their arrival date is not known, nor is it known whether Joseph Holmes was a pre-Loyalist or a Loyalist who settled in New Brunswick at the close of the Revolutionary War. He might even have just been an adventurer, seeing life possibilities in Canada after the war and moved his family there for non-political reasons.

Due to the scarcity of documentation, most of the information found in online trees about Joseph Holmes is garbled with no documentation.

If you are descended from this family, and have found primary records to support or disprove anything in this family sketch, I would love to hear from you.

There is more to be said about the origins of Joseph Holmes. That is coming up.

Robert Wilson & Dolly Holmes – Campobello Island: Silence Holmes Wilson – Grandchildren, Part 4

Next up of the grandchildren of Robert Wilson & Dolly Holmes is the family of Thomas Nash and their daughter, Silence Holmes Wilson.

Thomas Nash was born c1798 and Silence Holmes Wilson was born c1801, both in New Brunswick, Canada. They married shortly before 18 January 1823, when their marriage was announced in the Eastport (Maine) Sentinel.

They were the parents of six children, five of whom lived to adulthood and married:

  1. Thomas, born March 1825; died 25 February 1889, San Francisco, San Francisco, California; married (1) Mary Jane Parker, 17 February 1847 (2) Abigail Taylor, c1852. Thomas had one son, Wellington, who never married and one daughter, Mary Olynthia, who married Thomas Moffitt, and had one daughter, Millicent Lila, who never married. Therefore, there are no known descendants in this line.
  2. Hannah, born 7 September 1827; died 5 May 1879, Campobello Island; married (Jonathan) Freeman Babcock, 11 February 1845, Campobello Island. Freeman was a minister of the Free Will christian Baptist Church. They were the parents of twelve children – George Albert, John Middleton, Mary Ellen, Antoinette, Agnes C., Joel C., Henry G., Freeman W., James Leeman, Annie and Daniel Webster.
  3. Robert Fulton, born September 1830; died 27 February 1896, Campobello Island; married Hannah Cross, 18 November 1852, Campobello Island. This couple is in the 1861-1891 censuses of Canada and never have any children in the home. It appears there are no descendants in this line.
  4. Daniel, born c1838; died after the 1851 census; no further information. It appears there are no descendants in this line.
  5. Maria Ann, born c1844; reportedly married Jeremiah Mitchell, 7 February 1863, Eastport, Washington, Maine. However, although maria is found in the 1851 census, neither she nor Jeremiah Mitchell are found in any other records. There is also a death record at Northampton State Hospital for Ann A. Howland, born 1840, Eastport, Washington, Maine that names her parents as Thomas Nash and Silence Wilson. Husband is called James B. Howland and her place of burial is Lisbon, Grafton, New Hampshire. Yet, James B. Howland from Lisbon,  New Hampshire is married to Alice Merrill in 1892 in New Hampshire. Did James and Ann divorce? Whether or not Maria Ann or Ann A., if they are one person or two, had any children is unknown. This line is quite a mystery!
  6. Ambey, born c1840; died 3 December 1923, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts. He may have married someone before 1871, as there is Franklin, aged 4 years, living with Ambey and his parents in 1871. (1) Catherine McSherry, 3 December 1871 (2) Mary J. (MNU), c1875. This is another line with holes. It appears that Ambey had no surviving children.

From this research, it appears that all descendants of Thomas Nash and Silence Holmes Wilson are through their daughter, Hannah, who married Rev. (Jonathan) Freeman Babcock.

Thus ends the series about the grandchildren of Robert Wilson and Dolly Holmes. They have many, many descendants today.