John B. Holmes

Contributed by Rene' Treffeisen

John B. Holmes, one of the most promising attorneys of the State, and 
for many years closely identified with the bar of Otsego County,
has recently formed a partnership with Hon. James Hastings, of
Troy, who is one of the leading lawyers of Rensselaer County, and
its present Surrogate. In forming this partnership, Mr. Holmes
leaves a lucrative practice, the bar of Otsego County loses a
worthy member, and the people of this part of the county
especially regret that one of their best and most public
spirited citizens is to go away. The Democratic party of Otsego
County will also be greatly in the losers by this change, but
their consolation is that what is a loss to one community is a
gain to another. John B. Holmes was born on a farm in the town of Davenport, Delaware
Co., NY about forty years ago. He received an academic
education, and while yet under age was engaged in the winter
seasons in teaching school in Delaware and Broome Counties. This
work served as a stepping stone to a higher place in the
intellectual world, and since then he has gained much practical
experience. While teaching school he was engaged in reading
Blackstone. When he gave up this profession he entered the
office of A. Raymond Gibbs, then of West Davenport, now of
Oneonta, and later entered the Albany Law School, graduating with
the class of 1878. In May of that year he was admitted to the
bar, and soon afterward began the practice of law at East
Worcester, remaining there until 1883, when he removed to
Worcester, and formed a partnership with Frank L. Smith, under
the firm name of Holmes & Smith; Mr. Smith is the present District
Attorney for Otsego County. This partnership lasted until 1885,
and since that time Mr. Holmes has conducted his practice on this
own account. By hard study and close application he has made
rapid progress, and has become one of the first class lawyers of
Otsego County. His library is one of the most complete to be
found in any law office. Mr. Holmes has from time to tome taken considerable interest in local
matters, and has been called on to fill several local offices.
He has served four terms as a member of the County Board of
Supervisors, and was twice Chairman of the board. He has been
once a nominee for District Attorney, and while he ran ahead of
his ticket, yet he was defeated. he has served his party as
committeeman and as delegate to conventions. He is now a member
of the Democratic Congressional Committee, and for some years has
been a member of the County Committee. He has been a delegate to
Congressional and State Conventions, and was Chairman of the
congressional delegation to the mid-winter State Convention in
1892. He has at all times worked with engergy for the sucdess of
his party, and no one is entitled to more credit for services
thus rendered than is he. After the organization of the bank of Worcester Mr. Holmes became a
stockholder in the bank, and was elected its Cashier, which
position he filled nominally for three years; he is now a member
of the discount committee of said bank. The work he has done for
the village which has been his home for some years, and for the
is, and will long continue to be, appreciated by those
whome he leaves behind. He was one of the organizers of the
Worcester Free Union School, and was one of the first members of
the Board of Education of said school, which position he has held
for a number of years. He is a son of Elikina Homes, who was born in Davenport, Delaware
Co., NY, grew up as farmers' boys usually do, and devoted all his
active life to this occupation. He still loves in the town where
he was born more than seventy years ago, and is quite strong and
hearty for a man of his years. He is the only surving member of
his father's family. He has always been considered one of the
good men of the community in which he has lived, and has been
successful in life. His father was Nathaniel Homes, a native of
Schenectady, NY and a member of an esteemed and well known family
which figured prominently for years in the history of the State.
Early in life he removed to the town of Davenport, Delaware
County, and began life there in the woods in the primitive
pioneer style. He cleared the timber from his land and improved a
farm, upon which he lived until his death at the age of
eighty-two years. He was a respected and honored citizen. For
many years he was a Whig in politics, but became a Republican
when that party was organized. His wife, Esther Phillips, was
born in New York City, and was a member of an honored family.
She was a most excellent woman and wife, and carefully reared her
family. She survived her husband, and went West to Ayersville,
MO., and died there when nearly one hundred years of age. The
mother of the subject of this sketch was Betsey Burdick. She was
born in Davenport, Delaware County, and died there in middle
life, her son John B. Holmes, being at the time of her death only
five years old. She was a member of the Methodis Espiscopal Church. John B. Holmes was married at the home of the bride, in Davenport, to
Miss Mary E. Toby, a native of that town. She was well educated,
and began life as a school teacher, to which profession she
devoted herself with success until her marriage. Her father,
Jerome Toby, died when she was quite young. The widowed mother,
after rearing her family, went to Oneonta, and now resides in
that village. Her maiden name was Juliette Shafer. She was born
in the town of Meredith, Delaware County. Her mother is living
in Brooklyn, at the advanced age of ninety-nine. Mr. and Mrs.
Holmes are the parents of one son, Northrop R., who is now
fourteen years of age.
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