Descendancy of Francis Holmes (born 1839) - annotated

Compiled by Paul W. Holmes — ggrandson of Francis Holmes   —   updated: March 2017

Francis Holmes
Born:  1839, June 6 at Plum Point, MS on the homestead of Valley Grove

Died:  1916, April 1 at Plum Point, MS at Valley Grove - buried in Bethlehem Cemetery, Shelby County, TN

Father:  Finley Holmes (Jr.) (b. 1802, March 24 in Columbia, SC; d. 1884, September 24 at Plum Point, MS at Valley Grove - buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, TN)

Mother:  Emily Goodwyn Raines Holmes

Siblings: Georgiana Jane Goodwin Holmes [Wood] Bott (b. 1825, d. 1846), Robert Raines Holmes MD (b. 1826, d. 1878), Alpheus Cadmus Holmes (b. 1828, d. 1881), Finley Holmes (III) (b. 1832, d. 1849), Laurentius Holmes MD (b. 1835, d. 1880), Thomas A. Holmes (b. 1837, d. 1862), Abercrombie Holmes (b. 1842, d. 1890), Nathaniel Holmes (b. 1843, d. 1904), Marcia Elbertina Holmes [Treadwell] Beardsley (b. 1845, d. 1910), Winfield W. Holmes (b. 1847, d. 1897)

Wife: Elizabeth Kelley Clarke Holmes (b. 1841, January 15 in Crittenden County, AR; d. 1929, March 25 in Coahoma, MS - buried in Bethlehem Cemetery, Shelby County, TN) - married December 15, 1866 in Hernando, MS. Her parents were Thomas Elmore Clarke - died in Arkansas, and Elizabeth Ann Kelley Clarke. She was the step-daughter of Judge John W. Vance (b. 1813, d. 1872 - buried in the Vance Family Cemetery, Hernando, DeSoto County, MS)

Children:  all children were born at Valley Grove at Plum Point, DeSoto County, MS and were by Elizabeth.

Francis Holmes enlisted as a Private in Company I, 29th Mississippi Regiment, Walthall's Brigade, in March, 1862.  He commanded a company as a Private during the Battle of Murfreesboro when his commanding officer was killed.  Mr. Holmes was promoted to Lieutenant, and later, wounded and captured at Lookout Mountain (Chattanooga, TN).  Lieutenant Holmes was a prisoner for the remainder of the Civil War (18 months) and commissioned Captain while a prisoner at Camp Chase, Columbus, OH and later sent to Fort Delaware before release.  He returned to Plum Point after the war, married Elizabeth "Lizzie" Kelley Clarke on December 13, 1866 in Hernando, MS and upon his father's death, assumed management of farmlands and the homestead at Valley Grove.

From a document (1914) which summarizes his record in the Civil War and which he, himself, filed in the Confederate Archives at Hernando, MS; and in the official records at Jackson, MS:

Born in DeSoto County, Mississippi on June 6, 1839. Enlisted March 1862, as a Private in Company I., 29th Mississippi Regiment, Walthal's Brigade. Fought in a skirmish at Farmington in front of Corinth, Mississippi. Soon thereafter was in General Bragg's Kentucky Campaign and fought in the Battle of Murfreesboro, commanding the Company as a Private, the only Company Officer present having been mortally wounded in the early part of the engagement. Was soon thereafter duly elected Lieutenant unanimously.

Was with the Company afterwards in the Battle of Chickamauga. Next battle was at Lookout Mountain "fighting above the clouds" where he was captured wounded and sent to Federal Hospital; first at Tullahoma and later at Nashville and afterwards to Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio. Then was sent to Fort Deleware and remained there until close of the war. Was promoted to Captain during imprisonment; as he was informed after the war, by Adjutant General of his Brigade, the official record having been lost.

Has worked hard since the war and has been reasonably successful, thanks to a kind Providence. This dated September 1, 1914.

Francis Holmes

Observations of Francis in Irene Beasley's AS I REMEMBER THEM —
Grandfather Holmes was tall. He stood erect. His thick white hair was parted on the left and brushed smoothly back from his forehead. His long beard was white and was always neatly trimmed. His eyes were blue and his lean, pink cheeks glowed with a tone of aristocracy. He was gentle and soft-spoken; but his bearing commanded your complete respect.

On a cool morning, as you came downstairs to breakfast, you could look across the wide center hall and through the open door to Grandma's Room. There you would see Grandfather Holmes, cleanly shaven and ready to put on his coat. Still in his white "shirt-sleeves," he would be standing before the open fireplace, and he would be peeling an apple with his pocket knife. The cutting would fall away from the apple in a long, unbroken peel, which Grandfather would give to you. You would toss the peel over your shoulder to the floor. The shape in which it landed was supposed to predict the initial of the person whom, one day, you would marry. Having teased you about this for a few moments, Grandfather would then cut a big, crisp, juicy slice of the cool apple itself . . . and he would present this to you. There have never been apples, here, that have tasted as crisp and as juicy and as tartly sweet as did those apples! Grandpa's special peeling-and-slicing technique gave them a special taste of their own; and I must admit to a bit of "mouth-watering" in remembrance, as this is being written.

It was Grandpa's father who had built the house at Valley Grove. Grandpa had been born there. He was one of Great-Grandfather's eleven children who had been raised there. In the year of 1866, he had brought Grandmother Holmes there as his bride. His own children had been born there, and some of his grandchildren had been born there. From the years of young-manhood, he had managed the Plantation, until his oldest son was sufficiently mature to assume this responsibility.

Grandfather took an active interest in politics until the day he died.

On April 1, 1916 . . . and near the steps of the East Porch, Grandfather fell, and the fall was followed by a stroke. I don't believe it was ever determined whether the fall caused the stroke, or the stroke caused the fall. He died at the age of seventy-seven. How we missed him! on our next trip back to Valley Grove!

Notes: Plum Point, DeSoto County, MS was located just below the Tennessee-Mississippi state line on Tchulahoma Road - so called because there was a plum tree grove there.  In the early nineteen hundreds, there was a small general store which also housed the Post Office, a sign proclaimed the area as Plum Point, Mississippi.  It was little more than a postal name, for this was countryside in every sense of the word, and houses were few and far between.

Valley Grove was the home built by Finley Vance Holmes' grandfather (Finley Holmes, b. 1802).  It was a house of Colonial design built between 1845 and 1852 on land located in DeSoto County, Mississippi near the Tennessee-Mississippi state line on Tchulahoma Road.  The house no longer stands, but the land is now just north of the Stateline Road in Mississippi!

At Lake View, Mississippi ~1893

United States Federal Census data
Family Records, unpublished records of the Holmes family - correspondence, Bibles, interviews, etc.
Newspaper accounts of weddings and deaths, and other public documents for wills, land transfers, etc.
Beasley, Irene. (1973). AS I REMEMBER THEM ---. (Memoirs of the Holmes' family - printed for family distribution)

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