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From George Holmes of Roxbury, MA (1594-1645)

To Polly Holmes of Brookfield, NY (1805-1839)

From the book The Descendants of George Holmes of Roxbury, MA

By John Holmes, 1908.


Generation 1


George Holmes was born about 1594 in Nazing, Essex County, England. In 1631, the minister John Eliot and several families from Nazing made the trip across the Atlantic and settled in Roxbury. John Eliot was known as the "Apostle to the Indians" and was one of the few settlers to study the Massachusett language, or to take seriously the mission of converting the Indians. He translated the Bible into Massachusett, and spent a great deal of effort trying to convert Philip, sachem of the Massasoits, until the outbreak of King Philip's war in 1675.

George and Deborah followed Eliot and their neighbors to New England a few years later, arriving in Roxbury about 1637. They had with them their two year old daughter, and Deborah probably delivered their second child, Joseph, during the voyage.

George died eight years after reaching New England, December 18, 1645, leaving his wife with six small children to care for. Deborah lived until 1662. George and Deborah had eight children, three of whom died in infancy.


"Will of George Holmes. (Rocksbury.)

My loving wife sole executresse. I giue vnto her my whole estate, to be improved for the education my children, but none of my lands to be sould vnlesse in case of necessity & by the advice of my overseers. After my wives decease, my houses & lands shall be equally divided amongst all my children; yet if it shall please the Lord to convert my sonne Joseph in the meane time, so as yt he is in charity accepted among the saints, my will is yt he shall haue two parts, & the rest but each of them one. And my request is to my Dearly beloved brethren Elder Heath, brothr Eliot & brothr Parks our Deakens & my brothr Ruggles and Brother Riggs to be my overseers to counsell & guide my wife in all her affaires. I gine full power to them to make the fore named division of my lands in the most equal & peacable manner they can, & if any of my children will not rest in what they doe, my will is yt child shall lose his part, & it shall be given to such as my overseers see most fitt, & I intreate my deare wife to doe nothing of moment wthout the advice of these my overseers. Also my will is yt there shall not be strip & wast made of timber and fire wood from my ground, only so much as may be for the necessary vse of my family.

witnesse John Eliot. mark of George + Holmes.
John Scarebrow. "



Children of George and Deborah:

Lydia, born July 26, 1635, Nazing, England, married Daniel Elder, a Scotsman, died September 5, 1689, Dorchester, MA.


Joseph, born about 1637, married Elizabeth Clap, died 27 Oct 1713, Boston, MA.


Nathaniel, born February 1, 1639, Roxbury, MA, married first Sarah Wiswall, second Patience Topliffe, died 1712, Roxbury.


Deborah, born January 31, 1641, Roxbury, died March 3, 1641.


Infant, died October 28, 1642.


JOHN, born about 1643, Roxbury, married Sarah, died May 17, 1676.


Sarah, born about 1644, Roxbury.


Deborah, born about 1645, Roxbury, died September 29, 1646.



Generation 2


John Holmes was born in 1643 in Roxbury, and later moved to Dorchester, MA. He married Sarah, last name unknown, and they had five children. John's brothers Nathaniel and Joseph fought in King Philip's War in 1675-1676, but there is no record that he did. He died May 17, 1676, so he may already have been too ill to become a soldier. Sarah was left with five children to raise, the oldest being thirteen.


Children of John and Sarah, all born in Dorchester, MA:

JOHN, born about 1663, died some time after 1730; married first Elizabeth Gates, second Ann Rockwell.


Sarah, born September 16, 1665.


Mary, born January 24, 1668.


George, born November 26, 1669. In 1690, he joined a company of soldiers from Dorchester to fight against the French in Canada, and never returned.


Samuel, born April 21, 1675, died April 16, 1725.



Generation 3


John and his brother Samuel moved from Dorchester to Dedham, MA around 1682. Samuel was only seven, so maybe their mother Sarah had already died. John was nineteen. In 1689, John was granted land in Stow, MA. He moved there and married Elizabeth Gates of Stow, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Freeman) Gates. Elizabeth was born in Marlborough in 1671. In 1697, they sold their house and land in Stow and moved west to Colchester, CT. All these moves are unusual. It may have been that John was having trouble getting adequate land in towns that had been established for a while, and so was tempted to move farther west.

John and Elizabeth had seven children. Elizabeth died in Colchester in 1726, and John remarried Ann Rockwell, December 3, 1729.


Children of John and Elizabeth, born in Stow, MA:

Elizabeth, born about 1692, died May 27, 1760 in Colchester; married Samuel Loomis.


GEORGE, born about 1694, died February 1759; married first Sarah Chapman, second Catherine Welch.


Dorothy, born about 1696, married Clement Daniels.


Mary, born about 1698, married John Way.


John, born about 1700, died September 19, 1785; married first Mary Harris, second Mary.


Sarah, born about 1702, died about 1745; married Thomas Gustin.


Ann, born June 1, 1704, died May 13, 1739; married Joseph Lovett.


Generation 4


George was born in 1694 in Stow, MA, the second child and oldest son of John Holmes and Elizabeth Gates. He moved with the family to Colchester in the early 1700s. There he married Sarah Chapman, March 28, 1736. George and Sarah had two daughters. Four days after the birth of her second daughter, Sarah died, April 24, 1740.


Children of George and Sarah:

Mary, born February 22, 1738, Colchester, CT, died 1805 in Rome, NY; married Hezekiah Kilbourn.


Sarah, born April 20, 1740, Colchester, married Asa Kilbourn (brother of Hezekiah).


George remarried by 1747, Catherine Welch. George worked as a tax collector and surveyor. In 1743, he was an agent to the General Court of Connecticut for New Salem Parish in Colchester. In 1751, he was captain of New Salem's military company.


George died in April 1759 in Colchester. Catherine was still living in 1787.


Children of George and Catherine, born in Colchester:

SAMUEL, born about 1747, died July 12, 1823, Colchester; married Tabitha Rathbone.


George, born in 1750, died March 1795; married Jemima Gardner.


Dimmis, born April 17, 1753, died November 14, 1801; married David Gardner (brother of Jemima).


John, born in 1756, died July 12, 1823.


Generation 5


Samuel was born in Colchester, CT about 1747. He married February 1, 1770, Tabitha Rathbone Treadway, daughter of Joshua and Sarah (Tennant) Rathbone, and a widow of Mr. Treadway. Tabitha had two children from her first marriage, Sarah and Mary Treadway. Samuel and Tabitha had eight children. Samuel died July 12, 1823 in Colchester.


Children of Samuel and Tabitha, born in Colchester:

Sarah, born May 19, 1770.


James, born December 9, 1771.


Polly, May 25, 1773.


SETH, born July 29, 1775, married Susan Doolittle (parents of Polly Holmes).


Samuel, born October 2, 1779, married Betsy Spaulding.


William, born December 10, 1781.


Clarissa, born March 10, 1786.


Henry, born September 28, 1790.


Generation 6


Information on this generation is taken from a copy of a typewritten manuscript. The handwritten note on the front says "compiled by Winifred Holmes Rogers", but in the text Ervine Denison York (another Polly Holmes descendant) is credited.

Seth Holmes and Susan Doolittle of Brookfield, NY and Their Descendants

"Seth Holmes, the sixth generation from the English ancestor, was born July 29, 1775 in Colchester, New London Co., CT. He married Susan Doolittle, daughter of John Doolittle, but the date is not known. He came up to Brookfield along with the general migration at the end of that century, and acquired a competence as a farmer. He is said to have come to New York State as a single man and probably was married at Springfield on the old Cherry Valley Turnpike, south of the Mohawk River, which was one of the main roads followed by settlers in going westward from Albany or the Hudson Valley. John Doolittle had a farm southwest of the village of Brookfield, then called Clarksville, where Susan lived with her mother. Quite a number of Doolittles lived in Springfield and Seth Holmes stopped there on his way up. He settled on the high land west of Beaver Creek, a couple of miles southwest of the village of Brookfield and built a house. He was a very energetic farmer and became quite well off for that period. The day he was eighty years old, he went out in the field and took his turn mowing with the men - and led the field. He and his wife were members of the Methodist church. (Baptist is crossed out - maybe they changed churches at some point? RKH.) Seth died January 30, 1856. (see picture copied from an old daguerrotype, in the possession of Usher Holmes. It shows him to have been a strong and energetic man, physically and mentally.)

Susan was born in Connecticut, September 2, 1779, and died in Brookfield July 25, 1854, leaving her husband to survive her. Out of twelve children, only two died young, and all the rest married and raised families, some of them large. A list of these children has been preserved in the handwriting of the father, Seth Holmes, entitled: "Memorandum of my Children's Ages", which was consulted in preparing this history.

Children of Seth Holmes and Susan Doolittle:

Henry, b. September 2, 1799, m. Almira Denison (sister of William Riley Denison, RKH)

Horace, b. February 8, 1801, m. Sally Doolittle

Artemisia, b. 17 Mar 1802, m. Samuel Brand

Hiram, died in infancy

POLLY, b. November 25, 1805, m. Wm. R. Denison

Susan, b. March 16, 1810, married first Chester Palmiter, second Dewey Dalrymple

William, died in infancy

Seth, b. June 7, 1815, married first Martha Antisdell, second Frances Brown

Alonzo, b. September 10, 1817, married Juliana Brigham

Harvey, b. July 17, 1820, married first Mandania Usher, second Prudence York Brigham

Armenia, b. September 6, 1825, married John Wilson

My guess is this all might have been written as early as the 1920s, since notes later than that are handwritten. Harvey, the next to the youngest sibling, lived until 1911, outliving his sister Polly by more than seventy years.

If the author is correct, and Seth and Susan met and married in New York, they would have been there very early, by 1798. Madison County had not been created yet, it was still part of Chenango, which was formed March 15, 1798, from Herkimer and Tioga Counties.

From the same manuscript:

Polly Holmes and William Riley Denison

"Polly was born November 25, 1805 at Brookfield. She married there, March 13, 1829, William Riley Denison, a son of Joseph and Desire (Wilcox) Denison. He was a younger brother of Almira Denison, who married Henry Holmes. Polly was born on the hill farm and lived there until her marriage, when they settled in the old-fashioned house, still standing in 1909, a little way west of the bridge over the creek at the village. Polly is said to have had rather dark hair, tall, and rather slender. She was a member of the Baptist church. She died January 8, 1839, leaving four small children. Her husband remarried Jerusha (Church) Campbell, a widow, September 13, 1839. Jerusha died March 28, 1883, leaving her husband surviving some years.

Children of Polly and William:

Joseph Riley, b. August 30, 1830, died unmarried, while on a trip to California as a young man, with his uncle Lucius Denison.

Cynthia Maria, b. January 27, 1832, married Gilbert Ray York. Their eldest son, Ervine Denison York, is the Compiler of this history.

Jerusha, b. February 25, 1834, married Daniel Ball.

FRANCES LETITIA, b. April 1, 1837, married Charles W. Crandall." For Denison Genealogy, click here.


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