Saturday, March 7, 2009

Robert & Delilah Holmes

The General Assembly opened the northwestern parts of Connecticut to settlement in the 1720s when it arranged to sell public lands. Soon, immigrants were attracted to the area to work as weavers at the carpet companies.

In those days, Tariffville was also known as Gaylordsville after an early mill owner. The use of protective tariffs to support the cost of American goods over imported European encouraged the production of a two-ply ingrain carpet, which competed with foreign mills and was more affordable. The waterpower provided by the Farmington River made the location ideal for post-Federalist industry and encouraged the establishment of other textile factories.

The influx of Scottish weavers and then Irish mill workers made Tariffville a bustling community with hotels, taverns, stores and churches and multiple rail lines. One of the earliest cemeteries abuts St. Bernard's Cemetery. Some state records refer to it as the Old Tariffville Cemetery and others call it the Non-Sectarian Cemetery. [See Old Tariffville Cemetery Posting.]

David, James and Robert Jr., the sons of Robert and Delilah Holmes, were the first of our ancestors to settle in this area of Connecticut. On their 1840 petitions for naturalization, David, James and Robert, Jr. claimed to have immigrated to America in 1832. Their parents followed with sisters Jane and Eliza on 6 May 1835, arriving at Castle Garden, NY aboard the packet ship Saint Andrew and were headed toward Hartford, CT [perhaps to William].

Sometime between their arrival and the 1840 US Census, Robert and Delilah took up residence in Tariffville (Simsbury) where Robert went to work at one of the mills as a carpet weaver. A document dated August 1849 gives us an indication of where their residence was located:

"... convey to our son Robert Holmes Jr., for the sum of $150.00, rights and title to a certain dwelling house in which we now live and the buildings contiguous and belonging thereto and the enclosure of land on which said dwelling house and buildings stand, situated in the village of Tariffville in said Simsbury in the rear of the row of the red buildings in said village reserving for ourselves the occupation and use of described premises so long as we both or either of us shall live." He signed with a "T" and she with an "X".

Robert "Robin" Holmes, described by his descendants as a "handsome old gentleman" who was "very powerful", was born in Ireland 1767 and died June 1856 in Simsbury, CT. ["Robin" is a pet form of Robert.]

Delilah Holmes was born April 1782 in Ireland. Remembered as being "small in stature," it is said she loved to read and quote poetry to her grandchildren. She died 22 March 1867 in the home of son James at 83 Spoonville Rd., East Granby, CT [pictured here].
All seven children of Robert and Delilah were born in Ireland, probably Killygordon, between 1809 and 1826. Pictured below at the first Holmes Family Reunion at Congamond Lake in 1891 is [Front] Elizabeth Holmes-Pomeroy, [Seated] Jane & William Holmes and [Back] Mary & James Holmes and Jane Holmes-Burnett. Unless otherwise indicated, the following events took place in the state of Connecticut:

WILLIAM FRANCIS HOLMES was born 12 Nov 1809 and died 28 Aug 1892 in Suffield. He married Mary E. McCleary 27 Jan 1830 in Urney Parish, Co. Tyrone, Ireland. Mary was born there about 1808 and died 23 Jun 1845 in Suffield.

William remarried to Jane H. Austin, the daughter of Thomas Austin and Parmelia Loomis, on 5 Mar 1846 in Suffield. Jane was born 28 Dec 1813 in Suffield and died 28 Jan 1900 in Springfield, MA.

The 1860 census shows William running a boarding house in Tariffville (referred to as the "Alms House" in his obituary). Almshouses were provided for town poor in 90 CT towns and some were in operation as late as 1906. Paupers maintained by the state were cared for in a private almshouse at Tariffville, which was commonly known as the "state almshouse."

Children of William and Mary: Mary Jane, Rebecca S., Robert H., Sara T., Elizabeth M. and John C. Holmes.
Children of William and Jane: William Francis Jr., Louise Maria and Olivia Josephine Holmes.

DAVID HOLMES was born about 1809 and died about 1858 in Simsbury. He married Melinda Phelps, the daughter of Warren Phelps and Rachel Wright, 8 Feb 1835 in Simsbury. Melinda was born in Simsbury 14 Aug 1815 and died there 14 Aug 1840. Their marriage record reads: "David 2nd marr. Melinda Phelps, both of Simsbury, 8 February 1835, at the house of David Holmes, by Rev. Harvey Ball of Suffield." David remarried to Hester Brown on 22 May 1842 in Simsbury. Hester was born about 1801 in Ireland and died in Simsbury 31 Mar 1895.

After David's death, Gamaliel Austin, the son-in-law of David's brother William, was appointed as guardian to Nancy J. Holmes.

Children of David and Melinda: Delilah M. and Nancy Jane Holmes
Child of David and Hester: David Holmes

JAMES HOLMES [pictured here] was born 12 Jul 1814 and died 4 Oct 1896 in East Granby. He married Mary McRoy, daughter of Thomas McRoy and Isabell McFadden, 24 Jul 1837 in East Granby. Mary was born 12 Jul 1820 in Ballymoney, Ireland and died 3 Nov 1903 in E. Granby.

From East Granby, the evolution of a Connecticut Town: "Some who remained in Turkey Hills did acquire property either through inheritance or purchase. Irishman James Holmes purchased the house at 83 Spoonville Road where his mother died in 1867."

Their children: James Alexander, Isabella Emaline, Robert James, Margaret Elizabeth Holmes, Jane Louise Holmes, Thomas Henry Holmes, Samuel David, James Albert, Mary Ella and Alice Burnett Holmes.

ROBERT HOLMES JR. was born 4 Apr 1815 and died 13 Feb 1858 in East Granby. He married Eliza Ann Barrett [pictured here], daughter of Henry Barrett and Sophia Fenton, 28 Mar 1839 in Simsbury. Eliza was born 14 Nov 1815 in CT and died in Andover 15 Apr 1891.

Robert worked as a tavern keeper, possibly for someone else. The tavern may have been on the main road, probably Rt. 189 ... there were several inns and taverns (and later a hotel) on that road. It was the path for cattle drovers near the Farmington Canal and later the railroad.

Their children: David H., Ellen Eliza, Charles Robert and Cyrus E. Holmes.

REBECCA S. HOLMES was born about 1819 and died 16 Mar 1853 in Suffield. She married William H. Remington 18 Jun 1843 in Simsbury. William was born 29 May 1809 in Suffield and died there 3 Aug 1881. Upon Rebecca's death, her sister Jane took in and raised young Rebecca.

Their children: William H. Jr. and Rebecca Jane Remington.

JANE HOLMES [pictured here] was born about 1823 and died 16 Jul 1897 in Suffield. She married Appleton Burnett 25 Jan 1846 in Simsbury. Appleton was born in MA about 1818 and died in Suffield 23 Jul 1888.

ELIZABETH "ELIZA" M. HOLMES was born 18 Mar 1826 and died 10 May 1902 in Suffield. She married Oliver Pomeroy II, son of Phineas Pomeroy and Susan Clark, 19 Nov. 1845 in Simsbury. Oliver was born 1818 in Suffield and died there 1879.

Their children: Charles G., Jane E., Luther Oliver, Eloise D. and Susan Eloise Pomeroy.

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