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Holmes, Willam (IL State Representative)

Born: 1799-02-07 Dutchess County, New York

Died: 1878-01-18 Cass County, Illinois

Flourished: Cass County, Illinois

Holmes received a rudimentary education in schools of his native county, and later enrolled in the Poughkeepsie Academy. He lacked funds to complete the full course, and moved to New Jersey, where he taught school, earning enough money to emigrate to Posey County, Indiana. Not finding Posey County appealing, Holmes moved to Morgan County, Illinois, in 1825 or 1826, settling in an area of the county that would become part of Cass County, Illinois. He lived with Henry Hopkins, an early settler in the region, until his marriage to Mary McDonald in 1827. He worked initially as a teacher before turning to agriculture. Holmes purchased large tracts of public land east and northeast of what would become Virginia, Illinois, and he and Hopkins improved and farmed their lands in partnership for several years. After the Illinois General Assembly established Cass County in 1837, Holmes served as county surveyor, surveying the public land donated for the county seat at Virginia. From 1838 to 1840, he represented Cass County as a Whig in the Illinois House of Representatives. Among his accomplishments was passage of an act making Virginia the county seat of Cass County. In 1850, he was farming in Cass County and owned $5,500 in real estate.

Gravestone, Walnut Ridge Cemetery, Virginia, IL; Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales, Cass County, 59:16, 68:25, 28, 65, 94, 122, 123, 236; 69:158, 181; 70:146, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; William Henry Perrin, ed., History of Cass County, Illinois (Chicago: O. L. Baskin, 1882), 74, 80; Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, eds., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Cass County, ed. by Charles Æ Martin (Chicago: Munsell, 1915), 697-98; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Cass County, IL, 2.