From A Biographical History of Central
Kansas, Vol. I, p. 342
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
John B. Holmes
In a compilation of a biographical history of Rice county mention should certainly be accorded John B Holmes, for he belonged to the substantial class of citizens who confer honor and dignity upon the community which they represent by reason of their high worth of character. He was prominent and popular, and as one of the early settlers of the county he bore an important part in the work of progress and improvement.
Mr. Holmes was born in Lawrence county, Ohio, March 28, 1836, a son of Isaac and Anna Eliza (Bennett) Holmes. The father was born in Pennsylvania and was of English lineage. The mother was born December 10, 1816, and died May 9, 1836, when her son John was only six weeks old. The father afterward married again and died in Rice county, Kansas, in October, 1871. He was a tanner and farmer by occupation and in politics was a Republican, while in religious belief he was connected with the Christian church.
John B Holmes was reared in Lawrence county, Ohio, spending his youth upon a farm, where he early became familiar with the labors of field and meadow. In the common schools he acquired a good education, which was supplemented by further study in Middleton, Pennsylvania. When he entered upon his business career he secured the position of bookkeeper for the Union Iron Company, with which he remained for fifteen years, a most capable and trustworthy employe of the firm. During the war he assisted in organizing a company for the service, which became Company D, of the Thirty-Sixth Ohio Infantry. He was urged to accept the captaincy, but declined; however, he went to the front and participated in a number of engagements where his personal bravery on the field won him promotion, first to the rank of second lieutenant. He took part in the battle of Chickamauga and in many other important engagements. He was always found at his post of duty, faithfully defending the old flag and the cause it represented. For a time he lay near deathís door in the hospital and at length was discharged on account of physical disability in 1864, having been in the hospital at Covington, Kentucky, for some time previous.
When he had sufficiently recovered his health to resume business life Mr. Holmes secured his old position with the Union Iron Company, but on account of his health he came to Kansas, securing a citizenís claim or homestead in Atlanta township, Rice county, in April, 1871. He was one of the first settlers to locate within its borders and from that time until his death he was an active factor in the work of general improvement and progress. He succeeded in transforming his wild lands into fertile fields and was one of the first to engage in trade at Atlanta, establishing there a general mercantile store. Later, when the town was removed to Lyons, he went to that place and was identified with its commercial interests, but all the time made his home upon his farm.
Mr. Holmes was united in marriage on the 11th of May, 1865, to Miss Irene Trago, a lady of intelligence and a representative of a good family. She was born in Zanesville, Ohio, but was reared and educated in Jackson, that state. Her parents were William and Mary (Harvey) Trago, the former a native of Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania, while the latter was born in Wales. The mother died in 1850, at the age of forty-eight years, and the father passed away in 1872, at Gallia Station, Ohio, at the age of seventy-three. They held membership with the Baptist church and were people of the highest respectability. Three of their children are yet living, namely: Mrs. Mary Walden, of Columbus, Ohio, whose husband was a captain in the Thirty-Sixth Ohio Infantry, and afterward engaged in the practice of law, but is now deceased; Mrs. Irene Holmes; and Mrs. Emma Morrow, of Hancock county, Virginia. Those who have passed away are: Elizabeth, who died at the age of seventeen years; John H, who was born April 24, 1826, and died August 7, 1833; W D, who was born March 12, 1829 and died in Jackson, Ohio, in 1891, leaving a widow and four children; Ben, who was born July 15, 1831, and died August 13, 1897; David, who was born September 12, 1833, and died July 31, 1834; and Mary A, who was born July 9, 1836, and died on the 13th of August following. Of this family W D was a soldier in an Ohio battery during the Civil war and Ben was a second lieutenant of the Seventh Ohio Cavalry. He participated in twenty-four engagements.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Holmes were born five children: Chester W, who married Lydia Stahl, is now an engineer in Mace, Idaho; Alva Curtis, who married Miss Sarah Gladys Day and resides in Atlanta township; John Clyde and Carl B, young men of twenty-three and twenty-one years, respectively, are at home with their mother and operate the farm; and one child, Arligton, who was the third in order of birth, died at the age of six weeks.
John B Holmes held membership in the Christian church of Lyons and was one of its most active workers. He was an earnest soldier of the cause as well as a loyal defender of his country upon the battlefields of the south. He left the record of a pure and upright life. He was widely known as a devoted husband and father, a faithful friend and neighbor and a good citizen, and to his family he left the priceless heritage of an untarnished name. He died September 8, 1892, at the age of fifty-six, and the entire community mourn his loss. Mrs. Holmes still resides upon the farm of one hundred and sixty acres, where with her husband she took up her abode thirty years ago. She has borne her part in the establishment of a home and has been a faithful and loving wife and mother, rearing a family of children who do credit to her teachings and her good name. Her many good qualities of heart and mind have won her the love and friendship of a wide circle of acquaintances and among the worthy pioneer people of the community she well deserves mention.