This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Judy Simpson. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Cyrus Holmes

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878


CYRUS HOLMES was born at Dudley, Massachusetts, on the 17th of April, 1817. When he was about twelve years of age, his mother died, and he then went to live with an uncle. The schools of the town where he was born gave him the advantages he enjoyed for obtaining an education. About the time he reached the age of twenty one, he determined to emigrate to Illinois and make an attempt to improve his fortune among the rich lands of the rapidly growing West.

He came to Illinois in the year 1838, and made his home at Pittsfield in Pike county. At that place on the 2d of May, 1841, he was married to Miss Calista S. BENNETT. Mrs. Holmes was born in Geauga county, Ohio, on the 12th of February, 1820. Both her paternal and maternal grandfathers were soldiers in the war of the Revolution, which resulted in the establishment of American independence, and her father, Clark BENNETT, fought in the war of 1812. Clark Bennett was born in Vermont, and removed to the state of New York at an early day, and was there married; he subsequently moved to Ohio, and after living there five years, returned to New York. He moved to Illinois with his family in the year 1838, and first settled in Pike county, afterward removed to Bureau county, and also lived for several years in Knox county, which was his home when he died. He was a physician, and practised medicine for many years in the state of Ohio; in Genesee and Orleans county, New York, and in Pike, Bureau and Knox counties, Illinois.

About the year 1843, two years after he was married, Mr. Holmes settled on a farm five miles west of Pittsfield, resolved to better his condition if plenty of energy and hard work could do anything toward the accomplishment of that object. He came to the west almost entirely without any capital, and his industry and perseverance were all that he had to rely on. He had about one hundred dollars in money when he left Massachusetts, and was industrious after he came to this state, and so managed to get possession of forty acres of land, to which he brought his wife and child in an ox-cart and settled down in a small log cabin to commence life just as many another pioneer commenced it in this state forty or fifty years ago.

But Mr. and Mrs. Holmes were strong and hopeful, both willing to work hard; and the farm among the grubs in Pike county soon began to assume larger proportions. Additional quantities of land were purchased as circumstances permitted, and the farm, at first composed of forty acres, expanded till it took in one thousand broad acres of land---a rich and productive property. The log cabin gave way to a two-story, comfortable frame dwelling-house, and Mr. Holmes had a position among the wealthy and prosperous farmers of Pike county. This was brought about, not by any speculative enterprises or fortunate ventures, but was the result of industry, energy, economy and careful business habits. He lived in Pike county till 1869. Wishing to remove to a farm on the prairie, he selected Champaign county as the best location, and disposing of his Pike county farm for $20,000, he bought 680 acres of land in Ludlow township, about one-half of which at the time was under cultivation. The farm comprises all of section 11, township 22, range 10. The farm has been improved to a great extent. Substantial buildings have been erected, hedges grown, and it is now one of the best farms in that part of the county.

Mr. and Mrs. Holmes have ten children living, whose names in the order of their births are as follows: William C. Holmes, now a resident of McLean county; Alice E., wife of John EARLY; Eunice, who married Oliver DILLON; Lois, wife of David DILLON; John, who is married and lives on the farm; and Abbie, Ezra, Cyrus, George and Lucy. Mr. Holmes was an early Republican in politics, and his family have been members of the Christian church.

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