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Holmes, William Canada

Third son of William Holmes, named in a preceding sketch, was born at his father's old homestead on the National road, on the 23d of May, 1826.  When only seventeen years old contracted with his father for and took the management of his saw-mill, and continued in its management until he was twenty years of age; in the meantime, when the mill was idle, going to school, and received a fair English education.  When the time had expired for which he took the mill, he had laid by a nice capital besides extracting his father from financial embarrassment, consequent upon the building of the mill; he then continued sixteen years longer in the lumber and milling business.  In 1857 he purchased the old Isaac Pugh farm, seven miles from the city on the Crawfordsville State road; on this he built one of the finest farm residences in the county.

In 1865 Mr. Holmes purchased the interest of T.R. Fletcher in the Fourth National bank, and acted as president.  Six months later this bank was consolidated with the Citizen's National bank.  One year after the consolidation he was elected president, and for two years in succession thereafter, superceding Isaiah Mansur.  After performing the duties of president of the bank he resigned in consequence of failing health, but is yet a director in the same institution.

He then formed a partnership with Messrs. Coffin & Landers, for the purpose of purchasing and packing pork, the firm being known by the title of Coffin, Holmes & Landers.  In this firm he remained one year.  He then formed another partnership, the name of the firm being Holmes, Pettit & Bradshaw, and built the extensive establishment at the foot of Kentucky avenue; this house has a capacity for slaughtering, packing and keeping through the summer fifty thousand hogs, the building and ground costing one hundred thousand dollars or over.  Their average business disburses between five and six hundred thousand dollars annually.  The last season they purchased and packed thirty-one thousand hogs.

Mr. Holmes is the present owner of the Sentinel building.  Since his purchase of it from Richard J Bright he has built an addition on Circle Street, in which is kept the Public Library.  He has also added materially to the growth of the city by the erection of several fine private houses, and a donation of twenty acres of land, worth about forty thousand dollars, to aid in the erection of manufacturing establishments:  seven acres to the Novelty Iron Works; thirteen acres to the Haugh Iron Railing Manufactory.  Mr. Holmes was married on the 15th of December, 1849, to Catherine, second daughter of the venerable James Johnson, since which time they have glided down the stream of time together.  This union, like that of his father, has been blessed with several children, six daughters and two sons - Hannah Elizabeth, Sarah Alice, Mary Helen, Samuel, Martha Ann, Canada Johnson, Catharine Snively, and Rose Hannah; the first and fourth died when infants; six are yet living under the parental roof.  Two of the daughters are young ladies, two and the son are at school, the sixth an infant.  Mr. Holmes, like his father, is quite tall, but of slender build, florid complexion and prepossessing in manner; while he is frank and candid in his expressions yet he is courteous; in social life he is hospitable and generous, in his family he seems to be the center of their affections.

Mr. Holmes' success as a business man is a fair illustration of what industry and perseverance, coupled with strict punctuality in engagements, will accomplish.  He is now one of the wealthy men of the city.


Nowland, John H.B., "Sketches of Prominent Citizens of 1876, with a Few of the Pioneers of the City and County Who Have Passed Away", a sequel to "Early Reminiscences of Indianapolis." 1820-76,  pp. 150-151


Transcribed by Sherri Morem Bergman