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1860 -1959
Pictures donated to the Jennings County Public Library by Camden & Katie Nelson.

    Chesley Holmes was born January 24, 1860 in Decatur County Indiana, a son of John Holmes and Ruth Ann Boicourt. His father had been married previously to Emily Shields so Chesley was one of 14 children of John Holmes. He went to the common schools in Decatur county. He married Martha L. "Mattie" Davis on August 26, 1883 and shortly after began College at Franklin College in Johnson County, after college he moved to Jennings County. He lived in Vernon for most of the remainder of his life. He did spend some time preaching in Iowa. He was at one time the Principal of the Vernon Schools while being a prominent Baptist Minister. He preached in Decatur, Jennings and Ripley counties and married hundreds of local couples. In one newspaper article in 1957 it mentions he he married a couple that were married in 1937 and he had also officiated at the marriage of the grandmother of the bride. He died April 11, 1959 in a Baptist Home in Maywood, Cook County, Illinois. He was brought back and buried in the Mt. Aerie cemetery in Letts, Decatur County, beside his wife Martha who had died in 1936. Chesley & Mattie Holmes had only two children both daughtes. Mary died as an infant in 1903 and their daughter Gertrude who was born in 1893 never married. She died at Muscatatuck State Hospital in 1972 and is buried beside her parents and sister Mary in Mt. Aerie cemetery.
We also have a picture of Gertrude taken while she was a patient at Muscatatuck which will be with family records in the Jennings County Public Library.

Some Family Newspaper Clippings

April 13, 1959
Former Letts Pastor Dies
Rev. Chesley Holmes Marked 99th Birthday
    Funeral services for the Rev. Chesley Holmes, 99, a former Decatur county pastor, will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday (CST) in the Jordan funeral home at Vernon. Burial will be in Mr. Aerie cemetery at Letts.
    A descendant of pioneer settlers of Sandcreek township, he was the son of John and Ruth Boicourt Holmes. He was a member of a family of 14 children.     The Rev. Mr. Holmes marked his 99th, milestone on Jan. 24, 1959.
    During his long career as a Baptist minister he had held numerous pastorates, including Mr. Aerie Baptist church at Letts. His last pastorate was at Vernon.
    For several years he had been a guest at the Maywood Baptist Home at Maywood, Ill. He passed away there at noon on Saturday.
    His wife, the former Martha Davis, of Letts, preceded him in death in August, 1936.
    The immediate survivor is a daughter, Miss Gertrude Holmes. Several nieces and nephews live in Decatur county.

John Holmes father of Chesley Holmes
February 10, 1882 - Greensburg Standard
    John Holmes was born in Butler county, Ohio, and died near Lett's Comer, Ind. Jan. 29th, 1882 in the sixty-fifth year of his age. He came to this county with his parents when a small boy and with the exception of a few years spent in Jennings county has lived here ever since. He was married to Emily Shields, January 30th, 1841. She died May 22nd, 1850, leaving him with a family of small children, three of whom are still living. He was again married to Ruth Boicourt, September 24th 1850. She bore him ten children, seven of whom are still living; all, except a daughter in Iowa, by his first wife, are living in this community, honored members of church and society. John Holmes was a man of unconquerable will and energy. He started in life a poor man but by industry and good management succeeded in accumulating considerable property. His home farm ot two hundred and forty acres is perhaps the most valuable one of its size in this township. At the time of his death he was a niember of Mt. Aerie Baptist church and had been for about twenty five years. Generous in the support of his church, constant in his attendance upon its services, he was truly one of its strong pillars. In every difficulty between neighbors or brethren he was the peace-maker and seldom failed to bring about reconcilliation. He was followed to his grave in the Mt. Aerie cemetery by a large concourse of neighbors and friends. Many a silent tear was dropped as the coflin lid shut from view for the last time the loved face of the good man. J. H. S.
February 10, 1882 Greensburg Standard
    Uncle John Holmes was buried the 30th of January. The family and friends lose a good friend and counselor.

Ruth Ann (Boicourt) Holmes - Mother of Chesley Holmes
November 9, 1910 - Greensburg News
OBITUARY     The subject of this obituary, Mrs. Ruth Holmes, daughter of the departed Mr. and Mrs. Felix Boicourt, was born in Clark Cou., Ind., Jan. 24, 1826 and departed this life November 28, 1910, age 84 years 10 months and 4 days. She was the last of eight children to be claimed by death's call.
    She was married to John Holmes Sept. 24, 1850. He preceded her to the celestial city 28 years ago. To this union were born ten children, six of whom survive her.
    In early youth she gave herself to the Lord and after being a member for many years of the United Brethen church and Liberty Baptist church, she became a charter member of the Mr. Aerie Baptist church to which she belonged when her long life of earnest and faithful devotion to the Savior ended.
    She was a true, patient, devoted self-sacrificing mother. One of her sons was heard to say from the deep of his heart: "No one ever had a better Mother." Her friends say: "We have no better woman than was dear old grandmother Holmes." She was a rare christian, having had a ripe experience, a long life and a school of training in the discipline of labor, suffering and bereavement. Her soul learned obedience by the things she suffered, for her afflictions of many years were borne with christian fortitude, never complaining, but always demonstrating a hopeful and resigned spirit. In her declining years she knew how to grow old gracefully for the sunset of her life glowed with gleams already caught from the glory of the otherworld.
    She leaves four sons: Albert, Calvin, Chesley and William T.: two daughters Mrs. Emily Auten and Mrs. Nellie Jessup: two step-children: John B. Holmes and Mrs. Sarah Myers: 19 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren to mourn her loss.
    We commend the heartbroken relatives and friends to the soothing balm of our great comforter the Lord Jesus Christ.
    Funeral services were conducted by Rev. W. F. Wagner at Mt. Aerie Baptist church were she has been a member for many years, and was attended by a vast concourse of friends.

December 2, 1910 - Greensburg News

Wednesday's Daily     Mrs. Ruth Holmes, aged about eighty-four years, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Nettie Jessup, near Brighton, Colorado, Monday, with cancerous troubles. The remains left there Monday evening en route to Letts for interment and will probably reach here tonight or tomorrow morning. The funeral will be held in Mr. Aerie Baptist church at Letts Friday morning at 10:30 o'clock, Rev. W. S. Wagner conducting the survices. The remains will be placed to rest in the cemetery at that place beside those of her husband, John Holmes, who has been dead for more than twenty years.
    John and Ruth Holmes were early settlers in the Letts neighborhood, were good neighbors and as good people ____ ____ lived ____ very popular in their _____ neighborhood. They built the late brick house and owned the farm now owned by Dr. T. J. Clark, one mile north of old Letts. They raised a large family of children hence the home was a gathering point of neighbors for social times. The children living to mourn the mother's death are Mrs. Emily Ogden and Mrs. Nettie Jessup, of Brighton, Colorado: Calvin Holmes, Nunn, Colo.; Albert Holmes, Letts; Rev. Chesley Holmes, Burney; W. T. Holmes, Dayton, Ky., and J. B. Holmes, two miles south of this city.
    John W. Stout, of this city, was an old neighbor of the Holmes family, so while he and Mrs. Stout were visiting in Colorado a few weeks ago they were guests at the Jessup home, where Mrs. Holmes was living, she was then cofnined to her room from the disease that finally produced death, but was as bright in mind and cheerful in disposition as when he knew her in her earlier days, and manifested much interest in the welfare of her old neighbors, of whom she made inquiries of Mr. Stout and commented on their past lives and early history.

George T. Davis father of Martha Davis - wife of Chesley Holmes
December 29, 1905 - Greensburg News
A Christmas Dinner
    The home of George T. Davis, of one mile east of Letts, was a place of much joy and merriment on Christmas Day. Father Davis was 87 years of age on Thursday, December 21, 1905. Although he hasn't the health and strength of former years his quite active for one of that age. On entering the dining room when dinner was called we found that the table was almost groaning beneath its burden of turkey and good things to satisfy the innerman. Those that were present to help make the day one long to be remembered were: Rev. Chesley Holmes and family, of Vernon; John Ferris and family and Miss Nona Burns, of near Greensburg; John L. Davis and wife of near Letts; Wm. Davis and wife, Mrs. Nora Moberly and little daughter, Orpha, and J. G. Davis and family of Horace; W. P. Newton and family, of Indianapolis; Corwin Davis and daughter Minnie, of Galatin, Tenn..; Harry Davis and sisters, Lowie, Nellie and Mary, helped to swell the number in the afternoon.
    Father Davis received some very nice and useful presents which he appreciated very much. Everyone present seemed to enjoy themselves to the fullest extent. and when it came time to disperse we engaged in songs and a word of prayer, with the closing hymn, "God Be With You Till We Meet Again," after which we bid Father a pleasant adieu, and wishing him many more such occasions and feeling that it was good to be there. A Guest.
David Boicourt brother of Ruth Ann (Boicourt) Holmes
DIED TOGETHER David Boicourt and his wife, pass peacefully away after more than half a century of married life. DIED- David Boicourt, aged 77, Sunday at 6:08 a.m. Mary J. Boicourt, aged 74, Sunday at 6:21 a.m. Thus closed the life chapter of two very estimable citizens of Sandcreek township. Mr. Boicourt had been ill of typhoid feveer about two weeks. Mrs. Boicourt has been an invalid all summer from intestinal tuberculosis. More than fifty-two years ago, these people were married and lived happily near the old mill east of Westport. They raised a family of five children and this is the first death that has occurred in the family. The youngest child is thirty-nine years of age. "Uncle" David and "Aunt" Mary were leading members of the U. B. church and had been for many years. They were Christians in every sense of the word and died as they lived, peacefully and happily. "Aunt" Mary took her nephew, Thomas Holmes, at the age of six and gave him a mother's care, he having been left an orphan. Thomas made his home there for fifty-four years and is now at the home of Albert Higgins, an invalid, and was too sick to attend the funeral, which occurred Monday afternoon. Rev. Schoonoveer preached the sermon, and the remains of these two pioneers were laid to rest in one grave. The services were attended by a large concourse of people.

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