Person:Israel Holmes (2)

Israel Holmes
b.est 1650
m. bef 1638
  1. Josiah Holmesest 1638 - Aft 1721
  2. Abraham Holmesest 1640 -
  3. Elizabeth Holmesest 1642 - aft 1677/78
  4. Mary Holmesest 1644 -
  5. Sarah Holmesest 1646 - aft 1677/78
  6. Rebecca Holmesest 1648 - aft 1677/78
  7. Israel Holmesest 1650 - 1684/85
  8. Captain Isaac Holmesest 1653 - bet 1723
  • HIsrael Holmesest 1650 - 1684/85
  • WDesire Dotyabt 1645 - 1730
m. 24 Nov 1681
  1. Israel Holmes1682/83 - 1760
  2. John Holmes1684 - 1754
Facts and Events
Name[3] Israel Holmes
Gender Male
Birth[3] est 1650
Christening[3] 14 Apr 1661 Scituate, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States
Marriage 24 Nov 1681 Marshfield, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United Statesto Desire Doty
Death[4] 24 Feb 1684/85 Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United StatesDrowned in Plymouth Harbor.

His father is sketched by the Great Migration


ORIGIN: Sandwich, Kent.

MIGRATION: 1635 on the Hercules (on 17 March 1634/5, "W[illia]m Holmes," a servant in the household of William Hatch of Sandwich, Kent, was enrolled at Sandwich as a passenger for New England on the Hercules [NEHGR 75:219]).


REMOVES: Marshfield by 1658 [PCR 8:201].

FREEMAN: Took the oath of allegiance at Scituate on 1 February 1638[/9] (as "W[illia]m Holmes, Senior") [PCR 1:110]. In Scituate section of 1639 list of those who had taken the oath of fidelity (as "Will[ia]m Holmes Senior") [PCR 8:182].

Admitted freeman on 1 June 1658 [PCR 3:136]. In Marshfield sections of 1658 and 29 May 1670 Plymouth Colony lists of freemen [PCR 5:277, 8:201].

OFFICES: Marshfield constable, 1665 [PCR 7:122-25].

In Scituate section of 1643 Plymouth Colony list of men able to bear arms [PCR 8:190]. His inventory included "2 muskets" valued at £2 [PCPR 4:1:3].

EDUCATION: Signed his will. His inventory included "6 books" valued at 16s. [PCPR 4:1:3].

ESTATE: On 1 December 1646, Timothy Hatherly of Scituate sold to "William Holmes, planter," of Scituate, one-thirtieth part of three-quarters of the land granted to Andrews, Beauchamp, Shirley and Hatherly [PCR 12:158; ScitTR 2 passim].

In an undated deed, "William Holmes of Marshfeild" deeded to "my son Josiah Holmes of Duxburrow … all my right, title and interest in or to the common and undivided lands of the town of Scittuate by virtue of the freemen's act in surrendering up their power of disposal unto the whole inhabitants of the town of Scittuate on the thirteenth of December 1647, I William Holmes being at that time an inhabitant of the town of Scittuate" [PCLR 4:130; ScitTR 1:175].

On 5 June 1666, "Will[i]am Holmes hath liberty to look out land for the accommodation of his children" [PCR 4:132].

In his will, dated 4 March 1677/8 and proved 25 February 1678/9, "Willam Homes of Marshfeild" bequeathed to "my beloved wife one-third part of all my housing and lands and chattels and moveable estate ... during her widowhood, and then I give the aforesaid thirds of my whole estate to my two sons Israell and Isacke, but in case my wife marry I do bequeath her five pounds"; to "my two sons Israell and Isacke and their heirs two-thirds of my whole estate of housing and lands and moveables and chattels"; to "my two sons Josiah and Abraham five shillings each"; to "my daughters Elizabeth, Mary, Sarah and Rebecca twenty shillings apiece"; to "all my grandchildren that are now extant five pounds to be equally divided amongst them"; "my beloved sons Israell and Isacke to be my executors" [PCPR 4:1:2].

The inventory of the estate of "William Holmes of Marshfeild deceased the 8th of the 9th month 1678," taken 25 November 1678, totalled £70 7s.; "the house and land" was listed but not assigned a value [PCPR 4:1:3].

BIRTH: About 1592 (buried 9 November 1678 "86 years old" [MD 2:181; NEHGR 8:192]).

DEATH: 8 November 1678 (from inventory). Buried at Marshfield 9 November 1678, "86 years old" [MarVR 9; MD 2:181; NEHGR 8:192].

MARRIAGE: By about 1638 Elizabeth _____. She died at Marshfield on 17 February 1698[/9?] "in the 86th year of her age" [MarVR 19; MD 5:233]. (A derivative source has rearranged the Marshfield death records, and in the process transposed two of the digits in the year of death [NEHGR 8:228].)


    i       JOSIAH HOLMES, b. say 1638, bp. Scituate 27 April 1661 [NEHGR 57:178]; m. Duxbury 20 March 1665[/6?] Hannah Samson, daughter of HENRY SAMSON {1620, Plymouth} [GMB 3:1623; PCLR 4:188].
    ii       ABRAHAM HOLMES, b. say 1640, bp. Scituate 14 April 1661 [NEHGR 57:178]; m. (1) by 1666 Elizabeth Arnold (eldest known child b. Marshfield 18 September 1666 [MarVR 6]), daughter of Samuel Arnold (in his will of 19 August 1693, "Samuel Arnold of Marshfield" included a bequest to "my granddaughter Elizabeth Holmes" and referred to "my grandson Isaac Holmes" [PPR 1:176]); m. (2) Hingham 19 April 1695 Abigail Nichols, widow of Ephraim Nichols [Hingham Hist 2:351, 3:84].
   iii       ELIZABETH HOLMES, b. say 1642, bp. Scituate 20 October 1661 [NEHGR 57:178]; living 4 March 1677/8, apparently married [PCPR 4:1:2]; no further record.
   iv       MARY HOLMES, b. say 1644, bp. Scituate 27 April 1661 [NEHGR 57:178]; m. Marshfield 24 January 1664[/5?] Thomas Tilden [MarVR 5; Joseph Neal Anc 62-63].
   v       SARAH HOLMES, b. say 1646, bp. Scituate 14 April 1661 [NEHGR 57:178]; living 4 March 1677/8, apparently married [PCPR 4:1:2]; no further record.
   vi       REBECCA HOLMES, b. say 1648, bp. Scituate 14 April 1661 [NEHGR 57:178]; living 4 March 1677/8, apparently married [PCPR 4:1:2]; no further record.
  vii       ISRAEL HOLMES, b. say 1650, bp. Scituate 14 April 1661 [NEHGR 57:178]; m. Marshfield 24 November 1681 Desire (Doty) Sherman [MarVR 16; MD 3:42], daughter of EDWARD DOTY {1620, Plymouth} [GMB 1:573-77; MF 11:2:8-10] and widow of William Sherman [GMB 3:1674; MF 4:171-74].
 viii       ISAAC HOLMES, b. say 1653, bp. Scituate 14 April 1661 [NEHGR 57:178]; m. Marshfield [worn] April 167[worn] Anne Rowse [MarVR 9], daughter of John Rowse (in her will of 10 November 1687, "Annis Rows relict of John Rows late of Marshfeild deceased" included a bequest to "my daughter Anna Holmes" [PPR 1:23]).

COMMENTS: On 4 September 1638, "Francis Baver, of Scituate, [was] presented for offering to lie with the wife of Will[ia]m Holmes, & to abuse her body with uncleanness" [PCR 1:98]. On 7 September 1641, "Gowen White, of Scittuate, for his assault upon Will[ia]m Holmes, is fined by the Court five shillings" [PCR 2:24]. On 5 April 1642, "W[illia]m Holmes" posted a bond as surety for "John Stockbridg[e] of Scituate" [PCR 2:38].

We have no record of William Holmes between 1647, when he stated that he was residing in Scituate [PCLR 4:130], and 1658, when he was listed as a freeman of Marshfield [PCR 8:201], so we are unable to say with any certainty when he moved from one town to the other. His name is the very last in the 1658 Marshfield list, which leaves open the possibility that, as was frequently the case with Plymouth Colony lists of freemen, his name was added to that list at a later date. His removal to Marshfield might, then, have taken place some years after 1658, which would be consistent with the baptism of all eight of his children in Scituate in 1661. However, the involvement in 1660 and 1661 with Dinah Silvester and her family indicates that William Holmes was already in Marshfield by that time, but resided in the northern part of that town, near the southern part of Scituate which was served by the Second Church of that town [GMB 3:1677].

On 5 March 1660/1, "Dina Silvester, being examined, saith the bear she saw was about a stone's throw from the highway when she saw it; and being examined and asked what manner of tail the bear had, she said she could not tell, for his head was towards her" (marginal annotation: "This was ordered to be recorded for the clearing of a report about W[illia]m Holmes his wife being accused to be a witch") [PCR 3:205, 207]. On 7 May 1661, "[c]oncerning the complaint of Will[i]am Holmes, of Marshfeild, against Dinah Silvester, for accusing his wife to be a witch, the Court have sentenced, that the said Dinah Silvester shall either be publicly whipped or pay the sum of five pounds to the said William Holmes; or in case she, the said Dinah Silvester, shall make a public acknowledgement of her fault in the premises, that then she shall bear only the charge the plaintiff hath been at in the prosecution of his said suit; the latter of which was chosen and done by the said Dinah Silvester" on 9 May 1661 [PCR 3:211].

Vinton included in this family Rev. John Holmes who married at Plymouth on 11 December 1661 Mary Wood, daughter of John Wood alias Atwood [Giles Memorial 184]. Vinton based his argument on two pieces of evidence: the grant of land by the Plymouth Colony General Court on 1 June 1675 to "Mr. John Holmes, teacher of the Church of Christ at Duxburrow, … in the right of his father" [PCR 5:171]; and the use of the name Isaac for a child of this couple. Vinton argued that the first of these two pieces of evidence demands that the father of this John Holmes had been a resident of Plymouth Colony, and, by elimination, the only man available to fill this role was the subject of this sketch. William Holmes of Scituate and Marshfield was still alive at the date of this grant, and we would expect him to be the direct recipient of the land. However, we note that John Wood alias Atwood, the father-in-law of this John Holmes, died at about the time of this grant, and that Mary (Wood) Holmes had a brother Isaac Wood [PCR 5:188]. These latter facts are sufficient to explain the evidence presented by Vinton, and so we do not include Rev. John Holmes as a son of the William Holmes of this sketch.

In the absence of birth records for any of the children of William Holmes, we have three potential sources for determining the birth order of these children: the will of William Holmes; the baptismal records in 1661; and the marriages of five of the eight children.

In his will, dated 4 March 1677/8, William Holmes treated his children in three groups, his sons Josiah and Abraham, his sons Israel and Isaac, and his daughters Elizabeth, Mary, Sarah and Rebecca [PCPR 4:1:2]. The first group of sons, Josiah and Abraham, were both married in or about 1665, and so were probably born close to 1640. The second group of sons, Isaac and Israel, were unmarried when their father made his will. They married in 167[8] and 1681 respectively, and so were probably born in the mid-1650s.

When we look at the baptisms we also find three groups, but with no relation to the three groups of the will: Abraham, Israel, Isaac, Sarah and Rebecca baptized on 14 April 1661; Josiah and Mary on 27 April 1661; and Elizabeth on 20 October 1661 [NEHGR 57:178]. The grouping of Abraham with Israel and Isaac, to the exclusion of Josiah, is contrary to the grouping of the will. The grouping of the will is consistent with the dates of marriage of these four sons, while the grouping of the baptisms is not, and so we will ignore the baptismal evidence in ordering the births of these children.

Vinton claims marriages for two of the four daughters, suggesting that Mary was the woman of that name who married on 7 October 1691 Peter Cheney, and Elizabeth was the woman of that name who married Thomas Bourne on 23 November 1702 [Giles Memorial 184; WaVR 1:64; Bond 152]. These dates seem much too late, and in the case of Mary are contradicted by a much more reasonable marriage record which was overlooked by Vinton.

On 24 January 1664[/5?], Thomas Tilden and Mary Holmes were married at Marshfield [MarVR 5]. There is no place for this Mary in the other Plymouth Colony Holmes families, JOHN HOLMES {1632, Plymouth} [GMB 2:977-78; NGSQ 74:83-87] or WILLIAM HOLMES {1632, Plymouth} [GMB 2:979-81]. This Mary Holmes is of the right age and in the right place to be a daughter of the William Holmes treated in this sketch. Applying our usual assumptions, this daughter would have been born about 1644.

In his will William Holmes treated the four daughters alike, giving them "twenty shillings apiece." Given this equal treatment, the amount of the bequest, and the fact of the marriage of Mary prior to the time her father wrote his will, we conclude that all four of the daughters were married prior to 4 March 1677/8. The husbands of Elizabeth, Sarah and Rebecca remain to be identified.

Finally, then, we construct our birth order of the eight children by assuming that William Holmes named his two oldest sons in the order they were born, followed by his four daughters in the order they were born, and then the two youngest children in their actual order of birth. There is sufficient chronological space between the two sets of sons to accommodate all four of the daughters. We reach our final arrangement by applying our knowledge of the marriage dates to this sequence.

The wife of William Holmes died on 17 February 1698[/9?] "in the 86th year of her age" [MarVR 19; MD 5:233], and so was born about 1614 (or perhaps a little later if her age at death has been exaggerated). This would make her about twenty-four when her eldest child was born and about thirty-nine when her youngest was born, a reasonable child-bearing range. Also, we have independent evidence that William Holmes was married at the time we suggest his first child was born [PCR 1:98].

William Holmes came to New England as a servant [NEHGR 75:219] and was buried on 9 November 1678, "86 years old" [MarVR 9; MD 2:181; NEHGR 8:192]. This would place his birth about 1592, which would mean he was about forty-three when he crossed the Atlantic, and was more than twenty years older than his wife. The age at death may be exaggerated somewhat, but probably by less than a decade, so these disparities would still exist. He may have served William Hatch for many years in England, which might provide a clue for finding his English origin. He apparently completed his servitude within two or three years of his arrival, and set out on his own.

BIBLIOGRAPHIC NOTE: In 1864 John Adams Vinton published an account of this immigrant and some of his descendants [Giles Memorial 181-84].

  1.   Dave Sharp,, Roots Web's WorldConnect Project. RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project, Cushing/Sharp. (updated Jan. 5, 2001).
  2.   By William T. Davis. Genealogical Register of Plymouth Families. (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. Baltimore 1975).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 William Holmes, in Anderson, Robert Charles; George F. Sanborn; and Melinde Lutz Sanborn. The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635. (NEHGS, 1999-2011), III:394.

    Israel Holmes, b. say 1650, bp. Scituate 14 April 1661 [NEHGR 57:178].

  4. Doty, in Roser, Susan E. Mayflower Increasings (2nd Edition). (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. [1], 1995), 47.