Washburn Co. WIGenWeb

People Histories

Ira Holmes
 (04 Mar 1851 - ?1)


by J. H. Beers & Co., Chicago, IL, 1905

pages 401 - 402

The true development of a new country begins with the cultivation of the soil.  It is not until forests are leveled and roads built that the way is opened up for the husbandmen.  Ira Holmes was one of the first to establish on a sound agricultural basis in Washburn county.  Born in Erie county, N. Y., March 4, 1851, he was a son of Winfield Scott and Sally (Eckert) Holmes, the former a native of Erie county, N. Y., the latter of Ulster county, same State.

Ira Holmes was reared on a farm, receiving his education in the district schools, acquiring the same before reaching his seventeenth year.  In 1878 he became imbued with the idea that the restriction in the East handicapped young men of meagre fortune, in consequence of which he took Greeley's advice to "Go West," and settled in Ionia county, Mich., where he found employment on a farm during the summers and worked in the woods during the winters for four years.  he then returned to his former home in New York, where he followed farming for two years, and in 1884, prompted by the return of the Western "fever," he went to Stillwater, Minn., which place was just then beginning to take prominence in the commercial world as a great lumber manufacturing point, where he obtained employment with the St. Croix Lumber Company.  For ten years he faithfully performed the duties required of him in a manner so satisfactory to his employers as to win their utmost confidence and esteem.  In 1888 the St. Croix Lumber Company began operations in Washburn county to which place he came to accept a position that had to do with furnishing supplies for the company's several camps, and in this capacity he remained six years.  By economic management he succeeded in hoarding up a little capital, and, having confidence in the agricultural future of the immediate region, he invested his savings in 782 acres of land in 1891, the same being Section 1, Town 38, Range 12.  In 1894 he bought half of Section 31, Town 39, Range 11, and on this purchase he established himself and began the work of development, since when he has given exclusive attention to improving his farm, and has demonstrated the productiveness of the soil.  It was a herculean task that confronted him, but, nothing daunted, he took hold of his work with an energy that has resulted in his getting into cultivation nearly 100 acres, which annually yields him rich returns for labor expended.  His improvement are of exceptionally good character, comprising a comfortable house, barns and all essential outbuildings.  Mr. Holmes has particularly interested himself in introducing into the county grade Belgian horses, of which he has quite a number.  Despite Mr. Holmes's unusually busy life he has found time to take a good citizen's part in political affairs, having represented the town of Spooner as supervisor for a number of terms and is now serving as chairman of the town board.  The cause of education has in Mr. Holmes a strong advocate, and he has freely given of his time in perfecting and bringing to a higher standard the schools of his town.

Mr. Holmes's marriage was consummated in 1887, at South Stillwater, Minn., Miss Mary Myers becoming his wife.  To their union seven children have been born, namely:  Grace, George, Gertrude2, Bertha3, Alice4, Elsie5 and John.

1 - Editorial Note - No death or burial information could be found in Washburn Co. for Ira Holmes.  

Some of his children's birth records are on file in the Washburn Co. Register of Deeds office, more specifically:

2 - Gertrude Mildred, born 17 Aug 1892 (WC ROD Birth Vol. 26, page 285);
3 - Bertha Catherine, born 11 Aug 1894 (WC ROD Birth Vol. 26, page 350);
4 - Alice Margaret, born 20 Sep 1896 (WC ROD Birth Vol. 29, page 459); and
5 - Elsie Louise, born 09 Jul 1899 (WC ROD Birth Vol. 31, page 583).


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