David M. Holmes


D. M. Holmes. Came to Abercrombie in 1869 from Pennsylvania. He had heard of the Reil rebellion and fired by the accounts of the ill treatment done by the half-breeds, Dave, then a lad of 14, set out for Winnipeg to help them out. The morning he got to Abercrombie it was 40 below zero and he concluded he had tackled too cold a job, and he went back to Chicago. He came to Grand Forks in 1872. He was a telegraph operator for several years in addition to his drug business. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Friday Morning, December 11, 1891, Volume XXI, Number 35, Page 2)

It is thought that Holmes, North Dakota, was named for David M. Holmes, who helped survey in the township in 1872.

Page 1019. DAVID M. HOLMES, ex-county treasurer of Grand Forks county, is one of the oldest settlers of the “valley,” and is closely connected in its history

Page 1020. and development. He is now engaged in the real estate, loans and insurance business in Grand Forks and is one of the best known men on the locality. Our subject was born in Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, July 29, 1851, and was a son of Hugh and Jane (Love) Holmes, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania. His father was a blacksmith by trade and was a soldier in the Mexican war. He became a resident of North Dakota in 1882 and died there in 1884, aged eighty-four years. The family was of English extraction and was among the early settlers of Connecticut. The family on the maternal side settled in Pennsylvania in 1700, and the family of Love was well known there. Our subject was reared in Pennsylvania. He received a liberal education there, making a study of telegraphy, and for twenty years worked in the employ of Western Union, the American and the old Northwestern Telegraph Companies. He became a resident of North Dakota in 1871, locating at Fort Abercrombie, and removing to Grand Forks in the spring of 1872, where he spent four years on surveys and then entered the employ of the Northwestern Telegraph Company as operator, and also worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company and remained with them until 1875, in the fall of which year he was elected register of deeds.

He resigned his office in 1876, went to Deadwood, South Dakota, and remained there a short time and then returned to Grand Forks and in 1877 was again elected register of deeds and served two years in that office, at the same time holding the offices of county superintendent and county surveyor. He engaged in the drug trade in 1877, established the first drug store in Grand Forks and followed that business until 1894, when he was elected county treasurer and filled the office until 1898. He also served two terms as mayor of the city and has served as member of the school board. He now has a good business and carries extensive real estate investments. Our subject was married, in 1879, to Miss Rebecca Schlaberg, a native of Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Holmes are the parents of three children, one son and two daughters, named as follows: Jessie S., Vivian A. and Frank B. Our subject is a member of the Masonic fraternity and Knights of Pythias. He has been a life-long Democrat and is prominent in party matters. (Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1900)

Pioneer of North Dakota. Every business has its pioneer and thus it transpires that Grand Forks boasts the pioneer druggist of North Dakota, no less a personage than our young Mayor David M. Holmes, with whom has been his able his able brother-in-law Frank Schlaberg, for the past five years. Mr. Holmes, the senior member of the firm of druggists D. M. Holmes & Co., started his drug store in a modest way in the old HERALD building on Third street in 1877. It was then the only drug store northwest of Moorhead and is justly entitled to be called the pioneer. He continued in the business alone, but in 1880, as the boom set in and labor multiplied, he took with him as clerk Frank W. Schlaberg of Waverly, Iowa. At that time he erected the brick block in which his store is located and where the Western Union telegraph office is maintained. For a short time in 1884, offices were occupied in the brick block corner DeMers and Third street. In 1884, Mr. Schlaberg bought an interest in the store and since then has been manager of the large and growing business, his experience and care having fully justified this responsible position. The store contains a complete and varied stock of drugs, chemicals, rubber goods and the usual out fit of a first-class establishment of the kind, and the trade in prescriptions is number one, everything being done with care.

At this period, when people are looking around for suitable gifts for the holidays, special mention might be made of the elegant variety of articles suitable for such purposes. The extract and toilet goods cases are laden with fascinating articles. Among the perfumeries which are accompanied by cut glass vials in curious design, are Lubin’s, Lazell’s, Ricksecker’s and the Parisian favorite “Maybells” by Lautier Fals. On the other hand there are rich plush cases for toilet articles and the handsomest toilet sets, novel shaving cups, and cases, porte monnaies and pictures albums, with a choice lot of holiday stationery and prints. The pioneer drug store invites inspection, satisfied that its contents will please all. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Sunday, December 19, 1886, Page 3)

Page 777. DAVID M. HOLMES. David M. Holmes, actively engaged in the insurance business in Grand Forks, in which connection he has gained a large clientage, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 29, 1851, a son of Hugh and Jane (Love) Holmes. In the paternal line he represents one of the old American families, the original progenitor coming to the new world in 1640, at which time he settled in Massachusetts, while later a removal was made to Pennsylvania, which has long been the ancestral home. The Love family came from the north of Ireland, representatives arriving in America in 1708, when settlement was made in Pennsylvania. On leaving the Keystone state Hugh Holmes removed to North Dakota in 1881. In early life he engaged in railroad contracting and in blacksmithing but after coming to the northwest retired from active business. He was born in 1807 and passed away in Grand Forks in 1883, while his wife, who was born, reared, educated and married in Pennsylvania, died in Philadelphia in 1865, at the age of fifty-one years. David M. Holmes is the last survivor of a family of five children, two sons and three daughters, and was the youngest of the number. He attended school in Philadelphia and in 1865 went to Caledonia, Elk county, Pennsylvania, where he was connected with the lumber business. He was only nineteen years of age when in 1871 he arrived in North Dakota and

Page 778. took up the work of flatboating on the Red river. After a brief period he engaged in government work with a surveying crew, laying out the township and subdivision lines, spending two years in that service. He next went to work for the Hudson’s Bay Company, with which he continued for a year, at the end of which time he was appointed manager at Grand Forks for the Western Union Telegraph Company. In 1876 he went to the Black Hills and while on that trip became involved in a combat with a band of Indians. He engaged in prospecting all through the Black Hills from February until August, 1876, and then again went to Grand Forks, where he was once more made manager for the Western Union Telegraph Company. The city was at that time a tiny hamlet on the western frontier and in 1877 he established the first drug store of Grand Forks, continually developing the business until 1900, when he sold out. He was one of the earliest merchants of the city and for many years has figured as one of the leading business men. After retiring from the drug trade he was elected county treasurer, which position he filled for four years, and in 1904 he was the candidate for governor on the democratic ticket but was defeated for that office. He next entered the field of insurance, in which he has since operated, and his success has grown with the passing of the years.

Again and again Mr. Holmes has been called to positions of public honor and trust and in all such has proved his loyalty to the best interests and development of city and state. For two terms he was mayor of Grand Forks and gave to the city a most businesslike and progressive administration. He was the first county surveyor of Grand Forks county and the second county superintendent of schools. He also was made register of deeds and filled all three offices at the same period. He served as deputy postmaster of Grand Forks and from the earliest period of development he has been closely associated with the upbuilding and progress of the city. On the 10th of March, 1879, Mr. Holmes was united in marriage to Miss Rebecca Schlaberg, of Grand Forks, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Schlaberg, of Iowa. They became the parents of three children: Mrs. Jessie Fulton, of Great Falls, Montana, who has one child, Holmes Montgomery Fulton, of Great Falls; Frank, who was born in Grand Forks and is now married and makes his home in Des Moines, Iowa, where he is connected with the Bitulithic Paving Company; and Mrs. Vivian Hunter, of Grand Forks, who has two children, David Kenneth Hunter and Ralph Hunter.

Mr. Holmes is a very prominent Mason and has been master of perfection of Carmel Lodge of Perfection, A. & A. S. R., for the past twenty-eight years. The honorary thirty-third degree has been conferred upon him and he enjoys in highest measure the confidence and regard of his fellow members of the craft. His acquaintance in the state is wide and honors have come to him in recognition of his ability and patriotic loyalty to the best interests of the state. He is familiar with every phase of North Dakota’s development and progress and has left the stamp of his individuality upon its upbuilding. No history of the state would be complete without extended reference to this man, who was a pioneer of Grand Forks and of the Black Hills country and was closely associated with all of those activities which marked the early development of the district in which he yet resides. (North Dakota History and People, Outlines of American History, Volume II, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, 1917)

Page 1. David M. Holmes One of Earliest Residents, Dies. Came To Grand Forks in 1871; Was Twice Candidate For Governor, Mayor Of City And First County Superintendent of Schools; Funeral Monday Night. David Montgomery Holmes, 76, resident of Grand Forks since 1871 and one of the founders of the city, died at his home, 192 Reeves avenue, at 12:15 o’clock Friday afternoon. He had been ill for almost a week. Mr. Holmes had been twice candidate for governor of North Dakota, mayor of the city of Grand Forks, the first superintendent of schools of Grand Forks county and one of the most prominent masons in the Northwest. Scottish Rite funeral services will be held at the Masonic temple at midnight, Monday, the funeral being conducted by the Master of Kadosh, F. L. Goodman. He was born on July 29, 1851, at Locust Grove, Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, where his father, who was a blacksmith, operated a shop in the village and owned and farmed a plot of ground close by.

He attended the village school with the exception of one year when he was a pupil in the private school of Joseph Castle. His mother died when he was 14 years old, and the next year he started working away from home at odd jobs until 1869 when he started for the Northwest, reaching St. Paul on December 31 of that year. From there, he went to Fort Abercrombie. The weather was cold and he soon returned to Pennsylvania, remaining there until in 1871, he again returned to St. Paul. Working with a gang of surveyors he reached Grand Forks where he spent the winter of 1871-1872

Page 6. living with the surveyors in a shack just south of the point where the Great Northern crosses the Red river. After a trip to Winnipeg in the spring of 1872, Mr. Holmes entered the employ of the Hudson Bay company saw mill which was cutting lumber for use in building river barges. In 1873, he assisted in floating logs down the river to Winnipeg. In 1874, he assisted Hector Bruce in surveying and laying out lots for Captain Griggs in the old town site of Grand Forks. He was made manager of the telegraph office in 1875 and was also express agent and deputy postmaster. In November, 1875, Mr. Holmes was elected register of deeds, county surveyor and was also named clerk of the school board.

In Gold Rush. Rumors of gold findings in the Black Hills of South Dakota drew Mr. Holmes to Deadwood in 1876 in company with 13 others among them being William Budge and George Fadden. Part of the party returned to Grand Forks that same summer. Rumors of probable Indian invasion into the Red River valley caused defensive measures to be taken and Mr. Holmes and Frank Hatch were detailed for scout duty. In 1876, Mr. Holmes went to Pembina where he was employed in a store that was managed by W. J. Kneeshaw. That fall, after returning to Grand Forks, he was elected register of deeds and county superintendent of schools, being the first county superintendent of schools of Grand Forks county. During that time he studied law in addition to his work in the county offices.

Opened Drug Store. In 1878, he opened a drug store, later, a half interest, and still later, the other half interest in the drug store were sold to George Budge. He was initiated into the Masonic Blue lodge at Pembina in 1878 and affiliated with the Grand Forks lodge in 1880. Mr. Holmes and Rebecca Schlaberg were married on March 6, 1879, by Rev. F. W. Iddings of the Presbyterian church. He was elected a member of the city council in 1882 and served two terms. In 1886, he was elected mayor of Grand Forks and served two terms in this office. Some time later, he was elected a member of the board of education during the time W. H. Wilder was president. His drug store, the second operated by him, was sold in 1889 to C. P. Trepanier. His third drug store opened two years later was sold to his partner, Frank Schlaberg, in 1895.

At World’s Fair. Mr. Holmes was appointed a member of the board of concessions of the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1892, and in 1894 he was elected county treasurer, holding that office for four years. He was a candidate for governor in 1898 on the Democratic ticket, but although he ran ahead of his ticket he was defeated. In 1926, he was again a candidate for governor of North Dakota, running on the Democratic ticket but was again defeated. For some time he was city engineer. Later he took up insurance work, which he continued until a short time ago. Mr. Holmes had been active in Masonic work for years, and at the time of his death was the oldest Venerable master in the United States in point of service, having served 28 years. He was the ranking grand commander of the York rite of the state of North Dakota, going in as deputy grand commander at the time the lodge was organized.

Grand Lodge Officer. He was also an officer in the Grand lodge of North Dakota. He was a member of Acacia lodge, A. F. and A. M., which he assisted in founding in Grand Forks, of the Scottish Rite bodies of the Grand Forks Valley, Orient of North Dakota, of Corinthian chapter, R. A. M., St. Aldemar Commandery, Knights Templar, and of Kem Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. He is survived by three children, Frank B. of Des Moines, Iowa; Mrs. Herschel Hunter of 1216 Belmont avenue, Grand Forks, and Mrs. J. W. Fulton, of Salt Lake City, Utah. All of the children were present at the time of his death. Mr. Fulton, his son-in-law, will be here for the funeral. (Grand Forks Herald, Saturday, February 19, 1927, Volume XLVI, Number 95)


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