Francis Holmes

Date of Birth


Date of Death


Letters Authored


Letters Received


Francis Holmes was born 308 years ago.

Letters Authored in Collection


Francis Holmes III writes his uncle, Ebenezer Holmes, in 1751 and thanks him for sending a land deed; he also relates the news that his father-in-law has died, leaving his family money and a plantation. Francis sent the letter in care of Captain Haugh (Hough) to Boston along with a box of South Carolina oranges.

Francis Holmes III was born about 1715. His grandfather, Francis Holmes I, was a successful merchant and the first owner of the “Bunch of Grapes Tavern” in Boston, Massachusetts. He was married to Rebecca Wharfe and the couple had at least ten children; Ebenezer, Isaac, Francis II, Nathaniel, Samuel, William, Anne, Mary, Rebbecca, and Anne. When Francis III was a child, his father, Francis II, moved to South Carolina, leaving him for a time in the care of family members who remained in Boston, and in particular, his uncle, Ebenezer. At some point subsequent, Francis III would also move to South Carolina, and it is from there that this letter is written to his uncle in Boston.

The following two excerpts are from the Worcester Art Museum online:

“Isaac Holmes was the son of Francis and Rebecca Wharfe Holmes. He was born in Boston in January 1702 and baptized at the Old North Church. His father was the proprietor of the Bunch of Grapes Tavern on the south side of King Street in Boston, and a merchant with a warehouse at Long Wharf. Francis Holmes also owned land in South Carolina, to which he traveled in 1702 with the power of attorney to collect money, goods, and merchandise from Robert Fenwick and Company that were owed to Henry Bridgham, a Boston tanner. In 1715 he was sent by the South Carolina Assembly to New England to purchase arms the colonists needed to fight the Yamasee Indians that year. By 1721, he was residing primarily in South Carolina.
Isaac Holmes settled permanently in Charleston with his father and two of his brothers, Francis II, (1696/97—1728) and William (1710—1738) in about 1721. There he became a successful merchant and ship captain. Isaac’s brother Ebenezer (1704—1753) had remained in Boston, graduating from Harvard College in 1724” [1]

“Surviving letters demonstrate the ties between the New England and South Carolina Holmes siblings. For example, in October 1728, Isaac’s brother Francis, Jr., wrote from Charleston to their brother Ebenezer, who apparently was caring for his son Francis III in Boston, asking that he "Incourage my Deare Son to his Learning & to write me.” And Isaac wrote home to his mother, who ran the Bunch of Grapes while her husband was in South Carolina and continued operating it after he died, in Charleston, in June 1726."[2]

The following is an excerpt from the Bay State Monthly:

“The Bunch of Grapes Tavern was built in 1713, and stood on the north-west corner of State and Kilby streets. Its first landlord was Francis Holmes, who was succeeded in 1731 by William Coffin, by Joshua Barker in 1749, and by Col. Joseph Ingersoll in 1764. It was noted as being the best "punch-house" in Boston. Lafayette was a guest there in 1774. In front of it, on the 4th of August, 1806, Charles Austin was killed by Thomas O. Selfridge in self-defense. The Scots' Charitable Society frequently held its meetings there.” [3]

Grandfather: Francis Holmes I (abt. 1670 Charles Town, South Carolina, died abt. 1726) [4]
Grandmother: Rebecca Wharfe (abt 1670, abt 1730) married 16 Feb 1693 in Boston by the Rev. Cotton Mather. [5]

Father: Francis Holmes II (b. abt 1696, in Charles Town, South Carolina, d. abt. 1727).
Mother: Elizabeth Mathews (b. abt. 1701)

Paternal uncles and aunts:
Ebenezer Holmes (b. 6 Nov. 1704, d. 1753). [6]
Isaac Holmes (b. 1 Jan 1702 in Boston, d. Jun 1726) [7}
Nathaniel Holmes (b. 4 Nov 1705) [8]
Samuel Holmes (b. 13 Apr 1708) [9]
William Holmes (b. 12 Jun 1710) [10]
Mary Holmes (b. 17 Jun 1711) [11]
Mary Holmes (b. 19 Mar 1712/13) [12]
Rebecca Holmes (c 1700) married Thomas Amory 9 May 1721. [13]
Anne Holmes (c 1700) married William Coffin 23 Sep 1722, in Nantucket.[14] William Coffin would become the second owner of the “Bunch of Grapes Tavern”.

Wife: Elizabeth Brandford (b. abt. 1720) married 20 Mar 1739, p122. [15] Elizabeth Brandford Holmes remarried Thomas Smith 8 May 1757. [16]

Known Children of Francis Holmes III:
Anne Holmes (b. April 18 1741) [17] married Benjamin Mathewes on 5 Feb 1745. [18]
Elizabeth Holmes (b. July 14h 1744) [17] Elizabeth married Thomas Farr, Jr. on 23 Nov. 1760. [18]

[1] Worcester Art Museum, Special Collections.

[2] Ibid.

[3] “The Bay State Monthly”, Vol. II, No. 2, November, 1884.

[4] “Seventeenth Century Colonial Ancestors, Volume 1, 1975 — 1979”.

[5] “Boston Town and Church Records, City Document Number 130, p 210.”

[6] Boston Births, 1700-1800 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 1997. Original data: Boston Registry Department. Boston Births from A.D. 1700 to A.D. 1800. Boston, MA, USA: Rockwell & Churchill, 1894.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13]Family History Library, Salt Lake City, UT, Film # 0818093-0818095

[14] Family History Library, Salt Lake City, UT, Film # 0823704.

[15] Holcomb, Brent (Complied by), “South Carolina Marriages”, Genealogical Publishing Co,Inc.

[16] South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, Vol 5, # 3.

[17] Register of St. Philip's Parish, Charles Town, South Carolina, 1720-1758

[18]Marriage Notices in The South-Carolina Gazette.