HISTORY OF HOLMES COUNTY -- How Holmes County Got Its Name

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(From the book "Heart and History of Holmes County" by Anna Paget Wells (used by permission of the publisher, Sue Cronkite))

"Holmes County was named for Holmes Creek, the eastern boundary of the county, which, in turn was named for Holmes Valley, which received its name either from an Indian chieftain who had been given the English name of Holmes, or else from Thomas J Holmes, who settled in the vicinity from North Carolina about 1830 or '34." -- Utley (From Allen Morris' Florida Handbook 1949-50)

Simson (1956) says the belief that the name was derived from that of an early white settler cannot be substantiated.  After Andrew Jackson occupied Spanish Pensacola in 1818, he sent a raiding party on the sweep along the Choctawhatchee River.  During this raid, the troops came upon and killed the half-breed Indian know as Holmes.  Homes was on of the so-called "Red Sticks", the disaffected Muskogee or Creeks who fled to Florida from Alabama after the Creek War of 1813 - 14.  (American State Papers, Military Affairs, Vol 1, 1832-59)

Mrs J H Godwin, who wrote on the early history of the County of Holmes, introduced a third possibility for the origin of the name of Holmes.  A Colonel Robert Holmes was a member of General Jackson's army in his campaigns in Northwest Florida.

If after more than a hundred years, we are unable to pin-point the exact origin of the name of Holmes County, perhaps we will never know.  The writer is content with the idea that the county was named for beautiful Holmes Creek.  A visitor to the Holy Land upon her returned remarked, "The Jordan River reminds me so much of Holmes Creek."

Holmes Creek rises over the line in Alabama, a small stream with some large springs adding quantities of water near its source.  Similar springs in beds and banks continue to make their appearance until it is a sizeable stream and further down in its course through Washington County large springs and streams continue to swell the current into a deep river.  At Vernon it is quite deep and its clear placid waters move majestically on the quite and peace of a greater stream.  And until this day (in 1981), the creek remained unpolluted.


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This page was last updated on:  17 June 2002 , 08:42 PM