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James H. Holmes letter

 Collection — Folder: 1
Call Number: RH MS P963


This collection consists of a single letter, written June 21, 1856 & June 29, 1856 by Jas. H. Holmes to C. C. Boyles of Charleston, South Carolina. Holmes was an abolitionist who moved to territorial Kansas in part to help other free state settlers. In the letter Holmes describes his trip on a pro-slavery steamer, the Martha Jewett, traveling on the Missouri River. The collection also includes the envelope in which the letter came and a copy of a photograph with some biographical data about Holmes, noting his connection to John Brown after he came to Kansas.


  • Creation: June 21 and 29, 1856


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of James Henry Holmes

James H. Holmes was born in New York state in May 1833. Later living in Virginia, in the mid-1850s he went to territorial Kansas to undertake agricultural experiments in the new territory, after studying agricultural chemistry. He was also involved with the Clubbs Vegetarian settlement, located on the Neosho River.

Becoming involved with the free state cause, in Kansas Holmes became one of John Brown's cronies and was present at the Battle of Osawatomie. In April 1861 he joined James H. Lane's Frontier Guard in protecting President Abraham Lincoln and was later appointed territorial secretary for New Mexico under Lincoln.

Holmes married Julia Anna Archibald in Lawrence, Kansas in 1857, with whom he had several children. In 1858 the couple climbed to the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado; Julia Archibald Holmes was the first known Euro-American woman to make the ascension. After their divorce in 1870, he married Esther Maria Eavitt in 1878, and they had six children. He later married Grace Silveria in 1897 and died in November 1907.


1 folder ; Folder measures 22 x 37 cm

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS P963

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Extant America, 2014.


Guide to the James H. Holmes Collection
James H. Holmes letter
Finding aid prepared by haz. Finding aid encoded by haz.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
James H. Holmes letter, RH MS P963, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States