Gabriel Holmes

18th Governor of the State of North Carolina - 1821 to 1824

       
Date Born: 1767 or 1769

Date Died: September 26, 1829

Place Born: Duplin County, NC

Place Buried: Sampson County, NC

Residence: Sampson County, NC    

Occupation: Lawyer


Gabriel Holmes was born in 1769 in Duplin County (what later became Sampson County in 1784), the son of Gabriel Holmes and Mary (Caisson) Holmes. He attended the Zion Parnassus Academy in Rowan County and Harvard University; studied law under future chief justice John Louis Taylor in Raleigh, NC; was admitted to the bar in 1790; and, commenced his law practice in the town of Sampson Court House (later Clinton), NC.

After practicing law for a few years, Gabriel Holmes developed an interest in politics.

In 1793, Gabriel Holmes was first elected as one of two men to represent Sampson County in the NC House of Commons of the:
- 18th General Assembly that met from 1793-1794
- 19th General Assembly that met from 1794-1795
- 20th General Assembly that met in 1795

On January 7, 1795, Gabriel Holmes married Mary Smith Hunter, daughter of Theophilus Hunter and Jane (Lane) Hunter of Wake County, NC, and they had six known children.

In 1797, Gabriel Holmes was first elected to represent Sampson County in the NC Senate of the:
- 22nd General Assembly that met in 1797
- 24th General Assembly that met in 1799
- 26th General Assembly that met in 1801
- 27th General Assembly that met in 1802
- 37th General Assembly that met in 1812
- 38th General Assembly that met in 1813

On eight occasions, Gabriel Holmes was appointed to the Council of State.

On December 7, 1821, the General Assembly elected Gabriel Holmes as the next Governor of North Carolina. He served three terms and left office on December 7, 1824.

Gov. Gabriel Holmes promoted agricultural reform. Despite the notion that the nation was on the verge of industrializing, he argued that Southern agrarian societies must continue to remain relevant for the sake of North Carolina’s economy. Gov. Holmes also stressed that farms must modernize to improve efficiency. To execute this reform, he introduced agricultural classes at preparatory schools and at the University of North Carolina (where he served as a Trustee) so that students would appreciate the value of agriculture. Moreover, Gov. Holmes established the concept of a model farm, which focused on generating greater production through progressive farming methods (ex. cast-iron plows, greater employment of cotton gin). In 1822, Gov. Holmes also implored the General Assembly to distribute state funds for the promotion of work undertaken by local agricultural societies.

In 1825, Gabriel Holmes was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served from March 4, 1825, until his death, on September 26, 1829, near Clinton, NC. He was buried in the family cemetery on his Sampson County estate. On Memorial Day of 1984, his body was moved to the John Sampson cemetery by the Sampson County Historical Society.


Gabriel Holmes (1769 - 26 September 1829) was the governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina from 1821 to 1824. He was not affiliated with any party. a Representative from North Carolina; born near Clinton, Sampson County, N.C., in 1769; attended Zion Parnassus Academy in Rowan County and Harvard University; studied law in Raleigh, N.C.; was admitted to the bar in 1790 and commenced practice in Clinton, N.C.; served in the State House of Commons 1794 and 1795; member of the State Senate 1797-1802, 1812, and 1813; Governor of North Carolina 1821-1824; elected to the Nineteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-first Congresses and served from March 4, 1825, until his death near Clinton, Sampson County, N.C., September 26, 1829; chairman, Committee on Expenditures in the Post Office Department (Twentieth Congress); interment in the family burial plot on his estate.
Gabriel Holmes, governor of North Carolina, was born near Clinton, North Carolina in 1769. His education was attained at Zion Parnassus Academy, and at Harvard University. He went on to study law, and in 1790 was admitted to the bar. After establishing his legal career in his hometown of Clinton, he entered into politics. He first won election to the NC House of Commons, a position he held from 1794 to 1795. He also served in the NC Senate from 1797 to 1802 and 1812 to 1813. Holmes next won election to the governorship in 1821. He went on to win re-election annually until 1823. During his tenure, a school tax was promoted which was used for educational improvements; state spending was cut; and scientific farming methods were endorsed. After leaving the governor’s office, Holmes won election to the U.S. House of Representatives. He served in his congressional seat from 1825 until his death on September 26, 1829. Governor Gabriel Holmes was buried in the family cemetery on his Sampson County estate.

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