David Holmes (politician)

Last updated

David Holmes
5th Governor of Mississippi
In office
January 7, 1826 July 25, 1826
Lieutenant Gerard Brandon
Preceded byGerard Brandon
Succeeded byGerard Brandon
United States Senator
from Mississippi
In office
August 30, 1820 September 25, 1825
Preceded by Walter Leake
Succeeded by Powhatan Ellis
1st Governor of Mississippi
In office
December 10, 1817 January 5, 1820
Lieutenant Duncan Stewart
Preceded byHimself (as Governor of the Mississippi Territory
Succeeded by George Poindexter
4th Governor of Mississippi Territory
In office
March 7, 1809 December 10, 1817
Appointed by Thomas Jefferson
Preceded by Robert Williams
Succeeded byHimself (as Governor of the State of Mississippi)
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Virginia's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1803 March 3, 1809
Preceded by Abram Trigg
Succeeded by Jacob Swoope
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Virginia's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1797 March 3, 1803
Preceded by Andrew Moore
Succeeded by James Stephenson
Personal details
Born(1769-03-10)March 10, 1769
Hanover, Province of Pennsylvania, British America
DiedAugust 20, 1832(1832-08-20) (aged 63)
Winchester, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Other political
Alma mater College of William and Mary

David Holmes (March 10, 1769 August 20, 1832) was an American politician. He was a Virginia congressman, and later Mississippi statesman. He was appointed as the fourth and last governor of the Mississippi Territory and became elected as the first governor of the State of Mississippi. He served a term as Senator of Mississippi, and returned to serve part of a term as governor before ill health forced him to resign.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or simply America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. Most of the country is located in central North America between Canada and Mexico. With an estimated population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City.

Mississippi Territory territory of the USA between 1798-1817

The Territory of Mississippi was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from April 7, 1798, until December 10, 1817, when the western half of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Mississippi and the eastern half became the Alabama Territory until its admittance to the Union as the State of Alabama on December 14, 1819.

The history of the state of Mississippi extends to thousands of years of indigenous peoples. Evidence of their cultures has been found largely through archeological excavations, as well as existing remains of earthwork mounds built thousands of years ago. Native American traditions were kept through oral histories; the Europeans recorded accounts of historic peoples they encountered. Since the late 20th century, there have been increased studies of the Native American tribes and reliance on their oral histories to document their cultures. Their accounts have been correlated with evidence of natural events.



Born in near Hanover in the Province of Pennsylvania, Holmes and his family moved to Virginia when he was a child. He served as U.S. Representative from Virginia from 1797 until 1809.

Hanover, Pennsylvania Borough in Pennsylvania, United States

Hanover is a borough in York County, Pennsylvania, 19 miles (31 km) southwest of York and 54 miles (87 km) north-northwest of Baltimore, Maryland and is 5 miles (8.0 km) north of the Mason-Dixon line. The town is situated in a productive agricultural region. The population was 15,289 at the 2010 census. The borough is served by the 717 area code and the ZIP Codes of 17331-34. Hanover is named after the German city of Hannover.

Province of Pennsylvania English, from 1707, British, possession in North America between 1681 and 1776

The Province of Pennsylvania, also known as the Pennsylvania Colony, was founded in English North America by William Penn on March 4, 1682 as dictated in a royal charter granted by King Charles II. The name Pennsylvania, which translates roughly as "Penn's Woods", was created by combining the Penn surname with the Latin word sylvania, meaning "forest land". The Province of Pennsylvania was one of the two major restoration colonies, the other being the Province of Carolina. The proprietary colony's charter remained in the hands of the Penn family until the American Revolution, when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was created and became one of the original thirteen states. "The lower counties on Delaware", a separate colony within the province, would breakaway during the American Revolution as "the Delaware State" and also be one of the original thirteen states.

Virginia State in the United States

Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2018 is over 8.5 million.

Electoral history

Mississippi Territory

President Thomas Jefferson appointed him fourth governor of Mississippi Territory. Holmes was very popular and his appointment marked the end of a long period of factionalism within the territory. He was the last governor of the Mississippi Territory, serving 1809–17. Holmes was generally successful in dealing with a variety of matters, including expansion, land policy, Indians, the War of 1812, and the constitutional convention of 1817 (of which he was elected president).

Thomas Jefferson Third President of the United States

Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.

War of 1812 32-month military conflict between the United States and the British Empire

The War of 1812 was a conflict fought between the United States and the United Kingdom, with their respective allies, from June 1812 to February 1815. Historians in Britain often see it as a minor theatre of the Napoleonic Wars; historians in the United States and Canada see it as a war in its own right.

Often concerned with problems regarding West Florida, he had a major role in 1810 in negotiations which led to the peaceful occupation of part of that territory. McCain (1967) concludes that Holmes' success was not based on brilliance, but upon kindness, unselfishness, persuasiveness, courage, honesty, diplomacy, and intelligence. [1]

Mississippi statehood

In 1817, Mississippi joined the Union as the 20th state and Holmes won the election to be the first governor of the State of Mississippi unanimously. [2] Holmes took the oath of office in October 1817, though Mississippi did not officially become a state until December of that year. During his term, he established the state judicial system and the state militia and organized the land east of the Pearl River that the Choctaw Indians ceded.

Choctaw Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States

The Choctaw are a Native American people originally occupying what is now the Southeastern United States. Their Choctaw language belongs to the Muskogean language family group.

In 1820, the state legislature elected Holmes to be one of Mississippi's Senators in the U.S. Congress, and he served from 1821 until late 1825, when his election to another term [3] as governor of Mississippi forced him to resign. Because Holmes's declining health forced him to resign, he served only six months as Mississippi's fifth governor. If both territory and statehood years are counted, he is Mississippi's longest served Governor at over 11 years of service (10 years, 9 months, 29 days the first tenure, and 6 months, 18 days the second tenure).

United States Senate Upper house of the United States Congress

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which, along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C.

Holmes returned to his native Virginia where his health continued to fail before his death in 1832 at Jordan's Sulphur Springs, near Winchester, Virginia, where he still lies in the Mt. Hebron Cemetery. He was predeceased by his brother, Major Andrew Hunter Holmes, a casualty of the War of 1812.


Holmes County, Mississippi is named in honor of him. [4]

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  1. McCain 1967
  2. http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=233512
  3. http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=233517
  4. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 159.

Further reading

Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Williams
Governor of Mississippi Territory
Succeeded by
as Governor of Mississippi
Preceded by
as Governor of Mississippi Territory
Governor of Mississippi
Succeeded by
George Poindexter
Preceded by
Gerard Brandon
Governor of Mississippi
Succeeded by
Gerard Brandon
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Walter Leake
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Mississippi
Served alongside: Thomas H. Williams
Succeeded by
Powhatan Ellis
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Abram Trigg
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Jacob Swoope
Preceded by
Andrew Moore
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
James Stephenson