Stephen Holmes was born near the village of Alfred, the county seat of York County, Maine, on May 16, 1836, and was the youngest of four children born to Stephen and Nancy (Meserve) Holmes.
He received a thorough English education in the common schools of his native place, supplemented by an academic course at Alfred and at Limerick, in the same county, and at Yarmouth, near Portland, Maine. At the age of eighteen, having completed his education, Holmes moved to Pennsylvania.
The next three years were spent in teaching school at different points in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and acting as clerk and bookkeeper for different concerns.
In May 1858, he accepted the position of principal of the public schools of Stroudsburg.
In the fall of 1858 he entered the office of Hon. S.S. Dreher, then one of the leading practitioners of Monroe County, as a student of law, still continuing to hold his position in connection with the public schools until the spring of 1861.
At December Term, 1860, having previously passed a satisfactory examination before a committee, composed of William Davis, Esq., of Monroe, Lucius Barnes, Esq., of Pike, and Max Goepp, Esq., of Northampton Counties, he was admitted to practice in the several courts of Monroe County.
While engaged in superintending the schools of the borough, and pursuing his studies, he also devoted himself quite extensively to literary work as contributor to various periodicals.
In the fall of 1861 he entered, upon the practice of his profession at Asbury, Warren County, New Jersey, but the field not proving a promising one, he returned to Stroudsburg in the fall of 1862, and the year following was elected district attorney of Monroe County, continuing to fill that position for three successive terms, until the fall of 1872.
In the fall of 1869 he was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the State.
As a lawyer Mr. Holmes had taken high rank in his profession, having been thoroughly fitted by his course of preparatory training for the attainment of its highest rewards. His career as district attorney first manifested to the public the possession of that acumen and fertility of resource so necessary in the incumbent of that office, and displayed to the fullest extent a persistency and determination of character that had marked his career.
He was a close and industrious student, preparing his cases with care and system, and neglecting no point that can be brought to bear in behalf of his client’s interests. He was a good speaker, putting his points with force and cogency, and seldom failing to interest and hold the attention of the jury. He also occupied a prominent place as a man in the community in which he resided, and freely supported and lended his encouragement to all movements of a progressive or elevating character.
He was a useful member and elder of the Stroudsburg Presbyterian Church, a member of the board of directors of the Stroudsburg Bank, of which institution he was counsel, and also counsel for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company.
In politics he was an earnest supporter of the principles and purposes of the Democratic party, and an influential member of the party organization in Monroe County. He was held in universal respect by the community with which he had identified himself, and whose confidence he enjoyed, and having accomplished what he had at so early a time in life, had a promising future before him.
He married in 1864, Miss Georgiana Blair, formerly of Hope, N.J., but more recently of Stroudsburg, Pa., and had three children, namely, Edith May, Frank Blair and Norman Meserve Holmes.
(Source: Mathews, Alfred, History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe Counties, 1886, Chapter 2.)