Dr. Tecumseh Kingsley Holmes was born near Florence, (Lambton County) Ontario to Abraham Holmes and the former Jane Louisa Gibson on the 17th of January, 1839. He was the youngest of 7 children all raised on the family farm. His siblings were; Hands Irwin, Hugh Hamilton, James Alexander, Thomas, Mary Jane and Sarah. He grew up in Kent Bridge, where he attended school. To help pay for medical school, Dr. Holmes worked for five years as a school teacher, while observing and studying medicine under Dr. James Smith Wallen and Dr. Charles James Stuart Askin.
Dr. Holmes enrolled in medical school at the University of Michigan in 1864, but the following year he transferred to Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn. He graduated with a medical degree in 1865. He then spent a year studying at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. Dr. Holmes finished his medical studies at Victoria College, University of Toronto and graduated M.D, in 1867. According to the 1882 Ontario Medical Registry, Dr. Holmes joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 9th of May, 1867. In May of 1867, Dr. Holmes opened his medical practice in Chatham.
Dr. Holmes was married to Mary Elizabeth Taylor on the 22nd of January, 1873. She was born in Chatham on the 29th of January, 1849, the daughter of Thomas Hulme Taylor and the former Maria Lent Bogart. She was the eldest of 8 children. Mrs. Holmes attended school in Chatham prior to Helmuth College in London, Ontario. Mrs. Holmes graduated in 1871.
Dr. and Mrs. Holmes were the parents of 4 children Garnet, Kingsley, Edith and Shirley. All 3 of their sons entered the medical profession and their daughter Edith Melville Holmes married Mr. R. L. Pattison.
Dr. Holmes was involved in the development of Chatham’s two hospitals: St. Josephs Hospital and the Public General Hospital. He would also deliver guest lectures at the University of Western Ontario. In 1882, Dr. T. K. Holmes was the surgeon for the 24th Battalion of Infantry.
Dr. Holmes was listed in the 1877 Chatham Directory and the 1885, 1896 and 1900 Ontario Business Directories as practicing in Chatham. His office was located at 165 King Street West. Dr. Holmes’ residence was listed at 209 King Street West in the 1877 and the 1888 Chatham Town Directory. Dr. George Thomas McKeough was listed as his partner in the 1885, 1896 and 1900 Ontario Business Directories.
Dr. Holmes was well-known in Chatham’s business circles, serving as the President of the T.H. Taylor Company, and Director of the Traders Fire Insurance Company. In 1906 Dr. Holmes, organized the Chatham Motor Car Company. He served as the President of the company, which was located on Adelaide St. in Chatham.
Dr. Holmes also served as the first Chairman of the Chatham Water Commission, and in 1885 he was named President of the Canadian Medical Association. Dr. Holmes was a corresponding member of the Toronto Pathological Society, as well as the Detroit Medical and Library Association. Dr. Holmes was the first President of the Kent Historical Society in 1912.
According to the 1921 census, Dr. and Mrs. Holmes resided at 287 King Street, with their daughter Edith and her husband, R. L. Pattison and their son infant Hulme. This residence is now the location of the Kent Club.
Dr. T.K. Holmes died on December, 25th 1930. Mrs. Holmes died on October 5th, 1930. They are buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham.
*Dr. James Wallen Smith, Dr. Charles James Stuart Askin, and his sons Dr. Garnet Wolseley Holmes, Dr. Kingsley Hulme Holmes and Dr. Shirley Morell Holmes all appear on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.