Dr. Garnet Wolseley Holmes was born in Chatham on the 9th of January, 1874. He was the eldest of 4 children born to Dr. Tecumseh Kingsley Holmes and the former Mary Elizabeth Taylor. His father was a prominent family physician in Chatham and a well respected community leader. Dr. Garnet Holmes’ younger siblings were; Dr. Kingsley Hulme Holmes born in 1877, Edith Melville Holmes born in 1883 and Dr. Shirley Morell Holmes born in 1887. Dr Holmes was named after a leader of the British forces involved in the Red River Rebellion, Colonel Garnet Wolseley.
Dr. Garnet Holmes attended local Chatham schools, before heading off to The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. He graduated M.B. in 1898. He continued his studies in London, England and Germany. After concluding further studies in Vienna, Austria where he specialized in ear, nose, throat and eyes, he returned to Chatham around the turn of the century. Dr. Holmes opened an office in the Victoria Block of Chatham. According to the 1928 Ontario Medical Registry, he joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 4th of June, 1900.
In 1907 Dr. Holmes along with his brother Dr. Kingsley Holmes and Mr. J. A. Tremblay he formed the Tilbury Town Gas Company. They laid a pipeline from Chatham to Tilbury to supply natural gas to the Maple City Oil and Gas Company. In 1908 he formed the Northern Pipeline Company with his father Dr. Tecumseh K. Holmes and Mr. Reginald Lancaster Pattinson. (Mr. Pattinson would marry his sister Edith M. Holmes in 1915). This company supplied gas from the Leamington Oil Company to the Sydenham Glass Company in Wallaceburg and the Dominion Sugar Company in Chatham.
Dr. Holmes appears in the 1913 Bell Telephone Directory. His office was located at 21 Victoria Block and his phone number was 117.
According to the 1920 edition of Vernons City of Chatham Business Directory, Dr. Holmes’ medical practice was located at 287 King Street West. Dr. Holmes served the citizens of Chatham-Kent for many years until poor health forced him to turn his medical practice over to his younger brother, Dr. Shirley Holmes around 1921. Even after he “retired” Dr. Garnet Holmes would still be called to perform surgery on special cases.
Dr. Holmes was rushed to the Public General Hospital in Chatham on the 9th of August, 1930 for an emergency appendectomy. He died on August the 9th, 1930 and was buried at the mausoleum at the Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham. He was not married and he had no children.
*Within 6 months of Dr. Garnet Wolseley Holmes’ death, the family lost 3 more members of the family. His mother died on the 5th of October, 1930, his father died on Christmas Day 1930 and his younger brother Kingsley died of appendicitis on the 5th of February, 1931.
**His father Dr. Tecumseh Kingsley Holmes and his brothers Dr. Kingsley Hulme Holmes and Dr. Shirley Morell Holmes also appear on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.
Tombstone Photo Credit: Anne F.