EDWARD S. HOLME, who may almost be called a landmark character of Cahokia township, Macoupin County, on account of his early settlement and subsequent usefulness, lives retired on his farm of 140 acres, situated in section 17, 18 and 20, and also owns an additional tract of 75 acres in section 24. He is a son of James and Sarah (Shirtcliff) Holme and was born July 15, 1822, in England.
James Holme was born at Syck House, Yorkshire, England, in September, 1790, and was one of the eight children born to Robert Holme and wife. In 1830 James Holme came to America, and was joined in the succeeding year by our subject and his mother and sister. Mr. Holme had been a merchant in his native land, but engaged in farming after settling in Morgan County, Illinois, his death taking place at Gillespie, Macoupin County, in 1860. Although never a man of abundant means, he was always independent and left his family provided for. He was a member of the Methodist Church. He married Sarah Shirtcliff, born also in Yorkshire, who died in Macoupin County at the age of 70 years. They had four children, viz: Mrs. Sarah Challacobe, who died in Andrew County, Missouri, aged 82 years; Henry, who died in 1892, in Andrew County, Missouri, aged 73 years; Edward S., of this sketch; and Mrs. Jane Stephenson, born in Illinois, who lives in Andrew County, Missouri.
Our subject was eight years old when his parents settled near the present town of Lynnville, Morgan County, Illinois, which he later laid out, ploughing along the town lines with an ox team. Mr. Holme grew up under pioneer conditions and experienced many of the hardships pertaining to those early days. He recalls the year 1838 when the Pottawattamie Indians, 800 strong, were moved from Northern Indiana. In 1845 Mr. Holme took possession of his present farm, buying the land for the small sum of $3.28 per acre. At that time even the most optimistic person could not have predicted the wonderful changes which Mr. Holme has brought about. The prairie was unbroken, the land was covered with a brush thicket, and not even a rude dwelling welcomed the pioneer. He put up a plank house as soon as possible, with dimensions of 16 by 18 feet, the structure being of so substantial a character that it still serves a purpose. Deer, wild turkeys and prairie chickens constantly tempted the hunter, but the busy farmer had little time for sport, when he had to drive his hogs 30 miles to Alton or 50 miles to St. Louis, to find a market. Mr. Holme is a veritable mine of interesting reminiscences and his stories of the way he and his neighbors fought prairie fires, of which they lived in dread, are very exciting. He was an observer of the building of the "Big Four" Railroad through this section and remembers that wheel barrows were used in the filling of the cuts, the labor-saving machinery of today not having then been thought of.
On June 18, 1851, Mr. Holme was married to Ellen Stull, who was born near Columbus, Ohio, April 17, 1830, and is a daughter of John and Mary (Harland) Stull. Their only surviving child is John Pearson, who operates the home farm. Dora died, aged 16 years; William H. died, aged 37 years, and three died in infancy.
In youth Mr. Holme was a Democrat, but has been identified with the Republican party since its organization. He served as supervisor of Cahokia township during 1871, 1872, 1873 and 1884 - four terms - and was one of the 17 supervisors who, by their refusal to obey a mandamus issued by the United States Circuit Court in 1873, caused a fine of $1,000 apiece to be assessed against the county, but by their action subsequently saved the county an immense sum.
Since 1889 Mr. Holme has been somewhat incapacitated physically, but is as hale and hearty mentally as in early years. He has hundreds of friends in his locality and is still frequently consulted on questions affecting the public welfare. Mr. Holme considers it a matter worthy of record that he and his mother were passengers on the first railroad ever built in the world. He was for many years a member of the I.O.O.F.