Success in any line of business comes only as the direct result of wisdom, experience and energy well applied, and thus it is seen in the case of George W. Holmes, whose present prosperity is directly traceable to the years of indefatigable effort he has expended in the past in the science of hotel-keeping.
The family whence our subject springs is of German extraction, his ancestors being early settlers in Pennsylvania. His father, John Holmes, was born in that state in 1817, and the mother, whose maiden name was Rachel Weaver, was likewise a native of the Keystone state. She died several years ago, in Indiana, and the father is now a resident of Ottawa. Of their nine children who lived to maturity four sons, Perry, Henry, John and Jeremiah, were Union soldiers in the civil war.
George W. Holmes was born near the town of Wooster, Ohio, in 1837. His father being a hotel-keeper, it was not strange that the lad decided to follow in the same line of business, and from his early years he received instruction which fitted him for the calling. Going to St. Joseph, Michigan, in 1854, he there engaged in carpenter work. Coming to Ottawa in 1876, he assumed the management of the Holmes Hotel, as it has since been known, and has won the favor and patronage of the traveling and local public to a gratifying extent. Making no pretensions to the great elegance and luxuries of the high-priced hotels of the metropolis, the Holmes Hotel takes its place upon its own merits, and is noted for its homelikeness, its comforts and excellent bill of fare, all furnished at moderate prices.
Mr. Holmes, who is deservedly popular with his guests and with the citizens of Ottawa in general, is a man of splendid physique, as he is six feet and one inch in height, and weighs two hundred and fifteen pounds, thus dwarfing men of ordinary size by comparison. His time is too thoroughly occupied for outside interests, but he uses his franchise in favor of the Democratic party and its nominees.
On October 4, 1859, the marriage of Mr. Holmes and Miss Elizabeth Bennage, a native of Pennsylvania, and daughter of Jacob Bennage, was celebrated in St. Joseph county, Michigan. Three daughters were born to our subject and his estimable wife, but Harriet A. died at the age of six years; Emma E. married M. L. Sample, of Chicago; Georgia Anna is the wife of J. Zeller, of Ottawa, Illinois.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 111-112.