DAVID HOLMES, the first and fifth governor to serve Mississippi, was born in York County, Pennsylvania on March 10, 1769. His early education was attained at Winchester Academy in Virginia. He later studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1792, and then established his legal career in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Holmes entered into a public service career in 1793, serving as the commonwealth attorney of Rockingham County, Virginia, a position he held four years. He also served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1797 to 1809, and was the Territorial governor of Mississippi from 1809 to 1817. Holmes was elected governor by a popular vote on September 1, 1817. He was sworn into office on October 7, 1817; however, he officially became governor on December 10, 1817, when Mississippi entered statehood. During his tenure, the Elizabeth Female Academy was established; the state’s judicial and legislative branches were organized; and roads and waterways within the state were improved. After declining to run for reelection, Holmes left office on January 5, 1820. He continued to stay politically active, serving as a member of the U.S. Senate, a position he held from 1820 to 1825. Holmes won reelection to the governor’s office in September 1825 and was sworn into office on January 7, 1826. A little more than six months into his term, Holmes became ill. Consequently, he resigned from office on July 25, 1826. Governor David Holmes passed away on August 20, 1832, and was buried in the Mount Hebron Cemetery in Winchester, Virginia.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
Mississippi Historical Society
Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress