By Wayne Franklin
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Extra info for A Rural Carpenter's World: The Craft in a Nineteenth-Century New York Township
Then, too, to shift the argument a bit, there is the evidence provided, mute though it may seem, of the foundation of the Ashley house. Exhibiting first-class stone work (fig. 6), it almost certainly bespeaks its owner's special touch. From that point up, the job was mostly an exercise in wood, and that was Holmes's domain. But below the splashboard Ashley expended his own skill as he rarely could afford to elsewhere. For Holmes's house, for instance, he laid a simple journeyman's wall (fig. 7).
He also was practicing a kind of diversified agriculture, characterized by a variety of crops and animals in mostly modest acreages and numbers, that was historically typical of the region. This last conclusion is borne out by a contrast with the census entries for his older brother Joseph Marvin Holmes. In 1855, when he had been married for nine years and was twenty-nine years of age, Joseph Marvin Holmes reported the following data: he had 60 improved acres and 20 unimproved, raised 200 bushels of oats on 10 acres, 75 bushels of corn on 2 acres, 150 bushels of potatoes on 1 1/2 acres, 25 bushels of buckwheat on 1 acre, and 3 bushels of barley on 1/2 acre.
James Holmes remained central to the church for the rest of his life. He was elected a trustee in 1858, and he succeeded Milton Wright in 1862 as church clerk (fig. 5), a position he held until early 1869. He was repeatedly chosen to fill various church positions-treasurer and collector, member of the pulpit committee, member of the building committee, and delegate to local Baptist association meetings and local ordinations. In the later 1870s, Holmes was founding superintendent of the sabbath school in Westford and shortly thereafter was elected president of the Worcester Baptist Association Sabbath School Convention.
A Rural Carpenter's World: The Craft in a Nineteenth-Century New York Township by Wayne Franklin