Born November 22, 1886 in Laurens, South Carolina, Thomas Nickels Holmes moved to Pineview, North Carolina as a young man to develop and manage Highland Peach Farms for Alexander Sprunt & Sons of Wilmington. Thomas married Lillian Ruth Puckett, from the Pineview area, and they had four sons-Thomas Nickels, Jr., Stephen Augustin, Lotes Lee and Joseph Smith. Lotes and Joe still reside in Harnett County.

            As Superintendent of Highland Farms for more than 40 years, Mr. Holmes was responsible for 5,000 acres of land and more than 100 acres of peaches, which were picked and shipped north by train and around the country on trucks. Founded on the second highest elevation in Harnett County, Highland Fan-ns was known on local maps as Holmes' Hill. It supported eight tenant families and provided employment (grading and packing the peaches, etc.) for many people living in the Barbecue, Olivia, and Boone Trail areas.

            Thomas Holmes was dedicated to family, church, and community service. He was Chairman of the local Benhaven and Johnsonville school board and served as Chairman on the Harnett County Draft Board for many years. He was an Elder for over 50 years at Barbecue Presbyterian Church-he taught Sunday school and was the Superintendent of Sunday School for many years. Known as a generous man who was always willing to give a helping hand to someone in need, Holmes was both liked and respected in his community. The minister shared at Mr. Holmes' funeral that one man once stated, "Mr. Holmes is the only man I've ever known that I've never heard anyone say anything bad about!"

Submitted by Imogene Holmes                     ------ September 30, 2002