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  • Writer's pictureTisha Dolton

Gertrude W. Biggart Holmes: Wife, mother, teacher, citizen

Updated: Mar 7, 2023

About 18 months ago, Kevin wrote about Francis J. Biggart of Hudson Falls, NY. That post featured a photograph from our Richard M. Bloomer Glass Plate Negative Collection of "Frank" and his daughter Gertrude. I've done a little digging through the newspaper database, and I'd like to tell you a little of what I have gleaned about Gertrude Holmes.

Gertrude W. Biggart was born to Helen nee Milks and Francis J. Biggart in 1870. She graduated from the Sandy Hill Union school in 1886 and began teaching in the elementary school in 1888. She was active in the First Presbyterian Church in Hudson Falls, and a number of local clubs including the Silent club, Hit-or-miss Tennis club, whist club, Young Ladies Reading club, and the Washington County Farmers' League. She often contributed recitations, and sang with a small chorus at various club activities.


The Post-Star (Glens Falls, NY) Friday, February 24, 1899

The marriage of Miss Gertrude Biggart and Albert D. Holmes, both of Sandy Hill, was solemnized at noon yesterday at the Presbyterian church in that village. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. C.D. Kellogg and the church was filled to overflowing with the relatives and friends of the bride and groom. William Temple acted as best man and the ushers were Charles Kellogg, Harry Broughton, Addison Buell and Bartlet O'Hara. The following musical program was rendered by Professor Goodrich: "Military March," Schubert; "Love Song," Henselt; "Fanfair," Lemmens; "eloquence," Smith; "Lohengrin Wedding March," Wagner; "O, Promise Me," DeKoven, and "Mendelssohn's Wedding March." A reception was held at the residence of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. James F[rancis] Biggart, Oak street. Mr. and Mrs. Holmes were the recipients of many beautiful and costly presents. They left on the afternoon train on a southern wedding tour and will take up residence in Sandy Hill when they return. Among the out-of-town guests were: Mr. and Mrs. R.G. Milks, Mr. and Mrs. J.S. Congdon and daughter, Kate Congdon, Albany; Mr. and Mrs. John VanDusen, Pittsfield, Mass., and Miss Jessie Holmes, New Haven, Conn.


After her marriage to Albert D. Holmes on February 23, 1899, and giving birth to Charles, Gertrude continued to be active in the community. She and Albert joined the local Red Cross chapter during World War 1. She was involved in the Woman's Civic League in Glens Falls. She never waivered in her dedication to the Presbyterian church, even attending conferences like the 1936 regional conference of the Woman's Missionary Society held in Whitehall.


Albert worked at Standard Wallpaper Company, and served as Kingsbury town clerk and tax collector. He was a member of the Sandy Hill Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.

Francis J Biggart and his daughter, Gertrude W. Biggart Holmes circa 1920 <Richard M. Bloomer Glass Plate Negative Collection, The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library, Glens Falls, NY>

Sometime after Gertrude's mother Helen died in 1914, her father moved into the Holmes' household on Oak Street. He lived with them until his death in 1923. At some point during those nine years, photographer Richard M. Bloomer took this photograph of father and daughter in his Hudson Falls Studio in the Flood Block- 158 Main Street for us to uncover a century later.


Albert and Gertrude celebrated their Golden wedding anniversary in February 1949 with a turkey dinner at The Queensbury in Glens Falls. The bride wore brown, just as she had 50 years earlier.

Article about the 50th wedding anniversary of Albert D. and Gertrude Biggart Holmes as it appeared in The Post-Star (Glens Falls, NY) February 21, 1949.

Albert died on October 18, 1949. Shortly after, Gertrude moved to Albany with her son Charles where she died on February 28, 1951. She is buried next to Albert in Union Cemetery, Fort Edward, NY.



The Post-Star (Glens Falls, NY) Thursday, March 1, 1951

Obituary of Gertrude Biggert Holmes The Post-Star (Glens Falls, NY) Thursday, March 1, 1951.

Mrs. Gertrude Bigert [sic] Holmes

Mrs. Gertrude Bigert [sic] Holmes died at 6:10 P.M. Wednesday in Albany.

A former resident of Hudson Falls, she had been residing with a son, Charles, in Albany. She was a lifelong member of the Hudson Falls Presbyterian Church. A granddaughter, Gertrude Holmes, also of Albany, survives.

The body has been removed to Carleton Funeral Home, 68 Main Street, where friends may call after... will be conducted at the funeral home at 2 P.M. Saturday. The Rev. J. Servis LaRue, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, will officiate. Internment will be in Union Cemetery, Fort Edward.





To see previous posts about the Bloomer collection, click the links below.



 

Tisha Dolton is Librarian/Historian at The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, NY. Her areas of interest are suffrage music, suffragists of Warren and Washington Counties, local women and minority populations, and embroidery.

 

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