Willet Holmes, early settler and public official, was born in Shelby County, Kentucky, on May 14, 1807. He moved to Texas in 1833 and after a short time returned for his family to the United States. There he assisted Gen. Thomas J. Chambers in raising two companies for the Texas army. Holmes took his family to Texas in 1837 and settled in Milam County, which he represented in the Seventh Congress of the republic. In 1846 he was ordained a Baptist deacon. He lived for a time in Washington County, where he ran unsuccessfully for sheriff in 1856, and in Burleson County, where he was elected commissioner in August 1858. From 1861 to 1869 he lived in Grimes County, and from 1880 to 1886 he lived in Lee County. His first wife, Amelia R. (Cummins), died in 1843; Holmes married Mary Jane Newman of Virginia in 1853.