Salem Pioneer Cemetery ~ Robert Holmes ~ part of the Marion County Pioneer Cemeteries of Oregon
Robert "Robin" Holmes
BORN: Abt 1810 DIED: Aft 1863 BURIED: 
ETHNICITY:  African American OCCUPATION:  Day laborer
BIRTH PLACE:  Virginia
DEATH PLACE: Salem, Marion Co., Oregon
Mr. Holmes purchased lot 202 in 1862, probably when his son James died.
We are tentatively placing Robert "Robin" Holmes as having been buried here, for the following reasons.  We have eliminated other likely sites; he purchased the lot for family burial, his son James, and daughter Roxanna are buried here.  His other daughter, Mary Jane, and her husband Reuben Shipley, donated 2 acres of land for the Mount Union Cemetery in Benton Co., where Reuben is known to have been buried.
1850 OR CENSUS - Robert Holmes, age 40, (no occupation listed), born in KY; Mary, age 40, born in VA; Roxana, age 5, born in OT; Caroline, age 2, born in OT; George W., age 1, born in OT; Maria Scott, age 27, born in MO; George R. [Scott], b. OT. (Robert's son James, and daughters Harriet and Roxanna are listed as living in the Polk County residence of Nathaniel Ford.  Maria Scott was related in some way to "Scott" who also was a slave of Nathaniel Ford and who drowned in 1849 on an expedition to California to search for gold. Mark Ford, son of Nathaniel also drowned at this time.)
1860 OR CENSUS - R.  Holmes, age 50, m., day laborer, born in VA; P. Holmes, age 47, f, born in VA; R. f. age 14, born in Oregon; L. m., age 7, born in Oregon, J. R., age 16, day laborer, born in Oregon.
PROBATE: "Be it known top all - that I, Robert Holmes, of Marion County, State of Oregon, being of sound state of mind, though of failing health of body, do ordain and establish this as my last will and testament.  First - I hereby appoint Judge Boise of said county, my executor, and enjoin upon him duly to perform the requisitions herein contained.  Second - that upon my demise, I enjoin upon my said executor to take possession of my personal property, and my real property in North Salem in said county, and out of the provision of my said personal property to have my body decently interred and my debts paid according to law, and in case the said personal property is insufficient, then to dispose of my real estate in sufficient quantities to discharge said debts.  Third - I enjoin upon my executor to pay out of my property to each of my children the sum of five dollars - and after the debts are paid, and said sum to each of my children a legacy - I ordain that the residue of my property, real and personal, be given to my wife Polly Holmes, for her life, to be used and enjoyed by her, and by her at her death disposed of as seemeth to her just or to be disposed of in the due course of law. Fourth - that this instrument may not be construed in any way other than to convey the balance of my property after expenses, debts, and legacies are paid (to Mary Jane, Leonidas, Roxanna, and James, my children) to my said wife.  In witness whereof I have hereunto caused my name and seal to be placed at Salem, Oregon this First day of February AD 1862. Signed sealed and acknowledged in presence of and attested to at his request by Thomas H. Crawford, Chas. Parmenter, Lizzie G. Boise. Probate File F [I]

(Probate dated 1 February 1862, however Mr. Holmes lived after that date, and attended a meeting at his church in 1863.  We have not found his death date as yet.)
Court proceedings are transcribed in Oregon Historical Quarterly, v. 23, p. 111-137 [17 April 1852 - 13 July 1853] These proceedings detail the lawsuit Robin Holmes vs. Nathaniel Ford for the custody of his children.

Letter written to Hon. T. W. Davenport of Silverton, Oregon, by R. P. Boise.
"Colonel Nat. Ford came to Oregon from Missouri in 1845 and brought with him three slaves--two men and one woman. The woman was married to one of the men and had some small children. Ford claimed these children as slaves and continued to claim them until 1853. One of these children--a girl--had prior to that time, been given by Ford to Mrs. (Dr.) Soyle, a daughter of Ford. Prior to 1853 the parents of these children (Robbin and Polly) had claimed their freedom, and left Ford, and in 1852 were living at Nesmith's Mills, but Ford had kept the children. In 1853 Robbin, the father of the children, brought a suit by habeas corpus to get possession of the children. This case was heard by Judge Williams in the summer of 1853, and he held that these children, being then (by the voluntary act of the bonds of slavery, and awarded their custody to their father."

No marker

(his name was placed on a memorial marker placed by Oregon Northwest Black Pioneers in February 2007)
IOOF Lot Owners Book
1850 OR CENSUS (Polk Co. #136)
1860 OR CENSUS (Marion Co., Salem, FA #2080)
PROBATE - Probate File F[I] Robert Holmes. Misc. Probate Papers. Testate/Will dated 01 Feb 1862. Executor: Judge Boise. Heirs: Polly, wife; children: Mary Jane; Leonidas; Roxanna; James
OHQ v. 23, p. 111-137