An American Family History

Celia Ricketts Holmes


Ricketts is also spelled Rickeots, Rickeotts, Rickett, Rickets, Ricket, Rickel, Rickle, Rickels, and Rickles.


Kentucky was originally a Virginia county and included the lands west of the Appalachians. In 1780, it was divided into Fayette, Jefferson, and Lincoln counties. Kentucky officially became a state on June 1, 1792.

Indiana became a state in 1819. The north was settled by people from New England and New York, the center by people from the Mid-Atlantic states and Ohio, and the south by people from Southern states, particularly Kentucky and Tennessee.

Celia Ricketts Holmes was born on March 30, 1813 in Dearborn (now Ohio) County, Indiana. She was the oldest daughter of William Ricketts and Elizabeth Oxley.

When she was 19, Celia married William Holmes on February 20, 1832 in Dearborn County, Indiana. William was born December 16, 1809 in Harrison County, Kentucky. His parents were James Holmes and Prudence Clambert.

Celia and William's children included:
Elizabeth Holmes (1834, married William R. Bodger),
Prudence Holmes (1836, married Caleb M. Anerson),
James William Holmes (1839, married Eliza A. Merion),
Sarah Holmes (1842, married George R. Bodger),
George Washington 1844, died age 20),
Mary E.len Holmes( 1846, married David McFadden),
Robert Holmes (1848), and
Lewis C. Holmes (1851, married Ruth McFadden).

At the time of the 1850 census, they were living in District 56, Woodford County, Illinois. The household consisted of William age 40, Celia age 38, Prudence age 16, James W. age 14, James W. age 10, Sarah age 8, George W. age 6, Mary E. age 4, Robert age 2, and Celia's nephew, Caleb Rickets age 25. William was a farmer.

In 1860 they were in Deer Creek, Tazewell County, Illinois. The household consisted of William age 50, Celia age 46, Elizabeth age 26, James W. age 21, Sarah age 18, Mary age 14, Washington age 16, Robert age 11, Lewis C. age 9, and Calvin Ricketts age 19.

In 1870 the household consisted of William age 65, Celia age 55, Sarah age 26, Robert age 21, and Lewis age 19.

William died on November 8, 1873 in Illinois and Celia died on July 11, 1884 when she was 71. They are buried together in Old Washington Cemetery in Tazewell County, Illinois.

celia's tombstone William's tombstone

Children of William Ricketts
and Elizabeth Oxley

  • Celia Ricketts Holmes
  • John Ricketts
  • Eli Ricketts
  • Mary Ann Ricketts Planck Clutter
  • Isaac Ricketts
  • William Ricketts
  • Prior Ricketts
  • Eliza Ricketts
  • James Ricketts
  • Elizabeth Ricketts
  • William Ricketts
    and Harriet Dean

  • Garrett Larew Ricketts
  • Robert L. Ricketts
  • Sarah L. Ricketts Edwards
  • Isabella Ricketts King
  • Samuel Lowe Ricketts
  • Susanna Ricketts
  • Marian Amanda Ricketts Kent
  • George Washington Ricketts
  • Andrew Jackson Ricketts
  • Noah J. Ricketts
  • American pioneers migrated west to settle areas not previously inhabited by European Americans.

    A prairie is a temperant, level region with grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees. Most of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma are prairie.

    Illinois became a state in 1818. A large influx of American settlers came in the 1810s by the Ohio River.




    Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman, 1774 – 1845) was a pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and West Virginia.

    William Holmes, the subject of this sketch, was born in Harrison county, Kentucky, in 1810, where he remained and received his education at the common schools, until 1832, and then was married to Miss Celia Bicketts (sic), who was born in Indiana in 1813, and was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Oxley Bicketts.

    In 1836, Wm. Holmes moved with his family to the state of Illinois and bought land and settled in Woodford county, were he was engaged in farming until 1841, and then sold his property and bought a valuable tract of land near the town of Matamora (sic), in the same county, and again engaged improving land and farming, where he resided until 1856, and again sold out and bought a large tract of good land in Deer Creek township, and again for the third time, settled on raw prairie and commenced to improve a farm where he has resided and has been extensively and successfully engaged in farming and raising stock ever since.  This is the third farm Mr. Holmes has improved from raw and wild lands, to first-class improved farms, since his first settlement in Illinois.  Thus it will be seen that he has done his full share to improve and make this country what it is to-day. 

    Mr. Holmes has always been engaged in farming and raising stock and has been successful in both, although he commenced his course in life a very poor man, and had nothing but his own energies for his future dependence.  He has always been noted for liberality and charity, and perhaps has made as many liberal donations for charitable and useful purposes as any other citizen that has ever lived in his community. He has at all times been the friend of the widow and orphan, and is ever ready to assist the poor and needy.  As a citizen he has always been peaceable and law-abiding; as a husband and parent he is always kind, affectionate, and indulgent; as a politician, firm, reliable, and well established;  every supporting the true unadulterated principles of Jeffersonian doctrine. In 1862, when this government was calling for aid, Mr. Holmes was one among the first to send forth support from this community; his son, George Washington, volunteered his services in the 86th regiment Illinois infantry after participating in every battle, fell at his post faithfully discharging his duty, at Kennesaw Mountain. He fell as he had lived, a true patriot and a faithful soldier. Wm. Holmes is now the father of nine children, six sons and three daughters; two children are dead and seven are living; five are married and well settled in life, and two are single and at home.

    Woodford County, Illinois was formed in 1841 from parts of Tazewell and McLean Counties. Metamora (Hanover before 1845) was the county seat from 1843-1894.

    Ohio County, Indiana was first created in 1844 from Dearborn County. The county seat is Rising Sun which is in Randolph Township. Ohio County is in southeast Indiana on the Kentucky border. In 1826, the Dearborn County Courthouse burned containing all records.

    Portrait and Biographical Album of McLean County, Illinois. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887). Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.

    George R. Bodger, son of John and Hannah (Ratliffe) Bodger, is one of the most highly esteemed residents of Gridley Township. He comes of excellent English ancestry and emigrated to this country in the fall of 1851, with his parents, who, after landing upon American shores proceeded directly westward to this State and settled near Washington, Tazewell County. They remained there until 1855, then came to this county and located in Gridley Township, where the mother died in December, 1867. The father still survives and lives in Gridley Township.

    Their eight children comprise five boys and three girls, the subject of this sketch being next to the eldest. George R. Bodger was born in England, Feb. 20, 1837, and was about fourteen years old when his parents came to the United States. He was reared to agricultural pursuits, in which he has been engaged thus far in life. During the thirty years which he has been a resident of this section he has built up a record of an honest and industrious citizen, always willing to contribute his full share toward the development of his adopted country.

    The subject of our sketch was married in Tazewell County, Ill., Feb. 20, 1872, to Miss Sarah, the daughter of William and Celia (Ricketts) Holmes. The parents of Mrs. S. were natives respectively of Kentucky and Indiana, whence they removed to Illinois and located in Tazewell County, where the father departed this life Nov. 8, 1873. The mother afterward removed to Washington County, Neb., where her death occurred July 11, 1884. Of their eight children, Mrs. B. was the fourth in order of birth. She was born in Woodford County, Ill., Jan. 15, 1842. Our subject and his wife had only one child, who died in infancy. Mr. B. has served as School Director of his township and in politics is a stanch adherent of the Democratic party.


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