How it All Began

Reverend William P Holmes was a man dedicated to educating children of all races.   As the principal of Liberty City Elementary, he labored untiringly and continuously to supply the proper learning tools and environment for his faculty and students.
            In 1922 Rev Holmes, along with his wife Rosa Holmes, Mrs Nettie Brown, and Mrs Walkins, taught in a four room building.  This was the beginning of Liberty City Elementary.  In 1926, a storm destroyed the four room school.  The school was then divided into two sections.  One section was housed at Mt Tabor Baptist Church and the other section at St James AME church.  The section housed at Mt Tabor remained Liberty City elementary.  The section housed at St James became Liberty City Primary.  In 1948 a new school was built on 71st Street and 18th Avenue.  This became the new home of Holmes Elementary.

Reverand William Patrick Holmes

William Patrick Holmes was born in Monticello, Fl, May 6th, 1875, of sturdy pioneer parents, Charles and Esther Holmes.
            He spent his youth in the city of his birthplace and attended the school there where his mind became awakened and the desire for education burned like a flame in his young heart.  As the years passed, he was providentially led t Jacksonville, Fl and enrolled in the Cookman Institute under the tutelage of the late and much beloved Samuel B Darnell, the principal.  He was studious and made an excellent record in his studies.
            During the year1890, he enjoyed the intimate friendship of Reverend J A Simpson and later Dr J Harvey Smtih, Dr S M Frazier and Rev S O Bartley and by his jovial disposition, lasting friendships were formed.  At the close of the school term in 1891, he graduated with honors.
            He taught in several small schools during summers and after graduation, taught during the regular school terms.  Further improving himself, he attended Clark University in Atlanta, Georgia.
            While teaching in Adell, Georgia, he married the woman of his life, companion and the mother of his three children.
            After several years of following his beloved profession, ‘teaching’ – Holmes responded to the call of the ministry, and joined the Florida conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church and was given charge of a west coast church.  Later he became District Superintendent of the lake City District.  In November 1919, he was appointed pastor of McCabe Methodist Church I St Petersburg, Fl and at the same time was an instructor in the high school there under the principalship of one Professor Bryant.  After some months from that time Professor Holmes was appointed principal of that school where he served until 1923, when he was transferred to Miami as pastor of Ebenezer Methodist Church in January.  In September of that same year, he became principal of Liberty City Primary School, a three-year-old school with less than 200 pupils in a very inadequate building and poor equipment.
            As the enrollment of pupils in his school increased year by year the teaching staff had to be augmented.  In 1926, at the height of the ‘Big boom,’ several new teachers were added; one among them was a future principal, Estella M Williams.
            He worked untiringly with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, School Board Members, and District Trustees, prevailing with them to give this community a high school.  Grades were added from 4th to 8th and as the first graduate received his diploma, parents were happy and proud for they saw the dawn of a new day for their children.
            Looking out for the educational welfare of the children in the community, he began negotiating for an adequate school site and building.  He urged his friend, the late Mr Dana A Dorsey to give land for a new high school, now Dorsey Skill Center, which was erected in 1937.  Reverend Holmes was happy to see his dream come true.  This phase of his life’s work completed, he retired from the teaching profession, but continued in his religious endeavors.
            Such progress was largely due to the ability of principal and his skill in administration.  He was a man who could relate himself with ease to his students, teachers, and the people of the community – always approachable under any circumstances.  He loved to teach and possessed the gift and grace for the task.
            Thus, this unsung hero will live forever in the hearts of those who knew him, because of his unselfish service t this community until he was no longer able to be active.  Reverend Holmes passed away on October 22, 1953.

Fact Sheet

Born May 6, 1875 in Monticello, Florida
Parents – Charles and Esther Holmes
Attended Cookman Institute in Jacksonville, Florida
Attended Clark University in Atlanta, Georgia
Upon completing Clark University he became a teacher
Met his wife in Adell, Georgia; they later had three children
He became a minister
Was district superintendent of the Lake City Schools District
Became a principal in St Petersburg, Florida in 1919
Moved to Miami to become pastor of Ebenezer Methodist Church in 1923
Became principal of Liberty City Primary School later in 1923
Worked hard with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, School Board Members, and District Trustees for a new high school
Urged his friend, Dana A Dorsey to give land for this new high school
Retired from education in 1937, but continued t be a minister
Died October 22, 1953