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Forgotten History: Toliver Holmes

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The Living Archive Project logo is a nod to Toliver Holmes, a formerly enslaved Black man who resided in Otsego and Delaware Counties in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Toliver was a Civil War veteran and active community member. His obituary says, "One habit of Mr. Holmes will cause him to be missed in his neighborhood. He had for years maintained a lamp burning every night on his porch, which was appreciated by many who passed by. His light has now gone out, but his good qualities will be remembered for a long time." Toliver Holmes was buried in the Woodland Cemetery in Delhi, NY with a stone labeled "Oliver," a name he went by in the military as a disguise to avoid re-enslavement.

It's our opinion that Toliver's lamp must shine on, which is why we have incorporated a lantern into our logo design. Let it guide us into curiosity and discover truths about our history and selves. Let it enlighten us! Ultimately, our goal with this project is to collect and share stories that span time and capture the voices of historically underrepresented communities in the Northern Catskills—we're proud to start our journey honoring Toliver Holmes.

Read our "Field Notes" on Toliver's Great-Great Grandson, playwright Kyle Bass

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