Abiel Holmes, an American clergyman, born in Woodstock, Conn., Dec. 24, 1763, died in Cambridge, Mass., June 4, 1837. He graduated at Yale college in 1783, and became subsequently a tutor in the college, pursuing at the same time bis theological studies. In 1785 he was settled over a parish at Midway, Ga., where he remained till compelled by ill health to resign his charge in 1791. In 1792 be became pastor of the first parish in Cambridge, and continued to fill the office till Sept. 26, 1832. Dr. Stiles, his father-in-law, at his decease had bequeathed to him his large collection of manuscripts, containing researches upon various subjects, and from these Dr. Holmes wrote a "Life of President Stiles," which was published in 1798. The study of these papers turned his attention to the early history of America, and he devoted himself to the composition of the "Annals of America " (2 vols. 8vo, Cambridge, 1805), which established for its author a high reputation for accuracy, and has maintained its place as a leading authority in American history.
It was republished in England in 1813, and in 1829 a new and enlarged edition was published in this country, bringing the annals down to 1820. Dr. Holmes contributed frequently to the "Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society," in vol. xxvii. of which will be found a complete list of his publications. In 1817 he delivered a course of lectures upon ecclesiastical history, particularly that of New England, which have not been published.