John Holmes Offley, the son of David Offley and Mary Ann Greer Offley, was born at Brooke Court-House, Virginia on 13 October 1802. Educated in Philadelphia, he first traveled to Smyrna (Izmir), Turkey in 1815 where his father, David Offley, had established the first American commercial firm, Woodmans and Offley, in the Levant. John Holmes Offley later entered into a commercial partnership at Trieste with his brother Richard Jones Offley (Richard & John Holmes Offley Co.). He later served as a ship chandler, contracted to provide provisions for the American squadron then stationed in the Mediterranean. John Holmes Offley returned to the United States with his family in 1835. He served, for a time, as the Inspector of Customs for the port of New York City. He moved to Georgetown in Washington, D.C. in 1838. After serving on special assignment for the U.S. War Department, he was appointed as Corresponding Clerk in the U.S. War Department, and later saw service as the Acting Chief Clerk of the U.S. War Department. He served as vestryman for St. Johns Episcopal Church of Georgetown from 1840 until the time of his death. It was at that church that he married Catherine Van Rensselaer Heaton (1806-1887) on 22 September 1823. John Holmes Offley died on 20 December 1845.