The evolution of the πh 11/2νh 11/2 and πh 11/2νs 1/2 isomeric configurations was studied for the N = 77 isotones near the proton drip line. The decays of metastable levels in 140Eu, 142Tb , and 144Ho were measured by means of X-, gamma- and conversion electron spectroscopy at the Recoil Mass Spectrometer at Oak Ridge. The sequence of isomeric levels in 140Eu was experimentally determined. The half-life of the πh 11/2νh 11/2 state in 142Tb was remeasured to be 25(1) μs. The spins and parities of 5- and 8+ for the πh 11/2νs 1/2 and πh 11/2νh 11/2 142Tb isomers, respectively, were established from measured multipolarities. No evidence for the expected 1+ ground state was found in the 144Ho decay data.