Man Of War with Ray Van Tassel: When we lived in Indianapolis, we attended the Kentucky Derby for 9 years. Mama & Dad were visiting us in 1945 and attended with us. Dad met his Holmes cousins from Kentucky where his father was born. Van wanted his photo taken with the famous retired race horse Man Of War. He got a photographer to go to Calumet Farms & had this picture taken. The stable had hardwood floors and was as clean as a house! My son Pieter took me to see the movie "Seabisket" last Sunday and we thought we would post this old photo.
When Papa took me up to the Holmes Ranch, I usually stayed at Uncle Ira's because there were more kids there. We slept on the side porch, several in a bed. Uncle Ira took over the ranch in 1896 & started planting fruit trees in 1910, the first commercial orchard in Mt Vernon. He is in the History of Placer Co (1924) a native son of California pioneers John Holmes & Clarissa Laine. He married Annie Griffin Oct 7, 1907 & they had 7 kids. Sons Vernon & Robert became partners with Uncle Ira developing 70 acres in fruit sold at the California Fruit Growers Exchange in Newcastle. Uncle Ira died March 6, 1954.
Sometimes in the summer, I stayed with Aunt Alma & Uncle Charlie & slept on a cot under a tree. I liked her. My sisters didn't stay there much. I would stay for a couple of weeks. When she saw us arrive, she'd go out & get a chicken for dinner. Dessert was whipped cream cake. They had hogs but no cows. They had working horses to pull wagons when they picked the plums. Alma was 45 when she had Sheldon. He was my age. She married Charles Holtz November 23, 1907. She took care of her mother-in-law, Granny Holtz, who was blind. She was real happy to have us visit her. Aunt Alma died December 26, 1959.
Our only photo of Aunt Ellen (left). Grandma Holmes, Ellen's daughter Dell & Grandaughter Ardene. Aunt Ellen was the oldest, born in Iowa. She was 4 when they came to California by Ox team. I didn't really know her. Her house seemed big to me. The well was on the porch. Ellen Holmes married John Hawk. They had Carl, Adelle, & Earl Hawk. She died March 1, 1920. All the Holmes liked to go camping. Once, at Cisco Grove, Grandma Holmes went up with Aunt Alma, Uncle Charlie, & Sheldon. I slept in the tent with Grandma & everyone else froze. They were on cots without enough blankets & the wind came up under them. Ardene was a bit older than me. She died last year.
I remember staying at Grandma's house once because I fell off the bed in the night. Uncle Harry tore the house down after he built his house & Grandma lived in Aunt Ellen's big house. I just barely remember being at Aunt Ellen's. Uncle Pat (George Patterson) was there, Aunt Cora's husband. Grandma said I mustn't care much for her since I didn't come over to her. Mama replied "She must care about her grandmother about as much her grandmother cares about her!" Uncle Pat got a big laugh. Grandma didn't approve of Mama's fancy clothes. Grandpa & his brother Tom went to work in Jones Co, Iowa & both courted her. She picked Grandpa & married Sep 28, 1854. I never knew she was French until I did genealogy. Her parents were John T Laine (1794) & Melissa Sherral (1807), both born in N. Carolina. Grandma Holmes died May 16, 1920.
My grandfather was born in Montgomery Co, KY on a 300 acre farm on the Red River, son of Van Ranseuler Holmes & Elizabeth Ross, grson of Ignatius Ross of Batavia, Ohio. His father died of Cholera when he was 3 or 4. He had red hair & Papa said he was part Welsh. In 1864, he crossed the Plains by Ox team with 3 children & settled in the hills of Auburn, Ca. Worked as a Teamster hauling freight from Sacramento-Nevada City, Ca to Virginia City, NV. Cleared land for his ranch & helped to build Mt Vernon school in 1870. He had a summer camp in Cisco Grove along the river & had a stroke there. He died 11 days later at his ranch Oct 27, 1905.
My Uncle Ira Holmes stayed on the
family ranch and developed it into a
big fruit ranch. He is the one written
up in the History of Placer County,
California. Pieter is currently
restoring the Holmes photos to post on
My Uncle Harry Holmes taken
out of a picture of the school picnic
in 1895 at Mt. Pleasant outside of Auburn. Uncle Harry and Aunt Eva had Sheral and Clifford Holmes. Clifford was a California artist who lived in Hayward, Ca.
Pieter cropped this early photo of my
Aunt Cora from the photo at the ranch.
We don't have an early photo of her,
only this one.
My son Pieter is trying to get a clear
photo of my Grandfather off of the
photo of the Holmes family at the
ranch. There are only two photos of