Title: Francis P. Holden Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1835-1893
Collection number: Mss111
John W. Thorp
Extent: 1 linear ft.
University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of
Shelf location: For current information on the location of
these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item], Francis P. Holden Papers, Mss111,
Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific
Francis Powers Holden (1810-1893), of Abington, Mass., was a maternal
uncle of Delia Hammond Locke, wife of the founder of Lockeford, San Joaquin
county, California. With his wife, Hannah, Holden came to California just
before the Civil War.
The first printed record of his presence in the state reveals that he
served as justice of the peace in Lockeford during the first year of the War.
Following his first wife's premature death in 1864, Francis Holden remained in
San Joaquin county, dividing his time between properties in the Lockeford area
and Stockton. In 1868 Holden married Abigail C. Edgerton of San Mateo county.
It is not clear what the outcome of this marriage was, since the second Mrs.
Holden is not otherwise mentioned in these papers. The couple may have had two
daughters, Lizzie and Josie, or, these two may have been the daughters of
another woman, Mrs. C.E. Read, with whom Holden later did business in Visalia,
since two daughters bearing these names (as well as other children) are named
in a Read document of 1874. Confusion arises on this count since a grown-up
"Lizzie" writes frequently to Holden addressing him as "Grandpa" and referring
in her letters to a sister "Josie" and other siblings.
During the mid-1870s Francis Holden ran sheep for a time in Visalia, but
had returned to San Joaquin county by 1876, where evidence in these papers
suggests that he continued to run sheep. In 1881 he purchased land in Calaveras
county--again, presumably, to provide range land for sheep.
Holden seems to have performed the role of confidante and comforter to
at least two generations of Locke and other women. For approximately a decade
(1883-1893), he received frequent letters from his grand nieces, his
granddaughter [?], Lizzie, and his niece, Delia Hammond Locke. These letters
cover virtually every aspect of the women's family and personal lives. As such,
they provide a fascinating picture of late nineteenth century rural life in
Central California. Holden's principal California correspondents were:
Delia Marcella Hammond Locke, 1878-1893 [34 items] Lizzie Holden [?]
McLellan, 1887-1893 [27 items] Ida Locke Pascoe, 1883-1893 [21 items] Susan L.
Locke, 1888-1893 [11 items]