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Register of the Francis P. Holden Papers, 1835-1893
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Francis P. Holden Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1835-1893
    Collection number: Mss111
    Creator: John W. Thorp
    Extent: 1 linear ft.
    Repository: University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
    Stockton, CA 95211
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Francis P. Holden Papers, Mss111, Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library


    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]

    Scope and Content Note

    The Francis Holden Papers consist of correspondence, business papers, miscellaneous personal papers, photographs, advertisements & other printed matter, books, and some diaries/account books. Personal correspondence is to Francis P. Holden, primarily written in Lockeford, California, 1857-1893, with some undated. Business papers are for multiple estates and date 1835-1866. Miscellaneous personal papers date 1854-1893, with some undated. Photographs come in a variety of types contemporary to the time (tintypes, ambrotypes, etc.), and are mostly undated. The diaries/account books are dated 1857-1894.