Almost half a century has passed since John Holder came to California, the year of his arrival here being 1852. He is now located in Penryn, Placer County, and is spending the evening of his life in an honorable retirement from labor. Mr. Holder is a native of North Carolina, his birth having occurred there on the 26th of January, 1826. Of German and English ancestry, he represents old families of the North state. His father, Michael Holder, was born in North Carolina and was of German lineage. He married Miss Katie Donaway, a lady of English lineage and a representative of a family that had long been connected with the south. The father followed the occupation of a bricklayer and builder and spent his entire life in North Carolina. Both he and his wife were members of the Methodist Church and his death occurred when he had attained the age of seventy years, his wife having previously departed this life. They were the parents of six sons and six daughters and of the family only two sons and three daughters yet survive.
John Holder is the only one in California. He was educated in the state of his nativity, whence he removed to Indiana in January, 1852. In company with three of his neighbors, he came to California, by way of the Isthmus route. His first business venture here was at placer mining at Osley Bar, on the Yuba River; but, not meeting with very great success in his search for gold, he turned his attention to brick-laying, a trade which he had learned with his father, following that pursuit in Sacramento. Later, however, he came to Newcastle and once more attempted his fortune in the mines, this time mining with gratifying success, not only in mining but in buying and selling claims. In 1856 he married Miss Sarah M. Rowles, who came to California in 1853, and since his marriage Mr. Holder has lived within three miles of Newcastle. He has been connected with various business enterprises, conducted a hotel, was engaged in merchandising for fourteen years, and was agent for the Wells-Fargo Express Company for eighteen years.
Unto our subject and his wife were born two children, a son and a daughter: William Francis Holder, who is now a railroad agent in Arizona; and Emily Jane, who is the wife of John Conners. Mrs. Holder died in Newcastle in 1871, and her husband remained single for seventeen years. In 1888 he was married to Miss Mildred Elizabeth Johnson, who has since been to him a faithful companion and helpmate of life’s journey. In 1877 Mr. Holder returned to the home of his birth. He had been absent for twenty-five years, during which time his parents, three sisters and three brothers had passed away, and there was more sadness than joy connected with the visit. After two months’ absence he returned to California and has since gone three times to visit relatives and friends in Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas.
At Penryn he is engaged in fruit-farming, owning thirty-five acres of rich land and a pleasant cottage there. He makes a specialty of raising apples and grapes and is successful in this undertaking. He richly deserves the comfortable competence he has acquired, for it has been obtained entirely through his own efforts and by honorable business methods. He is one of the old Masons of the county, having received the sublime degree of Master Mason in Gold Hill Lodge in 1854. Politically he is a Democrat, and religiously he and his wife are connected with the Baptist Church. There is much in his life record that is worthy of emulation, for he has been true to every duty, whether of a public or private character, and in his career has manifested many sterling elements.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.