YUBA COUNTY  Biographies





            Actively identified with the agricultural and horticultural interests of Sutter County since 1877, Thomas E. Holmes was recognized as a prosperous and progressive rancher until called by death.  His home ranch was known as the “Hock Farm,” a portion of General Sutter’s estate, and on it a part of the iron sides of the walls of the old Fort Sutter are still to be seen.  A son of  Elias Holmes, he was born December 29, 1859, near Hagerstown, Md.  Late in life, Elias Holmes removed to Pennsylvania, just across the line from his former home, and there resided until his death, at the advanced age of eighty-six years.  He married Mary Freydinger, who was born in Maryland and died in Pennsylvania at the age of fifty-nine years.  She bore him twelve children, Thomas E., of this sketch being the eleventh in order of birth.

            Brought up at home, Thomas E. Holmes obtained a public school education, and then began work at Fairview, Pa., entering McCormick’s iron works, and there learning the nail-maker’s trade, which he followed for seven years.  Pushing his way westward in 1877, he arrived at Woodland, Cal., on May 2; and for nearly ten years thereafter he was employed at farming in Yolo, Colusa and Sutter Counties, and then engaged in ranching for himself.

            On August 14, 1886, Mr. Holmes married for his first wife Mrs. Mary E. Smith, who at the time of their marriage owned the ranch on which he resided at the time of his death.  She died on November 8, 1896, leaving two children, twins:  Mrs. Dora May Willard, of Stockton, and Roy, of Sutter County.   In San Jose, January 20, 1898, Mr. Holmes married, for his second wife, Miss Mary Dena Kettman, who was born in San Jose.  Her father, George Kettman, was an early settler of California, who located in Sutter County in the early fifties and later removed to Evergreen, Santa Clara County, where he engaged in farming and reared his family.  Mary Kettman attended the public schools and finished her education at Notre Dame Academy, San Jose.  The fortunate union of Mr. and Mrs. Holmes was blessed with five children:  Mildred, Mrs. Adele Da Cosse, Louise, Marie Evelyn, and Philip A.

            Mr. Holmes was a successful farmer, his farmstead consisting of 370 acres of land.  However, he was not permitted long to enjoy the fruits of his labors; for while he and Mrs. Holmes were taking an extended trip through the East, at the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York City he was stricken and died of heart failure, November 25, 1920.  His body was brought back to California and interred in the cemetery in Yuba City.  Mrs. Holmes now makes her home in San Jose; and the ranch, which is devoted to general agriculture and horticulture, is operated by her son-in-law, Charles Da Cosse. 

            The big flood of March 19, 1907, destroyed the old iron fort standing on the ranch and also unearthed a great many Indian relics where the levee broke through, such as Indian skulls, beads and wampum.  Among highly prized souvenirs, Mrs. Holmes cherishes Captain Sutter’s gun and writing-desk, which are in her possession.

            Mr. Holmes was a public-spirited and enterprising man, and his liberality and kindness made him a host of friends.  Politically, he was a Democrat; and fraternally, he was a member of the Knights of Columbus.  With his family, he was a member of the Catholic Church.


History of Yuba and Sutter Counties, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, 1924

p . 1119





            The name of Benton looms large in American history, and in Sutter County it is worthily represented by Fred Norman Benton, the wide-awake manager of The Diamond Match Company at Yuba City.  A native of Kansas, he was born on a farm in Barclay, Osage County on September 26, 1883, the son of Samuel and Harriett (Rabb) Benton, who came out to California with their family in 1888 and spent a couple of years at Pasadena, after  which they returned to Kansas.  Since then, Mr. Benton has closed the books of his earthly career, the balance showing an enviable credit in his honor, as the result of long years of hard, honest labor; but Mrs. Benton is still living, the center of a circle of devoted friends.

            Fred Benton went to the grammar schools of Barclay, Kans., and later pursued the high-school course at the same place; and then, for four years, he helped in the construction of the Santa Fe Railroad.  In 1906, he returned to California, brought here by a tempting offer of the Sierra Lumber Company at Corning, who soon made him manager of the Orland yard; and when they sold out to The Diamond Match Company, in 1907, he continued in the same position under the successors.  In 1915, he came to Yuba City as manager; and since he took hold the business has developed materially.  Mr. Benton serves as city councilman of Yuba City.  He belongs to the Yuba City Chamber of Commerce and the Marysville Lions Club.

            At Corning, in 1908, occurred the marriage of Mr. Benton and Miss Jennie June Barnes, a native daughter of Oakland; and their union has been blessed with two children, Winifred May and Harold Norman.  Mr. Benton was made a Mason in Orland Lodge No. 265, F. & A.M.  He joined Yuba City Chapter and was High Priest for a term; but when it was consolidated with the Marysville Chapter and became Washington Chapter No. 13, R.A.M., Marysville, he became a member of the new organization.  He is a member of Marysville Commandery  No. 7, K.T., and a charter member of Ben Ali Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine; and with his wife he is a member of the Eastern Star.  He is also a member of Marysville Pyramid No. 23, A.E.O.S.  Mr. Benton is fond of outdoor life and outdoor sports, especially baseball.  In national politics he is a Democrat.


History of Yuba and Sutter Counties, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, 1924

p .  1119-1120



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