Santa Cruz County History - People

Old Solders: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson


Santa Cruz Sentinel (May 28, 1929)

Nineteen Survivors of the Early Wars Will Be Guests of Honor this Memorial Day

J.J. Holtslander

Now commander of the G.A.R. and still serving his country, Comrade J.J. Holtslander will be 85 Years old the 8th of July. He attended the G.A.R. conclave held in Oakland last week and came home a bit tired because of the noises of the city.

Enlisted when 18 years of age in the 13th Infantry at Dixon Illinois was in the battle of Vicksburg, Lookout Mountain and Chattanooga Ridge beside many small skirmishes with guerrillas.

One interesting event was when the company he was in was advancing along both sides of a fence and his rifle fouled and as he was climbing up the fence to get another gun he saw the rebels in large numbers in the distance. He gave the alarm and saved his company. His company belonged to the Sherman division.

He came to San Francisco in 1874 and has been in Santa Cruz four years.

Santa Cruz Evening News (May 30, 1930)

GAR Well Represented

John J. Holtslander, 77 Younglove Avenue, post commander was born at Monticello New York, July 8 1842. He was learning the carpenter trade in Illinois when war was declared. He enlisted May 24 1861, in Co B 13th Illinois Infantry, which was the first regiment to be raised in that state for three full years of service.

The first part of his service was at Rolla Mo., the end of the railroad and the supply base for the Army of the Southwest and as such object of raids and guerrilla warfare in the Ozark mountains. In the spring of 1862 he served with a detail that captured a large supply of cotton on the White River and built flat boats to run the cotton down the river.

At Rolla, Mo., his regiment was under Generals Curtis and Fremont and here he was in the battle of Pea Ridge. In the fall of '63 he was with the 15th Army corps under General Sherman on the march to Vicksburg, which included the engagement of Chickasaw Bayou.

He received his discharge in June 1864, and returned to his home in Illinois. His discharge reads "Traveled 3500 miles on foot beside skirmishes and scouts."

Mr. Holtslander spent the 10 years following the war in Chicago and lived only a short distance from Mrs. O'Leary and her cow. He declares that Mrs. O'Leary did not possess a lantern.

Mr. Holtslander came to San Francisco December 26, 1874, and worked there in a planing mill and shop for 30 years, before coming to Santa Cruz to make his home. He was a member of the Lincoln post in San Francisco and held office in that post. He is the head of the family that has five living generations. He has two great granddaughters.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (January 19, 1933)

One of the Last G.A.R. Members of the City Dies

John J. Holtslander, who for a number of years has been highly honored in patriotic circles, especially by Wallace Reynolds Post, G.A.R., of which he was a past commander; by Wallace Reynolds Women's Relief Corps and by the Daughters of Civil War Veterans, died yesterday morning at the home of Mrs. Lillian G. Yearout at 238 North Branciforte avenue, where he had resided for months.

Death came suddenly. He was stricken Tuesday and had, from all appearances recovered by evening, but passed away during the early morning hours. Two years ago he was stricken with kidney and heart trouble but had recovered the last few months.

For many years Mr. Holtslander had resided here. He came from the Middle West and operated a rooming house on Lower Pacific Avenue for some time, but retired a number of years ago.

He was born at Monticello, N.Y., 90 years ago and enlisted to serve in the Civil War when 19 years of age in Company B of the Thirteenth Illinois infantry, first unit raised in that state. He was discharged in June of 1864. In addition to the skirmishes and scouting parties in which he participated, he had traveled many miles on foot in those hectic three years.

No one was more faithful to the Grand Army of the Republic and to the last he attended the meetings of that organization which now has only eight surviving members.

Surviving him are the widow, Mrs. Alice Holtslander, of 77 Younglove Avenue, and a daughter Mrs. Grover Dennet of Vallejo.

The body is at the C.C. Chase mortuary. Funeral services will be private and will be held at the chapel of the mortuary at 2 o'clock Saturday afternoon.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (January 23, 1933)

John Holtslander Is Laid to Rest in Odd Fellows Plot

Funeral services for Past Commander John Holtslander of Wallace Reynolds post, G.A.R., were held yesterday afternoon, with private services at the chapel of the C.C. Chase mortuary. The service was in charge of the G.A.R. and Christian Scientists.

The Inurnment was at the Odd Fellows Cemetery.

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