VANNER HERBERT HOLMES
ELEANOR LaVERE STEELE
by EUGENE H. HALVERSON
We have a photograph of Vanner with his parents and his sisters Edith and Signe. They were blonde fair -haired when they were small.
The first history of Vanner is found in my mother's personal history. It seems there are no other written histories available. As the story goes Signe, age six, and Vanner, age four, possessed a grip (suitcase) that they sold to someone soon after they moved back to Frisco from Eureka. They bought a wagon with the money. Their mother ran a boarding house in Frisco. A lot of wood was required for heat, cooking, washing and perhaps a sauna. So Signe and Vanner would go out in the town gleaning wood from the many abandoned homes and businesses that were rotting in the sun. Signe said, "We also had fun playing in it," I liked playing baseball.
When we were little we went to a little red school house down in Frisco with no windows. It was heated with a little wood burning stove. Eight grades were taught in two rooms. There were two teachers, one of whom was Mrs. Boyer. One photograph of the children shows about forty-five children of all ages at the school. Con and Signe are in the photograph. Vanner should be there but I can not find him.
Vanner, it seems, had a very difficult time in this school, but it wasn't all his fault. His mother dressed him in the cute little clothes that were worn in the old country, since he looked like an immigrant the older boys would tease and sometimes be very cruel to him. His sisters, Signe and Edith were called on many times to rescue him.
The family moved from Frisco to Eureka a few years later, but little is known of his childhood. He never finished school after completing eleven grades he went to work as a hoistman at some little mine. This had to be about the time when Vanner and Herbert Erickson (a school friend) were working in a mine with his father (John Holmes) when Herbert drilled into a hot hole (an unexploded hole full of dynamite) Herbert was killed instantly. Herbert was still going to school at the time. I'm not sure whether this was before or after Vanner had quite school.
Vanner and his father worked for three months one time that never even paid for their expenses, but usually they made good money. Both Vane and his father were working in the Tintic Standard Mine at Dividend in 1919. This is when he married LaVere Steele on the 29 August 1919. He worked in Dividend but made his home in Eureka.
Vanner worked in many mines and even on the railroad but I know little about his work.
My mother Signe tells of Vanner coming to Bingham Canyon to bring her home when their mother Lisa (Holmes) began having health problems. Lisa began to have terrible headaches which was caused by an aneurysm, she died in 1930.
In about 1935 he Married Fern Osumundson Rohletter from Payson. He moved down to Payson after the marriage. I know nothing about her except that she was born in 1903 and that she was older than Vanner. Fern was previously married and had one son, William C. Rohletter, age unknown but older than Little Dorothy. Dorothy can still remember her new mother, Fern when she came to take her to their home in Payson. She especially remembers her red hair and how scared she was.
Vanner Holmes Jr. was born in 1935. Work was scarce and hard to find. So Vanner had to leave Payson to obtain work. He went alone leaving the family in Payson, going to Kellogg, Idaho where he worked in the Bunkerhill Mine. Later he went to Midway Island to work for the government. He returned home just before Pearl Harbor.
In about 1944 during World War II they moved down to Los Alamos where he worked for the government. Something to do with developing the atom bomb. He was working for the Zia Company here at Los Alamos as an estimating engineer.
Vanner Holmes Jr. married Lydia Martinez on 27 August, 1957 from Velarde, New Mexico. They had one daughter, Juliana born in White Rock in about 1957, later divorced.
Nine years later in about 1953 Vanner and Fern moved to Fairview, New Mexico. My father and mother came down Fairview in 1956 to visit them and attend Vanner Jr.'s wedding. He took them to many cities, Taos, Velarde, Santa Fe, where they visited different tribes of Indians on their reservations (mostly Navaho's). They also visited many Cathedrals and museums.
On 20 November, 1962 Fern died of an apparent heart attack. He found her when he arrived home from work (from Zia Co. at Los Alamos). He was devastated and it took a long time for him to get over it. He would come up to Utah at least once a year to visit Mother and his daughter, Dorothy and her family.
Vanner had heart problems during the late 1970's. So, he came to the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City to have an operation. It was a success. He was cared for by Dorothy in their home in Tooele.
Vanner died 8 May, 1982 of leukemia in Santa Fe, New Mexico and was buried at Memorial Gardens in Santa Fe next to his wife, Fern.