Sunday, July 10, 2011


My Mother

Laura Christina Holm was born 2 January, 1907 at Winter Quarters, Utah.  She was the first child of Thomas Wesley Holm and Jennie Melvina Nielson.  Her brother, James Annis Holm, was born 2 October, 1909.  There was a baby brother named Thomas Wesley Holm who died at birth on 22 October, 1911.  Winter Quarters was an active coal mining town, about a mile from Scofield, Utah.  It has been a ghost town for many years but around 1900 was one of the most important coal mining towns in the nation.  Laura's father, Tom, worked in the mines.  Knowledge about Laura's early life is very sketchy.  The family left Winter Quarters in 1910 when she was three years old, moving to Spanish Fork, Utah, where her father, Tom had been born and raised and where his parents still lived.  They spent no more than six years at Spanish Fork, where both Laura and her brother, Jim started school. 

In March 1916, when she was nine years old, Laura moved with her parents to Burley, Idaho.  They lived and farmed in the Starrh's Ferry district, a few miles west of Burley and not far from the Snake River.  Laura and her brother went to the Palisade Schools at Starrh's Ferry.  These were two separate schools for lower and upper grades.  These schools were probably the principal ones in her life, because she did not go on to high school in Burley.  Maye Evans Stanley, sister of Laura's dearest friend, Nell Evans also went to the Palisade Schools, and has stated that neither Nell or Laura finished school.  Nell Evans, continued to live and work in Burley until her death several years ago. 

Laura's photographs indicated that she had with Nell Evans and her many other friends, an active social life that included outings at Artesian Hot Springs resort, swimming in a weedy canal with a friend and a bunch of ducks, and much posing in front of angular 1920s automobiles.  They were the fashion plates for all of the hair styles, hats, and dresses of the 1920s, including those of the Flappers.  There was lots of socializing with her Holm relatives at Burley, including her Church family cousins, Hattie and Mary.  Visits with some of her many Nielson cousins took place when some of them came to Burley, and when she went to see them in Winter Quarters, Eureka and other towns.  Two of her cousins that she visited, Norma Jones Carter and Merle Jones Mellen are still living in Salt Lake City.  In 1924, presumably at Burley, the family spent Christmas with many relatives, including her cousin Mary Nielson, her Aunt Mary Jane and Charles Holm, and members of the Church family.  When Laura was about 16 years old, the family drove to the west coast by way of the Blue Mountains of Oregon.  Photographs show them standing in the snow in the Blue Mountains, wading in the ocean, and posing under the guns of the battleship, Maryland.  The car they traveled in was a touring car which could have been a 1917 Chalmers.  There were no windows in the car, which may explain the heavy coats and furs they were wearing. 

In 1927, Laura was going with my father, James Nephi Baggett.  Their crowd included  Nell Evans, a brother of Leslie H. Boothe who married Laura's, Aunt Ella Nielson.  Laura married Jim Baggett on 9 November, 1927 at Twin Falls, Idaho, and later moved to Boise where I was born.  Laura, Jim, and son Jimmy went to California sometime after April in 1929 with Laura's parents, Tom and Jennie Holm, and her brother Jim with his wife, Thelma and son, Billy.  On 4 January, 1930, Keith Thomas Baggett was born to Laura at Huntington Park, in the Los Angeles area.  While in California, Laura and the others took advantage of the climate and geography, frequently visiting the beaches in swim suits, or just sitting or playing in the sand with the children.  On 27 July, 1930, there was an outing at Santa Monica Beach that included Bud and Ella Smith and their baby, Lyal, along with Jennie, Laura, Jim, Thelma, Billy, Keith, and me.  They lived in several different houses in widely separated parts of the Los Angeles area, as described in my own life history.  Back at Burley by 1 September, 1930, Laura started living with her husband and children in a very drab and bare unpainted house southeast of Burley, in the Unity district.  On 4 October, 1930, there was a trip to Salt Lake City where she visited her cousin, Norma Jones, who was married to her first husband, John Oreno.  On this trip I got my picture taken with Norma, and also with my grandmother, Jennie, who was also along.  There were no pictures of Laura on this trip, which fits the observation that she had fewer pictures taken of her after she became a mother, compared to her premarriage days.  She also seemed to become more serious, even melancholy, although she always tended to be serious or at least unsmiling in pictures, even when she was a young girl.  This expression of her nature always increases my sadness when I reflect on her untimely passing at such an early age. 

Laura continued to live in the house southeast of Burley until she was taken to a hospital in Rupert, Idaho, shortly before her death there at 9:30 PM, 11 June, 1932, at the age of 25.  She was suffering from complications of pregnancy and the cause of her death was listed as dehydration.  She is buried in the cemetery at Burley. 

Laura was much loved by her many friends and relatives, and she obviously returned this affection.  She deeply loved her two sons, as her Aunt Ella Boothe told me many years later.  She loved photographs and carefully filled a number of little black albums with an unusually large collection of pictures of her friends and relatives.  This collection of photographs has helped greatly in the effort to write this history of her short life.

Comments by her cousin, Norma Jones Oreno Carter;   Oh, yes, I remember, Laura.  She was five years older than I was.  I came up to Burley to visit her when I was thirteen years old and she took me to my first dance and found me some boys to dance with, I will always remember her (about 1925).  Laura was tall and slim, dark hair and the most beautiful big dark brown eyes.  She was always smiling and laughing, she just had the cutest personality and everybody just loved her.  She had so many friends and everyone just wanted to be around her.  The boys just swarmed around her like flies at these dances, each one asking for a dance.  I have many pleasant memories of her and the town. 

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