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 • Valley Catholic Cemetery
 • Watsonville
 • Santa Cruz County
 • California
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James Bernard "Big Jim" Holohan
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Birth: Jun. 18, 1871
Santa Cruz County
California, USA
Death: Jan. 31, 1947
Santa Cruz County
California, USA

He was a native of Watsonville, California. His parents came form Ireland and settled there in 1869. He grew up on the Holohan ranch and attened school in Pajaro Valley. While in his teens, both of his parent died the same year. He raised his three brothers and a sister as he took charge of the ranch. His public service began at age 21 as an unpaid clerk of the district school board and as a school trustee. He entered politics in 1906 when he was elected Democratic State Senator of the 29th district of California. He served from 1909 through 1913. It was during this term he introduced Act 291 on January 11,1911. This bill was to adopt the bear as the symbol on the flag for the state of California. It was approved by the committee on January 30th and signed by the governor on February 3, 1911. On January 13, 1914, the court appointed James Holohan United States Marshal of the northern district of California. In April of 1918, Ram Singh crossed a crowded courtroom with an automatic pistol and began shooting into Ram Chandra, killing the man. Marshal Holohan shot Ram Singh killing him instantly. He served as U.S. Marshal until 1924. In 1925 he was appointed Sheriff of Santa Cruz County by the board of supervisors. The following year he would win the election for Sheriff. On September 1,1927 Governor C.C. Young appointed him as Warden of San Quentin Prison. He would later be re-appointed by Governor James Rolph. As warden he had supervision over famed prisoners such as Tom Mooney, Asa Keyes,Frank Egan, Kid McCoy, David Lamson, and Clara Phillps. During this period of time, women were also sentenced to serve in San Quentin. In early 1936, four convicts with guns broke into a prison board meeting being held in the wardens home. He was severally beaten and four of the board members were taken hostage. They were put into a car and drove to the front where the guards were forced to open the gates. Later in a gun battle they were recaptured but by then two of the board members had been wounded. Two of the prisoners later paid with their lives by execution. As warden he was witness over 50 executions during his eight and half years at San Quentin. Through his efforts, as a leading authority on executions, California replaced the gallows and adopted the gas chamber as it method of execution. In April of 1936 he resigned due to his health because of the injuries received earlier that year. When he left San Quentin he recieved a gift scroll signed by more than 5,000 convicts wishing him good fortune. He returned to his home in Pajaro Valley to regain his health but others had plans for him and drafted him to run for state senator. In November he won and served from 1937 till 1940. He was a member of St. Patrick's Church, a member of the Woodsmen of the World, and an honorary member of the Watsonville Rotary Club. He has an outstanding public record serving for more than 40 years. He is at rest in the family vault in Valley Catholic cemetery.
Family links: 
  Richard Holohan (1838 - 1885)
  Catherine Lynch Holohan (1846 - 1882)
  Adeline V Frasier Holohan (1875 - 1929)*
  Josephine Frasier Holohan (1903 - 1987)*
  Emma Holohan*
  Joseph Holohan*
  James Bernard Holohan (1871 - 1947)
  Alice Catherine Holohan Kelly (1874 - 1966)*
  George William Holohan (1877 - 1938)*
  Oscar John Holohan (1879 - 1944)*
  Stewart P Holohan (1880 - 1905)*
*Calculated relationship
Valley Catholic Cemetery
Santa Cruz County
California, USA
Plot: Family Vault
Created by: Pat N
Record added: Sep 26, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 97814058
James Bernard Big Jim Holohan
Added by: Richard Stauff
James Bernard Big Jim Holohan
Added by: Richard Stauff
James Bernard Big Jim Holohan
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Morrissey
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- Larry Caplin
 Added: Jul. 16, 2014

- Lance
 Added: Mar. 5, 2013
Thank you for your public service
- Pat N
 Added: Sep. 26, 2012

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