HERBERT L. HOLDEN, MIDN, USN
Herbert Holden '07
Date of birth: March 6, 1885
Date of death: June 11, 1907
From the 1907 Lucky Bag:
Herbert was lost when the steam-powered launch he was aboard was run down and sunk on June 11, 1907, in Hampton Roads. He was a passenger returning to the battleship Connecticut, which he was stationed aboard, from the Jamestown Exposition.
From researcher Kathy Franz:
Herbert was born in Chicago, Illinois, but when three months old came with his mother to reside with his uncle W. M. Edwards and wife Elizabeth in Portage, Wisconsin. His parents Susan and Frank were married on April 8, 1879. In 1900, his mother, a widow, was superintendent of a wood factory in Portage.
According to the local newspaper, Herbert early exhibited a keen intellect and a well-balanced mind and his rapid advancement and excellent record at Annapolis gave those who loved him most high hope for a brilliant future for him. He was a member of his high school football, baseball, basketball and track teams. He particularly excelled in high jumping and at basketball. He also played forward on Co. F’s basketball five. Herbert was appointed to the Naval Academy by the late Congressman H. C. Adams of Madison, Wisconsin. After the sinking of the Minnesota’s launch, the tug Mohawk found Herbert’s body.
From the Portage Daily Register, June 22, 1907. “The casket left the naval hospital, Portsmouth, Va., Thursday afternoon immediately after impressive funeral ceremonies had been held by the naval authorities in honor of him and his shipmates who were drowned by the sinking of the Minnesota’s launch in Hampton Roads during the darkness and storm of early morning, June 11. The body reached Cincinnati yesterday afternoon, over the Chesapeake & Ohio road and arrived in Chicago this morning. There it was transferred to the Milwaukee road. The arrival in Portage occurred shortly after 2 o’clock this afternoon.
At the railway station the casket was borne to the waiting hearse by a detail non-commissioned officers of Co. F, Third Inf., W. N. G., composed principally of young men who were members of the first basketball team of the company when the five was captained by Corporal Holden. The body was taken to the residence of William M. Edwards, Wisconsin street, an uncle of Midshipman Holden.
There on the lawn, at 5 o’clock, the Rev. H. F. Rockstroh was to read the service of the Episcopal church. Utmost simplicity was to characterize the obsequies. There was to be no address and no singing. The Monarch band, which had generously tendered its services, was to play softly as the casket was borne to the hearse and was to lead the procession to the cemetery, followed by Co. F as escort. At the cemetery only the brief burial service of the church was to be pronounced by Mr. Rockstroh, the band again playing softly as the body was removed from the hearse. Concluding the ceremonies the soldiers were to fire three volleys over the grave and sound “taps” – Good night! – as is the military custom.”
The flowers included two floral wreaths from the Minnesota and two dozen American Beauty roses from Co. F. Other flowers were sent by the Knights of Pythias, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Leisure Hour Circle, and the group of young folk of Portage with whom Midshipman Holden – he was just Bert to them – used to be intimate in a social way. The pall bearers were former schoolmates of Herbert from the Portage high school.