Shootout shocks community

Rocks, Rails and Ranches
By: Daniel Defoe, Special to the Placer Herald
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Editor’s Note: This is the third in a four-part series on the historic fire of 1914. DeFoe, a history professor at Sierra College, presented the story at the Rocklin Historical Society annual installation dinner in January. On Feb. 9, 1914, Rocklin’s Marshal Sam Renaldi cited Uledi Holmes, a gun toting, hard drinking owner of a saloon on Railroad Avenue. The citation charged Holmes for violating Rocklin’s midnight saloon curfew. Witnesses said that Holmes vowed to “get even” with Renaldi. Days later, on Feb. 18, a drunken Holmes verbally abused Ella Hovey, a woman who served as the saloon’s cook and she fled the establishment. Holmes pursued Hovey to her home where he threatened to kill her if she quit. He returned to the saloon where he continued to feed his anger with drink. In the early evening Holmes stormed out of his business with a gun in his belt — heading straight for Ella Hovey’s home. Word had spread about the danger and Hovey was rescued before Holmes could get to her. Marshal Sam Renaldi, along with his deputy George Willard, set out to arrest the dangerous Holmes who they cornered at Blackwell and Hendrickson’s Livery Stable. Willard tried to calm Holmes as he bellowed curses and threats at the pair. Renaldi tried to get around behind Holmes so the officers could subdue him, but Holmes began to go for his gun. Renaldi shouted, “Surrender!” But Holmes had his gun out and pointed it at Renaldi. The Marshal got off the first shot hitting Holmes in the gut, but Holmes returned fire — put a bullet into Renaldi’s side. Witnesses said Renaldi fired his weapon three more times before both men slumped onto the stable floor. Dr. H. D. Fletcher treated Renaldi’s wound and accompanied the marshal to Sacramento Hospital where Holmes had also been taken. Dr. Fletcher’s office was located in his home on Rocklin Road at San Francisco Street —- now the site of the Rocklin History Museum. Holmes died the next day and Renaldi passed away Feb. 20. News of the shootout that had overtones of an OK Corral confrontation shocked the community. The Marshal, a long time member of the Firemen’s Association and a hero figure to Rocklin, was deeply mourned. If you’re interested in learning more about Rocklin’s history, attend the Rocklin History series scheduled to start March 14 at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at Old St. Mary’s Chapel, 5251 Front Street.Topics include Joel Parker Whitney and the Whitney Ranch, Why no downtown, downtown? Rocklin’s roundhouse and the quarries.