Holt Brother Band
San Francisco




I inherited it from my deceased father-in-law, Ralph E Herring, who was a member of the Band.  He's the member with the French Horn behind the drummer and to the left (looking at the photo) of the guy with the cigar. I suspect Ralph's affiliation with Holt was through his father, Joseph Herring, who was a machinist for the company in Stockton starting about 1912.


The only original notation on the back of the photo indicates "Holt Brother Band in S. F."  Ralph was born in 1896 and based on this and company history of the use of the Caterpillar name, I suspect the photo was taken around 1915. There is no additional info on the photo such as the photographers or studio name.





Vern Dander



September 13, 2010



In an attempt to find out more about the "Caterpillar Band" photo I submitted earlier, I contacted the company archivist and came up with some additional details as well as what I believe is a case for the photo NOT being taken in San Francisco as labeled.  Below is my suggested revision to the write-up that you currently have posted.

May have some additional items for you as fall-out from my current efforts to get through the "stuff".


Vern Dander

Based on information from the Caterpillar Inc. Corporate Archives, in the spring of 1915 steps were initiated at The Holt Manufacturing Company in Stockton to form the “Caterpillar Band”, named after the company’s famed tractor.  The officers were E. C. Giggy, president; C. M. Penry, vice-president; E. A. Simard*, secretary and treasurer; W. A. Barth*, general manager, and E. Sweet, bandleader.

During its early days the band performed at company dances, holding their first public appearance on June 26, 1915, leading a parade to and holding afternoon and evening concerts at the annual Caterpillar picnic.

A few weeks later they made a trip with the Stockton Rotary Club to the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco where the Holt Company had an
exhibit.  This was followed at the end of July by a two-day trip via steamboat to the Exposition where the band provided concerts en route and during mornings and afternoons at the Exposition site.

*NOTE: The 1920 Stockton and San Joaquin County Directory indicates that an Ernest A. Simard was a Department Manager and a Wm. A. Barth was a Clerk at The Holt Manufacturing Company.

Analysis of photo

I inherited the photo from my deceased father-in-law, Ralph E Herring, who was a member of the band.  He is the member standing with a horn behind the drummer to the left  (looking at the photo) of the guy with the bowler hat and cigar.  All band members are wearing some type of medal, the occasion for awarding it is unknown.  The photo is undated and the back is labeled “Holt Bros band in S. F.”

However, the photo is taken in a train station and a map of the Exposition site does not indicate it had such a station.  A comparison of the structures in the background of the photo indicate they are virtually the same as those found in a 1894 photo of the Southern Pacific Railroad Depot in Stockton (see URL:  http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~npmelton/spoon_12.JPG

Based on the above, it appears this photo was not taken in San Francisco, as labeled, but at the Stockton Southern Pacific Railroad Depot prior to the band boarding a train.  Likely scenarios are the photo was taken prior to the first trip with the Rotary Club to San Francisco or in conjunction with a similar trip at a later date.  Photo timeframe is probably 1915.





From  barberracing@aol.com  

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Thank you for sharing that photo of the Caterpillar Band. In the photo I found my great grandfather, Frank Barber. What a surprise. He is the older gentleman standing between the two big horns to the right.


Thank you again.


Stewart Barber




Donated by Vernon A. Dander.  coloradogreengiant@yahoo.com

© 2010 Vern Dander.