Title: Police Officer
Birthdate: October 2, 1858
Death Date: April 9, 1900
Plot Location: Section 40, Lot 225; GPS: 39.83067* N, 075.23973* W
Both of Nathaniel’s parents came to Philadelphia as children: father Nathaniel from England and mother Eliza from Ireland. Nathaniel Jr. had two older brothers and one younger sister, but when he was two years old his father died of a seizure at age 28. Eliza never remarried and worked as the proprietor of a grocery store.
Nathaniel was a firefighter in 1880, living just down the street from his mother’s home at 24th and Spruce Streets. He was appointed to the Police Department in 1887. A few months into the new job he learned how dangerous it could be. On January 13, 1888 a man was sentenced to nine months for assault and battery on Officer Holt.
He suffered another injury on December 26, 1899. He was off-duty and enjoying the evening at Wolf’s Saloon at 24th and Chestnut when he witnessed the ejection of three men who were causing a disturbance. It’s not certain if they knew or suspected he was a cop, but one of them thought Nathaniel was responsible for their removal. He came back to the bar with a revolver and shot him twice in the legs.
After two months confined to bed, Officer Holt was able to return to duty. A month after that, on March 27, he was boarding a trolley when both of his legs gave out, and he fell on the street, hitting his head on a manhole cover. He had to remain in bed to recover but he died two weeks later on April 9. Infection had set in. The official cause of death was “traumatic tetanus following injuries received.”
The Holt family monument shown above lists the names of Nathaniel’s parents, his siblings and some others. His brother James had a son named Nathaniel (1880-1946) who is also buried in this lot. Although some documents say he was married to Mary F. Mellon in 1888, there’s no mention of her after that. Where an obituary normally mentions the spouse, his only says, “son of Eliza and the late Nathaniel Holt.”
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