Christian Rasmus Holmes II (1898-1944)

Capt. Christian R. Holmes II., D.S.C., of Queen's Surf & Coconut Island, Hawaii

Associated Houses

The Chimneys

Sands Point

He was born in Cincinnati and was educated at Hotchkiss Preparatory School, Yale University, and the Culver Military Academy in Indiana. He served as a Captain in World War I under Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., and was one of the first Americans to win the Distinguished Service Cross, but despite his fearless reputation, it cost him his mental health. He drank in excess, frittered much of his fortune away on wild extravagances, and was married and divorced three times before he took his own life in 1944 while being treated for, "a neurological disturbance". In 1933, he moved from California to Hawaii where he bought and developed Coconut Island at great expense while living at Queen's Surf. He initially developed a reputation for hosting extravagant parties but in later life became a recluse. His obituary in The New York Times noted that, "he kept a fleet of speed boats in which he dashed about Hawaiian waters at all hours of the day and night dressed unconventionally in a loin cloth or wrap-around skirt".

He divorced his first wife (by whom he had two sons) in California and in 1928 married Katherine MacDonald, a star of the silver screen known as "American Beauty" with whom he had one daughter, Ann. However, their marriage ended in a sensational trial just three years later: MacDonald divorced him on the grounds of cruelty, alleging that Holmes had fired a revolver at her through a locked door; deliberately burnt her with lit cigarettes; and, sometimes locked her in a cage. Holmes counter-sued, claiming that she had embarrassed him by having affairs. His third wife, Mona, was the daughter of Senator Robert Hind and a descendent of Kamehameha, the last King of Hawaii. Through his eldest son, he is the great-grandfather of Elizabeth Holmes, disgraced former CEO of Theranos.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 04/11/2022 and last updated on 07/11/2022.
Image (cropped) Courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress