1905ironbridge

A CITY OF BRIDGES

Should you find yourself in 1876 Santa Rosa, don’t expect too much. The pretty little courthouse in Courthouse Square wasn’t yet built; neither was the McDonald mansion. It was a frontier village of no particular interest except for one thing – it had the only iron bridge in the West.

I don’t usually give away the ending of an article, but bridges aren’t the most riveting topic for most, and I fear Gentle Reader might otherwise drift off to other entertainments. So here’s my Executive Summary:

Santa Rosa’s current downtown plan calls for demolishing the city hall complex and restoring Santa Rosa Creek to a natural condition. With the creek exposed the roadway will have to be rebuilt as a bridge. It would be appropriate to model its appearance after the “Iron Bridge,” Santa Rosa’s first famous landmark and early tourist attraction.

When the Iron Bridge was built the local newspaper commented that Santa Rosa was “a city of bridges.” Today there are dozens of places where city streets cross over our many creeks. If the city is serious about creek restoration, it could re-embrace that old slogan and draw better attention to the more important bridges that stretch above them.

The Iron Bridge in 1879, over a completely dry creek bed. Image courtesy Sonoma County Library
The Iron Bridge in 1879, over a completely dry creek bed. Image courtesy Sonoma County Library

Until the first train entered town in 1871 and stopped at today’s Railroad Square, travel to Petaluma and points south could be iffy during bad winters.

The first bridge over Santa Rosa Creek was built in 1859, after a year of twisting arms at the Board of Supervisors – they didn’t want to spend any money on “improvement” until the county was completely debt-free (oh, how things have changed).

Up to that point, there were fords on the creek where the banks were worn down enough for a wagon or stagecoach to cross the usually shallow waterway. Even after that first bridge was built, attorney T. J. Butts recalled some avoided using it:

I was in Santa Rosa when the first iron bridge in the state was built over the creek on Main Street. It had been the custom up to that time for farmers to drive down the bank and ford the creek when coming to town instead of crossing the old wooden bridge. When the matter of building the new bridge came up before the Board of Supervisors, one old gentleman, who was a well-known man in this town and was a trustee of one of the colleges here went before the Board to protest against the bridge, and in his speech he said: “We don’t need no bridge and if you put that bridge thar, whar are ye goin’ to set yer tire, and whar are you goin’ to water yer critter?”

The Santa Rosa newspaper assured readers the wooden bridge was high enough “the water can never actually rise to the bridge.” They were wrong. Two years later in 1861, a big storm took out the middle pilings causing a dangerous sag, while approaches on both sides were washed away. The same thing happened again in 1864.

A replacement was built in 1865 and the Sonoma Democrat promised it would be a “bridge that will withstand the floods, and be an ornament to the place rather than an ‘eye sore,’ such as was the old one.” But wooden bridge II had its own problems and by 1868 it was also unsafe, the deck having holes and planks worn thin.

Each round of repairs cost nearly as much as (and in one case, possibly more than) the cost of building a new bridge. And after Santa Rosa was officially incorporated in 1868 the question of who owned the bridge was first raised; neither the town nor the county wanted to pay for expensive maintenance and repairs. A judge finally decreed that it belonged to the town in 1875, after the Petaluma road was reborn as “Santa Rosa Avenue” and new additions on the other side of the creek were unofficially dubbed “South Santa Rosa.” (I swear, if there’s ever a version of Trivial Pursuit Santa Rosa, I’m gonna slap a paywall on pages like this and really clean up.)

By then the bridge was in such rough shape only pedestrians were allowed, the horse-drawn traffic going over the new (1872) bridge on Third street just west of the railroad tracks. While Santa Rosa was hand-wringing over what to do about repairs, into town came Mr. R. Higgins, a salesman with impeccable timing.

Higgins was from the King Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio. The company mass manufactured arch bridge parts that were shipped by rail and assembled on site.* Thousands of their wrought iron bridges were erected in the late 19th-early 20th century, but by 1875 none had been yet built west of the Rockies. The Santa Rosa bridge was to be their West Coast showpiece.

This caused the little town’s poobahs to flip with joy; Santa Rosa would at last have a tourist attraction (of sorts). And while they would still pay full $4,000 price for the iron bridge they would save a fortune by not having to rebuild the damn thing every few years – “it was as imperishable as time itself.”

A City of Bridges: Portion of 1876 Santa Rosa map
A City of Bridges: Portion of 1876 Santa Rosa map

Even better, “before the season is over Santa Rosa will be entitled to the name of the city of bridges,” gushed the Democrat newspaper. Counting this bridge, the Third st. bridge, the railroad bridge and the one about to be constructed at E street, Santa Rosa would have four bridges within a nine block area. So yeah, no matter where you were in 1876 Santa Rosa a bridge over the creek was only a few steps away.

The sections of the bridge arrived a few weeks later, but assembly was soon halted because of a serious accident. After the first arch was raised and temporarily held in position by guy ropes, the second arch was being hoisted into place when a guy rope knot failed. The first arch tipped over onto the one being raised, and that arch fell into the creek. Higgins – who was supervising the workers – jumped into the creek to avoid being hit and struck his head, knocking him unconscious. Damage to the iron arches was repaired by a blacksmith and Higgins walked with a limp from a badly sprained ankle when work resumed about three weeks later.

Dedication ceremony for the Santa Rosa Iron Bridge, March 11, 1876 (J. H. Downing, photographer). Image courtesy Healdsburg Museum
Dedication ceremony for the Santa Rosa Iron Bridge, March 11, 1876 (J. H. Downing, photographer). Image courtesy Healdsburg Museum

There was a grand turnout for the dedication ceremony in March, where “a test of its strength with such force as could be improvised for the occasion would be made.” The description in the Democrat suggested some weren’t sure the unusual-looking bridge was safe – and given their past history of funky bridges at that location, who could blame them.

The highlight of the festivities was Jim Clark racing a team of four horses over it. Clark, who was profiled here earlier, was a key player in Santa Rosa’s early history and much admired as a horseman. “The bridge having been cleared, Mr. Clark drove his team at full speed across the bridge, but it did not effect it in the slightest degree.”

A couple of weeks later, however, there was a sign on the bridge warning anyone riding faster than a walk would be fined $20 (equivalent to about $500 today). “It is a common habit to drive across at full speed to the detriment of the bridge,” the paper reported, so maybe they still weren’t certain it was safe.

That iron bridge served Santa Rosa for about thirty years but not much about it appeared in the papers – nobody cares about bridges when they do their job. But come late 1905, it was decided to replace it. That was during a brief window when Santa Rosa was fielding all sorts of ideas to improve the town, including turning part of the creek into a water park. Alas, the 1906 earthquake knocked down all those wonderful plans (for more, see “SANTA ROSA’S FORGOTTEN FUTURE“).

Perhaps weakened further by the quake, it was deemed “dangerous” in 1907. “The old span wobbles much when a team passes over, and for some time heavy loads have been taken to the other bridges.” As it was being torn down, the Press Democrat told a charming story about how circus elephants needed to ford the creek instead, then decided they liked being in the water so much they wouldn’t budge:

A little boy remarked to another yesterday that when the circus comes the elephants will not be able to cross. The other reminded him that they hadn’t crossed there last year, either. “They didn’t try it,” he said. “If they had, I guess the fellers would a’ had to buy new elephants, ’cause the bridge wasn’t strong enough, and they’d all been killed.” Last year the elephants forded the creek at Davis street, and the drivers had a “time” in getting them to leave their wallowing in the bed of the creek.

The City Council authorized construction of a new steel bridge with a concrete deck and the iron bridge was dismantled in August, 1907. By the end of the year the new bridge was open, but not before the driver of a large touring car with four passengers ignored the warning lanterns and almost pitched the auto into the creek.

The arches from the iron bridge were stored for a couple of years, then were repurposed to be the bridge over Pierson street. That bridge has subsequently been replaced, and the arches are presumably lost.

The steel bridge built in 1907, often called the iron bridge in error. Image: Sonoma County Library
The steel bridge built in 1907, often called the iron bridge in error. Image: Sonoma County Library

Snapping back to our modern day, Santa Rosa has grand plans to transform the downtown area, outlined in the current draft of the Downtown Station Area Specific Plan. (If you’re interested at all in this topic, I suggest downloading that PDF – I had a devil of a time finding it on the city’s website, and I don’t trust staff not to move it somewhere else.)

Top priority is adding thousands of housing units “to satisfy unmet demand,” in spite of the major obstacles to constructing tall, high density buildings in the downtown area – inadequate parking, earthquake risk (an active fault line blocks away) and lack of services (no place to buy an apple or an aspirin, as there are no grocery stores or pharmacies around there). The document also calls for the city hall complex to be moved and the site developed for housing, with the portion of Santa Rosa Creek now hidden in a culvert to be daylighted and restored.

When (if) that happens, the existing roadway must be changed from a graded surface street into a bridge – and that would give Santa Rosa a unique opportunity to acknowledge our past by making it a replica of the historic Iron Bridge.

Until it was hidden in its culvert about 55 years ago, this section of Santa Rosa Creek was the most popular stretch of the waterway, being easily accessible and close to Courthouse Square. Now so long buried it’s been completely forgotten; if the city really wants to draw attention to the very existence of the creek beneath, it needs to make a dramatic statement.

LonLasOgwen1(RIGHT: The replica Lôn Las Ogwen bridge in Wales. Photo: The Happy Pontist)

My proposal is NOT to construct an actual “bowstring” bridge but to artistically add fake arches to either side. Many communities have similarly made faux arches in honor of demolished old bridges, some versions even modernist (examples here and here) if that’s what the artistic set deems appropriate.

When it comes to all things concerning the creeks, the city document defers to the “Creeks Master Plan” (another difficult to find PDF you might want to download). Although it discusses trail bridges at length – and nothing wrong with that – only a short section on pg. 19 deals with vehicular bridges, which is the way that most of us interact with the creeks on any basis.

By my rough count there are at least forty bridges over Santa Rosa, Matanzas, Paulin and Spring creeks. Some are no more than culverts, of course, but I imagine there are at least 25 that are recognizable bridges, with railings and a potential overlook.

While full creek restorations and building trail footbridges are going to be expensive long-term tasks, Santa Rosa could begin by drawing more attention to its creeks without spending all that much. Larger and better signage on the bridges would be a good start; railings could be painted in a distinctive color – or even better, swapped out for more picturesque see-through guardrails, such as seen in the Welsh example.

Anyone who’s read this journal over the years knows that Santa Rosa’s great folly is its failure to define itself. Just before the 1906 earthquake it dreamed of becoming a great tourist destination, attracting state and even national conventions; after the Golden Gate Bridge was built it was hoped that it would become the northern metropolis of the Bay Area, on par with San Jose or Oakland. It has tried parasitically attaching itself to Luther Burbank and Charles Schulz; its Chamber of Commerce has called Santa Rosa the “Gateway to the Redwood Empire,” “The City Designed for Living,” and in the worst $80,000 ever spent, paid experts to come up with idiotic motto, “California Cornucopia.”

Santa Rosa’s greatest asset has always been what it has most ignored and abused – its nearly 100 miles of waterways. Let’s do something to remember the Iron Bridge and paint the other railings while we’re waiting for the city to get around to building trails around the restored creeks. And while that’s underway, let’s ditch the silly slogans and call this place what it really is: “Santa Rosa, a City of Bridges.” Works for me.


* The Democrat identified the bridge as “Z. King’s Patent Wrought Iron Tubular Arch Bridge,” technically better known as a bowstring-arch bridge. A Google search will turn up a surprising number of academic papers explaining the mechanics behind these structures and the Wikipedia page has a good overview of how they work along with photos of various examples.

Top photo credit: “Santa Rosa, California in Vintage Postcards” by Bob and Kay Voliva

 

sources

 

THE BRIDGE QUESTION.
...As neither party claims it, and neither regards it as property, then we must find some other solution of the dispute.

It — the bridge — must be treated, not as property, but as a burden to be borne by the party legally responsible for It.

The facts as shown by the submission are substantially as follows:

The bridge was built by the plaintiff before the incorporation of the defendant, out of the county funds, at a cost of $2,875, prior to the 23d day of March, 1872, and is on what was then a county road, mainly traveled, leading from Petaluma to Healdsburg. That up to the present time this road, not included within the city limits, is a public county road, and no order has ever been made abandoning any part of it. That the county has continuously repaired all that portion outside of the city limits, but has not repaired that portion inside the city limits, since the 28th of March, 1872. That the town of Santa Rosa was incorporated under the general laws for the incorporation of towns on the 23d day of February, 1867, and lay north of, and did not include Santa Rosa creek or any part of the bridge. That on the 28th day of March, 1872, the said town was reincorporated as the city of Santa Rosa by special act, which extended the limits north of the creek and bridge three quarters of a mile, and south one quarter of a mile, including said creek and bridge. That the defendant, the city of Santa Rosa, is now, and has been, fully organized since its reincorporation, with full set of officers, including a Board of Trustees. That the portion of thoroughfare from the southern limits of the city to the bridge, formerly a portion of the county road, is known now, and was designated by the trustees as “Santa Rosa Avenue,” and has been, as well as other portions of the same road, inside the city limits, continuously worked on and kept in repairs by the city since its reincorporation. That said bridge stands in the middle of, and connects “Santa Rosa Avenue” and the thoroughfare from the creek to Mendocino street. Since the reincorporation, the city has repaired the bridge under protest.

The land on both sides of the avenue, and also on both sides of the thoroughfare to Mendocino street, has been laid out into lots and streets, approaching at right angles.

Santa Rosa creek is 138 feet wide, and is not a navigable stream.

The business portion of the city is north of the creek; on the south, it is occupied by business men for residences. The bridge is the only thoroughfare across said creek, connecting the north and south portions of the city, and is constantly used by the people in traveling to and fro…

…1. My conclusions are, that the county has no control over, or connection with the bridge, and it is not its duty to repair or rebuild the same.

2. That the bridge is under the control of the City of Santa Rosa, and if the same is to be repaired or rebuilt, it must be done by it.

3. That this Court has no power to issue a mandate to the city authorities requiring it to repair or rebuild said bridge, in the absence of proof that the city has money applicable to such purposes. Let judgment be entered accordingly.
Wm. C. Wallace,
Sept 8, 1875.
District Judge.

– Daily Democrat, September 16 1875

 

Positively Unsafe.

We are informed by Mr. R. Higgins, agent for the contractors for the new iron bridge over Santa Rosa creek, that the old bridge is now positively unsafe for crossing. Mr. Higgins says he will make it so that it will be safe for pedestrians to cross in a day or two, but that no vehicle can cross it without the greatest danger. Those desiring to cross the creek in vehicles, will have to pass over the bridge on the Sebastopol road, near the depot.

– Sonoma Democrat, December 8 1875

 

Iron Bridge.

We think our City Fathers have acted wisely in the adoption of a plan for an iron bridge over Santa Rosa creek. From what we can learn the cost will be but a trifle more than a wooden Howe Truss Bridge, taking all things into consideration, The plan adopted is one of the King Bridge Company’s circle arch, whose principal offices are in Cleveland, Ohio, and in Topeka, Kansas. Mr. Higgins their agent on this coast is now in the city and has already telegraphed to Mr. King to forward the bridge with all dispatch, and he says there is no unnecessary delay he will have it up ready for use within 60 or 65 days, this being their first bridge on this coast Mr. Higgins says they are going to give us a first-class Job, with a few extras thrown in, as they are going to make it their advertising bridge on the Pacific and establish an agency here…

– Sonoma Democrat, December 8 1875

 

A City of Bridges.

Before the season is over Santa Rosa will be entitled to the name of the city of bridges. A splendid iron bridge will span the creek at the crossing of Main street. It will be the first iron and the handsomest bridge of its size in the State. A wooden bridge is in course of construction at the crossing of D street to connect with Sonoma avenue. This will be a handsome structure. But the most unique and neatest bridge will be a short distance further up the creek, at the crossing of Second street, connecting with an avenue laid out on the opposite side of Santa Rosa creek, parallel with Sonoma avenue. This will be a wire suspension bridge of a light and elegant pattern. All these bridges have been contracted for and two of them are now under way. We learn that the spring beyond the reservoir, known as the Tarwater spring has been sold and the property is to be improved. The opening up of the section, on the opposite side of the creek is one of the most important improvements ever undertaken in this city. It has been here ofore [sic] unnoticed on account of its inaccessibility. The building of these bridges will put it within a few minutes walk of the centre of the town.

– Sonoma Democrat, January 15 1876

 

Accident at the Bridge.

Saturday afternoon, at about six o’clock, an accident occurred at the iron bridge from the following cause: The men engaged in its construction are inexperienced hands and one of them had tied an insecure knot in one of the guys supporting the first arch. When the second arch was being hoisted into position this knot gave way, which allowed the standing arch to fall upon the one being raised, throwing it into the creek. The first arch fell upon the trestle work. The iron used in the bridge is wrought, and the only damage it sustained was in being slightly sprung, which can be easily remedied by blacksmiths. Mr. Higgins, the Superintendent of the work, was standing upon the trestle at the time the accident occurred, and jumped into the creek. In his fall he was struck upon the head by a piece of timber and rendered senseless. His right ankle was badly sprained and his system received a severe shock, however, his internal injuries are thought not to be serious. The accident will delay the construction of the bridge about one week. Geo. E. King, General Western Agent for the bridge, had arrived in Santa Rosa a short time previous to the accident and the work is going on under his supervision during Mr. Higgins’ illness.

– Daily Democrat, February 28 1876

 

Dimensions of the Iron Bridge.

“Can the Democrat give the cost, width, span and material of the bridge now being constructed across Santa Rosa creek, with the address of the contractors? And oblige bridge and other subscribers. John Knight. Sanel, Mendocino county.”

[ln reply to the above inquiry we will state that the cost of the iron bridge being constructed across Santa Rosa creek is $4,000; the width is 16 feet; span, 125 feet: the material used is rolled and hammered iron. For further information, address Geo. E King, Santa Rosa. —Eds. Democrat.]

– Sonoma Democrat, March 3 1876

 

THE NEW BRIDGE.

The new bridge across Santa Rosa creek was completed last Saturday in the forenoon. It was the same day formally turned over to the Board of City Trustees. The plan is what is known as Z. King’s Patent Wrought Iron Tubular Arch Bridge, manufactured by the King Iron Bridge Company, at Cleveland, Ohio. It consists of the arches, lower chords, upright posts and diagonal counter braces, and the bottom and overhead lateral bracing. The material used consists entirely of wrought iron, which is erected and trussed perfect in itself without any woodwork whatever. When the frame work of iron is complete then the pine flooring is laid. The length of the bridge is 125 feet, in one span, a carriage way 16 feet wide, and a footway five feet wide, on each side of the carriage way and outside of the supporting arches. The plan of the bridge seems to combine comparative lightness of material with strength and beauty. There are over three thousand of these bridges now in use in the Atlantic States, but to Santa Rosa belongs the credit of the first iron bridge west of the Rocky Mountains. The bridge is cheap and durable. Wherever used the company have certificates recommending them in the highest degree. We think the Trustees are entitled to the thanks of the community for the excellent judgment they displayed in the matter of the bridge across Santa Rosa creek.

– Sonoma Democrat, March 8 1876

Raising the Arches.

Contrary to general expectation, Sunday morning dawned dark and threatening, with the promise of a heavy storm. In view of this fact, Mr. King and Mr. Higgins determined to raise the arches of the iron bridge across Santa Rosa creek, notwithstanding it was Sunday. In the forenoon it commenced to drizzle, and by 1 o’clock it had settled in a steady and continuous fall of rain. In the midst of it the work of raising the arches of the bridge progressed with dispatch, and we are glad to say with no untoward accident to delay its progress or mar the beauty of the structure. Sunday morning, in view of the inevitable rise in the creek, the arches were in a very insecure position, They lay upon a temporary framework built in the bed of the stream and liable to be carried away by the high water. In which case the arches would have been thrown into the river. Mr. King determined to raise them and succeeded in doing so and securing them before dark by braces so that there was no danger from the water. The arches are very handsomely turned, and the bridge will be when completed, the only structure of the kind in California, and it will be the most ornamental bridge of its size in the State. Mr. Higgins, though lame from a fall, stood all day in the rain and assisted by giving directions to the men, who were mostly new in that kind of work. Sure enough, Monday morning the creek was booming, but over the frail under structure the iron arches rested secure upon their stone foundation.

– Sonoma Democrat, March 11 1876

 

THE IRON BRIDGE.
Formal Dedication of the King Bridge – Grand Turnout of the Citizens — The Band — Wine and Wit — Jim Clark the First to Cross — A dashing Four-in-Hand Team.

Saturday, March 11, 1876, will long be remembered as the day of the final completion and dedication to public use of the Santa Rosa iron bridge. In the forenoon the City Trustees were advised of the fact that the finishing touch had been given and at 2 p. m., a test of its strength with such force as could be improvised for the occasion would be made and that the “popping of bottles” would intersperse the exercises.

The Santa Rosa Band, ever ready to add to occasions for Santa Rosa, was out and discoursed soul stirring music as only the Santa Rosa Band can. J. P. Clark, the prince of drivers tendered his services and with his “coach and four” dashing horses conveyed the officers of the city […and city officials…] followed by the Band and a large number of citizens of the city and county in vehicles, horseback and afoot, arrived at the scene of the festivities. Mr. Clark drove his team immediately upon the bridge and was followed in close order by the band wagon and other vehicles and the people, everybody having the utmost confidence in the capacity of the bridge to stand the pressure.

After some delay Messrs. Downing, Rea & Rauscher, photograph artists of this city, from a position on the grounds of Mr. John Ingram, photographed the bridge.

The Band played and toasts were drank and after calls for the City Attorney Campbell, he responded in a few brief remarks as follows:

He thanked the City Fathers and those present who had conferred upon him the honor of responding to the grand occasion, but that as he had not expected to be assigned the position was illy prepared to do justice to the subject. He said, “We are here to-day to witness the formal opening and dedication of the new bridge and at the suggestion of his friend, Mr. Thornton, he would name it the ‘Santa Rosa Iron Bridge’ and who could look upon it now in its finished state without admiration. It had strength and beauty, and would stand for years as a monument to the genius and industry of its builders. It was as imperishable as time itself, and would not go down and dissolve even with the cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, but with the great globe itself. He said the City Fathers were here, and had witnessed the completion of this undertaking, and they could justly feel proud of what they had done. We are in the midst of a beautiful city, whose limits had recently been extended, with beautiful houses in the midst of beautiful yards filled with sweet scented flowers, and inhabited by the industrious mechanics, business and professional men, and fair and lovely women; and — God bless them! — they too were here to honor the ceremonies of this dedication. And we now have the finest bridge on the coast!

In concluding Mr. Campbell introduced Mr. George E. King, the architect and builder. Three rousing and hearty cheers were given for Mr. King, after which he responded as follows:

Mr. King thanked the people present for their manifestation of good will towards him personally; indeed he was proud to acknowledge that since his arrival in Santa Rosa he had received nothing but kindness and hospitality at the hands of the people, and he never could forget it. To-day, in looking over this assemblage of people who had come spontaneously to testify their appreciation of the bridge just completed, he could hardly find words to express his gratitude. He referred to the turnouts and fine horses here, and said they could not be excelled on this or any other coast. He gave a history of the iron bridge and the opposition it had met on Its first introduction, and said this was the first and only bridge of the kind on the coast, and that time would demonstrate that it was all that could be desired. The Band played several lively airs. Three cheers were given to Mr. Higgins, also to the City Trustees, the Santa Rosa Band and James P. Clark. The bridge having been cleared, Mr. Clark drove his team at full speed across the bridge, but it did not effect it in the slightest degree. The sparkling wine being exhausted, the merry crowd dispersed to their homes well pleased with what they had seen.

Mr. R. Higgins,the agent of the firm of King & Son, obtained the contract from the city and displayed great energy in making preparations for and in carrying on the work. Mr. George E. King, of the firm, arrived with the materials from Cleveland, and since then has superintended the work personally, and it is the universal opinion that the structure is complete in all its parts. This is the first and only iron bridge on the Pacific Coast, and Santa Rosa has reason to be proud of it.

– Sonoma Democrat, March 18 1876

 

The Iron Bridge.

Parties traveling over the new Iron Bridge will take notice there is a sign which calls for a fine of twenty dollars if they drive faster than a walk; and the city authorities say they are determined to carry out the law. We have been informed that it is a common habit to drive across at full speed to the detriment of the bridge.

– Sonoma Democrat, April 1 1876

 

What is the Name?

The street leading northerly from the plaza is called C or Mendocino street, at the option of the caller. The continuation of the same street on the south side of the plaza is called Main street as far as the iron bridge, and then, we believe, Santa Rosa Avenue. The two streets fronting the east and west sides of the plaza are called C street, Hinton Avenue, Commercial Row and perhaps by other names. This is calculated to bring about some confusion, and we hope the Mayor and Board of Aldermen will settle the name or names authoritatively, if it has not been done heretofore.

– Sonoma Democrat, April 22 1876

 

 

Fast Driving.

We learn that some persons continue to violate the ordinance forbidding fast driving or riding ever the iron bridge, and that the penalty will hereafter be strictly enforced.

– Sonoma Democrat, May 27 1876

 

BUSINESS TRANSACTED BY THE CITY COUNCILMEN

…City Engineer Ricksecker gave a verbal report on the three styles of bridges before the Council. The iron bridge, he said, was a strong, substantial structure, but the plans and specifications failed to provide any foundation of piles, stone or concrete. The re-inforced concrete bridge he considered as good, but not as ornamental as a solid stone structure. He recommended that the foundation be four feet under the water line instead of two feet. He suggested that the approaches might be made from the timber of the old bridge for temporary use, and fill in later from the street and lot gradings. Architect Willcox explained his plans for a re-inforced concrete bridge from street to street, with a driveway and walks on each side of the road. Mr. Willcox estimated the cost of the re-inforced concrete bridge at $9,200; re-inforced concrete bridge with stone facing $10,700; all stone bridge, $12,000. After further consideration the plans were adopted with the suggestions made by Engineer Ricksecker, and the clerk was instructed to advertise for a steel bridge in addition to the three kinds of bridges already named…

– Press Democrat, November 14 1905

 

AWARD CONTRACT FOR NEW BRIDGE ON MAIN STREET
A fine steel bridge, with concrete flooring is to take the place of the old iron structure on Main street, which has been adjudged dangerous for all but light loads….

– Press Democrat, April 10 1907

 

TEARING DOWN THE OLD BRIDGE
Main Street Bridge Being Removed to Make Way for New and Modern Structure Across Creek

Not many more travelers will pass over, and not much more water will flow under, the old iron bridge across Santa Rosa creek at Main street. Yesterday the workmen began to tear it down. The footpath on either side has been removed, and pedestrians must now keep in the middle of the road. The old span wobbles much when a team passes over, and for some time heavy loads have been taken to the other bridges.

A little boy remarked to another yesterday that when the circus comes the elephants will not be able to cross. The other reminded him that they hadn’t crossed there last year, either. “They didn’t try it,” he said. “If they had, I guess the fellers would a’ had to buy new elephants, ’cause the bridge wasn’t strong enough, and they’d all been killed.” Last year the elephants forded the creek at Davis street, and the drivers had a “time” in getting them to leave their wallowing in the bed of the creek.

The old bridge was built in 1877, [sic] and was regarded as a thing of beauty and a joy forever. It was a good bridge, too. But it has severed [sic] its purpose. The new steel bridge will require sixty days or thereabouts in its construction. Meanwhile, teams will go around, and foot-travelers will have a little plank bridge for their use.

– Press Democrat, August 22 1907

 

THE MUCH WANTED BRIDGE IS ORDERED

Contractor W. L. Call was awarded the contract to erect the bridge at the end of Pierson street across Santa Rosa Creek, by the Board of Supervisors on Thursday morning….The city donated the old Iron bridge that formerly stood on Main street and this will be reconstructed and shortened and will be just the thing…

– Press Democrat, January 8 1909

Read More

bogleheader

KILLER DOCTOR

The eyewitness heard the first shot and turned to look up the side street. He saw the doctor standing on the sidewalk and pointing his pistol at a man across a backyard fence as more shots were fired in rapid succession. The victim slumped to the ground while the doctor pocketed the gun and headed downtown. Someone who passed him thought he was whistling.

This unfortunate event happened on a cool April evening in 1900, near the corner of (modern day) Seventh and Mendocino. The shooter was Dr. Samuel S. Bogle, a 32 year-old physician who had been in Santa Rosa less than two years. The victim was James M. Miller, a Civil War veteran aged 60 who owned a paint and wallpaper store across from the courthouse.

Neighbors who heard the shots rushed to help Miller, carrying him into his house. “I’m done for, I’m done for,” Miller said. “Why should a man treat me like that after what I’ve done for him? If I get up out of this I’ll fix him.”

By this time, the eyewitness had reached the office of Dr. Jesse a couple of blocks away. When the doctor was told the shooting involved Bogle and Miller he presumed it was Bogle who had been shot – Miller had blabbing all over town that he was going to “fix” Bogle for not paying a bill.

(RIGHT: Dr. S. S. Bogle c. 1908)bogle1908

Meanwhile, Bogle had arrived at the sheriff’s office, where he went to surrender and turn over his gun. No deputies were present at the time so he gave himself up to the county jail’s cook. He also visited his lawyer (a former state senator) and by the end of the evening was arraigned and freed on $10,000 bail.

On the advice of his attorney Bogle didn’t speak to reporters, but the Press Democrat still cobbled together a story which was summarized by the San Francisco papers and wire services.

The PD wrote that Bogle passed Miller’s sideyard as he was walking downtown after supper. (Bogle and Miller were next door neighbors, a coincidence which had nothing to do with the bad blood between them.) Miller was outside and saw him. Insults were passed and Miller rushed toward the gate with a knife in his hand. Bogle pulled his gun and fired, striking Miller twice.

Dr. Jesse told the paper Miller was expected to survive. He had a flesh wound on a forearm and the other bullet hit the middle of his left hip, passing between the tail bone and top of the femur before exiting the other side above his groin.

But Dr. Jesse was wrong. Miller died three days later of peritonitis, the bullet having punctured his intestines. Bogle was rearrested and charged with murder.

miller1900(RIGHT: James M. Miller. San Francisco Call, April 29, 1900)

The dispute between Bogle and Miller began a week or more earlier. Before buying the paint store, Miller was the owner of the Santa Rosa Stables where Dr. Bogle frequently rented a horse and buggy to visit patients. Bogle had a charge account there, and Miller did not close the accounting book promptly after selling the business; by the time he got around to it, Dr. Bogle had treated the wife of one of Miller’s paint store employees. As the livery bill was about $20 and the medical bill was about $20, they agreed to call it even-stevens – Miller would just take the twenty out of the painter’s salary.

But before that happened the painter “lost his position,” which presumably meant Miller fired him. In Miller’s view, this meant Bogle now owed him the money, and he demanded it be paid at once.

Gentle Reader’s eyeballs are now probably rolled so far back that they risk being permanently stuck. “All of this was over a lousy TWENTY BUCKS?” Yes, but remember it was 1900 – the average worker’s paycheck was less than $13 a week, and the modern relative wage of that works out to about $2,200 today (see discussion).

When the case came to trial there was particular attention to confrontations and threats that took place before the shooting. Miller had said that there was someone he “would fill with lead if he did not pay his bill,” and he “would cut his —- — — —- heart out.” Miller also confessed the paint store wasn’t doing so well, which probably explained why he had to fire the painter and needed the $20 so badly.

A couple of days earlier, the two men bumped into each other at the corner of Fourth and Mendocino. Several witnesses overheard or saw the showdown. Miller, who everyone agreed cussed like a preacher’s son, called Dr. Bogle a “thieving —- — — ——” the PD reported in its trial coverage, the paper thoughtfully using lines of varying width so you could try to puzzle out the censored words. Another witness said Dr. Bogle replied: “If you say I am a —- — — —- you are a —- —- —- — — —-.” (Contest: Submit your best guesses!) Miller flashed a jack knife. Bogle whipped out a pen knife. They parted ways after a couple of minutes.

As they lived next to each other, Bogle later testified he hung back as Miller walked towards their neighborhood. He was watching as Miller turned the corner, apparently to enter his house via the side gate. A few minutes later, he said Miller was back out on Mendocino and heading downtown. Bogle told the court he assumed Miller had gone home to arm himself.

The next morning (now a day before the shooting) Miller was overheard to say, “if he does not pay it I will kill the G—d d-—n —- — — —.” Later in the day that person told Bogle what he had heard and the doctor replied, “All right, I’ll keep an eye open.”

Miller already had intimidated Bogle earlier that day, when he saw the doctor go into his old business, the Santa Rosa Stables, to rent a horse and buggy. Miller followed him in and began stalking back and forth at the front of the stable, looking angry and nervous. “I wish you would hurry,” Bogle urged the hostler. One of the owners came out from the back because he “thought there might be trouble.” When Bogle drove off in the buggy Miller also left.

The owners of the stable were old friends of Miller, and later in the day both had separate conversations with him. Miller – who was drinking heavily that day – wandered back to the barn, where one of them told Miller he was glad there wasn’t a confrontation with Bogle. Miller admitted he had followed the doctor “for the purpose of having trouble,” but didn’t want to cause a problem for the owners. Besides, he planned to “see Bogle later” and “hurt him.”

The other owner saw Miller coming out of a saloon and followed him. In a joking manner he asked Miller, “Are you fixed?” and frisked him. To his surprise, he felt a knife in Miller’s coat pocket. The friend told Miller he was a fool and should go home.

That night there was a final incident when Bogle passed Miller’s place. Bogle’s two year-old daughter ran down the sidewalk to greet him; taking her hand, they were walking up their steps when Miller came out of his house, screaming “I’ll fix you yet, you G—d d—-n —- — — —-. I’ll fix you yet.”

“Illustrated Portfolio of Santa Rosa and Vicinity,” 1909
“Illustrated Portfolio of Santa Rosa and Vicinity,” 1909

The Press Democrat’s coverage of Bogle’s trial was excellent – as was typical of the newspaper’s court reporting in that era – but the San Francisco papers lost interest and only ran terse summaries. After the initial report about the knife-wielding lunatic charging at the good doctor, it seemed obvious Bogle would be found innocent on account of self defense.

And yes, the jury found him not guilty – but only after deliberating over three hours and taking nine votes. One or more jurors held out for a manslaughter conviction until it was past midnight. But if the case really was so cut-and-dried, why was there any doubt?

Because there was no evidence that Miller had actually done anything to harm Bogle, including attempted assault. Yes, he was foul-mouthed, had frequently made colorful threats and physically tried to intimidate the doctor, but there were no acts of violence.

Ah (you pipe up), what about the attack that led to him being shot? In the initial PD story, the paper stated: “…Brandishing a knife which he either already had in his hand or else hurriedly took from his pocket, Miller made a rapid step forward…”

During the trial it was shown that none of that was true. Miller was not holding a knife and was 10+ feet away, next to his back stairs. Either the reporter made this up or (more likely) the story was the fabricated consensus of the “knots of men gathered on the streets discussing the matter” who actually hadn’t witnessed anything.

When Miller was carried inside after the shooting his wife and others removed his clothes to examine his wounds. In his pocket was found some money, keys, and a small pocketknife. At the coroner’s inquest witnesses testified they saw no knife in Miller’s hand, although one believed “he saw the handle end of a knife.” The first neighbor on the scene testified he saw no weapon but Miller had a toothpick in his mouth, which the neighbor removed. It was solemnly entered as “People’s Exhibit, No. 1.”

Bogle himself never claimed there was a knife, but thought Miller had a gun behind his back. In his trial testimony, he said Miller came down his back stairs with his right hand in his pocket. Continuing his testimony, as reported in the PD:


As he reached the bottom of the steps he took his hand from his pocket and put both hands behind him. Continuing to advance he cried, “I’m going to fix you, you G—d d—-n — — — —, I’m going to fix you, and don’t you think I won’t!”

Bogle testified he told Miller to stay back.


“I don’t want to have any trouble with you,” he continued. Miller continued to advance, both hands still held behind his back. At that moment, witness testified, he heard two sharp, distinct clicks, resembling the cocking of a revolver. Hurriedly drawing his own pistol he fired four shots at Miller in rapid succession. At the fourth shot Miller sunk to the ground. As he fell, witness heard some metallic substance strike the stone pavement upon which he had been standing.

Looking up the street Bogle saw that the shots had drawn attention and he walked away, “knowing that assistance for Miller was therefore close at hand.”

There are several problems with this story, starting with Bogle’s view of whatever Miller was doing with his right hand, since Miller’s left side would have been facing the street. The nut of his defense was that he believed Miller palmed a gun in his completely unseen right hand, then hid that hand behind his back while deftly pivoting toward Bogle to completely conceal what he was holding. There’s some choreography to doing that, particularly while crazily screaming “God damn dash dash dash dash.”

Now we come to the shooting, and note Bogle said he fired four times, not three – although that doesn’t really matter. If Miller was advancing on him with both hands behind his back, how on earth could a bullet graze his forearm?

Mentioned only briefly at the trial was the course of the fatal bullet. The autopsy found it “ranged upward and forward” from the entry point of his left hip. In other words, Miller was either above Bogle (as he would have been if he were near the top of his steps), or below Bogle, having already fallen and lying on his side. Bogle was asked to explain the evidence and said he could not, but he had a “theory” which was not shared with the court.

Nor could Miller have begun advancing towards him, as he was found crumpled at the base of his steps.

And finally, Miller was lying on his side, with one of the stray bullets lodged in the stairs while a mark on the concrete sidewalk showed it was struck by another bullet. All of this suggests Bogle was firing downward – that Miller was already on the ground and slightly turned the other way when the fatal shot was fired into his hip. It was Bogle’s great good luck that no one happened to be close enough to witness that he shot an unarmed man in cold blood.

The Samuel S. Bogle story has both an epilogue and a personal postscript.

Dr. Bogle became quite a big cheese in Santa Rosa – this is the 20th article here that has mentioned him in some manner. He was county physician for ten years and head of the county hospital for 25 overall. “Sammy” was also a president of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce and was long on their board of directors.

The obl. Believe-it-or-Not! angle for this story is that he was also a well trained surgeon, and was probably the only physician in Santa Rosa who might have been able to save James M. Miller’s life.

It’s also worth considering that instead of self-defense, a more honest plea might have been temporary insanity. Bogle – who did not usually carry a gun and had brought his revolver home from his office the night before – was surely stressed out by the escalating threats and convinced Miller really would attack him. When Miller charged out the back door screaming murderously, Bogle might have felt empowered by the weapon in his pocket and blasted away in a panic.

As it turns out, the antihero of this journal, James Wyatt Oates, was a pioneer in the temporary insanity legal defense, having published an analysis, “Homicide and the Defense of Insanity.” He argued that courts should accept that the accused might irrationally (but honestly) believe circumstances forced him to kill – which fits the Bogle/Miller case like a glove. Oates’ paper was a significant intellectual work and can be found cited in law journals up to the 1940s. Oates, who lived on Tenth street at the time also saw the post-shooting commotion as he was walking home on Mendocino and joined in the effort to aid Miller. Oates was hired as co-counsel defending Bogle and was vigorous in cross-examinations. The two men became quite close and Dr. Bogle was one of the executors of Oates’ estate.

This tale of Miller’s 1900 killing is obscure stuff. Except for a few days of interest right after the shooting, little was mentioned in any newspaper until Bogle’s trial, and that was only well covered in the Santa Rosa papers for a couple of days. The story has never been written up by any other historian (as far as I can tell) even though I think Gentle Reader will agree that it’s a pretty interesting episode in Santa Rosa’s history.

I would not have learned about it if not for the late Neil Blazey, a fellow history spelunker who stumbled across an item on the killing while researching something else on microfilm and recognized it was a helluva unusual story.

Over the years Neil tipped me off to other gems, particularly the sad tale of the bigamist’s second widow. He had a strong science background and we debated far-flung topics such as whether it might be possible for “Historical Human Remains Detection Dogs” to find bodies buried for 170 years, how many gold coins could be realistically transported in a 22.5 horsepower runabout, and whether the post-earthquake fire in 1906 was hot enough to break down lime-based mortar into fragile quicklime. He will always be greatly missed.

Dr. Samuel Saffell Bogle (1867-1941) Image courtesy Sonoma County L:ibrary
Dr. Samuel Saffell Bogle (1867-1941) Image courtesy Sonoma County L:ibrary

 

sources

STARTLING AFFAIR
J. M. Miller Shot By Dr. S. S. Bogle
WOUNDS NOT FATAL
The Result of a Disagreement Over Money Matters
Three Shots Fired at Close Range Two of Which Took Effect – Trouble Had Been Brewing for Several Days

Last night shortly before 7 o’clock residents in the neighborhood of Mendocino and Johnson streets were startled by the loud report of three pistol shots which suddenly rang out upon the cool evening air.

A crowd hurriedly congregated and it was ascertained that as the result of trouble growing out of a discussion concerning money matters Dr. S. S. Bogle, the well known local physician, had shot and badly wounded J. M. Miller, the paint and oil dealer, whose place of business is situated on Hinton avenue a few doors south of the express office.

The shooting occurred near the corner of Johnson and Mendocino streets, not far from the Presbyterian church, Miller being at the time in his back yard and tho physician standing on the sidewalk outside. The two gentlemen occupy residences adjoining but while Dr. Bogle’s residence fronts on Johnson street the Miller house faces Mendocino street and sides on Johnson.

Dr. Bogle had just finished his supper and was on his way down town. As he passed out of his front gate and started down Johnson street towards Mendocino Mr. Miller was standing on the narrow walk leading from the side gate to the house. Dr. Bogle made some remark, to which Miller replied in, a highly acrimonious manner, and referring to a topic which had been before under discussion he embellished his remarks with an insulting epithet. A few words back and forth followed the result which was according to Mr. Miller’s statement made later in the evening, a remark from Dr. Bogle to the effect that the matter might just as well be settled then as any time.

Brandishing a knife which he either already had in his hand or else hurriedly took from his pocket, Miller made a rapid step forward, whereupon the doctor quickly whipped a revolver from his pocket and fired three shots, two of which took effect, the third finding lodgment in the back steps of the Miller residence.

Attorney John T. Campbell, who lives three doors east of the scene of the affair, Colonel James W. Oates, who was passing down Mendocino street at the time, and J. L. Durivage were among the first on the scene. Carrying the injured man into the house. Dr. Jesse, whose office was only two blocks away, was hurriedly summoned, as was also Dr. Neal, and the wounds were given careful attention.

Dr. Bogle in the meantime had proceeded quietly to the sheriff’s office where he gave himself up. His attorney, Senator James C. Sims, being summoned a consultation followed, the result of which was that the doctor was later in the evening admitted to bail by Judge Brown in the sum of ten thousand dollars with Frank Koenig, Dr. J. W. Jesse, F. H. Newman and A. B. Lemmon as sureties.

While Dr. Bogle, acting upon the advice of his attorney, refused to be interviewed, and while a statement from Mr. Miller was necessarily difficult to obtain, it was ascertained that the cause of the trouble was about as follows: Up until a few months ago, when the place was purchased by Vanderhoof & Koenig, Mr. Miller conducted the Santa Rosa Stables. At tho time he sold out, Dr. Bogle owed him a bill amounting to about twenty dollars. The bill was not presented for some time, and in the meantime Miller had engaged in the paint and oil business. A man working for Miller at that time owed the doctor for professional services, and it was proposed and agreed that Miller should collect the amount from his man and thus square both accounts. A short time afterwards and before the matter had been adjusted, the painter lost his position. Miller thereupon came back on the doctor for the original bill. From this situation the discussion arose.

Miller is said to have been quite vindictive in his actions regarding the matter. The two men met a day or so ago on Fourth street and it is claimed that both drew their knives, but trouble was averted for the time being at least. The next time they met was last night, and while the misunderstanding as outlined is said to have been the starting point of the trouble, the real cause for the sensational outcome was of course the feeling engendered by the discussion.

George Felix, an employee of the California Northwestern railway, was an eye witness to the shooting. He was riding down Mendocino street on his wheel and was just in front of the Miller residence when the first shot was fired. Turning down Johnson street from whence the sound of the shooting proceeded, he says, he saw two more shots fired in rapid succession. At the time the second and third shots were fired the two men were about twelve or fifteen feet apart. One of the bullets was picked up later close to the gate where the two men first came together.

One ball struck Miller in the forearm, inflicting a flesh wound. The other ball entered midway between a line drawn from the articulatum of the sacrum and coccyx bones and the great trochanter of the femur, ranged upward and forward and passed out in the opposite groin.

At midnight it was learned at the Miller residence that the sufferer was resting easily at that time. Dr. Jesse had just called and Dr. Neal had left shortly before. Dr. Jesse said that he did not consider that Mr. Miller was in a dangerous condition. He had no fever then and gave evidence that his constitution was good.

The affair naturally created a great sensation. Ail evening knots of men gathered on the streets discussing the matter. The time of Dr. Bogle’s examination has not yet been set but he will probably be arraigned today, Assistant District Attorney Berry and Court Reporter H. A. Scott took Miller’s examination at a late hour last night as he lay in his bed.

Dr. Bogle came to Santa Rosa about a year and a half ago from Monterey where he enjoyed a large and remunerative practice. Since taking up his residence in this city he has made many friends. A number were early on hand last night with offers of assistance. Mr. Miler has resided here a number of years. For some time he was engaged in the carpet business, later he became the proprietor of the Santa Rosa stables, and several months ago he purchased the paint and oil store formerly conducted by J. E. Gannon on Hinton avenue.

– Press Democrat, April 28 1900

 

MILLER DIES AS THE RESULT OF HIS WOUND
Dr. Bogle, the Santa Rosa Physician, Held for Murder Without Bail.

SANTA ROSA. April 28.— James M. Miller, the Hinton avenue paint and wallpaper dealer who as the result of a misunderstanding over money matters was shot by Dr. S. S. Bogle in the back yard of his residence on Mendocino street Wednesday evening died this morning shortly after 11 o’clock of his wounds…

– San Francisco Call, April 29 1900

 

Coroner’s Jury Charges Dr. Bogle With Murder.
The Latter Was Rearrested and is Now Awaiting Trial on a Murder Charge – The Inquest.

The remains of J. M. Miller who was shot at Santa Rosa by Dr. S. S. Bogle, will be taken to San Francisco Tuesday morning to be cremated. Miller’s last request was that his body might be cremated. At 4 o’clock Monday afternoon funeral services were held at the Miller home, Rev. Wm. Martin and Rev. S. P. Whiting officiating.

The deceased was a Grand Army man and as soon aa his death was known Commander W. A. Dougherty of Ellsworth post ordered a guard of honor to stand watch at the Miller home. The body will be escorted to the train Tuesday morning by a Grand Army escort…

…Dr. Bogle, who shot Miller, is in jail charged with murder. As soon as Miller died the doctor, who was out on bonds of $10,000, was rearrested. He was charged by the coroner’s jury with having caused Miller’s death…

…The evidence at the coroner’s inquest indicated that Miller was shot while standing about ten feet from Bogle.

One witness who helped to carry the wounded man into his house testified that Miller said, “I’m done for, I’m done for. Why should a man treat me like that after what I’ve done for him. If I get up out of this I’ll fix him.”

Dr. Neal testified that from the manner of the wound Miller must have been in a stooping position when he was shot.

Several witnesses testified that they saw no knife in Miller’s hand but J. L. Durivage said that he saw the handle end of a knife in Miller’s right hand. When help came Miller was lying at the foot of the back stairs.

– Petaluma Argus-Courier, April 30, 1900

 

THE BOGLE TRIAL
Many Witnesses Were Examined on Thursday
Incidents of the Trial Before Judge Carroll Cook — Mrs. Miller One of the Witnesses

The case of the people of the State of California against Dr. S. S. Bogle came to trial in department two of the Superior Court Wednesday morning before Judge Carroll Cook of San Francisco, sitting for Judge Burnett.

[…jury selection…Oates calls for dismissal of charges…a map of the scene is presented by surveyor Smyth…]

…When he was excused D. B. Hart was the next witness called. Witness Hart stated that on the night of the shooting he came at the beckoning of Mrs. Miller to her residence, where he saw Mr. Miller lying on the ground near the back steps. He was moaning at the time. About the same time that he arrived Dr. Neal and Will R. Carithers, also came. The witness stated that he saw no deadly weapon on Miller, in fact he made no examination anyway. The witness produced a toothpick In court, which he testified he took from Miller’s mouth after the shooting.

The Hon. John Tyler Campbell who resides near the Miller residence, testified that he was dining on the night in question when he heard either three or four shots. He came to the front of the house and then J. L. Durivage called to him that some one had been hurt. He saw Mr. Miller being carried to the house. The witness was also asked questions concerning the location of place of the shooting and the view thereof from the place where he was standing.

Eugene Fisher, who now resides at San Rafael and who was formerly employed as cook at the county jail, testified that after the shooting Dr. Bogle came to the jail to give himself up to the officers. He left a pistol (produced by the district attorney) with the witness. The pistol was then admitted in evidence and was marked “People’s Exhibit, No. 2,” the toothpick produced by the witness Hart having been marked “People’s Exhibit, No. 1.” Court then adjourned for the noon recess.

The first witness called at the afternoon session was Dr. J. W. Jesse. Being summoned a few moments after the shooting, he found Mr. Miller lying upon the couch to which he had been carried. Investigation developed the fact that he was suffering from the effect of two gunshot wounds. One was in the right arm, the bullet having entered at a point about half way between the wrist and the elbow, coming out just behind the elbow joint. The other bullet had entered about the middle of the left hip, penetrated the intestines, and came out on the other side of the stomach just above the groin. Death resulted, in the opinion of the witness, from peritonitis. caused by the wound last mentioned. After further testimony of a professional nature, the witness was excused.

Dr. William Finlaw was the next witness. Together with Dr. Jesse be had performed the autopsy held a short time after Mr. Miller’s death. He examined the wound made by the bullet entering the hip, but not the other one. In his opinion death resulted from peritonitis, caused by inflammation resulting from the wound described.

W. R. Carithers was then called. While on his way home on the evening of the shooting he had been attracted by people running towards the Miller house. Witness was then just [a]cross from the Miller residence, on Mendocino street. Hurrying across the street he found Mrs. Miller [s]tanding at her front gate. She told him to go to the rear of the house. There he found Mr. Miller lying with his head on the lower back step. He assisted in carrying the injured man into the house and in removing his clothing. He did not know what the pockets of his clothing contained. He had heard either three or four shots fired, hut was not certain which.

Mrs. J. H. Barrickio was called and sworn. She resides next door to the Bogle residence on Johnson street. On the evening of April 25 she heard four shots fired. Rushing to the window and looking in the direction from which the sound came she saw Dr. Bogle standing on the sidewalk at a point about opposite the fence dividing the Miller and Bogle lots. She illustrated the time elapsing between the different shots and after [s]ome further testimony was excused.

Clinton Demmer, being called, took the stand. On the evening of the shooting he was standing in front of his father’s store on Mendocino street, about a block from the Miller residence. Hearing four pistol shots he started in their direction. In front of the Riley residence he passed Dr. Bogle on his way toward the courthouse, also another man going in the opposite direction. Arriving at Mr. Millers side gate he found several persons assembled there. Mr. Hart, who lives opposite, was just entering the house by the rear door. Witness described but not very minutely, several bullet marks he noticed in the neighborhood of the steps. When he passed Dr. Bogle some one was whistling, but witness was not sure whether it was Dr. Bogle or the other gentleman referred to.

Thomas Bonner was sworn and gave the result of certain investigations made yesterday as to the positions on Mendocino street from which two men standing in the rear of the Miller residence on Johnson street could be seen.

Mrs. J. M. Miller, wife of the deceased, next took the stand. After identifying a map showing the relative location of the Miller and the Bogle residences she testified that on the evening of April 25 she and her husband had supper about 6 o’clock. Mr. Miller started down town, going out the back door and down the back steps. A few moments later witness heard four shots fired. Rushing out the back door she found her husband lying on his side on the lower steps. She did not see Dr. Bogle. Running around the house the other way she made her way to the front gate. She saw Dr. Neal passing and motioned to him to come in. Mr. Miller was carried into the house and his clothes were removed. From the pockets of his clothing she took a note book. $15 in gold, three dollars and some cents in silver, a knife and some keys. The knife, a small pocket affair, was identified and placed in evidence. In response to a question from the district attorney, Mrs. Miller testified that at the time of the shooting her husband did not have a pistol upon his person.

Newton V. V. Smyth, the surveyor, was next called. He had at the request of the defense examined the location of the Miller and Bogle residences and told the jury of the height of the buildings, steps, etc.

Clinton Demmer, being recalled, told of having found a bullet mark on the cement walk leading from Miller’s side gate to the back steps. He was not sure as to the exact location of the mark.

At the conclusion of young Demmer’s testimony court adjourned until Friday morning at 10 o’clock.

 

MUCH EVIDENCE IN
Very Strong Testimony At Dr. Bogle’s Trial
The Court and Jury Taken to View the Scene of the Shooting on Johnson Street

At the opening of the proceedings of the case yesterday Mrs. J. M. Miller, the widow, was recalled by the prosecution to the witness stand. The main purpose of her additional testimony was to identify her deceased husband’s clothes.

C. D. McDuffy was the next witness called. On the night of the shooting he was sitting in his buggy on Johnson street near the Durivage home. He heard the shots fired and so far as he knew there were three. If there was a fourth shot fired he did not hear it. He did not see the shooting.

The witness saw a man standing on or near the sidewalk outside the Miller residence near the gate. He afterwards learned that the man he saw was Dr. Bogle. The Doctor was standing with his face turned partly towards the Miller residence. The witness staled that he took no interest in the shots until he learned that some one had been hurt and did not get out of his buggy for several minutes.

George Felix, who is employed on the California Northwestern, was the next witness called. He was probably the only eye-witness to the shooting. He testified that on the night in question he was riding his bicycle on Mendocino street and that he got off near the corner on Johnson street. He looked up Johnson street and saw Dr. Bogle standing on the sidewalk outside of the Miller residence and also saw Mr. Miller standing at the corner of his residence near the back stairs. He saw Dr. Bogle put his hand in his pocket for his pistol which he raised and fired at Mr. Miller. Miller had his hands down at the time, as far as he could see, and after the third shot he fell, the witness testified. After the occurrence he (the witness) jumped on his wheel and went for Dr. Jesse.

During the cross-examination of the witness Felix by Attorney Ware, he was asked a number of questions to make certain the statement he made on direct examination that he was off his wheel when the first shot was fired and was looking up Johnson street at the two men. The witness’ testimony at the preliminary examination was read to him. At the preliminary hearing he testified that it was hard for a person to measure distances while on a bicycle. The witness yesterday claimed while he was on the stand that he was pretty certain that he was off his bicycle when the first shot was fired.

Upon further cross-examination by Mr. Ware the witness testified that he did not see either of Mr. Miller’s hands when the first shot was fired. He further testified that when Mr. Miller staggered back Dr. Bogle ceased firing and put the revolver in his back pocket. The witness was asked many more questions as to distances and as to his testimony given at the hearing before the magistrate. His answers differed from his previous testimony in some points. When the witness was excused, District Attorney Webber announced that the case for the people was rested.

Attorney Ware then made the opening statement for the defense. He told the jury that they proposed to lift the curtain over Dr. Bogle’s life and would show his record and that they expected to show by the best men in Monterey and Sonoma counties and other places that his character for peace and quietude had been irreproachable. Counsel proceeded to point out that the defense would show that trouble over a bill was what led up to the unfortunate affair and he detailed some of the circumstances in connection therewith.

The defense expected to show. Mr. Ware said, that Miller had openly stated that if Dr. Bogle did not pay the bill that he would kill him. Further they would show that this threat had been communicated to Dr. Bogle by a gentleman who would be called as a witness. Counsel stated that the defense would show that similar threats had been made by Miller at different times and that Dr. Bogle had been warned of them. They would show that Miller had followed Dr. Bogle around and that the Doctor had tried to avoid him. They would show that a few days before the unfortunate occurrence the two men met on the public street and that after Mr. Miller had used some harsh words in talking with Dr. Bogle that he drew a knife upon him.

After outlining the course to be pursued by the defense. Attorney Ware turned to the events of the night of the shooting. He said the defense expected to show that Miller directed an epithet at Bogle and threatened to kill him and that he (Miller) reached for his pistol pocket and advanced towards Bogle and that Dr. Bogle, mindful of the threats made upon his life, shot Mr. Miller.

R. W. Moore was the first witness called for the defense. He is the man with whom the bill over which the trouble occurred originated. Dr. Bogle attended Mr. Moore’s wife during her illness. Moore at the time was employed by Mr. Miller and between the three an agreement was reached as to the payment of the bill.

Judge Cook, however, would not allow the details concerning the bi!l to go in evidence. He, however, permitted Mr. Moore to testify that there had been an agreement regarding the bill between himself and Mr. Miller and Dr. Bogle. The witness was then excused.

At this juncture Colonel Oates, of counsel for the defense arose and asked the court to permit the jury to go with an officer to view the premises where the shooting occurred.

His Honor said that he thought the case was one where such a course would be perfectly proper. An adjournment was taken and the judge, defendant, jury and bailiffs, court reporter, clerk, counsel on both aides, composing tbs entire court, proceeded down Mendocino street to Johnson street. At the suggestion of counsel Judge Cook acted as guide and pointed out the various places referred to in the case, including the Miller, Bogle, Barrickio, Campbell and Durivage residences, the fences, foliage, etc. The jury also viewed the places from the different points suggested in the evidence they had heard. After this the court and Jury returned to the court room and the noon adjournment was taken.

Ney L. Donovan was the first witness called at the afternoon session. Being duly sworn he stated that the evening of April 23, two days prior to the shooting, he had been attracted by loud talking at the corner of Fourth and Mendocino streets. Dr. Bogle and Mr. Miller were doing the talking. Mr. Miller had a knife in his hand, a pocket knife, and he held it with the blade partially up his sleeve. The first words the witness heard were spoken by Mr. Miller. He called Dr. Bogle a “thieving — — — —-.” Miller was greatly excited. His manner was aggressive. Dr. Bogle was also excited. Dr. Bogle stepped back, however, and told Miller to put up his knife. Witness remained in the neighborhood until the two men parted. Dr. Bogle crossed the street, and Mr. Miller made his way up Mendocino street. The meeting described occurred about opposite Claypool’s tailor shop on Mendocino street. Miller afterwards returned.

Upon cross-examination the witness stated he was positive he had seen the knife in Mr. Miller’s hand. If he was whittling anything at the time witness did not notice it. Witness admitted that Dr. Bogle had a knife in his hand later, but he did not consider Dr. Bogle’s actions aggressive. Mr. Miller on the contrary was quite so. He made one move toward Dr. Bogle at least and the latter stepped back. Witness did not see Mr. Miller take the knife out of his pocket. He had it in his hand when witness arrived upon the scene. Mr. Miller did not raise the hand in which he held the knife, but the movement referred to was one of the whole body. Witness stoutly maintained that in his opinion Mr. Miller was the aggressor.

S. B. Claypool was then called. On Monday evening, April 23, between the hours of 6 and 7, while preparing to close his place of business, he saw Miller and Bogle engaged in a discussion on Mendocino street. Miller made the remark “You are a — thief.” To this Dr. Bogle replied that he was not a thief. One word led to another, several hard names were called, and Dr. Bogle said. “Put up your knife.” This was the first time witness had noticed the knife in Miller’s hand. Both men were excited. but Miller the more so. In witness’ opinion Miller was the aggressor. Dr. Bogle told Mr. Miller to put up the knife at least once before he took his own knife, a small pen knife, from out his vest pocket.

Upon cross-examination witness admitted that both men had engaged in the exchange of verbal compliments. He did not see Miller draw his knife — it was already in his hand when he noticed it.

Upon re-direct examination witness stated that Miller’s knife was a jack knife, the blade open being about three or three and a half inches long. Miller held the knife in his hand with the blade pointing backward and upward.

Walter V. Middleton was called. He conducts a saloon at the corner of Fourth and Mendocino streets. A couple of days before the shooting he saw Miller and Bogle together near his place of business. Mr. Miller angry and was abusing Dr. Bogle. Mr. Miller called the Doctor a thief and several other hard names. To one Dr. Bogle replied: “If you say I am a — — — — you are a — — — — — —.” Miller had a knife in his hand. Witness could not remember in which hand Miller held the knife. Both men were angry. Witness also saw a small pen knife in Bogle’s hand. Miller’s knife was a good-sized pocket knife.

Upon cross-examination witness admitted that he had not seen Miller make any motion to strike Bogle.

Gene Ross was called and sworn. He was in this city on the evening of April 23, and saw the meeting described by the previous witnesses. Witness heard Dr. Bogle say that Miller had a knife in his hand. At the time Bogle’s hands were empty. Bogle took his knife from his pocket later on. Miller was angry and made a move forward, at which Bogle stepped back. Miller held his knife with the blade pointed backward The two men confronted each other probably two minutes or so.

Upon cross-examination witness slated that he did not think Dr. Bogle was much excited. He did not see Miller make any attempt to strike Bogle. He made a movement forward however, at which Bogle jumped back and took his own knife from his pocket.

Dr. C. W. Reed, the dentist, was called. His offices are in the Masonic block, a few doors from Mr. Miller’s then place of business on Hinton avenue. On a certain occasion he went into Miller’s store to see about paying a bill. Miller during the visit said that Dr. Bogle owed him a bill and “if he does not pay it I will kill the G—d d-—n — — — —.” Later in Bernstein’s cigarstore. he told Dr. Bogle of the circumstance and warned him to “look out” for Miller. Thornton Preston, witness thought, was present and had heard him tell Dr. Bogle this.

Upon cross-examination witness stated that when he told Dr. Bogle of Miller’s actions the physician replied, “All right, I’ll keep an eye open.” The conversation with Miller occurred on the morning of April 24. as near as he witness could remember.

Thornton Preston, a clerk in Bernstein’s cigar store, next took the stand. He corroborated the testimony of the previous witness to the effect that he (Reed) had warned Dr. Bogle to “look out for” Miller, and had related to him the circumstance of his visit to Miller’s store and the conversation there had. To this Bogle replied that he would keep his eyes open.

Upon cross-examination witness was not positive of the date of this occurrence but was of the opinion that it look place a day or two before the meeting on Mendocino street described by the previous witnesses.

M. V. Vanderhoof took the stand. He described a meeting that occurred between Dr. Bogle and Mr. Miller in the Vanderhoof and Koenig stables the day before the shooting. Dr. Bogle came in to get a horse and buggy. Miller also came in. While the rig was being hitched up Dr. Bogle said to the hostler. “I wish you would hurry.” Miller was walking up and down in the front part of the stable and appeared nervous. Witness was first in the rear of the stable, but came up front because he “thought there might be trouble.” Dr. Bogle got in the buggy and drove out. Miller also went out.

Later in the day Mr. Miller came into the barn again. Witness then congratulated Mr. Miller upon the fact that he had not had any trouble with Bogle that morning. Miller replied that he also was glad, because he had come into the barn “for the purpose of having trouble,” but out of regard for witness and his partner (Frank Koenig) he had refrained. He said he Would “see Bogle later.” however, and would “hurt him.”

Upon cross-examination witness admitted that there was nothing unusual in a physician entering a livery stable and calling for a horse and buggy in a hurry. He did not see Miller make any threatening moves. Witness reiterated his statement, however, that he had come from the back of the stable because he anticipated trouble, knowing that the men had had trouble the night before.

Frank Koenig was called and corroborated the testimony of the previous witness regarding the occurrence in the livery stable. Later in the day. witness stated, he saw Miller coming out of Orr & Stump’s saloon. He crossed the street and entered Fine’s butcher shop. Witness, knowing Miller very intimately, followed into the butcher shop and began to “josh” him. “Are you fixed?” he asked. Placing his hands on Miller’s sides, he felt a knife in Miller’s outside coat pocket. Witness then drew back, and told Miller he was a fool and had better go home. Miller laughed, shrugged his shoulders and said nothing.

Koenig’s cross-examination was very brief. He was asked whether or not he had ever seen Mr. Miller threaten Dr. Bogle and replied In the negative.

Thomas Bonner being called to the stand, testified to having seen Mr. Miller walking up and down in front of Vanderhoof & Koenig’s livery stable on the day mentioned. Witness had intended talking life insurance to Mr. Miller, but when he saw him decided not to do so and did not even speak to him. The reason witness changed his mind was because whoa he got close to him he saw that Miller appeared angry. Witness had known Miller very well for several years but never knew or heard until after the homicide that he had a crippled hand. After a brief cross-examination witness was excused and court adjourned to 1 o’clock this morning. It is hardly likely the case will be concluded before Monday night.

– Press Democrat, September 22 1900

 

BOGLE NOT GUILTY
Verdict Rendered at Midnight
THE TRIAL ENDED
The Jury Deliberated Three Hours and a Quarter
A Big Crowd Listens to the Brilliant Arguments Node by Counsel on Monday

Saturday was an interesting day in the trial of the state against Dr. S. S. Bogle, which was resumed at 10 o’clock in the morning before Judge Carroll Cook. Dr. C. W. Reed, the dentist, was the first witness called. He was asked a question by District Attorney Webber as to whether he had made a statement regarding the trouble between Bogle and Miller. The Doctor replied that he had said that Miller had said that he would kill Bogle.

City Surveyor L. E. Ricksecker was the next witness called for the defense. He was asked by Colonel Oates if Dr. Bogle had ever been to see him regarding his trouble with Miller. Mr. Ricksecker replied that the Doctor came to him and begged him to see Miller and get him to arbitrate the matter. He (the witness) unfortunately was not able to see Miller.

A. J. Wheeler was called and related a conversation he had with Mr. Miller a short time before the shooting. At that time Miller told him that business was not satisfactory but that it would be better if some of those persons who owed bills and did not pay them “were plunked full of lead.” He further stated that there was one man in particular whom he “would fill with lead if he did not pay his bill.”

George F. King, the Fourth street grocer. testified that he had a conversation with Mr. Miller in his store in which Miller related his trouble with Bogle. Miller then threatened that he would kill Dr. Bogle.

Oscar McNally, employed at Frank Koenig’s livery stable, was called. He testified that on one occasion Mr. Miller was following another man across the street whom he thought was Dr. Bogle. The witness testified that he heard Mr. Miller make a threat against Dr. Bogle, saying that he “would cut his — — — — heart out.”

Dr. J. W. Jesse was recalled by the defense. He testified that when George Felix rode up to him and informed him of the shooting he (Felix) stated that Miller had killed Dr. Bogle, and that when he (Dr. Jesse) started for the house he expected that he was going to see Dr. Bogle. The Doctor further testified that Dr. Bogle had consulted him about his trouble with Mr. Miller and he (the witness) believed that he had on one occasion advised Dr. Bogle to put Mr. Miller under bonds. Dr. Jesse further testified that Dr. Bogle’s “reputation for peace and quietness” prior to April 25, in the community was good.

M. J. Striening of the Santa Rosa Bank was called and also testified that Dr. Bogle’s reputation for peace and quietness was good.

W. F. Wines, assistant cashier of the Exchange Bank, testified that Dr. Bogle’s reputation was good.

F. H. Newman, the druggist, whose place of business is on the corner of Fourth and Mendocino streets, testified that he had known Dr. Bogle, both in Monterey and Santa Rosa for many years. His reputation for peacefulness and quietness was very good in both places.

Other character witnesses were W. H. Pool, Allen B. Lemmon, Supervisor T. J. Field of Monterey county, all of whom testified that the defendant had enjoyed a good reputation. The district attorney asked each character witness whether or not he was a member of the same fraternal order to which Dr. Bogle belonged.

Witness Field in reply to the district attorney, stated he had never heard of Dr. Bogle being connected with an election scandal in Monterey but that he had been one of many citizens who had assisted in probing an election scandal.

Dr. O. S. Trimmer, president of the board of trustees of Pacific Grove, testified that he had known Dr. Bogle and that he had borne a good character. He testified that he had never heard of any one having taken a shot at Dr. Bogle.

R. F. Johnson, chairman of the board of trustees of Monterey, testified that Dr. Bogle’s reputation for peace and quiet was good. In reply to a question by Mr. Webber, the witness testified that he had not heard of Dr. Bogle having been mixed up in an election contest, neither had he heard of any one having taken a shot at him. The person whom the district attorney intimated had taken a shot at Dr. Bogle was named Selvay.

City Engineer W. C. Little of Pacific Grove testified that he knew Dr. Bogle’s reputation was good. H. C. Snodgrass of Pacific Grove, a retired Presbyterian minister, gave similar testimony.

At this stage of the proceedings Judge Carroll Cook, stated that as six people from Monterey had given character testimony that he thought that more witnesses from that section were unnecessary, as the district attorney was not going io introduce rebuttal testimony on the question of Dr. Bogle’s character. The court, however, stated that counsel could call one or two more witnesses from Santa Rosa.

County Recorder Fred L. Wright was called. He testified that Dr. Bogle’s general reputation for peace and quietness was good. Similar testimony was given by Waiter S. Davis of Davis & Crane’s insurance and real estate firm.

J. L. Durivage was the next witness called. He resides on Johnson street adjoining the Presbyterian church. On the night of the shooting he heard the shots and went to see what had happened. After the first glance at the man lying on the ground, the witness said, he ran to call Judge Campbell. The witness then detailed the arrival of others on the scene. He also said that he saw what looked like a pocket pruning knife in one of Mr. Miller’s hands. He also described circumstances subsequent to the discovery of the body. When the witness was excused court adjourned for the noon recess.

Thomas Bonner was recalled at the opening of the afternoon session, and testified us to the positions on Johnson street from which the back steps of the Miller residence could be seen.

John A. Stump, of the firm of Orr & Stump, next took the stand. In response to the questioning of Attorney Oates, witness testified that on the afternoon of April 25. Mr. Miller had taken “an extraordinary large” drink of whiskey over his bar. Witness noted the fact because Mr. Miller’s drinks were usually moderate in size. The purpose of this testimony, as explained by Mr. Oates, was an attempt to show that Miller had been preparing for trouble.

The next witness called was Dr. S. S. Bogle, the defendant. As he took the stand and began his story of the shooting and his recital of the trouble which led up to it, a murmur of suppressed interest and excitement passed around the court room and every spectator leaned unconsciously forward. For the first time Dr. Bogle was to tell his story of the unfortunate affair, and how Mr. Miller met his death.

The witness began, in response to queries from Mr. Ware, by giving his age and occupation and outlining his career before coming to this city about two years ago. previous to which time he practiced his profession in Monterey. When asked if he had ever had any trouble in Monterey, as intimated by the prosecution at the morning session, witness replied indignantly in the negative, saying he had never before been in trouble of any kind.

In telling of his trouble with Miller, the witness began at the very beginning. He told of the disputed account, of the meeting on Mendocino street when both had drawn their knives, of the threats Miller had made to kill him, of his attempt to have the matter settled by arbitration, of Miller’s actions at various times, and finally of the shooting itself.

On the evening of the meeting on Mendocino street after the two parted Miller walked up Mendocino to Johnson street, turned down Johnson and disappeared from sight around the corner. Bogle crossed over to Speegle’s stand and watched him do so. Three or four minutes later Miller came back around the corner of Johnson street and started downtown. Witness’ opinion was that he had gone home and armed himself.

Having no desire to meet Miller[,] witness then made his way through Orr & Stump’s saloon, which is located in the Dougherty-Shea block, into the lot in the rear and by the back stairs entered the building and made his way to his office. This office is in the Dougherty-Shea block just mentioned. He remained in his office about half an hour and then taking his revolver from his desk, placed it in his pocket and went home. No further trouble resulted that night.

The next morning, when about ready to start down town, witness noticed from the window that Miller was out working in his yard. He was driving a stake, using an axe and standing on a step ladder. He kept glancing continuously toward the Bogle residence. Witness called his wife’s attention to the fact, and at her request did not leave the house that morning. When he did go down town witness did not pass the Miller house as was his usual custom.

Instead of doing so he walked down Johnson street the other way and passed down Riley alley, thence on to Fifth street and down to Mendocino that way. This was the day he asked Mr. Ricksecker to see Miller and as a friend of both parties suggest the matter of arbitrating their differences.

That night, which was the night preceding the shooting, witness started home about 6 o’clock. As he reached the corner of Johnson and Mendocino streets, where Miller’s residence is situated, his little daughter, two years old. came running down the street to meet him. Taking her by the hand they walked down Johnson street the length of the Miller property to the Bogle gate and started up the steps. As they entered the gate Miller came out into his yard, and as witness and his little daughter were making their way up the steps Miller shouted. “I’ll fix you yet, you G—d d—-n — — — —. I’ll fix you yet.”

Wednesday afternoon, the day of the shooting, witness about half past 2 o’clock drove over to Sebastopol. He returned about 5:30. Before starting home from his office some one asked him: “Have you seen Mr. Miller? He is looking for you.” He made his way home, however, without incident. Although he had tried to do so. witness could not recall the name of the man who had told him Miller had been looking for him.

That night after supper witness started down town according to his usual custom. As he reached a point on Johnson street about opposite the fence dividing his property from that of Mr. Miller, the latter opened his screen door and stepped out onto the back porch. He then started rapidly down the steps towards witness. Miller had his right hand in his hip pocket. As he reached the bottom of the steps he took his hand from his pocket and put both hands behind him. Continuing to advance he cried, “I’m going to fix you, you G—d d—-n — — — —, I’m going to fix you, and don’t you think I won’t!”

Witness told Miller to go back. “I don’t want to have any trouble with you,” he continued. Miller continued to advance, both hands still held behind his back. At that moment, witness testified, he heard two sharp, distinct clicks, resembling the cocking of a revolver. Hurriedly drawing his own pistol he fired four shots at Miller in rapid succession. At the fourth shot Miller sunk to the ground. As he fell, witness heard some metallic substance strike the stone pavement upon which he had been standing.

Witness then put his pistol up. Looking down Johnson street he saw a man standing near the Durivage home. Knowing that assistance for Miller was therefore close at hand, he walked down town and to the county jail to give himself up. Jailer Piezzi was not there, but witness left his revolver with Eugene Fisher, the then deputy jailer, and made his way to the Grand hotel and to the office of his attorney, J. C. Sims. Afterwards he surrendered himself at the sheriff’s office.

Upon cross-examination witness remained unbroken. When asked if he could tell why it was that one of the bullets had entered Miller’s hip, witness replied that he could not. He said he had his theory of the matter, however, but he was not permitted to give it.

Serafino Piezzi, jailor and deputy sheriff, was called to the stand to identify the pistol with which the shooting was done, but the identity of the weapon was admitted, as was the fact that the pistol at the time Dr. Bogle left it at the jail contained one unexploded cartridge. Piezzi was consequently excused, and the defense announced that it rested its case.

Miles Peerman was then called to the stand in rebuttal. He testified that on the morning of Dr. Bogle’s preliminary examination he heard Dr. C. W. Reed make the remark that he (Reed) had heard Miller make some remarks which if known “would help Bogle out.” Reed evidently referred to Mr. Miller’s threats to kill Bogle If he did not pay the bill previously spoken of. Upon cross examination witness’ testimony remained unshaken.

Mrs. J. M. Miller was also called to the stand in rebuttal and asked as to the condition of Mr. Miller’s right hand. She stated that never since his service in the army had he been able to close his hand or grasp any small object with it. Upon cross-examination however Mrs. Miller admitted that her husband was always able to eat with his knife and fork, but said that when driving he usually wrapped one of the lines around the right hand.

Mrs. W. R. Farion of Indianapolis, a sister of Mrs. J. M. Miller, was sworn. She had known J. M. Miller for about thirty-five years and knew that his right hand was injured. The injury was the result of a wound received while in the army.

Walter P. Price, deputy internal revenue collector, was called by the defense. He had often seen Mr. Miller hitch and unhitch horses but had never noticed anything the matter with his hand.

Deputy County Clerk Maitland G. Hall was also called. He had seen Mr. Miller use a pen many times. Miller wrote a good business hand. Witness never noticed that he wrote or held his pen any differently from any one else, or that there was anything the matter with his hands.

At the conclusion of Mr. Hall’s testimony the attorneys announced that the case was concluded. Judge Cook admonished the jury as to their duties and gave certain instructions, as to the way they should be treated over Sunday, after which court adjourned till Monday morning at 10 o’clock. The argument will then begin, and the case will go to the jury some time Monday or Monday night.

MONDAY’S PROCEEDINGS

Morning afternoon and evening the courtroom was crowded to its fullest capacity with men. women and children who never lost interest in the proceedings throughout the entire day. The arguments of counsel were heard with the closest attention, not a sentence being missed by the auditors. It is seldom that a more distinct wave of interest is noticed in a courtroom.

Monday is the usual calendar day in both departments of the Superior Court. On this occasion, however, so as not to lose any time Judge Cook continued the entire calendar for one week and at 10 o’clock took his seat on the bench and instructed counsel to proceed with the argument.

District Attorney O. O. Webber, who prosecuted the case vigorously, made the opening argument for the prosecution. He was followed by Colonel James W. Oates and Attorney A. B. Ware, the able counsel for defense. Then the district attorney closed the argument. All the addresses were very able and at times the learned gentlemen waxed eloquent. The arguments were classed as being some of the ablest heard in the court.

When the argument ended about half past 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Judge Cook announced that he would deliver his charge to the jury, at half past 7 o’clock in the evening. At that hour the courtroom was packed with people. The Judge’s instructions to the jury were lengthy, the delivery of the charge occupying about an hour and a half. While the court was speaking the silence was such that a person could almost have heard a pin drop.

The court gave the Jury a large number of instructions both for the prosecution and defense. One of the most important instructions given for the defendant was No. 22, which was as follows:

If the Jury find from the evidence that defendant knew deceased was angry with him and he had recently seen demonstrations of anger towards him on the part of the deceased, and that he had been informed by a person he regarded as reliable that deceased had threatened to do defendant great bodily harm or kill him, and had been advised to look out for deceased, and that this did create in defendant’s mind an apprehension that, he was likely to be attacked by deceased, he had a right to arm himself for his protection; and if soon thereafter defendant was passing by deceased’s house along the public sidewalk and deceased began a quarrel with defendant, deceased being in his own yard and defendant on the public sidewalk, and deceased advanced towards defendant and made any demonstration by words and acts calculated to produce in the mind of a reasonable man situated as defendant then was, seeing what he saw and knowing what he knew, including the fact of hostile feeling towards him on the part of deceased and of his former acts and threats against him communicated to defendant, if any, and did create the belief in the mind of defendant that deceased was then and there about to assault him with a deadly weapon, and that his, defendant’s safety required that he shoot deceased, he had a right to shoot until he saw that such impending danger was removed, and if the actions of deceased were rationally calculated to create the belief and did create the belief in defendant’s mind that deceased was probably armed with a pistol, defendant had a right to act upon such appearance and take his measure of defense accordingly. And if you believe from the evidence that the deceased had made threats to kill or do defendant great bodily harm, and that the deceased at the time of the shooting made a demonstration that meant as ordinarily observed among men that deceased was drawing a knife or pistol. or any other deadly weapon, defendant was not required to wait to see which it was; if deceased started to draw a weapon or put his hand behind him as if taking something out from his hip pocket, defendant had the right to act upon the assumption usually and reasonably flowing from such acts of deceased.

The jury took with them into the jury room five forms of verdict as follows:

We, the jury, find the defendant, S. S. Bogle, guilty of murder in the first degree.

We, the jury, find the defendant, S. S. Bogle, guilty of murder in the first degree and we fix the penalty at life imprisonment.

We, the jury, find the defendant, S. S. Bogle, guilty of murder in the second degree.

We, the jury, find the defendant. S. S. Bogle, guilty of manslaughter.

We, the jury, find the defendant, S. S. Bogle, not guilty.

Deputy Clerk Hall next swore in the officers to take charge of the jury. The officers were Deputy Sheriffs Logan Tombs, Serafino Piezzi and J. L. Gist. The jury then retired, the eyes of the spectators following them until the door of the room closed upon them and Deputy Sheriff Tombs turned the key in the lock. The hour was a quarter to 9 o’clock. The general presentment that the Jury would be out only a short time caused the crowd of spectators to remain seated for some time. Gradually the seats were vacated until comparatively few people remained. The closing scenes of the trial were memorable.

At a few minutes after the clock in the courthouse dome had struck twelve Monday night the jury in the case of the People of the State of California vs. S. S. Bogle returned the following verdict:

“In the Superior Court of the County of Sonoma, State of California. People of the State of California, plaintiff, vs. S. S. Bogle, defendant.

“We, the jury, find the defendant S. S. Bogle, not guilty. Valentine Watson. foreman.”

The verdict was returned after the jury had been deliberating about three hours and a quarter. At about twenty minutes past 11 the court had the bailiff bring in the jury. His Honor questioned them as to whether they wished any further instructions regarding the law. Several jurors replied in the negative and one stated that they would like to have a little while longer. They were taken back to the room and at midnight they announced that they had agreed upon the verdict stated above.

After Clerk Hall had recorded the verdict and the jurors had affirmed it, the court made the order releasing Dr. Bogle from custody. The Doctor’s friends in the courtroom crowded around him and his brave little wife, who had not left his side during the trying ordeal of the day and shook hands with both. The Doctor shook hands with the jurors as they filed from their seats.

It is understood that the jury before arriving at their verdict took nine ballots and that up the last ballot they stood eleven for acquittal and one for manslaughter.

– Press Democrat, September 26 1900

Read More

ezgif.com-gif-maker (2)

EVERYBODY WANTS A PIECE OF LUTHER BURBANK

It was like winning the Sweepstakes, or maybe better – Luther Burbank was being asked if he would like to hang out with the most famous man in the world.

“We would appreciate it very much if you would consent to head a Committee to go to Sacramento, to greet Mr. Edison and escort him to San Francisco,” the letter read. “We believe that nothing could be more fitting than that the Wizard of the West should extend welcome and greeting to the Wizard of the East on his visit to California.”

The odd wording might have caused Burbank to wonder if it was a prank, and a followup note would ask him to also meet with the Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion. But it was from the San Francisco Examiner, and closed with “…Of course, it is understood that you will be the guest of The Examiner’ in so far as all the expenses are concerned.” Oh, Luther, you lucky duck – it had been a long time since he had been offered something without being expected to make a “donation” in return.

Burbank accepted the offer immediately, writing back “Mr. Edison and myself have been long distance friends for some time,” which was a little white lie. While Burbank may well have mentioned the inventor at some point, there’s no record of any prior correspondence between them in either the Burbank or Edison archives.

It was October, 1915, near the end of what was otherwise a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad year for Burbank. Although it was not yet publicly known, both the Burbank seed company and Burbank Press were teetering on bankruptcy due to inept management, and after having exploited his name to peddle worthless stock to Sonoma County residents and others. His future was far from secure and it was possible he might have to sell his precious farms as well as the rights to every plant he still owned. If you don’t know that part of the Burbank story or need a refresher, see “THE UNDOING OF LUTHER BURBANK, PART III.”

Burbank was to escort Edison to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) – the world’s fair in San Francisco whose legacy can still be seen in the Palace of Fine Arts. He had a small role in the fair’s creation, having been among the hundred notable men who were part of a 1912 junket to Vancouver and back, promoting the upcoming event at all major cities along the way. (He was toasted at a banquet but told the audience he wasn’t much of a speaker unless the topic was about something like “spuds.”)

At the expo he had been honored with a designated “Luther Burbank Day” – although it wasn’t the spotlight some of his biographers have suggested. June 5 was also “Denmark Day” and “American Library Association Day.” Burbank received a commemorative plaque and a few speeches were made at a reception in the Horticultural Palace. So all in all, “Luther Burbank Day” was more like the “Luther Burbank Hour” and thousands of little flower seed packets were donated to the PPIE to give away to visitors.

The Examiner had no role in luring Edison to the expo, and hustling Burbank to Sacramento to intercept the train for the “wizard meets wizard” moment was the newspaper’s clever way of getting its nose into the tent. Hearst’s paper dominated coverage of Edison’s four days in San Francisco to the extent that Gentle Reader would be forgiven for believing they were behind the visit and all related events at the fair. They even printed Burbank’s letter agreeing to meet Edison’s train, which gave Press Democrat editor Ernest Finley a case of the vapors because the letterhead revealed Burbank lived in Santa Rosa. “Both this city and Sonoma county gets notice which is read probably by a quarter of a million people regarding location of wizard’s home,” he gushed.

Burbank must have cringed reading that; more than anything else he wanted to be left alone, but almost daily was already besieged by tourists seeking to meet the “wizard.”

The Chamber of Commerce and Finley were surprisingly insensitive to Burbank’s plight in the run-up to the PPIE. While the Burbank seed company was planning on advertising “Luther Burbank’s Exhibition Garden” near Hayward specifically to attract fans there instead of making a trek to Santa Rosa, the PD was ready to exploit him as a tourist attraction: “many hundreds of strangers will come within our gates, lured here by the fact that Santa Rosa is the home and work place of the greatest of scientific horticulturists, Luther Burbank…”

Given Burbank’s desire to keep out of the limelight and people from tramping around in his experimental gardens, he sent a most unexpected telegram to the PD once Edison arrived:


San Francisco, Oct. 18. Herbert Slater. Santa Rosa: Mr. and Mrs. Edison and sister, and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford will visit Santa Rosa, if possible, on Friday. No bands; no racket. They wish to come quietly. Luther Burbank.”

The Chamber and Finley ignored their wishes, of course, and began planning a blowout reception.

Edison-Ford train arrives in Santa Rosa, Oct. 22, 1915
Edison-Ford train arrives in Santa Rosa, Oct. 22, 1915

Everybody wanted a piece of Thomas Edison, starting with the advertising department of his own company, General Electric.

At the start of 1915 GE announced that October 21 would be “Edison Day,” marking the 35th (or was it the 36th?) anniversary of electric lighting. It was really a nationwide ad campaign to get children under 18 to sell GE lightbulbs in order to get points towards winning prizes, and started in mid-September. Thus while Luther Burbank Day was over in a few blinks, Edison Day stretched on for over a month. Times were different back then.

Oddly, it seems they weren’t planning to include Edison in anything having to do with Edison Day. A few weeks before the date, a PPIE official visited and invited him to come to the Exposition for that day. He demurred, always reluctant to stray far from his laboratory but Mrs. Edison worked on him, and on Oct. 11 it was announced that he was going to California. The Examiner immediately fired off the invite to Burbank and the next day Henry Ford said he would come from Detroit and join Edison for the trip.1

When Edison arrived at the New Jersey train station he told reporters, “I feel like a prince,” and did a little dance. “I’m going to travel to San Francisco like a prima donna. My old friend Henry Ford sent this car for me. He will join us in Chicago.” Somewhere en route his wife bought him a new suit because he had gone to the station directly from his lab, still wearing his work clothes stained with chemicals.

It took four days for Edison’s train car to cross the country, although there may have been a bit of a layover in Chicago to hookup with Ford and get him some new threads. Once they arrived in San Francisco there was a whirlwind of banquets and fair activity.

The Examiner’s motion picture cameras cranked away and recorded Edison’s every step, sometimes capturing Burbank as well, as seen in the clip above. They seemed to be enjoying themselves (San Francisco Examiner headline: “Edison, Burbank and Ford ‘Josh’ Like Boys as They Cross the Bay Together”).

Besides the cameraman there was also an Examiner reporter chasing them around the fair. Alas, that person either couldn’t clearly hear what they were saying or didn’t understand English very well. What appeared in the newspaper had Burbank spouting idiotic dribble to Edison, such as “science is greater than any fairy tale,” and “you have made the impossible possible.” The reporter finally gave up trying and remarked, “the two scientists fell to discussing the ‘dawn of vitality.'” Then there was this snippet of conversation:

“A thousand years,” said Edison, “we have been trying to find out what water is.”

“And we know nothing of it, that is true,” said Burbank.

“Only roughly; nothing of its minutae,” said Edison.

“I begin to believe with Franklin,’ said Burbank, “that it is a fluid form of matter something like electricity.”

(Aside from making them sound like two stoners pondering Deep Things, the Examiner reporter likely garbled whatever Burbank really said about Benjamin Franklin’s analogy, which was that electrical current flows through conductive wire like a fluid.)

At the expo Edison used a telephone for the very first time (!) to speak to his chief engineer in West Orange, New Jersey, and then at the AT&T exhibit he spoke with his son, Charles, in Paris via radio. It was all very exciting and at night, every light in every building around the Bay was turned on in his honor.

The ceremony on the evening of Edison Day included a highlights reel projected by the Examiner from the stage in the Marina. A fireworks display followed (“half a ton of explosive had been touched off in salute to the man of the hour”) and a giant poster was unveiled of Edison holding a globe illuminated by lightbulbs, with “Thomas A. Edison 1879-1915” underneath. Its epitaph-like writing might have given the 68 year-old inventor pause, given there were still several weeks remaining in the year.

Luther Burbank welcomes Thomas Edison to Santa Rosa. Oct. 22, 1915
Luther Burbank welcomes Thomas Edison to Santa Rosa. Oct. 22, 1915

And then there was Henry Ford, and everybody wanted a piece of him, too. Well…not really, and that’s probably why he invited himself to tag along on the trip. Perhaps some of Edison’s good mojo would rub off on him.

Burbank was only at the expo for Edison’s first day, leaving the two famous entrepreneurs to roam the fairgrounds alone (but trailed by two Secret Service agents assigned to Edison). A young man introduced himself and asked for the secret to success. “Work,” said Ford. “Be sure the boss doesn’t fire you,” added Edison.

All the San Francisco papers had warm anecdotes about people wanting to shake Edison’s hand, but that’s the only story about Ford interacting with the public. Ford was deeply unpopular in October 1915 which he knew was dangerous to his business, savvy as he was about the importance of good publicity. The cause of his troubles? His outspoken view that America should remain neutral during WWI.

On the same day Ford announced he would be joining Edison in California, James Couzens, the General Manager and VP of Ford Motor Company, resigned because of Henry’s opposition to fighting the Germans. Couzens was particularly upset at Ford’s position against the U.S. giving a war loan to the Allied Powers, as well as being against a buildup of American military and naval forces in expectation that we would be drawn into the war. “His stand on these and other matters has disgusted me,” said his oldest friend and now former business partner. A few days earlier, the Dodge brothers had dumped $500k of Ford stock for the same reasons.

Ford had been pushing for a peace conference since the summer, boasting, “I can stop this war in Europe in two weeks” if he could only get diplomats to listen to him. Shortly after his Santa Rosa visit, Ford chartered an ocean liner as a “Peace Ship” to take him and an expedition of American peace activists to Europe. Ford tired of the squabbling over the various proposals and returned to the U.S. two weeks later, leaving the activists to argue amongst themselves in some of Europe’s finest hotels, with Ford picking up the tab. (Here’s quite a good article, “The Peculiar Case of Henry Ford” which explains more about this strange episode.)

The sincerity of Henry Ford’s pacifism was widely questioned at the time and has fallen under renewed skepticism as more has become known about Ford’s later personal and business dealings with Nazi Germany.2 Cynics point to self-serving remarks he made about the mission, such as, “If we had tried to break in cold into the European market after the War, it would have cost us $10,000,000. The Peace Ship cost one-twentieth of that and made Ford a household word all over the continent.”

Ford invited Burbank to join him on the Peace Ship, but he declined with a telegram that read only, “my heart is with you,” which could be interpreted in any of a number of ways.

edisonburbank

Santa Rosa wanted a piece of Edison, and it wanted a piece of Ford, and it wanted a whopping big slice of the attention Burbank was getting for hosting them. On the morning of October 22. our ancestors opened the Press Democrat to read this:


This will be a day of days for Santa Rosa; Three of the world’s greatest men — one of whom, Santa Rosa’s distinguished citizen and world man, Luther Burbank, has lived here for forty years — will be within the city’s gates. Mr. Burbank has already been mentioned. He is the lodestone, however, who attracts the others here today. The latter are Thomas Alva Edison, one of the most beneficial inventors the world has known, and Henry Ford, also known to fame as philanthropist, inventor and citizen. Santa Rosa is certainly most proudly honored by the visit of these distinguished men. Their coming is in the nature of national importance to Santa Rosa, as the papers of the country will tell millions of readers that Thomas A. Edison and Henry Ford came to Santa Rosa, Sonoma county, California, to visit Luther Burbank this day.

The Edison and Ford parties were to arrive at 1:15 at the Railroad Square depot. Burbank and the Chamber of Commerce had sent ahead baskets of Burbank-bred fruits and nuts as well as other treats to be waiting for them on the train. (They were not using Ford’s transcontinental cars, but rather new NWP Pullmans.)

With only three days to prepare, some things slipped through the cracks. Sebastopol grammar school children were told only that morning that class was dismissed for the day and they were going to Santa Rosa to join children from the three grammar schools there in seeing the celebrities. A scramble ensued as kids phoned home to get permission and presumably some cash, as they had to pay their own fares for the electric train. In the end 107 from Sebastopol made the trip.

The train arrived to find thousands lining Fourth street from the train depot to the courthouse. Burbank and the Chamber president greeted them, as everyone piled into borrowed cars for a quick spin around town.

Arriving at Burbank’s home on Tupper street they found still more crowds as well as movie cameramen. The three of them posed and walked to and from the house several times. “Darn those movies,” quipped Edison, the motion picture innovator.

The party went inside and chatted for about an hour until the children arrived at 3. Only the youngest were allowed inside the gate – they were “Mr. Burbank’s pets,” Mrs. Edison told her husband.

The three men stood on the second floor veranda so everyone could see them. The children were “enthused greatly,” according to the Press Democrat, and began singing our (rather awful) state song. The nearly-deaf Edison couldn’t make out the words until his wife told him “They’re singing, ‘I Love You, California.'” He replied, “Are they? God bless them all.”

Burbank gave his guests a tour of the garden, showing off his new tomato and the cactus beds along with whatever else was still noteworthy that late in the year. Then there were more movies and photographs taken. “Everybody agreed they were mighty good to those picture folk,” snarked the PD.

They bravely waded into the huge crowd which had been gawking at them from the street, shaking hundreds of hands (“beginning to feel like a politician,” Ford said). Two inventors approached Ford. One was Thorsten Himle, pastor of the Scandinavian Lutheran church, who showed Ford his patent for an immersion suit with compartments that could be filled with gas for extra buoyancy. Healdsburg’s Ford Motor Co. agent gave him a drawing of a prototype tractor designed by Rush Hamilton of Geyserville. Ford pocketed the drawing. “May I take this along with me?” At the time Ford’s engineers were working on tractor prototypes, so it’s possible Ford received something of value. And Hamilton was no crackpot – he already had several patents, and in 1938 was awarded another for a unique tractor design.

By then the sun was getting low and it was time to leave. After another brief stop in the house they were back at the station for the 5:45 train. Altogether they had been in Santa Rosa for 4½ hours.

Although the visit was about as anticlimactic as it could be, the next morning the PD played it up like it had been the event of the century:


A great day has come and gone. Gone? No! For wherever the country is linked with telegraph, millions read last night and will read today of the gathering of three of the world’s greatest men, in Santa Rosa yesterday. Gone? No, again! Generations will remember the presence of the trio here yesterday. Fragrant memories will run throughout the years. Children’s children will listen to the stories of this memorable day.

Whatever “fragrant memories” children had of Burbank in 1915 are more likely related to the stink their parents made a few weeks later, after Luther Burbank sued the Luther Burbank Company and thereby revealed they had been sold junk stock, despite Burbank’s personal assurances the business was fundamentally sound.

Edison, Ford and Firestone in Santa Rosa, Oct 15, 1915
Edison, Ford and Firestone in Santa Rosa, Oct 15, 1915

There are two obl. Believe-it-or-Not! items connected with the event. The first is the presence of a ghost – rubber tire magnate Harvey Firestone. He came to California separate from the others, arriving just before Edison Day and signed Burbank’s guestbook; Firestone is seen in one of the group photos (he’s the short man on the front left, wearing a lighter-colored coat). Yet no newspaper mentioned he was one of Burbank’s visitors.

A few days later Edison, Ford and Firestone went to Los Angeles, and from there they took an overnight trip to San Diego, driving down the new state highway. The trio were close friends and had taken to calling themselves the “Vagabonds” for their glamping trips around the East Coast, joined with famed naturalist John Burroughs and sometimes celebrities such as Presidents Coolidge and Harding (great set of photos here). Numerous online sites claim Burbank sometimes participated but that’s absolutely not true. (There are even false claims that the entire California visit was one long Vagabond roadtrip, including the stopover in Santa Rosa.)

And while Edison’s trip to the PPIE received lots of national attention – all those big Edison Day ads had to make editors happy – the other surprise is that the visit to Burbank received very little notice outside of the Bay Area. While Finley promised “…papers of the country will tell millions of readers that Thomas A. Edison and Henry Ford came to Santa Rosa,” few mentioned it. That was just Edison’s little day trip, after all, to a little town of little interest.


1 Ford and Edison had known each other since 1896 and were close friends, taking vacations and summer camping trips together (see “Vagabonds” above). Their bond formed because Ford credited Edison for wise legal advice on fighting auto engine patents, and when a massive 1914 fire destroyed Edison’s factory and offices, Ford gave him a $750k interest-free loan. This was in addition to a $1.15M advance that Ford had paid for nearly 100,000 Edison batteries that were to be used in an electric car that never made it into production.

2 Henry Ford, infamous for his virulent anti-Semitism, was praised by Hitler in Mein Kampf and the dictator kept a portrait of Ford in his office. Ford also was awarded the Grand Cross of the German Eagle in 1938, the highest honor given by the Nazis to non-Germans. Ford personally intervened to cancel a contract his company had to build airplane engines for the RAF as it was fighting the Battle of Britain. Until the Nazis seized his German company Ford-Werke after the U.S. entered WWII, Henry Ford worked with the Third Reich by supplying raw materials and making military vehicles using slave labor. After that the Ford subsidiary in Vichy France continued providing new vehicles and parts to the Nazi war effort. Documents declassified in recent years show that the Justice Department was planning to prosecute Ford’s son Edsel – then president of the corporation – for collaborating with the enemy before his death by cancer in 1943. (MORE)
Edison. Burbank and Ford, Oct. 22, 1915
Edison. Burbank and Ford, Oct. 22, 1915

 

All images except top movie courtesy Sonoma County Library
 

sources
October 11, 1915

My Dear Mr. Burbank:

You are, perhaps, aware of the contemplated visit to the Exposition of Thomas A. Edison.

Besides the honor that will be shown him by the Exposition officials, the “Examiner” contemplates an additional celebration as a tribute to the man and his genius.

We would appreciate it very much if you would consent to head a Committee to go to Sacramento, to greet Mr. Edison and escort him to San Francisco. We believe that nothing could be more fitting than that the Wizard of the West should extend welcome and greeting to the Wizard of the East on his visit to California.

Mr. Edison is expected to arrive on or about the 21st of October.

We hope you will see your way clear to join in the Welcome to him.

We have written Mr. Herbert Slater by this mail, and he will apprise you as to the exact date of Mr. Edison’s arrival and other details. Of course, it is understood that you will be the guest of “The Examiner” in so far as all the expenses are concerned.

Hoping for a favorable reply, beg to remain,

Very sincerely yours,
Justin McGrath
Managing Editor.

October 13, 1915

Dear Sir:

Your esteemed letter of October 11 just received and I could not appreciate any honor greater than that of meeting and greeting our beloved Thomas A. Edison at Sacramento as you propose.

Mr. Edison and myself have been long distance friends for some time and as I believe that he has shed more light on the Earth and expedited business, and made home life more comfortable than any other man who has ever trod this Earth Planet, you may be sure that the honor and pleasure of meeting him will be to me one of the pleasantest events of my life.

I judge that Senator Slater has informed you of my pleasure in meeting this great man on this occasion.

Sincerely yours,
Luther Burbank

BURBANK LETTER HEAD FURNISHES BIG BOOST FOR HIS HOME TOWN
Both This City and Sonoma County Gets Notice Which Is Read Probably by a Quarter of a Million People Regarding Location of “Wizard’s” Home

“LUTHER BURBANK Santa Rosa. Cal., U. S. A.”

This announcement in the top corner of a letterhead used by Luther Burbank, a facsimile of which appeared with his letter of acceptance to meet Thomas A. Edison. and was published in the Examiner on Sunday morning, was incidentally one of the best bits of advertising Santa Rosa and Sonoma county has ever had.

Mr. Burbank’s letter was published on the front page of the news section and formed an attractive part of several pages devoted to a description of the big welcome that will be given Edison this week in the metropolis.

Several hundred people read that letter and they also read the location of Mr. Burbank’s home and in this way Santa Rosa got advertising, the importance of which cannot be gainsaid.

Used in connection with the Edison visit this simple notice on the Burbank letterhead is as important as a whole year’s work of promotion for this city and county.

– Press Democrat, October 19 1915

Read More