Contra Costa Gazette
Contra Costa Gazette
Contributed by deesar

Description: August 1873

Date: August 1873

Newspaper published in: Pacheco, Contra Costa Co., CA

The Contra Costa Gazette
Pacheco, Contra Costa County, CA

**Saturday, 2 AUGUST 1873**

BORN - In Alamo, July 31, to Mr.&Mrs. C.H. RAVEN, a son.

-On Saturday last in turning out of the road, near the residence of Mr. LOUCKS, to allow another team to pass, Mr. Thomas GRIFFIN, of Martinez, by inclination of the embankment, was thrown from his wagon seat and severely bruised, but fortunately, as we learn, suffered no fractures or other injuries of serious nature.
-On Monday, while at work on the barn of Mr. G.W. HAMMITT, of Lafayette, Mr. Josiah ALLEN, fell some distance to the ground, fractured a rib, and received severe internal injuries from which it is feared that fatal consequences may ensue.

The 'Gazette' is in receipt of a fine cheese from the "Excelsior" cheese factory, at Cambria, San Luis Obispo county, of which Mr. Henry POLLEY, lately of Martinez, is one of the proprietors and managers. This factory receives the milk of several hundred cows belonging to various owners in the district adjacent to it, and has the most approved facilities for its manufacture into cheese, the quality of which cannot be surpassed, as we judge from the sample for which we are indebted to the generous remembrance of Mr. POLLEY.

-Mary A. BOURNES vs. R.E. BOURNES - decree of divorce granted

Following are the Trial Jurors summoned for the August term of the County Court, August 11th:
Charles E. HOWARD
Theodore DOWNING
Mathew WARD
William R. FOREMAN
Frank S. PITTS
Timothy LYNCH
Jeremiah REESE
Henry G. HURST
Thomas McCABE
Cyrenieus JOHNSON
Josephus SHUEY
Thomas S. JONES

Following are the names of the Grand Jurors summoned for the August term of the County Court, to appear Monday, August 4th:
Jeremiah MORGAN, Sr.


**Saturday, 9 AUGUST 1873**

The murder committed on Friday evening of last week, at what is know as the HERTZEL place, on San Pablo Creek, some 3 miles below the Telegraph road crossing, is almost precisely parallel in cause and circumstances with the EICHLER murder, one of the perpetrators of which is now in our jail under a suspended sentence of death, pending a decision of the Supreme Court upon an appeal for a new trial, and the other is still an insane patient confined in the State Asylum. The only circumstance of marked difference in the cases, is, that in this last both the implicated parties are apparently persons of competent mental capacity and responsibility, while in the other, neither of them, perhaps, were up to the common measure of mental competency and sense of responsibility. In both cases the wife and her paramour plotted the death of the husband, attempted it repeatedly by means of poison, and finally compassed it by direct assault with murderous weapons; in the former case with an axe, and in the latter, with pistol shots, hammer and axe.

Martin GERSBACH was a German by birth, some 30 years of age, who by industry and frugality had accumulated a little money, some 3 or 4 thousand dollars, it is said, and has been a lessee of the place where he lived with his family, and where he was murdered, for something more than a year past. His wife, now in jail at Martinez, is a woman of about the same age, of German parentage, and American birth. The paramour murderer, NASH, is a man of about the same age, also of German parentage and American birth, as says the woman, who says also that he was in the habit of getting papers by mail, addressed to him as "P. OSTERHAUS," which he told her was his "army name."

Although this murder occurred on Friday night and the Oakland Chief of Police was notified early Saturday morning, and repaired at once to the place, no word of it reached Sheriff IVORY until Saturday evening, when he at once went to the place and took down the woman's statement respecting the murder, as made to himself and Captain TARBETT, Chief of the Oakland Police, then brought her, accompanied by her little boy of 4 years, to Martinez, for confinement in jail.

By the woman's statement, NASH was engaged by her husband about last Christmas to work on the place; and he soon began to pay her some improper attentions, which she slightly resented at first, but soon began to accept and encourage. When the character of the subsisting intimacy became apparent to her husband he became enraged and threatened to procure a divorce; but as he did not move in the matter further, they plotted to kill him, first dosing him with croton oil, given 1 day when he complained of being sick, then trying to have him take arsenic in medicine to counteract the effects of the oil, then by putting laudanum in his coffee, which he would not drink after the 1st taste, and spat out on the floor; they then tried to dispose of him by saturating his pillow with chloroform; and then NASH determined to pick a quarrel for the opportunity it might offer of killing him, but was unable to make a quarrel that he would resent.

Finally, on Friday night of last week, as she states, after she and her husband had retired to bed about 9 o'clock, NASH, who occupied a room above stairs, called for GERSBACH to come up there. GERSBACH, instead of complying, rose from the bed on which he was lying with his clothes on, and hurried out of the house, and as he did so, NASH came downstairs with a pistol in each hand. He ran out after GERSBACH and she heard 6 shots fired in quick succession. She then heard a low groan, and, on going to the door, met NASH, who said Martin was shot. Just then he groaned again. NASH at once took a hammer from the kitchen and went out to where GERSBACH lay, and she heard several blows of the hammer on his head. NASH then returned and said he had finished him. He told her he would go over and tell ROWLAND, a neighbor, he had killed Martin in self-defense, but just as he was about to go Martin groaned again. NASH went to where he lay and she heard heavy dull blows given, NASH then returned to her and said he had finished him with the ax. NASH then went off to carry his report of the death of GERSBACH; and when he returned, before morning, said he would have to leave. He changed his bloody clothes, took some 30 or 40 dollars that belonged to his victim and went away. Such is the substance of the woman's statement. The officers found the bloody cast-off clothing of the murderer, his pistol, with 6 empty chambers, and the blood and hair clotted hammer, in the room he had occupied, and spots of blood about the floor. Near the spot where the body of his victim fell, they found the other pistol, fully charged.

After the murder NASH went to the house of Mr. MUIR, a few hundred yards distant from that of the murdered man, and called him up. The dogs barked and made such threatening demonstrations that he remained some little distance off. The barking of the dogs was so furious that MUIR could not distinctly hear what he said further than that GERSBACH had been killed; and he thereupon dressed and went over, either with NASH, or following him, and found the wounded man still alive. MUIR requested NASH to help him carry the man into the house, but he refused to do so; and while MUIR was gone for other help, as we understand, NASH changed his clothes and left the place. The murdered man lingered until Monday morning, and was sufficiently conscious during a portion of the time to give intelligent directions for the care of his boy and his property affairs, by a friend; and to clearly designate NASH as his murderer.

On Tuesday an inquest was held on the body by Coroner HILLER, by whose direction a post mortem examination was made by Dr. HOLBROOK, who found 3 pistol shot wounds, the left eye destroyed, and skull crushed. One of the pistol shot wounds, in the terms of the examiner, had "penetrated the chest on the left side, broke the 7th rib, passed through a portion of the left lung, and, after passing through the cartilage of the 6th rib, lodged under the skin." Another shot had "entered at the base of the neck on the left side, (posteriorly), and passed in the direction of the spine." The 3rd, entered on one side of the top of the head, injuring the skull severely, and a part of the ball penetrated the brain. The evidence showed that GERSBACH had been aware of the attempts upon his life by poison, and for some days had not taken his food at home. It also showed that NASH had been some time practicing with a pistol, and that the deceased said it was "William" (NASH) who shot him. The Coroner's verdict was therefore in accordance with these facts.

The Grand Jury now in session were engaged on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and are probably still (on Thursday) examining witnesses in this case of monstrous atrocity; and Sheriff IVORY and other officers are out in pursuit of the murder; who is described as a tolerably fair looking, stoutish built man of about 5 feet 8 or 10 inches in height, with dark hair, moustache and imperial, having upon the web between thumb and fore finger of one hand, thought to be the left, a large blue star with red rayed edges.

The Supervisors are censured for failing to offer a reward that would stimulate search for this murderer, and though they are obliged to close their ears to constant demands for authorizing unusual expenditures, and there may be doubt of their legal right to offer rewards to be paid from the county funds, we think this case would have warranted a departure from their general policy, and a little stretch of their authority, even.

The State provides a small fund for payment of such rewards as the Governor in his discretion may offer for criminal arrests, and the Governor, if he has not already been, should be appealed to for the offer of a reward in this case.

By dispatch from Governor BOOTH, received by us on Thursday evening, after the above writing, we learn that he has proclaimed a reward of $500 for the capture of the murderer.


In response to a request of our Grand Jury and District Attorney, telegraphed to the Governor on Thursday morning, he has proclaimed a reward of $500 for the capture of the murderer, NASH; and no effort, with or without reward, should be spared in hunting him up and bringing him to justice. The large blue star with red lined edges on one of his hands, is a conspicuous mark by which he may with great certainty be identified. It is reported that he has been seen at several places in the county during the week, and it will be well for citizens to have a sharp lookout for any passing stragglers, as they may thus perhaps detect him and secure his arrest.


We had the pleasure of a call on Thursday from Mr. J.S. HALL, the gentleman who is about engaging in the enterprise of erecting a hotel, and constructing a carriage road to the summit of Mount Diablo. Mr. HALL was many years a guide for visitors to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, and constructed the 1st bridle path to the summit of Mount Washington, and subsequently built and owned the present carriage road there, and owned and conducted the famous "Summit" and "Tip-Top" houses; he may therefore be presumed to know something of the nature of the undertaking in which he in engaging here. Mr. HALL, having failed to obtain any satisfactory terms from Mr. J.S. HITTELL, the owner, for the purchase or lease of Deer Flat, has spent a good portion of the past few weeks in prospecting the mountain, and has found a superior hotel location on the southeast side, a little way below the summit, which he has secured; and is about proceeding to survey and set the grade stakes for the road through Pine Canyon to the summit, with the purpose of commencing its construction immediately, intending that it shall be completed for the next season's pleasure visitors. We can only express pleasure that an enterprise which, under proper direction, must prove vastly profitable to the projector and gratifying to tourists, pleasure excursionists, and the people at large, has been undertaken by one so well qualified to conduct it, as it would seem Mr. HILL [spelled 2 ways] must be, on a life-long successful experience in undertakings of like kind.

The following named persons were excused from service for legal and allowable reasons, viz:
-Thomas SIMPSON, E. KUPPENHEIM, G.H. BARRETT, Henry GREEN and James McHARRY, on account of material injury to their business
-J.B. JONES, J.P. PFISTER and H.H. ROCKEFELLOW on account of sickness in their families
-J. MORGAN on account of sickness

For the convenience of persons desiring to be registered upon the Great Register of Electors of the County without the necessity of personally visiting the office of the County Clerk, the undersigned, County Assessor, has appointed and deputized the following named persons, who are fully authorized to register voters, viz:
W. Van PHILLIPS at Antioch
Asher TYLER at Black Diamond
D.S. CARPENTER at Clayton
G.R. OLIVER at Pacheco
James VOORHEES at Martinez
T.J. WRIGHT at San Pablo
Wm. A.J. GIFT, at large for Township No. 1
Chas. SHERMAN, at large for Township No. 3
And will personally register all qualified applicants in Township No. 2
Assessor of Contra Costa county


**Saturday, 16 AUGUST 1873**

MARRIED - At Antioch, August 12th, at the residence of Robert FULLER, by Rev. Theopilus BEAIZLEY; Mr. Robert R. FULLER and Miss Hattie L. NICHOLS.

Mr. Watkins PROSSER, who was at the time serving at Martinez as a member of the Grand Jury, received a dispatch last Tuesday afternoon, informing him of the death of his wife by a fall from her horse. Mr. PROSSER, we believe, is employed either at Somersville or Nortonville, but has his residence in Deer Valley. Mrs. PROSSER had been to Somersville on horseback and was on her way home when the accident occurred. From a stumble of the horse, she was observed from some distance, to fall from the horse and roll down a precipitous place above which the trail ran; but life was extinct when those who went immediately to her help reached the body. Besides the husband, 4 children,, we hear, are left to mourn this sad event.


Tragic crime appears to be an epidemic in the county now; and on Sunday evening, only a little more than a week after the San Pablo Creek horror, another live was criminally taken at the village of San Pablo. The victim in this case was George MUTH, a young German, who had lived some years in the vicinity, and was generally liked and respected. He was killed by Henry PLOEGER, also we believe a German, who lives generally in San Francisco, but for some years, during part of each season, has been engaged in hay pressing; and had been so employed this season at San Pablo. He had, some time back, it is said, sold a hay press to MUTH and was displeased with him because he had engaged in business rivalry with him. On Sunday both parties were at the village; and both had been drinking, though it was a very unusual thing for MUTH to do so. PLOEGER had made threats against MUTH, and the latter, just as PLOEGER was about to mount his horse, crossed from the opposite side of the road and laid his hand on his (PLOEGER's) shoulder, asking him: "What he was threatening him for;" or, "what he had against him," or some question of such purport. PLOEGER instantly drew his pistol and shot him through the heart, killing him almost instantly; PLOEGER claims that he anticipated an attack with a pistol when he drew his, and that the shooting was unintentional. The by-standers, though, do not seem to have been impressed with such a belief, and were inclined to execute summary justice on the spot, regarding it an act of unprovoked and wanton murder. The prisoner was, however, held by officers BALDWIN and WARE, and taken to Martinez, where, the Grand Jury being in session, his case was immediately brought before it for examination. An inquest was held at San Pablo, on the body of the deceased, George MUTH, by Justice T.D. PALMER, acting as Coroner, and a verdict found that he came to his death by a pistol shot fired by the hand of Henry PLOEGER. The body was taken in charge by a brother of the deceased for interment.


After more than a week's hunt, by night and by day among our hills, following up the scent of every reported straggler, and in almost every instance finding they had been on scout of the wrong man, Sheriff IVORY and his staff of officers were still scouring our hills and valleys for NASH, when a telegram was received Monday afternoon, from Governor BOOTH, with the information that he had been captured, and was held by the Justice of the Peace at Battle Mountain, in Nevada. Under Sheriff HUNSAKER immediately dispatched a courier to find Sheriff IVORY and telegraphed the Battle Mountain Justice that he would start for the prisoner immediately, inquiring at the same time, "if he had a description of NASH and was sure he had him?" A reply was received from the Justice later in the evening that "he had the description and the prisoner acknowledged himself the man."

The courier sent out for Mr. IVORY found him above Danville, shaping his scout towards Tassjara. The information of the courier turned him instantly towards Martinez, where he arrived too late to cross by the ferry to take the Sacramento boat. He consequently took a fresh team and started for Antioch, to take the Sacramento boat there, first telegraphing to a brother living at Winnemuca, a hundred miles or more by rail from Battle Mountain, to go at once to that place and stand guard over NASH until he got there. Mr. IVORY got the boat at Antioch, and reached Sacramento in ample time to get the requisition papers from the Governor before departure of the overland train at 2 o'clock p.m., Tuesday, hoping to reach Battle Mountain in season to get his prisoner and start back with him by the return train on Wednesday, so as to get here on Thursday evening. Should there have been any delay, or missing of communications, however, he may not be here until Friday evening or Saturday some time.


It is reported that a young girl named SUAREZ, was shockingly burned at Nortonville on Tuesday morning in using kerosene to light a fire. We have been able to obtain no particulars of the sad occurrence, but are led to believe that her injuries are very severe and may prove fatal.

William JOHNSON was shot and instantly killed last Monday in San Francisco by Thomas CURIN, the father of a girl of 15 years who had been seduced by JOHNSON.

Hon. C.W. LANDER, Judge -
-M. TIEDERMANN was admitted to citizenship
-The Sheriff returned venire of trial jurors drawn and summoned for the term. The following named persons were excused service for lawful reasons shown:
Thos. P. JONES
Mathew WARD


**Saturday, 23 AUGUST 1873**

BORN - In Pacheco, Aug. 16th, to Mr.&Mrs. W.K. DELL, a son.

BORN - Near Pacheco, Aug. 18th, to Mr.&Mrs. Russell BURRESS, a daughter.

IN MEMORIAM - [Communicated] -
DIED, in Santa Clara, at the residence of his son-in-law, J.A. WILCOX, Aug. 4th, Stephen ABBOTT, of Antioch, aged 68 years, 10 months, 10 days.

The announcement in the early part of last week, of the unexpected death of the venerable Stephen ABBOTT, took the people of Antioch and adjoining country by surprise. The news awakened a feeling of sadness for the loss of an old, enterprising and much esteemed citizen, and a lively sympathy for his estimable widow, family and relatives. When the representations of worth and wisdom, generosity and goodness, turn out of life's path, to journey on the highway of the unknown future, it is not well that their virtues should be "interred with their bones," but eminently proper to hold them up as models and guides for the living.

Born in 1804 in Wilton, N.H., Mr. A. enjoyed all the advantages which the schools of that town afforded, educated in mercantile pursuits, he was skilled in all the complicated details of a country store, and by his attentive and systematic habits, coupled with his naturally kind and obliging disposition, he soon became a great favorite both with his employers and their customers.

With a store on his own account in his native town, in 1827, and a wife in 1828, the year that General JACKSON was first raised to the Presidential chair, and a prosperous and increasing business, his prospects pecuniarily and otherwise, were not only promising, but brilliant. His obliging disposition and faith in the promises of his customers, betrayed him into so loading the debtor side of his Ledger, during the inflation which followed the removal of the Bank deposits by President Jackson, that the monetary reaction and business depression which followed, absorbed his previous accumulations and left him in 1835, with no other capital than a large experience and an untarnished reputation. Leaving the same year for central N.Y. he located in Syracuse, and engaged in commercial pursuits till 1843, when he united with a co-operation association, in Skaneatles, where he removed till 1850, when on the surges of the gold excitement, he drifted to California, strong in the hope that he could check out enough of the golden deposits from the banks of the rivers, to enable his associates to establish the co-operation institution referred to above, upon a solid financial basis. The mines, however, did not liberally respond to his laborious drafts upon them, and in 1854, he resolved to permanently settle in California, and with his small accumulations he purchased a charming location in Alameda county, which he christened Fruit Vale, and by laborious efforts in planting fruit trees, he sought to make the place into favorable notice. In 1856, together with his wife and daughters who had joined him there, he richly embellished the new and cosy home with fruit trees and vines, flowering shrubs and plants.

The physical exertions incident to his business being too severe for his strength, in 1864 Mr. A. disposed of his Fruit Vale homestead, and the following year removed to the then new and promising town of Antioch, and again entered into commercial pursuits. In 1866 Mr. ABBOTT received the appointment of Postmaster, and subsequently the agency of the Bamber's letter express and of Wells, Fargo & Co.'s express establishments, and to all of these was supplemented a telegraph office. He conducted the business of these various departments to the great satisfaction of the Federal Government, the companies and the public, until a few months since, when declining health admonishing him that physical rest and mental quiet were absolutely necessary, he relinquished thse departments to others.

No man in the county was better or more favorably known than Mr. A., and none, with the means at his disposal, exercise more influence than he, to improve and beautify with shade trees and shrubbery, fruit trees and flowers, the homes of Antioch.

From early manhood, outspoken, bold and courageous, Mr. A. was a pioneer and an active worker in the great reforms which during the past half century warred upon our popular vices and crimes. His mind was too philosophical and broad to be dwarfed to the dogmas of any sect, and his religion was to do good to his fellow creatures. For the few last years of his life and up to the moment of his death he found ever increasing comfort and satisfaction in the hopes, beliefs and expectations of the spiritual philosophy. In politics he was radical and progressive. He charged the poverty and crime of our civilization to land monopoly and the antagonisms which grow out of our wages system, and looked to the emancipation of the land and co-operation industry as the desired remedies. While he sympathized with the victims of our hereditary drinking customs and desired to strengthen and reclaim them, he would outlaw the traffic by ranking the vending of intoxicating beverages with high grade crimes. He would substitute international arbitration for the butchery and plagues of war. He would abolish the death penalty, and by substituting kindness for indifference and cruelty convert our prisons into moral hospitals, for the improvement of the unfortunate victims of our industrial antagonisms, and thus fit them, by moral and intellectual, industrial and refining surroundings to be better able to discharge the duties of citizens, when they shall again enter into and become a part of the busy world, than when they entered. He would confer upon women the duties and responsibilities of citizens, that the State might enjoy the softening and humanizing influence of her presence and labors.

There was a fitness in Mr. ABBOTT's request that Mr. COLLINS, of San Francisco, an old personal friend and associate in the above mentioned co-operative experiment, should speak on the occasion of his burial, as no one outside of his family, was so well qualified to properly interpret his virtues and purposes. His remarks were comprehensive, forcible and eloquent - a noble tribute to the memory of one whose long and useful life had been sacredly consecrated to temperance and virtue, liberty and progress. Rev. Mr. BEALZLEY, pastor of the church in whose building were the funeral exercises, paid a feeling and eloquent eulogism upon the life and character of the good man whose remains were soon to be deposited from human sight.

The general suspension of business on the day of the funeral, the flags floating mournfully at half-mast and the large attendance, forcibly proclaimed how strongly Mr. A. had intrenched himself in the affections of his fellow-citizens.

[The foregoing communication was forwarded for publication last week, but was not received until after the paper was issued. Ed. 'Gazette']


2 laboring men, James McMILLIGEN ad John FITZMAURICE, were both under the influence of liquor on Friday afternoon, McMILLIGEN being most depressed and lying on the sidewalk in front of Fassett & McCaulley's office when FITZMAURICE endeavored to get him away. The other resisted and FITZMAURICE then dealt him a severe blow that cut his face badly, whereupon McMILLIGEN drew his pocket knife and gave FITZMAURICE a slashing cut across the muscle of the arm above the elbow. He was immediately arrested and committed to jail by Justice Oliver, for examination on Saturday.

There are now 4 persons confined in our county jail on charges of murder. Marshall MARTIN, for the murder of Valentine EISHLER; William NASH, alias OSTERHAUS, and Mary GERSBACH, for the murder of Martin GERSBACH, and Henry PLOEGER for the murder of George MUTH. Timothy ROONAN is also there awaiting trial under indictment of assault to murder.

John BURNS convicted last week by the County Court, of assault to do bodily inujury, committed at Nortonville some months since, and sentenced to 6 months in the State's Prison, was taken over on Tuesday by Sheriff Ivory.


**Saturday, 30 AUGUST 1873**

MARRIED - At Martinez, on Wednesday, August 27th, Mr. C.T. BISSELL and Miss Eva BUSH.

DIED - At Pacheco, August 29th, of disease of heart, William PARKER, aged 48 years.

Stephen -------, [as written] who has been some years in the employ of Mr. George MATTE in Diablo Valley, while loading hay last Wednesday, fell from the load and one wheel of the wagon passed over his shoulder and neck, fracturing the shoulder blade and injuring the glottis so severely that the unfortunate man breathes only with the utmost difficulty, and is in danger of strangling with the accumulations of phlegm. We are informed by his physician, Dr. CAROTHERS that his condition is very critical.

-Alexander CEMON admitted to citizenship
-William JONES, Robert MORGAN, Joseph LUCAS, John de ANDREWS, John WILLIAMS, admitted to citizenship
-Morris LOBREE admitted to citizenship

AH GIM, a China boy of about 19 years, who had lived several years with the family of Orrin DUBOIS, near San Jose, was killed on Monday last in the family kitchen by a pistol shot through the head, as the family aver, fired by his own hand in a fit of anger and jealousy because one of the daughters of the family would not tolerate his partiality, and presumptions to her affections. The family report that he first fired several shots at the girl, then shot himself. There seems to be much doubt of the truth of their story. It is said that DUBOIS was indebted to the boy to the extent of $600, or more, and that the corpse was cold when first seen by neighbors called in after the occurrence; and that the garments of the girl, said to have been cut by one of the balls fired at her by the boy, appear to have been cut with a pen knife. On these facts DUBOIS, his wife & 2 daughters have been arrested for examination on charge of murder.


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