A Shooting, Three Deaths and a Shady Past – Joseph Maxwell, Martha Maxwell Henderson and William Henderson

Oregon City Enterprise, March 29, 1907

“For God’s sake, don’t”

Those were the last words uttered by Joseph D. Maxwell before the shot rang out that may put an end to his life. The followed two other shots by which the lives of two were snuffed out almost instantaneously.

William W. Henderson lies cold in death, the fatal shot supposedly fired by his own hand. Mrs. Martha E. Henderson, his wife, is also dead, her husband firing the bullet that ended her life.

The triple tragedy took place at the Wilhelm Tell house, corner of Sixth and Main Streets, this morning at half past eight. Ed. Willoughby was standing in his room when a bullet came through the wall from the next room and whizzed past his face, missing him only by a few inches. He rushed downstairs and out on the street calling “Murder!”

Chief of Police Burns and representative from the Star were passing at the time and immediately hurried into the house and up the stairs. I twas a fearful scene that met them.

Lying on the bed in Maxwell’s room with his brains splattered over the wall behind him was Henderson. Partly on the bed and partly on the floor lay Maxwell, in a widening pool of blood. Behind the door and wedged against it so that entrance was gained with difficulty lay the woman who is said to be the cause of the tragedy, with a fearful gash in her forehead and the blood streaming from a wound in her breast.

All three were alive when found, but Henderson and his wife expired in a few minutes, without gaining consciousness. The woman died first, a few low moans signifying her passing. A minute afterwards Henderson also passed out amid fearful groans. Maxwell, although terribly injured, was not unconscious, and was removed to the next room where Dr. C. A. Stuart is battling for his life.

A 41-caliber Colt was the weapon used and was found on the bed by the side of Henderson. Five of the six chambers were empty, but whether more than three shots were fired is uncertain. A 38-caliber Harrington-Richards revolver was found lying under the pillow of Maxwell’s bed with all the chambers full.

The bullet struck Maxwell back of the left ear at the base of the mastoid process, passing downward and came out at the angle of the jaw. The wound in itself, according to Dr. Stuart, will not necessarily prove fatal, but the mental shock and the loss of blood may result in death. Soon after Maxwell had been shot a committee of Odd Fellows, consisting of Harry M. Shaw, Elmer Veteto, H. W. Trembath, William Shannon, J. W. Cooke and Mr. Brown took charge, on behalf of the lodge, of which Maxwell was a past grand and will do all that can be done for him in saving his life.

Mrs. Henderson was killed by a bullet piercing her right breast. She also had a contusion on her forehead, but whether this is from a bullet or from contact with a piece of furniture when she fell will never be known. Henderson was shot through the head, the bullet entering his throat and passing through the back of the head.

There were no witnesses to the event, but ed. Willoughby, who occupied the room adjoining that of Maxwell where the shooting occurred, overheard a conversation that took place among the three victims of the tragedy just before the shooting.

According to Willoughby, Henderson, together with his wife and his wife’s father, came into Maxwell’s room about five minutes before the first shot was fired. There was much earnest conversation, and Henderson seemed to be pleading with his wife to come back to him. She replied scornfully, and said, “Why don’t you talk sense?”

Henderson fell to sobbing and moaning, and continued his pleading. The woman taunted him with abusing her when she was with him. “Pa, can’t you do something?” asked Henderson and Maxwll replied, “No, I can’t.”

The next words that Willoughby heard were “For God’s sake, don’t,” and then a bullet sped past his nose and buried itself in the opposite wall.

It seems to be very clear that Henderson did the shooting, for Maxwell made a statement to the Star representative as he was lying helpless when found.

In answer to a question as to who fired the shots, he said between moans, “Henderson did.”

“Whom did he shoot first,” was asked.

With difficulty Maxwell replied, “The woman first, then me.”

After that he lapsed into a state of semi-consciousness, and could talk no more.

Fred Griessen, proprietor of the Wilhelm Tell House, stated to the Star that Maxwell and his daughter came to Oregon City for the first time on March 2, and secured rooms with him. They were together until Friday afternoon, when the woman left, saying that she was going to Portland for her baggage, and would go on to Grants Pass. Her father said he would stay on at the place. Friday night Mrs. Henderson returned and took a room for the night.

Griessen said that the couple were quiet and spent most of the time in the sitting room of the hotel, occasionally going out for a walk. Henderson came to the hotel for the first time this morning. It is known, however, that he came to Oregon City last night on the 11 o’clock car from Portland. He had been drinking heavily, and a bottle of whiskey was found in his pocket after the tragedy.

Detective James Stuart, of the detective firm of Stuart & Vaughan, was in the city yesterday looking for the Henderson woman and her father. Stuart had been retained by Henderson to look up the woman’s record, and it is said that Henderson alleges that his wife deserted him when they were living at Latrove, California, going away with another man. He has been bitter against her, and has stated that she is a swindler, and was at this time up in a mining swindle. He has a letter to the post office here that is said to throw light upon this phase of the case, but it cannot be gotten out according to the post office regulations, except by a relative or administrator.

Henderson had a note in one of his pockets that gave instructions to notify his brother, G. M. Henderson, of Rutledge, Tennessee, in case of death. Coroner Holman this morning sent a message to this address, asking instructions as to the disposal of the body, but has as yet received no reply. The brother was at one time an attorney general of Tennessee.

Nothing further is known of Henderson or his people except that according to papers found on his clothes he has been employed at Seattle on the street car line. Papers show that he has been a railroad man. He had on his vest and coat emblems of the Masons, Elks, the Modern Woodmen of America, and the Odd Fellow, but no cards were found in his pockets to show that he was in good standing.

Maxwell has not been in a condition to talk of his family, and it is not known whether he has relatives at his home in Latrove or not.

Less than 24 hours before she met her fate from a revolver bullet fired by her husband, Mrs. Henderson made her will. In company with her father, Joseph D. Maxwell, she visited the office of Judge G. E. Hayes in the Stevens block, Friday, and had him draw up the papers in which she disposed of her property.

Judge Hayes said Saturday morning after the tragedy that the woman anticipated trouble, that she said her husband was in Portland making threats to kill her but she was not afraid. Her father also said he was not fearful of Henderson.

She claims that they were living in San Francisco at the time of the earthquake, in which she lost much property. Her first husband’s name was Odell. He died, leaving no children. She claims to own 160 acres of land at Kirby, Josephine County, Oregon. Mr. Maxwell’s residence was a Latrove, El Dorado County, California. He was a widower and Mrs. Henderson was his only child. She was 28 years of age and her father was 65. In her conversation in Judge Hayes’ office she told of her husband’s cruel and inhuman treatment, which she said was because she had $2,900 which he was desirous of securing from her.

The will drawn up Friday evening will be filed for record in Josephine County, where her real estate is situated. Professional ethics, aside from law, prevents the contents of the will becoming public before filing, but it is surmised as she had no other near relative that she willed her property to her father. There is a heavy creditor of the estate and he will probably ask for letters of administration in Josephine County.

Mr. Maxwell and Mrs. Henderson had been in Oregon City about ten days, staying at the Wilhelm Tell House. Her business presumably was her divorce suit. She could have served that by default any time since March 11, the last day in which Henderson could answer.

Mrs. Henderson claimed in Judge Hayes’ office that she was going to Lake County to work as a cook in a mining camp, and read a part of a telegram from Grants Pass to that effect.

The old Wilhelm Tell House, the scene of Saturday morning’s awful tragedy, is one of the most historic buildings in Oregon. It was erected over 60 years ago, and at one time was the meeting place of the Oregon Territorial Legislature. After many vicissitudes the building is now used as a cheap lodging house, the first story being occupied by a saloon and the two upper stories used as a hotel, under the management of Fred Griessen.

Mrs. Henderson, through her attorney, A. R. Mendenhall, filed a suit for divorce from her husband in the Clackamas County circuit court on January 8 last. The complaint sites that she and defendant were married in San Francisco on March 30, 1906, and the cause of action is given as cruel and inhuman treatment and personal indignities, rendering her life burdensome. She alleges that beginning one week after their marriage he began importuning her for money and upon his not receiving the amount demanded he applied to her the most vulgar, low and scurrilous language the same being too vile to set forth in the complaint.

In the presence of their friends he is charged by her with using such expressions as “you are a d—m old whore.” and accusing her of “sustaining unlawful relations with individuals to her unknown, thereby causing her to suffer great mental anguish.”

On two occasions, she says, he flourished his revolver over her head in a threatening manner, and while so doing informed her that he would kill her, and that in September, 1906, while angry he struck plaintiff with his fists, knocking her to the floor, when he informed her that he intended to kill her, and she avers that if it had not been for the intervention of her father that he would have carried his threat into execution.

Finally, she says, ill treatment was through no cause of hers but solely because she refused to satisfy his repeated demands for money.

Thought to Have Had Five Husbands and an Unenviable Record in Court

From testimony given at the inquest by Detectives Stuart and Vaughn and from newspaper clippings found in Henderson’s possession it appears that his wife has borne a shady reputation for some time.

Part of her game, it is alleged, was to advertise in marriage papers for a husband, representing herself as a young unmarried woman with $80,000 and wanting a husband with a few thousand to invest who would take care of her fortune. She is known to have caught one man, whose name was O’Dell, this way before she married Henderson. Her father is said to have worked with her, and one rumor has it that he killed one of her husbands.

She married Henderson in San Francisco in April, 1906. At the time she was on trial in Oakland court for running a marriage bureau to lure men, and Henderson was the star witness against her. She is said to have married him so that he might not have to testify against her. Deprived of the witness’ testimony she was acquitted of the charge on which she was held.

Henderson told his detectives that she had secured some $3,000 from him on her representations of the “Ogalla” mines, which, it appears, are worthless. She and her husband did not live happily together, and from the conversation heard by Ed. Willoughby before the shooting it would seem that he had ill treated her.

Up to the time when Henderson met the woman who ruined his life he had borne a good reputation and was well liked, but after falling into her clutches he became infatuated and could not keep away from her. She seemed to have an influence over him that could not be broken even by herself.

The coroner’s inquest over the bodies of William W. Henderson and his wife, Martha E. Henderson held Saturday night, resulted in a verdict in accordance with the facts of the case. The jury found that Mrs. Henderson came to her death by a bullet wound inflicted by her husband, and that William Henderson died by a self-inflicted bullet wound.

In the testimony the scene that met the gaze of those who first entered the room was gone over, and although Joseph Maxwell, the father of the woman was unable to be present on account of his wound, the statement he made to Chief of Police Burns and to the Star was taken as evidence, and from this the guilt was placed on Henderson.

From the evidence it developed that five shots were fired, two of which struck the woman, one in the forehead and one in the right breast, one hit Maxwell in the back of the head, one pierced Henderson’s hat failing to injure him and the other entered his brain.

Maxwell made a later statement to the Star while he was lying in the room adjoining to which he was taken after the shooting in regard to the positions occupied by the three when Henderson fired the fatal shots. According to Maxwell, he was standing at the foot of the bed, and Henderson was on the bed. The room was small, with merely room for the bed and a washstand. From the bullet marks in the walls and the floor Henderson must have been standing on the bed when he fired. One bullet went through the wall, and one went through the floor. This later was likely the one that struck the old man.

Among the personal effects left by Henderson was found nothing that would show to what lodges he belonged, or whether he was in good standing or not. He is said to have stated to men around town that he was in good standing, however. His effects will be sent to his brother, G. M. Henderson of Rutledge, Tennessee. He had a bank book showing a deposit of $825 in a Seattle bank, and papers showed that he was working fro the Puget Sound Electric Co., at the time of his death. He had also been employed in St. Louis and other cities on the street car lines.

Coroner Holmes yesterday received a message from the brother giving instructions that the body be buried here. Earlier in the day a telegram was received directing the coroner to ship the body to Tennessee, but after consultation with the other relatives it was decided to have Henderson buried at Oregon City. The funeral will be held Tuesday morning from Holman’s undertaking rooms.

Last night a man claiming to be a cousin of Henderson’s came up from Portland and identified him. He left no instructions with the coroner for the disposal of the body, and the instructions from the brother in Tennessee will be followed out. The arrangements for the funeral have not yet been completed.

The body of the woman will be held until her father becomes well enough to give directions for the burial.

Joseph D. Maxwell, shot by his son-in-law W. W. Henderson, Saturday morning and seriously wounded was taken to the Good Samaritan hospital in Portland on the Southern Pacific Saturday night. He had been removed previously from the room to which he had been carried in the Wilhelm Tell House after the shooting to the Electric Hotel, where he received all the surgical aid that the limited appliances of Oregon City would permit.

After the wound was dressed Saturday morning, Maxwell appeared to be resting easily, but about half past ten he seemed to be growing worse and Dr. Stuart was hastily summoned. He worked with him for several hours before he was thought to be out of danger, and Dr. Carll was summoned in the early afternoon.

Towards evening he was removed to the Electric Hotel, as a quieter and more convenient place to care for him, but it was thought that the hospital was a better place for him, and he was removed there in the late afternoon. It is stated that he has a good chance of recovery, and if he survives the shock the bullet will not necessarily prove fatal. At last reports he was resting easily.

Oregon City Enterprise, April 5, 1907
Joseph D. Maxwell, the second victim of William W. Henderson’s pistol, died at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland Thursday night.

He had been in precarious condition ever since the shooting, and although at times he seemed to rally, yet it was considered extremely doubtful whether he could survive the shock. He passed out about nine o’clock Thursday night, without becoming sufficiently rational to make any additional statements about the shooting or the disposal of his daughter’s body.

Telegrams have been received by Chief of Police Burns from W. D. Maxwell of Downey, California, who claimed that he was a son of the injured man, and who asked to be kept posted of his father’s condition. He did not, however, send any instructions concerning his sister’s burial, and the body of Henderson’s wife has been held at the morgue until her father should become rational enough to give instructions for burial.

C. E. Nash had also received messages from G. G. Fremont of San Francisco, a prominent Odd Fellow, directing that Maxwell be taken care of by the local lodge of Odd Fellows. These men were notified of his death.

Maxwell’s body was brought to Oregon City on the O. W. P. Friday afternoon and an autopsy held. An inquest will be held Friday night and the body will be buried Saturday. The inquest is more a matter of legal form, for there cannot be any doubt as to the primary cause of death. The statement made to the Star by Maxwell soon after the shooting was taken as evidence placing the blame on Henderson at the inquest held over the bodies of the younger man and his wife.

The funeral of Mrs. Henderson was held Friday afternoon at one o’clock, the Rev. J. R. Landsborough conducting the services. Interment was made in Mountain View Cemetery in another part of the cemetery form that occupied by Henderson’s grave. It was found that no lot could be obtained adjoining that purchased for Henderson.

The following article is an introduction to a Sacramento Bee article giving more details on Martha Maxwell’s life of crime. A portion of the Bee article was also reprinted in the Oregon City Enterprise on April 12, 1907….

Amador Ledger, Jackson, California, March 29, 1907
Mrs. Martha E. Odell, whose shady career is known in part at least to many residents of Amador County, met a tragic death in Oregon last week at the hands of her latest husband whom she deserted, after securing his hard-earned savings. She has been regarded for many years as one of the most daring, shrewd and unscrupulous adventuresses that ever operated in this state. Amador County was the theatre of a number of her adventures. She first came to notoriety in this county some twelve years back, when McManus, her husband at that time, was shot and killed by her alleged father, J. D. Maxwell.

The McManuses were at that time renting the farm of H. Page below Drytown. Maxwell was occupying a cabin, alone, on the Cosumnes River, several miles distant. McManus went to the Maxwell cabin on morning, and soon after reaching there was killed by Maxwell. The slayer’s version of the tragedy was that the killing was done in self-defense, but some circumstances did not support this story. However, there was no eye-witness to contradict the defendant’s story, and the jury acquitted him. Mrs. McManus appeared as the prosecuting witness. In after years she represented to her matrimonial dupes that she owned rich mines in Amador County. She did own some alleged gravel claims in the neighborhood of Lockwood’s station, and other places in this county. They were never known to produce any gold worth mentioning, nevertheless they were made to play an important part in furthering the schemes of this designing woman in dipping into the pockets of her victims. The following account of her career, and of her tragic end, taken from the Sacramento Bee will be read with interest by our readers:

Sacramento Bee:
Oregon City, (Ore). As a result of a frightful tragedy here this morning, Mr. and Mrs. William Henderson are dead and John Maxwell, reputed father of the dead woman, is wounded, probably fatally. Henderson, half crazed because his wife persisted in her refusal to live with him, fired five shots from a 38-caliber Colt’s revolver, killing his wife, seriously wounding Maxwell, and then blew out his brains. The Hendersons were married in San Francisco March 30, 1906 and prior to the fire kept a lodging house there.

Their married life was unhappy, however, and Mrs. Henderson went to Maxwell’s home at Latrobe, El Dorado County, California. Maxwell is well known there, being a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and a past noble grand of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Mrs. Henderson had been married four or five times and a former husband was named O’Dell. At his death he will her a 160-acre farm at Kerby, Josephine County, Oregon, and she had considerable money, as $2,700 belonging to her was found in Maxwell’s pockets.

Last January Mrs. Henderson commenced a suit for divorce in this city. This morning Henderson entered the Wilhelm Tell House, where his wife and Maxwell were staying, and after some words shot both, and then killed himself. The woman had married Henderson to keep him from testifying against her in a suit brought by John A. Horn in an Oakland court April 3, 1906 to recover $800, which Mrs. Henderson, who was then Mrs. Martha Odell, had induced him to put into a mining scheme of hers.

As far as can be learned the woman began her career of crime in this city and figured in almost every grade of human degradation, from the picking of a pocket to murder. She first became known to the police in 1895 when her father, Joseph D. Maxwell, killed her husband, David McManus and escaped punishment for the killing, although the woman herself used every endeavor to secure her father’s conviction, for the reason that had be been sent to the gallows she would have had free control of a number of small mines in which he was interested.

Some two years before this killing, the woman, known as Martha E. Maxwell, was earning her living as a nurse and housekeeper in this city. About this time she married Dan McManus, and expressman, whose stand was at the corner of Second and J Streets, in front of the bank of D. O. Mills. The couple engaged in building at the northeast corner of Second and M Streets, where they conducted a lodging house until they removed to a small ranch near Latrobe, just over the El Dorado line.

After the killing of Dan McManus, which was done at the insistence of the woman, who hoped to get rid of husband and father at one swoop, so that she could gain control of the mines they had located, she took up with a Charles Browhart, a bunco steerer and three-card monte man, a former member of the “big mit” gang who were driven out of Council Bluffs.

The couple went to San Francisco and were located for a time at 417 Mission Street; later they came to Sacramento and secured quarters at 628 I Street, opposite the county jail where they operated a so called mining and employment office that was used as a cloak for their schemes to fleece the unwary.

The woman caused an advertisement to be inserted in the San Francisco Examiner and in Eastern papers to the effect that a rich young widow without encumbrances, who owned productive mines, desired to meet an honest man with some capital who would develop the mines, etc.

Her first victim was a well-to-do man named James Watts, who hung around the I Street establishment for a couple of months like a moth around a candle and then disappeared. He was last seen in the company of Mrs. Browhart, and when Watt’s lifeless body was found some weeks later lying at the edge of a slough north of Jibbom Street attention was drawn to the woman and her husband, who were taken into custody on suspicion of by the sheriff.

The body of Watts was found by some boys. His skull had been crushed by a heavy piece of metallic slag that lay near the body. A heavy gold watch and chain belonging to Watts was discovered in a local pawn shop and eventually the murder of Watts was traced to the hands of William Westlake, another dupe of this notorious woman, and he was convicted and is now serving a life sentence at Folsom prison for the crime.

It was supposed by the authorities that the killing of Watts was instigated by the woman, but she was so shrewd that they were unable to connect her directly with the crime and eventually she and Browhart were discharged from custody.

This close escape frightened Browhart, who took to drink, lost his nerve and refused to be any longer an accomplice to the woman fleecing the unwary. Eventually he straightened up and obtained employment as a waiter in a restaurant and passed out this remarkable woman’s influence.

Another dupe of this woman made his appearance about this time, coming from Detroit, Mich., where he had seen her advertisement in a paper. He fell in love with Martha and Browhart being out of the way, they were married and Martha became Mrs. Frank O’Dell, but still kept her advertisement about the rich young widow.

Her next victim was a young telegraph operator from Phoenix, Arizona. When the advertisement met his eye, he was about to be married to an estimable young woman of that place, and they were preparing their future home. He came to Sacramento, fell under the wiles of Martha, broke his engagement, and was about to place the few thousand he possessed in Martha’s hands, when his eyes were opened.

Calling at her apartments one morning he caught a glimpse of the woman, who was in another room, by aid of a mirror, in the arms of another man. The incident took place in a fashionable boarding house where Mrs. O’Dell had secured apartments by means of forged references. Finding that his supposed rich young widow was not all that he pictured, this man went to the police, made inquiries, and had his eyes opened.

He left for San Francisco with the intent to return and right the wrong he had done to his former love in breaking their engagement. He fell in bad company, however, lost his money, and when he arrived in Phoenix found that his betrothed had died of a broken heart. He ended his life with a pistol shot on the green mound that covered her remains.

After Mrs. O’Dell succeeded in getting all of O’Dell’s money, she dropped him and disappeared for a time from Sacramento and the next that was known of her was that she was brought for trial in the Federal Courts for jumping mining claims. She was so shrewd, however, that she kept just within the limits of the law and escaped conviction.

How many more victims the woman obtained is unknown, but it is believed they numbered scores, for as soon as she obtained their money, she dropped them. Her last victim as the man who killed her. He was a railroad man from the East, who came in answer to her advertisement, and who proved to be the hardest one to handle of all that fell within her wiles. Time after time he broke away from her influence.

Eventually she married him and got control of some $2,000, all he had, when she dropped him as she had the others, and in company with her father, Joseph D. Maxwell, disappeared. For a time they lived in Stockton, but learning that Henderson was on her trail, they again disappeared.

Henderson went to Spokane, where he resumed railroading, spending all he made in endeavoring to gain trace of the woman who had ruined his life. He found her Saturday, and the tragedy in the Oregon hotel ends the story.

And from Martha’s earlier “career”…

Amidor Ledger, March 2, 1900
Madam Brouhard, according to the following report taken from the San Francisco Chronicle, has duped several men who were evidently hankering for the “flesh pots of Egypt.” Several men were fleeced out of various sums of money, but they did not squeal. It remained for James W. Leeper of San Francisco, who was touched off by the smooth widow to the tune of $550 in cold coin, not to mention the bone and sinew he expended on the barren tunnel, to raise a howl, which landed the dame in Court.

Amador County being mentioned as the scene of some of the fair widow’s mining schemes, the Ledger decided to look up the records and see what property the Brouhard really owned in Amador County. While thus engaged, the following deeds were sent here for record and appeared in the Ledger’s columns of county affairs on February 16th:
M. E. Brouhard to Thomas Hirst, ten one-thousands interest in Davis quartz mine: $200
M. E. Brouhard to Thomas Hirst, three one-thousands interest in Davis quarts mine: $100.

The deeds were recorded. The Davis mine is a quartz claim located in township seven, section one north, range twelve east, in Robertson mining district. The claim was located by J. J. Mitchell. The Chronicle’s report as follows:
Mrs. Martha E. Brouhard, known also as Mrs. Martha E. Maxwell and as Mrs. M. E. McManus, looked coldly on her former admirers yesterday as she sat in Police Judge Conlan’s court and listened to testimony bearing on the charge of obtaining money and goods by false pretense made against her by J. M. Leeper. Advertisements in matrimonial papers telling of a charming widow with a fortune in mines and agricultural lands figured in the case, and some of the self-acknowledged victims went on the stand and told their love for the widow led them to invest money in her schemes to trap the unwary.

The defendant is about forty years old, gaunt in face, and has cold, unsympathetic eyes that show no signs of power to win hearts, yet she has been married two or three times and engaged so often, says the prosecution, that it would require an able statistician to compute the exact number of her promised husbands. Her bait for would be benedicts was the following advertisement, which she had inserted in several papers conducted by matrimonial bureaus:
A nice-looking, respectable widow, no children, has large real estate and mining property, owns also a fine country home a short distance from Sacramento, wishes to become acquainted with an honest workingman; all letters answered; intention, matrimony.

J. F. Mello, a miner who lives near Volcano, Amador County, was the first witness. He had worked on what she called her mining property, he said, and two weeks’ labor yielded just $5 in gold. “I don’t call that mining property,” the witness replied disgustedly to a question asked by the defendant’s attorney.

George Hoffmeister, County Assessor of El Dorado County, said that in El Dorado County a woman named Mrs. M. E. McManus owned 160 acres, valued at $250. At this the defendant admitted that McManus was a name that she had received from one of her husbands.

A. D. Witt of Sacramento was the next witness. He saw the defendant’s advertisement in “Cupid’s Column” a matrimonial paper published in Deane, Minn., and after a few months of correspondence he came all the way from Minnesota to California to marry her. She induced him to part with $250, he said. He was to receive a quarter interest in twenty acres of mining land in El Dorado County, but after working a few days in a tunnel on the land he concluded that he had been swindled. He wanted to marry her, but he had no more money to invest and she refused him.

D. W. Norman of Sacramento also worked in the mining tunnel. He invested $50, but it was represented by a check, and he grew suspicious in time to save it by instructing his banker to refuse payment.

J. M. Leeper, the complaining witness, told of being attracted by the defendant’s advertisement in Wedding Bells, a matrimonial paper published in this city. He had a lodging house at 218 Eddy Street, but he gave her a bill of sale of the property in exchange for her promise that she would pay him $50 cash and $450 in mining stock. She told him that she had 200 men employed at her mine. She declined to marry him and returned to Sacramento. Leeper informed the police of her schemes, and she was arrested in Sacramento by Detectives O’Dea and Ryan of this city.

Mrs. Mary Henderson, testified to buying the lodging house from Mrs. Brouhard for $550. At this juncture the prosecution called a halt for the day and the case was continued to this morning.

Thomas Hirst, a resident of Oaklan, it is said, invested $600 in the Brouhard mining and matrimonial venture, failed to appear as a witness yesterday, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

San Francisco Call, March 11, 1900
The case of Mrs. Martha Brouhard of Sacramento, accused of obtaining money by false pretenses from James M. Leeper, was called in Judge Conlan’s court yesterday for decision. It was represented to the Judge that the defendant was under arrest in Sacramento in connection with the murder of R. R. Watts there and by consent the case was continued till next Wednesday.

Amador Ledger, March 16, 1900
Mrs. Martha E. Brouhard is again in trouble being mixed up in the Watt’s murder case at Sacramento.

On Wednesday of last week the body of R. R. Watts was found in the brush and water beyond the north levee, at Sacramento by some boys. This was the first inkling of a dark and mysterious crime.

Letters addressed to 626½ I Street Sacramento, were found on the person of the deceased. This gave the officers a clue. This place was visited by the officers and found to be an employment office kept by Mrs. Martha E. Brouhard. At the time of the officers’ visit Mrs. Brouhard, her clerk, George W. Odell, and young man named Charles Bowen, were down town to their supper.

AS the parties left the restaurant they were taken into custody and escorted to the Sheriff’s office.

Bowen said that he had been employed in Mrs. Brouhard’s mine in Amador County, where, since last December, Watt’s had worked at times. He stated that he understood Watts had borrowed some money and left town the day before he (Bowen) arrived, on February 28th.

Watts’ skull had been crushed with a large jagged stone, which was found nearby covered with hair and blood.

Mrs. Brouhard said Watts had been hanging around her place of business and that she had given orders to have him thrown out. He tried to get her to buy mining stock from him for $50, and threatened her that if she did not buy the stock he would injure her in her case in San Francisco. She also admitted that Bowen was her ex-husband and that the signature on the pawn ticket was really not her own.

Watts was evidently not murdered for the sake of robbery as so far as is known he had no money, and Bowen may yet be held responsible for his death.

Mrs. Brouhard was a few years ago a resident of Amador County. She was married to Daniel K. McManus, who had an express wagon in Sacramento, his stand being in front of D. O. Mill’s bank. They then kept a lodging house at Seventh and M Streets but owing to the liquor habit contracted by McManus, the place was closed, his habit being so distasteful and annoying to guests. They afterwards came to Amador County and leased the place of H. H. Page, near Forest Home, but always had trouble with the owner of the property which was settled in the courts.

On Sunday, October 7, 1894, some difficulty arose between McManus and his father-in-law, J. D. Maxwell, at the latter’s home on the Cosumnes River, about three-quarters of a mile above the Wisconsin Bar bridge on the road between Plymouth and Latrobe. During the trouble Maxwell shot and instantly killed McManus, his son-in-law, the ball entering the left side about four inches below the nipple and severing the main arteries of the heart. Death resulted from internal hemorrhage.

Mrs. Brouhard was at the time well known in that part of the county had had many friends.

Sheriff McInnis of Reno, Nev., and Deputy Sheriff J. J. Hinters of Sacramento, effected the capture of Mark Westlake, who has been directly accused of killing R. R. Watts, last Tuesday. The suspect arrived in Reno two weeks ago and registered at a hotel under an assumed name. He had secured work with a section gang, and was working on the track a mile west of Reno when the officers approached.

He attempted to hide in the brush but was quickly found and handcuffed. His valise and the shoes he wore were said to have been the property of the murdered man. The prisoner was taken to Sacramento by the deputy.

It has since been fund that there is strong evidence against Westlake and his brother. The suspected person had their clothes covered with mud and Watts was slain at a muddy spot. Mrs. Westlake is angry and will testify against her husband. Mr. Brouhard is the arch-conspirator.


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