Santa Cruz County History - People

Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans

MONKS, (GRAY) AMANDA L (1845?-1905)

Santa Cruz Sentinel (July 9, 1905)

Famous Mrs. Monks Drowned at Boulder
Former Confederate Spy Victim of Auto Accident
Horse Takes Fright and Drags Woman Down Into the River Before Eyes of Husband

Mrs. Charles Gray, formerly Mrs. Amanda Monks, the famous Confederate spy, who is well known throughout the Santa Cruz mountains, was drowned on Saturday evening in Boulder Creek under the most distressing circumstances.

Mrs. Gray was driving home from Boulder Creek with her husband, to their farm in the Sunnyside district, about 7 o’clock in the evening when they met an automobile driven by young James McMillan, son of J.C. McMillan, the Oakland banker, on a bridge over boulder creek about a mile out of that town on the State Park road.

Their horse took fright and Mr. Gray got out to hold his head while the auto passed, but the horse became unmanageable, backing into the stream, taking Mrs. Gray with him and pinning her under him in the water where she frowned in full sight of her husband and the five occupants of the auto, none of whom could do anything to save her.

Young McMillan had been taking a party of friends through the Big Basin Park and was returning home to the McMillan summer home at Bonny Briar, in the outskirts of Boulder Creek. He declares that he had his machine well under control and that he was in no way to blame for the deplorable accident. The husband of the dead woman is terribly grief stricken over the affair. Mrs. Gray’s body was later taken from the river and brought back to Boulder Creek.

Mrs. Gray was over 60 years of age, and had lived in the Santa Cruz mountains for over 25 years, coming to California from the Southern States, where she became famous as a confederate spy during the war of the rebellion. She was then Mrs. Amanda Monks, and with her husband, lived for a short time before coming to Boulder Creek in the Livermore valley in this State. Mr. Monks died a number of years ago. The deceased woman was cousin of Daniel Webster.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (July 11, 1905)

Funeral of Mrs. Amanda Monks
Body Interred in I.O.O.F. Cemetery- Short Sketch of Woman’s Career

The funeral of Mrs. Charles Gray, formerly Mrs. Amanda Monks, the unfortunate victim of the drowning accident at Boulder Creek on Saturday night, was held from Wessendorf and Staffler’s mortuary on Monday afternoon. Rev. C.O. Tillotson of Calvary Episcopal Church read the service and the body was interred in I.O.O.F. Cemetery, in the presence of the dead woman’s husband and other friends.

Mrs. Gray is said to have been 58 years of age and was married to her last husband in June, 1904 at Santa Cruz. She was formerly Mrs. Amanda Monks, and in her younger days was one of the most beautiful women in the State. She had a most romantic history, having served as a spy with the rebel army for two years. She came to Livermore with her husband at the close of the Civil War, and later moved to the Santa Cruz mountains.

Mrs. Monks was the cause of a fatal shooting affray in Ben Lomond thirteen years ago, for which William Bullock is now serving a life sentence in San Quentin prison. In December, 1892, Mrs. Monk was keeping house for William Walker between whom and some of the neighbors there was much bad blood, due, it is said, to jealousy of Walker on the part of other admirers of Mrs. Monks. One night while Walker and Mrs. Monks were sitting in their home playing cards, Walker was shot through the heart with a rifle bullet from the window. Bullock was found guilty of the killing. James Burns was charged with complicity but later acquitted.

The evidence showed that either Bullock or Burns, it was not clear which, stood against the house, while the other steadied a rifle on his shoulder, with which to take aim at walker.

Mrs. Monks had been the cause of several other quarrels between her admirers, but this was the most serious case.

The accident has aroused the people of the county to the necessity of fuller protection for travelers on the mountain roads, many of which are already provided with guard rails at dangerous points.

Editorial Notes from Robert L. Nelson

Chronology of the Life of Amanda Monks

Native of:
Feb 1893
Apr 1893

New England (One wedding license notes Michigan)
Cousin of Daniel Webster
Confederate Spy?
Married a Mr. Gieradi (Brother-in-law of California Governor Downey)
Divorced Mr. Gieradi
Married Michael Monks
Lived in Livermore
First arrived in Santa Cruz with Monks
Left Santa Cruz, presumably lived in Livermore
Divorced Monks
Acquired claim and cabin in Santa Cruz County
Was with a Charles O Walker when he was murdered her cabin
Testified in the trial against Bullock (Accused of murdering Walker)
Married Charles Gray June 24
Killed when thrown from her carriage into the river near Boulder Creek July 8
Buried at Evergreen (County Records) or I.O.O.F.(Newspaper/Cemetery Records) July 10

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