Santa Cruz County History - People

Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson


Unidentified Newspaper (August 1897)

San Jose, Aug 7 -- A Herald special from Morgan Hill says that George W. Schofield was assassinated this morning about 6 o'clock while on the road from his ranch to Morgan Hill.

Schofield was one of the best known men in the southwestern part of the county, having a little ranch five miles west of Madrone. He was a stage driver in the early days and was a big stout man, fearless and stubborn. He was about 55 years of age.

While particulars of the crime are not given, it is known that Schofield has had disputes with his neighbors and trouble with his wife. Some time ago he was in jail for a few days, having been arrested on complaint of his wife for disturbing her peace. Not long since he went through insolvency.

The messenger who came to notify the officers says that Schofield was shot at through the window of his house early last night. At that time a man’s voice was heard to say: “I’ve missed you, but I will get you in the morning.” This morning he left home early to go to Morgan Hill. Somewhere between 6 and 7 o'clock today his body was found in the road about three miles west of that place.

The sheriff has gone to the scene and a large posse of deputies is scattered through the valley and in the foothills on both sides on all the roads going south heading for the place.

The belief is that someone in the neighborhood committed the murder and may not take flight. If he does and turns north he may be headed off.

Schofield was not popular in his neighborhood and has made numerous enemies. The belief is not generally entertained however, that any of those in the neighborhood had any such feeling as would lead to such a murder.

Schofield was born in Chicago. He came to California years ago and was once connected with the famous "pony express" He was a G.A.R. veteran having served in Company A, Eighth California Infantry. He served three years and has been receiving a pension of $8 a month.

July 27th 1896 Mrs. Sarah A. Schofield sued her husband for divorce. She charged threats to kill, yelling, cursing and what not. Once she charged her husband with pulling her from a buggy on the streets here. They were married in Santa Cruz in 1883. At that time the lady who was then a divorced women, went by her maiden name, Himes and formerly resided at Soquel.

Aside from the general charges of cruelty, Mrs. Schofield charged that he cruelly beat her on July 10th 1896 and knocked her across the room.

There were also charges that the defendant had attempted to take her life with a shot gun. This he had aimed at her and her daughter rushed between her and the muzzle of the gun which saved her life. She alleged that he made her life miserable and charged her with unfaithfulness. In the suit the real property is valued at $4,000. She asked for alimony, for the custody of her four children and the usual relief.

When this divorce complaint was served on Schofield he fixed the matter up with his wife and together they came to Attorney Scheller’s office and the complaint was dismissed.

Beside the four children by this wife there were four children by a former wife, all of whom but one, the 14 year old boy who resides with the family are grown.

All the neighbors agree that Schofield and his wife have lived a life of quarrels and fights.

Schofield’s petition in insolvency is set to come up in the next few days. Owing to a mortgage on his place the family will be left practically destitute.

Mrs. Schofield’s ex husband is said to be alive. She refused to give his name, as she did not wish to tell what her name was by the former marriage.

Schofield formerly resided at Aptos and Soquel, and was not popular, as he had an overbearing manner. He earned his livelihood as a veterinarian. He moved from Santa Cruz County some years ago, locating near Madrone.

Editor's Note: it was later discovered that Dan Dutcher, a young man working on the place, had shot Schofield while attempting to protect her. After a lengthy jury trial in November1897 he was found not guilty.

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