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Monday, July 29, 2013

Julia E Saviers

If there is one thing I can say about Cousin Julia, aside from being the most notorious ancestor so far, is that she knew how to avoid being in public records during her lifetime.
Researching Julia has been quite a challenge, with the exception of her notorious act in Stockton, California in 1871. The only records I could find for her was the 1870 and 1880 U.S. Federal Census, a marriage in Shasta County in 1855,  a San Francisco Directory listing in 1889, the mortuary bill from San Francisco when she died, and one possible marriage record in Burlington, Vermont from 1854. 
Information from the Census records state Julia was born about 1831 in New York. If I recall correctly, one newspaper article from Northern California stated she was born in LeRay, Jefferson, New York.  Julia's parents were Ira Glynn and Rhoda Russell. 
Ira Glynn was born in Vermont. He served in the army but the experience was not a positive one. He was convicted of theft and, later, was sentenced to prison for desertion. His profession was as a dentist and he moved his family to Placerville, California, opening up his dentistry office and becoming a well-respected member of the community. 
Rhoda was born to Reuben Russell and Lydia Vaughan, making her the sister of my 4th great-grandmother.  As far as we know, when Ira and Rhoda removed to California, Julia, along with her brother, Frederick, moved with them. The entire family are found living, at one time or another, in Placerville.
According to newspaper reports, it was reported that Julia was married 3 times - Frank Guy Seeley, Arthur J Spencer and Nelson James Saviers. It was her third marriage to Nels Saviers that resulted in the public notoriety in 1871.
The 1870 Census reports that Nels and Julia were living in Carson City, Nevada. Nels was a telegraph operator by trade, but the census indicates that they may have been operating a boarding house or some sort as Nels was listed as the head of household and there were several unrelated single people living in the household, too.
In the same 1870 Census for Carson City is a listing for G.M. Lake and his wife, J.A. This is Augustus aka Gus Lake and his wife, Julia. Also living in the household are Julia's two young sons from a previous marriage.
Why did I mention the Lake family? Because in June of 1871, Nels Saviers and Julia Lake arrived by stagecoach in Stockton claiming to be husband and wife. Nels gained employment at the Telegraph office and the couple took up residence at the Grand Hotel.
Approximately one month and 11 days later, on the 31st of July, Julia Saviers arrived by stagecoach and immediately procured a room at the Yosemite Hotel. 
After making inquiries around town concerning her husband - where he worked, where he resided and with whom = she secured a room at the Grand Hotel, insisting on a room on the same floor that her husband's room was located on. One newspaper reported the room being across and down the hall from Nels.
At approximately 8:30 pm, Julia knocked on the door of her husband's room. Mrs. Lake answered and after a short conversation, Julia drew a six-shooter and shot Mrs. Lake 3 times. Julia left the hotel and went to the telegraph office accompanied by a man who had agreed to show her where the Sheriff's office was located. 
Julia told Nels that she had shot her 3 times and will now shoot him, drawing the pistol, but the man who accompanied Julia to the Telegraph office wrestled the gun from her. Nels accompanied his wife to the Sheriff's office, where both were arrested after discovery of the shooting.
Mrs. Lake stayed at the hotel, attended by a doctor, until she died from her injuries two days later. Nels was released from custody and stayed by her bedside until her passing. Afterwards, he left for Sacramento.
Newspaper reports state that Ira and Rhoda arrived by stagecoach to attend to their daughter during her incarceration and subsequent trial. There were also reports that Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton visited Julia while in jail, but the reports ere false and the papers printed a retraction. The two famous women were in San Francisco, but had gone to Yosemite National Park and knew nothing of the shooting.
Julia was described in the papers as fragile and sickly. She was attended by a doctor while in jail and, during her trial, was taken from the courtroom after falling ill. Public sentiment was on the side of Julia at first, being the scorned woman; but after Mrs. Lake died, sentiment turned against her. Newspapers across the country reported disdain for Julia, California and law enforcement, stating that society was tired of these types of crimes and not enough was done to prevent them. One particular article from a newspaper in Arizona stated, in essence, that in California, if you don't like your marital situation, it was okay to shoot your spouse. 
Aside from public opinion, Julia was acquitted of all charges by reason of temporary insanity. In other words, she got away with murder. 
After the trial, Julia moved to Placerville with her parents. Nels went to San Francisco, where sometime later, he encountered Gus Lake in a bar. They somehow ended up in a back room of the bar when a worker walked in and prevented an ugly confrontation between the two men. Authorities ordered the two men to leave town and they complied - taking opposite directions. Nels later appears in census' after 1900 in Santa Rosa with a wife and children.
Julia stayed with her parents and caring for them until their deaths. Rhoda died in 1881 and Ira in 1883. 
After her father's death, Julia moved to San Francisco where she was employed as a housekeeper at the Palace Hotel. She was later admitted to the Crockers Old People's Home. It is believed that she resided there during the 1906 Earthquake. Although, I'm not to sure on this point as I seem to recall a letter from Julia talking about the earthquake. Needless to say, the Palace Hotel where Julia was employed - was heavily damaged in the earthquake.
Julia died in 1908 at the Crocker Old People's Home of pneumonia. The Rebekah Lodge IOOF in Placerville paid to have her remains transported to Placerville. She is buried with her parents and brother in Union Cemetery. The grave marker is four sided with each side representing a member of the Glynn family.