Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Obituary

Martin Herges

Submitted by Martha A Crosley Graham ~ August 27, 2007

The Standard
San Luis Obispo County, California
September 16, 1871

A Brutal Murder
Martin Herges is Waylayed and Stabbed to Death

We extract the following particulars of the murder of Martin Herges, from the Monterey Democrat of the 9th instant. This same Herges is the one of whom so much has been said in connection with the Pleito Troubles, and of whom we have frequently spoken through the columns of the Standard:

"On last Monday night, Sept. 4th inst., at about 11 P.M., was committed in the most public street of this town a murder, which, in its audacity, deliberateness and devilish cruelty, exceeds anything we ever read in the black calendar of crime. There was, on the night in question, a Republican meeting in the town, close by the scene of the murder, and in addition to the population of the place, many persons from the county were in attendance. Much interest in the proceedings was manifested by those present. Everything was orderly until the commission of the horrible deed which we now report, nor did any one dream of what was impending save the savage murderers who for hours had been dogging the steps of their victim.

The murdered man, Martin Herges, of whom there has been much talk, arrived in town a little before night-fall, his business being something concerning an attachment suit, affecting him. He was perfectly cool and sober, conversing during the evening, and while the meeting was in progress, with Sheriff Watson and District Attorney Webb. After he got here, both the gentlemen named discovered that George and James Bushton, the former of whom it will be recollected had an affray with Herges some time ago, and which he received from Herges a gun shot in the arm, were following the latter about. Mr Webb in particular cautioned Herges to beware, expressing the apprehension that he might receive foul play. Herges replied that no man would strike another in the back, and, whether from native fearlessness or the absence of malice from his own heart, he seemed not to be impressed by the advice given him, but continued to stroll about the streets, and to enter the neighboring saloons.

About eleven o'clock the meeting held in Leese's saloon broke up; at which time Herges was in Ruiz's saloon, just opposite. The crowd and music went toward Jake Benz's, leaving the street in front comparatively vacant. Just at this time Sheriff Watson and Constable Austin, having their fears of mischief suddenly stimulated, started to look for Herges to take him out of harm's way. They missed him, and had reached Benz's saloon, when they heard, from up the street, the voice of James Bushton uttering savage oaths against his victim, whom he was then attacking. Rushing to the spot, they found Herges upon the ground, Bushton and several others upon his back and pressing him to it. Watson instantly dragged Bushton back, seizing at the wrist his right hand, which held a knife [a double edged poniard about eight inches in length]. Help coming instantly, the savage was mastered, and together with the other man - Chavote Vasquez - he was taken off to jail. The work of murder, as will be seen, had been done thoroughly. Herges from first to last uttering the single exclamation, 'My God!' as his heart's blood gushed forth, from mouth and nostril."