Vignette > Charles Severence

In 1868, Throckmorton hired Jacob Gardner, a bachelor, as ranch manager of Rancho Sausalito.  It was a tough job. In 1873, he left for greener pastures.  Charles Severence was hired to take his place. He and his family lived in “The Homestead.” Every month, Severence made the rounds collecting rents in gold coin from tenant dairymen. In 1880, the family’s cook plotted to murder Severence and take the gold.  He dug a burial site and carefully disguised it.  He waited for a night when the family members were away. Severance returned from his rounds later than usual with about $100, and immediately began the evening milking chores.  The cook snuck up behind Severence, struck him with a hatchet, and shot him five times.  He dragged the body to the burial site, and fled to Sausalito. Twelve days later, Severence’s body was found. The cook was arrested and put in jail. He subsequently hanged himself with a noose made from his undergarments.  This was a sensational crime for that era.  The funeral service in San Rafael for Charles Severence was the largest ever in Marin County.  Throckmorton talked Jacob Gardner into returning. By this time he had a wife and children.