Chapter One “The Coburn Mystery” Original Draft [1988]

By June Morrall

Life in the Northern California coastal farming village of Pescadero would never be the same after Wednesday, June 4, 1919.

[And decades later some folks squirmed or refused to answer my questions about the events leading up to that grim day].

June 4, 1919 unfolded with San Mateo County officials investigating a murder: the D.A., sheriff and coroner motored from Redwood City on the other side of the redwood-studded mountains to sift the Coburn house for clues, fingerprints and evidence.

Other parked cars belonged to D.A. White, San Francisco’s Chief of Police and detectives Frank McConnell and Charles Gallivan. They were accompanied by Eustace Cullinan, one of Sarah Coburn’s attorneys.

Private detectives and reporters milled around outside the gloomy house. The chilling news of Sarah Coburn’s murder had quickly spread through the tiny village–and even though the locals were advised to stay away, a small curious crowd stood rooted on the street. They waited to hear anything from the police, a slip of the tongue, anything….

Even before Loren Coburn’s death, attorneys had warned the Coburns that both their lives were in danger. In 1910 the Coburn’s San Francisco attorney Archibald Treat learned that two Pescadero ranchers had been offered $5000 to kill the couple. The motive? The Coburn’s wealth came from the extensive lands they owned….

….to be continued….


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