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Introduction to The Murder Conviction and Pardon for
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The following, along with a prison photo of Amos Gipson, was provided by Timothy Hogan.  Tim’s grandmother is a granddaughter of Amos.

 The trial of Amos P. Gipson, (Sandy), his brother, Tom Gipson and Jno. Q. A. Hildebrant, all charged with the murder of John Schroter, a man who lived alone on a ranch on Little Cow Creek, and was himself accused of cattle stealing, caused one of the greatest furores in the county, also an aftermath of bitter controversy between two lawyer factions for nearly a decade.

 The case was tried before Judge Roseborough, judge in the county seat of Shasta, with James Matlock, Aaron Bell and Judge Chadbourne for the defense and Clay W. Taylor for the prosecution.

 The three men were convicted on May 10, 1878 and sentenced to San Quentin on May 13, 1878.  Sandy Gipson for first degree murder, imprisonment for life; Tom Gipson, second degree murder, imprisonment for 20 years.  Hildebrandt’s sentence is not given in the record but he also was sent to San Quentin, but was pardoned shortly afterwards by Governor Stoneman on his asserting that his evidence against Gipson was false.

 Thereupon an appeal was made for the pardons of Tom and Sandy Gipson.  This was granted Tom Gipson by Governor Perkins in 1882, but was denied Sandy.

 This started a bitter fight between Francis Carr, who upheld Gipson’s right to a pardon, and Clay W. Taylor, who denied it.  This feature was hotly contested by the two lawyers for nearly a decade, the whole of Shasta County getting worked up over it.  Meanwhile Sandy Gipson remained at San Quentin and watched one-staircase for seven years, while applications for pardon were submitted to and denied by successive governors.  Finally Francis Carr agreed to Taylor’s offer to recommend the pardon to the governor if Francis would withdrew the fight.

 Carr did so and Governor Waterman issued a pardon in 1890.

 Whether Gipson was guilty or innocent seems never to have been decided.  Recalling numerous cases that have gone through the Shasta County courts within the scope of my memory it sees that justice sometimes raised the corner of the blindfold she was wont to retire behind, and slowly closed one eye.

Summary of The Trial 
Appeal by Mr. Allen
List of Witnesses