We open this post with a bit of normalcy. Lute L. Veirs owned a butcher shop in Santa Rosa, became a prominant citizen, ran for and was elected to the Santa Rosa City Council in 1900. He married Annie Roberts and it seems life was good, as noted in this blurb in the Press Democrat:
Press Democrat, Number 249, 7 October 1903
BUSY SESSION OF THE CITY COUNCIL
NUMBER OF PETITIONS UPON DIFFERENT
MATTERS OF PUBLIC INTEREST
Bids for Street Work Opened and
Contract Awarded —Licenses Granted—
Reports of Several Committees
Acting Mayor L. L. Veirs presided at the regular monthly meeting of the City Council held last night at the City Hall. Ccuncilmen M. McDonough, G. S. Brown and Fred King were present.
Then, in November:
Press Democrat, Number 283, 17 November 1903
WHAT HAS BECOME OF THE CITY’S ACTING MAYOR ?
COUNCILMAN VEIRS IS REPORTED MISSING FINANCIAL
DIFFICULTIES ARE THOUGHT BY SOME TO HAVE BEEN
RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS HAVING LEFT THE CITY
Ugly Charges Made by Relatives and Former
Business Partner—Left Home Early Friday Morning
and Has Not Been Seen Since—Family Knows Not His Whereabouts
L. L. Veirs, acting Mayor of the City and one of Santa Rosa’s best known business men, has disappeared, and nobody seems to know what has become of him. His family profess to have no idea as to his whereabouts, and none of his friends, as far as could be ascertained yesterday, are able to throw any light upon the subject.
Friday morning of last week Mr. Veirs arose about 5 o’clock, and after partaking of a light breakfast prepared by his wife, left the house, stating that he was going into the country to purchase cattle for P. H. Noonan, the Fourth-street butcher. Since then he has not been seen, and when interviewed Monday night Mr. Noonan stated that Veirs had neither been authorized to purchase stock in his name nor had he been engaged to perform any other service. In fact Mr. Noonan knew nothing about the matter.
For some time rumors have been afloat to the effect that Veirs was in financial difficulties, and his friends are of the opinion that it is this fact that accounts for his disappearance. He has been borrowing considerable money lately, mostly in small amounts ranging from $100 to $500, and he has also converted certain valuable securities into cash. As to whether he applied the money thus obtained to the payment of his obligations, except in a few Instances, is not known.
The loans above referred to have in several cases been secured by notes signed not only by L. L. Veirs, but by his wife, Annie Veirs, who previous to her marriage was Miss Annie Roberts. Most of these notes are held by private parties, but the Exchange Bank of this city holds his paper to the extent of something like $2,000, the notes befog endorsed by Mrs. Annie Veirs, Mrs. Hattie Cavanagh and William R. Roberts, the latter a brother and the former a sister of Mrs. Veirs. Last night Mrs. Cavanagh pronounced her signature as it appears on the bank’s paper a forgery, and also claimed to-know that neither Mrs. Velrs nor Mr. Roberts had ever endorsed notes or other commercial paper for the man who is now missing. Mrs. Veirs was reported too ill to be seen and Mr. Roberts
lives in the country and could not be reached.
Some time ago Mr. Veirs sold a half interest in his butcher business to Henry W. Ungewitter, formerly of Guerneville. After running a few months the firm dissolved, Mr. Ungewitter succeeding to the business, which he has since conducted in connection with his Guerneville establishment with good success. Mr. Ungewitter makes some ugly charges against his former partner, claiming that he not only turned in false accounts but that serious discrepancies between the stubs in the firm’s check books and the checks themselves were discovered. It is known that for the past few weeks Ungewitter has been pressing his former partner hard for a settlement. Thursday night, after being informed that suit was to be brought the next day, Viers visited Ungewitter at the latter’s home on Humboldt street. The next morning Veirs left, and as previously stated he has not been seen here since.
Mr. Veirs has been engaged in business here as a butcher for a number of years and has always controlled a valuable trade. He is well known in fraternal circles as well as in the commercial world, and a few years ago was elected a member of the City Council on the Democratic ticket by a large majority. Since the illness of Mayor M. J. Bower he has been acting as Mayor of the city. Mr. Veirs has many friends here who are loth to believe that there has been anything wrong in his actions, and who say that he will no doubt be able to explain matters to the entire satisfaction of all concerned as soon as he returns.
Press Democrat, Number 284, 18 November 1903
VEIRS LEFT ON THE EARLY
SOUTHERN PACIFIC TRAIN
PECULIAR CONDUCT LAST FRIDAY
“HE IS GONE,” MRS. VEIRS IS
REPORTED TO HAVE SAID, “AND
I DO NOT EXPECT TO SEE HIM AGAIN”
William R. Roberts Comes to Town and
Pronounces His Alleged Signatures on
the Doyle Notes Forgeries— Veirs’
Disappearance Principal Topic of
the Town Yesterday
The strange and mysterious disappearance of Councilman L. L. Veirs, as reported in Tuesday morning’s Press Democrat, constituted almost the only topic of conversation on the streets yesterday. All day long groups of men congregated on the corners and in public places to discuss the matter and many and varied were the theories advanced as to his whereabouts. “He’s gone,” Mrs. Veirs is reported to have said yesterday morning when talking over the matter with a friend, “I have no idea where he went, and I do not expect to see him again.”
When Mr. Veirs left his home early last Friday morning after eating his breakfast and telling his wife he was going into the country to purchase some cattle for P. H. Noonan, he walked directly to the Southern Pacific depot and went to Suisun. D. E. Albers of this city was a passenger on the same train and talked with him a good portion of the way over. While on the train the two men had been discussing the proposition of purchasing some hay together, and after arriving in Suisun Mr. Albers suggested that they hire a rig and drive out into the country to see what could be accomplished in the matter. To this Veirs agreed.
Shortly afterwards they stepped into a hotel together. As they did so Mr. Albers saw a man he knew and walked to the back part of the room to speak to him. The two conversed for a few moments and Mr. Albers walked back to rejoin Mr. Veirs but the latter had disappeared and although Mr. Albers searched all over town he failed to find him.
When Mr. Veirs left his home on Friday morning he wore his old clothes, and a heavy blue flannel shirt. He apparently took none of his effects with him and had no baggage as far as the train men are able to remember.
William R. Roberts, whose alleged signature is attached to about $2,000 worth of Veirs’ paper at the Exchange Bank, was in town yesterday from his ranch on the Petaluma road. He denied absolutely that he had ever endorsed notes for Mr. Veirs and pronounced the signature on the notes above referred to as forgeries. He also stated that neither Mrs. Annie Veirs nor Mrs. Hattie Cavanagh had ever endorsed any of Veirs’ notes, either those at the Exchange Bank or those in the hands of the various private parties around town now holding his paper.
Mr. Veirs appears to have been an active borrower during the last few days he was in town, and a fairly successful one. He approached various people and in most instances secured what he wanted without difficulty. Among those to whom he appealed for assistance only a day or two before disappearing are Dr. J. W. Clark and Albert Farley. Among those holding his notes, to all of which is attached the alleged signature of Mrs. Annie Veirs, are Frank W. Brown of the Oberon, who loaned him $500; Jake Lupold, $260 (see BONFIRE OF THE HOODOOS); Walter Rendall, $200; M. O. Cozad, $500; P. L. Schlotterbach, $600; T. J. Davis, $200; Mrs. Fount Cook, $300; Mrs. Hattie Cavanagh, $500; Mrs. Surrailh, $600; C. Barenchi, $100; J. Pedrotti, $900. With the exception of the last two, which are for cattle purchased, all represent borrowed money. In addition to the above there are said to be numerous other notes outstanding, one for $800, and the rest for smaller amounts, aggregating several thousand dollars.
Three years ago M. O. Cozad, while in Mr. Veirs’ employ, loaned him $500, representing most of his savings, taking Veirs’ note for the amount. After the note had run a year Cozard asked for an endorsement, whereupon Velrs gave him a new note bearing in addition to his own name that of his wife, Mrs. Annie Veirs. For the past few weeks Cozad has been pressing Veirs for a settlement, nothing having been paid on the principal although the interest had always been met promptly when due.
Early last week Veirs informed Cozad that he would be in a position to take up the note very shortly and said he was going to San Francisco on Thursday to collect the money for that purpose, and if he could not get it in San Francisco he could collect it from a party in Woodland who owed him. He invited Cozad to go along with him, offering to pay all his expenses and also to allow him $2.50 a day besides, According to Cozad’s statement as made last night Veirs’ reason for making this proposition was so that he (Cozad) could “see that everything was straight.” Cozad declined to accept the $2.50 per day, but accompanied Veirs to San Francisco on Thursday morning’s train. Veirs and Cozad were friendly, in spite of the fact that Cozad was pressing the former for his money.
The two men left for San Francisco together on the six o’clock train Thursday morning, and Cozad says that upon arriving there they went direct to “a big pump works” on First street between Howard and Mission streets, although the name of the firm he does not remember. While Cozad remained outside, Velrs entered the company’s office, remaining there about an hour and a half. When he came out, they headed for a telephone office, Veirs saying that he wanted to telephone to his brother “Bud” Veirs in this city about a man living near here who owed him some money and who had agreed to come in that day and pay it. After leaving the telephone booth, Veirs informed Cozad that it would not be necessary to go to Woodland, as the man he had been talking to at the pump works was coming to Santa Rosa next day and his brother had just informed him that while the man who had agreed to settle up that day had not done so he had sent word that he would come to town the next day for that purpose. Veins and Cozad returned to Santa Rosa on Thursday afternoon’s train.
It was the next morning that Veirs disappeared. An interesting question is presented in connection with the endorsed notes distributed around town with such liberality by Veirs previous to his de-parture. The alleged endorsers repudiate the signatures and say they are forgeries. The holders of the notes very naturally are inclined to view the matter the other way. A Jury will have to determine the question, and the burden of proof will rest with the holders of the notes, since, as the persons whose names appear on the notes deny that they ever placed them there, somebody will have to prove that they did before much money will be forthcoming. None of the holders of the notes in question saw Mrs. Annie Veirs or any of the other endorsers attach their signatures to the paper referred to. Veirs’ usual practice was to arrange the loan first, then make out the note in a manner satisfactory to the lender and after doing this take the note home, as he said, “for his wife to sign.” The opinion and testimony of handwriting experts will of course enter into the case to a certain extent, but such evidence is not conclusive one way or the other and is only of value in so far as it tends to influence the opinion of the men composing the jury before which the case is being tried.
A well-known citizen who knows Veirs intimately and with whom the latter often talked over private matters, yesterday expressed the belief that Veirs was headed for Mexico. In support of this theory he said that in their conversations Veirs had always evidenced much interest in that country and the conditions existing there, and on more than one occasion had expressed the opinion that Mexico would be “ a fine place for a stock ranch.” Others are inclined to the belief that he went from here to Woodland, where he once resided. Many are still of the opinion that his absence is only temporary and that he will yet return and satisfactorily explain his prolonged and mysterious absence. The great majority, however, like Mrs. Veirs, “do not expect to see him again.”