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Home: Regional: U.S. States: California: Riverside County

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Lost Horse gold mine murders: James F. Roop & Robert Conover
Posted by: Bobbi Harrison (ID *****5162) Date: November 06, 2002 at 14:20:18
  of 535

James F. Roop & his father-in-law, Robert Conover were 2/3 partners in the Lost Horse gold mine & were shot to death by their partners, the Nicholson brothers, in a dispute. The article in the 3/14/1896 Sacramento Bee has an error in the spelling of the Roop name (as Roof). Also, although the headline implies James is the father-in-law, the article states he is the son-in-law.

Sacramento Bee 3/14/1896

BEAUMONT (Cal)- March 14- Two brothers named Nicholson, miners from a mine about a hundred miles east of here, called The Lost Horse, came into Banning today and gave themselves up to the Sheriff of Riverside County claiming to have killed their partners named Robert Conover and James Roof, his son-in-law, of Pasadena, in a quarrel over the division of their mine. Self defense is given as the reason for the murder. The Nicholson's claim that Roof shot one of them in the arm and that Conover struck him with a pick. The other Nicholson then shot both Roof and Conover, killing them both instantly. The wife of one of the dead men is bringing in the bodies, and the coroner from Riverside will investigate the matter fully.

The following is from the obituary notice for James F. Roop, who was the s/o William F. & Christena (Chilcote) Roop; grandson of Frederick & Elizabeth (Clayton) Roop; g-grandson of Frederick & Elizabeth (Abbott) Roop. James' sisters were Rebecca J. (Roop) Bryant & Anna E. (Roop) Gares.

From Bryan Democrat (newspaper in Williams Co, OH) dated 5/21/1896, p. 4

James Roop who was raised at Pulaski (Williams Co) disappeared from his home some ten or twelve years ago, making no sign of his intended departure, and during all these years giving no hint of his whereabouts. His relatives made diligent search and inquiry but could obtain no trace of him. A few days ago letters were received by his relatives here stating that he had gone hence to California where he had married and engaged in gold mining in which he was quite successful, he and his father-in-law owning a two thirds interest in a paying mine.

On March 12th both Roop and his father-in-law were murdered - Roop being shot through the heart, dying instantly and the old gentleman so seriously wounded in the head as to render him unconscious in which condition he remained until death. The motive of the double murder is not known. Several persons were arrested on suspicion but no positive clue has been developed.

Mr. Roop, though somewhat eccentric, was an exemplary young man, and his untimely death is regretted by many acquaintances. His sisters, Mrs. Byron Wyatt of Bryan and Mrs. George Gares of Stryker are almost prostrate with grief.

We Roop researchers of this family line are hoping to learn the name of James Roop's wife, since we now know her maiden name was Conover & whether they had any children. Also, what was the outcome of the murder investigation? We'd also like to make contact with any descendants of his sisters, Rebecca & Anna.

Bobbi Harrison
co-administrator of
Roop Descendants & Related families

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