Idaho History Nov 3, 2019

Spanish Belle Rogers

Idaho City and Rocky Bar, Idaho

“Spanish Belle” Rogers

rogers-spanish-belle-header-a

Her Life of Crime. Death of “Spanish Belle” Whose Evil Deeds Were Notorious.

The Elmore Bulletin, published at Rocky Bar. Idaho, announces the death of “Spanish Belle,” one of the most desperate women who ever lived on this coast. She resided In Eureka about six or seven years ago. When she stabbed “her man” in 1864 in Idaho City in a dance house one night, her victim walked out of the building and fell dead in the street it is reported of her that she asked that a light be brought that she might make an examination and satisfy herself that be had breathed his last remarking immediately after it was ascertained that he was dead, that if not she proposed to finish the work.

[“Her Life of Crime. Death of “Spanish Belle.” Whose Evil Deeds Were Notorious.” The Helena Independent (Id.), Sep. 30, 1889, p. 1]

Posted by St. Estephe, Wednesday, October 9, 2019, Female Serial Killers
— — — — — — — — — —

View of Idaho City after 1875

IdahoCityAfter-1875-a
(go to source for uncropped larger image)

source: Copyright Idaho State Historical Society
— — — — — — — — — —

Obituary for Spanish Belle 1802 – 1889

1889RockyBarSpanishBelleHeadlineA woman known all over the Pacific coast as “Spanish Belle,” or “Belle Rogers,” died in this place last Sunday morning, aged 87 years. There is scarcely a mining camp on the coast that this woman did not visit during its prosperity since the days of 1849. Her history, if correctly told, would doubtless fill a large volume – and it would be a volume of bad deeds only, for no good deeds have ever been attributed to her, in the knowledge of those few who have known her history for the past forty years. It seems that she gloried in the crimes she had committed, and during her convivial moments would relate some incidents of her past life.

From this source we gather that, at an early age, in her native land of Central America, she became the mistress of a noted sea pirate named Valzaj, whose vessel was a terror to the merchant ships plying the waters of the Pacific Ocean. She boasted that her duty was, when this pirate ship anchored at a port of prominence, to decoy rich men aboard the vessel, where they would surely be murdered and robbed.

She followed this criminal career until the discovery of gold in California, when she left her pirate paramour clandestinely and landed in San Francisco in the summer of 1849. She soon drifted to the gold mines and followed every excitement from that date to the time of her death, plying her nefarious calling and a terror in the community in which she happened to cast her lot.

It is said “Spanish Belle” boasted of having murdered four men herself alone for money (one in Idaho), and two women of her own character, who were so unfortunate as to excite her jealousy. It is claimed that she was buried with a finger ring belonging to one of her unfortunate victims.

The men whom she had cut almost unto death in Boise Basin, Atlanta, Rocky Bar, Idaho. Eureka and Virginia City, Nevada, are entirely too numerous to mention. Yet in her long career of crime this woman, by her devilish cunning, managed to escape just punishment by law.

In her young days she was doubtless a handsome woman, and at her death did not look to be over 60 years of age. She was quietly buried Sunday evening about 7 o’clock, with but one solitary person following her remains to the grave.

source: Elmore Bulletin in Rocky Bar, Idaho on Aug 17, 1889
— — — — — — — — — —

Streets of Rocky Bar, Idaho


A view looking up a street at Rocky Bar, Idaho. More than a dozen structures can be seen. Several men are walking toward the camera.

source: Idaho State Historical Society
— — — — — — — — — —

Belle in Idaho City

About nine o’clock one Sunday night, in Idaho City, a racket was heard in the house of a Mexican harlot named Belle Roqueraz. A pistol exploded, and a man burst from the front door crying, “I’m murdered!” with the long blade of a knife stuck deep in his belly. He ran to the front of the Cincinnati saloon and called to Jonathan Duncan to help him. Duncan pulled the knife out, and the wounded man, one Edward Baldock, fell down as if dead. A doctor came and dressed the wound, observing meanwhile that the only sign of life was a convulsive tremor running through the man’s frame. At about the same time Doctors Hogg and Harris were summoned to the harlot’s house, to attend a man by the name of Ben Bloomer, who was found to have received severe blows on the head, perhaps from a heavy revolver.

Next day when an inquest was held over Baldock it was learned that he formerly had been Belle’s man, and had been invited, while in a distant camp, to come live with her again. On arriving he learned that the fickle one had changed her mind. Saturday evening he demanded admittance and was told to get. The next day he showed his friend Duncan a large knife which he carried, and Duncan showed him a fine pocket pistol, which he borrowed. Thus armed he went from saloon to saloon, drinking and telling the world what a dangerous man he was; and about nine that evening he again pounded on Belle’s door. Again denied he kicked the door in, and found Bloomer putting wood into the stove. Baldock advanced toward him, gun in hand, and struck Bloomer heavy blows across his skull. Seizing the gun with his left hand, with his right Bloomer drew a knife and plunged it deep into Baldock’s side. In the next moment he wrested the gun from him, and Baldock went staggering off the premises, crying in a loud voice that he had been murdered. He was right about that. Bloomer was acquitted on the grounds of self-defense.

excerpted from Girls of the Line Chapter 11 by Fisher, Vardis and Opal Laurel Holmes, “Gold Rushes and Mining Camps of the Early American West” (Caxton Press, 1968), pp 204-5 (Google Books)
— — — — — — — — — —

Idaho City – Buildings

1939IdahoCity-a
Two old residences with wood shingle roofs, dilapidated porches, and weathered siding sitting behind a broken fence. Date 1939-06-27

Copyright Idaho State Historical Society.
— — — — — — — — — —

IllAmerican1890-a

“WOMAN AS A CRIMINAL”

[M]ight be the title of a very entertaining and instructive article. It should not deal with the famous criminals of history — with the Lucretia Borgias and Catherine de‘ Medicis and Madame de Brinvilliers, and other engaging characters whose fame is world-wide and lasting, for readers are already satiated with those stories; but it should take up the less known crimes of every-day life, and show how woman is extending her field of action in this as in other spheres, and encroaching upon the prerogatives and the privileges of man.

It might lead off with “Spanish Belle,” the famous woman pirate who died last August in Elmore, Idaho, at the mature age of eighty-seven. Luckily she left behind her abundant materials, for she gloried in her crimes, and during her convivial moments was fond of relating incidents in her past life.

It appears that in her native land of Central America she became at an early age the mistress of a noted sea pirate named Valzaj, whose vessel was a terror to the merchant ships plying the waters of the Pacific Ocean. She boasted that her duty was, when the ship anchored at a port of prominence, to decoy rich men aboard the vessel, where they would surely be robbed and murdered.

She followed this criminal career until the discovery of gold in California, when she left her pirate paramour, and landed in San Francisco in the summer of 1849. She soon drifted to the gold mines and followed every excitement from that date until the time of her death, plying her nefarious calling, and becominga terror to every community in which she cast her lot.

It is said Spanish Belle boasted of having murdered four men for money, one in Idaho; and two women of her own sort who were so unfortunate as to excite her jealousy. It is claimed that she was buried with a finger-ring belonging to one of her hapless victims. The men whom she had cut almost unto death in Boise Basin, Atlantic [sic], Rocky Bar, Idaho, Eureka, and Virginia City, Neb. [sic], are too numerous to mention.

Yet in her long career of crime this woman, by her devilish cunning, managed to escape just punishment by law. She was buried on the day she died. Only one person followed her remains to the grave, a sad ending to so famous a career.

source: The Illustrated American – May 31, 1890 – Page 366 (Google Books)
— — — — — — — — — —

1891 Views, Rocky Bar, Idaho


Court House & Chinatown, destroyed by fire the next year. (1891) The view shows the town sitting below snow covered forested mountain peaks.

source: Idaho State Historical Society
— — — — — — — — — —

The Adventures of Spanish Belle

A woman calling herself “Spanish Belle” Rogers died in Rocky Bar, Idaho in August 1889. She was said to be 87 years old and a “notorious female pirate” who had killed several men and women in her years adventuring around the mining camps of the West. People said she looked 25 years younger, still handsome. Her funeral was attended by a single person, whose identity was never revealed.

When she was in a good mood, Spanish Belle had enjoyed telling stories about her past, and her obituaries mentioned several of them. She told people she was born in Central America about 1802, where she met and became the mistress of a pirate named Valzaj. Valzaj sailed the Pacific (or possibly the Caribbean), looking for merchant ships to rob. Belle’s job was to flirt with rich men in various ports and trick them into boarding the ship, where Valzaj and the other pirates would rob and murder them.

In the summer of 1849, around the time of the California gold rush, Belle decided she’d had enough of Valzaj. She secretly left him and went to San Francisco. From there she traveled to various mining camps and “followed every excitement.” This included terrorizing everyone in the camps.

Spanish Belle said she’d killed four men by herself, for their money; she said she’d also killed two women who had made her jealous. She knifed and almost killed several men in various places in Idaho and Nevada. But she was never caught or arrested.

She was certainly in Marysville in the summer of 1869, where the local paper reported that “Belle Diez, alias Spanish Belle, was sent to the County Jail for 30 days on conviction of disturbing the peace.” So much for never having been captured by the police.

Belle didn’t give specific details about any of the murders – except one. It took place in Idaho City in 1864, she said. She stabbed her lover in a dance house; he then staggered outside and fell down dead in the street. Belle followed him and asked someone for a light; she wanted to make sure he was dead. If he wasn’t, she vowed to “finish her work.”

Idaho City was only 2 years old in 1864; originally called Bannock, it was settled in 1862 during the Boise Basin gold rush. Early in 1864 the name was changed to Idaho City to distinguish the town from nearby Bannack, Montana. In the mid 1860s, Idaho City could boast of more than 200 businesses, including more than thirty saloons. The population in 1864 was about 7000.

In October 1864, at about 9pm one Sunday night, a man named Edward Baldock, formerly of Yreka, California, was storming down Montgomery street towards the house of a woman the local paper called “Belle Roqueraz, a Mexican courtesan.”

Belle and Baldock had lived together in the summer of 1863. He then left Idaho City. Belle wrote to him in the fall of 1864 asking him to return. By the time he arrived and knocked on her door on the Saturday night before the murder, she’d changed her mind. She was living with a man called Ben Bloomer.

Baldock borrowed a Colt revolver from a friend, Jonathan Duncan. On Sunday night, Baldock got drunk, visiting several saloons and boasting about himself. Then he went back to Belle’s. She still refused to let him in. He burst in anyway. Bloomer was stoking the wood stove at the time. Baldock hit him on the head several times with the pistol. Then – according to the official account – Bloomer then took the pistol from Baldock, and took a 10 inch knife out of his belt. Bloomer stabbed Baldock several times in the side. With the knife still in him, Baldock staggered about 50 yards to the Cincinnati Saloon saloon, where he collapsed, yelling “I’m murdered!” Jonathan Duncan was there; he helped him up onto the porch. Duncan pulled out the knife – eight of its ten inches was stuck in Baldock’s side. A doctor was called, but Baldock died. The jury at the coroner’s inquest acquitted Bloomer on the basis of self defense.

There is one curious detail about this account. Baldock attacked Bloomer first, hitting him in the head with the Colt’s pistol several times. It was reported that Bloomer’s condition was “critical” after the murder. So how could Bloomer – who had collapsed from several blows to the head – possibly have done anything at that point? It seems more likely that it was Belle who grabbed the revolver and stabbed Baldock.

Belle may or may not have been Central American, or a pirate – but she certainly killed at least one person. Or rather, at least two – for she was buried with a finger ring that was said to have belonged to one of her female victims.

source (with references) The Mystery Museum
— — — — — — — — — —

Rocky Bar, Idaho Ghost town

source: Wikipedia, Taken 11-3-2012 by J. Day Photography
———————–

Link to Alturas County, Idaho 1864 to 1895