|Birth: ||Feb. 28, 1860|
|Death: ||May 6, 1895|
Son of John H. and Rosanna M. Stout Wyatt.
George married Elizabeth A. Haworth on 13 Oct 1881 in Arapahoe, Furnas County, Nebraska. She was born 1 Jun 1857 in Kokomo, Indiana, and died 6 Jan 1951 in Morenci, Greenlee County, Arizona.
George, a member of the local school board, was shot and killed by Benjamin Ratcliff (Radcliff, Ratcliffe).
BOULDER DAILY CAMERA (Boulder, Boulder County, Colorado),
7 May 1895:
"Como, Colorado, May 7 --- The shooting of the election judges, Samuel Taylor and George D. Wyatt, was told of in these dispatches yesterday, but it now develops that L. F. McCurdy, another of the judges of election, was shot by Ratcliffe at the same time.
The affair occured in the school house on the Dunbar ranch, five miles north of Como (some records place the location in the Bordenville school house), and there were no witnesses to the tragedy. Wyatt lived four hours and a sworn statement was made by him. Wyatt's statement in substance is that Taylor, McCurdy and himself had just opened the polls for the school election, when Ratcliffe entered the building and engaged in a discussion with the board over school matters. The discussion was becoming very exciting, when Ratcliffe accused the members of the board of making slanderous statements concerning himself and family. During this altercation, Ratcliffe's gun, which was a 44 Winchester repeating rifle, was discharged accidentally, the ball penetrating the floor at Taylor's feet and doing no damage. This caused an excited argument of short duration, Taylor, McCurdy and Wyatt being at the back end of the school house and Ratcliffe at the door with several rows of desks between him and the others.
Ratcliffe raised his rifle to his shoulder and fired at Taylor, the ball hitting him in the face and killing him instantly.
He then shot McCurdy twice in the back, causing almost instant death, and then fired at Wyatt, striking him in the back near the hips, after which he left the house.
Wyatt crawled to the door, opened it and waved his hat to attract the attention of a passing horseman, who came over and a messenger was dispatched to Como for Dr. Scott, but when he arrived at the scene of the tragedy, he pronounced Wyatt's injuries as fatal.
Ratcliffe, upon leaving the school house, walked to his horse, which was hitched near by, and rode over to Como where he surrendered to Deputy Sheriff J. A. Link, and was taken to the county jail in Fairplay. He made no statement further than that he had killed the men and thought he was justified in so doing.
It is now known that Ratcliffe had trouble with all the election judges, who were members of the school board and men of excellent repute. They had demanded that he send his children to school and he had refused to do so. He was charged with incestuous living with his daughters, aged 15 and 17.
Taylor and Wyatt leave families and Mr. McCurdy was a single man. There is great excitement all through this section over the tragedy."
An article in the LITTLETON INDEPENDENT (Littleton, Colorado), 10 May 1895:
"...The horrible affair caused the wildest excitement among the citizens and it was with great difficulty that they were prevented from lynching the murderer. Ratcliffe was placed in jail in Fairplay, but later was removed to Buena Vista, the officers fearing he would be mobbed. He was later taken to Pueblo."
Ratcliffe believed the three men were a threat to him because they advanced toward him during the confrontation in the school house; therefore, Ratcliffe believed his actions to be justified. The Chaffee County jury at his trial disagreed, and in July 1895 Benjamin Ratcliffe was found guilty of murder in the first degree. The case was later heard by the Colorado Supreme Court which concurred on Jan. 15th with the lower court's decision. Ratcliffe was sentenced to death with the warden at the Canon City penitentiary being required to hang Ratcliff by the neck some time during the week beginning Feb. 2 and ending Feb 9, 1896.
The BOULDER DAILY CAMERA reported on Feb 8, 1896, that "Benjamin Ratcliff was hanged at 8:05 o'clock in the penitentiary" on Feb 7th. "He maintained a bold front all during the trying ordeal of preparation and died maintaining a justification for his crime. L. F. McCurdy, one of the victims, was accused by Ratcliffe of slandering himself and his children. As proof he had a letter from a Mrs. Susan Crockett telling him of McCurdy's alleged talk."
John H. Wyatt (1818 - 1914)
Rosanna Mary Stout Wyatt (1831 - 1894)
May Grace Wyatt Scott (1886 - 1977)*
John Benjamin Wyatt (1854 - 1887)*
George Douglas Wyatt (1860 - 1895)
Benjamin Franklyn Wyatt (1866 - 1942)*
Created by: Susan Ritter
Record added: Sep 30, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 59445074
Added: Mar. 5, 2013