Herman Scoble is actually Harmon Lewis Watkins. He was born in Brownsville, Linn Co., Oregon on 13 December 1869 and died in Hailey, Blaine Co., Idaho on 3 March 1938. He is buried in an unmarked grave in the Hailey City Cemetery. His parents were Lee and Deliah Jane (Swank) Watkins. Five children where born to their union, three of which died young and all prior to 1880 of diphtheria. Lee and Deliah, along with Harmon and little sister, Mary Ann moved to Blaine County around 1880. I’ve not discovered just when his parents divorced, but know that Deliah remarried in 1883 to Richard Scoble, believe in the Blaine County or one of the near by counties. I’ve found that both Harmon and Mary Ann would use their step-father’s surname from time to time.
According to the Wood River Times, 8 June 1898, the Smitham and Watkins / Scoble families had had ill feelings between the two families for years (see below). Hope to track down the court records and see if they might provide more information. The Idaho State Penitentiary Inmate Files show that he was convicted of 2nd degree murder and was to serve 20 years. He entered the penitentiary on 21 July 1898 and was paroled and departed the penitentiary 15 April 1907. Harmon returned to Muldoon were he remained until his death, taking care of his Mother until her death in 1926.
WOOD RIVER TIMES
JUNE 8 1898
MATTHEW SMITHAM KILLED BY HERMAN SCOBLE
Matthew Smitham, 18 years of age, and eldest son of James Smitham, was killed yesterday, on a sheep range near Muldoon.
The fatal bullet was discharged from a rifle in the hands of Herman Scoble, a well known rancher, miner, and stock grower, who is about 26 years of age.
Scoble came on horseback by the trail down Quigley gulch and surrendered to the authorities about eight o’clock last night.
The news of the affair was brought to town by John Smitham, uncle of the young man who was shot.
He said that he and his nephew were packing their horses, preparatory to moving camp, about two o’clock yesterday afternoon, when Herman Scoble came along and shot Matt’s dog.
Matt said: ”Herman don’t shoot that dog!” Whereupon Herman turned his rifle upon Matt and shot him through the shoulder. Matt dropped to the ground, fell on his face and did not say a word. Scoble then ran away.
John Smitham, who was perhaps 50 yards away, walked to where the boy was lying and found him dead. He then jumped on his saddle horse and came to Hailey to tell the Sheriff what had happened.
The Sheriff and Andy Liggett, his deputy, left for Muldoon. On arriving there they were told that Scoble was gone to give himself up. Hurrying back to Hailey they found him in jail.
A reporter called Scoble this morning. The prisoner admitted the killing, but declined to tell anything about the circumstances attending the homicide, saying that he thought best to keep his own counsel. He added that P.M.Bruner would be his attorney.
There has been considerable ill feeling between the two families for years and this may be at the bottom of the affair.
The Smithams of Muldoon and the Werrys of Broadford are related, and all the parties to the deplorable occurrence are well known.
(Source: Wood River Times, 8 June 1898, Hailey, Blaine Co., Idaho)