The killing of William Cooper brought for a short time to the old county jail a man whose act created one of the great sensations of San Jose. The story of the killing hinged upon the actions of a girl in her teens. In the late sixties Blanche Dubois was a student at the San Jose Institute. She was a very pretty girl, tall, dark, slender and graceful, with languishing eyes and a sunny smile. She had many admirers and there was hardly a day when she was attending school that she was not seen walking with one or more of them. After she left school for her father's ranch on the Monterey Road near the cemetery male callers reached such numbers that Orrin Dubois, the father, grew irritable and suspicious. At last the girl's admirers simmered down to one young man, William Cooper, an Englishman. He was about twenty-five years of age, well-educated and of pleasing address. He had been a Union soldier and had in his possession his discharge papers. He had resided in San Jose for about six months and being short of money had worked at odd times for Dubois, his last engagement ending January 24, 1868. The evidence showed that during the last two weeks of his stay at the Dubois ranch he had induced Blanche to consent to an elopement, promising to take her to New York and marry her, as under the laws of California he could not do so here without the consent of her parents. It was claimed that the grandfather of the girl was a party to the secret arrangement and carried messages from one to the other.

On Monday afternoon, January 27, Cooper called on Dr. Kline, an acquaintance, made a confident of him, said he expected trouble, as Dubois did not like him, and requested the loan of the Doctor's revolver. Kline refused to lend the weapon, but Cooper succeeded in borrowing a Derringer of Wesley Stevens, another acquaintance. In the meantime, Dr. Kline, from a sense of duty, communicated his knowledge to Police Officer Mitch Bellow and advised him to keep a watch on departing trains. Bellow immediately notified Dubois, and Blanche, under severe cross-questioning, admitted that Cooper was to come to the ranch house on a certain night, after the old folks were in bed and asleep, meet her and then proceed to carry out the arrangements for the elopement. She also said that she had agreed to leave the front door partly open and also that she had promised to gather all the money and jewelry she could lay hands on. Thus forewarned, Dubois watched for the intruder the great part of Tuesday night. On Wednesday he came to town for the purpose of taking advice as to what he should do under the circumstances. He was advised to defend his premises, to treat Cooper as he would treat any marauder who should try to enter his house with felonious intent. On returning home, Dubois ordered Blanche to keep to her room after dark, for he intended to meet Cooper and have it out with the fellow. Night came and the hours passed until it was close upon midnight. The house was still and Dubois at the front door, which had been opened a few inches, waited, shotgun in hand, for
Cooper to appear. His vigilance was rewarded. At the appointed time Cooper came up the walk, and was about to mount the steps to the  porch when the door was thrown open and the shotgun spoke. Both barrels were discharged and as Cooper settled down to the ground, Dubois closed and locked the door and came out again no more that night. Both shots had taken effect in the side and stomach. Though mortally wounded, Cooper dragged himself through the Dubois grounds until he reached the home of a rancher named Reeves, half a mile away. He died an hour later. The next day Dubois drove to town and surrendered himself to the officers. Pending examination he was confined for a short time in the  old jail. The court proceeding resulted in his discharge. Blanche married a few years after the tragedy and left San Jose never to return.


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight