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George Joye, Cornelia Colman
and Mrs. Robb

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The Seattle Star, June 4, 1904


So says mother Cornelia Colman when the girl's betrayer sends for her.

image of George Joye, Cornelia Colman, and Mrs. Robb

The above group shows the principal figures in the shooting affair on the waterfront Thursday evening. On the right is George Joye, the betrayer; in the center is 16-year-old Cornelia Colman, the betrayed; and on the left is Mrs. Gertrude Robb, Cornelia's mother and the avenger of her wrongs.

George Joye, the steamboat man who was shot and desperately wounded Thursday evening by Mrs. Gertrude Robb, whose 16-year-old daughter he had ruined, last evening had sent to the mother to ask permission to be allowed to talk with the girl he had betrayed.

"Joye told me to tell you," the messenger informed Mrs. Robb, "that he loves your daughter and wants her to come to see him. If you will allow her to visit him at the hospital, he has promised not to prosecute you should he by any chance live."

"Tell that man that I will hang before I will ever allow him to look on my little girl's face again," was the answer Mrs. Robb sent back, and she intends to abide by her decision.

The wounded man is calling for the girl whom he insists he intended to make his wife, but the girl is a prisoner by her mother's order in the House of Good Shepherd.

Mrs. Robb is now in the county jail. She is a fine looking woman with black hair and large black eyes, now swollen with weeping, not for sorrow at her deed, but because of the ruin of the daughter she loved. The girl and her mother, it is said, have always been almost as sisters.

"There is not much left for me to say," Mrs. Robb said this morning, "because I told the whole story at the time of my arrest. I have not the slightest remorse for what I have done, and only wish with all my heart that I bad killed Joye, as I Intended to do."

"He practically killed my daughter. Her life is nothing to her now, and the Bible says 'A life for a life.'"

"I know he did mean to marry her. He asked me for her some time ago, but I told him she was too young to be married. And, besides, he was only earning $2 a month. He could not support a wife on that. 'Save up your money,' I told him, 'and in two years come to me again and we will talk it over.'"

"Several days after that, as I was walking along the hall in my lodging house, I saw him standing at the door of my daughter's room watching her as she combed her hair."

"'What do you mean by even stepping your foot inside my daughter's room?' I asked him."

"'Not any harm', he replied."

"Then I talked straight out to him. 'George Joye,' I said, 'I know what kind of man you are. And I just want to tell you that if you ever do my daughter any harm I will kill you.'"

"'You would be perfectly justified in doing so,' he answered, 'and if ever I do you have my permission to kill me. I would deserve it, or any man would who would harm her.'"

"It was only Thursday that I learned of my girl's shame. The idea flashed across me in a minute when a neighbor dropped a chance remark, and I went to her room where she lay on her bed."

"'Little girl,' I asked her, 'Is there anything between you and George that you have not told mama?'"

"She hesitated a minute, and then she threw her arms around my neck and with her head on my shoulder told me everything."

"I locked her in her room and went straight to the dock, where I knew Joye's boat came in, with murder in my heart. The paper said I shot him in the back. That is a mistake. I shot him when we were face to face, but when the bullet entered the force of it caused him to swing around."

Mrs. Robb has not yet retained an attorney, although several have proffered their services free of charge.

Joye was again operated on by surgeons at the Providence hospital yesterday. Another bullet was removed from the small of the back. This was the one that caused paralysis, it having lodged close to the spinal cord. The attending surgeon is of the opinion that Joye will ultimately recover, but stated to a Star man this morning that it would be fully six months and that even then Joye would never use his lower limbs again.

Joye was formerly a porter in a barber shop in Lewiston, Idaho, where his parents live at 64 Eleventh street. A press dispatch says he left home about five years ago but has been writing to his mother frequently since and sent her money. Mrs. Joye recently received a letter from her son in which he told her of his approaching marriage to Mrs. Robb's daughter. They were to have been married in June.

Cornelia Colman, it is said, says she still loves Joye and would marry him if she were allowed to.

NOTE: In an article from November 24, 1904, it appears that George Joye died from his gunshot wounds (apparently he'd been shot 5 times, even in the back). A jury acquitted Mrs. Robb for his murder as they considered it to be justifiable.