|26th Mayor of San Francisco|
January 8, 1902 – July 8, 1907
|Preceded by||James D. Phelan|
|Succeeded by||Charles Boxton|
August 22, 1864|
|Died||November 20, 1928
|Political party||Union Labor Party|
Eugene Edward Schmitz (August 22, 1864, San Francisco – November 20, 1928, San Francisco) was an American politician and the 26th mayor of San Francisco, who became notorious for his conviction by a jury on charges of corruption.
Life and career
"Handsome Gene" was the son of an Irish mother and a German father. He had played the violin and conducted the orchestra at the Columbia Theatre on Powell Street in San Francisco. Schmitz was president of the Musicians' Union, when Abe Ruef chose him to run for mayor on the ticket of the Union Labor Party. Schmitz was elected in 1902 and was the mayor of his hometown when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and subsequent fire destroyed a prodigious amount of the city. On the day of the earthquake, Wednesday, April 18, he invited a cross section of the city's most prominent businessmen, politicians and civic leaders, but none of the members of the Board of Supervisors, to form the Committee of Fifty to help him manage the crisis.
On June 13, 1907, E. E. Schmitz was found guilty of extortion, and the office of Mayor was declared vacant. He was sent to jail to await sentence. Shortly thereafter he was sentenced to five years at San Quentin State Prison, the maximum sentence the law allowed. He immediately appealed. While awaiting the outcome of the appeal, Schmitz was kept in a cell in San Francisco County Jail.
On January 9, 1908, the District Court of Appeals nullified his conviction. Two months later, the California Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeals' ruling, and he was released on bail, pending the resolution of the outstanding bribery indictments. He was brought to trial once more in 1912, on charges of bribery. Ruef was brought from San Quentin to testify, but refused to give evidence. The other key witness, Chief Supervisor Gallagher, had disappeared without leave to Canada, and did not return. Schmitz was acquitted.
Schmitz ran for mayor again in 1915 and 1919, but was soundly defeated due to his past reputation. Elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1921, he remained until 1925. He was married and had two daughters.
- New International Yearbook for 1907 and 1908
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (January 2013)|
- Walton Bean: Boss Ruef's San Francisco: The Story of the Union Labor Party, Big Business, and the Graft Prosecution (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1952; republished Greenwood Press, 1981, ISBN 0-313-23211-3).
- Gordon Thomas & Max Morgan Witts: The San Francisco Earthquake (Stein and Day, New York; Souvenir Press, London, 1971; reprinted Dell, 1972, SBN 440-07631).
- Schmitz' "Shoot to kill" order at the Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco
- 1907 editorial cartoon from the San Francisco Examiner
- Photographs related to the San Francisco graft trial, 1907–1908, The Bancroft Library
- "Schmitz, Eugene F.". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920.
James D. Phelan
|Mayor of San Francisco