Criminal Annals, Part 124 – Recorders Court. – Before Justice McGrew

Continuing with the September 21, 1852 edition of the Sacramento “Daily Union,” we find under Sacramento “Recorders Court. – Before Justice McGrew.” a bit of justice being handed out.

“Petit Larceny – McAdams was brought up on a charge of petit larceny. The evidence not being sufficient for conviction, a restitution of the property was ordered, and the prisoner released.

“Frederick Heacht, having amused himself during a leisurely perambulation of the city and its precincts, with a profound contemplation of that versatility of genius which gives to matter its symmetry of proportion and glorious tintings of color, grew thirsty and fatigued. A happy concurrence of ideas stimulated him to the examination of decanters. In these he found that embodied feature of spirituality which occupied so large a portion of his imaginings. The perfection of the mechanic arts, which imparts to glass a great diversity of beauty, led him to an intoxicating admiration of their contents. He tasted, he drank, became hallucinated, and forthwith cut the air with sundry classical gestures accompanied by shouts, intended for eloquence; but which alas! produced no other effect upon the obdurate hearts of his auditory than to occasion his arrest as a disorderly individual. Finding himself before the Recorder yesterday morning, he was taught a sad lesson of the stern reality of human events, by paying a small stipend of $25, in the shape of fine, costs, &c, and being remanded for 48 hours imprisonment.

“ Phil Humphrey having been arrested for disturbing the peace, gave security, paid $25, and left.
For a similar cause, Lewis Green was mustered before the bar, and gave bonds for his appearance. Fined $5 and costs.
Assault and Battery.—Augustus Stinegar, committed an assault and battery upon the person of Charles Pierce, and plead guilty to the charge. Judgement was rendered, the prisoner paid his fine like a man, and was discharged.”

Under “From the Interior” is an item that shows mining by oneself was not a safe occupation.


“SAD CALAMITY. – Mr. Yelverton, just in from Sandy Bar, reports the death of John Shortness, at that place, under the following melancholy circumstances. He was engaged in working a shaft, when the earth and machinery from above caved in upon him, burying him alive. This accident occurred o the morning of Saturday last, and although the most energetic efforts were exerted to disentomb the unfortunate man, his friends did not succeed in their object till noon. He was standing upright when reached, but perfectly dead. The deceased was about twenty-five years of age and from the State of Ohio.”

The edition of September 22, 1852, under “From the Interior,” includes some information from Downieville, including a “cowhiding affair.” Note: Cowhiding means: beating with a strong, flexible whip.

“Downieville. The Mountain Echo (1852-1854) of the 18th instant, boasts of the rapid improvement of Downieville,’ and says that in that neighborhood they have the richest general average mining region in the State.

“The Tunnel Mining Company of Downieville, says the Echo, took out last week, $50 per day. This week they have taken out $1,200. Nine men are engaged in the company. Last week, the sailor boys at Gold Bluff, two miles from Downieville, took out 180 ounces; and this week, a lump of pure gold, weighing 27 lbs.

“The fluming company (eight men) just above Craycroft & Co.’s mill, have been doing very well. Some days they have taken out from $300 to $600.

The Echo also gives a very flittering account of the prospects of quartz mining in the region of Downieville. The Eureka Quartz Company are selling shares at from $800 to $1000.

“A cowhiding affair came off in Downieville on Monday of last week. The punishment was inflicted by a woman, on the person of a man named Getzler. Getzler holding the brother of the lady responsible, attacked him in the street, striking him several times with a cane over the head. The conflict promised to be serious, when a spectator caught the brother by a leg and tripped him up, injuring him severely. Getzler left immediately, and although pursued by officers, was not overtaken.

“We clip the following item from the Marysville Herald (1850-1858):

“Fire. —On Saturday morning, last, a fire broke out in the tules near Dragoon Camp on Dry Creek, and after burning over a large extent of country, consumed between 800 and 1000 bushels of barley, the property of Messrs. G. W. Bandy and James Wood.”

Also in the edition of September 22, 1852 is found an article from the San Francisco “Alta California” regarding a problem in one of their jails and another one of the “stories” that makes the 19th century so interesting.

“AN AMAZONIAN WAR. — The tenants of one small cell in the station-house are Mrs. Mary Holt, Susannah and Black Lize, the respective female representatives of the Saxon, the Mexican and the African races. A chivalrous and gallant son of France, who was released but a day or two ago from the institution, could not resist his generous impulse to mollify the hardships of their imprisonment by supplying them with a bottle of ardent spirits. The consequence was a celebration and a combat, in which Saxony succumbed early with the tooth-ache, and Africa having bitten a mouthful out of Mexico’s arm, was cast into chains, and presented a dark picture of African bondage. France was yesterday brought before the Recorder for thus violating the temperance rules of the institution, and was sentence to ten days more confinement within its walls. – Alta

EXTRAORDINARY DISCOVERY. – PERPETUAL LIGHT.– A most curious and interesting discovery has just been made at Langres, France, which we have no doubt will cause a searching scientific inquiry as to the material and properties of the perpetually burning lamps, said to have been in use by the ancients. Workmen were recently excavating for a foundation for a new building, in a debris evidently the remains of a Gallic-Roman erection, when they came to the roof of an underground sort of cave, which time had rendered almost of metallic hardness. An opening was however, effected, when one of the workmen instantly exclaimed that there was a light at the bottom of the cavern. The parties present entered, when they found a bronze sepulchral lamp of remarkable workmanship, suspended from the roof by chains of the same metal. It was entirely filled with a combustible substance, which did not appear to have diminished, although the probability is the combustion has been going on for ages. This discovery will, we trust, throw some light on a question which has caused so many disputes among learned antiquaries, although it is stated that one was discovered at Viterbo [Italy] in 1540, from which, however, no fresh information was afforded on the subject.”



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