Criminal Annals, Part 126 – Assault and Battery

Moving on to the September 24, 1852 edition of the Sacramento “Daily Union,” we find a couple of interesting cases in Sacramento’s Recorder’s Court, County Recorder and Judge, W. H. McGrew, presiding.

“Recorder’s Court —Before Judge McGrew. September 23, 1852.

“Assault and Battery. — Achoon in this case was the defendant, Choon-Foke plaintiff. The left visual organ of the latter in deep mourning, evinced that a game of gouge, thrust or tumble had been enacted. Achoon averred that he was innocent of the charge, ‘He never fight no man. He give Choon- Poke push, who fall himself, he want Choon-Foke leave, he no leave, he fall.’

“Choon- Poke’s testimony was directly the opposite this: so that the Recorder suspended judgment till this morning, that he might inform himself better of the fact, through the medium of some Chinaman better acquainted with the English language.

“Julia Mason, alias Biddy, vs Mrs. O’Leary, for assault and battery. A large bruise on the right cheek and a cluster of small scabs under the nose imparted to Biddy’s countenance no very agreeable complexion, and showed very plainly that she was more or less of a termagant pugilist. A swinging motion of the right hand when she addressed the court — an affecting application of the same member to her heart, with an occasional long drawn sigh and gesticulation of the cross, were convincing proofs of her high regard for piety and whiskey. ‘Broke your glass, Mrs O’Leary! me broke your glass! Na, na. na, I broke no glass. The Lord forgive her for that.’ A gush of tenderness had nearly overpowered the sensitive heart of the amiable plaintiff, whos [archaic] dreamy gaze fixed itself upon the floor, while she rocked her body backwards and forwards in an agony of grief. An obliviousness of memory incapacitated her from answering the inquiry as to whether she had not been drunk or drinking when she went to Mrs. O’Leary’s house. She ‘did not know — she was then, just as she is now.’ The conclusion from the reply was easy and satisfactory. Biddy was ordered from the court. Her own testimony proved her the aggressor upon an innocent woman. Before reaching the door of egress, she turned a look of withering scorn upon the executors of justice, and was about to accompany it with a volley, when the repeated order in a louder key, caused her to change her determination and hasten from their hated presence. Several other unimportant cases were disposed of.”

Under “Correspondence,” an article dated September 20, 1852 from Sonora, Tuolumne County, there is a discussion of mining and rebuilding after a fire.

The last paragraph brings up an issue that is becoming more and more common in the news, “foreigners.”

“At the Miners’ Convention of Tuolumne county, recently held at Jamestown, it was unanimously resolved that no foreigner should work in the mines of this county. The immense rush of foreigners to this vicinity, has compelled the American miners to take this course, in order to keep the mines from being flooded with foreigners, and give our own people, who are so extensively coming in just now, both by land and sea, a chance.”

By way of the “San Francisco Herald” [1850 – 1863] there is an article regarding another counterfeit coin in circulation:

“Dangerous Counterfeit — We were yesterday shown a dangerous counterfeit, of which we are informed a great many have been palmed off on the public It is a Chilean real, gilt, and having the appearance of a two dollar gold piece. The trading public ought therefore to scrutinize all the small gold coin they receive, or they will be imposed upon. On examination it will be seen that the ‘1 R” signifying one real, is erased. The gilding is very neatly done, and on the whole it is the most perfect counterfeit that has ever made its appearance in this State.”

Note: The real (re-AL) coin came in a number of sizes, the most well known being the eight real. Silver eight real coins were sometime broken or cut into four or eight pieces for convenience, creating “pieces of eight.” Since they had about the same amount of silver as a silver dollar and a silver peso, twenty-five cents became known as “two bits,” fifty cents “four bits,” etc.

Moving on to the September 25, 1852 edition of the paper we find under “Calaveras Correspondence,” some problems in that county which, at that time was our southern boundary, Amador County not existing until 1854. Jackson was the county seat of Calaveras County.

“Calaveras Correspondence. Jackson, Sept. 23, 1852.

“Homicide by a Chinaman—Spaniard Shot.

“Messrs. Editors: — cases of homicide have occurred in this vicinity since yesterday morning and strange to say, the perpetrator of one is a Chinaman. A quarrel took place between two of the Celestials yesterday, on the river near this place, in relation to the ownership of a mining claim, which resulted in one of them administering to the other so many blows over the head with a crowbar that his spirit departed from his body this morning. A number of his countrymen repaired to this place and procured a warrant and the services of an officer, who arrested the guilty ‘John.’ He is now undergoing in examination before Justice Dunham, and will probably be committed for trial. This is, I believe, one of the first instances on record in California, of a Chinaman having taken the life of another. His countrymen seem to be much shocked at the affair, and appear desirous that he should suffer a severe punishment for his offence.

“A Spaniard was killed last evening at Butte City, about two miles from this place, by a gambler named Van Allstine. The latter immediately fled, and his whereabouts is at present unknown. I have not learned the full particulars of the affair, but the general impression seems to be that it was an unnecessary if not an unjustifiable act on the part of the gambler.”

Note: Butte City, which is located adjacent to Highway 49, a few miles south of Jackson, is a mining ghost town and now in Amador County. Only one structure remains, the Ginocchio or Butte Store.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.