Criminal Annals, Part 101 – Mixed Information

In the August 7, 1852 edition of the Sacramento “Daily Union,” is found a column heading called “From the Interior.” Under this heading are stories first from Marysville and then Placerville.


“ We are indebted to Wells, Fargo & Co.’s Express for the Express [California Express 1851-?]of Friday.
“Wednesday next has been named as the day to celebrate the funereal obsequies of Henry Clay, by a committee of the City Council and citizens. Chas. H. Bryan has been appointed to deliver the oration. The Rev. Mr. Brayton has been appointed officiating clergyman, and Col. R. H. Taylor Marshal of the day, with W. E. Rust, Charles E. Filkins, J. F. Halsey, H. S. Hoblitzel, and S. Pixley as Aides.

“It is stated in the Express that a project is on foot to carry the waters of Rash Creek and the North Fork of the Trinity River into Weaverville.

“We are informed by Mr. Jones of Jones & Co.’s Express, that a duel came off at Indian Bar, Feather river, on Tuesday last, between John D. Morrison and William Leggitt. The latter was killed on the third fire.

“We understand that W. S. Speak, Esq., and Jno. [John] Kelly, two Downievillians, met the other morning to settle their difficulties before breakfast. Three rounds, nobody hurt. Result: shaking of hands, and toddies for all.

“Placerville Correspondence.

Fire–The Emigration–Stock Market–Theatricals.

“PLACERVILLE, August 5, 1852

“Messrs. Editors: About five o’clock this morning, our town was startled by the alarming cry of fire, which was found to proceed from the rear of the South Fork Saloon, upon Main street, the roof of the cooking house having taken fire from a defect in the stovepipe. The fire department were immediately on hand, and by their active exertions, assisted by those of the citizens generally, succeeded in extinguishing what might otherwise have proved a serious conflagration for our prosperous and flourishing town.

“The emigration continues coming in. The stock is generally in fair condition.

“Our stock [animals] market presents a lively and animated appearance; and fair prices have as yet been sustained.

“Our Theater is in full operation, and the able company of Mr. and Mrs. Baker continue to draw good houses nightly. – In haste, yours, HUNTER & CO.

The August 9, 1852 edition of the newspaper has some information regarding a coroner’s inquest in Calaveras county.



“CORONER’S INQUEST. – A Coroner’s inquest was held near Sampson’s Ranch, on the North Fork of the Calaveras, on Tuesday last, by S. D. Ball, J. P. [Justice of the Peace]. Mr. Badger, while prospecting his claim, saw something resembling a flannel shirt in the water, and suspecting it to be a man’s clothing, pursued his investigations, which resulted in his discovering what he supposed to be parts of a human skeleton. A coroner’s jury was summoned, and accompanied by Dr. Teall, proceeded to the spot, and continued the search, finding bones which were pronounced by the doctor to be parts of a human skeleton. The bones, although divested entirely of flesh, were in a high state of preservation, and supposed by the surgeon to have been in the water some two months. The jury found a verdict in accordance with the facts – “That the deceased, whose name is unknown, came to his death by means unknown to the jury, and they believe, some two months ago.” This affair is wrapped in much mystery, and produced a most astounding effect on all the jury.

“Funeral obsequies in honor of the memory of Mr. Clay, are to be observed at “the Hill.” – The Chronicle [Calaveras Chronicle 1851- ?] publishes the programme of the Committee of Arrangements, which, however, omits to state the day of the week or month on which the ceremonies are to take place.”
This somewhat snide comment by the Daily Union regarding the Calaveras Chronicle, is followed by an interesting note about mining.

“SPRUCE GULCH – The bed of this stream has been well worked over this season, and the result has been gratifying to the men employed. The miners were about leaving considering that it was exhausted when some one proposed to try the banks. This at first was treated lightly, but some one having struck in, others followed the example, when it was found that the banks of the gulch abounded in coarse gold, and would pay better than the bed of the stream. The men are now busily employed in prosecuting their discoveries.”

In the same column is a note regarding an attempt to get businesses in Nevada county to close on Sunday.

“A meeting was held on Sunday evening, to adopt means for the better observance of the Sabbath. The following resolution, which we trust meets with the approval of every member of the community to which it is particularly applicable, was among others adopted at the meeting:

“Resolved, That we respectfully request the merchants and other business men of Nevada, to close their doors on the Sabbath, and the we pledge ourselves to support those only who do so, other things being equal.”
This is followed by a note from El Dorado county regarding a terrible accident to one of its citizens.

“ACCIDENT. – Our esteemed fellow citizen, Mr. Bruce Herrick, met with a very severe misfortune on Tuesday last. He was engaged at the time in hauling lumber from the Excelsior saw mill, and was thrown from the wagon by the turning of a plank. Not being able to gain his equilibrium in time. one of the hind wheels of the wagon ran over his left leg below the knee, and severed the larger bone the whole width of the tire.”

Note: Bruce Herrick arrived in Placerville in 1849 or 1850 and was the owner of the Placer Hotel, also know as the “Jackass Inn,” and the “Hangtree Inn,” at the corner of Main and Coloma (now Center) streets. In 1853 he tore down the wooden building and cut down the Hangman’s Tree to build the 40 by 60 foot brick “Herrick Building,” which still stands at that location.



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.