Criminal Annals, 112 – Where is Col J. L Freaner?

The September 7, 1852 edition of the Sacramento “Daily Union” has several small articles relating to issues affecting Californians both here and elsewhere.

“THE FATE OF COL. FREANER. — A correspondent of the Cal. Express [Marysville, 1851-1866] writing from Yreka, under date of August 30th, says: Nothing farther has been learned of the fate of Col J. L Freaner: his brother Capt. John Freaner, has been in town the but few days gathering what information he could respecting him. He has also endeavored to raise a company, to go in search of his remains, but he could accomplish nothing, owing to the companies already out having drained our town.”

Note: Some time before, Col. Freaner had left Yreka for the Democratic State convention, but had not been seen since. He was a highly respected person in California, but apparently had a temper. At a similar convention in February, had gotten into a fight with the State Senator Broderick, where upon being accosted by Broderick with a bottle, Freaner had struck him with an inkstand, cutting a deep gash in his cheek.

“ATTEMPTED SUICIDE. — Yesterday afternoon a Mexican, while laboring under insanity, caused by a severe attack of brain fever, cut his throat with a razor, inflicting a ghastly wound. He was still alive last evening, but with little prospect of recovering from the effects of his rash act.”

“NINETY-NINE DEATHS occurred in San Francisco during the week ending Sept. 4th, eight of which were attributed to cholera.”

“CALIFORNIANS ROBBED. – the Whig [San Francisco 1852-1853] states that Hon. Frank Soule, Geo. N. Shaw, D. M. Chauncy, Lieut. Gov. [Samuel] Purdy and Maj. [George C,] Sibley had their trunks broken open while crossing the Isthmus, and robbed of the most valuable portion of the contents.”

The September 10, 1852 edition of the newspaper has a short an article on problems reportedly encountered by immigrants seeking assistance from the Relief Train. Following it are several other articles about minor crimes, some written is a humorous way.


“The citizens and miners residing on the North Fork of Feather River, have, by petition of nearly one hundred citizens, etc., asked the Governor to remove one Bodley and his attendants, for gross neglect of duty, saying that he has sold water at ten cents per cup, or one dollar per gallon, for the purpose of relieving the emigrants (of their money). If this be true, it should meet the indignation of every good man, as well as the Governor, who has promptly ordered Gen. Raines to the supposed point of corruption, and there to ‘adopt such measures as will insure the most searching , investigation into the official conduct of the agents of the State and should the charges be substantiated, he is to immediately remove Mr. Bodley and every person in the train who has acted in violation of law and the instructions issued from the State Department, and appoint such persons in their stead as will ensure their faithful execution.”

“Gen. Raines leaves here to-day. He has proved himself a faithful public agent, of which we will have more to say in future. Capt. Wm. Byrne, the celebrated Indian fighter, will accompany the General on his journey.

GREAT CRY BUT LITTLE WOOL. – Last evening, in company with nearly all of the inhabitants of the lower part of our city, we were attracted to the corner of 2d and J streets, by the vociferous cries of a person apparently suffering greatly from physical pain. On reaching the spot, we found a crowd of at least five hundred persons collected, none of whom seemed to be aware of the exact nature of the difficulty. After a time, it leaked out that a tobacconist of the city had been struck over the head with a cane, wielded by a member of the medical profession – cause assigned – personal insult. The sequel showed that the tobacconist was ‘not up to snuff’ in that he failed to dodge the blow aimed at his cranium. The whole affair soon ended in smoke, as it appeared the vender of the weed was more frightened than hurt.”

“Some five or six persons were arrested during the afternoon of yesterday for fighting, and lodged in the Station House. They will be dealt with this morning.”

“SENTENCED. – Ramon Alamos, the Mexican who was convicted a few days ago for stealing a Spanish saddle from Messrs. Marshall & Stanley, has been sentenced by the Recorder to six month’s imprisonment in the County Jail.”

“A FOWL DEED – Peter Gilbert, of Sutter county, laid a complaint before the Recorder on yesterday, charging Charles Hamilton with having committed the crime of petit larceny, by ‘feloniously stealing and carrying away’ the poultry of complainant, to wit : two chickens of the value of $14. A warrant of arrest was issued for the accused.”

“VAGRANCY. – John Zook, who has for sometime been a great annoyance to the officers of police has at length been convicted of being a common vagrant, and his case is to be passed upon by the Recorder this morning.”

“A NUMBER of drunken Sydney ducks were arrested yesterday evening, and are now in durance vile.”

Note: The Sydney Ducks was the name given to immigrants from Australia during the mid-19th century. Because of the prevalent nativism in the United States at the time, along with the well-known British penal colonies in Australia, these immigrants were stereotyped as criminals, and were blamed for phenomena such as an 1849 fire that devastated the heart of San Francisco, as well as the rampant crime in the city at the time.”

“U.S. COAST SURVEY. – The S. F. Herald states that the party at Cape Flattery have encountered much difficulty in the prosecution of their work. The party at one time were threatened by over two hundred armed Indians, who anchored their canoes to the reef, and lay before their camp a whole night.
“The astronomical work has proceeded with great success.”

Note: Even before 1852 it became very obvious that to aid shipping, there needed to be more information about the Pacific coastline and that lighthouses needed to be erected for the safety of the ships, their cargo and passengers. In many cases the coastal tribes, being very possessive of their fishing grounds, initially felt invaded by the survey teams, but later helped build the lighthouses.

Cape Flattery is in the State of Washington and the most northwestern point in the lower 48 states. Only a few years after this story a lighthouse was erected to aid ships entering the Strait of Juan de Fuca.



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