Criminal Annals, Part 120 – Recorders Court

Continuing with the September 17, 1852 edition of the Sacramento “Daily Union,” there is a column devoted to the actions of the Recorder’s Court in Sacramento.

The Recorder’s Court, which is equivalent to our former Justice courts, handled minor and major crimes, passing the latter on to the Superior court if warranted. The County Recorder sat as the judge and the results of the hearings were often published.

“ Recorder’s Court. – Before Judge [ W. H.]McGrew.

“WEDNESDAY, Sept. 15th.

Fighting — Two interesting youths, the one a Chileno, rejoicing in the name of Jose, and the other an Indian, calling himself Antonio, were arrested and brought up for committing a breach of the peace, by quarreling and fighting, somewhere on I street. Both entered a plea of not guilty. Upon trial, it was shown that Jose was not only the assailing party in the fight, but was also very drunk at the time. Antonio only defended himself against the attack of the other, and was therefore discharged. Jose, was found guilty, and sentenced to ten days’ imprisonment in the county jail.”

“ Ramon Alamos, who had already become an ornament of the chain gang, a few days since, for stealing a saddle from Marshall & Stanley, and who, during his short service in that institution, had proved himself an able and efficient acquisition, was disrobed of his chains, and brought before His Honor to stand his trial upon a charge of stealing a pistol from T. J. Barnes, at the Crescent City Hotel, worth the sum of $30. The testimony and accompanying circumstance clearly established his guilt, and such was the judgment of the Court. A further term of six months was therefore added to his already pleasant condition.”

“Assault and Battery – Andrew Gordon whipped John Louis (both darkeys) for ticklin’ a pet squirrel belonging to the wife of the former. The Recorder regarded the provocation insufficient to justify the assault, etc., and therefore found defendant guilty, and rendered judgment against him for $415 , which he failed to pay and, in default, was sent to the Prison Brig for the term of ten days.”

“Grand Larceny – John Brown – arrested on the complaint of Henry Burt, charging him with stealing $775 – was discharged, the prosecution failing to appear at the time appointed for examination.

“Sept 16.

“Drunk and Disorderly – Benjamin Tidies, John J. Cozad and Daniel Watton were each fined $5 and costs for getting tight and disturbing the peace. Fines paid.”

“Assault and Battery – Robert Crayton dunned Lewis Smith for money, whereupon a quarrel ensued, which resulted in a fight, a bruised lip, and the ‘cleaning out’ of a member of the ‘numerous family.’ His Honor thought that Crayton was right, and hence his acquittal.”

And now some odds and ends from the San Francisco “Alta California.”

“GLEANINGS FROM LATE PAPERS. – The following items are from the Alta California:

“We learn that a severe fire has been raging in the neighborhood of Martinez, and that much property has been destroyed. There was at least $3000 worth of barley burned. The house, furniture, farming implements, &c., of Mr. Turner, a poor man, were destroyed. The fire is supposed to have originated about eight miles from Martinez, and has, swept everything in its way.”

“ A monstrous elk was killed a few days since near Port Orford [Oregon], which weighed as follows: carcass, 674 pounds; tallow, 95 pounds: hide, five pounds. His horns were five feet and seven inches in length, and there were six antlers on each horn, the longest of which measured one foot and eleven inches, and the shortest one foot and two inches. The meat was sold at the Port Orford market for twenty cents per pound.”

Note: A standing bull elk averages 710 pounds, however, Roosevelt elk that have been reintroduced into Alaska have reached 1300 pounds. The largest antlers are about four feet in length.

This is followed by another discussion about the actions of Mr. Bodley and the Relief Train.

“THE BODLEY SWINDLE AGAIN. – We are pleased to perceive that the entire press of the State, with the exception of the violent partisan papers which consider themselves bound to abide by the action of their leaders, unite in condemning the course of the parties who have been engaged in extorting monies from the suffering immigrant, and speculating upon the funds of the State. The last number of the San Francisco Herald thus vents its virtuous indignation upon the miserable beings who have been guilty of these damnable outrages:

“‘We call special attention to the developments contained in another column, of the infamous proceedings of certain appointees of [Governor] John Bigler, in charge of the Relief Train. Such heartless, cruel impositions upon the faint and weary emigrants as are here related, are sufficient to excite the indignation of the Governor’s most devoted toady. The entire community will cry aloud, with one voice, against the infamous creatures who have thus dared to pervert their considerate charity for the suffering and exhausted into the means of oppression and extortion. Let the accused be arrested and tried, and if they are found guilty, let the severest punishment fall upon them. If the repeated tales that are told of their proceedings are false, it is due to them that it be known, and our State relieved of the stigma of making charity the cloak for swindling.’”



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