Criminal Annals, Part 123 – From Shasta

Continuing with the September 20, 1852 edition of the Sacramento “Daily Union,” we find under “From the Interior” a number of interesting items.


“ The following items of news are gleaned from the Shasta Courier [1852-1905], of the 18th instant:

“THE TRINITY INDIANS SUING FOR PEACE. – We learn that the Indians on the South Fork of Trinity river, have quit their wild retreats in the mountains, and come into the mining settlements. Some two or three hundred came in and desire to make a treaty, binding themselves to refrain from stealing mules, stock, &c . and to cease shooting white men, and wish to be allowed to hunt, fish and dig roots, &c. in the vicinity. These are the Indians which Capt. Dixon, with about thirty men, chastised so severely some months since, for murdering Anderson and stealing his stock. One sound thrashing, for depredations committed, is worth more, in securing a lasting peace with these savages, than all the beef and blankets that can be given them. Until within the past few days, a commissioner would have been in great danger of losing his scalp, and especially his mule, if he had attempted to hunt them up to treat with them. They are now extremely anxious to treat on the above easy terms. They have, we understand, recently suffered considerably for the want of food, which they are now desiring to be allowed to procure along the streams and valleys unmolested.”

“LATER FROM OREGON. – We have dates from Oregon to the 1st inst. The overland immigrants are coming in rapidly. Julius C. Butham, late of Wisconsin, writes that there are ten thousand persons on the road. He packed through from Fort Hall, and reports a scarcity of provisions and grass, and much suffering, and also loss of stock.

[signed] “Yours, &c. Fenelon.”

“The [Yreka] Courier, in an impressive appeal to the State and National Governments, asks for protection to the citizens of Siskiyou against the depredations and murders of the Indians. It says that ‘fifteen men, immigrants and citizens of California, have been killed’ on the Yreka immigrant trail within a few months; besides many others that are supposed to have been murdered.
“It is hoped that the troops which passed through this place a few days since, will render the citizens of Siskiyou immediate and effective relief.”


“The Calaveras Chronicle comes to us this week unusually freighted with the record of crime and its punishment. A Chinaman, at Willow Bar, after being driven from his claim by the Chileans and restored to it by a decision of the American miners, had his leg broken in the attempt to get out of the way of a huge stone, rolled down a mountain upon him by his revengeful enemy. The broken limb had to be amputated.

“A male named C. Wiggins, was arrested by constable Stevenson, for grand larceny – having sometime previous stolen $500 worth of gold dust from Benjamin Ticknor.

“Jesus Brisano and Antonio Duartes were hung , by the citizens of Ione Valley, for horse stealing, having been arrested with the horses in their possession.

“On Monday, 13th inst., the body of Captain McAlpin was found at Vallecito, stabbed in several places. It appears that on the day previous, Dr. Wilson had whipped a Mexican boy for maltreating some American children, and the parents or friends of the boy were suspected of committing the crime, as Capt. McAlpin bore a striking resemblance to Dr. Wilson, and is supposed to have been mistaken for that gentleman. When found, Capt. McAlpin had his pistol in hand, cocked, with his finger on the trigger.”

The September 21, 1852 edition of the paper has an interesting article regarding a missing husband.


“A woman arrived at the Missouri Hotel yesterday in the Stockton stage, under the following circumstances: She and her husband, whose name is Patrick Venable, arrived in Diamond Springs from over the Plains last week. On Wednesday he sold his team at that place to one of his traveling companions, named Grove, for $380, and made a bargain with him to take himself and his wife to the Cosumnes, were he was going with his stock. They came on down to the Shingle Springs, where Mr. Venable, who is a blacksmith, stopped at the shop to enquire for work, and his wife has never seen him since.

“At the time he stopped, three men of the party were behind the wagon driving the loose stock, and Mrs. Venable supposing her husband to be with them, he was not missed until late in the afternoon, when she began to get uneasy because he didn’t come up. She was, however, reassured by the men that he would soon overtake them, if he had not, after coming out of the shop, taken the wrong road, and gone towards Sacramento. If he had done so, that probably he would not overtake them that night. The night and the next day passed without hearing anything from Mr. Venable, and the now nearly distracted wife, begged of the men to return with her in search of her lost husband, but they declined, and told her that as Mr. Venable, had calculated to go to Sacramento that more than likely he had, upon finding himself on the road to the city, determined to come here and see if he could obtain work.

“After waiting until she could endure the terrible suspense no longer, she started for the city on foot, without money and without friends.

“At a stage stand a few miles from here, some gentlemen made her up a small sum of money, and the proprietor of the line brought her into the city free of charge. Her only hope now is that her husband may have lost his way, and had not, up to the time of her leaving the company, found them. Should this not prove to be the case she fears he has been murdered for the small sum of money he had about him.

“Should he be living she expects to hear from him at the Missouri Hotel. They are from Atchison county, Missouri.

“Mrs. Venable seems almost crushed by the weight of her misfortunes – she having lost two little children by death – all she had – in crossing the Plains, and now her husband has disappeared so mysteriously. She is entitled to the sympathies of the benevolent, and the mystery which surrounds the fate of her husband should be unraveled forthwith, by having steps taken to ascertain whether his is dead or alive.”



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