Crminal Annals, Part 118 – More From the Interior

Continuing with the September 16, 1852 edition of the Sacramento “Daily Union,” we first find an article regarding an altercation in a small area of San Francisco called Pleasant Valley, one of the most common town names in early California.

“A brutal murder was committed in this city yesterday, in a place known as Pleasant Valley – the parties being Mexican. The murdered man received twelve terrible stabs from his antagonist. His name is unknown. The murderer was arrested and is now in confinements”

Under the usual heading of “From the Interior,” are found a number of articles regarding the unexpected death of a newspaper man, Indian problems, a couple of murders in the Calaveras area and a clumsy gambler who apparently decided the house’s money was his.



“The Express of Wednesday, arrived first by Adams &. Co.’s Express.

“Mr. Marcus C. Gray, pressman, in the employ of the Marysville Express, died on Monday afternoon, after an illness of a few hours.

“The Express states that there has been one or two cases of cholera in Marysville, with fatal result.”

“The following particulars of an Indian fight, heretofore alluded to, is furnished the Express by Adams & Co.’s Shasta Express:

“A party of 25 men under command of Capt. Wright left Yreka about four weeks since, to meet the emigrants and escort them into Yreka. The first party of emigrants they met a short distance this side of Tulare lake, and a company of four from the original number were detailed to escort into Yreka the party of emigrants they had met, while the remaining twenty-one should continue on to the lake and meet what others that were there expected. The company of four, leaving the emigrants a short distance behind, went forward to discover a new and shorter trail around a bad point. Here they were attacked by an overpowering number of Indians, and three of the number killed in the engagement. One of the number killed, we regret to learn, was Hon. Thomas H. Coates, a member of the last legislature, and at the time of his death Deputy Sheriff of Siskiyou county. Our informant was unable to give us the names of the other two killed, or the surviving one either.

“The remainder of the company, consisting of 21, were met at Tulare lake by a large party of Indians, who immediately showed fight. Twenty- five Indians were left dead in the tulares and the remaining ones, squaws and all, were forced to their canoes, they were fired into by the whites from on shore and many were killed and drowned.

“The number of whites killed, if any, we did not learn.

“After this engagement the whole remaining party returned to Yreka, made new accessions to their numbers, were supplied gratuitously by the citizens of Yreka, with three weeks rations, and again started to meet the emigrants, and whip what Indians fell in their way.”

“San Joaquin.

“To Adams & Co.’s Messenger are indebted for the Republican [San Joaquin Republican, Stockton (1851-1873)] of Wednesday, from which we extract the following items of news:

“MURDER AT VALLECITA. – The indefatigable agent of Brown’s express, has supplied us with important information from Vallecita [now Vallecito]. On the morning of yesterday, the body of a Scotchman named McAlpine was found in the Spanish part of the settlement. He had been stabbed with a large knife in the region of the heart. It is supposed that the murder was committed by Mexicans or Chileans. – Mr. McAlpine was very highly respected by all who knew him, and his unhappy death has created a profound sensation. The miners immediately convened a meeting, at which they passed resolutions to the effect that the Chilians and Mexicans should only he allowed twenty-four hours to leave the camp. They have been very troublesome for a long time past.”

Note: Vallecito, also known as Vallecita, was one of California’s important early-day mining towns. Gold was discovered here by the Murphy brothers in 1849, and it was originally called “Murphys Diggings,” which became “Murphys Old Diggings” when they moved on to greener pastures at “Murphys New Diggings,” which became the town of Murphys. A post office was established here in 1854 and is still in use today.

“TWO MEN KILLED. – At Sutter’s in Calaveras county, last Sunday night, a fatal affray occurred. A Chilean in attempting to force his way into the house of an Italian, named Baptiste, was shot. The Chileans rose in a body, captured the Italian, and killed him. The chief of the Chileans, one Domingo, was committed on a charge of murder, and, we understand, he is now in jail in Stockton.”

“A CLUMSY THIEF.– A rich scene occurred at the Bella Union a few nights ago. A Parisian, rejoicing in the name of Monsieur H. Centliver, was, it appears by the proprietor of the bank, employed to deal for the red and white game. All went smoothly however until late at night, when Monsieur thought he could play another which was more profitable than the amusement he had been engaged at. So he tried the grab game on $110. The proprietor discovered the deficiency and charged Centliver with having abstracted the money, and, with loud promotions of innocence, he was detected trying to pass the money to his son. The Frenchman was unceremoniously kicked out of the room.”

“FATAL DIFFICULTY. – On Monday last, a fatal difficulty occurred on the San Joaquin, about 20 miles from Stockton, between a man named Older, and another named Roberts. It appears that a dispute arose respecting the price of some stock. Older called Roberts a liar. Roberts replied by calling Older ‘a — d liar.’ Older then again replied by drawing a revolver and mortally wounding his antagonist. We understand that he is on his way to this city to deliver himself up to the authorities.”
And if you wondered what the miners did for entertainment, think horse races.

“ RACES. – The fall races commence on the Stockton Course, on the 7th October next. Excellent sport is anticipated.”



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