Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Why Re-Elect President Trump In 2020?


President Trump is the best thing to happen to our country since Ronald Reagan. He is addressing the problems with our economy that the Democrats said cannot be fixed, and is fixing them. Because of his efforts, our economy is booming.

Our unemployment is at its lowest in 60 years. More minorities are working. Senior citizens have been given cost of living raises that were denied them during the Obama years. Jobs and more importantly opportunities for Americans is on the rise. The Stock Market has reached its highest peak ever.

While Democrats are calling for imposing totalitarian regulations, increased government control of our lives, and Socialist ideals that are akin to full blown Communism, President Trump has brought prosperity back to America and it is translating into better lives for all. This newfound surge of feeling good about our nation and our economic future has had positive effects on all Americans. This is shown in Consumer Confidence which has never been higher.

President Trump’s inner-city Opportunity Zones are starting to take shape. He is addressing government task redundancy, agency overlap, and over-regulation. The result has been the elimination of tens of thousands of useless, economic stifling, business killing regulations. Regulations that were meant to make the government more powerful while taking away freedoms from the American people. And yes, because of President Trump, Americans are not longer being fined, and are no longer being threatened with the confiscation of their property, for not enrolling into ObamaCare.

Also, while addressing government problems, he has given Veterans more choice and expanded our options for better heath care through the Veterans Administration. While the Democrats like to say there were no scandals during the Obama years, they refuse to acknowledge the scandal of Veterans being allowed to die on waiting lists while President Obama did nothing to address that horrible situation. That is no longer the case under President Trump. Today, Veteran Health Care is better than ever.

As for his foreign policy, President Trump has gone to meet with the North Korean dictator and has reduced tensions to a lesser degree than what was taking place under Obama who did nothing to address the possibility of nuclear war. Image that we were threatened by a nuclear attack on Hawaii, but Obama said the biggest threat that we faced to our national security was Climate Change. That's the definition of being asinine!

Also, President Trump has taken on the unfair trade practices and military expansionist policies of China, and we are achieving goals which are more favorable to us. Not them, but us. The same goes for Mexico and Canada, a better trade deal has resulted in a more favorable situation for us. American corporations that left our country, or more accurately were chased out because of draconian government regulations, are returning to again manufacture products here with American workers.

As for the Middle East, in 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which declared that "Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel." That bill also stated that the American embassy should move to Jerusalem within five years. That was 1995, it took President Trump to fulfill that mandated law.

As for ISIS, while they were supported by the Obama administration, as was the case with Iran, today ISIS is gone and their dreams of an Islamic barbarian state is no more.

As for the security of our nation both overseas and at home, President Trump has stopped the dismantling of our military which was taking place during the Obama years. He has instead increased the pay of our troops, increased incentives for our men and women in uniform to make the military a career, and is in the process of giving our troops the new and improved equipment that they were denied under Obama.

As for strengthening our security on our Southern Border, President Trump has worked to replace the old ineffective security barriers with modern barriers, and has increased the amount of border being addressed with such needed security measures. This has been needed to curtail the flow of drugs and human trafficking, including child sex trafficking, across the border. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama did very little to address this growing problem. President Trump is addressing this with new barriers.

He is doing this while fighting Democrats who want open borders and appear to for the free flow of drugs, slave labor, and child sex trafficking.

President Trump has done all of this in spite of the obstructionist Democrats. Democrats have worked tirelessly to divide Americans on multiple issues including race, gender, class, and more. Democrats are working to ruin our economy through increased Climate Change hoax regulations, and they want to take more of the money that we earn to waste it on their Socialist agenda which includes giving benefits to people who are not even citizens. Democrats have even obstructed every attempt that President Trump has made to keep us safer.

President Trump has done this for our country. No one can argue the fact that President Trump is doing wonders for our country. He is a successful president in spite of the Democrat Party's attempts to stop all of the great things that are taking place under his guidance. This is why Democrats hate him and want to see him impeached for any reason, even if that reason is made up.

All of the wonderful things that he has done for us is why I will vote for him again in 2020. Yes, despite the hate and lies coming from the Democrat Party and their mainstream media. 

That's just the way I see things.

Tom Correa


Monday, July 29, 2019

The 2019 Garlic Festival Shooting -- We Do Not Live In A Protective Bubble


The gunman who opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 28th, 2019, killing 3 and injuring 12, was identified by law enforcement as 19-year old Santino William Legan of Gilroy. Legan was fatally shot by sheriff deputies on Sunday after he opened fire at the very crowded festival in Santa Clara County.

When I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I used to go to the Gilroy Garlic Festival. While this incident is obviously an extreme, I can tell you that violence at the Gilroy Garlic Festival is not a new security concern for them. As far back as the 1990s, and probably before that, that event saw problems with fights and even stabbings.

I was there in 1993 when one stabbing took place. Right after that happened, the event's security along with the police made a walk through and cleared the entire event of everyone there. They closed it down. The same day of the stabbing, I witnessed more than 3 fights. It became a very rowdy atmosphere where fights happen all the time. In the 6 or 8 times that I went there, there were always fights.

While I have not been back to the Garlic Festival since 2000, the problems that the event has stems from the availability of alcohol, people getting drunk and high from the use of marijuana, and the presence of rival gangs.

As for their security at the time, the event employed private security and had armed Gilroy city police and sheriff deputies on hand. Again, if memory serves me right, they used the private security for the entrances and exits, at key locations, while armed police officers and deputies were on horseback and walking patrols. These days, metal detectors are located at the entrances.

Security for any event such as a festival are usually put in place to prevent "expected" situations. While the worse case scenarios are looked at, available resources dictate that only so many precautions can be taken. What I mean by that is this, one attempts to predict the worse case scenario within reason using available resources. I'm willing to bet that no one, not the festival's security coordinator or the sheriff's department, anticipated a gunman circumventing the festival’s security by entering from a creek area and cutting through a fence.

For me, I believe the motives of such an insane individual attempting to do such a horrible act actually mean almost nothing because I know that such individuals cannot be stopped before they carry out their plan. Unless someone knowledgeable of the perpetrator's plan comes forward and actually informs on the person before carrying out the act, the police are always a reactive security element.

While the police concern themselves with motive to see if others are involved, let's make no mistake about this, this perpetrator knew the security in place and planned his attack by circumventing security measures. Also, it is important to note that the availability of armed sheriff deputies and city police, law enforcement, did not stop the perpetrator from carrying out his plan. Since the perpetrator had planned his attack with his targets in mind long before this last weekend, armed police officers did not deter the perpetrator from carrying out his plan.

While we know that the gunman who murdered those innocent people went through a lot of trouble to get around security measures in place there, we know that increased security from years past and the presence of armed officers didn't stop his intent to commit murder. But there is something else that we should note. Even if he did not cut his way into the event through a fence, the perpetrator could have gotten into the event circumventing security through a number of other ways.

For example, if he were with any of the many many merchants and vendors there, including part of the food vendors, he could have been allowed in and staged a weapon or had a weapon on him at any time. He could have been part of entertainment. He even could have been part of the security detail itself. Point is that we have no idea who is capable of doing such an insane act. And sadly, it could be anyone.

Because we do not live our lives in a protective bubble, along with our security measures, we have to trust that not everyone out there is insane and out to kill us.

Tom Correa

Sunday, July 28, 2019

What Made Me A Republican


I was recently asked what changed my political opinion once and for all? 

This is something that I've thought about a lot since I was brought up in a very Democrat family. In fact, I was brought up in a very Conservative Catholic household. At one point, our home consisted of me and my three brothers and one sister, my parents, both maternal grandparents, and my great-grandfather who couldn’t speak English. Yes, ten of us. 

My maternal great-grandfather left the oppression of the Portuguese government in the Azores to go to Hawaii as an Indentured Servant in 1908. During his life, he worked in the sugarcane fields, the pineapple fields, and as a janitor at a High School. He tried to pass the citizenship test to become an American on three different occasions but couldn’t speak enough English to pass it. As a boy of 9, I remember him telling me, in Portuguese, to be a proud American. He used to say, "Be proud that you are an American. You are free!" 

My family was Blue Collar, Conservative, traditional Catholics, and Democrats. Hawaii was a Democrat state. I found out later that had a lot to do with FDR and World War II. Of course, back in those days, Democrats were Conservative also. If the truth be told, President Kennedy was a Conservative. He certainly wasn't a Liberal. The Democrat Party was very Conservative back in those days — especially by today’s standards. Modern Liberalism had not infected the whole of the Democrat Party yet. 

As for my becoming a Republican and shunning the Left and Liberalism? While I was raised a Conservative with traditional family values in a Catholic family, my decision to become a registered Republican came while I was in the Marine Corps.

If memory serves me right, myself and three other Marines volunteered to go to San Diego State University to attend a few hour long career day event. That took place in early 1976. I was an Instructor and my Gunnery Sergeant told me that it would be good for me to do since I was looking at the Marine Corps as a career. As is still probably the care, anything positive on one's record helps out during promotion time. 

I was a 20 year old Marine Corporal, and after we arrived, I was shocked by how we were treated when we arrived. We go out of our van and were met by college students who threw food at us, called us all sorts of vile names such as calling us “baby killers” and compared us to Nazis. A few students actually tired to get close enough to attempt to spit on us. 

I didn't know the other Marines since I had just met than that morning. If I remember right, we had a Lance Corporal who was our driver from Motor-T, I was the only Corporal, there were two Sergeants, and we had a Staff Sergeant in charge. When we arrived, we told the Lance Corporal to stay with the van. We tried grabbing up a banner and handouts, but the students sort of swarmed around us and kept throwing stuff and taunting us.

At one point, the Staff Sergeant in charge told us to get back in our van. He didn't want things to get completely out of hand but he need to check in the people who organized the event. With that, he told us to sit tight and he left. When he got back, his uniform was a mess. He simply got in the van and told the driver to get us out of there.  

On the way back to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, all of us were pretty angry. I found out later that the students who met us with such disdain and disrespect were the same Leftist students types who protested our troops returning from Vietnam; the same types of asinine individuals who burned our flag while waving the flags of our enemies; the same as those who were praising Communism of Mao and Stalin; the same who wanted a Communist America; the very people who voted for McGovern in 1972 and were campaigning for Jimmy Carter at the time. They were Democrats. 

It was then that I decided never ever to vote for Democrats.

While my father was still a true-blue Democrat until Bill Clinton was caught lying about committing perjury regarding having sex in the Oval Office, I refused to vote Democrat for years before that.

Republicans are for families, child welfare, for life and not killing babies both before or at birth, manufacturing, building trades, Christians no matter if Catholic or Protestant, supporting our troops serving and helping our returning Veterans. Everything that Democrats are against.

I find it ironic that Democrats accuse Republicans of everything that they do or have done in history. They were responsible for the Trail of Tears, the Civil War, and the have a slave-owner mentality. They created the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, Segregation, worked to stop multiple Civil Rights legislation efforts, they even fought against the Civil Rights Act as recently as 1964. And yes, they have a history of being against Women's Rights.

The irony in recent years is that Democrat President Obama refused to pay his women staffers what he was paying the men in that administration doing the same job. Recently, Democrats running for the presidency were caught doing similar things.

Over the years, I've found that the Republican Party is all about respect for our elders, our traditions, our history, our flag, and preserving our values. As a Republican, I can say that we are for equal opportunity, free association, capitalism, commerce, and the benefits of hard work, low taxes, and prosperity.

We like to keep more of our hard earned money in our pockets. And though that's a fact, Republicans give more to people in need than Democrats do. Why is that you ask? It's because Republicans believe people take care of people. In contrast, Democrats don't give to charities because they believe it's the government's job to do that. If that seems like a cop-out, I think so too.

In recent years, Democrats created another militant arm of their party. They did in 1865 with the Ku Klux Klan, years later they formed Occupy Wall St, and since 2016 they created ANTIFA to riot and destroy and attack others in the streets. In contrast, Republicans believe in stability, peace, and supporting our law enforcement professionals.

While Democrats are fighting to keep our Southern border with Mexico open and unsecured, drugs and human traffickers are bringing people across the border as never before. Republicans are for freedom and opportunity, but also the rule of law which regulates those coming into our nation. No one is against a family fleeing somewhere else and coming here. All Republicans are saying is to do it legally. Not as criminals, but with the proper papers.

Whether it's sex trafficking or human bondage which is nothing more than modern-day slavery, Democrats should be concern but they are not. And frankly, Americans should demand to know what not?

Republicans respect an individual's right to pick the religion of their choice or simple their being spiritual. We respect a person's right of association as long as it promotes peace. Democrats can't say the same. Traditionally, Republicans have been the champions of limiting government to rein in abuse and even the possibility of government oppression while promoting the general welfare. We have be for a strong military deterrence, for civil rights, respect for others, and a color blind society. Democrats want open borders, a return of segregation, a divided nation, racism, and hostility for Whites.

Unlike Republicans, Democrats do not believe in assimilation, pride in being an American, inclusion, respect for the law, and a nation of united on common values. Republican ideas of free expression, equality under law, due process, the presumption of innocence, good ethics, conscience, and a person's right to self-preservation is at odds with what Democrats believe in.

So really, what made me a Republican?

Being self-sufficient, and wanting a normal family where my kids would learn to respect our founding fathers, our flag, our Constitution, our history and struggles; my wanting to stay safe while keeping the freaks and bad doers away; my wanting to preserve our Rights, and not be prejudiced from having the same opportunities of fulfilling my dreams as those with lighter or darker skin; my wanting to be associated with other proud Americans made me a Republican.

After all, I couldn't be a Democrat after finding out at the age of 20 that the Democrat Party did not represent me, my family, Blue Collar workers, Catholics, Veterans, our flag, what's right about America, and had turned into a bunch of Communists. Yes, even back then.

For the person who wrote to ask, "What would it take for you to no longer support the Republican Party?” That’s an easy question to answer. I would walk away from the Republican Party if it were to become like the Democrat Party.

Conservatives need to understand that we have to fight as ruthlessly as Democrats if we want to prevent them from tearing down America to create a Communist nation in its place.

If Republicans embrace Socialism, Communism, want to repeal parts or all of the Bill of Rights, actually believes that a person has absolutely no right to protect themselves or their family with a firearm? If there is ever a Republican Party that supports the idea that it’s okay to rule over others with draconian regulations, supports the concept of us being slaves to the government, supports the elimination of private property, and supports the killing of babies yet will fight to save a murderer on death row, then that’s when the Republican Party becomes like the Democrat Party. And yes, that's when it will no longer get my support. But until that happening, I will remain a Republican.

As for where we'll be in the next 30 years? 

I remember talking about this with friends back in the mid-1970s. We wondered what cars and clothes would look like, and what sort of new "stuff" there would be. Back in those days, when I was overseas in the military, a few of the guys used cassette tape recorders to record their letters home. They would record themselves, put the cassette tape into an envelope and then sent them home by airmail — what is called “smail mail” today. That was big technology for the time.

Never did we image computers, the internet, being able to chat with people in group discussions, phones that you carry around in your pocket, watching films and video online, and more.

As for race relations, by the late 1970s, I thought it was getting better. For many years, a lot of people thought we were all getting along pretty well. The Obama administration changed all of that by calling everyone a "racist." Obama returned the nation to the dark days of segregation. His legacy today is that some blacks are actually calling for segregation. 

It's a safe bet that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. must be rolling over in his grave since he fought so hard to end such horrible practices.

As for the future, I hope the Democrats come to their sanity and stop the true racism which they are inciting, stop the political hate which they are encouraging, stop ANTIFA which they created, stop putting others first before Americans. While I really don't think we'll become the Socialist Third World country that the Democrats are trying so hard to turn us into, I hope I'm right.

Tom Correa



Saturday, July 27, 2019

Why Should Medical Coverage Be Completely Free?



I was recently asked the question, "What types of compromises, as a Conservative, would you need to see in order to consider a Single Payer health system?" Single-payer healthcare is defined as “universal healthcare financed by taxes that covers the costs of essential healthcare for all residents, with costs covered by a single public system.”

I translate that to mean that taxpayers supply others with free medial coverage.

That means that more taxes will be taken from working Americans of all economic levels to pay for “everyone” — even those who can afford to get their own healthcare. This doesn’t sound fair to working Americans and retired Americans on a fixed income who are already paying more in taxes and are having less and less to live on because of the government wanting to take more and more of what they have.

As for those who need coverage but can only afford expensive all inclusive healthcare plans, here’s my solution based on my own experience when I was in that very situation.

Back in 1995, I needed medical coverage. Being a Veteran, I went to the VA to see if I qualified for coverage and how much it would cost me. The first thing that the VA did was give me a “Means Test” to see what my financial situation was at the time. I was told that such a cost to me would help to defray the expenses and lift the burden of cost on the taxpayer to pay for the VA healthcare program.

While I don't know if the VA still does this today, at the time if I made too much money -- then I wouldn’t have qualified for coverage. That caveat stopped well-off individuals from taking advantage of the system. As for me, though I thought I was making a lot of money while I was working in the Inspection Industry at the time, I did in fact make an amount that met the criteria. For my situation, it was determined that my visits would cost $60 (per visit). Prescriptions cost me a minimal fee.

Point is, since there was zero monthly out of pocket expense, and would only cost me $60 per visit — which I figured would only take place 3 to 4 times a year for follow-up appointments — I jumped at it.

So why can’t Americans who cannot find medical insurance apply for Medicare, but go through the same process of a “Means Test” to see how much, how little, they will have to pay to get basic coverage as I did with the VA back in 1995? No simply give it to them free, but at a minimal cost?

Fact is $60 in 1995 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $100.84 in 2019. If a person today only had to pay $100 per visit and only went to the doctor’s six times a year, that’s affordable basic coverage for those who can't get more expensive care. Couple that with an inexpensive supplemental plan to cover the more expensive treatments, and people may be able to afford it.

Also, back in the late 1990s, Kaiser Healthcare System raised it's Emergency Room visit costs from $5 to $50 a visit. That raise reduced the frivolous visits and those not wanting to schedule an appointment and get around more expensive co-pays. Soon, Kaiser Hospital ERs were a lot less crowded with people their simply trying to fill prescriptions. The lesson was noticed by all, make it almost free and people will take advantage of the situation.

Also why can’t people afford to pay for such a “basic coverage” government program if we made that sort of minimal coverage available to people who cannot yet afford to get into other private healthcare coverage programs? Obamacare actually cost more than what I'm suggesting because there is no monthly premiums in my suggestion.

Also, why does it always have to be a case of taxpayers putting out more of their wages to supply something to other completely free — especially when those who have very little coming in can afford to pay a minimal fee to a government program? It doesn't have to be that way.

Why should it be completely free for people who can afford minimal coverage? It shouldn’t be. And where did people get this absurd and asinine notion that "Healthcare is a Right"? It isn't a "right." That's especially true since it's not the government's responsibility to see that you're looked after like the slave masters looked after their slaves. Besides, our healthcare is up to each of us to take care of for ourselves.

And if you're wondering, no, I don’t think healthcare coverage should be completely free for anyone with the exception of Veterans with service-connected disabilities, since they got their disabilities while serving us, and in the case of Seniors on Social Security since they paid into the Social Security system all of their lives.

Before retiring, I hated the fact that I was working long hours and the government took almost half of my paychecks. I hated that all of my overtime seemed to be taken from me by the government. I also hated knowing there were people out there taking advantage of government programs. Their taking advantage of such "free" programs effected how much more money the government wanted to take from my paychecks!

Besides, there is no such thing as "free" since someone has to pay for it. And while some will say that I should have took whatever I could get from the government since I paid such high taxes, I liked knowing that paid what I could to help defray the cost of my medical coverage. Knowing that nothing's completely free, I liked that. After all, I am the taxpayer who funds these programs.

Tom Correa

President Trump Has Been A Victim Of Media Harassment

Actions that we see today by the news media is not new. George Washington was attacked in the newspapers to include spreading lies about the president. 

During the Civil War, Copperhead Democrats who ran newspapers in the North attacked Abe Lincoln mercilessly to include calling for him to reestablish the Union with the South holding on to its slavery. 

President Lincoln actually jailed an editor or two for spreading false information, fake news, and deported one Southern sympathizer to the South. Not even the South wanted him and he left for Canada.

The Democrats fought to keep slavery intact and the Democrat controlled newspapers called for Lincoln's assassination. Some believe disgruntled actor and pro-slavery Democrat John Wilkes Booth was incited to murder the president by newspapers of the times.

There has been a general adversarial attitude between the news media and the White House. Some folks can make the case that the news media has also believe that they tell people what to think and don't like it when the President screws with their message.

But in modern times, the partisan attacks by the news media has been blatant. Ronald Reagan was treated horribly, as was George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.

There is no denying that the media gave Bill Clinton a pass, especially when it came to his presidential conduct, sexual harassment, having sex in the White House, even his being accused of rape. They ignore or went to bat for him over most of what took place even though those were all things that have gotten people fired or put in jail.

But not even Bill Clinton was treated with the love that Obama received from the news media. Chris Matthews fawned over Obama to the point that Matthews said he had a physical reaction to listening to Obama speak — a tingling up his leg.

In contrast, even Democrat former-president Jimmy Carter has come forward to say that President Donald Trump has been treated the worse of any president in his lifetime. False accusations, attacks, allowing Democrat politicians to call for his assassination, making lite of people making threats against him, people mocking him being shot, stabbed, or being beheaded.

A great indicator of how he was treated versus how the media treats Trump can be seen in the number of retractions that were made while Obama was in office versus since Trump has been in office. There have been multiple retractions that have been made of false information since Trump has been in office. Once those stories are out there, how many people ever read the retraction stating that the report was wrong or simply false? Few if that.

The deed to smear and attack is accomplished.

In contrast, there were zero retractions of false information while Obama was in office. The news media did not print of produce anything that may be construed as not positive. Some say it was so the media did not appear racist. Other say it was because the media covered for Obama. You decide.

For me, I believe President Trump has certainly been a victim of unfounded media attacks. The bias demonstrated by news outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, and print news such as the New York Times spreading out and out lies is horribly blatant. The news media today doesn't even make a pretense of being non-partisan. Like Hollywood's Late Night television hosts, the news media doesn't care who know they are working for the Democrat Party.

While Democrats need a divided nation to retain power, the political partisanship by the media, as well as its harassment of President Trump has gotten out of hand. So much so that I'd like to see laws preventing their sort of slanderous attacks.

Tom Correa


Friday, July 26, 2019

How A Liberal Becomes A Conservative


Liberals start out young, immature, and headstrong about things they know nothing about. As they become more educated, they start to see the lies of liberalism.

Soon they understand how Socialism and Communism enslaves people. They learn how hard work can be, and understand how they should be able to keep their wages. They start resenting that the government takes almost half of all they earn in taxes.

If they start a farm or a ranch, a nursery or a welding shop, a winery or grocery store, they become educated to many of the more than 800,000 rules and regulations that are imposed on us by big government. They open their eyes to the truth of how conservatism helps people and encourages personal freedom while liberalism hurts and enslaves people.

That’s how a liberal becomes a Conservative.

And no, I’ve never heard of a Conservative waking up on morning and saying to his or her self, “I want to be a Liberal. I want the government to tell me that I cannot collect rain water because the state thinks it owns the rain. I want to give the government more of my hard earned wages because I think the state should give my money away to others who don’t want to hold a job. I want to be a slave and have the government tell me what car to drive, how I can warm my home, how my hair has to be cut, how I must dress, what job I must have, where I must live, what I can and cannot eat, how many children I can have, or that I have to kill my children at birth because a Liberal Congresswoman from New York said that that's what's needed to stop Climate Change.”

Tom Correa








Monday, July 22, 2019

There's A Reason We Don't Admire Evil


I received a letter telling me that while the Old West had gunfights, it didn't have evil as we see in the news these days. Specifically, my reader asked if mass murderers, serial killers, and such were present in the Old West. She didn't think those criminal types were around back then, especially since folks only hear about gunslingers. 

Well, the notion that mass murderers are something unique to our modern world is not accurate. In fact, there were such evil in the Old West. And frankly, they killed a lot more people than gunfighters did. Take for example the three people that I've picked to prove that such people existed in the Old West. Each was as evil as they come.

Stephen D. Richards 

Richards was a murderer known as "The Nebraska Fiend." He's known to have killed at least nine men, women, and children in Kansas and Nebraska in 1878. It's said his motive was robbery, but some question if that's true since he also killed children. His method of murdering his victims was always the same in that he beat his victims with an axe or a flatiron, or stabbed them with a Bowie knife.

The newspapers at the time filled their papers with stories about his crimes. Most were true, but some like the Chicago newspapers were not. 

The Omaha Herald was one newspaper that got it right most of the time. Their headlines included "Richards, the Kearney County Murderer, Gives for the First Time Full Details of His Crimes And a statement of the Motives Which Prompted Him in His Bloody Deeds." 

Another headline was how Richards, "Selects the Omaha Herald as the Vehicle Through Which the Confession Shall Appear."

They are also wrote, "A Fiend Who Plans, Days in Advance, the Murder of a Helpless Woman and Her Babes Because It Would Make Matters More Pleasant for Himself and the Companion of His Lot."

And of course there's their story, "He Cooks a Hot Breakfast and Eats a Hearty Meal as Soon as the Bodies Are Out of the Way."

In June of 1878, Richards was jailed in Kearney. While in the jail, he met the wife of Jasper Harlson who he knew. Because Jasper Harlson and another prisoner named Underwood escaped from that jail a few days before Richards's confinement, the Sheriff arrested Mrs. Harlson believing that she helped her husband escape. Richards convinced Mrs. Harlson to sell him her property for $600. 

After Richards' release from jail, he left town for about 6 months. He returned to Kearney and the Harlson homestead on October 18, 1878. After Mrs. Harlson transferred her property to Richards, he decided to kill her and her three children which were Daisy, age 10, Mabel, 4, and Jasper who was only 2. 

Richards was a real talker and actually gave a number of confessions and reasons why he murdered Mrs Harlson and her children. None of the reasons made any sense to anyone. Richards who thought he would outsmart the authorities fled after the murders, but was later caught after killing an old man by the name of Anderson.

After his trail and conviction to hang, Richards embraced the press and actually became a sort of celebrity. On the train to Kearney, it's said that everyone wanted a glimpse of him when he was being escorted him to the Kearney jail by Kearney and Buffalo County Sheriffs. Richards was friendly to reporters and everyone else on that train.  

As with many criminals today, Richards talked at length. He gave them all sorts of questionable details about his early life and details about his murders. Most details were lies. And of course, he blamed others for his murderous ways.  

While talking with reporters on the train, a traveler aboard the train asked if he could ask Richards a question. The man is described as being "tall, well dressed, with iron gray hair and whiskers." It's said that the man had stood in the aisle at the reporter's side, listening to what Richards was saying. The man was Col. John S. Mosby, who was once a leader of Confederate guerrillas during the Civil War. 

Mosby asked the reporter, "Will you allow me to ask him a word or two?"
The reporter said, "Certainly."
Mosby then asked Richards, "Did you have no remorse after killing that woman and those little children?"

Richards replied, "No, sir. They were nothing more to me than so many jack rabbits."

It's said Col. Mosby simply shook his head in disdain. On that particular day, Col. Mosby is believed to have been headed for Washington D.C. where he was nominated by Republican President Rutherford B. Hayes to be United States consul to Hong Kong. It was a position that Mosby was confirmed to assume, and he held from 1878 to 1885.

After they arrived at the station, the Sheriffs escorted him to jail. At one point, Kearney County Sheriff Martin asked the very talkative Richards to give him the details of his killing Mrs. Harleson and her children. It's said his reply was cold and lacked any remorse. 

He said, "I went into the house. Found them all sleeping soundly. Got the axe and went at the job. I killed them all as they were sleeping. Mrs. Harelson and the two oldest girls were in the bed together and the baby in the crib. I killed Mrs. Harelson first, then the second child, then the oldest one, and the baby last. There wasn't one woke and there was not a sound made. I only got blood on one blanket and on the pillow shams. This bedding I took out with the bodies and threw into the hole. I carried Mrs. Harelson's body out first, then the two girls at one trip and took the baby last. If the baby's leg was broken by me it when I threw it into the hole. I picked it up, carried it out and threw it in as I would a log. I hauled in the dirt without being particular to put the yellow under dirt at the bottom, where it had come from. I presume that led to the discovery of the bodies when the neighbors were searching. I examined the house carefully, found I had left no spots of blood anywhere and that the ax was clean. If any hair was found on a flat iron it was not human hair. I then straightened things up and cooked and ate my breakfast."

On December 28, 1878, The Omaha Herald, ran the following story:

The Life Taker
Richards Still Smiling and Talking as if Killing People was No Worse than Killing Mice

Kearney, Neb., December 28.--Stephen D. Richards, the murderer of nine persons, was safely jailed here at 9:45 p.m.

Sheriff Anderson and Martin received a dispatch east of Columbus, stating all quiet in Kearney. A later dispatch sent from a trusted Ireland, received east of Grand Island, stated a crowd was gathering.

Sheriff Anderson instructed his friend here to be in readiness for later advices, and afterward ordered a boy to meet him with a wagon two miles east of Kearney Junction.

The Deputy Sheriff, Lew Johnson, met the party at Buds station four miles east of here, and reported a crowd of upwards of two hundred assembled, with what object not known.

Conductor Kelley stopped the train at a point two miles east and Richards was taken off, still securely shackled and handcuffed and placed in a wagon waiting there. Sheriff Martin and Deputy Johnson accompanying.

Sheriff Anderson proceeded to Kearney and responded to rash and eager questions of the assembled crowd by stating that Martin stopped off with Richards at Grand Island, and would be along tomorrow. Much disappointment was shown by the crowd.

While Anderson was parlaying with the crowd and holding them, Martin landed Richards safely in jail. Various parties discussing the matter about town express chagrin at missing sight of Richards, but commending the action of the sheriffs. Richards manifested supreme indifference to his lot, was perfectly willing to be brought direct to Kearney Junction, and said he had as soon died one way as another.

Col. Mosby, of Confederate guerilla fame, was on the train and interviewed Richards at some length on his indifference.

Richards said for two years he had held his life of no account, and placed others at about the same importance as hogs. He talked almost continuously from Omaha to Central City, answering questions, was affable and courteous to all, and had a smile on his features constantly.

He talks of murders as openly and with as little concealment as of the most trifling matter. He insists that none of the last five were committed in passion, but with a motive which he will not reveal, and were planned deliberately. He promises revelations in a day or two on matters here which he has kept silent about, which he says will astonish the whole western country as nothing has for years.

The sheriffs believe him perfectly sane, and in possession of facts of vast importance. He slept soundly from Silver Creek until awakened to leave the train. All quiet here, and the crowd has dispersed."

-- end of The Omaha Herald article. 

Stephen Richards was the worst killer to have ever plagued Nebraska. He was in fact a serial killer who openly admitted to the murders of his traveling companion, the Harelson family, and others. I read where some are reporting that he was hanged in Minden, Nebraska, on January 15, 1879. But, other sources report that he was hanged there on April 26, 1879. 

As with the date of his hanging, there is some controversy over his burial. Some sources say that he was buried in an unmarked grave which was later dug up. That tale says his bones were scattered in the streets of Kearney. Another story says that he was hanged and afterwards tossed in a dry well. And then there's the story about how the Kearney County Gazette obtained Richards' skull and had placed it on display a few years after his hanging. 

So really, it sounds though no one knows if he ended up scattered in the streets somewhere, if his skull ended up on a shelf, or if he was simply tossed in a dry well. Fact is, we can all agree that whatever happened to Stephen D. Richards, he certainly deserved what he got in the end.  

James C. Dunham

Another axe murderer is part of the horrible event that took place on the night of May 26, 1896, in the city of Campbell, California. That was the night that James C. Dunham became a mas murderer. That was the night he claimed the lives of six innocent people. Among them were his wife Hattie, age 25, her mother Ada Wells McGlincy, age 53, her stepfather Colonel Richard Parran McGlincy, who was 56, her brother James K. Wells, 22, and their hired help, Robert Briscoe, 50, and Minnie Shesler who was only 28.

How did he do such a thing? He shot them using a .38 and a .45 caliber pistol. When he was unable to accomplish his horrendous deed using guns, he resorted to using an axe to finish off his victim. He used an axe to hack them to death. And frankly, since using an axe as a weapon is nothing new in the annals of crime, I doubt he got the idea to hack everyone to death by reading about Lizzie Borden who was accused and acquitted of the August 4, 1892, axe murders of her father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts.

As for Dunham, still to this day, no one knows his motives. No one knows what made him do it, what triggered such rage, why on earth would he decide to do such an act. As for anyone being found alive after the massacre. That was not the case in the house. That is, other than James' and Hattie's 3-week-old son. A farmhand heard what was going on inside the house and hid in the barn. When the noise quieted down in the house, he discovered what took place and ran for help.

After the killings, James C. Dunham simply disappeared. It's true. Even though there was a huge manhunt out searching for the killer, a manhunt that spread throughout Santa Clara County, he was not found. In fact, James C. Dunham was never apprehended and tried. That's right, he was never apprehended and tried.

Think about this, with the population as low as it was at the time, you'd think he would have been found almost immediately. But that wasn't the case, even though his name and picture were circulated and everyone knew who he was and what he did it. He escaped and was never found.

On  May 28th, 1996, to observe the 100th anniversary of the massacre, the San Jose Mercury News ran the following:

INCREDULOUS residents of the peaceful Santa Clara Valley woke to the horror of their first mass murder 100 years ago, May 26, 1896.

The ax and gun slaughter of six came more than 90 years before the next mass murder here: the 1988 killings of seven men and women at ESL in Sunnyvale. In that one, the accused, Richard Wade Farley, was convicted.

In the 1896 massacre, the suspect got away.

Although James C. Dunham was never apprehended and tried, local residents convicted him of first-degree murder in the court of public opinion. And the coroner's jury investigating the deaths declared just two days after the killings that they were committed by ''one James C. Dunham, with malice aforethought.''

Dunham killed his wife, Hattie, 25, her mother, Ada McGlincy, 53, her stepfather, Richard P. McGlincy, 56, her brother, James K. Wells, 22, and two of the hired help, Robert Briscoe, 50, and Minnie Shesler, 28. The slayings occurred at the McGlincy home in what is now Campbell. There were witnesses to at least part of the carnage.

Dunham spared his infant son, then just 3 weeks old. The baby was adopted by relatives in San Francisco and given the name Percy Osborne Brewer. Dunham never tried to contact his son. The child did inherit his grandmother's estate.

There was intense speculation over why Dunham wielded the ax and the guns, a .38-caliber revolver and a .45-caliber pistol. One man, George Whipple, who was a neighbor of the McGlincys, was interviewed in 1947 at the age of 87. He had a theory about why it happened based on his knowledge of the household and the accumulation of neighborhood gossip that never reached the authorities.

The killings, according to Whipple, were due to mother-in-law trouble. Ada McGlincy, aided by her son and her husband, was bent on breaking up the couple. ''The way they treated Dunham was something terrible,'' Whipple said in the interview.

Keeping notes

It was known that Ada McGlincy was keeping notes, apparently as evidence for a divorce suit. Whipple, who saw them, said the complaints against Dunham were ''trifling.''

Another note was found after the killings. It was signed Hattie and read, ''Please say goodbye for me to my dear mother, brother and stepfather.''

She might have been going off with Dunham. Possibly, Dunham killed her accidentally, perhaps seizing her during a quarrel. That is part of Whipple's theory.

After that, the young man, a student at Santa Clara University, apparently went berserk and killed the others. The idea that Dunham was crazed when he was killing was popular. Even his brother, who had once been engaged to marry Hattie, thought him insane.

Posse found horse

When he'd killed the six, Dunham took his brother-in-law's horse and rode off. He was next seen asking for food at Smiths Creek Hotel on Mount Hamilton. A huge posse was mounted and it found the horse Dunham used, but no Dunham.

Many believed he'd either committed suicide or starved to death on the mountain. Others thought he might have taken off on his bike. He was considered an excellent cyclist and had recently bought a used bike and outfitted it with wide tires and other equipment to make it suitable for traveling in the mountains.

Over the years, there were many reported sightings of Dunham or possibly his bones. He could have been the ''wild man'' roaming the hills near Dulzura, a tiny town near the Mexican border, southeast of San Diego. He might have been part of a Yankee guerrilla gang in Mexico; at least such a gang reportedly had a member named James Dunham who had murdered his family.

Bones checked

There were many investigations of bones, mostly on Mount Hamilton. Authorities had a detailed description of Dunham and his teeth, figuring they could identify the man if the right skeleton ever turned up. The last reported possibility were some bones discovered on Mount Hamilton in 1953. Investigators thought they looked more like cattle bones than human ones.

While Dunham never was found, the McGlincy house survived well into this century at the end of a long driveway that is now McGlincey Lane. Kids who went there reported it was haunted.

-- end of the San Jose Mercury News. 

For me, I hate unsubstantiated talk such as saying that James Dunham had it in for his mother-in-law and that's what drove him to do such a thing. To me, that's just conjecture. The man who said that was just giving his opinion that was nothing less than gossip. It's just his opinion based on zero facts.

To my knowledge reading about this, there was no evidence or witnesses to support such a claim. But as with most conjecture, people will believe it. And frankly, unfounded statements such as saying that James Dunham was treated badly by his in-laws seems to be an effort to excuse his evil deed.

I don't care how badly one is treated at him, nothing justifies such an act. Besides, if Whipple's theory is right in that Dunham was being treated badly, all that means is that Dunham could have stopped it by packing a bag and leaving. If anyone doesn't like the way that are treated, even today, if that's the case, people don't have to become violent. All that person has to do, man or woman, is simply leave.

Dora Wright

As for people making excuses for their horrible behavior, people trying to avoid punishment for what they do, people have been doing that in some way, shape, or form, since the beginning of time. It's not something new to our society. Dora Wright tried to say she should have been spared being hanged on the grounds that she was a woman. Not that she was sorry or repentant, but merely because she was a woman. President Theodore Roosevelt didn't buy it!

As for an evil act being in the news, below is the story of Dora Wright. Some would think her story is right out of today's news media. At the time, it was shocking that anyone was capable of doing such a thing. The Oklahoma newspapers described Dora Wright as a "Demon" and duped her a "Fiend". One paper called the crime she committed "the most horrible and outrageous ever committed."

Who was Dora Wright? She was a murderer of Native Indian origin who tortured her victim to death. Newspapers said seven-year-old Annie Williams lived a very short agonizing life. For months, young Annie was cruelly beaten by her guardian, Dora Wright, age 38. While some papers said she was Wright's niece, from everything that I can find, the small half-starved seven-year-old girl was an orphan that was placed in Wright's charge. Wright was paid to take care of her.

Besides whippings, beatings, and starvation, other tortures were revealed at Wright's trial. One such torture was Annie having had to endure being branded with a red-hot poker. Her horrible ordeal finally ended on February 2nd, 1903, when Annie was whipped so severely that she died.

On May 30th, 1903, an Oklahoma jury took a mere 20 minutes to find Dora Wright guilty of the child's murder. The jury declined to recommend life imprisonment so that Wright would be eligible for the death sentence.

The newspapers all agreed:
No One Deserved Hanging More Than Dora Wright!

Since Oklahoma was not yet a state, Oklahoma Indian Territory jurisdiction fell under the federal government. As for the case of seeking executive clemency for Dora Wright, that task actually fell to President Theodore Roosevelt.

Below is U.S. Attorney General Philander Knox's brief on the case to President Roosevelt. This statement was released to the press:

"The real facts in this case are that this woman tortured to death a little child seven years old, her niece, whom she was pretending to care for and support. She whipped the child most unmercifully with large switches, struck it about the hand and face so as to cause wounds sufficient to produce death, burned holes in its legs and thighs with a heated poker, and committed other nameless atrocities upon the person of the child. The testimony shows that the woman pursued a course of cruelty which was fiendish and barbarous … The only ground upon which her pardon is sought is that she is a woman, and that the infliction of the death penalty upon a woman would be a shock to the moral sense of the people in the community."

President Theodore Roosevelt's response to the plea based on the grounds that Dora Wright was a woman was short and to the point. He wrote, "If that woman was mean enough to do a thing like that, she ought to have the nerve to meet her punishment."

On July 17th, 1903, Dora Wright was hanged in a public executed at McAlester, Oklahoma, for the murder and mutilation of seven-year old Annie Williams. Yes, she was tried, convicted, and executed in a little over six months after committing the murder. It's called swift justice, and that's a part of the old days that should make a comeback.

Below is what The Blackwell Sun newspapers reported:
First Woman ever Hanged in the Territories

Blackwell, Oklahoma, July 23, 1903
South McAlester, I. T., July 18

Dora Wright was hanged here yesterday for the murder of Annie Williams, a 7 year-old girl. She mounted the scaffold without a tremor.

Dora Wright, the first woman ever hung in this section, was convicted of whipping a 7 year-old white girl, Annie Williams until she died of her injuries. The evidence showed that the little girl had been beaten severely for many months, as there were old scars on her. Some of these indicated that the child had been tortured with a red-hot poker.

Charles Barrett was hanged at the same time for the murder of John Hennessy, an aged man whom he shot from ambush. Robbery was the motive.

--end of The Blackwell Sun article.

As for the scene of the hanging, it was reported that there was a carnival atmosphere all around. In fact, many on hand are said to have applauded when the lever was pulled and the two were hanged.

Of course, that shouldn't surprise anyone. After all, most people celebrate when they see evil stopped in its tracks. I believe there is nothing more gratifying for good people than knowing that they are winning the battle against evil. It is a constant battle, but knowing that goodness prevails and evil hasn't won is not a bad feeling.

Richards, Dunham, and Wright, prove that evil existed in the Old West -- no differently than it does today in our modern day world. Thankfully, there's a reason that we don't admire evil. It's because evil should be loathed.

Tom Correa 



   


Friday, July 19, 2019

San Francisco's Vigilantes

THE VIGILANTES

Fifty years ago today, when the first issue of the News Letter made its appearance, San Francisco was in control of the famous Vigilance Committee. This determined band of citizens held the city under as firm a rule as did the military a few weeks ago, when totally different causes demanded a stronger arm for the maintenance of right and order than the established civil Government afforded. The Vigilance Committee owed its birth not to any extraordinary sudden event, but to the intolerable conditions which were the outgrowth of municipal corruption. It was the manifestation of the revolt of the decent element of the community against an organized gang of political plunderers, who held control of the city Government for their own aggrandizement and the oppression of the honest, respectable citizens.

There are few, if any, chapters in the history of the United States as interesting as that which records the doings of the Vigilance Committee during the rule of which, in 1856, the San Francisco News Letter was born.

For several years, the worst element in the city’s population had held control of the political machine, running the elections to suit itself, stuffing ballot boxes, intimidating those who could not be bribed, placing its own representatives in office, electing its own judges and generally enjoying a carnival of graft, loot and defiance of all the laws of civic decency. So strong and well organized was the machine that the respectable element of the town was seemingly helpless, at least at the ballot boxes.


The crisis came on May 14, 1856. On that day, James King, of William, editor of the Bulletin, who had unflinchingly, persistently and relentlessly assailed and exposed the misdeeds of the ring, was murdered in cold blood, at 5 p.m., by James Casey, a low politician, ballot-box stuffer and all-around bad character.

Trusting to immunity from punishment, on account of having the sympathy of police, district attorney, courts and other civil authorities, Casey surrendered himself, and was placed in jail, partly as a matter of form and partly to protect him from vengeance at the hands of King’s friends.

The news of the murder spread abroad quickly. The respectable citizens, in desperation, determined to end the reign of outrage at any cost. About 7 p.m. a delegation of citizens went to William T. Coleman, and asked him to form a Vigilance Committee. Coleman, who had belonged to a Vigilance Committee, formed to correct abuses in 1851, was at first reluctant to take violent measures, but he was soon convinced that there was no alternative, if the existing conditions were not to be meekly endured.

Accordingly a call was issued, signed “Committee of Thirteen,” the title under which the Vigilance Committee of 1851 was disbanded. The response was prompt and gratifying. Organization proceeded rapidly, military methods being followed, Doane, an experienced soldier, being placed in charge of the purely military details. Fort Gunnybags was erected on Sacramento Street, near Sansome, and cannon mounted behind its walls.

Dismayed b the suddenness and the completeness of the Vigilantes’ preparation, the corrupt city officials bestirred themselves to resist further operations. They gathered together the police and as many of their hoodlum constituents as they could muster, and began arming and drilling.

But their efforts to assert themselves were faint-hearted in the face of the determined attitude of the Vigilantes. The Governor, J. Neely Johnson, was appealed to, but he took no decided action one way or the other. General Wool and Captain (afterwards Admiral) Farragut, commanding the Federal forces, were asked to intervene, but they did not feel called upon to do so.

The Sunday following the murder, the Vigilance Committee, well armed and thoroughly organized, proceeded to the jail, where its members overpowered the frightened guards, entered and took out Casey and another notorious character named Cora. The two captives were taken to the headquarters of the Vigilantes, where they were given a full, fair trial and found guilty.

They were then carried forth and publicly executed, at the very hour when the body of James King, of William, was being escorted to the grave.

The corrupt Government, its hoodlum supporters, and the bad element of the city, were now thoroughly cowed, but the Vigilance Committee did not stop with the execution of Casey and Cora. It set itself diligently to work to purify the city Government and the city itself. Bad characters were exiled wholesale, the reins of Government were assumed by the Vigilantes, and a general cleaning out took place. 

After three months of control, having taught a never-to-be-forgotten lesson to the corrupt and the criminal, and having seen a good municipal Government in charge, the Vigilance Committee disbanded, and thus ended one of the most remarkable instances on record of a revolt of decent citizens against a corrupt city Government.

The grafters exiled from the city by the Vigilantes subsequently sued Coleman for sums amounting to a total of $1,500,000, but the suits were all defeated, Coleman and the Vigilance Committee being upheld by every court East and West which considered the cases.

San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser
July 21, 1906


Sunday, July 14, 2019

Bodie California's 601 Vigilantes


Sitting at an elevation of 8379 feet in the Bodie Hills east of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Mono County, the ghost town of Bodie, California, about 75 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe, is today a California State Park. The name of the mining town gives credit to William S. Bodey who is said to have discovered gold there in 1859.

Mr. Bodey himself died during the winter of 1860 in a blizzard while making a trip to Monoville for needed supplies. Because he died relatively soon after his discovery, he sadly didn't live long enough to see that the town was named after him.

Why "Bodie" instead of "Bodey" since his name was Bodey? Well, it's said that Bodie got its name because a sign painter made a mistake in its spelling. One source says local ranchers Ben and John Hasslet had a ranch named Bodey. The brothers decided to start a livery stable and needed a sign made. Their sign was to read "Bodey Stables." But as fate had it, when their sign came in, it read "Bodie Stables" and the name "Bodie" stuck.

As surprising as it may sound, because of two other gold strikes in nearby Aurora and Virginia City, Nevada, interest in Bodie's gold discovery was not very robust. At least that was the case until 1876. In fact, to show how little interest there was in Bodie's gold strike, two companies built stamp mills at Bodie. Both went under because they weren't profitable. That was in 1868.

The actual boom came in 1876 when a large deposit of gold-bearing ore was discovered. That event changed the relatively small sparsely populated mining camp of Bodie, that tiny camp isolated in the Sierras, into a true boom-town. Within a few years, some say Bodie had a population of about 10,000 people. Some say that number is inflated and the actual number was closer to half of that. Bodie is said to have boomed from 1876 to late 1880s when the mines petered out and folks moved on.

During the time when it was a bustling town, Bodie is known to have had all of the amenities of comparable size town. It had its own Wells Fargo Bank, a volunteer fire department made up of four fire companies, its own town band, a jail, offices for the local miners' and mechanics' unions, dance halls, saloons galore, its own red light district on the north end of town, as well as a number of newspapers. The first newspaper there was The Standard Pioneer Journal. It published its first edition on October 10, 1877.

The story goes that at its peak, Bodie was the home of 65 saloons which lined its Main Street. The mile long Main Street and its saloons provided a lot of material for the town's newspapers. As with most towns, cattle towns or mining towns, barroom brawls were usually just brawls with men fighting it out with fists. That was the norm across the West.

One of the saloon-toughs who was well known in Bodie was an hombre by the name of Mike McGowan. He's said to have been a "Bad Man from Virginia City." In fact, he had reputation of biting off an opponent's ears, their nose, and even a thumb, during a fight. For those of us who have been in a bar fight or two in our lifetimes, that sounds like a crazed individual that wouldn't be very much fun to run into.

Of course as we all know, every once in a while there is going to be someone who will inevitably pull a gun and drop a hammer on someone in a saloon whether over a personal angst, a bad business deal, a gambling disagreement, simply because someone had too much to drink, or a number of other reasons. So yes, there were murders, shootouts, and even stagecoach holdups there in Bodie. One such killing was Alex Nixon. He had just recently been elected as the first president of the Miners' Union in Bodie. He was shot and killed in a saloon gunfight on January 15, 1878.

One of the more famous stories of Bodie has to do with the vigilante group known as the 601 Vigilantes. That story has to do with when Thomas Treloar was shot and killed by a man who wanted Treloar's wife.

During a dance at the Miners' Union Hall on January 15, 1881, Joseph DeRoche is believed to have exchanged words with Thomas Treloar when DeRoche wanted to dance with Treloar's wife. DeRoche is said to have grabbed Treloar's wife and forced her onto dance floor even though Treloar told DeRoche to leave his wife alone. According to what I've been told, while some say that it's unknown if an argument took place between Treloar and DeRoche, DeRoche was made to leave the dance by those there.

After first posting this story, I was made aware of a possible behind the scene affair between Treloar's wife and DeRoche. One reader wrote to say she married the older Thomas Treloar for his money and an life insurance policy. Yes, there is the possibility that she may have been an accomplice in her husband's murder. While I'm trying to verify this, if that really was the case, things probably didn't turn out the way Mrs. Treloar and DeRoche planned.

After Thomas Treloar and his wife left the Miners' Union Hall on that Saturday night, they proceeded to walk down Main Street when they were met at the corner of Main and Lowe Streets by DeRoche. He is said to have jumped out of the darkness and simply shot Thomas Treloar. The bullet fired by DeRoche smashed into Mr. Treloar's head, killing him instantly.

Citizens quickly arrested DeRoche and turned him over to the law. But, because he wasn't secured as well as should have been because the town deputy was said to have been drunk at the time, DeRoche escaped and made a dash down Goat Ranch Road. He was caught again aways from town and brought back to Bodie.

It was then that Bodie's 601 vigilante group took over. To my knowledge, the "601" was not simply a single group and in fact there were other vigilante groups that called themselves the "601". For example, we know that there was a secret 601 vigilante group in Bodie, and also up north in Truckee, California. We also know that there was a group of vigilantes calling themselves the "601" in Reno, Nevada. There is speculation that there was a 601 vigilante group in Redding, California, when the Ruggles Brothers were lynched. But, to my knowledge, they were not affiliated in the way that the vigilante groups that made up the Anti Horse Thief Association were all connected.

The Anti Horse Thief Association was started in Missouri and achieved so much success at apprehending horse thieves that they actually branched out into apprehending those wanted for other criminal activities as well. By 1863, the Anti Horse Thief Association actually had formal bylaws and even adopted their own constitution. By the end of the Civil War, law enforcement and the courts saw the benefit of what the Anti Horse Thief Association was doing. Yes, so much so that that vigilante group actually expanded and created branches of their organization in a couple of other states and the Oklahoma Indian Territory with the sanction of the law.

As for the 601 vigilante groups, it appears the use of 601 was common among some vigilante groups because of it's significance. The numbers 601 is believed to stand for "6 feet under, 0 trial, 1 rope." As for the case of murderer Joseph DeRoche, Bodie's 601 Vigilantes hanged DeRoche on Monday, January 24, 1881.

What took place was chronicled in the below article from The Bodie Free Press newspaper:

Judge Lynch held his first court session in Bodie early on Monday morning and passed judgment on a criminal whose crime is already recorded and impressed on every mind in this community. The tragic end of DeRoche, the murderer, was at once awful and impressive.

The lesson to be learned from it is easily read and the simplest mind can fully comprehend it. That a cruel murder had been committed no one can deny; that the swift retribution was expected every observing citizen could predict with safety. The excitement of the Sabbath did not die away and the wrath of the people did not go out with the setting of the sun. As the shades of darkness enveloped the town, the spirit of revenge increased in intensity and developed into a blazing column of fire. It was burning in its intensity and fearful in its results.

After the adjournment of the court and DeRoche was token back to his narrow cell, a mysterious committee was organized, the like of which has existed in many towns on this Coast since ’46, and whose work has been quick and thorough. The Committee, it is reported, held a long session and discussed the matter in hand. The session was long and deliberate, and its conclusions resulted in the lynching of DeRoche.

Between 1:30 and 2 o’clock Monday morning, a long line of masked and unmasked men were seen to file out of a side street into Bonanza Avenue. There must have been two hundred of them and as the march progressed to the jail the column increased. In front were the shotguns carried by determined men. They were backed up by a company which evidently meant business, and no ordinary force could foil them in their progress.

When the jail was reached it was surrounded and the leader made a loud knock at the door. All was dark and quiet within. The call had the effect of producing a dim light in the office, and amid loud cries of “DeRoche,” “Bring him out,” “Open the door,” “Hurry up,” etc. Jailer Kirgan appeared, and responded by saying: “All right boys; wait a minute; give me a little time.” In a moment the outside door was opened slowly and four or five men entered.

Under instructions the door of the cell in which the condemned prisoner lay was swung open. The poor wretch knew what this untimely visit meant, and prepared for the trying and humiliating death. It was some moments before he was brought out, and the crowd began to grow impatient. Some imagined the prisoner had been taken away by the officers – If this had been the case what would have followed can only be imagined. All these doubts were put at rest by the presence of the man.

He wore light-colored pants, a colored calico shirt, and over his shoulders was hung a canvas coat buttoned around the neck. His head was bare, and as the bright rays of the moon glanced upon his face, there was a picture of horror visible. It was a look of dogged and defiant submission.

With a firm step he descended the steps and came out upon the street in a hurried manner, closely guarded by shotguns and revolvers. The order to fall in was given, and all persons not members of the mysterious committee to stand back. The march up Bonanza Street was rapid. Not a word was said by the condemned man, and his gaze was fixed upon the ground.

He was hurried up a back street to Fuller. The corner of Green was turned, and when Webber’s blacksmith shop was reached, a halt was made. In front of this place was a huge gallows frame, used for raising wagons, etc., while being repaired. Now it was to be used for quite a different purpose. “Move it over to the spot where the murder was committed,” was the order, and immediately it was picked up by a dozen men and was carried to the corner of Main and Lowe streets.

The condemned man glanced at it for a moment and an apparent shudder came over him, but he uttered not a word. From an eye witness we learn that the scene which followed was awful in its impressiveness. The snow had just begun to fall, and the moon, which had shone so brightly during the early part of the night, shed but a pale light on the assembled company. When the corner was reached, the heavy gallows frame was placed upon the ground, and the prisoner led under it. The prisoner’s demeanor still remained passive, and his hands, encased in irons, were clasped.

His eyes occasionally were turned upward and his lips were seen to move once or twice. On each end of the frame were windlasses and large ropes attached. The rope placed around the prisoner’s neck was a small one; when the knot was made it was tested against the left ear.

This did not suit DeRoche particularly, and he changed it so that it was in the rear. Someone suggested that his legs and hands should be tied. This was immediately done. The large iron hooks of the frame dangled near the prisoner and the grating sound produced a peculiar feeling. It was at least three minutes before everything was ready DeRoche was asked by the leader if he had anything to say. He replied, “No nothing.”

In a moment he was again asked the same question and a French-speaking bystander was requested to receive his answer. The reply this time was: “I have nothing to say only O God.” “Pull him,” was the order, and in a twinkling the body rose three feet from the ground. Previous to putting on the rope, the overcoat was removed. A second after the body was elevated a sudden twitch of the legs was observed, but with that exception, not a muscle moved while the body hung on the crossbeam. His death took place without a particle of pain. The face was placid, and the eyes closed and never were reopened. Strangulation must have been immediate.

While the body swung to and fro, like a pendulum of a clock, the crowd remained perfectly quiet. After a lapse of two or three minutes a voice, sharp and clear, was heard in the background: “I will give $100 if twenty men connected with this affair will publish their names in the paper tomorrow morning.”

The voice was immediately recognized as that of a leading attorney. (Only Pat Reddy would have had the courage to face the mob, and a yell went up from the crowd.) “Give him the rope,” “Put him out,” and similar sentences drowned out the man and his voice. His retreat was as dignified as the exigencies of the case would admit of.

While the body was still hanging a paper was pinned onto his breast bearing the following inscription: “All others take warning. Let no one cut him down. Bodie 601."

-- end of article from The Bodie Free Press.

There are more than 200 known graves that have been found in Bodie. In the Bodie Cemetery, there are over 150 grave markers. It's said that many of those markers can be easily read. That's surprising since other markers have become so weathered that they are virtually unreadable. And of course, being what human nature is, there are those pathetic individuals in the world who find it necessary to destroy and damage markers.

I've tried to find out if the murderer DeRoche had a marker, or if vandals destroyed it, or if his was a marker that was worn away by the harsh Bodie winters. He's not listed as one of the known to be buried there. So frankly, there's a possibility that he had an unmarked grave. After all, it is very possible that someone simply cut him down and dumped him in a hole face down with no marker or prayer.

After all, Americans in the Old West did not coddle assassins, bushwhackers, those who acted as savage as any rabid dog. It's why citizens committee, both secret and not, sprang up all over America to right things when the law failed to do so.

Whether it was the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance of 1851, the Missouri Bald Knobbers, the Montana Stranglers, the Committee of 101 in Skagway, Alaska, the Tin Hat Brigade of Texas, or the 70 or so citizens that made up the un-named vigilante group that broke into the jail in New Albany, Indiana, and lynched the three Reno Brothers in 1868, right or wrong, that's the way it was.

You say that couldn't happen in this day and age? Well, the last group of vigilantes to break into a jail and lynch a couple of murders in California took place in San Jose in 1933. Friends, that really wasn't that long ago.

And as for today, most courts will still make a defendant wear a bullet proof vest for their own safety in court. The same goes for a lot of law enforcement agencies who are transporting prisoners. They do so knowing full well that someone out there might think that they will do what the justice system fails to do in the case of a murderer, a pedophile, a rapist, a cop killer, or some other rabid individual who may get a lenient sentence when their crime is in fact an assault on humanity.

Tom Correa



The Hangings of James Casey And Charles Cora 1856



James Casey and Charles Cora were hung by the Vigilance Committee at precisely twenty minutes after one o'clock–the former for the murder of James King of Wm., and the latter for the murder of Gen. William H. Richardson. Both persons had been tried before the Committee, and found guilty. A promise had been made to Casey that he should have a fair trial, and be permitted to speak ten minutes. These conditions had doubtless been observed. Casey was informed on Wednesday afternoon, that he had been condemned to be hung.


While under charge of the Vigilance Committee his spirit appeared to be unbroken. When awaken, after a sleep, he would frequently strike the floor with his hand cuffs, and swear fiercely at his fate. During the evening previous to his execution, the Right Rev. Bishop Alemany attended Casey, who had been educated in the Roman Catholic religion. During the night he was restless, and passed a portion of the time in pacing his room.

Cora attracted less attention, and conducted himself more quietly.

At eight o'clock, on Thursday morning, the General Committee was notified that Casey and Cora would be executed at half-past one, and ordered to appear under arms. During the morning preparations were made for the execution. Beams were run out over two of the windows of the Committee Room, and platforms about three feet square extending out under each beam. These platforms were supported next the house by hinges, and outside by ropes, extending up to the beams.

Along the streets, for a considerable distance on each side of the place of execution, were ranged the Committee–more than three thousand in number–some on foot with muskets, and others on horseback with sabres. No outsiders were permitted to approach within a hundred yards.

Beneath the place of execution were several cannon and caissons ready for use if necessary. The houses in the vicinity were covered with spectators; and in the streets were collected, probably, not less than eight or ten thousand persons.

At a quarter past one o'clock Casey and Cora were brought out upon the platforms. The former was attended by the Rev. Father Gallagher. The arms of both were pinioned at the elbows. The noose was placed around Cora's neck, when he stepped upon the platform and stood firm as a statue, a white handkerchief being wrapped around his head.

The noose was placed around Casey's neck, but at his request removed, while he had some three or four minutes conversation with his priest. He then came forward and addressed the people as follows:

"Gentlemen, Fellow Citizens:–I am not guilty of any crime. When I am dead, when I am laid in my grave, let no one dare traduce my character or asperse my memory. Let no man exult over me, or point to my grave as that of an assassin. I am guilty of no crime. I only acted as I was taught–according to my early education–to avenge an insult. Let not the Alta, the Chronicle, and the Globe, persecute my memory; let them no more proclaim me a murderer to the world. Let them not insult me after death. I have an aged mother in the Atlantic States, and I hope that she will never hear how I died. I trust she will never know I am executed on a charge of murder. I am not guilty of any such crime."About this time Father Gallagher touched Casey, and said: "Pray to God to pardon you for your crime; pray God to save your soul."

Casey, after a moment's hesitation spoke again:

"Oh, God, pardon and forgive me. Oh, my mother! my mother! I hope she will never hear of this. On, God! have mercy on my mother; comfort her in her affliction. Oh, God, have mercy on my soul! Oh, my God! my God! I am not guilty of murder–I did not intend to commit murder."

After he had concluded, the noose was again adjusted, his eyes bandaged, and as he was about to step forward, he faltered, and was about to sink, when the arms of two men were extended and supported him to the fatal spot.


Both prisoners being prepared, the signal was given, and, at the same moment, the souls of James P. Casey and Charles Cora were launched into eternity; and their bodies became an inanimate mass of corruption. Neither of them struggled much, Casey showing the most physical suffering.

From the time the prisoners appeared at the window until the drop fell, the immense mob of people stood uncovered, and the utmost silence was maintained, not a shout being heard or a loud word spoken. The bodies continued to hang for nearly an hour as they were executed. Although a great many persons were in sight at the time, awaiting the climax of the tragedy, there were many others scattered about town, who had supposed the affair was postponed. 

The news spread rapidly through the city, and in ten minutes after the death of Cora and Casey, great numbers of men were to be seen rushing down Clay, and Washington, and Commercial streets, as though it were a matter of life and death to get a sight of the spectacle. The bodies were then taken down and handed over to the Coroner.

Town Talk, Print.
San Francisco, 1856


Friday, July 12, 2019

The San Francisco Committee of Vigilance of 1851 Resurfaced In 1856



Next to 1848, when gold was discovered in California, 1856 was perhaps the most exciting year of the era by reason of the flood of crime into the city and brought about the organization of the famous Committee of Vigilance of that year, a form of direct action which attracted the attention of the world to a new style of summary justice, the result of extraordinary conditions in San Francisco.

Behind it were reasons and principles that radiated in diverse directions, some of them being influenced by the causes which eventually led to the Civil War, four years later.

As for local conditions, it is enough to note that in the first ten months of 1855 there were 489 murders in the state and only six legal executions. Stuffed ballot boxes were used to qualify the election of supervisors who did not reside in the districts voted. Ballot boxes with false bottoms were common.

In 1853, with the politicans and "Hounds" running the city, the expenditures amounted to $2,646,000. Under a reform management following the work of the Committee of Vigilance of 1856, the city got along in good shape with the expenditure of $353,000. The population was then estimated at 55,000.

The years 1854 and 1855 were tumultuous at best. No one had time for city business because of the rush to the gold fields. Politics and the government of the city and State were neglected by the residents, and naturally the offices and emoluments fell to the criminal elements who came west. Some of the worst characters driven from New York's Bowery and from Botany Bay, Australia, held office and wallowed in corruption and graft.


Trials in the courts were a farce, and those in power made no pretense of shielding their friends when charged with crimes.

An honest man's vote was worthless at the polls, and ballot box stuffing was openly practiced.

James King of William (1822-1856), born of an old Virginia family, and who became a prominent banker in this city, only to lose his fortune later in the local panic of 1854-5, was the man who practically alone started the work of rousing honest residents to the struggle of cleaning out the criminal element in power. At that time the criminal element was closely affiliated with certain influential, wealthy people in sharing the profits of political corruption.

While in the banking business, King had discovered numbers of corrupt transactions of this character. His friends knew this, and realizing that he was a man competent in every way to meet the situation, they urged him to start a newspaper and voice his convictions on the corrupt conditions.

On October 8, 1855, he started the publication of the Evening Bulletin which contained 4 pages, 10x15 inches in size.

Many critics have said that no such paper, or anything like it, had appeared in any country. It was an ideal fighting journal, edited by a man who knew no fear, and dealt his iron clad blows impartially.


So, when Charles Cora, a notorious gambler, shot down U.S. Marshal Richardson, and was formally arrested by his friends in office, King, with his vigorous ardor, declared that if Cora was allowed to escape, the sheriff, David Scannell, must hang.

The fervor of King in his denunciations roused the feeling of the public to a high pitch. King widened his range of attack against the political element, and took on James P. Casey, one of the city supervisors, and showed that he had been an inmate of Sing Sing Prison in New York. On May 14th Casey shot King as the latter was coming from the editorial rooms of the Bulletin, on the west side of Montgomery Street, just north of Washington Street. He was carried to a room in the Montgomery Block [now the site of the Transamerica Pyramid], and treated by Dr. R. Beverly Cole. He died a few days later at his home.

Following the shooting, over ten thousand people crowded around the Montgomery Block to hear the latest on his condition.


The crowd later retired to the Plaza, and soon a buzz went through the crowd that a Committee of Vigilance was forming.

Meanwhile, Casey was being guarded in the jail on Broadway by hundreds of his friends and a company of militia. Friends of King were allowed to enter the jail to assure themselves that the prisoner had not been spirited away.

At nine o’clock the next morning, members of the 1851 Committee of Vigilance began to assemble in an old lodge room at Sacramento and Leidesdorff streets. Among them was William T. Coleman, a prominent member of the old committee. He was urged to start the new movement. Coleman wrote out the oath of fealty, urged that membership be impersonal and that each man should be known by a number. Life, liberty, property and honor were pledged. Coleman was member No. 1, and the secretary, Isaac Bluxome, No. 33.

By the time King died of his gunshot wound on May 20th, the Committee of Vigilance had swelled to 3,500 members under arms. With a cannon to batter down the doors, they then marched to the jail, but Casey was delivered to them after a short protest.


The committee later returned to the jail on Broadway and took Charles Cora to their headquarters. Both men were given advocates to defend them; both were tried before a jury composed of members of the Committee of Vigilance, were convicted and hanged from a platform extended from the second story windows of Fort Gunnybags.

An immense crowd filled Sacramento Street between Battery and Davis to watch the double hanging on May 22nd.

Entrance to the committee's headquarters was protected with coarse sacks filled with sand and piled up as seen in this picture, nearly six feet thick and ten feet high. Cannons were placed at each corner. Inside was a platform and openings, from which a scathing fire of musketry could be unleashed.


There was a strong impression later that the rival Law and Order Party had obtained control of certain surrounding buildings from which they might fire on the makeshift "fort." To meet such an attack the Committee of Vigilance placed cannon on the roof of Fort Gunnybags. These defenses could have been raided readily by a strong force, but the show of ample defense seemingly attained the object of the organization.

The old stone building on the south side of Sacramento Street, near Davis, was destroyed during the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906.

San Francisco News Letter
1925 Diamond Jubilee Edition