Thursday, June 20, 2024

James Cummings -- Tar, Feathered, And Shot Dead 1904

In the many news reports about what took place in the murder of a hobo by the name of James Cummings, all mention how he was the victim of a "lynching." So as not to confuse folks, it's important to note that he was not hanged. He was in fact "tar and feathered" in his jail cell before a member of a mob fired a single shot that killed him.

On March 13, 1904, The Morning Echo newspaper in Bakersfield, California, reported:



Given a Coat of Tar and Feathers, and in the Raid the Prisoner was Shot.

Special Dispatch, MOJAVE, CA, March 12.

James Cummings, convicted yesterday of vagrancy, was given sixty days in the county jail. Officer Chitwood locked him in the branch jail at Mojave, intending to take this morning's train at 4 o'clock and transport the prisoner to Bakersfield to serve the sentence. Chitwood and Night Watchman Gillman went to the jail about 4 o'clock this morning and found Cummings dead on the floor of the jail. His clothing was removed from the lower half of the body and the whole body was covered with crude oil and feathers, and a bullet hole through the body.

The jail lock was broken. The coroner's jury is in session. No arrests have been made by officers, but suspects are being vigilantly watched. Nothing definitely is known as yet as to who the lynchers are. Deputy Sheriff Tower and District Attorney Laird are expected here this evening at 10:30. The taking of testimony at the coroner's investigation was continued until tomorrow.

It is quiet here. It is rumored that the motive for the lynching was because of the fact that Cummings was alleged to have committed an infamous crime. The citizens of Mojave are extremely indignant over this event. 

Coroner Mullins was notified yesterday morning that a negro, whose name was not given, was murdered by a mob at Mojave about 11 o'clock Friday night. From the message to the coroner and from the statement of John Underhill, a resident of Mojave, who left that place yestermorning, the facts are ascertained as follows:

The negro, who had been in Mojave but a few days, was arrested for an unmentionable crime against a young hobo, who was also a stranger in the town. The young hobo left Mojave, however, and could not be found at the time set for the negros trial. A simple charge of vagrancy was placed against the negro, and he was sentenced to sixty days in the county jail. The negro was effaced in the small wooden jail at Mojave with the intention of bringing him to this city yesterday morning.

About 11 o'clock Friday night, a party of men battered in the door of the jail, stripped the negro and applied a coat of crude oil and feathers. The intention at first seems to have gone no further than that, but whether by intent or accident the negro was killed. The body of the negro was placed in the jail, and yesterday morning the coroner was notified.

No notice was sent to the sheriff's office, and Undersheriff Baker learned of the lynching by the rumors on the street. He telephoned Justice Reddy of Mojave, who advised that an officer be sent at once to investigate the affair, as it appeared to have been a cold-blooded murder.

The lynching was kept very quiet in Mojave and John Underhill, who left there at 3 o'clock yesterday morning, did not know of the affair until he heard of it in Bakersfield. He knew the circumstances of the negros trial, however, and stated them as given above. Sheriff Kelly, who has been in San Francisco, returned on the 6 o'clock Santa Fe train. He was met by District Attorney J. W. P. Laird and Deputy Sheriff Thrash, and the three proceeded at once to Mojave.

After arriving at Moiave Coroner Mullins telephoned to District Attorney Laird for advice and Mr. Laird instructed him to postpone the investigation until his arrival. Court Reporter Ernest Laird accompanied the coroner. 

It didn't take the Coroner's Jury very long to determine his cause of death. The Coroner's Inquest was held and it was determined that Cummings' death was caused by a single gunshot wound. Of course, even while a Coroner's Jury was being gathered for a Coroner's Inquest, some of the names of the men who were part of the mob started slowly coming to light.

The evidence became immediately sufficient to warrant the holding of James Cowan to answer for the killing. The Coroner Jury's verdict mentioned no one else. However, it was said that evidence secured by Sheriff Kelly and District Attorney Laird caused them to have complaints sworn out against William O'Neal, J. Clancey, and A. Cuddeback. A fifth man was also suspected of being involved, but his name was not known to the officers.

On March 14, 1904, The San Francisco Call reported:


Warrants Are Issued for Arrest of Suspects.

Coroner Investigates the Murder of Prisoner Cummings.

Evidence at Inquest Tends to Show That Unfortunate Negro Was Innocent of Crime Charged.

Special Dispatch to The Call.

MOJAVE, March 13. — A verdict by the Coroner's Jury holding James Cowen responsible for the alleged murder of James Cummings, the negro prisoner who was put to death by a mob; the arrest of C. O'Neil and J. Clancy this evening and the issuance of warrants for two others are the developments today in the Mojave lynching of Friday.

The Coroner's Jury examined witnesses for four hours today. Several witnesses appeared to be very reluctant to testify and one, William Jones, a hostler, acknowledged that he had received warnings not to tell what he knew.

Several witnesses testified that Cowen went to his lodging house, got a rifle, and left, after making a remark, about "having some fun with a nigger."

The autopsy showed that the course of the bullet was downward. Indicating that Cummings had been shot while in a kneeling attitude with his hands raised above his head, the assassin standing over him when he fired. 

The warrants issued tonight charge the accused with the general crime of felony. Cowan is in the Bakersfield jail. Albert Irwin and Fred Fry, railroad employees, testified that a boy, apparently a tramp, informed them Friday that the negro, Cummings, assaulted him with a pistol and committed a serious offense. 

The negro appeared a minute later and was then putting a pistol in his pocket. An officer was called, but the boy disappeared. There is not a scintilla of evidence against the negro, who denied the charge and gave a perfectly straight account of himself and his actions. 

The remains of the murdered man lay all day in the anteroom of the jail. A heavy crowbar used to pry open the jail door, a railroad lantern bearing the stamp of the Southern Pacific Company, and a can of lubricating oil stand by the side of the corpse. The officers believe they have a good case against the suspected lynchers and expect to secure their conviction.

On March 15, 1904, The Los Angeles Herald newspaper reported:


Officers Seeking the Ringleaders of the Mob. 


Relies of Barbarism Are Featured in Burial of the Victim.

(Special to The Herald.) 

MOJAVE March 14.—Authorities here are determined to secure the punishment of at least the ringleaders of the mob that lynched James Cummings, the negro, last Friday night. The latest developments were the arrests today of William Jones and A. Cuddeback, both citizens of this place, which makes a total of five under arrest to date; James Cowan, whom the coroner's jury held responsible for the crime, and C. O'Neil and J. Clancy being already in custody. 

Jones is a hostler at the Southern Pacific roundhouse and admits being downtown the night of the trouble, "just to see what was going on." He made many damaging statements against Cowan at the Coroner's Inquest. On cross-examination, however, refused to make any direct statements, and it was deemed advisable to hold him pending further Investigation. 

Cuddeback was arrested on suspicion and is being held pending a trial before Justice Reddy. There was not much talk today about town in regard to the lynching, the general feeling seeming to be that "the negro is dead and buried and that settles it," but further arrests are looked for. 

A number of tramps are under suspicion but none have as yet been taken into custody. None have left town during the past few days and if any of them were implicated in the outrage they seem to be unconcerned, lingering about the alleys and saloons as though nothing had happened. 

Cummings was buried last night after he had been prepared for the grave by two hobos, who were paid $15 for the job. Laying a board on the floor of the jail, they got most of the blood and feathers scraped from his face and body, and a rough box was then made, in which the body was placed. The box was loaded on a butcher's handcart and taken to the cemetery, where a grave was dug by the light of two lanterns and the body interred. 

Those who saw the funeral procession of drunken hobos, laughing, jeering, and singing parodies of sacred songs, will never forget the scene. It has developed as the result of the coroner's inquest that there was nothing upon which to base a serious terge against the negro. 

Cowan, who is suspected of having fired the fatal shot, is still in jail at Bakersfield and declines to make any statement beyond a general denial of the charge.

On March 17, 1904, The Morning Echo reported:

James Cowan Fired the Shot That Killed Cummings.
Mob Did Not Endorse Shooting.

The Shooting. District Attorney Laird and Sheriff Kelly are determined to prosecute the members of the mob, who took James Cummings, the negro tramp, out of the jail at Mojave, and in the events that followed killed him.

The members of the mob, a number of whom have confessed their complicity in the crime, state that they had no intention of killing the negro, but in the excitement of the moment, James Cowan shot the hobo.

They state that they warned Cowan not to do any shooting, but it seems that he disregarded their instructions and has brought opprobrium on Mojave and Kern County by the lawless act of one member of the mob. It is stated that there was no intention of meting out any punishment to Cummings other than tarring and feathering, and no great harm would have resulted if the mob had stopped at that. The subsequent shooting of the negro has aroused the greatest indignation.

Sheriff Kelly and District Attorney Laird returned yesterday morning from Mojave, where they were called Tuesday night by the news that a number of the men who were present at the lynching of Cummings had confessed. According to the story, they told the officers that Cowan alone was responsible for the negro's death.

It is claimed that he was the only one who fired any shots and the men who made the confessions said that they did not know that Cummings had been killed or even wounded until the next morning. The belief of the witnesses is that the negro was struck by the second of the two shots fired. This shot was fired when Cummings was first taken from the jail and before the oil and feathers had been applied.

Cummings continued to fight with the crowd, however, and while he was being held in the ground Cowan pushed the muzzle of his gun into the negro's face, telling him with an oath, to lie still or he would blow his brains out.

One of the witnesses said that he pushed Cowan's gun aside and told him that there must be no shooting. Cummings lay quiet on the ground after that, but the witnesses said they supposed that he was passive only from fear. After the oil and feathers were applied, the negro was dragged back into the jail.

Whether he died while the mob was rubbing the oil and feathers on him or after he was left in the jail, the witnesses do not seem to know. Some of the men who confessed to the officers said that they left immediately after the shooting.
The case against Conan, while it rests wholly on circumstantial evidence, was considered very strong. He went to Mrs. Mary James, who kept a lodging house where Cowan stopped and asked her for a rifle which he had left in her charge some days previously.

Mrs. James had heard of the story about the negro and fearing trouble told Cowan that he better not take the gun. He replied that he would not kill anybody with it and she gave it to him. As he went outside Cowan told a barber that there was "going to be some fun downtown" that night. William Jones, a Southern Pacific hostler, heard him make a similar remark.

At about 11 o'clock, Cowan returned to the lodging house and gave the rifle back to Mrs. James. She testified that it "was stained with black oil and had feathers sticking to it." On the floor of the jail, an empty shell casing was found that fit Cowan's rifle. There was no wound on the negro's body other than the only shot.

Getting a number of witnesses 'to talk.' A number of them admitted that they had been warned not to tell what they knew. The men who are suspected of the lynching are part of a floating band of hard characters who have been terrorizing the town of Mojave for some time.

As an illustration of the feeling in the town, Mr. Asher, the merchant, told Coroner Mullins that when he locked up his store at night, he never felt sure that he would reach home safely, and he never went down to the store in the morning without wondering if he would find it burglarized. As readers of the Echo will remember, Mr. Asher's apprehensions regarding the store have been realized several times.

The feeling among the citizens of Mojave is that if the present dastardly affair is thoroughly sifted it may result in ridding the town of a large part of the undesirable element. Further information regarding the 'boy' who was the alleged beginning of the whole trouble is that he is 18 or 20 years of age and weighs about 160 pounds. He is supposed to have been traveling with the negro and disappeared before the latter's arrest.

Four officers are searching the southern part of the county for Cowan's accomplices and news of the arrest of one or both is hourly expected. Cowan, who is suspected of having fired the fatal shot, is still in jail at Bakersfield and declines to make any statement beyond a general denial of the charge. Sheriff Kelly was in receipt of encouraging messages from his deputies yesterday.

How many men were implicated is not known. The number in the crowd is estimated at thirty to forty men, some of whom were merely passive spectators. A large number of the men who participated in the lynching are now known. Most of them are employed at Mojave, some of them being from the railroad shops. The railroad men have not been placed under arrest, as that course would have seriously interfered with the railroad operations at Mojave. Trainmaster Trepanier vouched for the appearance of the men when wanted.

District Attorney Laird says that the charge of murder will be placed against James Cowan only, there being no evidence that anyone else was a party to that crime. What charges will be placed against the others and just how many men will be subjected to a trial, he was not prepared to say.

It is possible that the Grand Jury may be summoned to investigate the matter. Sheriff Kellv said that if the matter is left to Mr. Laird and himself, they cannot do anything but prosecute all the men against whom they have any evidence. The Grand Jury might take into consideration the expense to the county and decide to prosecute only the leaders. If all the men liable to prosecution for felony charges are brought to trial, the Sheriff says, the cost to the county will not be less than $25,000. It may be much more.

On June 24, 1904, The Morning Echo reported:


The introduction of evidence in the case of the People vs. James Cowan, charged with the murder of James Cummings, colored, was commenced yesterday morning in Judge Mahon's department of the Superior Court. The trial will require all of this and next week and probably longer. The defense has subpoenaed many witnesses.

A party of fifteen or eighteen men, all masked, gathered at the calaboose in Mojave one night several months ago for the purpose of "tarring and feathering" the negro, Cummings, for committing, it is alleged, a hideous crime.

The negro bolted from the calaboose and he was shot, it is alleged, by Cowan.

The testimony so far introduced is conflicting in some respects. Dr. Dempsey of Mojave, who was on the witness stand yesterday, testified that the negro sustained wounds that necessarily must have resulted in death almost immediately. Another witness went on the stand later in the day and testified that after Cowan fired the shots the negro and him struggled together and on the ground before they were separated.

Then a coat of tar and feathers was applied to the negro, and he was carried into the calaboose, where he was found dead the next morning. The case will be resumed at 10 o'clock this morning.

On June 28, 1904, The Morning Echo newspaper reported:


James Cowan, who is charged with the murder of James Cummings, the negro tramp at Mojave, took the stand yesterday afternoon. His testimony is practically the same as that told by other witnesses. 

He admitted that he fired the first shot at the negro before he came out of the calaboose, and a second shot was fired by a pistol in the hands of another party in the crowd, but he did not know who it was because the party was masked. The witness said that there were three other men in the party who had pistols in their possession, and he indicated in his testimony that the shot which killed the negro was not fired by him.

On July 1, 1904, The Colusa Daily Sun newspaper reported:


Bakersfield, July I.— James Cowan, the Mojave miner charged with the murder of James Cummings, the negro, who was lynched at Mojave on March 11, was yesterday convicted of Manslaughter. 

The jury was out nearly twenty-four hours and recommended the prisoner to the mercy of the court. One  Juror stood out all night for murder in the First Degree with the death penalty. The other members of the mob who went to the Jail with the intention of tarring and feathering the negro will probably not be prosecuted.

On July 28, 1904, The Hanford Kings County Sentinel newspaper reported the following:


Bakersfield, CA, July 23. James Cowan, who was convicted of manslaughter for killing the negro James Cummings, who was taken from Jail at Mojave and shot, was sentenced to eight years in Folsom Prison.

I think it's a sad tale. 

While the reports all mention that he was "lynched," as I said before, he wasn't taken from his cell and hanged. "Lynching" is defined as (1) The execution of a person by mob action without due process of law, especially hanging; (2) Any act of violence inflicted by a mob upon the body of another person; and (3) Putting a person to death by mob action without due process of law. So while James Cummings was lynched, he wasn't hanged.

And really, what happened to the hobo known as James Cummings is a sad tale. He was tarred and feathered and then shot to death by the dregs of the town, as it was reported, "The men who are suspected of the lynching are part of a floating band of hard characters who have been terrorizing the town of Mojave for some time."

As for the "unmentionable crime against a young hobo, who was also a stranger in the town"? Was that the assault with a firearm that was supposedly on a boy? Even the newspapers noted that the "boy" mentioned in the articles was not a "boy," certainly not a child. And more so, the newspapers did say that the "boy" was his traveling companion "18 or 20 years of age and weighs about 160 pounds." So really, who knows what that was all about since the young man disappeared when James Cummings was arrested for vagrancy.

Then there is the report of Cummings' burial and how truly horrible that was. Reports stated that the dead body of James Cummings lay on a board on the floor of the jail for a long time completely unattended.

Then, as if adding insult to injury, his body was prepared for the grave by two other hobos after they were hired to do the job for $15. It's said those hobos prepared his body by scraping most of the blood and the tar and feathers from his face and body. They then built a rough box in which Cummings' body was placed. After getting him ready, the hobos dug his grave by the light of two lanterns.

James Cummings was taken from the jail to be buried after the hobos loaded his "coffin" onto a butcher's handcart. It was reported that "Those who saw the funeral procession of drunken hobos, laughing, jeering and singing parodies on sacred songs, will never forget the scene. It has developed as the result of the Coroner's Inquest that there was nothing upon which to base a serious terge against the negro."

Though most involved didn't pay for what they did as they should have, and the fifth ringleader of the mob was never found, it's good to know that justice did not sleep in this case. Believe it or not, unlike many other instances when something similar took place and a mob of no-goods took someone, black, white, or another race from a cell, at least there were arrests made in this case. 

It was because of extremely diligent police work that the perpetrators were arrested. It was because law enforcement did not bow down to the pressures of some that the killer ended up in Folsom Prison. And here's something else to think about, while some today push the untruth that "no one has ever been made to answer for lynching a black man," the person who is believed to have fired the shot that killed James Cummings was arrested, tried, and convicted to the full extent that the law allowed.

While I and others may think that Cowan getting 8 years for manslaughter for shooting Cummings was a light sentence, I keep in mind what Folsom Prison was like in 1904. Folsom was a place where nothing was tolerated. It was a place where it was not unusual for convicts to be locked up in a dungeon for merely being suspected of stirring up trouble. Back then, it was described as a "Hell on Earth" where the convicts were "cowed." Yes, a place where convicts were frightened into compliance. 

Tom Correa

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Would Joe Biden Use F-15s And Nukes Against Americans

So here's the question, would Joe Biden use F-15s and Nuclear Weapons against Americans? Why would I ask such a thing you ask? Well, it's something that Joe Biden has talked about. Yes, it's something that Biden has mentioned more than just a couple of times. 

Let's take a look at what Joe Biden said that has people talking. 

In June of 2021, just a few months after taking office, Joe Biden spoke at a press conference to announce his gun crime prevention efforts. While there, he talked about how he believed the Second Amendment had always had limitations. Then out of the blue, he said something completely off the wall. It was something that I've thought about for a long time. It's something that he has repeated over and over again during the last three years. And from your email about it, it's something that concerns Americans. 

What is it? It's a quote that he likes to repeat concerning using F-15s and Nuclear Weapons against American citizens. He says it when talking about gun control and Americans' Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms. 

He has said: "You need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons" during a White House speech to outline his plan to combat gun violence. He repeated it again lately, just a few days ago on June 10, 2024, at Everytown's Gun Sense University, where he was giving a speech on Gun Control. During his speech, President Biden stated that "Americans need F-15s if they want to take on the government." 

It's true. During his speech the other day, Joe Biden once again mocked American gun owners, saying "They'll need F-15s to fight back against government tyranny." 

Let's make it really clear what he said, "Americans cannot stand up to government tyranny because the government has warplanes." In other statements on the same subject, he has said "The government has F-15s (or F-16s) and Nuclear Weapons." 

And frankly, that's what some people are not comfortable about. Like me, they see Joe Biden, the President of the United States, should not be making subtle threats to the American people. When Biden says gun-rights advocates need a much bigger arsenal of weapons to take on the federal government, he leaves out the fact that armed Americans are part of what protects America from becoming a Soviet Union-style authoritarian socialist state with a totalitarian government that's oppressive, intimidating, and heavy-handed. Armed Americans will fight a tyrannical Federal government that mandates Communist Leftist policies -- especially a government that wants to take away more of our personal liberty and freedom. 

Biden finds nothing wrong with taking away our liberty and freedom. Lately, he and his administration assert, because of the upcoming 2024 Election, that they are all about "Saving Democracy." But it seems to most these days that Biden and his administration believe Americans need to give up our liberty and freedom "to save democracy." 

And by the way, while all Americans should love the word "democracy," the word "democracy" was never used in the Declaration of Independence or in the Constitution for a reason. The reason is that our Founding Fathers were extremely fearful of allowing any form of government tyranny to take place. Yes, that includes the sort of tyranny that can be forced upon citizens by a democratically elected majority. 

So now, I want to know, why would anyone want to "Save Democracy" if it means losing our Liberty and Freedom to the tyranny imposed upon us by a democratically elected majority? And please don't kid yourself, that's what Biden's authoritarian administration has been doing for more than three years with all of the edicts and regulations that we've been forcing us to endure. 

From mandating how we cook our meals, if we use electric or gas stoves, to dictating what else we can and can use in as far as appliances and cars in our lives -- it's all a matter of trying to control us. And frankly, while Biden and his friends attack half of the American population as being "a threat to democracy" because we support his political opponent, Donald Trump, I believe Joe Biden and the Democrat Party as a whole is the real threat to our Liberty and Freedom -- nevertheless being the real threat to American democracy."

Of course, besides telling Americans that we can't stand up to a tyrannical Federal government, Joe Biden also enjoys ridiculing Thomas Jefferson, the man who is credited as the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. How does he do that? He does that by trying to ridicule one of Thomas Jefferson's most famous quotes about the "Tree of Liberty."

Last year, Biden said, "I taught it [the Second Amendment] for four years, six years in law school. And guess what? It doesn’t say that you can own any weapon you want. It says there are certain weapons that you just can't own. Even when it was passed, you couldn't own a cannon. You can’t own a machine gun. … No, I’m serious. You know, I love these guys who say the Second Amendment is — you know, the tree of liberty is watered with the blood of patriots. Well, if [you] want to do that, you want to work against the government, you need an F-16. You need something else than just an AR-15."

He also went on to say, "There’s no amendment that’s absolute." And continued by saying, "When the amendment was passed, it didn’t say anybody could own a gun and any kind of gun and any kind of weapon. You couldn’t buy a cannon when this amendment was passed, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to buy certain assault weapons. But that’s another issue.”

Back in 2021, he said, "If you wanted or if you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you won't need a rifle, you'd need F-15s and Nuclear Weapons."

Joe Biden usually mentions how the Second Amendment has always had limitations, and "Those who think they need weapons to overthrow a tyrannical government would need F-15 fighter jets and nuclear weapons. The point is that there has always been the ability to limit — rationally limit the type of weapon that can be owned and who can own it."

Joe Biden says that Americans thinking about an "insurrection" against a tyrannical United States government would need a lot more than guns to take on the U.S. government because it is equipped with a Nuclear Arsenal and warplanes. 

It was reported recently, that Biden said, "How much have you heard this phrase, ‘the blood of liberty … washes those' – give me a break," Biden said in a mocking tone.

Biden went on to say, "No, I mean it. Seriously. And by the way, if they want to think they can take out government if we get out of line, which they are talking again about, well guess what, they need F-15s."

Of course, Biden's schtick is always the same. He says this while mocking one of our Founding Fathers, a man who is considered the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, who once in a 1787 letter to William Stephens Smith, the son-in-law of John Adams, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." 

To give context to what Thomas Jefferson was talking about in that letter, he wrote, "And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signifies a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

Thomas Jefferson was talking about Shays's Rebellion which had recently taken place by farmers who were angry over local taxes and debt collection. His point was that the government must be kept in check and that Americans will preserve our liberties through rebellion from time to time to stop a tyrannical government. The key word here is "tyrannical." 

Let's remember what Biden said, "if they want to think they can take out government if we get out of line, which they are talking again about, well guess what, they need F-15s." So yes, Biden has made it crystal clear that the American idea of citizens being armed and having the ability to keep the government in line, or to rebel against an oppressive government, doesn't sit well with him. 

On serval occasions, Biden has said, "The Second Amendment, from the day it was passed, limited the type of people who could own a gun and what type of weapon you could own. You couldn’t buy a cannon." And yes, that's when Biden usually goes into his schtick mocking Thomas Jefferson by saying, "Those who say the ‘blood of patriots,’ you know, and all the stuff about how we’re going to have to move against the government. Well, the tree of liberty is not watered with the blood of patriots."

Well, for a guy who keeps telling the lie that he was a "University Professor" after leaving the position of Vice President, he is certainly dumber than dirt when it comes to American History. Biden's claim that Americans could not own cannons around the time that the Second Amendment was passed is not true. In fact, even Liberal Left Leaning Fact-Checkers have had to admit that Biden's claims about owning cannons are "false." The fact is Americans were able to own cannons for more than a hundred years after our birth as a nation and the creation of the Second Amendment. 

And really, no matter how many people have corrected Biden about his "cannon" claim, Biden acts as though he refuses to acknowledge the historical fact that there were several noted instances of private ownership of cannons during the period when the Second Amendment was passed. And as a matter of fact, there was the private ownership of cannons during the Civil War.

One example that even Biden with his limited cognitive ability should understand has to do with American privateers who operated privately-owned vessels with privately-owned cannons. Those American privateers attacked the ships of other nations for profit. In fact, those American privateers did more to hurt the British Navy than the Continental Navy did at the time. Of course, if Biden weren't dumber than dirt, he'd have read a little American History and would have known that. 

But then, maybe he does know it and is simply saying it because he thinks we're all too dumb to realize that he's full of shit. Let's be honest here, talking down to Americans, being condescending, and putting out more lies about what he's done and so on is the way he is. 

Then there's this, according to The New York Post, in a May 2024 law review article in the Journal on Legislation, David Kopel and Joseph Greenlee found a "near-complete absence" of anti-cannon laws in the nineteenth century.

Davis Kopel, who really is a professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, told The New York Post that Biden's claim is "patently false." Biden, on at least three previous occasions, has falsely claimed that the Second Amendment outlawed cannon ownership.

"This version is a little different from Biden’s previous lies," Kopel said. "The earlier ones referred to when the Second Amendment was ratified. Now he's moving the time frame to the Civil War. Still completely false." And here's more, according to that report, "there are no federal laws preventing Americans from owning Civil War-era cannons, or any cannons manufactured prior to 1898."

So as for the Second Amendment, the idea that a President of the United States thinks that none of the Amendments in The Bill of Rights is sacred and "absolute" should bother everyone. But, as for a President going after our "Right To Bear Arms," that's not surprising since other Democrat Presidents have tried.

As for Joe Biden being wrong about cannons, or about him mocking Thomas Jefferson, or his disdain for Americans concerned about government overreach, government over-regulation, and a government that thinks it doesn't have to answer to the American people, that's just Joe Biden's way of thinking. 

All in all, it's Joe Biden's threat of using warplanes and Nuclear Weapons against American citizens that truly bothers many of my readers. And really, let's take that at face value, President Biden's dismissive attitude when threatening the American people is not something that Americans want in an American politician -- nevertheless, a President. He seems very cavalier over using our most modern military capabilities, including going Nuclear, to stop Americans from overthrowing a tyrannical United States government.

My friends, it's a fact that there have been other leaders who allowed their people to die in huge numbers to hold on to power. Frankly, there's certainly been no shortage of authoritarian leaders who have killed their own people to stay in power. 

For example, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge began a ruthless campaign to remake Cambodian society. Re-Eduacation Camps, imprisonment of his political opposition, authoritarianism resulting in starvation, forced labor, torture, and executions were the methods used by Pol Pot and his followers during the Cambodian Genocide. He was responsible for the deaths of about 1.5 million Cambodians.

Communist Chinese leader Mao Tse Tung instituted "cultural and social reforms" that resulted in the death of over 40 million of his own people -- most died of starvation. He followed that up by allowing his Communist Party to destroy much of the culture and history of China.

Of course, Joe Stalin initiated murderous purges, imprisoned and killed political opponents, and killed what is believed to be more than 20 million of his own people either directly or indirectly under his orders. 

While these are just a few examples of authoritarian leaders who stopped the descent of their tyrannical governments by any means possible, to look for an example of a Nuclear Superpower with advanced warplanes that faced collapse because its people decided to fight their oppressive government, all we need to do is look at the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. They didn't use their warplanes and Nuclear Weapons against their own people, and we should ask why not?

Why didn't the leader of the Soviet Union threaten his people with the use of Nuclear Weapons and warplanes? Moreover, why didn't the Soviet Union use Nuclear Weapons against its people when the Soviet Union's totalitarian government was on the verge of collapse? 

The former Soviet Union's population numbered about 300 million people, with over a hundred distinct nationalities living within its borders. It had a Nuclear Arsenal of tens of thousands of Nuclear Weapons. Its sphere of influence was exerted through such mechanisms as the Warsaw Pact and its empire extended throughout Eastern Europe. 

Mikhail Gorbachev was the President of the Soviet Union and he was seen as someone who would be able to fix the public's dissatisfaction with the Communist state's authoritarian socialist government. And please, make no mistake about it, the Soviet Union was an authoritarian socialist state with a totalitarian government, oppressive, intimidating, and heavy-handed, always focused on the maintenance of order at the expense of personal freedom. 

In the late 1980s and '90s events dismantled the Warsaw Pact. In a few instances, the Soviet Union used military forces in attempts to halt the secession of Warsaw Pact nations by crushing popular demonstrations. In those military actions, civilians were killed and wounded. But in reality, those military actions only increased international support for the secessionist Eastern-Bloc nations. All of what took place finally led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Communist state was no more. 

So now, let's keep this in mind, Joe Biden has made the subtle threat of using such force against Americans unhappy with the Democrat Party's form of authoritarianism in America today. And yes, we know for a fact that Biden has stated that Americans would need F-15 warplanes and Nuclear Weapons to fight an American government that's "out of line".  Of course, who knows what excuse a dictator would use to attack half the nation that disagrees with him?

But, let's look at reality, I doubt that members of our military would ever launch Nuclear Weapons against our own countrymen simply because whacko over-the-top full-of-himself Joe Biden ordered them to do it. No matter what Joe Biden says, no one expects the U.S. Air Force to carpet-bomb Idaho or Texas because Joe Biden orders it. If anything, I believe our military would be on the side of the Patriots and not on the side of dictators like Biden or members of the Democrat Party.

So now, the question that my readers are asking is this, knowing that the Soviet Union was an extremely oppressive country that had modern warplanes and tens of thousands of Nuclear Weapons, why didn't the President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, use his warplanes and Nuclear Weapons against his own people to keep that Communist regime in power before that government collapsed? 

It sure sounds like American President Joe Biden would have.   

Tom Correa

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Thomas Jefferson's "Tree of Liberty" & Shays's Rebellion

Thomas Jefferson was serving as ambassador to France at the time of Shays's Rebellion between August of 1786 and February of 1787. He knew the location of the Rebellion was Massachusetts, and he knew the cause of the Rebellion was an ongoing economic conflict between farmers and merchants, rural Americans versus townsfolk on the coast, political corruption, and aggressive taxation and debt collection by the state. 

He was also aware that there was an attempt to reform the state government. And when that failed, there was a later attempt to overthrow the state government by force with an assault on a courthouse and then an attempt to seize the Federal arsenal at Springfield Armory. He also knew that the Rebellion was put down by the state militia. 

Known as Shays's Rebellion, it was in fact an armed uprising in Massachusetts in 1787. The reason for the uprising had to do with a debt crisis among the citizenry. The match that lit the flame to ignite the uprising was the state government's attempts to collect what people in rural Massachusetts considered over-taxation. People were losing their homes and farms. People were angry at the government because they felt that a corrupt state government was behind the debt crisis.

In 1787, tax protestors marched on the Federal government's Springfield Armory in an unsuccessful attempt to seize the weapons there. With those weapons, it's believed that the protestors wanted to overthrow the state government. As for the Federal government's response to the attack on the Springfield Armory, the Federal government didn't have the troops to put down the attack. 

Because of the Federal government's limitations under the Articles of Confederation, the Federal government was unable to send Federal troops. Part of the reason for that had to do with the Federal government being unable to finance Federal troops. Because of that, the attack on the Springfield Armory was put down by the Massachusetts state militia along with a privately funded local militia. 

If you're now wondering how militia troops had arms but Federal troops did not have the funding for arms, it's because of the ideals that created the Second Amendment. Allow me to explain.

State militias were seen as the best security of a free state. Citizen militias were drawn from the local community. They were no different than those who belonged to the local fire brigade and citizens watch groups. The militia existed to provide for the common defense. 

Because the British used its Army to impose tyranny on the American people, after the American Revolution, a standing Army, even an American standing Army, was seen as a tool that could possibly be used to impose tyranny upon Americans. 

Let's remember that soldiers were viewed with suspicion. In fact, The Declaration of Independence listed grievances against King George III that he had affected "to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power" and had kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

The Declaration of Independence listed grievances against King George III for "Quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us, and "For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States."

Both during and following the Revolutionary War, several states codified constitutional arms-bearing rights in contexts that echoed their concerns about the need for militias in place of mistrusted Standing Armies. 

For example, Article XIII of the Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights of 1776 read:

That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

Another example is Massachusetts’s Declaration of Rights from 1780 provided:

The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.

So yes, when the Constitution was written and amended, armed Americans were seen as the common defense of the United States. That's why the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." 

As surprising as it might sound considering how Americans just fought a war to stop a dictatorial government, the Constitutional Convention is said to have been dominated by delegates who advocated maintaining a strong Federal government in part because of Shays's Rebellion. In fact, the Rebellion had an impact on how the United States Constitution would be written since several Convention delegates brought up Shays's Rebellion during discussions about increasing the power of the Federal government. Of course, besides influencing how members of the House of Representatives are chosen, the Rebellion is said to have influenced how states manage domestic violence.

As for how Thomas Jefferson viewed Shays's Rebellion, in a letter to James Madison on January 30, 1787, Thomas Jefferson stated that he believed that occasional rebellion serves to preserve freedoms. 

In a letter to William Stephens Smith on November 13, 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

Below is the 1787 letter to William Stephens Smith, the son-in-law of John Adams, where Thomas Jefferson used the phrase "Tree of Liberty":

I do not know whether it is to yourself or Mr. Adams I am to give my thanks for the copy of the new constitution. I beg leave through you to place them where due. It will be yet three weeks before I shall receive them from America. There are very good articles in it; and very bad. I do not know which preponderate. 

What we have lately read in the history of Holland, in the chapter on the Stadtholder, would have sufficed to set me against a Chief magistrate eligible for a long duration, if I had ever been disposed towards one: and what we have always read of the elections of Polish kings should have forever excluded the idea of one continuable for life. Wonderful is the effect of impudent and persevering lying. 

The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers [news media] to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, and what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. 

Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusetts? And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honorably conducted? I say nothing of its motives. 

They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people can not be all, and always, well informed. 

The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13 states independent 11 years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? 

And what country can preserve its liberties, if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. 

The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signifies a few lives lost in a century or two? 

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure. 

Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusets, and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen yard in order. I hope in God this article will be rectified before the new Constitution is accepted.

For me, I really hope you have found this as interesting as I do. I find it very interesting that Thomas Jefferson believed that challenges to the Federal government from time to time are good so that a tyrannical government does not assume power. Of course, being leary of government becoming too powerful is why our government was divided into three branches. By dividing political power between the branches, our Founding Fathers, those Framers of our Constitution, sought to prevent any single branch of government from becoming too powerful.

Remaining vigilant and ever-watchful of the possibility of an all too-power central government usurping the power of the American people is at the heart of being an American. 

Tom Correa

Thursday, June 13, 2024


Since Joe Biden took office:

Joe Biden's Far Left open border policies are to blame for this historic crisis. Record illegal border crossings under this Administration have led to more drugs, more crime, and a demoralized Border Patrol who are hamstrung from carrying out their law enforcement mission. 

The situation at the border has become both a national security and humanitarian crisis and must be addressed immediately.

There are OVER 60 instances of Joe Biden and his Administration taking actions that undermined our nation’s border security, including halting the construction of the border wall.

There have been OVER 9.5 MILLION illegal immigrant encounters nationwide.

There have been OVER 7.8 MILLION illegal immigrant encounters at our Southern Border.

There have been 1.8 million known "gotaways" who evaded U.S. Border Patrol.

There have been more known "gotaways" than in the previous decade combined.

Immigration judges have thrown out approximately 200,000 deportation cases because DHS did not file the required "Notice to Appear" by the time of the scheduled hearing.

In April 2024, there were 179,725 illegal immigrant encounters at our Southern Border.

April was the 38th straight month where monthly Illegal Alien encounters have been higher than even the highest month seen under President Trump.

The Biden border crisis is costing the United States approximately $150.7 billion each year.

The burden of illegal immigration on U.S. taxpayers is both staggering and crippling with the gross cost per taxpayer at $1,156 every year.

Under Biden, over 350 of these individuals whose names appear on the terrorist watchlist were stopped trying to cross the Southern Border.

So far in FY24, there have been 75 individuals whose names appear on the terrorist watch list who have been stopped trying to enter the U.S. illegally between ports of entry at the Southern Border.

President Biden has managed America’s security from a position of weakness and incompetence. He's failed to stand up to the brutal Chinese Communist Party.

So far in FY24, there have been a record-breaking 27,583 Communist Chinese nationals have been encountered at the Southwest border.

Encounters of Communist Chinese nationals in April 2024 increased by nearly 8,000% compared to April 2021.

Over 20,000 Communist Chinese nationals have illegally crossed the Southern Border since FY24 began in October.

Communist Chinese nationals are exploiting Joe Biden’s failed Far Left open border policies at “record-breaking figures,” becoming “the fastest-growing demographic entering the country illegally.”

The surge in Communist Chinese nationals encountered at our Southern Border has raised serious concerns that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is exploiting the Biden border crisis for nefarious reasons.

In May 2024, the Committee on Homeland Security Republicans released documents showing the Biden Administration secretly flew over 400,000 illegal immigrants into the country.

Biden’s Far Left Democrat open border policies are to blame for this historic crisis.

There are OVER 60 instances of Joe Biden and his Administration taking actions that undermined our nation’s border security, including halting the construction of the border wall.

In August 2022, Biden and his Administration decided to make the border crisis WORSE by formally ending former President Trump’s successful ‘Remain in Mexico’ program.”

The Biden Administration announced on May 10, 2023, that it would allow for the release of some migrants into the U.S. with no way to track them.

Biden’s Department of Homeland Security has now admitted that 40% of "catch and release" migrants have disappeared.

Government should work for the people, not against them. But under the Democrat Party's one-party rule, Democrats have used their power to silence critics and avoid genuine scrutiny. 

The result: Individuals from over 160 countries have crossed the border since Joe Biden took office. 

We now have Illegal Aliens who are murderers and rapists and more, child sex traffickers, Mexican Drug Cartels in American towns and cities, career criminals who are here to rob and steal, vicious gang members from everywhere in the world, Muslim terrorists wanting to act out attacks to bring "Death to America," Chinese soldiers and Chinese Communist Party agents, and more death from killer drugs than ever before. All of that and more has been walked into America from across our border, thanks to Joe Biden and the Democrat Party who see nothing wrong with Americans living in fear.

All of this is proof that Joe Biden's "America Last" policy is all about destroying our nation as we know it. 

The interesting part of this is that Biden's supporters can't understand why Americans are so repulsed by what Biden has done when it comes to NOT securing our border. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Calaveras County's "Chilean War" 1849 -1850

Below are two accounts of what became known in Calaveras County, California, as "The Chilean War."

The Infamous “Chili Gulch” Incident

In the years after the great California gold rush, some of the old-timers got together to tell their stories. Old Tennessee was asked if he was acquainted with the particulars of the incident that occurred in Chili Gulch referred to by Tex?

He replied that he was, as he got the whole account of it from "Kentuck," who was present and took a part in the affair:

"This Chili Gulch is a few miles from Mokelumne Hill and empties into the Calaveras River. It was given this name because 'twas discovered by a company of Chileans numbering about thirty men, and they had worked there for several months, and were taking out gold by the bushel.

In the winter of '49-'50 a company of men composed of Texans and Kentuckians, with a few from Arkansas and Missouri, numbering about sixteen in all, camped near Chili Gulch, and finding that these foreigners were getting more than their share of gold, concluded to drive them out and take possession of these rich claims.

They therefore posted notices in the gulch ordering the foreigners to vacate within twenty-four hours or suffer the consequences. But no attention was paid to the order for the reason that no law had been passed by the Government to prevent them from mining in California. And from this fact they inferred that they had as good a right to mine as anyone.

The miners, finding that they did not intend to leave, drove them out by main force and took possession, not only of their mining ground, but also of their tools, tents and even of some of their clothing.

The Chileans went up to Mokelumne Hill for assistance, but the officers of the law refused to assist them. The sheriff did, however, in order to get rid of them, give them a blank warrant with the privilege of filling it out and serving said warrant in any manner they pleased.

Armed with this authority they went early in the morning and took the whole company of miners prisoners, but unfortunately one Missourian was killed and another one badly wounded during the affray. They tied the hands of their prisoners, and driving them along in the road ahead of them, started for the town of Stockton, distant about eighty miles.

Kentuck said “that they was just the maddest set of men you ever did see, for the idea of bein' driven along the road like a flock of geese by them d—d greasers, with their hands tied behind their backs, was terrible.”

"And said he, if we could only have got loose, we'd have killed the whole lot of 'em."

They told the greasers that they were playing the trump card with a full hand and to make the most of it, for said they it'll be our turn next; and it came sooner than either party expected. They all stopped at O'Neil's station, about twelve miles from Stockton, for breakfast.

Now it happened that there were quite a number of travelers and teamsters who had stopped there the night before and when they saw them greasers drive in the boys for breakfast, they were not long in getting acquainted with the particulars, and whether right or wrong made no difference, for they were Americans at any rate. So they charged upon them while they were eating their breakfast and bound every one of 'em.

Now the scene had changed, and the boys around Chili Gulch were astonished, a few days after, to see the American boys driving the Chileans before them into camp, all tied in a similar manner as the Americans had been. Kentuck said they gave them a fair trial, and sentenced four of them to be shot.

Of course, they didn't know which ones killed their pardner, but it made no difference, to shoot about four of 'em would fill the bill anyhow. And said he, the rest of 'em left that part of the country in a hurry.

“ Well,” said I to old Kentuck, “I suppose that you and your company staid there and worked out Chili Gulch didn't you ?”

"Oh well, no actually we didn't,” he replied.

And I asked him why not, as there was a good show after they had driven out the Chileans. “Oh yes,' said he, that was all right, and you see we did start in to work, but found the climate so kind ‘er sultry round thar, that we all concluded to find a more salubrious clime further north.”
" I asked him to explain what he meant; and said he.“

A few days after we started in to work, some of the miners around thar had a sort of a miners' meetin' one day, and so they come over into Chili Gulch and stuck a paper up on a tree with some writing on it for us to read, and so we did.”

I asked Kentuck if he remembered what it said.

“Oh yas,” says he, “I do, first rate, for I've got an awful good memory. It said that if any of them fellers what drove out, and shot them Chileans, was found mining over there in Chili Gulch, that the miners round in them diggings would hang every darned one of em. Now wer'nt that too sultry for comfort old pard, and wer'nt it a proper time to hunt for a more salubrous atmosphere?"


The following is another, more complete and accurate account of the Chilean “war” at Mokolumne during the gold rush, written by one who was a part of it:

My narrative now brings me to one of the most tragic episodes that ever occurred in the mines, and as it has so far escaped a place in written California history, I will give a faithful account of the lamentable event. Situated on an elevated flat, about two miles from our camp, was a settlement of Chilean miners. One Dr. Concha was the chief and moving spirit in this settlement, supported by some eight or ten lieutenants. 

The rest of the people consisted of peons whom they had brought from Chile, and who stood in relation to the headmen as dependents, in fact as slaves. Small parties of Americans complained that whenever they discovered a new gulch and attempted to mine in it, they were driven off by a superior body of these Chileans who laid claim to the gulch. 

At last the action of the Chileans became unendurable, and unless steps were taken to counteract their pretensions they might result in actual hostility and bloodshed. A mass meeting was called of the miners of the district. This meeting decided to adopt a code of laws, under which the size, location and possession of claims would be regularly determined.

In other mining districts where Americans from the South had brought their slaves with them, a law was adopted which prohibited the masters from taking up claims for their slaves. The same principle applied to the Chileans would prohibit them from the right to take up claims for their peons. 

The district was organized at this meeting, its boundaries set forth, and a code of mining laws, in which the above principles were included, was adopted.

It was not long after this meeting had been held when some of our miners were driven by force, and under peculiarly aggravating circumstances, out of a gulch they had been working in. When news of this exasperating aggression reached the various camps in the district, the excitement was intense. 

We had, as was usual at that time in the mines, elected an alcalde, before whom all classes of disputes were settled, and whose decisions were invariably acquiesced in and enforced. Judge Collier, of Virginia, a venerable gentleman of distinguished presence, of large intelligence and of positive character backed by unflinching nerve, had been selected. 

Complaint was made before him of this last aggression, and he advised that a mass meeting of the miners of the district should be called. This meeting came together in a temper of great exasperation against the Chileans, and adopted a resolution to rid the district of these unpleasant neighbors by fixing a time at which they should leave, and if they refused, then to forcibly expel them. The meeting marched in a body to Chilean Camp, and served the notice upon the headmen present.

The Chilean imbroglio had almost passed out of our mind, when, one evening a few weeks later at about eight o'clock, our attention was attracted by a sound as of marching men. 

Suddenly our tent flaps were thrown aside and a dozen guns were pointed at us. We were ordered to come outside, and each one as he reached the door was seized and his arms bound together behind with cords. Four of us were fastened to a tree, and a strong guard placed over us. 

There was such flourishing of pistols and knives that I feared some of us would be killed by accident if not design, if these fellows were not compelled to keep quiet. I spoke to the man in command in Spanish, and told him there was no need of these tumultuous demonstrations ; we were their prisoners, and would not attempt to escape. My speech had the desired effect, and I found my captor rather communicative. 

The rest of the band, in the meantime, had seized and bound the Americans in the Iowa Cabins and in several tents near by. Shortly afterwards a messenger told my captor to come to the camp on the hill, and bring me with him, as I might be wanted as an interpreter. This camp was located on a hill about half a mile from ours. 

On arriving at the foot of the hill we were instructed to wait for further orders. We had not been long waiting before we heard several shots fired in quick succession. I turned to my guard and told him this was a very bad business, and that if any of our people were killed they would be held to a severe account for it. About this time we were called to come to the camp.

On reaching it I found an old man named Endicott in the last agony from gunshot wounds, and near him was another old man named Starr who had been severely wounded in the right arm and shoulder. These were the only white men they found in the camp; for the others had gone off on a visit to other camps. 

The leader of the Chileans was called "Tirante," and he was not misnamed. He seemed to gloat over the body of poor Endicott, and calling me to him, asked me if that was not Judge Collier. When I assured him it was not he seemed greatly disappointed. 

Judge Collier was looked upon by the Chileans as the instigator and inciter of the American miners against them, and they wanted to wreak vengeance upon him above all others. 

A short consultation ensued between Tirante and his chief men as to the next move they should make. They feared that information about their movements might reach the camp where Judge Collier lived. As it was a considerable camp, it was probable, if the alarm were given that an armed force would soon confront them, so they determined to return to the Iowa Cabins, and with their prisoners move forward.

Although Starr was in great pain, he was ordered to march with us. With the assistance I rendered him he succeeded in reaching the Iowa Cabins, where our captors held a consultation, and determined to proceed to the south fork of the Calaveras. Starr was to be left behind, and I placed him in a bunk, wrapping him up as comfortably as I could. He was afterwards found dead in the bunk, and as I did not think that the wounds he had received on the hill were mortal, I have always believed that the Chileans dispatched him before they left. 

They would have reasoned that he might manage to crawl to the lower camp, give the alarm and cause an armed force to be sent against them, and that therefore the best way would be to finish him at once.

As we marched along I was enabled to see that the Chileans numbered about sixty, whilst we were thirteen captives. They were very careful to see that our arms were securely bound behind us. They marched us to the south fork of the Calaveras, near a trading store kept by Scollan, Alburger & Co. John Scollan was a regularly appointed alcalde. He had come to California with Stevenson's regiment and the firm had stores at various points in the southern mines. 

Several of the Chilean leaders proceeded to the store, and I learned afterwards that they tried hard to get Judge Scollan to give a tone of legality to their murderous proceedings by certifying to our arrest by the authority of a warrant that had been issued by Judge Reynolds, of Stockton, Judge of the Fifth Instance. 

It seems that Dr. Concha had gone to Stockton and secured such a writ from Judge Reynolds, and then prevailed upon the latter and his Sheriff, whose name I have forgotten, to authorize his people to serve it. Alcade Scollan refused to have anything to do with the affair. He advised them to release their prisoners at once, and told them they would be held criminally responsible for their acts. 

Some of these facts I learned long afterwards. John Scollan died in Santa Barbara in 1892. He had been for many years a much respected citizen of that county, and he and I have often recalled the incidents of that eventful night in December, 1949, at the South Fork of the Calaveras.

Tirante and the rest came back to where they had left us, and in a manifestly dissatisfied mood countermarched us until we struck the trail up Chile Gulch in the direction of their own camp, which we reached about daylight. Here was another long wait. 

When the leaders returned from their camp some of them were mounted. We pushed forward until we struck the main road to Stockton. When we got to Frank Lemons' tent at the lower crossing of the Calaveras we were allowed to get some coffee and food. 

Mr. Rainer happened to be there, and we gave him an account of the whole affair. He was greatly wrought up about it, and said he would ride into Stockton and bring out a rescuing party. Rainer was a brave, but rash, impetuous man, and we warned him to act prudently, for we feared that our captors might, if they thought they were to be attacked by a superior force, end the matter by killing their prisoners and scattering. 

The warning was timely, but unfortunately was not heeded, for soon afterwards, as we passed Douglass & Rainer's ranch, we could see Rainer and several others loading their guns in full sight of our wary captors, who lost no time in taking us away from the main road, and marching us across the plains, which were densely covered with wild oats and tar weed. 

We could see, by the movements of the Chileans and the earnest whisperings of their chiefs, that they were not at all at their ease. They acted like men who felt that they might at any moment be confronted with most serious difficulties. I also noticed that they had diminished in numbers considerably. Some of the peons had dropped out from sheer exhaustion; others had furtively deserted. 

Whenever we would come within sight of the main road, there were signs of a commotion. Either a horseman, fully equipped with arms, would ride furiously in the direction of Stockton ; or men would be seen in covert places as if reconnoitering. It was late in the afternoon ; the rain had been coming down in intermittent showers; Tirante and his lieutenants had had earnest and animated interviews as they grouped together on the march; we had come to a spot near the Mokelumne river where a grove of large, wide-spreading oaks afforded shelter from the weather, and here we were halted and lined up against a fallen tree. 

We had not been long here before a couple of mounted Chileans, who had been sent out as scouts, rode up. I was near enough to catch scattered words of their report, which was to the effect that there was an armed party on the road in quest of us. A most intensely dramatic scene followed their report. 

Tirante proposed that the prisoners be dispatched [killed], after which they would disperse. He was supported in this terrible proposition by several voices; but a large, fine-looking Chilean called Maturano, who on several occasions had protested against the violent methods of Tirante, opposed the proposition not only as cruel and inhuman; but as one that would surely bring upon them the vengeance of the whole American people. 

The question was debated between the chiefs for some time, when it was put to vote, and Tirante's blood-thirsty proposal was lost.

The reader can well imagine that I felt greatly relieved at the result, and I made up my mind that if it ever lay in my power I would repay Maturano for the manly and humane stand he took in this terrible crisis of our fate. The upshot of the whole business was that we resumed our weary march across the plains, avoiding the high ground as much as possible. 

It rained heavily, and as darkness set in the storm increased in fury. At last our captors, as well as ourselves, began to show signs of exhaustion, and looked around for the most inviting place they could find to camp for the night. 

I was impressed with the fact that the numbers of the Chileans had decreased measurably since the dramatic council held in the afternoon, and I judged that less than half the force with which they started was now present. 

The camp was selected in the most sheltered place our captors could find, and a great fire was started, before which we stretched ourselves. The storm moderated during the night, and towards morning the guards who had been set over us yielded to the demands of over-taxed nature and fell asleep at their posts. Not so with our men, however; we were watchful and wary. 

By each other's help we had so loosened our cords that we could rid ourselves of them at any moment. Instinctively we felt that the time had come when we might recover our liberty, and the whispered word was passed along to stand ready for the attempt. 

Gun after gun was quietly moved from the sleeping guards and their comrades, until every prisoner had one within easy reach, and at a given signal we rushed to where the leaders were bivouacked and covered them with our weapons. 

It was the work of a moment to secure their arms, and they were taken in detail and bound firmly with cords. The peons gave us no trouble when they saw that their patrones were in our power.

Tirante was the one most dreaded, and we were careful not only to make him secure, but gave him in special charge of two of our most reliable men. It was now nearing day. We only had a general idea of where we were. We knew that in our last march the evening before we had crossed the main Stockton road and gone for miles in the direction of the Stanislaus river. 

As daylight broadened, the brightness of the eastern sky gave token of the coming of a clear and stormless day. The weather as well as our own condition had changed within a few short hours. 

To the fury of the elements had succeeded a grateful calm, and from being prisoners in the power of a ruthless enemy, we had become the captors and they the captives. We lost no time in starting with our prisoners in the direction of the Stockton road, which we reached at a point called O'Neill's ranch. 

As we approached the well-known capacious tent, we saw one of its inmates astir. On discovering us he hurried over the ravine which lay between us, and informed us that a party from Stockton, who had been on the road looking for us nearly all night, were sleeping in the tent. 

He ran back with the news, and by the time we arrived at the station the rescuing party had come out and formed a line in front of the tent to receive us. They were completely armed, and I reflected upon what would have happened had this party found us during the night. There would have been a conflict, in which many on both sides would undoubtedly have been killed. 

In the heat and confusion of the encounter it is probable that we would have suffered from both friends and enemies, and it is likely that with the triumph of the Americans their exasperation would have been so aroused that they would have dispatched the entire band of Chileans.

The Stockton Rangers 

That was what we called them — greeted us effusively as we turned our prisoners over to them, and the people of the station hastened to prepare for us a much-needed breakfast. 

In the meantime, I was not forgetful of Maturano and the great service he had rendered us the day before. I knew that if he was taken back to the mines it would fare hard with him, and I concluded that I must act at once or the chance would pass away, perhaps forever. I sought him out and told him that as he had been kind to us I intended to aid him to escape. I walked with him past the tent, and when we reached the open plain where the wild oats was dense and tall, I told him to stoop and get away as fast as he could. He kissed my hand and thanked me, and I stood and watched his course by the trail he made in the tall oats until I was satisfied he was out of danger, and returned to my comrades, to whom I told what I had done. 

They were greatly pleased, and all, without exception, heartily endorsed and commended my thoughtful action. A strong guard of the Rangers was detailed as an escort to our men to return with the prisoners, whilst Dr. Gill and myself were appointed a committee to go to Stockton and lay the facts before the people and the authorities. 

On arriving in Stockton, we found the community intensely excited, and placards were out calling a mass meeting for that evening. The utmost indignation was directed against Judge Reynolds when it was ascertained that he had issued a writ of arrest, and against the Sheriff for placing it in the hands of the Chileans to serve. 

Anticipating the coming storm, both the Judge and his Sheriff took hurried departure for San Francisco in a small boat. I never heard of them afterwards. But I was informed that Dr. Concha, who was the real author of all the trouble, was killed at a fandango in San Francisco a few nights afterwards.

The mass meeting was attended by nearly everybody in town. A young man, a nephew of Judge Collier, had come down to Stockton on behalf of the people of the Calaveras camps. He was the principal speaker, and delivered a powerful, eloquent and impassioned address. His speech produced the wildest excitement, and it was well that Judge Reynolds and his Sheriff had got beyond reach of the excited and indignant people. 

That young orator was Samuel A. Booker, who took up his permanent residence in Stockton soon afterwards and served for many successive terms on the District and Superior benches of San Joaquin county. He was distinguished amongst the many able jurists of this state for the soundness of his opinions and the clearness of his exposition of fundamental principles. 

After filing our affidavits, Dr. Gill and myself started back for the mountains. On arriving home we found that a large delegation of miners from Mokelumne Hill had organized a court to try the Chileans engaged in the recent lawless and murderous acts. 

Tirante and two others, to whom were traced directly the murder of Endicott and Starr, were sentenced to death; some four or five of the most active participants in the affair were sentenced each to receive from fifty to one hundred lashes on the bare back; and two, whose culpability was held to have been exceptionally flagitious, were condemned to have their ears cut off.

I have dwelt thus at length and in detail upon this tragic episode in the early history of the mines for the reason that when a few years ago the mob in the streets of Valparaiso maltreated and killed sailors belonging to a United States cruiser on shore leave, the spirit of hatred then shown by the Chileans was ascribed to the treatment their countrymen had received in the mines in 1849. 

Perverted references were made in the public prints to what was termed the "Chilean Massacre in California," and a profound ignorance of the whole affair was manifested both by those who wrote about it and by the mob who thought, if they thought at all, they were carrying out a commendable retaliation. 

Even this venomous spirit rankled in the breasts of the higher orders of Chile, and at one time it looked as if we would in fact have to bring the peppery little republic to its senses by our strong national arm. 

The prejudice against Californians in Chile had its incipiency in "the Chilean War" in Calaveras, and I doubt if it would have been safe for any of the American participants in that affair to have visited that country for years after its occurrence and to have been identified as having taken part in the trial and punishment of the murderers of Endicott and Starr.

Over forty years after the event, the seeds of hatred planted in the Chilean breast at that remote period culminated in the brutal assault and murder of our sailors in the streets of Valparaiso and in international complications that nearly led to war between the two countries. 

How much of this was due to the prejudice, garbled and ignorant reports of the Calaveras affair that reached Chile we cannot know; but we do know that if all the facts had been fairly and truthfully disseminated in that country from the beginning they could not have resulted in a national embitterment which survived for more than a generation the event that gave it birth.

-- the authors of both of these accounts were eyewitnesses to the events that took place in Calaveras County. We can be thankful that they wrote down what they saw.


Sunday, June 2, 2024

John M. Clayton Murdered For Challenging A Rigged Election 1888

Elections have a way of bringing out the worst in people. Of course, the worst in people comes out especially bad when their candidate loses. If you think I'm talking about all of the riots that started when Hillary Clinton was defeated in 2016, you're wrong. And no, I'm not talking about how Democrats reacted when Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 Presidential Election by starting a Civil War.

Democrats in the South protested and rioted after the election of Republican President Abe Lincoln in 1860. His election was the reason Democrats threw our nation into a Civil War. They saw Lincoln as the man who would end the Democrats' precious institution of slavery and they would do everything in their power to keep slavery in place. And no, there's really no debate when it comes to Democrats inspiring John Wilkes Booth to assassinate President Lincoln. It's well-known that that was the case.

I want to talk about a little-known incident in Arkansas that happened as the result of people not being happy with a candidate challenging a rigged election's results. It's a story of a candidate questioning the results of a rigged election and ending up being assassinated.

John Middleton Clayton was born on October 13, 1840, on a farm in Bethel Township, Pennsylvania, to John and Ann Glover Clayton. The Clayton family was descended from Quakers. During the Civil War, John Middleton Clayton served as a Colonel in the Army of the Potomac.

In 1867, he and his family moved to Arkansas where he managed a plantation owned by his older brother, Powell. His brother would go on to become the Governor of Arkansas in 1868. Besides being the brother of the Arkansas Governor, his twin brother William H.H. Clayton was the U.S. Attorney for the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. William H.H. Clayton was the chief prosecutor in the court of "Hanging Judge" Isaac Parker for 14 years before becoming a federal judge in the Central District of the Indian Territory that became the State of Oklahoma.

In 1871, John Middleton Clayton was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives representing Jefferson County. In 1873, he served in the Arkansas Senate representing Jefferson, Bradley, Grant and Lincoln Counties. During that time, a part of his term was spent serving as Speaker of the Senate pro tempore.

He served on the first board of trustees of Arkansas Industrial University which we know today as the University of Arkansas when it was chartered in 1871. Two years later in 1873, John Middleton Clayton helped Pine Bluff, Arkansas, secure the Branch Normal College which is today the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

So yes, he served as a Republican member of the Arkansas House of Representatives for Jefferson County from 1871 to 1873 and the Arkansas State Senate for Jefferson County. And yes, he was heavily involved in the Brooks-Baxter War of 1874. 

The Brooks-Baxter War of 1874 was fought over the disputed election for the Arkansas governor's office. The contest was between Republican Joseph Brooks and Republican Elisha Baxter. John Clayton supported Brooks. He supported Brooks so much that he raised troops in Jefferson County and marched them to Little Rock, Arkansas, in support of Brooks. Once there, they fought Baxter's supporters. 

The Brooks-Baxter War lasted from April 15th to May 15th, 1874. During that time, large militias engaged each other and in the end over 200 men were killed in the conflict. The conflict was followed by a complete restructuring of the state of Arkansas government under the Arkansas Constitution of 1874. It marked the end of the Reconstruction Era in Arkansas, and it resulted in the Democrats taking power and controlling the governorship for the next 90 years.

As for John Middleton Clayton, he is said to have remained loyal to Brooks to the end of the conflict even after President Ulysses S. Grant declared Baxter the rightful governor of Arkansas. 

Interestingly, John Clayton remained involved in Arkansas politics in the years after Reconstruction. Because in those days black freedmen who still understood how Democrats fought so hard to keep slavery alive and them in chains, Black Americans were staunchly Republicans. So with the support of Black Republican voters, John Clayton became sheriff of Jefferson County in 1876. After that, he was reelected to five successive two-year terms.

Then in 1888, John Clayton ran for a seat in the United States House of Representatives but lost to Democrat Clifton R. Breckinridge. Unhappy with the results of the election because most at the time saw it as being extremely fraudulent because of obvious voting irregularities, John Clayton challenged the results.

The 1888 election became one of the most fraudulent in Arkansas's history. John Middleton Clayton lost the election by a narrow margin of 846 out of over 34,000 votes cast. But, with voting irregularities such as a county having more votes than there were residents, and in the case of Conway County when four masked and armed white men stormed into a predominantly black voting precinct and stole their ballot box. Yes, at gunpoint, armed men stole the ballot box that contained a large majority of votes for John Middleton Clayton. 

Losing under such circumstances only made him want to seek justice for himself and the voters who were robbed of their votes. So John Clayton decided to contest the election. To do so, he went to Plumerville, Arkansas, to start an investigation on the matter. 

His efforts were short-lived since on the evening of January 29, 1889, an unknown assailant fired a shot through the window to the room that he was staying in at a local boardinghouse. The bullet that struck him is said to have killed him instantly.

After a Congressional investigation, believe it or not, John M. Clayton was declared the winner. The occupant, Democrat Clifton Breckinridge was made to vacate the seat. Because of John Clayton's assassination, the seat was declared vacant. 

As for Democrat Clifton Breckinridge, the Congressional investigation found him not guilty of any wrongdoing in the rigged 1888 election or in John Clayton's assassination. Clifton Breckinridge was elected to fill the vacant seat in 1890.

So though John Clayton was assassinated in 1889 during the challenge to the election, believe it or not, he was later declared the winner of the election posthumously. At the age of 48, he left behind his wife Sarah Ann and their six children. And no. I haven't been able to find out whatever happened to them. My hope is that their family took them in.
As for who ordered his assassination and who fired the shot that killed him? The person who arranged his assassination was never revealed. His assassin was also never found. The identities of both his assassin and those who conspired to murder John M. Clayton for challenging an election remain unknown to this day.

Tom Correa