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Vigilantes of Monterey

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Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 381
Location: Monterey County, California

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:21 pm    Post subject: Vigilantes of Monterey Reply with quote

The "vigilantes" first took the law into their own hands August 10, 1850, and hung a hard character named William Otis Hall, who had been tried and convicted of grand larceny by a jury of twelve men in the court of sessions the previous day. Sheriff William Roach thus laconically reported the affair: "Between one and two o'clock this morning a party of unknown armed men broke into the prison and gagged the jailor, then proceeded to the cell of Hall by force of arms and there produced death upon the prisoner by strangulation." In the same year nine prisoners escaped from this jail that Colton built, and the vigilance committee resolved to let no more guilty men escape, and in less than two years, 1854-56, broke into jail and hanged, at different dates, four prisoners from the rafters.

The story of Anastacio Garcia is but one of the hundred desperadoes of that day. In 1855, he was in a Monterey fandango creating a disturbance, and as Constable Isaac Wall was about to arrest him for disorderly conduct, Garcia drew a revolver and killed Wall instantly. Immediately jumping upon his horse, he fled towards the Salinas, accompanied by a "compenare." He was followed by a sheriff's posse of ten men and overtaken on the Salinas plains. In the running fight which took place three of the sheriff's party were badly wounded, and Joaquin de la Torre and Charles Layton, the light-house keeper at Point Pinos, were killed. Garcia escaped, but later was captured in Los Angeles county and lodged in the Monterey jail. The citizens, fearing that he might escape or his friends rescue him, concluded to forestall the law by hanging the desperado. Assembling in a body on the morning of February 24, 1857, they marched to the jail, and, surrounding it with a guard heavily armed, they broke into the "lockup" and bound the sheriff, hand and foot. Then breaking into Garcia's cell, hanged him to one of the rafters, weighting his body with a heavy log chain.
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