Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Location: Monterey County, California
|Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:30 pm Post subject: Bandit Vasquez
|As the second greatest bandit of California, Tiburcio Vasquez will stand out on the pages of the history of our State. It should be remembered that when Joaquin Murietta roamed, robbed and murdered, there was but little law in California, and the means of arresting and bringing breakers of the law to justice were scant and inadequate.
On the other hand, decades that elapsed between this time and the years 1873 and 1874, in which Vasquez committed his greatest depredations, had witnessed the complete organization of the counties of our State under the proper authority of law, police, judges and jury.
Hence it is that the exploits and escapes of Vasquez excel those of Murietta, in being performed at far greater hazards, and against greater odds. One thing, however, was greatly in his favor, as was also the case with Murietta; in all those counties where he operated, he had the moral support and physical aid of his Country-women, the native Californians.
Tiburcio Vasquez was born August 11, 1839, at Monterey then perhaps the most thoroughly Mexican town in appearance, the ways of its inhabitants, its changes, vicissitudes and its religious tone, in California, and still was, at the time of his capture, after a noteworthy career of murder and pillage. Vasquez was then 35 years of age.
Vasquez' first exploit was in the year 1854. One night he attended a fandango at Monterey. In those times scenes of bloodshed at these gatherings were of frequent occurrence. A difficulty occurred between Vasquez and another Californian about one of the pretty Senoritas in the room. The constable of the town, attracted by the noise, entered and at once endeavored to quell the disturbance, when Vasquez turned upon him with a knife and stabbed him to the heart. He fled and kept concealed for a long time, but owing to the efforts of his friends, was at length allowed to roam about as of yore, without fear of official molestation.
Shortly after this, he associated himself with a band of desperate characters who were then the terror of Monterey County. Stealing horses was their specialty. The Vigalantes at length thinned out the gang, but young Vasquez managed to escape.
In 1857 he took a trip to Los Angeles, and there was arrested for stealing horses, tried, convicted and sentenced to five years at San Quentin, from which he escaped. Next we find him operating in Amador, he was unfortunate enough to be arrested there for unlawfully appropriating a horse and was again taken to San Quentin, his term expired August 13, 1863.
In 1867, he headed a small band of horse thieves in Sonoma County, but in an attempt to run off a drove of cattle, he was caught, tried, and sentenced to four years in the State Prison, from which he was discharged in 1870. In 1872, he and his band committed robbery and murder at Tres Pinos. After these outrages a reward of $8000 was offered for the capture of the daring bandit, and then all the sheriffs organized to rid the state of an outlaw whose name inspired terror wherever it was uttered.
Vasquez was captured, taken to San Jose and tried for murder, being found guilty, he was there hanged March 19, 1875. Several others of the band were captured and sent to San Quentin, some were shot by officers and the whole band thoroughly broken up.