Killing of Major Harry Larkyns

Killing of Major Harry Larkyns.---This occurred at the Yellow Jacket Mine, about seven miles from Calistoga, October 18, 1874. Neither party was a resident of Napa County, but as the shooting occurred within its limits the matter came up for trial in its Courts. Muybridge was an artist or photographer in San Francisco; Larkyns was an adventurer, of English birth and Australian education. He came to San Francisco and there met with the usual ups and downs of men of his ilk, but in some unlucky hour formed the acquaintance of Mrs. Muybridge. He was dashing, suave and captivating, and formed quite a contrast with her steady going, industrious, business-like husband, and she soon became infatuated with the gallant Major. As a result of this Muybridge sent his wife to Portland, Oregon, to her mother, thinking that thus he could break the spell of the charmer. In this he was mistaken, for she soon began to write to an intimate friend in the city inclosing [sic] letters to Larkyns. These were shown to Muybridge by the lady. Larkyns had conceived the idea, or was perhaps employed to make a map of the Calistoga Mining District, and was engaged upon this work at this time. When Muybridge saw the letter from his wife to Larkyns, he became very much enraged; and, after brooding over the matter for a couple of weeks, another letter arrived from her through the same channel. This was too much for him. He took the train for Calistoga and there got a team and was driven out to the Yellow Jacket Mine, arriving after dark. He proceeded to the hotel and called for Larkyns, remaining just outside the door. Larkyns came into the hallway and advanced towards the front door, and when within a few feet of it Muybridge stepped into the full light and said, "I have brought a message from my wife, take it," and at the same time fired. The wounds proved fatal almost instantly. Muybridge was arrested and lodged in jail, and December 8, 1874, the Grand Jury found a true bill against him. His case came up for hearing February 5, 1875, and the jury, after being out thirteen hours, returned a verdict of not guilty.

Source: [Lyman L. Palmer], History of Napa and Lake Counties, California (San Francisco: Slocum, Bowen & Co., 1881), pages 152-153.

This record was transcribed by Regina Gualco and is posted on CAGenWeb with permission.

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