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Colonial Cases


Daily Alta California, 18 January 1850

Fatal Accident. - Dr. A. W. Mcnair, of Philadelphia, who had been in feeble health for some time past, while descending a ladder at his residence in Happy Valley, on Wednesday morning last, accidentally fell and broke his neck.  An inquest was held on the body, and a verdict was returned accordingly.  His death is much regretted by all who knew him.  Judge Geary has taken charge of his estate.


Daily Alta California, 23 January 1850

Diabolical Murder.

   One of the most horrid murders on record, has recently been perpetrated in Boston, Massachusetts.  The victim and the supposed murderer, were both gentlemen of high reputation in the scientific world, and stood high in the community.  If the suspicions are just, the only motive would seem to have been to get rid of a paltry debt of a few hundred dollars.  It completely throws the Coly, Coolidge and Suydam murders into the shade.  We extract the following account from our exchanges of this atrocious affair.

   This city was thrown into a state of the most intense excitement this morning, by the announcement that Professor John W. Webster, of Cambridge, had been arrested and committed to Leverett street jail upon suspicion of having been the murderer of Dr. George Parkman who very mysteriously disappeared during the afternoon of Friday, 23d ult.

.  .  .  .   The inquest will commence on Wednesday next.  The police assert that have further information against the accused, which will not be divulged until the sitting of the coroner's inquest.

   From the peculiar shape of the limbs, after they had been together, there is but little doubt that they belonged to Dr. Parkman.   .  . 


Daily Alta California, 25 January 1850

Found Dead. - A man named Martin Knoph left his house in Happy Valley, about 10 o'clock, on Wednesday night, in a deranged state of mind.  He was discovered yesterday morning, lying on the beach, near Clark's Point.  An inquest was held on the body, when the jury returned a verdict that he came to his death by drowning.


Placer Times, 26 January 1850

Dr. A. W. McNair, above.


Placer Times, 2 February 1850

The Parkman Murder.


Daily Alta California, 8 February 1850

Found Dead. - A man named William Thompson, seaman, said to be from Philadelphia, was found dead yesterday morning on the corner of Clay and Montgomery street.  Sheriff Townes held an inquest on the body, and the jury rendered a verdict that the deceased came to his death by exposure and dissipation.


Placer Times, 9 March 1850

Another Murder at San Francisco. - On Sunday evening last two Frenchmen visited a house of ill-fame at San Francisco, and upon leaving, met three Chilenos at the door, who asked them "what they were doing there?"  One of the Frenchmen replied that "it was None of their business.  Some angry words followed, when one of the Frenchmen, named Plantier, made an attempt to get past the Chilenos, whereupon one of the latter drew a bowie knife and stabbed the Frenchman a number of times. - Plantier died of his wounds on Monday evening. The police arrested the murderer soon afterward, and it is thought he will not escape without meeting the punishment he so richly merits.

Inquest. - An inquest was held at Sutter on the 3d inst upon the body of a man found upon the bank of the Sacramento at that place. No marks of violence having been found upon the body, the jury returned a verdict of "death by drowning." The body was not recognized by any one before it was buried. '

Placer Times, 9 March 1850

INQUEST. - An inquest was held at Sutter on the 3d inst. upon the body of a man found upon the bank of the Sacramento at that place.  No marks of violence having been found upon the body, the jury returned a verdict of death by drowning.  The body was not recognized by any one before it was buried.


Daily Alta California, 9 April 1850

Mysterious Case. A man was seized with a fit on the mission road, on Saturday list, while riding along on horseback, near the burying ground, and soon after died.  A jury was immediately summoned, and the coroner yesterday held an inquest, the result of which we have not learned.

Daily Alta, California, 23 April 1850

Sonoma Correspondence: Election of Coroner.


Daily Alta California, 23 April 1850

FATAL ACCIDENT. - Last night about 11 o'clock, we learn from Messrs. Cassidy and Meredith, police officers, an altercation took place between some of the visitors of Eagle Saloon in Montgomery St. and the keeper of a gaming table, which terminated in the death of a young man named Robert Harris.  It appears that Harris, who was engaged by this sporting gentleman, fearful of further violence, and to protect his employer from injury, offered him a loaded pistol which he presented across the table and in doing so, the weapon by some unaccountable cause, discharged its contents into the abdomen of Harris.  The coroner held an inquest immediately and returned a verdict in accordance with the above facts.  Harris was from New York and was about seventeen years old.


Daily Alta California, 15 May 1850

SAD OCCURRENCE. - A very serious and melancholy affair took place yesterday afternoon in a house near Kearny in Jackson street.  It appears that two men, intimately associated in business, and as friends, were scuffling in a jocular and good humored manner, when one was thrown to the floor, where he remained until some one picked him up, when to their astonishment and horror he was found without life.  The affair is one of those singular occurrences, the cause of which is often beyond the province of human observation.

   The person implicated was arrested by Mr. Fallon, the Marshall, and placed in the Station House for further examination.

   The Coroner held an inquest last night when the jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.  The name of the deceased was Skelton Dennis of New Orleans.


Daily Alta California, 17 May 1850

A Coroner's Inquest was held yesterday on the bodies of three Chinese which had been found among the wreck left by the fire at the Western Market. The verdict returned was "Accidental death."

   Another inquest was held this forenoon upon the body of a Chinese cook boy, who died from the effects of a kick in the spleen, inflicted by a Gun Lascar named Kunmeath. The latter is now in custody, a verdict of "Manslaughter" having been returned against him by the jury.

Sacramento Transcript, 18 May 1850

Coroner's Inquest - A coroner's inquest was held upon a body found in the river, alongside the ship Orb, on Tuesday last. It was found to be the remains of Geo. Henry Gunn, a native of Oxford, England, who fell overboard about twelve days ago, while ascending the river just above this city in a small boat. On his person were found, affectionately written,  letters from his friends, from which it would appear that the deceased was of the first respectability. The Coroner has written to the family of the deceased giving them the melancholy information of their bereavement.


Daily Alta California, 20 May 1850

Coroner's Inquest. - Coroner Gallagher was yesterday called to hold an inquest upon the body of an Hindostan, who died in Happy Valley on Saturday night, of general debility.  Verdict given agreeable to the above statement.

Murder. - A quarrel took place between some men in Pacific street, opposite the Phoenix, last night about 11 o'clock, when one of them received a knife wound in his right side. The deceased was a Frenchman and apparently a sailor. The coroner held an inquest on the body and rendered a verdict of death by a wound from a knife. A person was arrested by officer Casserly on suspicion of being the person who committed the deed. The affair took place in the street, and was witnessed by one person only, whose description of the murderer coincides with the appearance of the person now in custody.oroner's Inquest - A coroner's inquest was held upon a body found in the river, alongside the ship Orb, on Tuesday last. It was found to be the remains of Geo. Henry Gunn, a native of Oxford, England, who fell overboard about twelve days ago, while ascending the river just above this city in a small boat. On his person were found, affectionately written, letters from his friends, from which it would appear that the deceased was of the first respectability. The Coroner has written to the family of the deceased giving them the melancholy information of their bereavement.

Sacramento Transcript, 21 May 1850

Coroner's Inquest. - The body of a man floated to the levee, in front of the Sutter Hotel, yesterday morning, and the Coroner held an inquest upon it; witnesses identified it as the remains of a Mr. John Brown, who was drowned about two weeks ago in attempting to swim ashore from a ship in the river. In the pockets were found $225 in coin, and $7,50 in dust. Also several scraps of paper, on which were penciled memorandas. We copy them, hoping in this way to attract the notice of the friends of the deceased: Memoranda. - "Call at Whittier's variety store; ditto at the express offices, ditto at the post office; forward all by Hawley's Express." A scrap of paper had penciled on it, "Samuel Whittier." Another read as follows: "72 pans; 48 quart measures; 48 pint do; 72 dippers; 140 pans; 60 pans; 240 dippers." The clothing found on the remains comprised the following articles: blue drilling pantaloons; check shirt, with red flannel under shirt; brown sack coat; green Mexican hat. The Coroner desires to learn where the relatives of deceased may be found; any one possessing knowledge that will enable him to learn their whereabouts will perform a duty by making it known to that officer.

Daily Alta California, 22 May 1850

Coroner's Inquest. - The body of a man floated to the levee, in front of the Sutter Hotel, yesterday morning, and the Coroner held an inquest upon it; witnesses identified it as the remains of a Mr. John Brown, who was drowned about two weeks ago, in attempting to swim ashore from a ship in the river. In the pockets were found $225 in coin, and 67,50 in dust. Also several scraps of paper, on which were penciled memorandas.


Placer Times, 24 May 1850

Drowned -Coroner Ewer held an inquest yesterday morning on the body of Joseph Kelly.  He left the theatre on Wednesday evening, indulged freely, became much excited, and was seen to run and jump into the river about 2 o'clock, AM. A boat was immediately got out and efforts made to rescue him. After being brought to the shore it was found impossible to restore animation. Mr. Kelly leaves a wife and family; he is one of the old settlers, and had lately amassed a fortune of 30,000. He conceived the idea of doubling it and going home; took to gambling and lost all. Dissipation ensued, which has thus terminated his existence.

Sacramento Transcript, 25 May 1850

Drowned. - A man named Joseph Kelly, who had been in delicate health for some time, left his house and family on Tuesday evening last, between nine and ten o'clock, in a state of partial derangement. Shortly after, he appeared at the Pacific Theatre, where he was quite noisy. Leaving the theatre, he went to Mr. Queen's Lecture Room, where he attracted notice by his strange conduct; and from this place he went direct to the river and plunged into the current. Immediate efforts were made to rescue him, but he was not recovered till life was extinct. A coroner's inquest was held over the body, and the verdict rendered in accordance with the above facts.

Stability of Sacramento, 28 May 1850

From the "News" of the 20th, we clip the following:-

"A Deed of Blood ! ! An atrocious murder was committed last night, about half past 11 o'clock, on Pacific st, opposite the Phoenix theatre, on the person of a French sailor named Jule Blanc. A number of persons were gathered at a drinking shop, near the corner of Kearny and Pacific streets, among whom was the deceased and two or three companions. His party were driven off by another gang more numerous, and in the retreat, he happening to be in the rear, was overtaken and stabbed in the right side, and died in a few minutes. The perpetrator escaped. The Coroner had the body removed to the City Hall for the purpose of holding an immediate inquest."

Daily Alta, californaia, 2 August 1850

Sonora Correspondence.

More Murder.

News of a horrible murder reached here yesterday.  The informant, who had ridden post haste for Mr. Dickerson, stated that two men, who had charge of his, (Mr. Dickerson's,) Ferry, on the San Joaquin River, have been murdered, their bodies thrown into the river, and the place pillaged.  Mr. Dickerson left immediately to learn the particulars.

Coroner's Inquests.

The Coroner, since our last issue, had held three inquests in this town, in the short space of twenty-four hours.  Some of these deaths have occurred in a peculiar manner.

Case First.

On the morning of the 27th, an inquest was held on the body of a woman, (Sonorean,) named Martina Escajer, aged 48 years.  On the night of the 26th, whilst at a ball on the other side of the water, she was dancing a Mexican dance, called the Jarabe, when suddenly she assumed a stiff and rigid position, and stopped still.  Her partner reckless her in affright, and she fell down a corpse.  Medical aid was called in immediately, but to no avail.  The ball broke up, and the guests left in consternation.  The jury returned a verdict, "The deceased came to her sudden death, by a disease of the heart, to the best of their knowledge."

Case Second.

On the same morning, an inquest was held over the body of a man named Felipe Bourtrion, a native of California, on board the prison brig.  The deceased had been sick for some time previous to his death, and had been under medical treatment.  The jury returned a verdict "Natural death from some disease unknown to the jury."

Case Third.

On the morning of the 28th, an inquest was held over the body of am man found dead in the road, near the steamboat landing.  The deceased is supposed to be a Californian, name unknown.  From the testimony given in the case, it appears that deceased entered a tent beside the landing, belonging to one Joseph Sprague, about day-light, and commenced appropriating to him self certain commodities therein, which did not belong to him.  The first thing that pleased his fancy was a gun, the next a pistol - (Mr. Sprague, all this time, lying in bed, with his eyes open, watching every movement, and afraid to draw his breath.)  he seized his revolver and cocked it gently, but the intruder appeared to covet the gentleman's possessions more than his life, and continued to help himself.  When he had done sol to his satisfaction, he walked off, without saying good morning, or thank you, or anything of the sort.  Sprague, who had been looking on with astonishment at the fellow's coolness, finally jumped up, and followed him out, upon which the robber turned round and pointed the gun at him.  Sprague immediately fired two balls into his body, and he fell dead.  One ball probably entered the heart, or cut the subclavia artery; the other took effect in the hip.  Mr. Sprague gave himself up to the authorities immediately, and will, of course, be discharged on a hearing of the case.  The jury returned a verdict that, "The deceased came to his death, from the effects of a pistol ball, discharged by one Joseph Sprague.


Sacramento Transcript, 16 October 1850

MURDER IN YUBA COUNTY. - The Marysville Herald notices an inquest that was held on the bodies of three men, found about four miles from Marysville, on the 5th instant :

   "The sculls of all three were broken in, evidently with clubs or some heavy weapon.  From the appearance of the bodies it is supposed the murder must have taken place about two months since.  The only papers found on the deceased were two letters, one from James Irbell, dated Taladago, Alabama, Jan. 16, 1850, to introduce Mr. Jno. H. Terry, and three brothers of the names of John, David, and Doctor Taylor; this letter is directed to Mr. George Carlton, Col. Montgomery, and Alexander Carlton.  The other letter is dated Toladago Co., Alabama, June 3d, 1850, written by A. T. Dixon, and directed to Charles Millender, Sacramento City."

   We have been informed by a gentleman in this city, the the names of the three men who were murdered are Charles and William Millender, and O'Donnell, from Mobile, Alabama.  It is stated that O'Donnell has three or four thousand deposited in this city.


Sacramento Transcript, 19 October 1850

CORONER'S INQUEST. - The Coroner held an inquest yesterday on the body of a man named John Bradbury, about 21 years of age, formerly of Newtown, Jasper county, Ill.  The deceased died on the Levee yesterday morning, at ten o'clock, having been taken ill the night before, about 12 o'clock.  The impression was that Newton died from Cholera Morbus.


Sacramento Transcript, 21 October 1850

Effects of the Admission of California.


The dead body of a colored man was found in a tent on I, near Fourth street, yesterday morning, over which the Coroner summoned a colored jury.  The Coroner found the colored inmates of the house where he went to collect the jury, rejoicing with exceeding great joy at the admission of California into the Union, and nothing but the solemn duty in hand could have induced them to abate their patriotic ceremonies a moment.  They, however, we alive to the impulses of humanity, and while their minds were occupied in contemplating the glorious news to this gracious country, they were also attentive to the commands of the Coroner.

   William Jackson was requested by the Coroner to act as foreman of the jury, and we are authorized to say that his services in that capacity were most valuable as well as patriotic.  The commands given by him to the rest of the jury were delivered in a very officer-like manner, which were duly regarded, but still the loquacious disposition of his subalterns could not be checked.  When the oath was about to be administered, some of the jurors held up both hands, but the foreman, sensitive to the strictest proprieties, proceeded to lop the left arm of his less consummate co-laborers.  The other was being repeated by the Coroner, the jurors all standing in the most solemn attitudes, when the foreman discovered that one of them had forgotten to bare his head.  This was too much for him to bear, and with one fell swoop he knocked off the offensive hat.  All things being now ready, the investigation was commenced, and the jury came to the conclusion that the mane of the deceased was Henry Brown, - that he had lived in the tent where he was found dead, for some time past, darting the latter part of which he was in disposed.  These circumstances being taken into consideration, after much deliberation thereon, the jury rendered to the Coroner the following philosophical and patriotic verdict:

   The deceased came to his death by causes unknown to the jury, but in our belief by the act of God.  In testimony whereof, the Jurors of this inquest, all being colored men and free citizens of the State of California, and now one of the United States of America, have hereunto set out hands, the day and year aforesaid.















Sacramento Transcript, 23 October 1850

CORONER'S INQUEST. - On yesterday Coroner Gallagher held an in quest on the body of Louisa Taylor, a native of London, England, stabbed seven or eight days ago, in a house in Stockton street.  A post mortem examination was made by Dr. Hubbard, of the Marine Hospital, and it was ascertained that the wound was in the abdomen and penetrated the stomach, and that the wound was the cause of her death.  Verdict of the jury: "That Louisa Taylor came to her death by a wound in her abdomen, inflicted by a knife, dirk, or other sharp instrument, in the hands, as the jury believe, of a Chilean woman called Big Mary."

   The Coroner also held an inquest on the body of Eleazer W. Hooper, aged 50, a native of Boston, Mass.  It was given in evidence that the deceased requested permission to sleep in a tent occupied by a man named Williams, and that in the night he became very unwell, and requested Williams to go for a physician.  At ten o'clock Williams endeavored to obtain a doctor, but was unsuccessful - the persons to whom he applied saying "it was too late."  When he returned to his tent, after an absence of about an hour, Hooper was dead.  Verdict of the jury, "Death caused by dysentery and the want of medical aid."



ACCIDENTAL DEATH. - Mr. Levi Gilbert, of Brooklyn, N.Y., came to his death yesterday under the following circumstances.  Mr. Gilbert was on a gunning excursion in the Bat, in company with three other gentlemen.  He had raised his gun to fire, and in setting it down again he struck the hammer against the gunwale; the gun was discharged, and the entire contents entered his left breast, passing up into his neck, and killing him instantly.  Deceased was twenty-four years of age, and has a wife and two children in Brooklyn.  Coroner Gallagher held an inquest on the body last evening, when a verdict was rendered in accordance with the above facts.


Sacramento Transcript, 24 October 1850

CORONER'S INQUEST. - The Coroner held an inquest yesterday afternoon on the body of David B. McClune, from Jefferson county, Wisconsin.  The verdict of the Jury was that death took place from Cholera, brought on by exposure in sleeping out in the night air.

Sacramento Transcript, 25 October 1850

CORONER'S INQUEST. - The Coroner held an inquest yesterday on the body of a native of Oahu, Sandwich Islands, by the name of Joe, who died yesterday in a tent on the Levee, at the foot of Q street.  The verdict of the Jury was that his death was produced by cholera.  He had been unattended by any physician.

MURDER. - We regret to learn that another act of violence has been committed in this city.  On Thursday evening, George baker, commonly known by the soubriquet of "Mickey," was brought before Justice Endicot, on a charge of murder.  It appeared from the depositions of the witnesses, Silas P. Trop and Geo. M. Smith, that at the Dickenson House or at the St. Charles, Mickey and Arch. Turner, with others, were engaged in a game of "poker," when some words were made use of which excited an angry feeling.  The parties then left the house and proceeded to the Levee, where, soon afterwards, Mickey was pushed off the foot-walk, but whether it was by Corney or not does not appear.  However, Mickey drew his knife and stabbed Corney twice in the side. 

   As Smith was going to fetch some liquor for the deceased, he was fired at twice, the first ball passing close to his head, the second through his ear.  The prisoner was committed to the brig, in default of finding bail to the amount of $5,000.  Corney died from the effect of the wounds on the following day.  Turner forthwith vamoosed. - [Stockton Journal.]


Sacramento Transcript, 30 October 1850

CORONER'S INQUISITION. - The Coroner held an inquest yesterday on the body of an Irishman found dead in a tent on J street, between First and Second.  His name could not be ascertained.  Verdict of the Jury, that he came to his death by a visitation of Providence.



Terrible Disaster - Great Loss of Life.

STEAMER SAGAMORE BLOWS UP. - On Tuesday afternoon, at a moment when our citizens were rejoicing in a general jubilee, the festivities were marred by the announcement of a disaster, the most destructive to life which has ever befallen our city. At five o'clock, just as the steamer Sagamore was casting off from central wharf, with a large number of passengers, bound for Stockton, her boiler burst with a terrible explosion.  Masses of timber and human bodies were scattered in every direction.  Many bodies were blown into the water, from which they were recovered by the numerous boats which thronged about the scene of the disaster.  The boat was a complete wreck, and from among the fragments were taken the dead and the dying, mutilated in a manner shocking to behold.

   The cause of this sad affair is perhaps unknown.  The Sagamore's boiler was nearly new, and was pronounced by the boiler inspector to be the best in the port.  It may have been caused by lack of water, and we are informed by one of the passengers on her last trip down from Stockton, that her pumps were very much out of order.  One of the passengers on board at the time of the explosion, informs us that steam had not been blown off for half an hour previous to the accident.  Whatever the cause may be, a rigid investigation is necessary, in order to prevent, if possible, similar accidents in future.

   Capt. Cole, the master of the boat, was blown a distance of fifty feet into the water.  He is considerably injured, though his wounds are not of such a nature as to preclude a speedy recovery.

   The wreck has been towed to the beach beyond Bush street, where she now remains.  A large crowd was gathered in the vicinity all day yesterday.

   The number of persons on board at the time of the accident, cannot be accurately ascertained, as the passenger list has not been found.  We have heard it variously estimated at from seventy-five to a hundred.  Many bodies were so much mutilated that it was found impossible to identify them.  Limbs and fragments were gathered up in baskets - a shocking sight.  The following particulars have been carefully prepared, but it is impossible to ascertain at present the full extent of this appalling calamity.

   The Dead. -

   John Oxhall, an Englishmen, formerly resided in Richmond, Va., where he has a wife and six children.

   Lucien Denis, a Frenchman, keeper of "A la bajado de los mineros," a restaurant in Stockton.

   Ratineau, a baker, late of New Orleans.

   Two others whose bodies have not bee recognized.  The bodies of the five above enumerated are at the city hospital.

   John Pender, died while being conveyed to the marine hospital.

   Pierre Dupenong, a native of Bordeaux, France.

   Jerome Berrere, a Frenchman.

   Joshua A. Stone, of London, England.

   George Beatty.

   James Teller, clerk of the boat.

   Garrison Warner, colored, head steward of the boat.

   Mr. E. H. Austin, a passenger.

   A female, name unknown.

   Two men, names unknown.  Their bodies are in a building foot of Sacramento street wharf.

   David Johnson, of Illinois.

   Three other men, whose names could not be identified, but upon which an inquest was held by Coroner Gallagher.

[Lists of wounded and missing.]

The Inquest. - Coroner Gallagher held an inquest on the bodies of the above named dead, yesterday.  The jury was composed of the following persons" John P. Haff, Ezra S. Porter, Alfred A. Rhodes, James Owins, Rodman Gibbons, Thomas A. Leggett, and Thomas Gibbons. After hearing the testimony of Geo. W. Coffee, Esq., steamboat inspector, and such other evidence as could be procured, the following verdict was rendered.

   "The jury, after a careful examination of the facts connected with the sad calamity of the explosion of the boiler of the steamboat Sagamore, by which so great a sacrifice of life had been made, have come to the conclusion that the explosion of the boiler was the result of carelessness on the part of the engineer - and that the following named persons came to their death by said explosion: Lucien Dennis, Garrison Warner, James M. Letter, David Johnson, Joshua Stone, Pierre Duperoy, Jerome Barrere, John Oxhall, and E. H. Austin, and three others who could not be identified."  ... [Letters from 2 passengers in next column.]


Sacramento Transcript, 1 November 1850

CORONER'S INQUEST. - The Coroner found the body of a man named Barrett, in a small white tent, near the American Fork, over the Slough, yesterday forenoon.  But little information could be obtained, except his name.  Verdict - died from general debility, cholera closing the scene of death.

Sacramento Transcript, 2 November 1850

INQUEST. - The Coroner, yesterday, held an inquest on the body of an Indian or Mexican, found dead on Seventeenth street, between M and N, under a large tree, surrounded by bushes.  No evidence could be given as to the cause of his death.  Verdict of Jury - death from some unknown cause.

[repeat of Sagamore explosion report, with a few extra details.]


Sacramento Transcript, 4 November 1850

INQUEST. - The dead body of a Mexican was found near a pile of trunks at the foot of I street, yesterday morning.  A jury summoned by the Coroner, was unable to learn any particulars concerning the deceased, and they accordingly returned a verdict of death from causes unknown.



A party of gentlemen started early this morning on a hunting expedition, but in the course of a few hours returned with the lifeless body of one of their number.  It appeared from the evidence at the inquest held over the body that deceased, in attempting to mount his horse, with a double barreled gun in his hand, received the entire contents of one of the barrels in the left side, causing instant death.  The trigger became entangled in some of the cords attached to the saddle, and thus rent death into a heart buoyant with hope and joy.  The name of the unfortunate man is G. K. Davis, from Haverhill, Mass.  He has numerous friends in San Francisco.


Sacramento Transcript, 7 November 1850

INQUEST. - The dead body of a man was found, yesterday morning, about three-fourths of a miler from the City Cemetery, lying on some blankets, and covered with an over-coat - a white Californian hat over the face.  From appearances, it must have lain in the same position for six or eight days.  By the side of the body a carbine, powder-horn and shot-pouch were found; and in a pocket was a memorandum book in which were written the following names: "Daniel Rice, Wm. H. Spears, C. C. Spears, J. Wills, (sick,)" besides a few remarks about "Fishing sales," in which the names of A. Wagner, F. Frost, and C. C. Baker were mentioned.  A jury summoned by the Coroner rendered a verdict of "Death from causes unknown."


Sacramento Transcript, 8 November 1850

CORONER'S INQUEST. - Lawrence Wolf, late of galena, Illinois was found dead yesterday morning, in a wagon which stood at the corner of 1 and 14th streets.  It appeared that he had been suffering from diarrhoea for three or four days past, during which time he had lain in the wagon, without attendance or medical aid.  The Coroner held an inquest over the body, and the jury rendered a verdict of "death from Diarrhoea."


AN ACCIDENT WITH FIRE ARMS. - Rewrite of G. K Davis, Daily Alta, 6 November.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - Coroner Gallagher held an inquest yesterday on the body of a man, apparently a sailor, who was supposed to have been killed by the explosion of the Sagamore.  The body was found near Law's wharf, where the inquest was held.




MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT. - Mr. Wingerod (husband of Mrs. Kirby, the talented actress,) met his death on Saturday evening under the following circumstances: Mr. Wingerod was riding through Stockton street, and when opposite the new Presbyterian church, he rode against a rope leading from a derrick to the sidewalk.  The rope struck his head, knocking him from his horse, and in his fall he received injuries which he survived but a few hours.  There is no excuse for the individual who rigged the derrick in such a manner as to peril life.  He is clearly guilty of manslaughter, and the grand jury should look to him.  Mr. Wingared was one of the managers of the Jenny Lind theatre.

   He received the assiduous attentions of Doctors L. B. Hubbard, S. Hubbard, Chapin and Ridges, at the Marine Hospital.  A post mortem examination was made, and it was satisfactorily shown that his death was caused by "compression of the brain from extravasated blood, produced by concussion from injuries received on the right temple."

   Coroner Gallagher held an inquest upon the body yesterday afternoon, when the jury rendered a verdict in accordance with the above certificate, and also "that the person or persons engaged in erecting the new church on Stockton street are censured by the Jury for causing a rope to be stretched across the street, and thereby endangering the lives of persons passing through the street - and resulting, as it has done in this case, in the sudden and violent death of one of our most enterprising and estimable citizens.  The Jury tendered to the widow of the deceased their mournful condolence."

BODY FOUND. - The body of a man who appeared to have been dead for some time, was yesterday found on the Pacific Beach, about eight miles from the city.  A coat and vest were lying near the deceased, and in one of the pockets was a receipt from ---- Roberts to Samuel Roberts.  The Coroner will take charge of the body to-day.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - Coroner Gallagher held an inquest yesterday forenoon, on the body of a man found on the beach, about eight miles from the city.  Near the body a grey jacket was found, in the pockets of which was a due bill in favor of Samuel Roberts, and signed by Lyman Bristol, Oswego, April 17, 1847; also a receipt for a dray and harness, signed Charles N. Webber.  The deceased was apparently a young man.  From the papers found in the jacket, his name is supposed to be Samuel Roberts.  The body was buried where it was found.


Sacramento Transcript, 21 November 1850

CORONER'S INQUEST. - The Coroner held an inquest yesterday on the body of John Brown, who was found wounded in the head, and nearly dead, at the other end of the bridge that leads across Sutter's lake.  Deceased had been in a state of intoxication, and by the verdict of the Jury, came to his death by "a wound behind the right ear, and severe bruises on the right side, on the back, and other parts of the body."  There seems to be a mystery about the case, leading one to suspect that foul play has been used.



BODY FOUND. - The body of a man, very much mutilated, was found yesterday at Contra Costa - supposed to be one of the victims of the ill fated Sagamore.

FOUND DEAD. - The dead body of John Robertson was found yesterday morning on the lot corner of Pacific and Dupont streets, partly covered with a hen-coop.  It was supposed that Robertson had crawled under the hen-coop for shelter, and in the absence of other testimony, the jury rendered a verdict that he came to his death from exposure. A memorandum found on the deceased contained the words "Southport, Conn."

CORONER'S INQUEST ON THE BODY OF DR. FISH. - Coroner Gallagher held an inquest yesterday afternoon on the body of Dr. John C. Fish, who died yesterday morning from the effects of a wound received during the afternoon previous in the saloon of the "El Dorado."  From the testimony given before the jury we gather the following.

   The deceased and a man named Cook were betting on the game of faro.  Cook accused Fish of having taken his (Cook's) money, and in the course of an angry debate the Doctor applied to Mr. Cook a very insulting epithet.  Mr. Cook struck Dr. Fish and knocked him down, and then struck him several times, but when the Dr. said he was willing to give up the money, he (Mr. Cook) expressed himself satisfied, and the two arose from the floor.  It was then noticed that Dr. Fish held a pistol in his right hand, and a cap was heard to explode.  A man named Crawford caught hold of the Doctor's arms, he (Dr. Fish) struggling all the time to get clear.  Most of the people who had been in the room at the commencement of the affray, made their escape when it was ascertained that Dr. Fish was using a pistol.

   Two or three persons in a distant part of the room testified that Crawford drew Dr. F.'s hands behind him and that while in that position the pistol in his hand was discharged, he (Dr. F.) receiving the contents.  The doctor was taken into one of the rooms above, and Drs. Smith, Dimon and McMillan called in.  It was found that the ball had entered just above and back of the right hip, and passed in a direction towards the front of the left side.  There was some testimony that Cooke had left the room when the pistol was discharged.  Dr. Fish was taken to his house, but lived only twelve hours after receiving the wound.

   A post mortem examination was held, and the ball extracted.  It appeared to have been discharged from a Colt's revolver - certainly from a rifle barrel.  The pistol which he used in the "El Dorado," was an Allen's revolver, and was smooth bored.  The ball which caused his death would not fit his pistol; it was considerably larger than Allen's pistol balls.  There was no evidence of any other person having shot Dr. Fish, and the jury felt constrained to give the following verdict: "That the deceased came to his death from a pistol shot wound inflicted by some person to the jury unknown."

   While Dr. Fish lived he constantly insisted that the person who had whipped him had also shot him.  He was 35 years of age, and has a wife and one child in this city.  Deceased is a son of Dr. Fish, of New Haven, Connecticut; but previous to coming to this county had been residing in Lowville, Lewis county, N.Y.  The deceased has resided in this city since January last.

   We regard this as a very singular case.  By comparing the ball with the pistol of Dr. Fish, it appeared absolutely impossible that he could have shot himself; and yet, although a number of persons were in the room at the time, there is no evidence that any other man except the Doctor made use of fire-arms.  Mr. Cook, the person who had the affray with Dr. Fish, sailed for Oregon on Saturday evening.



CORONER'S INQUEST. - Coroner Gallagher was called yesterday to view the body of a man who had died suddenly in Russell's boarding house, Gold street.  The name of the deceased was Francis B. D. Burgess.  The deceased has a family in Green Point, N. Y.  Investigation proved that the man had been unwell for some days past.


Sacramento Transcript, 27 November 1850

CORONER'S INQUEST. - A death occurred a day or two since about ten miles south of our city, with which there is a somewhat singular circumstance connected.  The deceased's name was John Tilden.  Sometime previous to his death, he had been complaining of a pain in his side.  He was, however, found on Saturday to all appearances dead, in his tent.  The Coroner was called, but the body was warm, and the limbs in flexible.  A physician advised that it should be kept wrapped in blankets and watched. The body remained warm from Saturday, at two o'clock, p.m., till Tuesday morning, when it became cold, and the inquest was held.

   Yesterday afternoon the Coroner held another inquest upon the body of an American, who died in the same tent where two Kanakas had died with the cholera within three weeks.  The man had been in the country some eighteen months, but his name could not be ascertained.


Sacramento Transcript, 30 November 1850

CORONER'S INQUEST. - The Coroner held an inquest yesterday afternoon on the body of a colored woman, named Julia Clark, from Norfolk, Va.  The body was found in her bedroom, on I street, but no marks of violence found.  The jury returned a verdict that she came to her death from causes unknown to them.



INQUESTS. - Coroner Gallagher summoned a jury yesterday morning, to investigate the circumstances connected with the killing of a boy, seven years old, on the Mission road last Sunday.  The name of the boy is T. J. Lewis, and the jury say that he came to his death from a pistol shot wound - the pistol being in the hands of a boy named Boyle.  The jury recommended that Boyle be detained in custody pending further investigations.

   Justice Shepherd held an inquest on the body of a colored man named "Bull, who fell dead in the upper story of Cronin & Marklay's building, Montgomery street, yesterday morning.  Verdict, death from an apoplectic fit.


Sacramento Transcript, 4 December 1850

A Horse Thief Shot.

[Long story.] ... The deposition of Mr. Henry continues, "at this time Mr. Chas. E. Morse caught hold of him and said "you are my prisoner - we have got you just where we want you." The negro replied, "I give up, G-d d-n you, don't hurt me."  We tied his hands behind him with a sash.  He soon broke loose and ran, and C. E. Morse, W. P. Henry, C. J. Marvin and L. M. Taylor took after him, when the negro said "G-d d-n you, go to h-ll, you have not got me yet."  Taylor then fired his pistol at him.  I fired the second, and Morse, I think, brought him down with a double-barreled gun.  I then took charge of the horses, which were at the shantee.  We all then went up to the negro, and found him dead."

   At four o'clock yesterday morning, the Coroner held an inquest on the body; and on examination, it was found that seven balls had taken effect.  The Jury returned a verdict in accordance with the above facts.



FOUND DROWNED. - The body of a man was washed ashore near New York of the Pacific, in the Suisun Bay, and found on the 7th inst., by Capt. Thomas Lewis, of the schooner Mary Jane.  The deceased was about 5 feet 9 inches in height, was bald on the top of his head, with dark brown hair and whiskers of the same color; he was dressed in blue dungaree pantaloons, heavy blue cloth vest, and blue flannel shirt.  The body had apparently been in the water nine or ten days.  In the pockets of the deceased was found $105 in money, a small gold ting, and the following paper: "Washington street, Nov. 120, 1850. - Mr. Rd. Roberts at Mr. Courtier's, to R. Nelson, M.D., medical attendance, $18.  Received payment, R. Nelson."

   An inquest was held by Henry F. Toye, Justice of the Peace (there being no coroner), and no marks of violence being found, a verdict was rendered that the deceased came to his death by accidental drowning.  The body has been interred at New York of the Pacific, and should the above facts lead to the identification of the deceased, friends and others interested can apply for information to H. F. Toye, Esq., New York of the Pacific.

LIST OF DEATHS. - (Reported for the Alta California, by N. Gray, City Sexton, Sacramento street, near Dupont.)

Dec. 14. - John Mundas, Chile, 35, visitation of God.


Sacramento Transcript, 21 December 1850

The Horrible Murder at San Jose.

No. 2 of the California State Journal is before us.; We gave in our last the news that a most revolting murder had been committed; the following contains additional intelligence extracted from the Journal:

   Horrible Murder and Arson. - On Sunday evening last, our citizens were alarmed by the information that Messrs. Bester & Smith's house, about two or three miles from this city, on Los Gatos Creek, was burnt, and some two or three persons had perished in the flames.  Early the next morning a number of our citizens, ourselves among the number, started for the scene of disaster.  On arriving there, we found the building entirely consumed, and in one corner, and near where the door of the building was, lay the blackened and charred remains of three persons, who had been in full health less than twenty-four hours previously. The Coroner was sent for, but had not arrived at the time we left. 

   In the meantime we made an examination of the premises, and the position of the bodies, and we were satisfied that murder and not accident, as was generally supposed by those present, had done the work of death.  In one corner of the room lay a body, supposed to be that of Mr. Digby B. Smith, with the legs and arms nearly burnt off, the entire abdomen destroyed, and the top part of the skull appeared to have been crushed, and was lost.  In a parallel line with this body lay another, supposed to be Mr. Wood, the cook, with the legs and arms similarly burnt, and the entire skull wanting.  Between these two bodies lay the blade of a sheath dirk about six inches in length.  Nearer to the door, just below the body last referred to, lay another, since recognized to be Mr. E. G. Barber's.  The skull was also broken as by the blow of an axe.  At the feet of this body lay an open jack-knife, the blade of which had the appearance of being corroded with blood.

   The following are the facts, as nearly as we have been able to gather the particulars.  About 7 o'clock on Sunday evening, the family of Mr. Hamilton, who resides near Mr. Bester's house, heard the explosion of gunpowder, and in a few moments afterwards their attention was attracted by the light of a burning house.  They immediately hurried to the scene, but the outside of the building was entirely consumed, and the victims, beyond the breach of help.

   A Coroner's inquest has been held upon the bodies, and an examination of them proved conclusively that murder had been committed.  No clue to the murderers has been discovered.

   The design was evidently the murder of Mr. Bester; but he had left the house late in the afternoon of the murder.  We had the pleasure of a visit from him yesterday.  He has taken measures to have the bodies decently interred, ...

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School