Posts Tagged ‘California’

Halloween Art

October 31, 2012

The witch is astride this night for a ride,
Old Satan and she together;
Now out and now in,
Thru thick and thru thin,
No matter what be the weather.

— Robt. Herrick

The Herald – Junior Section (Los Angeles, California) Oct 31, 1909

Pioneers Frightening the Indians With Hallowe’en Tricks

— Hazel Cox

The Herald – Junior Section (Los Angeles, California) Oct 31, 1909

In the Houses of Rich and Poor Alike, Its Joyful Customs will be Observed

The Herald (Los Angeles, California) Oct 31, 1897


— Helen Knecht

Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, California) Oct 30, 1910

Teacher is Born in a Wagon Train

September 7, 2012

PACIFIC GROVE, Aug. 25. —  Mrs. Alice Ede Gamman, Former high school teacher in this state and in Nevada, and now a resident of this city, is another “covered wagon baby.” She was born near the Platte river in June, 1862, while her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Ede, were on their way west in a wagon train from Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Mrs. Gamman’s parents settled in Summit, now Chilkoot, Plumas county, where her brothers engaged in the cattle business. In 1875 the family moved to Reno, Nev. Mrs. Gamman was educated in the public schools of Nevada and California, and graduated from the old Napa college in 1883. Afterward she taught in grammar and high schools of Nevada and California for nearly 30 years.

In 1905 she married Robert W. Gamman, son of another pioneer family. He died in 1918.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Aug 25, 1925

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Feb 9, 1915

Image from Find-A-Grave

Mrs. Alice Gamman Dies in California

Mrs. Alice Ede Gamman, former resident of Nevada, died Friday at her home at Pacific Grove, Calif., friends in Reno were informed yesterday. She was the eldest daughter of the late Stephen Ede, old-time resident.

Mrs. Gamman left here several years ago to reside on the coast. She was an aunt of Mrs. Harry J. Frost of Reno and leaves other relatives in western Nevada and Sierra valley,

Funeral services will be held in Oakland Tuesday at 11 a.m. followed by cremation. The ashes will be accompanied to Reno for burial in Mountain View cemetery.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Apr 21, 1935

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Apr 30, 1935

John Dewey Self-Rule School

September 6, 2012


Thirty-five Youngsters Being Instructed Under Self-Rule Plan; Students Make Own Laws, Inflict All Penalties

A school where there are no “don’ts,” where the teacher is not “boss” and where the child solves his own problems with the aid of his small companions, is the innovation in education which has just been launched in Berkeley.

Mrs. Paul Eliel, well-known graduate of the University of California, is responsible for the deviation from the set paths of education. Through her interest and with the aid of a group of Berkeleyans has been started in the college city, at 2731 Bancroft way, the John Dewey school, “a co-operative effort in progressive education.”

Mothers as well as children are pupils at the school and weekly classes are held for parents to “educate” them in modern child-raising.

Although the first “project” school established in the bay region and the second one in the state, the John Dewey school gains its inspiration from the famous Lincoln school, operated in conjunction with Columbia university in New York; from a similarly well known “progressive” school of its kind in Dayton and from less than a dozen such institutions which have pioneered the way in new educational practice in the nation.


As much as possible classes are held outdoors at the John Dewey school. The rooms, however, are bright with cheerful paint, the walls hung with illustrations of fairy stories and with little low green tables and chairs scattered about.

There is not a nail anywhere to hold the furniture to the floor. Neither are there any “no whispering” laws at the schools by a dictatorial teacher.

Neatness and consideration of the feelings of others are part of the school curriculum.

Never are children punished by the teacher. There is an unwritten code of ethics among the 35 pupils in which punishment is meted out by the children themselves.

“One of the children used bad language on the school grounds the other day,” explains Mrs. Eliel. “A conference of the children was called in which the teacher played the role of onlooker and the youngsters discussed the seriousness of the offense and voted what should be done in the matter. They finally decided that the guilty party should sit in a chair for 15 minutes. The wonderful thing about the system is that the offender never seeks to escape punishment as so often is the case when the teacher in the chastiser.”


Citizen-making is the real object of the “project” or “progressive” school, declares Mrs. Eliel, who placed her children in such an institution while she was studying for a master’s degree at Columbia and became so enthused with the plan that following her return to Berkeley she interested friends in establishing the John Dewey school.

“Two important factors in developing useful citizens are the ability to reach independent judgments and to reason clearly” explains Mrs. Eliel, who has the role of executive secretary of the school, the duties of which position she fills without compensation.

“These cannot be gained through the enforcing of discipline by one in authority nor from the solving by the teacher but must come to the child through the learning of self-control and through effective experience. By fostering situations that will comfort the children in everyday life in later years and that will demand thoughtful reactions, the school believes that these powers can be developed.


“When a grown person is given a problem to solve is he placed in a seat nailed to the floor and told to get busy on it without moving from his place or talking out loud to anyone near him? No, of course not. That is why we have no nailed-down seats in our classrooms, why our pupils are free to move about and to seek information and counsel where they will. It is by discussing problems with other children that they reach their conclusions.

“Furthermore in a class of 35 children, interests are not all alike. Consequently we do not say that all must do one thing. The child is allowed to develop the problem that especially interests him and from that problem we guide him to other things. We are teaching children to be independent thinkers and reasoners, to solve each problem as it comes up. Naturally it is the thing in which the person is most vitally interested on which he works the hardest.


“It is equally true with children. If we can stimulate that interest and reach out from it to other things, have we not accomplished much for the child and at the same time given him a joy in his work? There are no truants at our school; the children are all anxious to come to classes and loath to leave. That they are learning the necessary fundamentals of life is evident, also.”

Dolls, paint boxes, work-benches, blocks and other playthings are among the “text books” used at the school. That there are other real text books, too, is evidenced by the fact that the “Three R’s” are not neglected in any way. So far kindergarten, first and second grades comprise the school but a further development is anticipated. Interest in the movement has been taken by leading educators of the bay region and the work is being closely watched by school experts.

Sponsors of the school include Mrs. Warren Gregory, Dr. Jessica B. Perxotto, Mrs. Louis Bartlett, Mr. and Mrs. J.S. Lamson, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Stetson, Jr., Miss Ralph Merritt, Mrs. W.W. Douglas, Mrs. F.C. Turner, Mrs. Maurice Lombardi, Mrs. Frederick Athern, Mrs. Harold L. Leupp, Mrs. H.F. Jackson, Dr. V.E. Dickson.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Sep 18, 1921

[Excerpt] Google Book Link

 Perhaps his greatest joy is his “doll” who calls herself grown-up now. She has dolls of her own and out in Berkeley, Calif., has come into existence this year, a school for the dolls of Harriet J. Eliel and a “group”. It is called the John Dewey School. That is surely some name to live up to. Berkeley is a hot bed for progressive education, judging by the numbers who join from that city.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Apr 8, 1925

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OAC on Harriet Eliel:

Harriet Judd Eliel was born in 1890 in Evanston, Illinois. She attended the University of California, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Health and Social Welfare in 1913. After the birth of her second son in 1916, she completed her Master of Arts degree in Education, also at the University of California. Between 1921 and 1924, she established and directed the experimental John Dewey School in Berkeley, California, which her sons attended.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Aug 25, 1925

*   *   *   *   *

Wikipedia on William John Cooper:

William John Cooper (November 24, 1882 – September 19, 1935) was an American educator who served as US Commissioner of Education from February 1929 to July 1933. According to the New York Times: “His fundamental theory of education, which he often repeated, was that the ultimate goal of teaching should be, not how to make a living, but how to live. Nevertheless, he believed that the system of education in this country should break away from the older traditions of Europe and seek to express the cultural developments of the New World. In one of his last public addresses Dr. Cooper urged a complete reorganization of the education system in this country to bring the schools into closer harmony with modern conditions.”

Sierran Pan

August 12, 2012

Newpaper image from San Jose State University

Henry Meade Bland – Poet Laureate

Sierran Pan

I am fire and dew and sunshine,
I am mist on the foamy wave,
I’m the rippling note from the field-lark’s throat,
I’m the jewel hid in the cave.

I’m the lightning flash on the mountain,
And the cold rose-red of the dawn,
I’m the odor of pine and purple vine
And the willowy leap of the fawn.

I’m the sigh of the south wind of autumn,
I’m the scent of the earth at first rain,
I’m the wild honker call of the earliest fall,
I’m the yellow of ripening grain.

I’m the music no singer has dreamed of,
I’m joy in the heart of man;
I’m the lyric time of no poet’s rhyme,
I’m the glad, the immortal Pan.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Aug 29, 1920

Hermit Digs Own Grave

June 22, 2012

Image from RED TAIL TRAILS – Pacoima Canyon via Dillon Divide


Then Goes Home to Die, Leaving Pathetic Note to Coroner.

Los Angeles Dispatch to New York Sun.

“Dutch Louie,” known throughout the Southwest as the hermit of the Pacoima, a few days ago walked slowly from his hut, which is 5 miles from Pacoima, and selecting a spot on the hillside, dug himself a narrow grave.

Then he returned to his home, dressed himself in his best clothing and lay down to die. All that he told in a letter he wrote to the coroner just before he lay down for the last time.

The note, a pitiful chronicle of hope that never died, asked the coroner to bury him without ceremony in the grave he had dug and to mark it only with a scant inscription, “Dutch Louie.”

“I don’t fear death,” wrote the hermit. “It is the inevitable wages of life — and I have lived. For scores of years I have lived in the hope of finding the bonanza I had dreamed of and prayed for. I never found it, but I was cheered to the end by the star of hope.”

The body was found by hunters.

The Washington Post (Washington, D.C.) Jun 8, 1915

From Karl Marx to General Sherman

April 22, 2012

The photos here record an interesting chapter in the history of the Sequoia National Park, when Charles F. Kellar, 90, of Santa Cruz, was an organizer of the Kaweah Colony in 1886. The group built the first road connecting the valley with the grove of big trees. Kellar was the original owner of what is now known as the General Sherman tree and first named it the Carl Marx Tree. He is visiting the park this week. The pictures show: No. 1 — Camp Advance in 1889, at that time the colony town site north of Ash Mountain on the North Fork of the Kaweah River. No. 2 — Miss Kate Redstone in 1890 standing on a suspension bridge over the Kaweah just below the junction of the North Fork and the main stream. The bridge was built by Ralph Hopping, grandfather of Guy Hopping, superintendent of the General Grant National Park. Miss Redstone later became Mrs. Ralph Hopping. No. 3 — Type of paper money used in the Kaweah Colony. No. 4 — Kaweah colonist building road to Giant Forest in 1886. No. 5 — Charles F. Kellar. No. 6 — shows what happened when the donkey engine fell through the bridge.

SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK (Tulare Co.), Oct. 17. — A 90-year-old soldier stands reverently beneath the great arms of the General Sherman Tree, oldest and largest of living things, and exclaims, “I once tried to protect you.”

The soldier is Charles F. Kellar of Santa Cruz. He once owned the Sherman Tree in every sense that so ageless a living thing can be owned by a mortal being.

Organizer of the Kaweah Colony in 1886, he built the first road connecting the san Joaquin Valley with the grove of Sequoia Gigantes now included in the Sequois National Park.

And, as leader of the colony of Socialists, he named the largest of the trees the Karl Marx Tree. The government later changed the name to General Sherman.

Is Visitor At Park

Kellar is visiting in the park now, just fifty years after he and fifty-six other colonists started work on the road from a point seven miles above Three Rivers to the wilderness that now is a network of wide highways and graded trails. He is the guest of his granddaughter, Mrs. Daniel J. Tobin, wife of the assistant park superintendent.

Back in 1885, Kellar, a newly arrived San Franciscan who had just finished four years of service in the civil war, was the head of a Socialist organization, the Land Purchase and Improvement Company. On a business trip to Visalia — a trip made mostly on foot — he overheard two United States surveyors talking about a recent survey of a vast timber region dotted with giant trees. He soon had a copy of the survey and had obtained a guide, Newton Tharp, to take him to the timber country.

Tharp was a son of Hale Tharp, the discoverer of Giant Forest, and knew the wilderness even though there were no trails.

With packs on their backs, the two men traveled almost the same route now followed by the Generals Highway. They went up the middle fork of the Kaweah River to the base of Moro Rock, then wound around until they reached what is now known as Crescent Meadow.

Camp Was Inside Tree

Headquarters was made at Hale Tharp’s “cabin,” a fallen Sequoia hollowed out by fire and commodious enough for a Summer home.

Shortly, Kellar saw the really big trees. He saw the largest of all. And decided to own it and protect it.

Returning to San Francisco, he organized the Kaweah Colony. Each man put up a $10 fee on the quarter section of land that was to be his, and $400 was paid for the land. There were forty of the colonists.

Kellar recalls the trek to the promised land. The bay district Socialists came in a body and on foot, toting their worldly goods. Each had the hope of developing the land of the majestic trees and sharing in profits equally with his fellows.

As the weary party came upon the Sequoias they were awe inspired. All resolved the primary purpose of the colony would be to protect the largest of the trees for posterity.

Kellar’s land was towered over by the “Karl Marx Tree,” and around it spread the holdings of the other colonists.

Having invested $4,000, the colony leader included in his properties a ???-acre ranch, the old McIntosh place, on which the Kaweah Park office now stands.

The ranch became the starting point for the wilderness road which ended at C?????y Mill, ___  ____ d___.[back copy, illegible]

“It took us three years of the hardest labor to build the road,” Kellar says. “We had few tools and we were unskilled.”

Upon completion of the job, the federal government brought suit against the Kaweah Colony charging fraudulent entry. When the case came up for trial in Los Angeles, Kellar says, the colonists presented their receipts for fees and payments and the matter, Kellar says, was thrown out of court.

Nevertheless, there was difficulty due to the government’s opposition. The Sequoia National Park was formed by the federal authorities. The colonists became discouraged, disbanded and scattered. The road they had toiled so hard to build they used only as a way out of the wilderness.

Kellar likes to reminisce about his youth. Born in Germany in 1846, he came to America with his parents at the age of 9 years, the family settling on a farm in Pennsylvania, near Lake Erie.

Served Throughout War

When the war clouds began to gather between the North and South, Kellar, although not of age to become a soldier, enlisted three times, having run away from home to join the army. His father balled him out of the service twice. His third and last enlistment was one year prior to General Lee’s entrance into Gettysburg and he served throughout the war.

Among the highlights of Kellar’s career as a soldier was his march with General Sherman to the sea. He cast his first vote for president Abraham Lincoln when a ballot box was brought to the field of battle. Congress had given special permission for all soldiers to vote regardless of their ages.

Crossed Isthmus Of Panama

After the war Kellar came to California via Panama by rail and water in the year 1886. Leaving Panama the ship stopped at San Pedro, the only other coast city having a wharf, besides San Francisco. Here as far as the eye could see were fields of wild geese which looked somewhat like a mirage. Los Angeles then had a population of 5,000, and land was selling for $10 an acre. Seventh and Hill Streets was considered an outpost.

San Francisco was a series of sand dunes, a wharf, board walks, a few boarding houses and saloons. Beer was 25 cents per glass. No grass was growing in the city, but some one had imported Bermuda grass and dried one crop as hay in the region now known as Golden Gate Park. The wind soon sifted the dry grass around in the sand dunes and with the aid of moisture from the sea, there was a luxurious growth.

Kellar asserts an ounce of gold worth $15 constituted a day’s wage in the late sixties. There was a great scarcity of labor. “We carried our gold in buckskin bags in our pockets, he recalls.

Fresno Bee Republican (Fresno, California) Oct 18, 1936

From the SmithsonianAmerican Exploration and Settlement:

Between 1884 and 1891, the area along the North Fork of the Kaweah River just upstream from the Terminus Reservoir site was the scene of an interesting experiment in utopian socialism that is still the subject of serious study by students of economics and political science. This was the Kaweah Cooperative Commonwealth, generally referred to as the Kaweah Colony. It was based upon the theories of Laurence Gronlund, an American socialist originally from Denmark, whose book “The Cooperative Commonwealth,” was the first adequate exposition of German socialism. In general, Gronlund envisioned an ideal cooperative colony in which working members would own and control production and profit accordingly. Burnette G. Haskell, John Hooper Redstone, and James John Martin, all of whom had been active in labor organizations in San Francisco, were impressed with Gronlund’s theories and decided to form such a colony with timberlands as a source of raw materials for a manufacturing business. After a search of the entire Pacific Coast and parts of Mexico, the leaders of the proposed colony selected the Government timberlands between the Middle, Marble, and North Forks of Kaweah River. Fifty-three timber claims totaling about 12,000 acres were filed. Because several of the applicants gave the same San Francisco address and some were aliens, and because of the large number of claims, the Federal Land Commissioner in Visalia withdrew the lands filed upon from entry on suspicion of fraud. The colonists, however, were convinced their claims would be validated by the courts and proceeded with the venture.

*More at the link, although I didn’t see any mention of Charles Kellar.

And more at The History of Kaweah Colony. No mention of Kellar here either. Maybe he embellished his role a bit  in starting the colony.

I found a few references to C.F. Keller with a little more searching (The History of Tulare and Kings County):


In the Wooden Showcase

March 5, 2012

SA N BERNARDINO, March 26. — Missing since Saturday afternoon, Dickey Jensen, 6 years old, and Dean Meecham, 4 years old, had not been found tonight and early tomorrow morning it is estimated that 500 searchers will take up a systematic search for the two children. Police officers tonight advanced the theory the boys had been kidnaped.

Fear that they had been drowned in Warm creek was dispelled after the banks of that stream were thoroughly searched today.

Late tonight officers learned that the two children had been seen at 5:30 Saturday evening a mile from the city. Once of them was crying. A woman came out of a tent pitched in the brush and was talking to them.

Dickey is the son of James Jensen, who is in a hospital suffering from injuries received in a crossing collision between an automobile and an interturban car.

Dean is the son of Wells Meecham. Officers at Victorville were requested to search a gypsy camp near that town. The gypsies left here Saturday night.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Mar 27, 1923

Great Posse Organized in San Bernardino to Seek Two Youths Who Have Been Missing Since Saturday


Early Reports of Kidnaping Not Confirmed, Officials Decide to Examine Every Foot of Country Near City


SAN BERNARDINO, March 29 (By International News Service). — Launching the greatest search ever conducted in Southern California, more than 10,000 men assembled at the city hall here and started a systematic hunt for little Dicky Jensen, 6, and his younger playmate, Dean Meecham, 4, missing San Bernardino boys, who have been lost since last Saturday.

Responding to a general call broadcast throughout the city and surrounding country by Mayor S.W. McNabb of San Bernardino, farmers left their fields, businessmen their desks, bankers their offices and troops of Boy Scouts in uniform turned out to join in the hunt for the youngsters.

Before starting on the hunt today, the posse was addressed by Mayor McNabb, who exhorted to extend their greatest efforts in what is regarded as the critical period in the hunt for the boys.

Sheriff W.A. Shay and officers under his command then issued the necessary orders to the big group of men of which they had charge and the search was started.

Every foot of the country near here is to be gone over thoroughly. Every vacant house was to be inspected and every brush pile and old well were to be investigated.


The Jensen and Meecham boys were last seen playing near their homes Saturday. Early reports caused the officers to believe that gypsies had kidnaped the boys and a caravan of these nomads was pursued and searched without result.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Mar 29, 1923



SAN BERNARDINO, March 31 — While San Bernardino sorrowed the police redoubled their search tonight for trace of the abductor of Dean Meecham, 4, and Dickey Jensen, 6 years old, whose bodies were found trapped in a wooden show case in a vacant store earlier today.

Undertakers reported to the police tonight that Dean had been drowned before his body had been placed in the curious death vault. His lungs were found filled with water and his garters were found to be rusted.

It was impossible to tell whether Dean had been drowned from the condition of his clothes, as they had been nearly torn from him by his frantic playmate placed alive in the crypt with the dead body. Dean had been dead for some time when discovered by searchers and Dickey, whose pulse still beat feebly, died two hours after being found and he was rushed to a hospital.

Says Boys Were Drugged.

Authorities expressed the belief that Dickey had been given a powerful drug before being placed in the case in a comatose condition, and that he did not revive for some hours later. Evidence indicated that the drug had caused him to have several spasms.

While preparations are going forward for the funerals, which will be held immediately after the inquest on Monday, the parents of both lads are close to prostration from grief and exhaustion after the week of frantic search.

In trying to locate the perpetrator of the crime, police became alarmed at the extent of the search, in which more than five hundred school children on vacation and one thousand armed citizens took part.

Believe Dean Cries Out.

Previously, they believe, he had the boys hiding somewhere in the out skirts of town. They believe he then drugged both boys hoping they would stay under the influence of the narcotic until he could escape. They believe that while he was taking them, probably by machine to some place where he could conceal them, Dean did not remain under the influence of the drug and perhaps began to cry.

Becoming alarmed, they think the kidnaper plunged his body into a creek stifling him until he stopped. It is then thought he stuffed the bodies into the peculiar show case in the store building, which was being remodelled and therefore deserted.

The strange death trap consists of a rack about four feet high, tapering down like steps of solid wood. In the abandoned store it was shoved toward a blank wall. The space where the boys were concealed was like the underside of a stair case.

Escapes During Night.

Under cover of darkness Saturday night, they believe the slayer escaped hurriedly, confident that his terrible crime would not be discovered before the following Monday at least. It was not discovered until a week later.

The possibility that the boys were playing about the store and unwillingly trapped themselves, was abandoned with the discovery of water in Dean’s lungs.

Police despatched an appeal throughout the country asking that any possible suspects be held for a thorough check will be made to dis- [today?] was made to southern California by the officers.

It is probable that all the play mates of the two boys will be questioned by police regarding any strangers who may have been friendly shortly before the abduction. A thorough check will be made to discover anyone who left the neighborhood suddenly after the crime.

Present plans are to have a public funeral, which will be attended by the majority of the one thousand citizens who took part in the unsuccessful hunt the past week.

Disappear Week Ago.

The boys disappeared while they were playing in a park on March 24. For a week searchers, numbering finally nearly one thousand persons, combed the will mountain country and desert back of San Bernardino as well as the city itself, in the hope of finding trace of the missing youngsters. The parents of neither are wealthy, so extortion was obviously not the motive. It was then thought for several days that gypsy bands, seen near here on the day they disappeared, might have kidnapped them, but a search of all the gypsy camps in southern California proved without result. Rescuers stumbled by chance on the trap early this morning.

The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, Nebraska) Apr 1, 1923

SAN BERNARDINO, April 2. — The coroner’s jury, composed of 13 members, holding an inquest today over the bodies of Dean Meechan and Dickey Jensen who met their death in a ______ showcase, returned their verdict this afternoon after long deliberation.

In the case of Dickey Jensen, who was found barely breathing when removed from the case, but who died two hours late, the jury was unanimous in declaring death to be accidental, due to starvation.

In the case of Dean Meechan, four of the jury refused to sign the majority verdict tothe same effect.

They wrote out an opinion basing their refusal on the testimony of two embalmers, who were positive that water was found in dean’s lungs, and that the body gave other evidences of drowning.

Dr. W.D. Lenker, county autopsy surgeon, testified that in his opinion both deaths were due to starvation, and that Dean was not drowned.

The district attorney and county officers were present. They indicated that the case will not be dropped despite the fact that no tangible clues as to whether Dean Meecham met with foul play are in their hands.

The funeral of both boys were held this afternoon immediately following the inquest.

Modesto Evening News (Modesto, California) Apr 2, 1923

SAN BERNARDINO, April 3. — The case of Dean Meecham and Dickey Jensen, the lads who were trapped in a showcase and for whom a widespread search was conducted for a week, was considered closed today.

Police accepted the verdict of the coroner’s jury in the case of both boys, giving the cause of the tragedy as “accidental death due to starvation.”

Modesto Evening News (Modesto, California) Apr 3, 1923

SAN BERNARDINO, April 17. — (United Press.) — Less than three weeks after little Dickey Jensen’s starved body was found entombed in a wooden showcase with his playmate, Dean Meacham, his grave was made the scene of a fight between his father, James Jensen, and his uncle, Willis Humphries.

A complaint brought by Jensen, on file here today, declares Jensen went to the grave to place a [wreath there,?] ____ the two men quarrled over the recent separation of the Jensen’s which took place two weeks after the boy’s tragic death. Humphries charged Jensen with having insulted his sister, Jensen’s wife, and is alleged to have attacked Dickey’s father and beaten him into insensibility. Humphries was arrested but released later on his own recognizance.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Apr 17, 1923


September 9, 2011

From Maps of San Francisco and California on Steve Haughey’s website

{Written for the Oakland Daily Evening TRIBUNE.}


Oh, California! On thy rock-bound, misty shore,
I watch, and hear the surging breakers roar,
And wonder if their restless, seeming endless flow
Was just the same one hundred years ago!

As through the Golden Gate the briny, ebbing tide,
Recedes to mingle with the Ocean, fair and wide,
I watch the vessels passing to and fro,
And wonder if ‘t were thus one hundred years ago!

I see upon the shore fair beings, walking light,
With manly brow, complexion fair and white,
And from their lips sweet words of wisdom flow.
I ask, could this be seen one hundred years ago?

I see, where Ocean piled its golden sands,
A noble city in rich grandeur stands,
Where fireside joys are lit with genial glow,
Oh, was it thus one hundred years ago?

On spiral domes that seem to reach the sky,
Our Nation’s Flag is streaming bold and high.
It seems to say, while waving to and fro,
“I waved not here one hundred years ago!”

I hear the cannons’ boom as thunders loud,
And from their mouths I see the smoky cloud
Rise up to mingle with the winds that blow —
Blow now as then, one hundred years ago.

Yes, here amid the fog which has enshrined
Thy shore, these visions flit across my mind,
And to my queries come the answer, “No!
These things were not, one hundred years ago.”

The Golden City, as it stands to-day,
Bears witness of a rich, progressive sway;
The cannons’ boom that falls upon our ears
Speaks of the change in one short hundred years,

And thus it is our State, with prospect bright,
Becomes a nation’s glory and her proud delight;
The comforts gained through labors fraught with tears,
Oh, may our nation share them many hundred years!

–[Charlie F****

Oakland Daily Evening Tribune (Oakland, California) Jul 12, 1876

The subjoined poem which recently appeared in the Washington, D.C., Capital was written by Mary M. Clemons, fourteen years old, and a daughter of Dr. Clemons, formerly of Sandusky. It would do credit to a much older head. Dr. Clemons is in the pension service at Washington, having been transferred from the southwest, and his family have been in Southern California for the past winter. Here is the poem:


Bright blue skies above us,
Grass so green and sweet,
Around are friends that love us,
And flowers at our feet.

Oh! this is California,
The land of sunshine blest,
Where every one, tho’ rich or poor
Can have a chance to rest.

Oh! this is California,
Where hearts are light and gay,
Where every one you chance to meet;
Have pleasant words to say.

Oh! this is California,
Where everybody sees
The glorious sunshine all the year,
And all the flowers and trees.

Oh! this is California,
Where every one doth sing
No matter if ’tis summer,
Or winter, fall or spring.

Oh! this is California,
Where all my friends should be,
And if you don’t believe me,
Why, just come out and see.

Fullerton, Los Angeles, Co., Cal., April, 30, 1889.

Sandusky Daily Register (Sandusky, Ohio) Jan 11, 1890

Image from the Aztec Club of 1847 website

From the New York Sun

The brown man’s foot is on thy shore, California!
His hand is at thy people’s door, California!
Say, bang him one and draw his gore
And with his face mop up the floor,
So he won’t trouble you no more,
California, oh, California!

Thou wilt not cower in the dust, California!
Thy yellow boycott shall not rust, California!
Remember Kearney’s sacred trust
To do the mongols up or bust.
And let them have the knock-out thrust
California, oh, California!

Rise ’tis the red dawn of the day, California!
When low-browed leaders point the way, California!
With Grove L. Johnson in the fray,
And friends of Schmitz in bold array,
The Japs must go, but they must stay,
California, oh, California!

We see the blush upon thy cheek, California!
For thou wert every bravely meek, California!
But lo’ there surges forth a shriek —
From vale to vale, from peak to peak —
Pacific calls to Bitter Creek,
California, oh, California!

We hear the old-time Sand Lots hum, California!
We hear the hoodlum and the bum, California!
They call the Golden State to come
And join the rabble and the scum.
But will she do it? Say, by gum?
California, oh, California!

Washington Post — Feb 5, 1909

Nonagenarian Writes Poetically Of Woodland as State’s Fairest

S.H. Hancock, 90 years of age, with Mrs. Hancock has been visiting Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Eakle in this city. Although a nonagenarian, Mr. Hancock’s mind is as clear as a bell and his muse still retains all the fire and beauty of youth, as will be realized after a perusal of the following appraisement of Woodland, which was composed on the front porch of the Eakle home before the honorable couple departed for their home in Oakland:


A beautiful picture drawn with a free hand,
One of the fairest in our broad land;
Hedged in by trees forming a lovely frame,
Nothing seems amiss — not even the name.
Nature has put forth her wonderful power,
Calling her maidens from the leafy bower;
Planting a carpet in colors bright
From the deepest blue to the snowy white;
Weaving in flowers with a prodigal hand,
None were too lovely to beautify the land.
Her noble trees so lofty and fair
Waving to and fro in the summer air,
Casting a shade deep and profound,
Tracing their shadow on the grass grown ground.
A ride through her streets fills one with amaze.
We break forth in melody to sing their praise.
Men accomplished much but Nature was at the fore,
At each angle you turn, new beauties galore.
Oh, California, you should be proud of this spot,
One of the fairest that fell to your lot.
Fairy-land! Flower-land! Woodland!
Names will only fail.
I shall not forget you, even at the end of the trail.


Woodland Daily Democrat (Woodland, California) Dec 4, 1922

Celebrating California: The 31st State

September 9, 2011

Image from the Museum of the City website

A Memorable Celebration.

Orator of the day, Hon. R.C. Rust, Superior Judge of Amador County:

“Forty-eight years ago to-day the Thirty-first State was added to our nation. Forty-eight years ago to-day the hopes, desires and ambitions of our pioneer fathers and mothers were in part realized, for on that day our beloved California was admitted to the Union, and without territorial childhood, without probation she appeared a new star in the firmament, with all the dignity, with all the privileges, and with all the responsibilities of a full fledged State.

“By that act on that day was fulfilled the prophecy of the pioneers of 1846 who raised the bear flag at old Sonoma of the freedom of California from Spanish rule, and was proven the wisdom of the act of Commodore Sloat in first raising on California’s soil the stars and stripes at Monterey.

“And to-day, we of the mother lode, from ‘Little Amador’ on the south and from Nevada and Placer on the north, with our friends from Sacramento, assemble beneath the shadow of the protecting folds of “old glory” and that other ensign of patriotism and bravery, the bear flag of California, to again sign the praises and honor the pioneer heroes of those days. To again recall to our minds their bravery and unselfish patriotism. To renew our solemn pledge to fulfill the duties of the sacred trust imposed upon us, and to again give evidence of our full appreciation of the blessings we enjoy as the recipients of their bounty.”

With the spell of the Past and all its sacred memories upon him, he paid loving homage to pioneers, dead and living, as follows:

“And in all we do to-day, my brothers, let us not be unmindful of the fact that we have, for the time, pitched our tent and staked our claim on sacred territory, hallowed by the memories of the pioneers of 1848 and 1849. They were

“The giants with hopes audacious, the giants of iron limb;
The giants who journeyed westward when the trails were new and dim;
The giants who felled the forests, made pathways o’er the snows,
And planted the vine and fig tree where the manzanita grows;
Who swept down the mountain gorges, and painted their endless night,
With their cabins rudely fashioned and their camp-fires ruddy light;
Who builded great towns and cities, who swung back the Golden Gate,
And hewed from a mighty ashlar the form of a sovereign State.”

Passing from the heroes to whom we are indebted for this “empire by the sea,” with its accomplished facts and possibilities, he paid a splendid tribute to the fighting commanders and forces on land and sea, in the war just closed. And commending all that is good and great to the love and emulation of his applauding hearers, he concluded:

“The emigrant trails are no more, but long shining rails of steel mark pathways that lead to the centers of trade. The pack train, the “prairie schooner” and the stage coach have given place to the railroad with its swiftly moving trains and luxurious Pullman coaches. On every hand we see peace, contentment, prosperity and progress. The past lives in history, the present is ours, the future what we will make it.

What a shame the Honorable R.C. Rust’s words have fallen on deaf ears:

“In your hands, oh children of the pioneer fathers and mothers of California, Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, rests the destiny of California. See to it that the mantel of our fathers falls on worthy shoulders. So mould your lives by their illustrious example that all the possibilities of the future may be realized, so that these two banners may float side by side for all time, the one the emblem of the grandest State in all our Union, the other the ensign of the greatest nation in all the world.”

The Mountain Democrat (Placerville, California) Sep 24, 1898

Brutal Murder on the Water Front

June 20, 2011

Image of Irish Hill – San Francisco in the 1890s from the PIER 70 San Francisco website.


Brutal Murder on the Water Front.


The Supposed Murderer Is Safely in Custody.


But the Police Believe They Have Without Doubt Captured the Guilty Man.

A horrible murder was committed in the rear of the Grizzly Bear Saloon, 11 East street, last night.

A woman about 30 years of age, whose name is unknown, was stabbed to death and left dying in the little apartment by a man who is supposed to be Martin O’Neil, chief of the galvanizing department of the Union Iron Works.

O’Neil entered the saloon with the woman about 9 o’clock in the evening and called for drinks. They retired to the room in the rear and remained there for several hours.

About midnight one of the proprietors. whose suspicion was aroused, went into the room, and as he entered heard a door leading to an alley close.

The woman was lying unconscious upon the floor. A pool of blood flowing from wounds in her abdomen and thighs surrounded her.

The patrol wagon was summoned and she was sent to the Receiving Hospital, but died upon the way.

The owner of the saloon and several of his friends pursued the man who had left the dying woman on the floor.

They captured him and turned him over to the police.

He said his name was Martin O’Neil ; that he lived at the Potrero, and that he is employed in the Union Iron Works.

He is a short rather corpulent man.with a bloated face, reddened by intoxication.

He declared that he met the woman and took her into the place to drink, but could not recollect what had taken place between them there. O’Neil’s shirt sleeves were covered with blood and there were gory stains upon his coat and vest.

No weapons were found upon him and he was thrown into the tanks of the City Prison.

He will probably be charged with murder to-day.

When O’Neil was searched in the prison papers were found upon him showing that he had lived in Oakland, and that his wife had been divorced from him on account of his cruelty.

O’Neil’s face was scratched in several places and blood was found under the finger nails of the woman.

An examination of the body at the morgue failed to disclose the name of the victim.

The only clew was furnished by a ring, on the interior of which were engraved the letters “K. J.”

The proprietor of the saloon says the woman was a frequenter of his place and was there known as “Kitty.”

Some small change, a key, a breastpin and a return ticket to Oakland were the only articles found upon her.

This ticket would seem to indicate that she had come from Oakland with O’Neil.

The saloon-keeper also said that he had heard that the woman was the daughter of some Judge, but he had forgotten the name and could only recall that it began with the letter “P..”

The Morning Call (San Francisco, California) Jun 28, 1893

Image of the Union Iron Works docks – 1890s from the Found sf website.



The Wife of a Newspaper Man Enticed Into a Saloon and Murdered by Her Drunken Companion. — The Fiend Arrested.

SAN FRANCISCO, Cal., June 29. — One of the most atrocious murders ever committed in this city occurred at an early hour Wednesday morning. The full details of the crime did not become known until late last night and are too revolting to admit of extended mention. The victim was Mrs. Kate Griffes, wife of a reporter employed on one of the local papers, and her murderer was Martin O’Neill, foreman of the galvanizing department at the Union Iron Works. The woman was found in a dying condition in a private room of a saloon on the harbor front early yesterday morning and died while being removed to the hospital.

It was known that O’Neill had been in the saloon with her, and he was accordingly arrested, though it was believed for some time that the woman had died from natural causes, as no marks of violence were found upon her. An autopsy was held later in the day and it was discovered then that the wooden handle attached to a bouquet of flowers, had been thrust into her body and bent and twisted until a great gash had been torn in the flesh and her internal organs mutilated in a most horrible manner. Parts of the bouquet were found embedded in her stomach. The fiendish work of the murderer had induced internal hemorrhage, which resulted in death in a short time.

Mrs. Griffes formerly lived in Philadelphia, but came here some years ago and had been living in Alameda, across the bay, with her husband and 6-year-old daughter. She was a young woman of very attractive appearance. Recently she had become addicted to the use of intoxicating liquors and had been in the habit of visiting the saloon in which she met her death.

While coming to San Francisco on the ferryboat Tuesday evening she met O’Neill, with whom she had a slight acquaintance. He is 50 years of age and has a family. He invited Mrs. Griffes to the saloon and they remained there together several hours, during which time they drank a great deal and became very much intoxicated. It is not known definitely just how the crime occurred, but there is every reason to believe that O’Neill, frenzied by liquor, attempted an assault. O’Neill was in a drunken stupor when arrested and claims he remembers nothing of the tragedy.

The Davenport Tribune (Davenport, Iowa) Jun 30, 1893


Martin O’Neil Accused of the Crime.


Two of the Victim’s Female Friends Doing Their Best to Avoid Unnecessary Publicity.

A charge of murder was entered on the books at the City Prison yesterday morning against Martin O’Neil for the killing of Mrs. Kate Griffes.

He positively refuses to talk, always giving the same answer that he is acting under the advice of his attorney. He looks sullen and dejected and appears to fully realize the gravity of the position in which he is placed.

The police are diligently hunting up his record and every little detail in connection with his meeting with Mrs. Griffes and what took place subsequently.

EEK! Sound the alarms!

O’Neil’s wife has been the mother of sixteen children to him, only three of whom are now alive, and yet he treated her harshly and cruelly. It is known that he had many intrigues with other women, and old as he was he considered himself something of a rake.

Every effort has been made by the police to find the instrument with which the fatal blow was dealt, but without “success. There is a growing impression that the terrible wound was caused by the stem end of the bouquet which Mrs. Griffes carried in her hand when she entered the Grizzly Bear saloon with O’Neil.

Detective Bohen in Breaking of this theory yesterday said: “I believe he inflicted the fatal blow with the bouquet, which contained many large stems, and may have been made around a small stick for a handle. The shock. I think, killed her instantly, and when he saw the blood on his hand and that she was apparently dead he fled from the room. There had been no struggle, I think, for the woman’s clothing was not torn. Her body must have been exposed when the fatal blow was struck, for her clothing was not penetrated, and this is further supported by the condition of her clothing as she lay on the floor after falling from the chair.

“It is, of course, difficult to say exactly what was used to inflict the wound, but it looks to me as if nothing but the stems of the bouquet did it. The blow that made the wound drove flower-stems and leaves into it,and they were found there when the autopsy was made. It would have been almost impossible to have stabbed her first and then thrust the flowers into the wound, for the external cut was too small for that. If O’Neill had any weapon it was held in his hand with the bouquet when the blow was struck.”‘

As partly bearing out this theory, when the woman’s clothing was carefully examined at the Morgue yesterday, no sign of a tear or cut could be found, but there was a broken twig nearly as large as an ordinary lead pencil and about five inches long sticking in the clotted blood on the clothing that covered the wound.

There is one thing that puzzles the police. When it was first told O’Neill after he had been arrested that the woman was murdered, he said, “Well, somebody will be glad of it.” From that remark the police, infer that O’Neill must have met her before Tuesday night, and they are making diligent inquiries to find out what O’Neill really meant by bis remark.

Mrs. Griffes has quite a number of intimate friends in this city who became acquainted with her about eighteen months ago, when she lived at 803  Golden Gate avenue.

Mr. and Mrs. B.F. Bates and Mr. and Mrs L.H.” (Laura) Bricker were in ‘this house at the time, and the three women became very close friends and were together a great deal. After leaving the Golden Gate avenue house Mr. and Mrs. Griffes moved to Alameda, and Mr. and Mrs. Bricker soon followed them. The three women k«pt up their friendly connections until a few months ago,” when Mrs. Bricker and Mrs. Griffes had a falling out and have not been on speaking terms since. Mrs. Bricker was in the city early yesterday morning and called on Mr. Bates at his office, but she returned to Alameda and was not to be found again. She informed Mr. Bates that she never heard of O’Neil before, and did not think Mrs. Griffes knew him.

A CALL reporter called at Mrs. Bates’ residence, 299 Hyde street, yesterday afternoon and was told by both the landlady and Mr. Bates that Mrs. Bates had crone to Alameda to get; some clothing for Mrs. Griffes.

There must have been a misunderstanding on the part of the landlady and Mr. Bates, for when the reporter called in the evening on Mrs. Dr. Burns at 1223 Market street it was learned that Mrs. Bates had been there all day. Mrs. Burns is Mrs. Bates’ mother, and was greatly distressed to think that her daughter’s name has been drawn into the affair. Mrs. Bates could not be seen, but her mother, who knew the murdered woman well, stated that Mrs. Bates never heard of O’Neil until the name appeared in the newspapers.

It is probable that O’Neil and Mrs. Griffes met some time before their last and horrible spree.

While there is no direct evidence to that effect, it is believed that O’Neil went to Oakland Tuesday evening for the purpose of meeting some woman. One of the drivers on the Fifth-street line, with whom O’Neil rode to the city from the Union Iron Works that evening, told a man at the works yesterday that O’Neil said he was going to Oakland to meet his “trash.” It may have been Mrs. Griffes or it may have been some other woman. If, however, O’Neil and Mrs. Griffes returned to the Grizzly Bear Saloon at the hour mentioned by the bartender it is almost certain that he did not go all the way to Alameda to meet Mrs. Grilles.

Mrs. Beggs denies the published statement that her daughter told  the police she saw O’Neil, as she thought, with a tall blond woman entering the waiting-room at the foot of Market street to go to Oakland on the 12:15 p. m. boat on Tuesday. She states that neither she or her daughter ever knew O’Neil.

The inquest will be held to-morrow at 10:30 o’clock.

The Morning Call (San Francisco, California) Jun 30, 1893

The Griffes Inquest.
Special to GAZETTE.]

SAN FRANCISCO, July 1. At 11 o’clock this morning Coroner Hughes commenced an inquest into the death of Mrs. Kate Griffes, who was killed in the Grizzly Bear Saloon by Martin O’Neil. A large crowd was in attendance, many being attracted by the desire to see O’Neil and hear his story of the crime. He appeared in his shirt sleeves, attended by Robert Ferral, his counsel. After the jury had viewed the body the remainder of the day was spent in examining witnesses.

Weekly Gazette Stockman (Reno, Nevada) Jul 6, 1893

The Morning Call (San Francisco, California) Jul 4, 1893

Charged with Murder.
Special to the JOURNAL]

SAN FRANCISCO, July 3. — After an investigation of the circumstances attending the brutal murder of Mrs. Kate Griffes in a water front saloon last Tuesday night, the coroner’s jury this evening brought a verdict charging Martin O’Neil with murder.

Daily Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Jul 4, 1893

O’Neil’s Trial Commenced.
Special to the GAZETTE.]

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 20. — The trial of Martin O’Neil, the man who is charged with the revolting murder of Kate Greffes in a private room of a water front saloon on Jun 28th last, was commenced before Judge Wallace this morning. The work of empaneling a jury was commenced.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Nov 20, 1893

Again Postponed.

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov, 22. — The jury-bribing cases of Frank McManus and W.J. Dunn were again continued yesterday morning until Thursday noon by consent, the court and District-Attorney Barnes being engaged in the trial of Martin O’Neil, charged with the murder of Mrs. Kate Griffes last June.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Nov 22, 1893


A Jury Not Yet Selected for O’Neil.


Not Easy to Get Men Who Are Unbiased.


Forty Citizens Examined Yesterday – The Dead Woman’s Husband in Court.

Meanwhile the defendant sat throughout the proceedings, his wife beside him, with the old restless downcast stare, and the same nervous twitching of the hands. Once or twice he looked up, and once or twice he spoke, but it was not until the weary day’s work was over that the unhappy man was seen to smile feebly at some cheery remark made by his counsel, Carroll Cook. And the gaping crowd have stood, wondering to themselves, if “that feeble-looking spectacled old wreck” can be the diabolical villain they had read of.

The Morning Call (San Francisco, California) Nov 22, 1893


A Jury Secured in Martin O’Neil’s Case.


The Testimony That Has Been Offered Thus Far.


From the “Ladies’ Entrance” to the Wineroom— The Dead Body on the Floor— The Arrest.

After three days spent in securing eleven jurors in the case of Martin O’Neil, who is charged with the murder of Mrs. Kate Griffes, the twelfth man was accepted yesterday in less than an hour after court was called, and the jury finally empaneled consists of S. W. Dixon, the last one chosen, and David Keil, Charles Ashton, Arthur Patterson, Lawrence Felvey, Manfred H.Heyneman, W. F. Muller. Charles Benjamin, W. T. V. Scbenck, W. B. Isaacs, Monroe Greenwood and Julius Steinberger.

As soon as the work of securing the jury was:completed Assistant District Attorney Black opened the case for the prosecution by relating the story of the crime and all the attendant circumstances. He stated that the prosecution would introduce evidence to prove that O’Neil and Mrs.Griffes went to the Grizzly Bear saloon on East street together on the night of June 28 last, and that they occupied a private room there from about 10 p. m. until after midnight; that during that time they were frequently served with liquor; that about 1 o’clock O’Neil suddenly left the saloon alone, while at the same time Mrs. Griffes was found dead in the wineroom from wounds, which the circumstances would show had been inflicted by O’Neil.

J.H. Griffes, the husband of the deceased, was the first witness called by the prosecution. He testified that the last time he saw his wife alive, was at their home in Alameda on the morning previous to the day of her death. He said that the deceased was at times fond of liquor, and that periodically the appetite was almost uncontrollable. Her absence from home on the  fatal night had not caused any alarm, as he supposed she was with friends in this city.

William H. Davies, the proprietor of the Grizzly Bear saloon, occupied the afternoon with his testimony.

“I was standing at the end of the hallway which forms the ladies’ entrance to the saloon, about 10 o’clock in the evening, when O’Neil and the woman whom I afterward knew as Mrs. Griffes came in together,” said he.. “They took a wineroom, and I took their order, and at first each ordered lager, but as I started toward the bar O’Neil said to make his a whisky. and after I left the room he followed me and said, ‘Make it two whiskies.’

“I served the drinks, and from that time up to midnight I served them with five more. When I brought in t:he first order Mrs. Griffes said to me, “I guess you don’t know me. I’m Mrs. Bates, friend, Kittie.’  and I then remembered that I had seen her there before.”

“At this time, as indeed all during the evening, the conversation was of a pleasant nature, and  I heard nothing which would indicate a quarrel of any kind.

The wineroom is so situated that any unusual noise could be heard in the barroom, or in next door, which is separated only by a door, which is now nailed up.

“About half past 11 I was serving them with an order, and I asked them if they were going back to Oakland or Alameda that night. Mrs. Griffes replies that she was going to stay with Mrs. Bates’ mother that night. I took in another round of drinks about midnight, in which I had asked them to join me, and then I went out for my supper. When 1came back, a .half hour later, I was busy making up my cash, and at other work about the saloon, until a man named Ferris who frequents my place, mentioned to that the man was leaving the wineroom alone, and   I at once went to the door, but could not push it back more than six inches, but I stuck my head in far enough to see that the woman was lying on the floor with her head on a chair and her feet against the door, and that there was blood on the floor.

“I at once called to Ferris and said, ‘For God’s sake, don’t let that man get away, for I think he has murdered this woman.’ I followed out a moment later and overtook Ferris and O’Neil at the corner of Clay and East streets, where some officers had also arrived by this time. When O’Neil was told that Mrs.Griffes was dead he said: ‘Oh, that’s all right. It will all come out in the wash.’

“We then returned to the saloon and found the floor covered with blood, while the loose bouquet of flowers which had been carried by Mrs.Griffes was scattered,  part of it being on the table, but much of it strewn on the floor and mingled with  blood.”

“If there had been any outcry of any kind or any unusual noise I would certainly have heard it, for even the moving of the chairs in the wineroom can be heard at the bar, but I heard nothing at all which attracted my attention.”

At the close of Davies’ testimony the court took an adjournment until Monday at 10 a. m.

The Morning Call (San Francisco, California) Nov 24, 1893


Martin O’Neil Receives the Full Limit.


Judge Wallace Speaks His Mind Freely.


Absurd That One Who Committed Such a Deed Should Get Off With a Few Years in Prison.

Martin O’Neil was sentenced by Judge Wallace yesterday to ten years’ imprisonment for the killing of Mrs. Kate Griffes.

The occasion afforded Judge Wallace an opportunity to express his views upon the present system of criminal procedure. Wearied and disgusted by numerous futile attempts to see that each offender receives an amount of punishment proportionate to his crime, the Judge in addressing O’Neil yesterday, and using the case at bar for an example, commented strongly upon the manner in which the hands of justice were tied by the constitution as it at present stands. He also took occasion to remark that in his opinion the verdict of manslaughter was hardly borne out by evidence at the trial, in that such evidence pointed, at least, to a verdict of murder in the second degree.

The prisoner sat quietly in the courtroom, apparently unconcerned, but betrayingly the restless twitching of his hands that he feared the ordeal before him. His wife sat beside him as before and sought by her loving presence to do what she could to help him bear his fate.

As soon as Judge Wallace had taken his seat the case was called and O’Neil ordered to stand up. Judge Wallace then laid some manuscript before him, adjusted bis spectacles, and proceeded as follows:

“Martin O’Neil; you were accused of the murder of Kate Griffes; to this accusation when read to you here you pleaded not guilty; upon trial, and after an elaborate and able defense, the jury found you guilty of the crime of manslaughter; have you any legal cause to show why judgment should not be passed upon you upon the verdict.”

Carroll Cook, on behalf of the prisoner, called attention to the fact that his client was drunk at the time and oblivious to what was going on. He insisted that the punishment should be light.

Judge Wallace then resumed: “The necessary import of the verdict, is that you did in fact feloniously take the life of the deceased woman, and by the disgusting and brutal means shown in the evidence; you were, therefore, plainly guilty of murder; that yon were drunk when you did the act afforded no defense as against the charge of murder in the second degree, and as the entire jury appear to have been satisfied that you committed the act charged, you should at least have been convicted of that offense —the offense of murder in the second degree; it is understood that some eleven of the gentlemen of the jury were of that opinion, too. Among the twelve, however, one was found who, while he, like the others, was convinced that you feloniously took the life of the woman, nevertheless refused to concur in a verdict of murder, and so the others of the jury were forced either to adopt the views of their one dissenting associate or find no verdict at all.

“It is provided by the constitution that in civil cases three-fourths of the jury may render a verdict, but in criminal cases absolute unanimity is still required by our law. The conspicuous failure of substantial justice which has thus resulted in your case may possibly suggest to thoughtful men the advisability of changing the constitution, so as to permit a number of juror*less than the whole to render a verdict in criminal as well as in civil cases.

“The verdict here, as already observed, is a verdict of manslaughter; the extreme measure of punishment mentioned in our statute for that offense is imprisonment in the State Prison for a term not exceeding ten years in duration. And then, under the law of this State, even should this extreme penalty be now adjudged against you, the term of your actual imprisonment is subject to material reduction, for a sentence of ten years’ imprisonment formally imposed here will probably turn out by mere operation of statutory law to be an imprisonment of no more than six years and six mouths in actual duration, to say nothing of the interposition of the executive authority to still further reduce the term or to pardon the offense outright. For wantonly and feloniously taking the life of a defenseless woman six years’ and six months’ imprisonment! In fact, the system of criminal administration at this time established by our constitution and laws would appear wholly inadequate to deal properly with crimes such as yours.

“The jury having found you guilty of the crime of manslaughter, the sentence of the court is that you be imprisoned in the State Prison for a term of ten years.”

The unhappy man’s wife on hearing the sentence burst into tears, while O’Neil sat with his hands closed together and his eyes bent on the ground, while his mind doubtless traveled back through circumstances and events in the past which, through his own fault alone, led to the utter ruin and desolation of his home. He was quickly led from the room and the court proceeded with the regular business of the day.

The Morning Call (San Francisco, California) Dec 19, 1893


What’s that old saying? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?

Young Martin O’Neil.

Martin O’Neil Jr., the son of the man now incarcerated in the San Francisco prison charged with the murder of Mrs. Kate Griffes in a water-front saloon, was tried before Judge Allen yesterday and convicted by the jury after a few minutes’ deliberation on a charge of battery, committed on an old man named George Creverling on May 14 last.

O’Neil,  Jr. was drunk at the time of the beating and kicking. He pleaded his own case, claiming that what he aid was done in self-defense. His old mother sat by him yesterday in court.

Young O’Neil is a hard enough working fellow when sober, but he has been in trouble before through his drinking, and always heretofore his mother has been able to get him out of trouble. He will be sentenced to-day.

The Morning Call (San Francisco, California) Aug 24, 1893