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rushed upon the constable and his prisoners, and, being prepared with a wagon, took all of the suspected men into their own charge. Under duress, with a horrible death confronting him, Jones made a “clean breast" of the whole affair. As it appeared that he had never shed human blood, he was spared for the slower operation of the law. The crowd then proceeded to adjust the ropes about the necks of the three others, they having been placed upon barrels set in the wagon. They were called upon to make a confession, when they replied that they “did not know” they were guilty. ,
The prisoners then called for brandy, which was given them, and each drank about a pint to steady his nerves for the trying ordeal before him.
The place selected for the execution was an old oak tree below the town. The loose ends of the ropes having been made secure to a huge limb of the tree, the wagon was driven away, and the mob had completed its work.
In the morning, the bodies were taken down and an inquest held over them. The verdict was that " they came to their death by strangulation, by being hanged by their necks, upon an oak tree near Bangor, effected by the hands of persons unknown to the jurors.” Charles Jones, who escaped the noose, was sent to the state prison for robbery.
A tong interim here ensued, broken by no act of mob violence until the year 1870, when the citizens again took the weapons of justice into their hands.
On the afternoon of the twenty-seventh of July, 1870, two teamsters, named J. M. Logan and Charles Olsen, were driving their teams along the Quincy road. Being near each other, they carried on a kind of desultory conversation, both being considerably under the influence of liquor. As they neared Jack's ranch on their road, Logan accused Olsen of having burned the barn on that place, and asked him why he did it. A few nights before, the barn had burned down, and suspicion had fastened on Olsen as the man who did it. Olsen retorted to Logan's charge with considerable earnestness, and the men quarreled as they drove along. A short distance above they stopped to water their horses, and began to dispute as to who should get to the water first. Logan, being invested with an opprobrious epithet by Olsen, struck the latter over the head with his bucket. At this Olsen drew his sheath-knife and stabbed his opponent to the heart. An old gentleman who witnessed the affray stated that Olsen, immerliately after killing Logan, lay down by his side and went to sleep, the fumes of liquor preventing him from realizing what he had done. Both parties had resided at Bidwell's bar for eighteen years, and were generally considered industrious and peaceable men.
Olsen was arrested and brought to Oroville, where the preliminary examination was held before Justice George W. McBride, and he was held for manslaughter, his bail being fixed at $2,000. In default of bail he was committed to the county jail to await his trial. A great deal of sympathy was felt for the murdered man, which became more intense after the prisoner was charged only with manslaughter and it became probable that he would receive but a light sentence. On the night of the twentyfourth of August, Joseph N. Vera, deputy sheriff, who had charge of the prisoner and slept in the anteroom of the jail, was awakened at one o'clock by the barking of dogs lying in his room. He heard footsteps on the outside, and asked who was there. The answer, according to the testimony afterwards given by him on the witness-stand, was in a familiar voice : “Joe, I want to see you, I have business with you.” Vera dressed himself and opened the door, when a large number of men, some with masks and some without, entered the room. They told him they meant business and it was useless for him to resist. They wanted to get into the jail and demanded the keys. Vera refused to tell them where they were, but after a short search they found them and several entered the outside door of the jail. One of them came back and insisted that Vera should go in and open Olsen's cell. Upon his refusal they brought in a sledge-hammer and a small crow-bar, and began to rain vigorous blows on the lock of the cell where poor Olsen was confined. Before the door was opened the wretched man, frightened by these threatening demonstrations, uttered loud cries for assistance. In a brief while the cries ceased.
The men who remained with Vera threw a blanket over his head, saying, “ Mr. Sheriff, we do not propose
you shall see any one taken out of here.” Olsen was borne through the room to the outside, when the keys were given back to Vera, and the men disappeared.
Early in the morning the lifeless body of Charles Olsen was found dangling by the neck from an arm of the derrick at the depot. An ugly gash had been made in his throat, from which it was believed his death had been caused. In the cell where he had been incarcerated, a pool of blood was on the floor. The coroner's jury, which held the inquest over the body of Olsen, announced as its opinion that he had cut his own throat while the lynchers were breaking in the door of his cell, with a case-knife he was known to have in his possession, and that he had come to his death by his own hand. Notwithstanding this view of the case, there were many who believed, on very good grounds, that Olsen was still alive when taken to the depot. Vera heard groans while the body of the victim was being borne by him, as did also another party who witnessed the hanging. Whether the man Olsen killed himself from fright, or whether he met his fate directly at the hands of his captors, it matters very little. They intended to hang him, and would have done it just the same if he had been borne unharmed from his cell.
The grand jury, at its next session, examine:l several persons who were known to have taken part in the affair, and submitted the following report : “ The breaking into the county-jail, and the taking therefrom the body of Charles Olsen, was investigated upon the sworn testimony of Mr. Vera, undersheriff and jailor at the time of the occurrence. We agreed that no good to the public or society would result by any action upon our part against any of the persons engaged in the affair. To this we unanimously agree; yet we would much rather see the law respected in all cases and under all circumstances by each and every citizen.”
Probably no deed of blood committed within the confines of Butte; no heinous crime, glaring with all the horrid, sickening details of fiendish malice, has excited half the righteous indignation or the poignant sorrow and grief as the terrible act of George Sharkovich awakened on the first of June, 1871.
The victim, Miss Susan McDanel, was the daughter of Thomas McDanel, a prominent citizen of Cherokee, who had died previous to this sad occurrence. The murderer was an Austrian, somewhat above thirty, with black hair and eyes. The cause of the murder was the refusal of Miss McDanel to marry him, or rather, the certainty that she would not ; for it is believed he had never been allowed to speak to her on the subject. He brooded over the hopelessness of his case, and informed others that she should marry die. Matters went on quietly for one or two years.
On one occasion friends of the young lady were alarmed at his threats, and would have taken summary measures with him but for the interposition of others, who thought it was mere braggadocio. Time proved with how little certainty human actions can be anticipated.
There had been a wedding at the residence of Justice Glass, which was followed by a dance at the hall, fifty yards distant. Sharkovich had been at the ball. Miss McDanel was passing from the hall to the residence of Justice Glass, in company with Miss Glass and Dr. Sawyer. The three were near the gate, when hearing some one approach, Miss McDanel turned and remarked to Miss Glass that her father was coming. The latter looked around and said it was not her father. A moment after Sharkovich reached them, when he seized Miss McDanel by the hair, drew her head suddenly back and thrust a knife down into her neck until it reached her heart. In a moment he had withdrawn the reeking blade and fled in the darkness. The poor girl ran ten or twelve feet in the direction the fiend had taken, and fell to the ground a corpse, without a word or sigh. Several shots were fired by the bystanders at the flying murderer, but he
escaped in the chaparral. This occurred at three o'clock Thursday morning. By daylight the town was ablaze with excitement. A meeting for organized action in capturing the murderer was held in the Cherokee hotel, and $5,000 were offered for his apprehension. Parties sought him in all directions, Indians were put on his trail, shafts, tunnels and every conceivable hiding-place were searched, but for a time in vain.
By the vigorous efforts of his pursuers, Sharkovich was surrounded, and it was believed that by no possible chance could he escape the fierce vengeance that all were prepared to mete out to him. His hiding-place was thought to be on Bloomer hill, but though the public pulse was at fever heat, Friday, Saturday and Sunday passed and still he was not caught. On Sunday night George McBride guarded the Bidwell bridge, with I. R. Ketchum, who remained in the bridge office. A party of horsemen were on the opposite side, scouring the ravines for the fugitive. A man stepped on the north end of the bridge, and as he approached, McBride told him there was a man in the office who wanted to see him. He offered to pay his toll, but was ordered into the office. Before reaching it, Mr. Ketchum came out and immediately recognized in him the perpetrator of the foul deed at Cherokee. Sharkovich carried a Henry rifle, but did not offer to use it. He entered the office and sat down. Mr. Ketchum leveled his shotgun at him, and he gave up his rifle. Not being entirely satisfied as to his identity, several questions were propounded to him. He said he was a Frenchman going from Oroville to Downieville. They took him to Mr. Bendle's, and preparations were made to keep him till morning. Mr. Bendle observed the man fumbling about the breast of his coat, and determined to disarm him. He secured the long, murderous knife that had been used with such fatal effect upon Miss McDanel. He then demanded his pistol. Sharkovich, as he drew it out, attempted to shoot himself, but the weapon failed to explode. Mr. Bendle grasped the pistol, and Sharkovich releasing his hold of it, sprang away suddenly and began to run.
Three shots from the pistol he had relinquished, fired by Bendle, brought the relentless fiend to the ground, where with a few short gasps
he expired. The body of the murderer was brought to Oroville on Monday morning, and then carted on, accompanied by an excited crowd, to Cherokee. The funeral obsequies were of a strange character. Two gallons of petroleum were poured into and over the corpse, when it was placed on a pile of fire-wood and lumber from Sharkovich's cabin, and consumed in a grand blaze. This disposition of the body provoked much criticism and blame from the state press, but when the heniousness of the crime is considered, together with the intense fury aroused in the breasts of many by the sad occurrence, there is little to be wondered at in their revengeful act, even though vengeance was wreaked but on the lifeless and insensible clay.
The last act of lynching performed by the people of the county, occurring but a short time since, is so fresh in the public mind that we hardly need to refer to it. The brutal murder of the cripple, A. J. Crum, by Tom Noakes, at Chico, in a sudden fit of anger, was followed, three days after, immediately upon his incarceration in the county jail, by his forcible removal therefrom and his suspension from the limb of a tree on the ranch of his victim; all of which occurred in the latter part of July, 1881.
THE BENCH AND BAR.
Among the names of the gentlemen who have sat on the bench in this county, and who have practiced at the bar of justice, are many which were known far beyond its limits. Their voices have been heard pleading for justice in many counties and before the supreme court, while some of them have walked the halls of the legislature and participated in the deliberations of congress. The following biographical sketch of the more prominent of those who have presided in the courts will be found of interest :
JUDGE W. S. SHERWOOD died at Alleghany, Sierra county, June 26, 1870. He was a pioneer of the state, and an early resident of Butte county, being here in 1849. Butte county was his home till 1854, when he removed to San Francisco. He was a member of the constitutional convention at Monterey, and was elected the first judge of this judicial district by the legislature, when it was known and designated as the ninth. He was an able and generous-hearted man, whose usefulness may have been somewhat impaired by his active participation in partisan politics. He was the democratic nominee for senator from this county at the election of 1853, and was beaten by Peck, the whig nominee, who be came somewhat famous during his senatorial term as the senator who had been offered a bribe to vote in favor of bringing on the senatorial election. In San Francisco he practised law for a time, and in 1868 removed to Sierra county. There he ran for state senator, and was beaten.
JUDGE WARREN T. Sexton.—The death of this man, who has been prominently connected with the affairs of Butte county from the date of its organization, which occurred on the eleventh of April, 1878, called forth from all sides the highest eulogiums upon his character, both public and private. He was universally esteemed and respected. The bar of Butte county unanimously adopted these resolutions as the spontaneous and heartfelt expression of its regard for him, and its deep sorrow for his removal from its circle :
“Resolved—That the members of the bar of the second judicial district of the state of California received the intelligence of the death of Warren T. Sexton with feelings of profound sadness and sorrow. By his long and honorable service at the bar and upon the bench, distinguished by uniform courtesy and kindness of demeanor, as well as by eminent ability and profound learning, he endeared himself to all his professional brethren ; and now, at the close of his earthly career, they find a melancholy pleasure in giving to his memory this public expression of their respect and regard.
“ Resolved—That in the death of Judge Sexton the state has been bereaved of a just and upright citizen. Of mild and unassuming manners, he was firm and unfaltering in noble purposes. In his profession he was among the foremost and ablest of his associates. And upon the bench his sterling integrity gave additional dignity to the court, while his pre-eminent talents and unrivaled learning shed new lustre
upon the already brilliant pages of our law; and while we, the members of his own judicial district, feel most keenly his loss, we can point with pride at the record of a life well spent in the labors of a profession to which he has left the priceless legacy of a spotless name and the example of what may be achieved by patient industry and persistent labor."
Concerning his early life, prior to his coming to California, be left but little record. He was seldom heard to speak of his boyhood days. He was born in Warren county, New Jersey, in 1823. While still a young boy, his father moved with his family to Michigan, and there engaged in building railroads by contract. While still at an early age, he fitted and entered Ann Arbor College. While there, he imbibed a strong penchant for the classics, which led him, during his later years, to study the works of the ancient authors for his recreation. The failure of his father in business, before he had finished his course, compelled him to leave college and engage in the active pursuits of life. In 1849, he crossed the plains with the Wolverine Rangers, and in October of that year came to Butte county. His first and only mining was done at Long's bar. He was elected county clerk in June, 1850, and held the position until 1853, when he become district attorney, serving as such for two years. He resided at the old town of Hamilton during its period of county-seatship, and when Bidwell's bar became the favored spot, he followed its fortunes until they waned, and then took up his permanent abode in Oroville. The early records of the courts of this county are all in his well-known handwriting. Care and neatness pervade all the work of his life. While at Bidwell's bar, he formed a law-partnership with Judge C. F. Lott, who still survives him. During this partnership, he rarely appeared in court to argue either questions of law or fact. Being naturally timid and diffident, he had no desire to speak in public. He has often remarked that he thought he had left the imprint of his fingers on the table in the old court-room at Bidwell, as he nervously grasped it when addressing court or jury. While Judge Lott did the talking, Judge Sexton gave his attention to the preparation of the case, and it was prepared with the skill of a master hand. In 1857, he was elected district judge, beating Judge Lewis by a large vote. . He was reelected in 1863, and again in 1875. In 1869, he was defeated for the same position by Judge Lott. It will be seen that he has held the position of district judge for fourteen years and three months. The last time lie appeared in court, he was hardly able to walk up the stairs leading to the court-room, but, when on the bench, he sat as erect as ever, listening to the argument of counsel.
Judge Sexton was married at Rough and Ready, in this state, November 14, 1855, to Miss Z. Stevens, who still survives him. There were born to them two children, Warren Sexton, Jr., and a daughter, both of whom are at present residing in Oroville. The fornier edited the Oroville Mercury for some time, was admitted to the bar, and is now practicing law in partnership with Hon. John C. Gray.
The memory of the eminent virtues and abilities possessed by Judge Sexton, will long be kept alive in the minds of the people, and it will be long ere another can rise to usurp the place he holds in the hearts of his fellow men.
JUDGE CHARLES FAYETTE Lott was born July 1, 1824, at the village of Pemberton, Burlington county, New Jersey. His father was Dr. Charles Francis Lott, medical director and assistant adjutantgeneral in the war of 1812. When a very small boy, he went with his parents to Trenton, and remained there till 1836. In the spring of that year they emigrated to Quincy, Illinois. In a short time, in company with his father, a brother and a sister, he went to St. Louis, where he went to school to Elihu H. Shepherd, the great educator of boys in that city. After a long time, the boys were sent to St. Charles College. In 1840, young Charles entered the St. Louis University, from which he graduated in December, 1845. His health being poor, he went on a tour to Washington.
Upon his return, he went to Quincy and studied law with Judge Archibald Williams, and was admitted to the supreme court of Illinois on the fifth day of June, 1848. His brother, Peter Lott, afterwards succeeded Judge Stephen A. Douglas on the bench of that district.
After practicing law a year, Mr. Lott started overland with a company of young men, being six months on the road, and reached California in September. He came directly to Butte county, by the Lassen route, and settled at Long's bar, engaging actively in mining. He assisted in the organization of the county, and has been prominently concerned in the legal proceedings before the courts, without intermission, to the present time. In 1851, he was elected senator from Butte, and served in the third and fourth sessions of the legislature. He received his nomination for the office from the first demo