One of the stranger tales from the 1906 Santa Rosa earthquake was the case of “Dr. C. C. Crandall,” a physician who showed up at the Santa Rosa Hospital to volunteer his services in the heat of the disaster. In the following days he apparently charmed all – until it was revealed that he wasn’t really a doctor, that Crandall wasn’t his true name, and that he was stealing like mad. The man who was actually Hugh W. Dunn fled, only to be tracked down in Portland and returned to Santa Rosa, where the court sentenced him to a year in prison for felony embezzlement. “I presume he congratulates himself as he picks jute at San Quentin,” sneered the Press Democrat gossip columnist. But the good Mister Doctor was polite and stayed in touch; the PD also printed a few lines from correspondence he sent to a friend in town. “His letter from the prison was certainly a cheery one under the circumstances,” opined the newspaper, wishing him (not) well.
One of the greatest sensations our local gossips have had in many a day was the arrest, conviction, and sentence of “Dr. C. C. Crandall.” It simply made everybody doubt their senses. And the jar it gave some of our girls will not efface itself in a day or a week. The “Doctor” was so suave, so agreeable, so gentlemanly, such a philanthropist, coming, as he did when we needed help so badly. In two days time he proved himself such a liar, such a scoundrel! It seemed incredible. I presume he congratulates himself as he picks jute at San Quentin, that he is there, but after all no one found out who he really was. Safe to say, now, nobody wants to know.– “Society Gossip” column, Press Democrat, June 17, 1906
“DR.” CRANDALL IS DOING WELL
“I am getting along well here. I have only seven more months to serve and I am already counting the months. Soon I shall be counting the weeks and then the days that I have to remain here,” writes “Dr.” C. C. Crandall, alias Hugh W. Dunn, the gay young supposed medical man who was sent to San Quentin for a year on a charge of embezzlement, to a Santa Rosan last week. His letter from the prison was certainly a cheery one under the circumstances.– Press Democrat, August 19, 1906