Santa Rosa was a modern town in 1907, by standards of the day; many homes had telephones, so if trouble arose one could call the police station and have an officer dispatched on a bicycle. Or, you could grab your gun and join a mob prowling the streets, looking for suspects.
Below are two stories about women being assaulted that year, and in both cases their screams drew men from the neighborhood seeking to find the assailant. In the September incident, at least two of the men are armed.
Contrast these reports to the article from a year earlier, where a woman whose claim to have been attacked was dismissed as an “attempt to gain notoriety.”
MAN GRABS YOUNG WOMAN
Assails Girl In Presence of Two Companions
Three ladies were stopped by a bold man Tuesday evening as they were approaching their home near Ninth and Washington streets. The impudent man asked one of the young ladies if he might accompany her home and was told to mind his business. He then grabbed the young woman and threw her to the ground. The trio set up a fearful yelling and the assailant of the young woman fled. The officers have been given a good description of the man and expect to land him in jail. There were two young ladies in the party and they were being escorted by the mother of one of them. They had been attending the theater and were unaware that the man was following them. A thorough search was made of the vicinity, but no trace of the man could be discovered. Had he been found his punishment would have been inflicted at the hands of irate men who participated in the search.– Santa Rosa Republican, June 12, 1907
EXCITEMENT CAUSED BY MAN’S ATTACK ON WOMEN
Jumps from the Dark and Grabs Them Last Night
There was considerable excitement shortly before eleven o’clock Saturday night in the vicinity of Spencer avenue and Nason street. Mrs. O’Brien and her niece, who reside on the avenue were returning to their home when a man suddenly jumped out of the darkness beside the path and grabbed them. They gave some lusty screams and the fellow released his grasp and ran off into the darkness again.
Police Officer I. N. Lindley responded with alacrity to a telephone call and when he arrived on the scene he found several men had assembled to assist in the search for the man. One of the party the officer found was armed [illegible microfilm] and another with a rifle. The neighborhoods was searched but the man had evidently made good his escape. Neither Mrs. O’Brien nor her niece could give a description of the assailant owing to the darkness and the suddenness of the assault.
Earlier in the evening Policeman Wilson was called to north Humboldt street where it was reported a man was hanging around dark corners and was following women. Some time after this a man whose identity was not learned was noticed on the same street almost dragging a woman, presumably his wife, and was beating a little child, who was with them. So that altogether this neighborhood had its exciting time Saturday night.
Not long ago it will be remembered a man attempted to grab two young ladies in the vicinity of Seventh and A streets.– Press Democrat, September 8, 1907