Sounds of a spring evening, downtown Santa Rosa, 1908: Crickets chirping, horses clopping, men blasting guns skywards into trees, blindly, with no light for aiming except for flickering candles and lanterns. It was probably a good idea to stay safely indoors that night.

The quarry was a formerly pet raccoon, who had escaped and developed a taste for caged chicken. As it wasn’t mentioned that this ‘coon was minus a leg, it presumably was another animal than the one shot out of a tree by a cop back in 1905.

The story ended with a boy selling the dead raccoon in Santa Rosa’s little Chinatown, but given that many old-timers from the Southern U.S. were quite fond of raccoon recipes, the enterprising young man might have made more by selling the carcass to a cook along McDonald Avenue.

Animal Treed and Killed in the Grounds of the Hahman Residence on Third Street

There was a coon hunt right in the heart of Santa Rosa at a late hour on Friday night and the game was treed and finally dropped into earth.

For some time the tell tale nightly slaughter in chicken roosts, particularly on Second and Third streets, and the knowledge that the animal was abroad in the land, having escaped from a pen were it had been kept as a pet, has kept householders on the qui vive and officers and civilians have been on the lookout for Mr. Coon.

About 10:30 o’clock Friday night a commotion in the chicken house in the grounds of the residence of Mrs. Henrietta A. Hahmann on Third street–a place previously visited by the animal–warned members of the family that the four-footed prowler was around making a another call. The fine Plymouth Rock hens, tasted once before, had called back an appetite for more.

A telephone message to police headquarters for Chief of Police Fred Rushmore and Police Officer I. N. Lindley to the scene. There was an exciting chase and the animal took to a tree. It was some time before the hiding place of the chicken thief could be located and then Chief Rushmore took a shot into the leafy bower and missed in the uncertain light afforded by candles and lanterns. Policemen Lindley joined in the fusillade. C. Louis Kolf who lives a little way further down the street, and is a great hunter, was attracted to the place and he brought his rifle with him. The rifle proved Mr. Coon’s undoing. Rushmore took aim and this time the bullet found a billet in the animal’s anatomy, and it fell with a dull thud to the ground. Another bullet from Kolf and all was over.

A lad with an eye to business and a recollection that Chinese make mysterious dishes with just such pot luck, came along. He shouldered the chicken-fed coon and wended his way to Chinatown. There was much rejoicing in Mongolian quarters. He found a willing purchaser and before long the aroma of cooking with doubtless a coon-chicken flavor, came floating out of the shack in which the feast was in course of preparation.

– Press Democrat, May 10, 1908

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