1908chinatown

WHEN THE POSSE RAIDED CHINATOWN

All was quiet that midsummer evening in 1912 Santa Rosa, except for two dozen guys trashing the Chinese neighborhood on Second street.

The men were not thugs from a San Francisco Chinese crime gang, although just a few months earlier the community here worried that a Tong war underway in the city would escalate and draw “highbinder” assassins to Santa Rosa. Nor was the havoc caused by a mob of local drunks looking for trouble. Descending on Second street that night was an official posse of lawmen and sworn citizens conducting the first opium raid in Santa Rosa.

(RIGHT: 1908 Sanborn map section showing Santa Rosa’s Chinatown highlighted in blue)

A lengthy account of the raid appeared in the Press Democrat (transcribed below) and offers a glimpse of the small Chinatown near the intersection of Second and D streets, rare because it was never mentioned in the local newspapers except for occasional calls for it to be torn down and replaced with a park, hospital or something Burbank-related.

The excuse for terrorizing the community and ransacking their homes was the new law outlawing opium use in California – apparently the first time personal possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia was criminalized in U. S. history. The law was passed in 1909 and appealed up to the state Supreme Court, where it was upheld in 1911. Shortly after that Chinatown raids began in larger cities across the state. The posse raid in Santa Rosa was coordinated to start jointly with raids in Sebastopol and Petaluma Chinatowns.

Even though opium possession was only a misdemeanor subject to a $100 fine the posse gave no quarter in their quest, frisking the residents and tearing into everything they found. From the Press Democrat account, “Some half dozen places were entered, doors were locked and the Chinese occupants quickly herded into one room, and then the search began. Boxes, drawers, sacks, tins, paper packages, clothing, beds, and in short everything was overhauled and a thorough search made. Doors that were locked and for which keys were not delivered up at once, were burst open. So were trunks and boxes…pretty much of a litter remained after the officers had done their work.”

The incident also revealed no improvement in anti-Chinese bigotry; the PD article ran through all its old racial epithets – “Celestials” being the kindest of them – but the most loathsome comment in the paper was this: “They all gave some kind of a name. There were Chows, Gows, Ons, Gees, Sams, Harrys and goodness knows what else. For all the officers knew some of those names may have been aliases, too. No one cared particularly anyway. The names all sounded alike.”

The reporter further added his/her pissy little judgements of their lifestyle: They “do not smoke very good tobacco,” smells in some bottles “were not over-appetizing” and “the lard in preparing the evening meal had not been of the freshest variety.” In fact, many in the posse may have been there just to snoop and later snark about the quality of Chinese lard or such; while the party included every active and retired cop in town, other members had no apparent reason to be involved, including State Senator Herb Slater, undertaker Frank Welti and 20 year-olds Arley Gard and Ernest Clay.

In truth, the purpose of the whole business – from the federal import ban also enacted in 1909 down to the raids after 1911 – was meant to harass the Chinese community. The import ban only affected the smoking form of opium favored by Chinese – the opium-based “nerve tonics” predominantly used by whites were still legal.

Smuggling the four-ounce cans over from China proved easy; in her oral history with Gaye LeBaron, Song Wong Bourbeau (born 1909 in Santa Rosa) recalled “they ship them over just like you would ship a dozen eggs.” All the ban accomplished was to quickly drive up the price tenfold; by 1912 a night’s smoke cost around seven dollars, roughly half a working man’s weekly wage and a couple of years later it would double again (MORE). To his credit, former U.S. Congressman from Santa Rosa Duncan McKinlay proposed to tax opium at $5 per pound, believing it was impossible to stop the smuggling trade.

Nor did the Santa Rosa police care about opium smoking before the new law made arrests so lucrative – although they did intervene when white youth were found using the drug, as shown in an example here. And while Santa Rosa had raided Chinatown before, then it was for gambling; in 1910 a series of raids busted Chinese men for playing stud poker (a charge which must have caused guffaws at card tables in saloons and fraternal clubs around town). But those fines brought in less that $250, while in that single opium posse raid the city cleared over $1,000. So it’s no surprise that another posse hit the Santa Rosa opium dens in May 1913, this time making more arrests. Likewise in that search they gave “seven places on Second street…a most thorough overhauling.” Because breaking stuff up is just something a posse has to do, as everyone knows.

 HIGHBINDER SCARE IN SANTA ROSA CHINATOWN LAST NIGHT

Santa Rosa’s Chinatown on Second street between Main and D streets was pretty badly scared Wednesday night. Talk of “Highbinder” was in the air, following the receiving of a telephone message from “My flen in Napa” by Wong Mow, one of the local Chinese merchants.

The word was passed around like wildfire. Chinese pickets were stationed here and there on the lookout app along the block in front of the Mongolian quartets, and Chief of Police Boyes was notified. The Chief instructed the patrolmen on the meats to make frequent visits during the night to Chinatown.

The message received by Wong Mow about half past 7 o’clock word that a party of Chinese highbinders from the warring companies in San Francisco were headed for Santa Rosa and were of the number who shot and killed a man in Marysville. The news was sufficient to put Chinatown all on the lookout.

At one o’clock this morning a Press Democrat representative visited Chinatown. The “lookouts” were still on duty. They were crouching down in the darkness of the shadow of buildings ready to sound an alarm…

…There are many San Francisco Chinese taking refuge here at the present time. A dozen queueless ones arrived here Wednesday night. They have been drifting in for a week…

– Press Democrat, March 21, 1912
STILL IN FEAR OF HIGHBINDERS
Celestials in Local Chinatown Perturbed Over News of Tong Slayings in Other Places

The excitement in Santa Rosa’s Chinatown following the highbinder murders in other cities was increased when the news of the slaying was told there yesterday, and last night the “lookouts” were still on duty. The local Celestials fear that the bad men may visit here.

The casual passerby along the block on Second street occupied by the Chinese quarters last night would not have noticed anything out of the ordinary except for the lookouts crouching in the dark shadow of some building. But the advent of a reporter or policeman known to some of the Chinese merchants was sufficient to draw a crowd of Chinese eager to learn if any news of the approach of the highbinders was forthcoming…

– Press Democrat, March 23, 1912
QUONG SING PROUD MAN ON SATURDAY

Quong Sing, the local merchant, was a happy man on Saturday, when he paraded at the head of the New Cathay Boys’ Band from San Francisco. This band is composed of thirty-seven young Chinese who rendered some splendid selections during their march through the streets. These lads have only been playing five months, but they handle their instruments and their music like seasoned veterans. In the band are two lads of eight and nine years, who play the alto horns. Quong Sing is proud of the new China and the boys who were here on Saturday. He was instrumental in bringing the band to this city.

– Santa Rosa Republican, May 4, 1912
POSSES RAID CHINATOWN AND SEVEN ARRESTS MADE
Raids Also Made in Petaluma and Sebastopol
More Arrests in Petaluma and Sebastopol–Opium and Yen She Found and a Number of Outfits on Wednesday Night

There was considerable excitement, quiet excitement at that, in Santa Rosa’s Chinatown Wednesday night. The same can be said of the Chinatown of Sebastopol and that at Petaluma, for in all three places raids were made for opium, yen she and smoking outfits. In all three places both drugs, a number of pipes, hoy toys and other contrabrand articles were unearthed. Five Chinamen, a Chinese woman, and a white man were arrested and landed in jail by the officers, and their cases will come up for hearing in Justice Atchinson’s court. One man was arrested in Sebastopol, and shortly before twelve o’clock he joined the motley crew behind the bars. Four arrests were made in Petaluma.

The raid in Santa Rosa’s Chinatown, located on Second street, between Main and D streets, was headed by Chief of Police John M. Boyes and the officers of the department and of the Justice court, and special deputies aided by Chief Inspector Fred A. Sutherland of the State Board of Pharmacy of California. Sheriff Jack Smith and his posse, had charge of Sebastopol, and Deputy Sheriff Rasmussen and Chief of Police Ed Husler in Petaluma. Deputy Inspector W. T. White of the State Board aided in Sebastopol and Deputy A. J. McDonald of the State Board aided in Petaluma.

For some time the officers and the chief inspectors of the State Board have been aware of presence of the drug and its use in the Chinese quarters in the places named. The inspectors have obtained evidence, and not long since Chief Inspector Sutherland bought a dollars’ worth at one of the places raided on Second street. Consequently the raid was planned for Wednesday night at half past nine o’clock in Santa Rosa, Sebastopol and Petaluma.

On Second street in this city at the word of command given by sign by Chief Boyes, the posse that had previous divided up entered the Chinese quarters very quietly, no one knowing what was about to transpire. Some half dozen places were entered, doors were locked and the Chinese occupants quickly herded into one room, and then the search began. Boxes, drawers, sacks, tins, paper packages, clothing, beds, and in short everything was overhauled and a thorough search made. Doors that were locked and for which keys were not delivered up at once, were burst open. So were trunks and boxes. A number of packages of Yen She, some tins of opium, pipes and smoking outfits and other accessories in the smoking of the weed were discovered by the various posses and were carefully piled up, and later this evidence was taken to the police station.

Then the Chinamen were each given a “frisk,” or a search, and taken. At times, this was quite amusing, most of the Celestials taking the bantering in good part. Their language, too, had there been an interpreter present, might have savored of the profane. If it did not then, it will when they come to pack those boxes again and clean house, for pretty much of a litter remained after the officers had done their work. They all gave some kind of a name. There were Chows, Gows,Ons, Gees, Sams, Harrys and goodness knows what else. For all the officers knew some of those names may have been aliases, too. No one cared particularly anyway. The names all sounded alike.

Prior to entering the places the officers had provided themselves with search warrants, but none of the Chinese thought to ask for them, anyway. These warrants were procured so that everything might be legally done. It was after midnight before the raid ended here, the search occurring considerable time. Some of the scents discovered in the places during the overhauling of some of the ancient receptacles were not over-appetizing. More than one of the posse pressed into service can testify to that. Those “Chinks,” some of them at any rate, do not smoke very good tobacco, either; and the lard in preparing the evening meal had not been of the freshest variety.

Another thing revealed during the search of several of the Second street “joints,” was that the Chinese evidently do not put much faith in banks. A surprising lot of money was unearthed, and left of course. There were stacks of twenties, tens and fives in gold, as well as silver. The money will be put in another safe place by the Chinese today.

Attorney Rolfe L. Thompson will prosecute the offenders, representing the State Board. He was on hand at the raid Wednesday night, and at the police station when the prisoners were brought in.

Tried a Getaway

The white man, captured on a charge of having sold morphine, lives in this city, and has been a frequent habitant of the Chinese quarters. A warrant was in the pocket of Chief Boyes for his arrest, when he suddenly stepped into the very place where the Chief was assisting in the search. Police Officer George Matthews grabbed and handcuffed him. Later he tried a getaway but was captured by Attorney Thompson and Elmer Mobley, and was taken to the jail and locked up by Matthews.

The Santa Rosa posse was composed of Chief of Police Boyes, [21 other men named].

The Sebastopol Raid

As stated Sheriff Smith headed the raid at Sebastopol, and it was conducted along similar lines to the other places. Some Yen She and an opium outfit was taken from the place of Gong Gee. There was no excitement, and but a few Chinese were found at home. The idea prevailed there as here that in some manner the Chinese had got a “tip” as to what was about to happen. In Sheriff Smith’s posse were [22 other men named].

Raid in Petaluma

Chief Hussler of Petaluma was assisted in the raid there by [5 other men named]. The net result of their work was the arrest of four Chinese and the capture of a considerable quantity of contraband materials and smoking outfits. Three of the Chinese were locked up and one released on $200 cash bail.

– Press Democrat, August 1, 1912
CHINESE PAY $450 FINES
Result of Rain on Opium Dens Wednesday

Ten Chinamen appeared before Justice Atchinson Thursday, charged with having illicit drugs in their possession. This is the catch of the raids in Petaluma, Sebastopol and Santa Rosa, made on Wednesday night by the State Board of Health Inspectors.

The first to appear was Lou Yet of Sebastopol. He entered a plea of guilty and was promutly [sic] fined $100 by Justice Atchinson. The next were four Chinamen from Petaluma. They were considerably incensed over having to be tried here. They chattered and harangued for some time, but were unable to furnish the bail, and three of them were returned to jail to await developments. The other was dismissed. Attorney Gil P. Hall of Petaluma appeared for him on behalf of George P. McNear, explaining that he was only a cook and had just entered the place for a chat.

The five arrested here were promptly arraigned. They had little to say, but appeared to be very distressed. Sam Wo Lung was fined $200 on two charges. Wong Quong was fined $100 and Dock Yen $50 and fifty days in jail. Two others were dismissed for lack of evidence. One was a man and the other a woman. Harry Tong was returned to jail until such time as he could raise the money to pay his fine of $100.

Clint Rickliff, Ed Gautier and Earl Bumbaugh, the three white men captured in the raid on the Chinamen, are to be tried by Justice Atchinson also. These men are all known to be fiends and it is possible they will be sent to some asylum for treatment.

– Santa Rosa Republican, August 1, 1912
THREE LONE CHINAMEN REMAIN NOW

There are three lone Chinamen in the county jail at the present time as the left-overs from the recent opium rains in the county. All the other defendants have had their cases disposed of and something over $1,000 has been paid in fines. One of the Chinamen will serve 200 days in jail and the two others are in for one hundred days each. They will have to go a long time without their smokes.

– Press Democrat, August 8, 1912
OPIUM SMOKER IS CAPTURED
Officers Gard and Ragain Arrest Sam Wo Lung While Engaged in Enjoyable Smoke

Officers Gard and Ragain made a very clever capture of an opium smoker and his entire outfit, including the yen shee, which he was heating on his needle preparatory to taking a smoke at 2 o’clock Thursday morning.

The victim of the raid was Sam Wo Lung, who was recently acquitted of having opium in his possession when captured in the last raid conducted under the direction of the State Board of Health. He is considered one of the leaders here and his capture with the goods on him is considered quite a victory for the officers.

When searched at the police station it was found that Sam Wo Lung was well provided with ready cash and he put up $100 cash bond with proper grace and returned to his place, 620 Second street, minus his pipe and outfit. A charge will be placed against him under the State law in Justice Atchinson’s court.

– Press Democrat, October 16, 1912
CHINESE GAMBLERS CAUGHT IN A RAID
Police Visit Doon Kee’s Place Thursday Morning and Capture Six Visitors Playing American Game With the Stakes

Police Officers N. G. Yeager, A. G. Miller and G. W. Matthews made a raid on Doon Kee’s place on Second street this morning about 2 o’clock and arrested nine Chinese found in the room. Six of the number were engaged in playing Studhorse porker [sic] and were greatly surprised at the interruption.

Officer Matthews was the first to reach the table and secured the cards and stakes, while Officer Miller secured the Chinese money being used for chips. All in the room were taken to police headquarters. Several denied they were playing, but none would say who the players were, so all were informed tht they would have to put up a cash deposit of $10 each to secure their liberty.

Doon Kee arrived on the scene, and after some parleying, secured the name of those who were not playing and they were immediately released while $10 cash bail was put up for each of the other six by Doon Kee.

The six charged with gambling were Ah Wong, Ah Ching, Ah Sing, Wong Kim, Sam Kee and Moon Kee.

– Press Democrat, December 1, 1910
ARREST CHINESE FOR GAMBLING
Officers Make Third Raid Early Tuesday Morning and Gather in Fifteen Orientals

In their third raid upon the Chinese gamblers the police shortly after 2 o’clock this morning arresting 14 inmates of Doon Kee’s gambling house. Last Thursday morning at about the same hour 12 Chinese were arrested and later six were fined $10 each for gambling.

Three of the same men were caught this morning and in their case $20 cash bail was demanded, while the other 11 were allowed their release upon $10 cash bail. A woman will also be charged with being in the place, making a total of $180 bail pending their hearing.

– Press Democrat, December 6, 1910
CHINESE CONTRIBUTE TO THE DISTRICT FAIR

Charlie Quong Sing, the pioneer Chinese merchant of Santa Rosa, whose smile and “Nice day, eh?” and “Anything new?” (the latter when he meets a newspaperman) have become regular salutations of everyday life in Santa Rosa, called at the Chamber of Commerce rooms on Wednesday and handed in a donation of two dollars and a half for the district fair.

He counseled Director Walter Price to tell Mr. Dunbar and the committee to call around at the place on Second street a day or two before the fair starts and he will go around with them among “the boys” and they will contribute more money to help the fair along.

– Press Democrat, August 7, 1913

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DON’T THROW DRUGS ON MY LAWN

Pharmaceutical companies today urge us to pester doctors for free samples. Wouldn’t it be easier if they just threw drug samples into our yards? That’s what they did in the early 20th Century; I can’t imagine why they stopped. What could possibly go wrong?

What gives this story a believe-it-or-not twist is that drug tossing happened so often that Santa Rosa had an ordinance to prohibit “gratuitous or free distributions of any medicines, nostrums, ware, or remedies for afflicted, sick or diseased persons…where, infants or children can or may possess or use the same.” Okay, I can see how that might be a problem. (One patent medicine that began advertising in the Santa Rosa Republican, and thus was a good candidate for lawn samples, was “Dr. Pierce’s Golden Medical Discovery,” which was mostly alcohol with digitalis, laudanum, and the opium-like extract of wild lettuce to “fortify the body against all germs.”)

The other oddity in the 1909 annals of advertising was the free “cooking school” offered by PG&E. Yes, the gas company wanted consumers to use gas stoves – no surprise there. But at the same time, I don’t recall Standard Oil giving driving lessons to sell more gasoline. Also, the ad campaign seemed ill-planned; PG&E bought full page ads in the Press Democrat with only enough copy to fill a couple of column inches. Needless to say, the PD wrote enthusiastic reviews about the cooking demonstrations.

The secret was that PG&E was acting more like Gillette than Standard Oil; they also sold water heaters and stoves directly to the public: “The demonstration is given primarily to call attention to the use of gas for household purposes and to the stock of ranges, water heaters, etc., carried by the local branch of the Pacific Gas & Electric Co.”

The instructor in Santa Rosa was a disciple of Emma P. Ewing, who had sought to pioneer the teaching of home economics after the Civil War. She was called “the woman who would have taught America to make good bread if America could have been taught,” which hopefully sounded less passive aggressive a century ago.

Here Suzanne Tracy, the author of several cookbooks including “Twelve Lessons in Scientific Cookery,” taught classes. If her recipes are an accurate measure, the food she taught Santa Rosa to cook was awful, usually devoid of herbs and any seasonings other than salt and pepper. Her tomato sauce called for just stewed tomatoes and a little butter, flour, and minced onion. (That sound you hear is every Italian grandmother spinning in her grave.)

POLICE WILL STOP A BAD PRACTICE 
Throwing of Medicine Samples Into Dooryards Must Be Checked, Chief Rushmore Says

Complaint has been made to the police that medicine vendors have been throwing free samples of their wares about the yards and on doorsteps in this city recently where children can pick them up and eat it. One man found his baby eating some of the stuff Saturday.

Chief of Police Fred J. Rushmore desires to call the attention of all interested in the matter of the city ordinance governing such actions and declares he will make an example of the first offenders caught violating the law. Any one discovering such distribution going on will confer a favor upon the public as well as the police by immediately notifying the latter that arrests may be made. The ordinance provides: “It shall be unlawful for any person or persons in the gratuitous or free distributions of any medicines, nostrums, ware, or remedies for afflicted, sick or diseased persons to distribute, drop, throw, deposit or leave the same, or cause to be distributed, dropped, thrown, deposited or left in any street, doorway, yard, or place or open lot or otherwise exposed in such manner so that, [illegible microfilm] where, infants or children can or may possess or use the same.”

– Press Democrat, February 7, 1909

COOKING SCHOOL FOR SANTA ROSA
Miss Suzanne Tracy, from New York Schools of Domestic Science, Will Lecture.

Santa Rosa ladies will welcome the good news that a summer school of cooking is to be opened here next week. Miss Suzanne Tracy, the well-known lecturer and demonstrator of the culinary art will give a series of lectures.. Miss Tracy has been conducting schools this year is Fresno, San Jose and Sacramento, and each lesson has attracted large and enthusiastic audiences. The lady is so well known in her profession that little need be said to herald her coming. She is a graduate teacher from New York, and will no doubt expound the mysteries of cookery according to the latest scientific principles. The astonishing fact about the school is that the lessons are to be free. Mr. Thos. D. Petch, manager of the Santa Rosa Gas & Electric Company, has arranged to have Miss Tracy come here and give a course in cooking. Miss Tracy will instruct in all branches of cookery, including soups, salads, bread and cake making, pies, cooking of meats and vegetables, and various kinds of desserts. She will at her lessons use a gas range and will explain how to regulate the heat in order to receive the best results from the least expenditure of fuel. While these lessons have been arranged primarily for gas consumers, Mr. Petch says he extends a cordial invitation to all ladies to take advantage of the instruction by attending the classes. Announcement will be made later as to the place where the school will be and the time of the lectures.

– Press Democrat, August 8, 1909

LARGE AUDIENCE AT THE COOKING LECTURE

The first of the series of ten lectures to be given here by Miss Suzanne Tracy, which was given Wednesday afternoon at the store-room in the Native Sons’ building, drew such a large number of ladies that Manager Thomas B. Petch of the Pacific Gas &  Electric Company, said that it may be necessary to secure larger quarters for the lectures.

The large room had been filled up with a kitchen in one end which contained gas ranges and all the necessary appliances for baking. Miss Tracy took for her subject, “Cakes and Icing,” and gave a very instructive and interesting lecture on the making of cake and icing. The lecture was illustrated by the lecturer who made a cake, baked it, and after making the icing, iced it in the presence of her audience.

Miss Tracy is a lady of charming personality. She thoroughly understands her work and enters into it with enthusiasm. Every afternoon this week she will lecture, taking various subjects each day, so as to give the housekeepers of Santa Rosa a good opportunity to secure valuable pointers on cooking.

The demonstration is given primarily to call attention to the use of gas for household purposes and to the stock of ranges, water heaters, etc., carried by the local branch of the Pacific Gas & Electric Co., at their Fourth street office in the Union Trust-Savings Bank.

– Press Democrat, August 12, 1909

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DON’T CLOBBER THAT COP

A policeman’s lot is not a happy one, particularly when a skulker tries to conk him with a bottle, or a pair of drunks engage in tag-team wrestling with the officer to prevent themselves from being dragged off to the pokey. And then there was the young chicken rancher who required four strong men to restrain him, crazed from his addiction to “fifty cigarettes a day, smoking day and night, with a little morphine thrown in.”

OFFICE HAD SOME TROUBLE
Officer Yeager Arrests Obstreperous Prisoners

Monday night was a night of fights for Officer N. G. Yeager. Every person he attempted to arrest put up a stiff fight and he was compelled to use force to land them in the jail, where they became sadder and wiser people.

The first fight occurred when Officer Yeager attempted to arrest Stella Dixon, a woman of the under world. She had been drinking and was roaming about aimlessly. When the officer took her into custody her friend, Jim Campion, attempted to prevent her being arrested. He took a strenuous hand in the affair and as a result he was placed under arrest also, charged with drunkenness. Officer Yeager was game, but he had the time of his life landing his prisoners, because both offered such stubborn resistance. The Dixon woman came here on a hop picking special during the summer and has since remained.

Later in the night Officer Yeager undertook to arrest George Woods, who was on a rampage from drink. Woods, who is considered somewhat of a scrapper, put up a fight the minute Yeager undertook to arrest him. It was a merry time the officer had in attempting to get the handcuffs on the prisoner. He finally landed his man, however. The patrol wagon was needed for the Dixon-Campion pair.

Officer Yeager believes it was the dampness of the weather that caused the fighting spirit to be aroused in these persons.

– Santa Rosa Republican, December 10, 1907

FOUGHT WILDLY TO MAKE ESCAPE
Fifty Cigarettes Daily and Morphine Part of Diet That Drove Henry Anderson Insane

In lucid moments, after he had almost torn his cell in the county jail to pieces and made his escape by wrenching boards and tin from the walls. Henry Concord Anderson, a young chicken rancher from down Sonoma way, told a Press Democrat reporter that fifty cigarettes a day, smoking day and night, with a little morphine thrown in, were responsible for his condition.

Anderson for a time on Wednesday was one of the most wildly insane men that has ever occupied the padded cell in the grim building on Third street. It took Sheriff Smith and Deputies McIntosh, Reynolds and La Point to handle him, and finally strap him hand and foot to a stretcher. Then he became tranquil for a time. In order to secure him without using much force a little strategy was used. He was induced to thrust his hand through the peephole in the door and did so, and then the wicket was opened and the straps were put on him. Judge Denny and the Lunacy Commission convened at the county jail in the afternoon and Anderson was adjudged a fit subject for the asylum at Ukiah.

– Press Democrat, May 2, 1907
ASSAULTED IN THE DARKNESS
Coward Under Cover Hurls Bottles at Policeman Who is Patrolling a Tenderloin Beat at Night

Shortly after nine o’clock on Wednesday night a dastardly attempted assault was made upon Police Officer P. L. Wilson while he was patrolling his beat on First street, between D and E streets. Four beer bottles were hurled with considerable force at him by unknown cowards hiding in the darkness. Two of the bottles fell at his feet and smashed. One of them almost grazed his helmet. If it had hit him on the head the chances are it would have killed him.

The officer was walking along the center of the street. The first he knew that something was happening was when one of the missiles whizzed by his head. The next moment a bottle smashed at his feet and the splinters of glass showered over him. Two more bottles were thrown. He pulled his gun and speaking in the direction from which the bottles were thrown, said: “Whoever you are you can’t run fast enough for me.” There was no move. If there had been the officer was ready. An investigation was immediately made, but the bottle thrower were not to be found, undoubtedly having sneaked away down the creek bank under shelter of the darkness. The officer has two of the empty bottles that were not broken and the necks of the two that were broken.

The bottles were not hurled at Policeman Wilson in jest. He says they were thrown with too much vehemence for that. The aim was deliberate. The bottles were not thrown from any house. The throwers were in hiding near a big tree. The policeman has no idea as to their identity. Inquiry was made at houses on the street, and the people denied that they kept the brand of beer the labels indicated.

– Press Democrat, September 12, 1907

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