pocketgun

WHY YES, THAT IS A GUN IN MY POCKET

Questions we forgot to ask grandpa at the reunions: Did you ever shoot anyone? Were you ever shot at? Did you ever shoot yourself?

Open any Sonoma county newspaper from a century ago and prepare to be surprised at how often our ancestors reached for their guns to shoot someone. Keep in mind we’re not discussing the rootin’ tootin’ days of the Wild West but the early 20th century, when Santa Rosa and the rest of the looked pretty much like any place in Mid-America, particularly after 1910 or so. Breakfast was poured from a cereal box, people chatted on telephones, electric appliances were in the kitchens and in the evenings kids listened to recorded music their parents didn’t like. It wasn’t so different from today except everyone’s clothing had too much starch and men’s pockets bulged with guns.

It appears most were packing a snub-nosed “bicycle revolver,” so named because it was small enough to be carried by a cyclist to fend off dog attacks. There were many models that promised to prevent accidents by being “hammerless” with no exterior hammer to catch on clothing and/or with grips which prevented the trigger from being pulled unless the handle was being squeezed at the same time. Still, there were many cheap little .32 and .38 caliber revolvers available with no safety features at all – sometimes not even having trigger guards. As a result, the most likely person to be shot was the gun owner himself and filler items in the papers reported doctors patching up many a leg and foot wound.

When they did draw their weapons and begin blasting away our ancestors proved to be lousy marksmen, with their intended victims rarely seriously injured or even hit. In one of the wildest events chronicled here, Santa Rosa barber Andy Carrillo was in a four-way shootout in 1907 where he shot one man in the chest, causing a fright but little harm. When another of Carrillo’s bullets grazed someone else, that fellow pulled out his own gun and the two of them began shooting at point-blank range, both missing entirely. When the case came to trial, Carrillo went free – he was not even found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon. But had he not slightly wounded the guy, the customary penalty for shooting at someone was merely a fine of $5 for each shot fired.

Among the shooting stories of 1913 was an incident near Guerneville that seems like a sketch from an old cartoon: Boys steal Farmer Jones’ fruit, Farmer Jones puts up a warning sign, boys steal fruit again and Farmer Jones peppers them with his trusty ol’ shotgun. Not so comic was that his gun was loaded with lead buckshot, not salt, and the boys were not comically wounded in the backside as they were running away. Farmer Jones badly injured one of them, with a doctor removing 24 pellets from a youngster’s face. This time the grand jury called it assault with a deadly weapon, but the judge allowed him to plead down to simple assault because he hadn’t intended to hit the kid in the face – he was aiming for their feet but alas, missed. Pay the forty dollar fine, please.

The other episode happened in downtown Santa Rosa. Since the previous year, the Rose theater was the target of pranksters, who jumped on the roof, shouted “fire,” and otherwise tried to panic the audience. Police were called to no avail. This time the manager grabbed his gun, ran through the restaurant next door and began firing away, although it was so dark he could not identify the people he was shooting at. Naturally, no one was wounded. This story had an unexpected O’Henry twist, however, when it was discovered that the theater projectionist was in on the malicious mischief: It was a cover for his theft of little parts and tools from the theater, along with his breaking some equipment which he could steal after the theater bought replacements. He pled guilty to petty larceny and was given a fine of $90 – or, as they might have said around the courthouse, two face-shots plus a couple of grazes.

BYSTANDER HIT BY BULLET AND SUES FOR DAMAGES

Peter Daliavanto, a 19-year-old youth, through his guardian ad litem, A. Bacci, commenced an action in the Superior Court yesterday against J. W. Leroux, a well known Cloverdale citizen, in recovering $750 damages.

The complaint alleges that on September 13, plaintiff was struck in the leg by a bullet and sustained severe injuries. He alleges that the bullet came from a revolver in Leroux’s hands at a time when defendant was aiming at A. Guicco for the purpose, as he alleges, killing Guicco. In other words, he says he was an innocent bystander and that Leroux’s aim was unsteady and the bullet intended for Guicco stuck him.

Allison B. Ware and Phil Ware are the attorneys for the plaintiff. The complaint gives the first news here of the alleged assault upon Guicco by Mr. Leroux. It is known here that Mr. Leroux has been worried over domestic troubles for some time.

– Press Democrat, October 1, 1913

ONE OF A GANG OF VANDALS ANNOYING THE ROSE JAILED

With the plea of guilty made by C. Croft before Judge Atchinson, Monday afternoon, petty thievery which has extended back for almost six months at the Rose Theater, was brought to an abrupt end. Croft pleaded guilty to the charge of petty larceny preferred by C. N. Carrington. He was sentenced to a fine of $90 or ninety days in the county jail, and elected to serve out his sentence.

The arrest is the culmination of a long series of thefts and acts of rowdyism after the shows were out, which have perplexed and bothered the management of the Rose Theater since last June. With the giving of a false alarm of fire early in June last the management has been continually harassed by several unknown individuals. Throwing rocks on the roof of the theatre was a favorite pastime of the hoodlums. This was stopped when Mr. Carrington ran through the restaurant next the theater and fired at the men. The first time the trigger was pulled the gun failed to go off and this is responsible for the saving of the life of one man as he had time to get out of the way before Mr. Carrington could pull the trigger again. One shot was fired at a man who was on the roof of the theater but the bullet did not take effect.

During this time many things have been stolen from the theater and several machines broken. Suspicions fell on Croft, the operator, who has been with the theater ever since it was opened. A search warrant was issued Sunday morning and Chief of Police Boyes and Constable John Pemberton went to Croft’s residence, on Santa Rosa avenue. They found a lense [sic] from the machine first broken, a roll of tickets and a number of tools. They later searched the attic of the theater and found a moving picture machine and a number of parts of machines which had been stolen and hidden in the loft.

Croft was arrested and readily confessed his guilt. He said that he had no excuse to offer and could give no reason for his actions other than it was a policy of his to steal little things at every job he had. He said that he smashed the machines because he wanted Mr. Carrington to get new ones.

It is known that several were involved in the plans to harass and annoy the Carringtons, as different ones have been seen about the place at the same time. It is believed that Croft is one of a gang and could throw some light on the attacks if he were so inclined. The Carringtons have been put at a loss of about $500 altogether by the work of the gang.

One moving picture machine was stolen, another taken out and left on the roof of the building and a lamp-house valued at $40 was broken all to pieces Saturday night after the last performance. It was this last act of vandalism which led to the discovery of Croft’s part in the job. It is known that he is the only one on the inside who has been involved but the authorities have a clew on which they are working which may lead to the arrest of his associates.

– Press Democrat, January 28, 1913
IRATE FARMER SHOOTS YOUTHS
Boys Stealing Fruit Give Severe Treatment

Warning.

I have a shot-gun. It is not loaded with salt.

I use No. 8 shot. Stay out of this orchard.

Disregarding the above sign which is prominently displayed in front of a peach orchard above Guernewood Park three boys were shot Sunday and more or less seriously injured by the owner of the orchard. One of the boys was shot in the face, the other in the neck and the third in the hand and stomach.

The boys were found a few moments later by Sheriff Jack Smith, who took them in his auto and rushed them to Rionido where they were given medical attention. One of the boys had twenty-four of the shots taken out of his face.

The farmer who shot them claimed to have been bothered so much with people stealing his fruit that he was compelled to resort to heroic measures to save his crops. He put up the sign which is about then feet square. The boys admitted that they saw the sign but “took a chance.” They decided not to prosecute the farmer, and all parties considered themselves well out of the mixup.

– Santa Rosa Republican Ju;y 7, 1913

FARMERS ARE VICTIMS OF LAWLESS HOODLUMS

A few days ago a Sonoma County farmer was indicted for shooting at some boys who had been caught stealing his fruit. The boys had been warned repeatedly but took no notice nor paid the least attention to the signs that had been placed in plain sight to warn trespassers. Now what was the farmer to do? He had been annoyed repeatedly by summer campers coming into his orchard, taking no heed to his warnings, so when the boys bent on stealing, came into his property he was so incensed that he raised his gun and fired the shot hitting all of the boys.

This is only one case of trespassing. The farmers in this and other countries also are being repeatedly annoying by summer campers going on their places, stealing fruit, shooting in many cases killing stock, and destroying sometimes many thousands of dollars of property, by carelessly throwing burning cigarette and cigar stubs in the dry grass.

What would the city man think if you came to his yard and set fire to his house? The people seem to take no notice of the signs placed near approaching roads and trails; in many instances tearing them down or disfiguring them so that it is impossible to read them.

Now can you blame the farmer when he takes the law into his own hands, when the people treat him as if he were an agent to serve them and long after their pleasures?

– Marvin A. Watson letter, Santa Rosa Republican July 21, 1913

PEPPERED BOYS AND IS FINED $40
Farmer Jones Dealt With Leniently by Judge Seawell Here on Monday

Farmer J. C. Jones who “peppered” three San Francisco boys with small shot while they were robbing his peach orchard, located on top of a hill, some distance from Guerneville, appeared in Judge Seawell’s department of the Superior Court on Monday to answer the Grand Jury indictment, charging him with assault with a deadly weapon. He was allowed to plead guilty to a charge of simple assault, and under the circumstances the Court was lenient with Mr. Jones, who is seventy years of age, and fined him forty dollars.

Jones told the Court of the depredations of the young hoodlums in his orchard on a number of occasions. This case was an aggravating one. He had already given the boys a basket of cherries, he said, and while his back was turned they broke into his orchard and filled baskets and hats with fine fruit and decamped. Next day they broke into the orchard and stole fruit again. The third time they came they were received with a volley of small shot from Mr. Jones’ gun.

Farmer Jones told the court that he had not intended that any of the shot should hit the boys in the face. He said he aimed at their feet, but was fired down hill.

Several good citizens of Guerneville were on hand to give Mr. Jones a good character…

…Dr. C. J. Schmelz was called as a witness. He is the resident physician at Rionido, and he extracted the small shot from the boys’ anatomy. The boys admitted to him that they had been stealing fruit, and said they did not wish anything to be done to Mr. Jones.

– Press Democrat, August 13, 1913

Read More

THE PECULIAR WAYS WE WERE

Let’s go hunting for the “peculiar” items in the 1910 Santa Rosa newspapers – the offbeat or odd or just damned strange. This time the theme is mostly advertising; Gentle Reader might also want to check out “Did’ja Hear About…” which covers other odd news stories for the year and “The Peculiar is What is Missed Most,” which is the roundup of similar articles from 1909.

Before getting to the funny stuff, some housekeeping is necessary, as this is the final entry for the year 1910. By this time the Comstocks were well settled in to Santa Rosa, as described in a separate item. Also covered previously was the death of Maria S. Solomon, the mother of Mattie Oates, whose demise three weeks into January must have cast a shadow over their fine house on Mendocino avenue. Hints also appeared in the society columns that Mattie’s health was beginning to fail. In April she and Wyatt spent a month in Southern California, where they made auto trips with close friends Mrs. Dorothy Farmer and her daughter Hazel. On their return the Press Democrat gossip columnist remarked “she is well and strong again.”

The new year had started cheerfully for the Oates; on New Years’ Eve, he served as master of ceremonies at a large card party at the Saturday Afternoon Club. There he handed out prizes for events such as the “gentlemen’s noise contest,” where undertaker W. B. Ward’s drum won out over a state assemblyman’s cow bell and the former mayor’s bread pan. Other than that, it was another quiet year for the semi-retired lawyer (he was 60, she was 52). They also spent a week at the ranch of friends near Duncan’s Mills and as was their custom, hosted an extended visit by an ingenue of marriageable age, this time the niece of famed judge Amos P. Catlin. Their other houseguests were the Farnhams, a San Francisco couple often mentioned in the city papers. Mrs. Farnham was a prominent clubwoman and Dr. Daniel C. Farnham was an osteopath and a leader in the “National League for Medical Freedom” – a special interest group set up to fight the creation of a national public health bureau on the claims that it would hamper “individual rights.” As this was completely out of step with the Progressive Era they were widely condemned as tools of the patent medicine makers, who funded their prolific amount of advertising. Whether or not the Oates’ agreed with these aims is unknown, but the connection with the Farnhams could have been long-standing; at a 1911 rally, Dr. Farnham was introduced by Barclay Henley, Oates’ first law partner in Santa Rosa.

Our first 1910 peculiarity is the clever ad above for Joseph Tarzyn, a Russian-born tailor whose shop was at 406 Fourth street. (And no, his name had nothing to do with the popular Tarzan character, whose first story would not appear until 1912.) To the right is another advertisement for Professor Whittier, exhibition roller skater; we met the good professor earlier in another bizarre photo where he seemed to be staring down a row of mismatched kitchen chairs. His “coast to death” involved jumping through fire and here he exhibits “clubfoot skating,” which was surely every bit as offensive as it sounds.

Out at Bodega Bay there was another type of jumping and awkward movement reported as Mrs. John Turner, fed up with being cussed out by her neighbor, pulled out a gun and began making him dance in the manner familiar to anyone who has watched a Yosemite Sam cartoon. “He at first demurred,” the Press Democrat dryly noted, “but when the gun was brought into play he changed his mind, and as one shot followed another, he danced faster and faster, until finally a bullet hit him in the hip which ended the dance.” The cusser was not seriously injured; the cussee discussed the matter with a judge a few days later and was released on parole.

Alas, the papers did not report what happened in the case (as far as I can tell) but it’s likely she only paid the customary fine of $5 for each shot fired; gun violence was not viewed with special concern – recall the 1907 shootout where a member of the Carrillo family did not spend a day in jail after shooting a man in the chest, yet his wife was behind bars for 30 days for public drunkenness in the same incident. And anyway, profane and vulgar language in the presence of a virtuous woman or child was considered as serious as physical assault, so the court may well have viewed Mrs. Turner’s “dance music” as a kind of self defense.

Handguns were also routinely carried and handled without modern concerns about safety – accidents of men shooting themselves through a pants pocket or coat were so frequent I stopped keeping track. That many people were routinely packing heat may or may not seem unusual today (depending upon your politics) but the ad below certainly falls into the peculiar pile. The “Yellow Kid,” an impoverished but cheerful waif, was the best known and best loved cartoon character of the day; using his image to sell firearms is a bit like Colt or Remington licensing the image of cowboy Woody from Toy Story to endorse real shootin’ irons.

The downtown hardware store presented the Yellow Kid in another firearms ad that similarly used a dash of funky speling for whimsy (“You Cant Miss It” his nightshirt read as he carried a shotgun while waving a revolver in the other hand). Unfortunately, someone with the Epworth League of Santa Rosa’s Southern Methodist church didn’t understand a little of that schtick goes a very long way, and their entire notice about an upcoming dance was written in a mock childlike Swedish-Irish (?) patois that was nearly inkomprehensibl:

YU AIR AIST TU A POVERTY PARTY
SEPT. 23, 1910

That us folks of the Epwurth Leeg of the Methodist church, South, air goin to hav in the Leeg rume. If you kant finde it kum tu the church on Fifth an Orchurd streets.

These air ruls wil be enforced tu thee leter:

1. A kompetant cor of menergers an aids will be in attendunce.
2. The hull sassiety wil interduce strangers an luk after bashful fellers.
3. Fun wil begin tu kommance at 8 o’clock.
4. Tu git into the rum yu wil hav to pay tin sents; tu git enything tu eat yo wil hav tu pay 5 sents.

Kum at Kandle lightin’ an stay until bedtime. No obstreprus er bad boys permitted.

Signed. The Kommity.

But the most peculiar ads of all that year were the campaign ads for a man running for County Surveyor, the sort of political job that usually draws hardly any attention at all. The fellow apparently covered the town with so many little posters it became a newsworthy item for the Press Democrat: “A unique little ‘paster’ is being used by J. C. Parsons, the Democratic nominee for County Surveyor, to further his campaign. It shows Mr. Parsons in action, and was gotten up by him personally. The little pasters are everywhere, and one is produced here for the benefit of our readers.” But it was his big ad in the PD, shown below, that has to win some sort of award for strangeness. (“Worst. Ad. Ever,” as the Simpsons’ character Comic Book Guy might say.) The unphotogenic Mr. Parsons lost by a landslide to the incumbent surveyor George H. Winkler, who promptly died. It was bad enough to lose after spending quite a pile of coin on the ads but as it was apparently known that Winkler had been quite ill for some time, it must have truly stung that the voters still preferred a nearly-dead candidate.

The last peculiarity of 1910 concerns Doc Summerfield, the town’s veterinarian. One evening after supper he pulled a bottle off the shelf and popped down a “digestive tablet.” To his horror he realized that he had picked the wrong jar and had swallowed a mercury bichloride pill instead, “enough to kill several persons,” according to the Santa Rosa Republican.

Let us pause for a moment and contemplate what sort of idiot would keep identical bottles next to each other when one contained a terrible poison and the other had an old-fashioned version of Tums. Let’s also wonder why he had mercury bichloride anyway, which was mainly used in tiny doses to treat syphilis, and ponder further if that meant he was still operating his side business – in 1908 he was mentioned as one of several upstanding Santa Rosans who was a landlord for a brothel on First street.

Summerfield ran to Hahman’s drug store downtown and was given an emetic plus some sort of antidote “hypodermic.” There is no clear definition of what that might have been; medical literature published the following year stated colloidal silver seemed to work best, although the drawback was that large doses might turn the patient’s skin a shade of metallic blue-grey known as Argyria. Three doctors rushed to the pharmacy to attend Dr. Summerfield but there was little they could do except observe (perhaps they all whipped out their pocket revolvers and were taking bets as to whose gun metal would soon match his complexion). By the following day the Doc was doing fine and presumably reorganizing the shelves in his office.

DR. SUMMERFIELD TAKES POISON

Mistook it for Digestive Tablets; Close Call

A mistake that might have been fatal was made by Dr. J. J. Summerfield Friday evening just after he had eaten his supper. Only his presence of mind and promptness saved him from death. He took a tablet containing bichloride of mercury, thinking that it was some of his digestive tablets which he had been taking after each meal.

It was about 8 o’clock when Dr. Summerfield went into the room which adjoins his stables and hospital on First street and in the dark he took down a bottle which he supposed contained his digestive tablets, and took one of them. As he returned the bottle to the shelf he noticed that he had gotten hold of the wrong bottle and that he had taken a mercury tablet, which contained about seven and a half grains of the poison, enough to kill several persons. He immediately ran to the Hahman drug store on Exchange avenue and there told them what he had done and asked for an emetic. Physicians were also called and it was not long before Doctors Cline, Bogle, and Bonar were at the doctor’s side.

Before Dr. Summerfield arrived at the Hahman drug store, a messenger more fleet of foot had preceded him and announced what had happened. Paul T. Hahman had an emetic ready and also gave him a hypodermic. This counteracted the effects of the poison, and later the physicians reached the patient. J. Walter Claypool and Dr. J. H. Rankin remained with Dr. Summerfield  until long after midnight and he was resting easy at the time.

On Saturday Dr. Summerfield was doing nicely, and all danger from the poison he had taken had entirely passed away. It was only the fact that the doctor knew what a deadly poison the stuff was and the promptness with which he went to the drug store for antidotes that he owes his life. Dr. Summerfield  is also a very big, strong man and has a good constitution, which also helped him throw off the effects of the poison.

– Santa Rosa Republican, March 26, 1910

I heard of a “patent medicine” party the other night. The idea was carried out not in the administering of medicines to the guests but in the adornment of the rooms with all sorts of advertisements. Prizes were awarded those who proved the most proficient in the guessing contest that located the advertisements with the medicine to which they belonged. It afforded much merriment.

– “Society Gossip”, Press Democrat, June 19, 1910

FORCED TO DANCE TO THE TUNE OF WHISTLING BULLETS AS MUSIC

Mrs. John Turner of Bodega Bay created considerable excitement on the bay shore Saturday when she compelled Captain Hart, a pioneer of that section, to dance on the beach by firing shots at his feet and between his legs to emphasize her commands.

The trouble is one of long standing. The Turners, husband and wife, reside on the country road, near Bodega Bay, while Captain Hart is a neighbor. They have had considerable trouble of various kinds at various times, so that when the Captain pulled a plank out of the water Saturday and left it on the beach and returned later discover that it had been thrown back into the water by his enemy, he could stand it no longer.

According to the story which reached here Monday, the Captain, in addressing Mrs. Turner, used language far more expressive than polite and better fitted for use on sailing vessels than in polite society on land. When he had exhausted his vocabulary and stopped for breath, Mrs. Turner took a turn at telling the Captain what she thought of him, and then ordered him to dance. He at first demurred, but when the gun was brought into play he changed his mind, and as one shot followed another, he danced faster and faster, until finally a bullet hit him in the hip which ended the dance.

Mrs. Turner was taken before Justice Cunninghame Monday, and after some discussion, she was allowed to go on parole until Wednesday, December 14, when the case will again be called in court. Meanwhile it is expected that Captain Hart will fully recover from his wound.

– Press Democrat, November 29, 1910

Read More

ARMED, CRAZY, AND FORECLOSED UPON

Not since the misadventures of Joseph Forgett, a drug addict who carried a meat cleaver under his coat, had Sonoma County law enforcement encountered a man as dangerous and (probably) crazy as Edward/Eduardo Bosco.

The Santa Rosa newspapers first introduced us to Mr. Bosco, a middle-aged Italian immigrant, in late 1907, when he was in Sonoma county jail awaiting a sanity hearing. A few days earlier, it seemed, Bosco had an ugly confrontation with deputies at his little farm near Healdsburg. When he refused to open his door, the deputies smashed it in. Eduardo ran to the back of his house locking doors behind him, with the deputies and their battering ram in pursuit. He fled to his basement, where the deputies broke down the door and arrested him, although he was threatening them with an axe. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. An important detail downplayed in those news reports was that Bosco had recently lost his farm to foreclosure.

At his hearings, Bosco said he was defending himself because he didn’t understand at the time why those men were breaking into his house. He was released after two doctors declared him sane, and several character witnesses testified on his behalf. Bosco “claimed that his neighbors bothered him greatly, and intimated that it was desired to have him placed in an asylum so his property could be confiscated.” He sued those neighbors for damages for bringing the complaint against him.

If the story ended there, we might presume that Bosco was the victim of a scheme to steal away his property, and those neighbors were conspiring to boot him out because they held the mortgage or lien on his farm. But the story does not end there.

A few months later, Bosco was discovered back at the farm he no longer owned. He had picked clean the pear trees on the property and sold the crop to a cannery and when a Healdsburg police officer and posse showed up to arrest him, he opened fire with a shotgun. No one was injured, and the police retreated. We next heard of Eduardo Bosco when he was in the Napa county jail about two months later. Now the police were after him for “stopping and molesting” people on the road outside Calistoga. A local cop investigated, and Bosco allegedly pulled out a gun and pressed it against the officer’s chest, pulling the trigger three times. No bullets were fired.

At the end of 1908, courts of Napa and Sonoma counties were squabbling over whether Bosco would be tried for real shotgun blasts at deputies or an empty gun fired at the heart of a cop (UPDATE HERE).

(Note: Eduardo Bosco was apparently unmarried and childless, and no relation to former Congressman Doug Bosco, who was born in Brooklyn.)

BOSCOE INSANE

An insane man, one Boscoe [sic], residing in the vicinity of Healdsburg, is in the county jail awaiting an official examination as to his sanity. He is violent and it became necessary to tightly strap him on his removal to Santa Rosa. His family circumstances are unknown.

– Santa Rosa Republican, November 21, 1907

GIVE OFFICERS EXCITING TIME
Man Barricades Door and Bids Defiance When an Attempt is Made to Serve Eviction Papers

Armed with a writ from the Superior Court to put Orselo Silva in possession of some land near Healdsburg, Deputy Sheriffs Ben H. Barnes and Lencioni visited the place Thursday for the purpose of carrying out the order contained in the writ of assistance, and evicted Edward Bosco. They had a lively time.

Some time ago Bosco was believed to be mentally deranged and consequently the officers went about their work carefully, especially when they found that the man had shut himself up in his cabin and barricaded the door and that he probably had a double barreled Winchester in his possession.

When the officers went to the cabin they were denied admission and Bosco commenced shouting and raised a “rough house” generally. After temporarily pacifying him the writ was read to him, but he still refused to open the door. Finally a battering ram was secured and with Deputy Sheriff Barnes covered the man with his gun which he thrust through the window, Deputy Lencioni broke down the door. Bosco ran to the rear of the house and disappeared through a trap door down into the basement, which is also used as a small winery. The officers removed him from there with difficulty, having to batter down more doors. He was found to have an axe as a weapon of defense. He was taken into Healdsburg and lodged in jail. He will be brought to the county jail and a charge of assault with a deadly weapon will be preferred against him.

– Press Democrat, December 13, 1907
EDWARD BOSCO FACES COURT
Preliminary Examination at Healdsburg Today

Edward Bosco, charged with having resisted an officer, was taken to Healdsburg Saturday morning for his preliminary examination before Justice Charles Raymond. Recently Deputy Sheriff Ben H. Barnes and Constable Henry Lencioni went to Dry Creek valley to arrest Bosco, he barricaded the doors and windows, and resisted arrested [sic] even at the point of a gun.

Attorney William F. Cowan went to represent Bosco at the examination, and the people were represented by Assistant District Attorney George W. Hoyle. Court Reporter Scott recorded the testimony. Bosco was recently before Judge Seawell on a charge of insanity, but was released after an examination by two physicians, who declared the man sane. He claimed that his neighbors bothered him greatly, and intimate that it was desired to have him placed in an asylum so his property could be confiscated.

– Santa Rosa Republican, January 4, 1908

ROPED AND DRAGGED TO THE COUNTY JAIL
Sensational Allegations in a Complaint in a Ten Thousand Dollar Damage Suit Thursday

Charging that he was arrested for insanity, bound by ropes by deputy sheriffs, divested of hat, coat and vest, and taken unceremoniously to the county jail at Santa Rosa at the behest and complaint of Silva Nurrisa and Orsola Nurissa, Edwardo Bosca commenced an action in the Superior Court on Thursday against the aforenamed and asks the court to award him $10,250 for damage done his reputation and name and for the indignities he was forced to suffer as the result of his arrest.

The allegations are set forth in a complaint and the trial promises to present a number of sensational features. William F. Cowan is the attorney for the plaintiff. It will be remembered that Bosca [sic] was evicted from his ranch near Healdsburg some weeks ago.

– Press Democrat, January 31, 1908
ALL EVIDENCE IN; ARGUMENTS TODAY
Trial of Edward Bosco Charged With Resisting Officers Commenced on Thursday

Charged with what the law classes as high misdemeanor, resisting an officer, Eduardo Bosco, who resides near Healdsburg, went to trial before Judge Denny and a jury in the Superior Court on Thursday morning.

Among the bits of evidence offered in support of the complaint that he resisted Deputy Sheriff Henry Lencioni when the latter went with Deputy Sheriff Ben H. Barnes to serve a writ upon him (Bosco) were a hatchet and knife and a whetstone. These articles were admitted in evidence…

…Bosco was called as a witness in his own behalf. Among other things he testified that he did not realize the mission of the officers at the time he resisted them. Several character witnesses were called and at five o’clock both sides rested their case.

– Press Democrat, March 13, 1908

BOSCO SELLS THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT
Man Who Was Dispossessed of Premises Near Healdsburg is Said to Gave Established Himself There Again

From Healdsburg comes word that Edwardo Bosco, a rancher, who lived near there, and who was dispossessed of his place by process of court, is again in trouble, and that Constable Ed Haigh has a warrant for his arrest.

According to the report sent here, Bosco has again gone on the premises from which he was evicted and has entered the house, and installed himself there, and furthermore, has picked the pear crop on the place and sold it to the cannery.

– Press Democrat, August 19, 1908
POSSE EXCHANGES SHOTS WITH RANCHER BOSCO
Constable Tries to Dislodge Man and Is Met With Shotgun Volley

Constable Ed Haight and posse had an encounter with Edwardo Bosco yesterday afternoon in the hills near [Healdsburg], but returned to town without their man. Bosco recently lost his little ranch on foreclosure proceedings, but maintained possession and so far all efforts to depose him have proved futile.

In an effort to get him off the place Constable Haight and posse went to the ranch yesterday, but after firing a shot to scare the old man they were met with a volley from his Winchester and all efforts to dislodge him were unavailing. Some seventeen shots were fired between the posse and Bosco, but none was effective as far as learned.

– San Francisco Call, September 6, 1908
BOSCO NOW UNDER ARREST
Man Wanted Here is in Jail in Napa County

Eduardo Bosco, the eccentric individual who has given the officers of northern Sonoma county considerable trouble, has been arrested in Calistoga. He snapped his rifle three times at an officer there who attempted to arrest him Monday, and he will probably be charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to commit murder.

Bosco has disturbed the peace of residents of Calistoga and an officer went to arrest him. It was then that Bosco attempted to murder the officer, and had his weapon been loaded he would probably have succeeded. He was taken into custody and landed in the county jail in Napa. There he told Sheriff Dunlap he had been in jail here and that officer communicated with Undersheriff Walter C. Lindsay. The latter informed Dunlap that Bosco was also wanted in this country. Constable Ed Haigh of Healdsburg has a warrant for Bosco’s arrest for stealing fruit from a ranch which he formerly owned and from which he had been ejected. Recently when the constable attempted to arrest Bosco in Healdsburg the latter drew a weapon and the officer also drew a gun. No shooting ensued and Bosco went his way unmolested. He is charged with petit larceny, by the warrant held by Constable Haigh.

Bosco was examined for insanity here at one time and was permitted to have his liberty after the hearing. Later he went to the ranch which he had lost and took fruit from it and disposed of the fruit to a Healdsburg cannery. He will probably be tried at Napa, as the offense there is far more serious than the charge against him here.

The Napa Daily Journal has the following regarding the crime of Bosco and his arrest:

“Early that morning Constable D. E. Powers received word that a strange man, believed to be insane was stationed on a road leading into the up valley town, stopping and molesting all who passed by. Powers went out to investigate, and found Ed Bosco, an Italian, 55 years old, lying by the road side. When he attempted to take the queer acting stranger into custody, Bosco drew a big revolver and pressed it against the officers breast. Three times he pulled the trigger, but the shells refused to explode.

[“]After a hard struggle Powers succeeded in taking the weapon away from the man who would do murder. Bosco was brought here Monday afternoon and lodged in the county jail. He will be taken to Healdsburg, where he is wanted for taking a shot at an officer.”

– Santa Rosa Republican, November 10, 1908

BOSCO LANDED IN THE COUNTY JAIL

Eduardo Bosco of Healdsburg who has given the officers considerable trouble in one way and another recently, was brought to the county jail last night from Napa, where he had been arrested for his peculiar actions towards strangers at Calistoga. When the officers went after him Bosco is said to have pulled his rifle on them and to have snapped the trigger several times before it could be taken from him.

There was a warrant out in this county for his arrest. Bosco was once examined for his sanity here, has been displaced from the farm where he resided, and resisted when officers went to take him off the second time. His appearance at Napa was a surprise here.

– Press Democrat, November 11, 1908

Read More