News & Tall Tales. 1800s.

San Francisco Gold Rush 1849.


California Desperados.

July 29, 1851, Alta California, San Francisco, California

DARING ASSAULT.-- On the evening of the 25th inst., while the Deputy Sheriff of Nevada county was passing along the Nevada road near the Deer Creek crossing, he was startled by hearing some one stealthily approaching from behind.

On turning around, he was struck by a slung-shot just above the right ear, which completely stunned him. He was, however, enabled to reach the Eureka House by 9 o'clock the same evening. He started next day on horseback for Nevada, having partially recovered from the effects of the assault.

Crime appears to be on the increase in the vicinity of Nevada, according to our recent accounts from that place. We copy from the Nevada Journal an occurrence:

Dick Turpin's Stand and Deliver.
Black Bess screeches to a halt and prevents Dick Turpin from crashing into the Lord Mayor, who has toppled from his sedan chair.

MORE HIGHWAY ROBBERY. -- As Mr. F. A. Houghton of this city was on his way from Grass Valley to Buena Vista Ranch yesterday afternoon, when about half-way, he was accosted by a man on foot, who demanded his money. Upon his replying that he had none of consequence about him, the man requested to deliver up his horse, at the same time presenting a cocked pistol within a few inches of his person. Simultaneously upon the demand for the horse, Mr. H. drew taut his reins, and applied the spurs to his animal's flanks, which immediately made a plunge, and, as Mr. H. supposes, truck the highwayman with his heels, as the pistol was discharged at the same instant, the ball varying widely from the mark.

Dangerous Highwaymen in California.

A second discharge was immediately made, but at too great a distance to do execution. Mr. H. passed another individual a short distance ahead, who was probably an accomplice. Mr. H. was without weapons of any kind. This is the third attempt at robbery which has been made within a mile or two of that place within two weeks, at one of which the robbers succeeded in robbing their victim of some $250.

The above, with numerous other cases which have recently occurred in this vicinity, prove conclusively that there is an .organized band of robbers lurking about, who have been driven from the cities below by the activity of the Vigilance Committees, and it is quite time that some measures should be taken to ferret them out and bring the rascals to justice.

Wells, Fargo & Co. Stagecoach and Train Robberies, 1870-1884: The Corporate Report of 1885 with Additional Facts About the Crimes and Their PerpetratorsWells Fargo, Robberies, 1870-1885.
James B. Hume

The Corporation that Changed the World.
The Corporation That Changed the World: The East India CompanyHow the East India Company Shaped the Modern Multinational.
Nick Robins
The English East India Company was the mother of the modern multinational. Its trading empire encircled the globe, importing Asian luxuries such as spices, textiles and teas. But it also conquered much of India with its private army and broke open China's markets with opium. The Company’s practices shocked its contemporaries and continue to reverberate in today's markets. The Corporation That Changed the World is the first book to reveal the Company’s enduring legacy as a corporation. Stock market bubbles, famines, drug-running and duels between rival executives are to be found in this new account.

The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams and the Making of Modern ChinaOpium Wars.
Julia Lovell
The author is a translator, and academic. She is the author of The Great Wall: China Against the World, 1000 BC - AD 2000China Against the World., which was published in eighteen countries. She has translated many key Chinese works into English, including Lust, Caution by Eileen Chang, The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun, and Serve the People by Yan Lianke. She is a lecturer in modern Chinese history and literature at the University of London and writes for the Guardian, The Times, the Economist, and the Times Literary Supplement. She spends a large part of the year in China with her family.

Opium Wars.
The Opium War
Through Chinese Eyes
Opium War through Chinese Eyes.
Arthur Waley
Waley offers a lively account of the Opium War full of human interest in the most concrete, real, and vivid terms. . . . What he has done is to account the thoughts and activities of the Chinese as men, not as Mandarins and generals. He has stressed what others had neglected, that is, the feelings and sufferings of the common men as affected by the war.

Merchant Kings: When Companies Ruled the World, 1600--1900Merchant Kings. Opium.
Stephen R. Brown
Starred Review. Bown describes the six great companies, and their leaders, that dominated the "Heroic Age of Commerce." Bown demonstrates how the corporations served as stalking horses for kings and parliaments while enriching shareholders and the powerful managers themselves. Jan Pieterszoon Coen of the Dutch East India Company was particularly noteworthy for cruel tyranny in what is now Indonesia. The English East India Company's Robert Clive, through genius and perseverance, rose to a position of near-absolute power in India. Aleksander Baranov of the Russian American Company, known as the "Lord of Alaska," was bound by ties of decency and responsibility to the company's men, but also had a deep strain of brutality. Cecil Rhodes of the British South Africa Company and of De Beers, the South African diamond monopoly, was dedicated both to the British Empire and to the success of his various enterprises.

The Business of Empire:
The East India Company and Imperial Britain, 1756-1833
Business of Empire, Professor H. V. Bowen.Opium.Professor H. V. Bowen
A detailed study of what happened in Britain when the East India Company acquired a vast territorial empire in South Asia. It offers a reconstruction of the inner workings of the Company as it made the remarkable transition from business to empire during the late-eighteenth century. Huw Bowen explores the Company's interactions with the domestic economy and society, and sheds light on its contributions to the development of Britain's imperial state. This book will appeal to all those interested in imperial, economic and business history.

Opium: Reality's Dark DreamOpium.
Opium: Reality's Dark Dream by Thomas Dormandy.Thomas Dormandy
Opium: Reality's Dark Dream traverses the globe and the centuries, exploring opium's role in colonialism, the Chinese Opium Wars, laudanum-inspired sublime Romantic poetry, American "Yellow Peril" fears, the rise of the Mafia and the black market, 1960s counterculture, and more. Dr. Dormandy also recounts exotic or sad stories of individual addiction. Throughout the book the author emphasizes opium's complex, valuable relationship with developments in medicine, health, and disease, highlighting the perplexing dual nature of the drug as both the cause and relief of great suffering in widely diverse civilizations.

Practicing Law in Frontier California (Law in the American West)Law in Frontier California.
Gordon Morris Bakken
The author combines collective biography with an analysis of the function of the bar in a rapidly changing socioeconomic setting. Drawing on manuscript collections, Bakken considers hundreds of men and women who came to California to practice law during the gold rush and later, their reasons for coming, their training, and their usefulness to clients during a period of rapid population growth and social turmoil. He shows how law practice changed over the decades with the establishment of large firms and bar associations, how the state's boom-and-bust economy made debt collection the lawyer's bread and butter, and how personal injury and criminal cases and questions of property rights were handled. In Bakken's book frontier lawyers become complex human beings, contributing to and protecting the social and economic fabric of society, expanding their public roles even as their professional expertise becomes more narrowly specialized.

The Naval Order of the United States has a history dating from 1890. Membership includes a wide range of individuals, many with highly distinguished career paths.

The San Francisco Commandery meets the first Monday of each month at the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club in San Francisco, California and holds two formal dinners each year.

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.




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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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