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Lake County History, Chapter 114: The White Cap Murders, Part 5

Sheriff Moore held ten suspects for trial. Three of the raiders; B.F. Staley, A.E. Richard, and J. Archer; were held for murder without bail. The rest were not held but directed to remain in the county.

Who were these ten men? They were not outlaws. They were ordinary citizens. The single thing they had in common was that they all worked for the mine. One man was part owner of the Bradford mine. Staley, one of those held for murder, had been an election officer at the Great Western Mine, one of the places selected for polling.

The man chosen to prosecute the White Cap raiders was Andrew Rocca. Rocca, a passionate man for justice, was the same man that had helped bring Buck English, the Lake County Highwayman and outlaw (Chapter 46, The Highwaymen), to justice a few years earlier.

These were the names of the White Cap Raiders as they were described by newspaperman Charles Michelson:

Charles Osgood: A tall, pleasant-looking young fellow, whose wife visited him constantly.

C.E. Blackburn: Short and heavily built. He was considered by some to be the smartest man of the lot. He looked nervous and wore glasses.

Henry Arkarro: An Italian, who was small, dark, and slender, had a black mustache and eyes set close together.

Robert Chadwick:A jolly Cornish miner with a frame that denoted strength and endurance.

A.E. Bickard: The merriest man in the group. He had a fat, good-humored French face that always wrinkled to laugh. Arkarro and Bickard were close friends. While they were in jail, Bickard tried to improve Arkarro’s English.

Charles Evans: The youngest man of the group was a tall, fair-haired lad of nineteen. He was an ordinary, awkward, open-faced boy with just a touch of down on his upper lip.

John Archer: He was a big, strong, fine-looking Scotsman, was less than thirty years old. Whenever he spoke, he always had a pleasant smile. Archer had a wife and two children waiting for him in Scotland.

August ‘Gus’ Lund: Lund was the most studious of the men. He was seldom without a book in his hand. Lund was a stout young Swede with blue eyes, blonde hair, and mustache.

Thomas Martin: Martin was a broad-shouldered man. He had a fierce red mustache.

B.F. Staley: He looked sick. With his thin face and big mustache, he was without the broad shoulders of many of his companions.

The People spoke next. The Preliminary hearing for the People of the State of California v. B.F. Staley et al., opened in Lakeport on February 2, 1891. The trials began four days later, February 6, 1891, in what is now the Museum directly across the street from the present County Building. Ten cases were to be tried, one for each of the ten defendants. There were more than three dozen witnesses. The Judge Presiding was R.W. Crump, Judge for the Seventh District.

The officers, serving for the People of California at the landmark trial, were:  S.K. Walsh, District Attorney; Assisting Walsh was B.K. Crawford, Associate Attorney; and Andrew Rocca, Clay Taylor, A.D.A., and Deputy District Attorney. Lilburn H. Boggs was the Sheriff. The Clerk was W.L. Anderson, and the Sheriff was L.H. Boggs.

The jury was called and, having answered to their names, were seated.

Bail was set by J.L. Reed, Justice of the Peace of Lower lake Township. The bail amount for Thomas Martin and Robert Chadwick was set at four thousand dollars each. August Lund, Charles Evans, and Henry Arkarro had their bail set at a lesser amount of one thousand dollars each since they played a lesser part in the assault and murder. Blackburn’s bail was higher, at ten thousand dollars. He was suspected to be one of the ringleaders in the affair. Henry Osgood’s bail was twenty-five hundred dollars, and his bail was paid by his friends.

 Next episode; The Motive for the Crime

© 2017 PAL PUBLISHING/USED BY PERMISSION

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visit Gene’s website; http://genepaleno.com/

Gene Paleno

Gene runs his life at a full sprint. In his ninety-three years he's dug ditches, painted signs, played semi-pro football, worked as a taxicab driver, an insurance agent, and a school teacher. He's been a technical artist, a marketing director, and a business owner. He served in World War II, raised four children, and was married to the love of his life for fifty years. He's an accomplished oil painter and skilled in ceramics. He's written fifteen books, including the definitive Lake County History, and doesn't show any signs of slowing down.

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