John Vonderlin ponders the "Crimes of Pescadero" in the 19th century

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1860s —Crimes of Pescadero, Part 5

Hi June,
The following story is from the 1883 book, “The History of San Mateo County.”

“In the Spring of 1861 a man named Myers came to Pescadero and announced himself as a horse doctor. Pescadero horses were distressingly, however, healthy–or else horse doctor Myers failed to draw confidence; in some way, at all events, to keep the spiritual and material being harnessed together, he found it expedient to do odd jobs of any sort of work, when he could find any to do. His true inwardness was eventually disclosed by an enterprise that made him for a while more sought after then he had been. It appears while ostensibly engaged in the pursuit of an honest livelihood, he was quietly observing the ins and outs of the Besse and Garretson’s Store, one evening while the proprieters were at supper, having left the store to take care of itself for a brief moment, he pried open a window with a chisel, took fifteen hundred dollars from an old shoe, which was used as the safe for the establishment, and retired in good order without being discovered. With his illgotten booty Meyers crossed Pescadero Creek where he dropped his chisel, and buried the money somewhere in the neighborhood. He was arrested on suspicion, the chisel was found, and Alexander Moore discovered on the prisoner’s boots a peculier mark that corresponded exactly with certain peculiarities of the tracks underneath the store’s window and elsewhere. He was examined before the justice, who held him to a charge of grand larceny, and commited him to the jail in Santa Cruz for safe keeping. He, however, broke jail, passed through Pescadero, where he secured the buried treasure, then went to San Francisco. He kept himself so completely disguised, that when T.W. Moore and I.R. Goodspeed were sent to the city to find him, they were completely baffled. Mr. Moore employed a Spaniard to assist in the still hunt, and the latter later recognized his man in a low dance house. He was arrested and taken back to Santa Cruz, where he was tried, convicted, and sent to San Quentin for several years. The stolen money, which he had deposited in a bank in San Francisco was recovered and restored to its rightful owners.”

The Mr. Goodspeed mentioned above was Pescadero’s school teacher at the time. He was also the local justice of peace and physician and coroner. He soon added running a Pescadero mercantile business to his accomplishments. In reading the short bio of Mr. Goodspeed you have in his file it would seem that Bounty Hunting may have been his only failure. Enjoy. John

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About June Morrall

1947 - 2010
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