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A Brief History of the Pajaro Property Protective Society: Vigilantism in the Pajaro Valley During 19th Century - Part 2
by Phil Reader
MATT TARPY AND THE FOUNDING OF THE PAJARO PROPERTY PROTECTIVE SOCIETY
Matt Tarpy was born in 1826 to Patrick and Bridget Tarpy in the poverty-stricken bogs of County Mayo, Ireland. The great famine of the late 1840s left young Tarpy with no other choice but to abandon his homeland in favor of the gold fields of California. In the company of three of his brothers - Martin, David and John - he arrived in San Francisco during the fall of 1851 amid the excitement caused by the newly created Committee of Vigilance. The vigilantes were in the process of ridding the city of two organized gangs of hooligans known as the "Hounds", made up almost entirely of retired solders of Stevenson's New York Battalion, and the "Sidney Ducks", a band of criminals recently deported from Australia. This type of concerted action, in the face of an inept and anemic police department, made a lasting impression on the young Irishman.
After a few months in the northern mines, during which he managed to accumulate a small stake, Tarpy returned to San Francisco where he spent the following year as a produce broker in the Market Street district. In 1854, the brothers moved south to Santa Cruz county where they took up a pre-emption claim of 160 acres of land that was a part of the Rincon Rancho. They set up a lime quarrying operation which proved to be extremely successful, but trouble was quick to plague the Tarpy boys.
Their title to the land was challenged in a law suit which was to languish in the courts until July of 1875, when in a landmark decision, the judge ruled against the Tarpys. His finding nullified their pre-emption in favor of a claim filed by the former owners of the land who had been granted the rancho during the Mexican era. About the same time, an unfortunate shooting incident occurred at the quarry in which John and David Tarpy killed a tough ex-convict named William O'Hara in a gunfight. In spite of the fact that they were acquitted of any wrongdoing, this, and the loss of their land sent three of the brothers back to San Francisco. Only Matt was to remain in Santa Cruz county.
Undaunted, he began to buy up land in Rancho Carneros along the San Juan Road near San Miguel Canyon in the hills above the Pajaro Valley, where he established a large farm and cattle ranch. He then married Winifred Conway, also an Irish immigrant, whom he had met during his San Francisco days. Soon he had a family consisting of a wife and three young daughters. Tarpy, always politically active, involved himself in community affairs and gained a reputation as a well-known and fiery supporter of the Democratic Party.
Because his spread and those of his neighbors were so isolated, they became a favorite target for the gangs of horse thieves and cattle rustlers who infested the area, bivouacking in the nearby mountains. This harassment became so constant that the County Sheriff and Township Constables seldom bothered to investigate the steady stream of crime reports which flowed into their offices. Some of the ranchers began to accept the presence of these outlaws on the fringes of their land as an unavoidable evil which they would have to endure; but not so Matt Tarpy.
Boisterously decrying the incompetency of local law enforcement agents, he would outfit himself and brazenly follow these desperados into their mountain hideouts. His rate of success in retrieving stolen cattle and horses was so high that his fellow ranchers began to turn to him for protection in lieu of more legal authority. The local press, especially the Pajaro Times, praised him warmly for his efforts on behalf of the beleaguered ranchers.
In 1863, it was Tarpy, not the sheriff, who captured the two Indians who had brutally murdered Frank Williams, the landlord of the Mariposa House in Watsonville. When the Minor Gang rode into town and peddled a string of stolen horses to local farmers and businessmen, it was he and school teacher Seneca Carroll, who trailed them to Santa Clara county where they finally ran them to the ground. He captured the horse thief Francis Hedden and refused to accept the reward which was offered for his apprehension.
And so it went through the years, time and time again, Tarpy put his life on the line to protect himself and his neighbors from chicanery. Even a rough and tumble lawman like Sheriff Charlie Lincoln had to give Tarpy the due for his courage and bravery.
On the morning of February 10, 1870, Matt Tarpy awakened to find that during the night his remuda had been raided and several of his finest horses stolen. Within a matter of a few minutes, he armed himself and was on the trail of the missing animals, while their tracks were still fresh. This was by no means the first time that he had lost stock to horse thieves and it was certainly not the first time that he had set out in pursuit.
He followed the trail south through San Juan and Hollister, where at Paicines it joined the road to the New Idria Quicksilver Mine in southern San Benito county. It was a road that Tarpy knew well, for it led to the isolated Panoche and Vallecitos region where the outlaw gangs maintained their headquarters.
Upon reaching the Panoche, he came across the horses tied up in front of a small adobe near Panoche Creek. Several Mexicans, who sat quietly on the porch, bolted upright when Tarpy rode into view. They scattered into the rocks nearby and began shooting at him. He dove from his horse and opened fire with his Henry rifle. During the melee that followed one of the thieves was killed and two wounded. Several others succeeded in making their escape.
Tarpy, who emerged unscathed in the fight, gathered up all of the horses and rode back to Hollister bringing with him the body of the dead bandit. While relating his adventures to a gathered crowd, he recognized one among them as a member of the gang of horse thieves from the shoot-out. He went before a local Justice of the Peace, swore out a warrant for the fellows arrest and took his prisoner back to Pajaro for trial. Much to Tarpy's chagrin, the outlaw was released the following day for lack of evidence.
Cursing the state of affairs as they existed in the area, he rode into Watsonville to seek the counsel of his friend Justice Lucius Holbrook. The two men adjourned to the Temple Saloon and held an impromptu conference with owner Charlie O'Neal, who also had a ranch in the Pajaro Valley. It was decided that since they could no longer count on the Sheriff or the courts for protection against the lawlessness that prevailed in the region, it was high time for the farmers and stockmen to take some action of their own.
They placed a note in the Pajaronian advising the citizenry of a public meeting to be held on February 26, 1870 in the office of Justice Holbrook for the purpose of discussing the best means of assuring security against depredations which were becoming so commonplace. Much to everyone's surprise, upwards to one hundred people attended the meeting and even the newspapers sent reporters to cover the event.
It was decided by the majority present that a society for mutual protection and safety be founded to "restore peace and tranquility to this section of the state." It was to be called The Pajaro Property Protective Society. A Preamble stating the given purpose of the society was written as was a Constitution and By-laws.
Officers of the organization were to consist of a President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Door-keeper. There were sections in the by-laws dealing with membership eligibility which insisted as a prerequisite a potential member be"reputed of good moral character, sober of habits, and a honorable calling or profession to obtain a living." Another article stated that any member suspected of being a spy for friend of the thieves "may be summarily dealt with."
Of the utmost importance was Section 4, detailing the "outside officers" of the association. This group consisted of a Captain and four Lieutenants, whose duty it was to capture, if possible, all persons stealing stock from any member of the society. It was these men who would voluntarily go into the field and, in the name of the society, do the actual fighting. Naturally enough, Matt Tarpy was appointed Captain and among his Lieutenants were Charlie O'Neal and Seneca Carroll, whose parents owned a large farm in San Miguel Canyon.
In all, eighty-three members were enrolled into the Society at this initial meeting. They included most of the farmers in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. Paramount among them were the Driscoll brothers, the Sheehy brothers, Edward Breen, William Casey, William F. White, Fred Therwachter, the Bothwell brothers, J.B.H. Cooper and Danny McCusker. This list proved that the farmer/rancher block in both counties were in solid support of the action taken by the society.
The Watsonville Pajaronian published a formal announcement of the creation of the society as well as excerpts from the constitution and by-laws. In reporting on the meeting, the editor issued a challenge to all community residents to become involved in the association stating that "we have reason to believe and expect that this is no wild mob, who will disgrace themselves and this locality by their accesses." Also published in the same issue was a long letter written by Matt Tarpy, as a member of the society, giving a history of the vigilante movement in California and stating the reasons for the creation of such an organization in the Monterey Bay region.
Reaction to the establishment of the Pajaro Property Protective Society was swift in coming. The local businessmen of the community clamored for the sheriff to take some action against Tarpy and the farmers before something "scandalous" happened. From north county, the editor of the Santa Cruz Sentinel loudly lamented the fact that its neighbor to the south would deem it necessary to take such potentially illegal action in the name of self-protection. Meanwhile, around the bay at Monterey, the Monterey Republican chastised the people of the Pajaro Valley for allowing mob rule. Tarpy responded quickly to the condemnation, retorting that in the light of recent history, it was difficult for the Pajaro Property Protective Society to understand all of the criticism that was being leveled at them. He dismissed their critics as "as a bunch of hypocrites" and, in a long rambling letter to the editor of the Castroville Argus, he described the history of a number of movements which he labeled "precursors" of the Property Protection Society.
EARLY VIGILANTE ACTIVITIES IN THE MONTEREY BAY AREA
The cities existing along the shores of the Bay of Monterey had a long, although somewhat dubious, flirtation with vigilantism which dated back to the advent of American rule. Under Spain and Mexico, the region was nearly crime free. Murder was almost unheard of, with the obvious exception of the killing of Padre Andreas Quintana by a group of Indians in 1812; and even this was a reaction to the friar's innate cruelty. The gregarious and open lifestyle of the leisure-loving peoples of Alta California so typified by the code of hospitality almost eliminated crimes against person and property, although there was the occasional theft of a horse or steer.
With the arrival of Americans and Europeans, the instances of violence and other forms of criminality suddenly soared. After statehood, homicide, robbery, and grand larceny became quite commonplace. Between 1850 and 1853, there were more than forty unsolved murders in the area and this fact alone should be enough to exemplify the hapless state of affairs which existed locally. But when you add to this the fact that the first two sheriffs and one former county judge were indicted by the Grand Jury for crimes ranging from robbery to grand larceny, the situation reaches a critical stage. This set of circumstances gave rise to a vigilance committee which pre-dates, by a few months, the much publicized committee in San Francisco.
By the spring of 1851, organized gangs of horse thieves and cattle rustlers had stationed themselves in the hills around Monterey and the bordering Salinas Valley. They were carrying off almost one hundred head of stock per night and were never reticent about robbing and killing a traveler in this isolated region. The predicament was such that the citizenry petitioned the California legislature to take some action to relieve them from this virtual state of siege.
To this end, the government authorized $9,000 to mount and arm a company of men to clean out the nests of these desperados. Selim E. Woodworth, former State Senator from Monterey was appointed as commander of the group which was called the California Guards. In early April, 1851, they took to the field on a march that carried them north as far as Martinez and to Tulare Lake in the south. But their adventure proved worthless, resulting in only three arrests and one conviction. The company was quickly disbanded amid accusations that Woodworth had managed to pocket most of the state's money.
During this time, however, robberies and killings continued on at the same unabated pace. On June 8, 1851, John Caldwell, the highly esteemed mail rider, who carried the express between Monterey and Los Angeles, was brutally murdered at a point in the lower Salinas Valley. The nature of the crime so infuriated the citizenry that a party of volunteers set out in pursuit of the murderers, who were believed to be part of a gang who had been terrorizing the region. Near San Luis Obispo, they captured a group of desperados that included Solomon Pico, brother of Andreas Pico, Domingo Hernandez, Cecilia Masa, and William Otis Hall, an American.
They were tried at a "people's court" and were sentenced to be hung. However, before the wishes of the court could be carried out, the civil authorities came forward and rescued the prisoners. Masa was discharged, and Pico, because of his brother's standing in the community, was freed on bail and quickly fled the country. Domingo Hernandez was released upon the intersession of a priest, so that only Otis Hall remained in custody.
The actions of the authorities so angered the people, that on the night of August 9th, a group of them, wearing masks and cloaks, broke into the jail, bound up the jailer and proceeded to drag the prisoner from his cell. They tied a rope around his neck and looped the end of it around the bars of the jailhouse door. Pulling up on the rope, they drew him hard up to the door until he died of strangulation. In this manner, William Otis Hall became the first known victim of a lynch mob in the central coast region.
A flurry of such activities was quick to follow, including, in 1856, the hanging of three Indians who were suspects in the murders of Francois Picart and A. Mellon in the Carmel Valley. Also in 1856, two brothers, Juan and Jose Alvitre, both hard cases who had served time at San Quentin, died at the hands of the vigilance committee in Monterey. The following year, the infamous Anastacio Garcia was found hanging from the beams in the same cell where Otis Hall had met his fate five years earlier. The lynchings continued on into the next decade with the executions of Carmel Indian Gregoria, who admitted shooting John Martin in the valley on January 6, 1864, and Juan Valenzuela for the murder of Natividad store keeper Frank Johnson during the month of September, 1866.
Meanwhile, the people of Santa Cruz were busy enforcing the code of "Judge Lynch" in that once placid community. The first to fall to the vigilante's rope was none other then Domingo Hernandez, the bandido who had managed to escape a similar fate in Monterey. Hernandez and a notorious character named Capistrano Lopez, together with a third Mexican, were caught in the possession of stolen horses and clapped into the jail on Mission Hill. On the night of July 20, 1852, a group of thirty men took them from their hapless jailer and hung them up before an approving citizenry.
The vigilance committee next marched on the afternoon of August 17, 1853. Their victim on this occasion was John Clare, who admitted ambushing Hungarian fisherman Andrew Cracovich the previous day in petty dispute over ownership of some fishing nets. Once again the mob smashed their way into the jail and unceremoniously lynched Clare on a makeshift gallows which they had hastily built on the very spot where the murder had occurred.
Sometime later a group ambiguously labeling itself the "Settlers' League" sprang into existence. Among its leaders were William Blackburn and Andrew Jackson Sloan, both known to have been active participants in the Santa Cruz lynchings. Although the group vehemently denied being a vigilance committee, there were those, including law enforcement officials, who expressed grave doubts as to the veracity of their claim.
After this the center of vigilante activities shifted to Watsonville, a community already racked by dissension and division. Tension between the native Spanish and the newly arrived Americans had always ran high and the presence of the bandido stronghold at Whisky Hill just two miles from the center of town kept both sides on edge. Into this star-crossed scene came a shadowy figure by the name of Arnold Theilheaver and following in his wake was violence and death.
Theilheaver, a native of Georgia, appeared in Watsonville in 1853 from El Dorado County, where he had taken part in numerous lynchings around the northern mines. He was an avowed racist who had developed a particular hatred for "greasers and Indians." Upon arriving in the Pajaro Valley, he opened a saloon and trading goods store on Main Street (then called Pajaro Street). He managed to get himself appointed postmaster and immediately got into trouble with the postal department by destroying all abolitionist literature and newspapers that crossed his desk. His saloon became the gathering place for a group of transient toughs which formed the nucleus of a local vigilance committee.
They began their work on the night of June 14, 1856 with an unnamed Indian who was accused of killing a Mexican during a drunken fight in a dive on the Monterey side of the river. The terrified prisoner was dragged out of the hotel room where he was being kept and within minutes, the mob left his lifeless body hanging from a strut on the old Pajaro bridge.
At the time, the village of Pajaro consisted of a motley collection of makeshift shacks located among the willows on the sandy banks of the river. In reality they were saloons and brothels which pandered to the Indians of the Pajaro rancheria and the vaqueros from the Bolsa and Carneros ranchos.
Living in one of these hovels was a ruffian named Juan Salazar, who was formerly a member of the outlaw gang led by the legendary Joaquin Murrieta, the scourge of the mother lode. Salazar was not the leader of his own band of horse thieves who, when they were not out on the trail, could be found drinking and gambling in the taverns of Pajaro and Whisky Hill. On July 6, 1856, a row took place between a group Indians and Salazar's gang. During the fighting, no less than six or seven of the combatants were injured, and one, Sacramento Valenzuela, died of stab wounds inflected by Juan Salazar. By the time word of the melee reached Watsonville and Theilheaver could assemble his hooligans to march on Pajaro, Salazar and his band were safely hidden away in a camp further up the river.
The rest of the summer passed quietly enough as an uneasy peace settled over the valley, broken only occasionally by the report of a stray pistol shot resounding from Whisky Hill. The only cause for excitement was in politics with a hotly contested presidential race between Buchanan, Fremont, and Fillmore which featured the rise of the American Party. The "Know-Nothings", as they were called, found willing converts among the whites in Watsonville, including Theilheaver and his group. But in October, just a few days before the election, all hell broke loose and there occurred one of the most violent incidents in the history of Watsonville.
It began on October 7th, when a number of horses were plundered from the ranch of Isaac and Charles Williams which was located on the Pajaro. Rounding up a number of others, including vigilante leader Theilheaver, they set out in pursuit, following a trail that the outlaws left behind in the mud. Upon arriving at a ranch beyond San Luis Obispo, they found the horses in the possession of a farmer, who said that he had bought them from a party of Spaniards led by none other than Juan Salazar.
After taking possession of the stock, they turned homeward, stopping for the night at Soledad. In the morning, they were informed that the Salazar gang had stolen some horses in that vicinity and were last seen heading up the road to Pajaro. Back in Watsonville, they met a group of men who were on their way to round up a group of horse thieves who were seen sneaking into the valley earlier that day.
Joining forces, the men rode out to the bandit's camp which was located on the river a couple of miles south of town. It was 2 o'clock in the morning when they arrived at the camp and quickly surrounded the cabin where the outlaws were holed up. Upon entering, they found three men hiding therein, on of them was Juan Salazar. All three were taken prisoner and marched back toward Watsonville. As they were crossing the river, one of the men broke away and made a dash for the willows. The vigilantes opened fire on him and heard him splash in the water - taking him for dead, they pressed on. A little further along, near the Harrison ranch, a second prisoner, Juan Salazar, made a break for freedom by dropping into a patch of mustard weed and scurried away. He, too, was shot down.
Fearing a third attempted escape, they lashed the remaining captive to his saddle and blindfolded him while one of the vigilantes led his horse. In this manner, they continued on until they reached the outskirts of town where the group stopped to water their horses. While doing so, the third man loosened his bonds and slid into the water in an escape attempt. He was immediately caught in a deadly hail of gunfire and floated off down the river. Afterwards, the mob proceeded to Watsonville and set up a temporary headquarters at the Bowling Alley where they spent the remainder of the night.
About six o'clock, the following morning a lookout spotted a number of Spanish Californios riding through town, passing along Main Street. The Americans surrounded them with guns drawn and ordered them to stop.
Suddenly a running battle broke out between the two groups with a couple of dozen shots being exchanged. The Californians split up, with some retreating back into Pajaro, while others, including a couple who were wounded, galloped on down the road leading to Santa Cruz. The vigilantes mounted up and followed after those who had fled across the river in the direction of Monterey. After an unsuccessful chase of several miles, they turned back to Watsonville empty handed.
Along the way, they met three Spaniards and, considering them suspicious looking, placed them under arrest and brought them into town under guard. After a close examination, the three were released because no one would prefer charges against them.
The mob now turned their attention toward the two Californios who had taken the Santa Cruz road. A couple of miles out of town, they came to a small shanty at the edge of a gully on the San Andreas ranch. Tied to a tree out front was a horse still saddled up and slick with sweat. The animal was bleeding from a would near the top of its neck.
Drawing their firearms, the men surrounded the house and broke through the front door. Inside, they found a lone man crouching in the shadow of the fireplace. He was tied up securely and the shack was searched for weapons. A pistol and a knife were discovered hidden under a pile of blankets. Upon examination, it was found that the revolver had recently been fired. When questioned, the prisoner, who gave his name as Castro, said that he had spent three shots from the weapon while out hunting for game earlier that morning. A rope was knotted around the man's neck and he was forced to march to Watsonville. When they arrived, the prisoner was taken to the plaza, bound to the liberty pole, and word was sent out for a number of citizens to be impaneled as a jury.
The "trial" was convened in a room at the Bowling Alley and as the proceedings went on, a group of prominent local Spaniards came in to observe the hearing. Suddenly Dr. H. G. Whitlock, a visitor from San Juan Bautista, stood up and assailed the "court", calling the whole trial a farce. He questioned the jury's ability to try the case in an impartial manner and began to argue with the mob leaders. One of the town constables, who had been standing in the back of the room, took advantage of the interruption and seized Castro, marching him away to jail.
The following morning, he was released because no proof could be offered tying him to any crime. But the mob, which was still milling around the streets of Watsonville, captured him again and quickly convened another trial. Upon hearing this, a group of Spaniards assembled in front of the Bowling Alley and threatened action.
All of the sudden, Castro bolted from the room and ran out into a field where the Spaniards stood. The Americans followed after him with their guns drawn. During the ensuing pitched battle, over one hundred shots were exchanged by the two opposing groups as they surged back and forth across the field, grappling for the prisoner. Finally, the Americans managed to recapture Castro and hustled him down to the river. After allowing him a minute to smoke a cigarette, the tied a noose around his neck and hanged him from a branch of a nearby tree as a deputy sheriff and two constables looked on.
In spite of the fact that the names of the leaders were well known, no action was ever taken against any member of the lynch mob. Such was the temper of the times.
For the next several months, the vigilantes continued their stranglehold over the valley and proceeded to bully and terrorize any Californio or Indian who happened to blunder into their sights, and it appears that they did so with the tacit approval of the law. But in the spring of 1857, Arnold Theilheaver and his mob crossed over the line of acceptance by lynching an American.
It had long been a practice of the poor Spaniards of Pajaro village to do their laundry by setting up a washing platform among the rocks in the swift running river. Afterwards, they would stretch their clean clothing on drying lines attached to posts which were placed in the side of the sandy embankment. Each family staked out its section of the stream and was expected to honor the territory of his neighbors.
That spring, there appeared a new face among the inhabitants of the little shantytown. He was and American and was known simply as Dean. It was said that he was the rebel son of a well-known preacher in the Los Angeles area and he brought with him an Indian squaw, who lived with him as his wife. In due time, Dean set up a washing platform for her amid those of the others.
On May 14, 1857, the woman set out to do her laundry. Upon reaching the river, she noticed that someone had placed their clothing on her line to dry. She carefully folded the intruder's washing and set them aside in a pile. Before long, the owner of the clothing, Mrs. Manuel Pombar, returned and a quarrel ensued. As fate would have it, both women appealed to their husbands and friends to help decide the dispute.
The following morning Dean met with a party of four or five Spaniards from the Pombar family and angry words quickly turned into violence. One of the Pombars attempted to lasso Dean, who managed to escape. He went into town and borrowed a shotgun vowing to "clean out the Greasers."
The next morning found him back down at the river attempting to parley with the elder members of the clan. Once again he was attacked with a lariat in the hands of Manuel Pombar. Both men were armed and both went for their guns. Several shots were exchanged with one passing through Pombar's body, while Dean was hit in the arm and side. The American's wounds were superficial, while Pombar's was more serious and for a time it, was not known whether he would survive.
Dean retreated to Watsonville where he was later arrested and placed in jail, pending an investigation. At a hearing on the incident, a coroner's jury bound Dean over for trial on a charge of assault to commit murder, while they kept an eye on Pombar's condition.
Meanwhile, a group of Spaniards taunted Theilheaver and his men, saying that if it was one of their countrymen who had shot an American, the vigilantes would have immediately lynched the miscreant, but since it was a yankee who did the shooting, they let him go.
The haranguing had the desired effect because that night around midnight, about twenty men, masked and fully armed, broke open the room where Dean was being held and took him from the Constables who were on guard. They dragged the poor wretch down Main Street and hung him from a sign post which extended across the alley from Theilheaver's saloon.
The death of young Dean disgusted the majority of the townspeople and they loudly repudiated the action. The next day it was learned that Manuel Pombar's wound was not as serious as first thought and the doctors attending him stated that his recovery should be quick.
This development made the rash act of the vigilantes even more revolting, and coupling this with the fact that it was an American who had been lynched prompted the citizenry into taking action themselves. A large body of men marched on Theilheaver's barroom, put it to the torch and stood by watching as it burned to the ground, all the while preventing anyone from attempting to extinguish the flames. Declaring that it was time to "clean out the nest of varmints," they sent word to Theilheaver that he was no longer welcome in the Pajaro Valley.
Quick to take a hint, the Georgian sifted through the ashes of his ruined business, loaded up what little remained, and disappeared from California. He would later surface as a line officer with a Confederate cavalry unit during the Civil War.
For a short time, peace reigned in the valley, but by the early 1860s, the marauding bands of rustlers and horse thieves had returned to plague the ranchers and farmers of the area. It is estimated that no less then $20,000 worth of stock had been pilfered during the first three years of the decade. The local press began to call for the organization of a self-protection society to do battle with these outlaws.
In December of 1863, such a society was formed, adopting the motto, "The rifle the judge, the ball the decision", but it died abornin' and took no action to stop the depredations. The following February, farmer Peter Zills and shopkeeper Moses Morris organized the "Whisky Hill Citizens Protection Committee" in an attempt to uphold law and order in that beleaguered community, but it too came to naught.
Following the Civil War crimes continued unabated and homicide became quite commonplace. Although the murders of William Roach and Alex Wilkins shocked the community to its foundations, the law proved unable, and on some occasions, unwilling to effectively deal with the situation. The mountains around the Pajaro Valley were again infested with horse thieves and no one dared enter Whisky Hill unless they were heavily armed. Since the residents of the outlying areas lived beyond the reach of the law, they faced the same old predicament of having to go it alone.
Copyright 1995 Phil Reader. Originally published by Cliffside Publishing, 1995. Reproduced with the permission of the author.
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