Vasquez Captured At Last.
San Francisco Chronicle (newspaper),
San Francisco, Cal.
Friday, May 15, 1874.
[Page 1][Page 2][Page 3][Page 4]
Riddled With Bullets,
but Still Alive and
FULL DETAILS OF THE
The Bandit Tracked to a
House in Aliso
The House Approached by
a Strategic Movement.
Vasquez, Rudely Interrupted
at the Dinner Table.
BOLD LEAP FOR LIFE.
Confronted on All Sides by
WOUNDED BY SEVERAL SHOTS
HE FALLS AT LAST.
His Wonderful Coolness and
The High-Priced Captive Lodged
in the Los Angeles Jail.
A Biographical Sketch of the Outlaw.
MORSE'S FRUITLESS HUNT.
Some Interesting Facts Connected
With That Expedition.
[BY TELEGRAPH FROM THE CHRONICLE’S
LOS ANGELES, May 14.—At 1:30 o'clock this morning, acting upon authentic information as to the hiding-place of Vasquez, Sheriff Rowland dispatched a party to attempt the capture of the bandit. The following was theORGANIZATION OF THE PARTY:
Albert J. Johnson, Under-Sheriff; Major Henry M. Mitchel, special Deputy-Sheriff; officers Emil Harris, Frank Hartley, Sam Bryant, D. K. Smith, W. E. Rodgers and the CHRONICLE correspondent; H. M. Mitchell, Deputy Sheriff, in charge of the party, a native American, twenty-six years of age; born in Virginia; lawyer by profession. Mitchell took part last Fall in the pursuit of Vasquez, and rode the famous horse captured from the bandit at Little Rock creek. He is a pale-faced, slim built man, rather above the ordinary hight, familiar with the topographical features of the country; a thorough horseman, aun is noted for his indomitable courage and energy. The recent successful movement was made on information obtained by Sheriff Rowland from a Mexican, whose name it is proper to withhold. We met in Major Mitchell's office, in Temple's Block, on Wednesday evening, and held
A COUNCIL OF WAR.
It was determined that the expedition must leave the city secretly. The horses, arms and accouterments reached a certain point near the suburbs of the city at different hours during the night, and by different routes. The members of the party reached there in the same manner. Rowland did not go with us, for the reason that, as he had been continually shadowed by a spy, his absence would have been known to Vasquez within two hours. We left the city armed with Henry rifles, revolvers, and shotguns loaded with buckshot. We crossed the plains, eight miles, to the Aliso Canon, in the Cajunga Range.
Recently have been at the house of “Greek George," a Mexican of bad repute, about a half mile from the mouth of the canon. Arriving at a point near Greek George's, we halted, removed our spurs, and took other precautions against the barking of dogs, and reached the spot chosen by our leaders for a camping-ground, a little way up the canon, without giving indications to the enemy of our presence. Mitchell, Johnson, Sam Bryant and D. K. Smith left us there, and proceeded to a point on the mountain side commanding a view of the whole valley, and, crawling through the chaparral from point to point, occupied the time until 10 o'clock in
SURVEYINIG THE OPERATIONS OF VASQUEZ
And his men below through an excellent field-glass. About 10 o'clock a Mexican answering to the description of Vasquez rode a white horse into a little hamlet about a mile and a half from Greek George's. About the same time a person answering the same description, who subsequently proved to be Vasquez, led his horse to water from where it was staked, near Greek George's, and then restaked it and re-entered the house. In the meantime three mounted men had ridden off in the direction of Los Angeles. It is unnecessary to further detail these movements observed by Mitchell, further than to say that they led Johnson and himself to decide that it was necessary to
DIVIDE OUR NUMBER
And attack both the house and the party resembling Vasquez who had ridden off, to the meantime those of us who had been left in the canon were restraining our impatience as we best could. About 9 o'clock
two young Mexicans rode into the canon with a wagon. and were halted, the traces of the leaders of the team unhitched, and they were directed to remain stationary until further orders, the object being simply to prevent their reporting the presence of an armed party in the canon. The party of observation returned from their position on the hill, and the following plan was adopted: Mitchell, with D. K. Smith, were to pursue the trail of the man resembling Vasquez who had ridden away on a white horse, and the rest of our party, under Johnson, were to attack the house of Greek George. The house is in the form of the letter L. The stem of the L is built of adobe, and the L proper of boards. The house is surrounded by a dense thicket of mustard, averaging generally six feet in hight, and affording an intricate retreat. Near the house was a thicket of willows, in which several horses were concealed. The mountain side is about a quarter of a mile distant, and is rather destitute of chaparral. It was evidently impossible for our party to get near the house on horseback without being seen. It was believed that, even if Vasquez himself was not at the house, several of his men were there, and that we
WOULD HAVE A DESPERATE FIGHT
Against the odds of men equally well-armed and lying concealed in the mustard thicket. Johnson immediately determined to utilize the unoffending Mexicans whom we had stopped in the canon. They were compelled to turn their team around and move to the rear of the mouth of the canon. There we left our horses, and Johnson, Harris, Hartley, Sam Bryant, Rodgers and myself packed ourselves in the wagon-box, and the Mexicans were directed to drive the wagon directly to Greek George's. They were informed that the slightest disposition shown by them to give a signal or do anything contrary to orders would
RESULT IN INSTANT DEATH.
It is unnecessary to say that they were docile. It was about the most unpleasant ride I ever took. The sides of the wagon-box not being very high, it was with great difficulty we could jam ourselves down so as to be concealed from view. Arriving at a point about one hundred yards from the house, and close to Vasquez' white horse—so near it that it was evident to our leaders and all of us that we could get to the horse before any one from the house could—we suddenly threw ourselves from the wagon-box and started for the house. The party, without formal orders, spread out right and left, like skirmishers, and with heads bowed low,
PLUNGED INTO THE MUSTARD THICKET
And moved rapidly and as silently as possible toward the house. Sam Bryant was about the center of the line, and I hastened to his side, pushing through the weeds toward the house. Reaching the house, Bryant asked me to remain at the northwest angle and guard the two north windows and the west side of the house. I cannot just now give every man's position, as at that particular juncture I was regarding those two windows and the west side of the house with very particular interest. A few moments elapsed, and I heard the sound of a door burst in; a second later
A RIFLE OR PISTOL SHOT,
And my interest in the affair became intense. I knew I could hear any approach to the two windows, and suddenly divining, from what I understood of the position of our party, that any attempt to escape in the direction of the white horse would probably be undertaken by the west side of the house. I took a step to the right, and the moment I did so discovered a bareheaded Mexican in the act of bounding toward me,
I FIRED UPON HIM.
I saw him throw up his hands, and those of our party to the right and from behind rushed upon him, and two or three other shots were fired. I confined my immediate attention to preparing for another shot, expecting a general fight, and thinking proper to maintain the position I held and still watch the windows. A few moments later it seemed probable that we had no more enemies to contend with, and I moved around to the east side, and Vasquez and Lebrado, sometimes called Corova, were there,
VASQUEZ BLEEDING, SMILING AND EXPOSTULATING
In a gentlemanly and unexcited manner. I handed my rifle to Harris, and taking a sheepskin from the top of a box, placed it in the shade in the inner angle of the house and led Vasquez to it, and, thanking me and smiling, he lay down. I began examining his wounds and helping a Mexican woman to staunch the flow of blood. Johnson, and, in fact, every one of the party, did all in their power to make the man comfortable ; but for some little time the expectation of an attack from the balance of his party was so great that particular attention could not be paid him.
HOW VASQUEZ WAS TAKEN.
Harris, it seems, burst in the kitchen door, which had been shut by Greek George’s wife. Vasquez was eating his dinner, wholly unarmed, and there was no way for him to reach his arms without leaving the room by the very door Harris was entering. He sprang like a panther through an open window, only about eighteen inches square, and alighted on his feet, intending to flee towards the willow thicket; but, discovering his enemies springing towards him from that direction, he hurried up the west side, as before stated, to get his horse.
WONDERFUL COOLNESS OF THE WOUNDED ROBBER.
Vasquez is a remarkable man. While looking for his wounds I placed my hand over his heart and found its pulsations gave no indication of excitement. His eye was bright, and there was a pleasant smile on his face, and no tremor in his voice. He was polite and thankful for every attention. Supposing that he was fatally hurt I at first confined my attention entirely to assisting the women to bathe and bandage his wounds, and therefore took little note of his expressions. I will give a few, however, that will suffice as examples, without trying to give his broken English. Although he thought and said that he was about to die--" Gone up," as he expressed it—his expression of countenance was one of admiration of our determined attack and our good luck. "You are good men—good men." Some one said, "We are sorry to have had to wound you so, but it could not be helped." " It is not your fault," he replied; "I do not blame you. It was my own fault, and there is no one to blame. I should not have attempted to escape." When first brought around the house, after the shooting, before I left my guard of the windows, I am informed that he claimed to be waiting for linen to bind up his wounds.
I found a dagger sticking in the floor, on the left side of his bed, near the head; and about two feet from the foot, standing muzzle downward, a most beautiful rifle, of the latest and best pattern; also a neat memorandum book, containing in one of the pockets a likeness of a little girl and a lock of silken hair. Everything about his arms and person was in neat and perfect order. His hair is jet black, without a sprinkling of gray, and there are none of the wrinkles on his face one might expect to find after the life he has led.
In my description of the capture I have stated but little except what I saw personally, because I am alone in reporting to you the affair, and it is impossible to get the different members of our party together to-night to compare notes. I will give every man's statement hereafter. Following is
WHAT WAS CAPTURED.
A white horse (a splendid animal), four Henry rifles, four six-shooters, 400 rounds cartridges for Henry rifles, three new saddles, two horses, two field glasses, two saddle pistol scabbards, ammunition, etc.
THE BANDIT'S WOUNDS.
Vasquez was wounded in the head, also in the calf of the leg, in each arm and in the thumb. Dr. Lyford informed me that the body wound and those in the arms and leg were buckshot wounds; those on the head and thumb might have been caused by Henry rifle cartridges.
While his wounds were being probed and dressed he maintained the same calm demeanor he had displayed at first. He is being carefully guarded.
ANOTHER RAID INTENDED.
Vasquez stated to me that within four hours from the time of his capture he should have started on another raid. One of the objective points, it is supposed, was a fight with Harry Morse's party.
Vasquez admits that he was misled into the Arroyo Seco through false information in regard to the trail, confirming a supposition entertained by Major Mitchell. While he supposed himself at the point of death he expressed a willingness to make a statement, and got so far as to state that he had no children; but, on finding that he was not bleeding internally, he declined to proceed.
Frank Hartley recovered Miles' watch, taken by Vasquez at the Arroyo Seco, after the robbery at Reppetto's. Vasquez was without money at the time of his capture.
Was created in this city by the capture of the bandits. The streets were crowded by people anxious to get a sight of Vasquez if possible. The jail will be closely guarded to prevent the possibility of the escape or rescue of the prisoners. I could fill a page of the CHRONICLE with rumors, etc., all intensely interesting; but I have limited my dispatch to-night to a short, plain narrative of the events of our successful expedition. I would like to give all the details so that your readers could understand the whole situation; but we have
THE REST OF THE GANG
To capture, and, having identified myself with the pursuers, I have not sent anything that might prejudice the next movement, which may occur at any moment. For some little time after Vasquez was shot, he thought himself fatally wounded, and while we were staunching his wounds he informed me that he had all along been possessed of
MEANS OF ACCURATE INFORMATION
In regard to the efforts being made to effect his capture. It is not intended now by those who propose to stay with the enterprise until the last member of the gang is captured that information shall be obtained so readily hereafter.
THE ROBBER'S CAREER
The Remarkable Life of Tiburcio Vasquez—A History of His Crimes from Early Boyhood to the Time of His Capture.
Tiburcio Vasquez was born in Monterey, and is now about thirty-five years of age. In his youth he attended the public school, and showed indications of intelligence superior to that of most of his class. His parents were of the lowest class, and he was reared in idleness and became a lazy, good-for-nothing fellow, following no occupation, but spending most of his time around saloons and other loafing places. He spoke and wrote English and Spanish, and was looked upon rather as a spoiled, worthless fellow than as a desperado. However, he early developed a spirit of lawlessness. He divided his time between Los Angeles, Monterey, Petaluma and other places, and was engaged in several lawless transactions. In August, 1857, he wasSENT TO THE STATE PRISON
From Los Angeles for grand larceny, for five years, but escaped June 25, 1859. After his release he came to San Francisco and remained here a short time, associating with the worst class of Mexicans here ; among others, with Chavis, who has recently been chief lieutenant in his work of robbery and murder. Soon he found his way back to San Quentin, where he arrived on August 16, 1859, under commitment for one year for grand larceny in Amador county. Having served out this sentence, and the remainder of his former sentence, he was discharged from the prison on August 13, 1863. At this time Tomaso Rodundo, alias Procopio, the noted outlaw and an old compadre of Vasquez, met the latter. A band was formed, with Procopio and Vasquez as leaders, and a magnificent programme of plunder and outlawry was mapped out. The murder of the Frenchman at Pleasanton is supposed to have been committed by this combination, being preceded and succeeded by some
In Santa Clara and Monterey counties. Sheriff Morse started out on their trail, and near Panoche Monterey county, came upon them. He killed Juan Soto, one of the gang, but Procopio and Vasquez escaped. Thinking the country was too hot for them they went to Mexico, but returned almost immediately by steamer to San Francisco. Here Procopio remained, but Vasquez, taking a dislike to city life, left for hie native heath—the hills of the Coast Range and the solitude of Cantua canon. Procopio Was captured in a restaurant in San Francisco shortly afterward by Sheriff Morse, and is now serving out a sentence in the State Prison. On January 18, 1867, Vasquez once more arrived at the State Prison, to serve out a sentence of four years for grand larceny committed in Sonoma county. He was discharged June 14, 1870.
A NEW BAND ORGANIZED.
Vasquez did not long remain idle. A new band was organized, with him as leader, Narcissa Rodriguez and Francisca Barzellas being members. About two years ago they started on a systematic plundering expedition. The Visalia stage was stopped and the passengers robbed near Soap Lake, and a number of men and several houses robbed immediately afterward.
Thomas McMahon, at present a leading merchant at Hollister, but then doing business in San Juan, was stopped by Vasquez on the San Juan Mountains and robbed. The officers started in pursuit, and in Santa Cruz arrested Rodriguez, who was afterwards sent to the State Prison, where he died a few weeks ago, and killed Barzellas. Vasquez laid low until last Spring. Issuing from his retreat he came down on the San Benito, and rested for awhile at the saloon of Jose Castro, an old friend. In a short time another new band was organized, and one day the inhabitants of Hollister were startled by a report that the San Benito stage and several men had been robbed. The citizens turned out en masse, and succeeded in catching Castro, who was summarily treated to a trial before Judge Lynch. Vasquez seemed to bear a charmed life, for all efforts to capture him resulted in complete failure. The next we hear of Vasquez is in connection with
THE DARING ROBBERY AT FIREBAUGH'S FERRY
And the robbery of the Twenty-one-mile House between Gilroy and San Jose. Shortly after, he came into Hollister at 10 o'clock at night, and after enjoying himself for a few hours at the Cat House left, having received notice that the officers had scented him. He was in Hollister several times, but his supposed desperate courage prevented a capture. The name of the bandit first became notorious throughout the State in connection with
THE TRES PINOS TRAGEDY,
Which occurred early on the evening of the 26th of August last. This fearful crime filled the people of the State with terror. The circumstances of this affair were as follows:
About 7 o'clock in the evening two Mexicans rode up to Snyder's store from the direction of Panoche valley and the Now Idria mine. Dismounting from their horses, they entered the store and engaged in conversation with John Utzerath, Snyder's clerk. In a few moments five more rode up and dismounted. Three of the gang—one of them being the noted Tiburcio Vasquez — remained on the outside, while the four others entered the store, leveled their pistols at the inmates and compelled them to lie down, after which all were securely tied. Two little sons of L. C. Smith, coming in at this juncture, were ordered to lie down. One of them was tied, but the other was allowed to remain untied. The robbers then went through the store, appropriating all the cash and considerable clothing, provisions and tobacco. The parties on the floor, five or six in all, were searched, and their money, watches and rings taken. While this was going on in the store Vasquez was inaugurating
A CARNIVAL OF BLOOD
On the ouside. A Portuguese sheep-herder, known as Martin, who had put up his flock and quartered at Davidson's Hotel, immediately adjoining Snyder’s store, not knowing the character of the newcomers, attempted to enter the store, but was ordered to stop on the threshold by Vasquez. The Portuguese, who could not speak English, paid no attention to the order, and reached the steps when Vasquez fired a pistol-ball, which took effect in the herder's mouth, causing him to fall. Attempting to rise, he was shot again through the left side of the neck, and death instantly put an end to his sufferings.
Haley a teamster, who was on the road, was ordered to lie down, and on attempting to argue the question was knocked down by a powerful blow from Vasquez' revolver, and remained in a state of insensibility for some time.
HOW REDFORD WAS MURDERED.
George Redford, a teamster, at the time of the initiation of the shooting was occupied in attending to his team, which stood in front of the store. Vasquez, the leader of the gang, who did all the shooting and guarded the approach to the store, approached Redford and ordered him to lie down. The unfortunate man, who was troubled with deafness, did not hear the order, but, apparently realizing his danger, started for the stable on a run. Just as he reached the building a shot from Vasquez' pistol passed through his heart, killing him instantly. When found afterwards, he lay near the stable door, his hands clutching tightly a wisp of hay; his face was horribly distorted by the agonies of the death struggle.
A LUCKY ESCAPE.
When the shooting commenced L. Scherrer, a blacksmith, was in front of Snyder's store in the road. He started to run and Vasquez fired at him, but the shot whistled harmlessly by and Sheerer gained entrance to Davidson's hotel. Davidson, his wife and brother-in-law were inside, and Scherrer instantly urged them to shut the door, which was then open, as their lives were in deadly peril.
THE MURDER OF DAVIDSON.
Just as Mrs. Davidson was about to do as he requested, one of the gang stationed at the door of the store yelled out: "Close that door and keep it closed, and you shan't be harmed." Mrs. Davidson had got the door partly closed when Vasquez, who must have been infuriated by drink, rushed up and fired through the door, the bullet passing through Davidson's heart and causing instant death. His wife, who stood directly back of him, received his falling body in her arms, and together they fell to the floor. Scherrer then started for the second story, and from a window anxiously observed the further movements of the outlaws, who were now devoting themselves entirely to robbery. Snyder was one of the men bound in the store, and was ordered, under penalty of death, to produce all the available cash and notes on his premises. He gave the robbers $500 in coin and a number of drafts, after which he was again bound and placed upon the floor.
DEPARTURE OF THE MURDEROUS GANG.
Having secured all the, provisions, clothing and tobacco that they wanted, the robbers started for the stable and seven horses, after which they decamped in the direction of the New Idria mines. Then one of the Smith boys, the one left untied on the floor arose and liberated the others in the store, and all simultaneously started for the outside. The scene that met their gaze was calculated to strike horror to the stoutest heart. The Portuguese lay dead on the threshold; Redford's lifeless body lay stretched before the barn door and the wails of the widow were borne from the hotel door. Mrs. Davidson, the loving and faithful wife, lay senseless upon the floor.
HUNTING THE RUFFIANS.
Utzerath, Snyder's clerk, at once rode into Hollister and spread the appalling news. Within a couple of days Sheriff Wason of Monterey, Adams of Santa Clara, Morse of Alameda, and Rowland of Los Angeles, each with a party of followers, were on the track of the bandits, For some weeks the hunt was kept up; but the recesses of the mountains afforded protection to the fugitives, who knew thoroughly every gorge and ravine which could afford them a hiding place. Besides, Vasquez was not unpopular with the native Californian element, which doubtless aided him and his companions in eluding the search of his pursuers. Soon the band again perpetrated another daring outrage, no less than a
DESCENT UPON THE TOWN OF KINGSTON,
Fresno county. One night in December, Vasquez, with eight native Californians, two Americans and a negro, tied their horses on the bank of the river opposite Kingston, crossed a bridge on foot, and took possession of a hotel and two stores on the main street. Thirty-five men were bound by the gang and relieved of their money and valuables. The safes and drawers were also robbed of their contents. In this said they obtained $2,000 in coin, besides watches and other jewelry. The citizens of the village on hearing of the robbery, armed themselves and opened fire on the bandits from the opposite side of the street, and the fire was returned. Vasquez himself was armed on that occasion with four navy revolvers, and though hotly followed up, the gang managed to make good their escape and fled in different directions. The citizens followed in close pursuit, and two days afterward one of the bandits was captured, and is now in the State Prison,
ANOTHER OF THE GANG TAKEN.
Sheriffs Adams, Rowland and Wason followed the bandits closely, and at one time came near capturing some of them. By some mismanagement, however, all escaped. Soon afterward one of the band, Antonia Seiva, having become jealous of Vasquez’ intimacy with his wife, surrendered himself to these officers. He was tried in Monterey county, convicted of murder in the second degree, and is now at San Quentin.
Has since been exercised by the Sheriffs of five or six counties with a view to the capture of Vasquez, but without avail. Several expeditions have gone to the New Idria mines and other points, to hunt him, but always found that he had been notified of their coming and had fled. It seems certain that be has been kept informed of the movements of the officers by native Californians wherever he went, and it is even believed that some of the white settlers in the southern section of the State have aided him to his avoidance of pursuit. He has been able to find a refuge at all times, and to summon around him, whenever needed for his desperate purposes, a band of blind and faithful followers, willing to do his bidding, whatever it might be. He has committed several highway robberies of late. Whenever any one in the slightest degree ventured to disregard his commands he shot the offender down in cold blood. He is represented to be a stern, taciturn, self-contained man, who seems born to command his less intelligent and energetic followers.
ONE OF THE GANG LYNCHED.
Some of the settlers in Tulare and Fresno counties, some months since, organized a Vigilance Committee and instituted an effort to rid that region of the outlaws, but did nothing further than driving away a number of worthless Mexicans. There was some complaint that peaceful and law-abiding , Mexicans were driven from their homes, and it was so difficult to determine who were the bandits and their allies, and who were unconnected with them, that the movement did not accomplish much. One morning, however, a Mexican was found hanging to the limb of a tree, and the Vasquez band numbered one less. Some Mexicans, who came into Fresno and demanded legal protection, brought in and delivered up a fellow whom they stated to have been one of the gang which sacked Kingston; but what was done with this prisoner has not yet been stated.
MANY ABSURD RUMORS
Had for several months been afloat regarding the whereabouts of Vasquez. Parties, at various times reported that they had seen him near Los Angeles, in Gilroy, in San Francisco, in Virginia City, in San Diego, in Prescott, and many ether places; and there was even a story that he had sailed on the Mexican steamer, and had been seen in Guaymas. Of late, however, no doubt has existed that he was still in the southern section of the State; it being but a few weeks since he stopped a stage and robbed the passengers. The daring robbery committed by him on Wednesday, April 16th, once more clearly pointed out his exact whereabouts to the pursuing officers.
HIS LATEST OUTRAGE.
This outrage is remembered by all, the CHRONICLE’S dispatches having given full details of the circumstances attending and following it. On the day named, Vasquez and four of his followers appeared at the residence of a wealthy Italian sheep-owner named Alexander Reppetto, at the old Mission San Gabriel, some six miles from Los Angeles. They pretended to be sheep-shearers looking for employment, but after conversing a few minutes, covered Reppetto and his nephew, a mere boy, with six-shooters, and demanded all the money there was in the house. They tied the old man to a tree in front of the house. The boy gave them $80, all the money there was in the house. Vasquez then gave Reppetto his choice--to be killed, or pay a ransom of $800. Reppetto was untied, and drew an order on a bank in Los Angeles for the amount, which was given to the boy to have cashed, with strict injunctions not to give the alarm to any one. The boy hurried to the bank, where his agitation awakened suspicion. The Sheriff sent for, and the state of the case was elicited from him. The Sheriff sent one party around toward the rear of the robbers, allowed the boy to return to the ranch with the money, and followed him with a party, hoping to surprise and capture Vasquez by a joint attack from front and rear. The robbers found a spyglass in the house, and kept a sharp lookout for pursuit. The boy hurried home and threw the money on the table. Just then the lookout gave the alarm, Sheriff Rowland’s party being within a mile and a half, rapidly approaching the house. The robbers grabbed the money, threw themselves on their horses, and hurried away. At the Arroyo Seco they encountered four men in a wagon, and stopped and robbed them of their watches and money, and then fled toward the Elizabeth lake country. It was reported and believed at the time that, for two weeks previous, Vasques had been snugly housed with a Mexican woman, known the the nickname of the Coneja, or the Rabbit, living in the Spanish-quarters in Los Angeles.
Sheriff Morse’s party at once directed their course toward Elizabeth lake to head off the flight of the bandits. The operations of Morse have been noted from time to time by the CHRONICLE’S special correspondent with the expedition, and are detailed at length in this Issue. Sheriff Rowland of Los Angeles county has kept one or more parties in the field since the robbery, thoroughly scouring the country, and hunting the fugitives from point to point. The operations of this Los Angeles party have at last been crowned with success, as is detailed elsewhere. The Governor a few days ago raised the reward for Vasques to $8,000, if taken alive, or $6,000 for his dead body.
SHERIFF MORSE'S EXPEDITION
Report of the “Chronicle's” Special Correspondent with the Party.
Since the days when Joaquin Murieta ranged uncontrolled through our southern country, no highwayman has been so well known to the world, so defiant of law or so successful in drawing to and around him devoted adherents as Tiburcio Vasquez. Still at large, after three years had witnessed his continual depredations, evading all attempts of the officers of the counties he infested to arrest him, the last Legislature declared it to be a matter of State importance to remove him, and to that end placed in the hands of the Governor $15,000 to use in his discretion for the suppression of this bold robber. Governor Booth, while offering a reward of $3,000 for the bandit alive and $2,000 dead, to stimulate into action the people of the southern counties, issued an appointment to Harry Morse, Sheriff of Alameda county, authorizing him to engage the services of as many men as he might deem advisable, and with this company endeavor to rid the State of this Mexican pest. Morse at once took steps to "locate" Vasquez, and after some weeks trouble and search he bribed a Mexican who was high up in the confidence of Vasquez, living in a neighborhood frequently visited by him and with whom he has more than once found refuge when closely pursued, to betray the bandit. THE ROBBER'S CHARACTER.
Vasquez is not, as is popularly but erroneously believed one who cares nothing for human life. It is known that at Tres Pinos he was intoxicated. That he would not kill uselessly is evident from his action at Coyote Holes in January last, where he did not take the life of the man who shot at him when he had him completely at his mercy. The Constable in Monterey was also murdered by Vasquez when the latter was drunk. Since
the Tres Pinos murders we cannot find, with the most diligent inquiry that the outlaw has allowed himself to be mastered by liquor.
Summoning to his assistance a company of eight men, selected for their possession of those qualities most likely to be called into action in a campaign of this kind, and directing them to hold themselves in readiness to accompany him at a moment's notice, he proceeded to lay in supplies for a lengthy campaign, it being his intention to hunt and capture or destroy every man of the robber crew after he had secured their chief.
The " three cardinal vices," wine, cards and women, have made him what he is, after descending from a stock whose sole object in life appears to be to exist without work.
After the pursuit engendered by every flagrant robbery has subsided—and it is never maintained for a very long time—he is in the habit of frequenting some of the cantinas which abound in all the neighborhoods he haunts, and there spending his time gambling with some of his many admirers and reveling with the women as long as his ill-gotten gains hold out, when he will make another raid.
His amours have been numerous. The first object of his love appears to have been a beautiful young girl, named Anita, the daughter of a Mexican living near Mount Diablo. Failing, with a pleasing address and the warmth of a reciprocal passion, to ruin her, he accomplished his evil design by brute force, but managed to evade his well-earned punishment at the hands of an enraged father by a sudden flight from the scene of his transgression, with a bullet in his arm.
Pepito Garcia, whose father lived at San Juan was his next victim. After a few months dalliance with her he presented her to Panocho Bacinos, one of his adherents, under whose brutal treatment she died.
Probably the utter depravity of the man is shown in nothing more vividly than in his seduction of his neice. In evading the officers of justice he found refuge in the house of his brother, "Chico" Vasquez, then, as now, residing in the village of Soledad, Los Angeles county. Here he remained concealed for some time, his sole companion being his brother's daughter, a beautiful young girl just budding into womanhood. Her immature mind, taught to look with pride upon the achievements of her uncle, was in a fit state to be moulded by the dashing robber to his own taste; and while his brother, who had given him shelter and then went about his usual avocations to ward off suspicion from his house, left his daughter to administer to the wants and guard the hiding place of the hunted man, Tiburcio succeeded in effecting her ruin. Their son, now five months of age, is now with his mother in Soledad.
The story of his abduction of the wife of Antonio Leiva is well known to the public, the details having been given at Leiva's trial a few months ago.
One of the robber's present paramours is a married woman now living on the Placeritas; her husband is so notably an admirer of Vasquez as not to object to the liaison. She is a slovenly, unattractive woman, about thirty years old.
On the Llano Verde there lives a voluptuously formed young woman, who is now and has been for some time the recipient of Vasquez' impure love.
Tiburcio Vasquez is now about 35 years old. He is five feet, five and three-quarter inches high, has black hair, dark eyes, and with one exception generally regular features; his left eye is slightly
sunken. He a always dresses neatly and well, most commonly wearing a black sack coat, white shirt, and narrow rimmed “nobby” hat. He has small and elegantly shaped feet, which he encases in fine boots.
Excepting at Tres Pinos, he has always shown not only wonderful coolness, but a most exasperating good humor in perpetrating his robberies, demanding the coveted money or valuables with a
cheerful smile which is in striking contrast with the aimed revolver.
He is very liberal with the Mexican families he visits. They say of him that he always pays generously for the food and shelter furnished himself and men, and that it is a common practice with
him, upon calling at houses whose inmates are unable, through poverty, to supply him with the desired refreshments, to give them a ten or twenty dollar piece. It is needless to say that all of these people are his attached friends,
offer him the shelter of their houses when he is pursued, and tell the officers the most prodigious lies without any compunction.
A POPULAR FALLACY
About this bandit is that he has constantly about him a regularly organized band of men, with whom he travels from place to place; now robbing this stage, then sacking that town, and now hiding away in some canon or rocky fastness. He has no band, or gang, unless the entire Mexican population (with but few exceptions) of the mountain regions of Fresno, Kern, Tulare, Monterey and Los Angeles counties can be called such. Except when expecting
to meet many adversaries, he has associated with him but one man, the half Indian, half Mexican, Chavis, a short, stout, dark, scar-faced ruffian—a worse man in every respect than his chief. Vasquez found his half-dozen followers with whom he sacked Kingston among the Mexicans living there and the men who accompanied him and Chavis in the recent robbery at Los Angeles probably resided within thirty miles of the latter place. A robbery accomplished and the booty divided, the party separates, and while the amateurs retire to their homes, Vasques and Chavis hastily seek a remote neighborhood, taking separate trails if the pursuit be hot, and see nothing and care nothing for their criminal associates until another outrage in the same neighborhood is to be perpetrated.
THE BANDIT'S COURAGE.
It is difficult to determine satisfactorily whether or not Vasquez possesses any real courage. Could all the stories told of him be relied on, a conclusion could easily be reached. For instance, it is popularly believed in the lower counties that the Sheriff of one of them, entering a cantina in search of information, was asked by a young man, the only person present besides himself, to drink with him; the Sheriff drinking, informing him who he was, ard asking for information of Vasquez, received the startling answer, "I am Vasques" whereupon, exit Sheriff.
While flying before Sheriff Rowland's party, after robbing Reppetto at Los Angeles, he stopped on the road a wagon containing four men; they were all not only in sight of the Sheriff's party, but within rifle shot. Vasquez, preserving his usual smile, demanded the valuables of the men in the wagon adding, "Shell out d— quick, for I am the man those --- --- — are after." Chavis, too, was cool and composed, but the remainder of the brigands were visibly frightened and nervous.
While a prisoner at San Quentin, Vasquez was active in stirring up a revolt among the inmates, but when it became evident that the prison-keepers were about to become masters of the situation, and a movement looking to the turning of the cannon on the mutineers, Vasquez was the first to beg for mercy and pardon.
Morse and party, after a careful study of the man, came to the conclusion that he has no real courage, and that, when cornered, he will surrender as readily as less notorious thieves.
On March 9th the men previously selected received a notification from Morse to rendezvous at Firebaugh's Ferry, Fresno county, on the 13th. By his direction, their saddles and impedimenta
generally had been sent to A. J. McDavid at Sunol, the previous week. Your correspondent, leaving this city on the 12th, arrived at the appointed place at noon the following day. Here was a four-horse wagon containing a tent, blankets, cooking utensils, two months provisions and a perfect magazine of rifle and pistol cartridges. In the corral adjacent were our horses, which had been newly shod and had been fed on grain for the preceding two weeks, that they might be in fit condition for the hard work they would be required to perform.
Although this expedition has not accomplished its object—although after two months search we have returned home without having secured our game, or even having had any opportunity of showing the metal the party was composed of—a sketch of the individuals composing it might prove of interest.
Serving his third term as Sheriff of Alameda county, is probably the best-known officer in the State. But 39 years of age, he has already gained more than a State reputation for coolness, intrepidity and energy; besides taking Procopio and other members of the Vasquez gang, he killed Juan Soto in a desperate encounter, escaping almost miraculously the balls from Soto’s revolver discharged but a few feet from him. Frequently spending days and nights and weeks in tracking the violators of the law, he has never been known to cease the pursuit until the offender is taken, killed or driven from the country. His name is a terror to evil-doers in every part of the State, the best evidence of which is the fact that in almost every house in the horse-stealing communities, many of which we visited on our trip, may be found his photograph, which these people have obtained from a gallery in San Francisco where the negative was preserved. Unassuming and quiet in demeanor, with a low soft voice, nothing in the appearance of Morse indicates the determined resolution of the man except the steady, piercing gray eyes.
Sheriff of San Joaquin county, Morse's lieutenant in this expedition, now holding his second term, is 35 years old. A brave and energetic officer, he has driven from his county the thieves and scoundrels who so long infested it, and under his vigilance it is no longer the haven of escaped convicts and fugitives from other parts of the State. Jovial, rollicking, always in a good humor, he was the life of the party.
Deputy Sheriff of Fresno county, is a medium sized blonde, aged 26. A young man of courage and energy he has done more towards delivering Fresno county from the criminals there than any Sheriff they have had. He is a strong temperance man, total abstinence being his rule, and his principles generally are all of the strictest kind. He it was who killed the Mexican murderer, Ciatanna Garcia a couple of years ago.
Of San Leandro, is a Mexican whose bravery and fidelity are beyond question. His most effective arm is the knife, and with the terrible weapon he still carries he has slain two men; although each of his adversaries was armed with a revolver, they fell dead with one stroke of his steel in their hearts before they could aim their pistols. An accomplished horseman, he could from the saddle throw a lasso or pick a pin from the ground with equal ease. As a forager on this hunt he had no equal, rarely returning to us empty handed when we needed food.
Sheriff of Santa Cruz county in 1864-5 now living in Oakland, is an officer who distinguished himself while Sheriff. He once had a desperate hand-to-hand encounter in a dark room with one Lorenzano, whom he secured after he had shot him in the shoulder, himself receiving a knife wound in the arm.
Of Pleasanton was for many years a deputy under Morse. His experience in following the trails of horse thieves made him a valuable man in the expedition.
GEORGE B. MORSE,
The only son of Sheriff Morse, aged 18, is a fine shot and a fearless, tireless, reckless rider. When danger was apprehended he was never behind.
A. J. M'DAVID,
Of Sunol, is a veteran hunter and a splendid rifle shot. He is a descendant of good fighting stock, his mother having once successfully defended her house against six Indians, in Illinois. He crossed the Plains twice before the days of transcontinental railroads, and was once left sick, alone, to die, 800 miles from any known human habitation. McDavid drove the wagon, and no danger was feared for it when the rest of the party were off on a scout.
A. P. HENDERSON
Has no claim to distinction, except that Morse permitted him to be one of his party.
[Our correspondent is too modest. The name of Boyd Henderson is well known to journalists. His adventures among the Lowery outlaws, in North Carolina, with whom he spent ten days, as special correspondent of the New York Herald, excited much interest, two years ago, and he was the first newspaper correspondent who succeeded in passing through the Spanish lines and "interviewing" the insurgents of Cuba. —ED. CHRONICLE.]
Camping on the San Joaquin, near the Ferry, that night, we started at daybreak the next morning, March 14th, for the Cantua Canon, where we expected to meet our Mexican guide. Making an easy ride of but 24 miles, we camped on the Little Panoche, a point memorable to us as giving us our first idea of how brackish water can be and yet be drinkable. The next day, the wagon going over the plain and the party across the hills, we reached
The wagon at its mouth and the horsemen about eight miles up the creek. We had today our first experience of mountain trails, and at the end of the march, while we were mutually commiserating one another, could any one have foreseen the "trails" we had yet to encounter and ride over in a two months service, and all in vain, our trip might have ended there. But unfortunately there was no "gift of second sight" in the company, and, believing that the morrow would bring us very near " the hour and the man," we pitched our tent by the creek, stationed the guards and slept.
THE MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE
Of the Spaniard whom Morse had purchased to betray Vasquez totally deranged his plans. This man's fate is yet a dark mystery. Whether he was murdered by the men whose betrayal he contemplated, or
Newspaper images: 9600 dpi jpeg of 300 dpi jpg of original newspaper from the collection of Alan Pollack