Mormon Island shooting

In October of 1849 an altercation between an unruly customer and a barkeep took place in a Mormon Island tent that served as a saloon. The customer, who perhaps had been there too long, was attempting to climb over the bar and the saloonkeeper was threatening to shoot him if he did. The threats resulted in an even more animated and disturbed customer who became very abusive as he advanced, so the barkeep shot him down.

Mormon Island

The crowd took the saloon keeper into custody and that evening a judge and jury of twelve men met to hear the case. The man who was shot was found to be drunk and abusive and in the act of climbing over the counter to attack the barkeep when he was shot. The shot itself was through the shoulder and not fatal and was ruled to be justified. The barkeep was thus acquitted but a third party was appointed by the court to issue a reprimand and caution him in the use of firearms.

Mormon Island hotel 1850s

An eyewitness to the trial reported that the court had been held in another large tent, currently in use as a hotel and that the judge, although dressed in a red flannel shirt and slouch hat, conducted himself with dignity. In the witness’s opinion the prompt, earnest and fair-minded manner of the proceedings indicated that the good people of Mormon Island were decidedly in favor of law and order.


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