Vigilantes free Terry

The vigilance committee’s board of delegates was called together on the Friday following the guilty verdicts in the trial of David Terry to give their approval of those decisions. Feelings ran high and the meeting room was full. The doors were ordered closed right after roll call and no other member would be admitted until the Terry issue had been decided. After the indictment and verdict of the executive committee were read a motion was made to accept it but this was voted down at once. Each of the three verdicts was then considered separately. The first two passed with strong majorities but a decision on the third was postponed until Saturday when it was again postponed. On the afternoon of August 5, some two weeks later, the board again considered the matter but the recommendation to uphold the executive committee’s decision was rejected. The next morning, however, after some reconsideration, the motion passed by eight votes.

David Terry

Justice David Terry

In the early morning of Thursday August 7th, Terry was called before the executive committee, and after his sentence was read to him, at a quarter past two in the morning, he was released. He went to the house of Duncan Perley where his wife waited and then to Commander Boutwell’s sloop John Adams that had been ordered by Farragut to wait for him. Terry was careful to arrive before sunup, and that afternoon, when the river steamer passed close by the John Adams, he was transferred to it. After the transfer was successfully made, Boutwell ordered his men to cheer and instead of the volleys of cannon fire that he’d threatened to batter the city with he instead assaulted them with hurrahs. Meanwhile Terry, by means of the steamer, made his way to Sacramento where he remained quiet and caused no more problems for quite some time.

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