Archives for March 2012

The killing of James King

James King left his editorial room at the Bulletin about five o’clock, or about an hour after his argument with James Casey. He turned off Merchant Street onto Montgomery, passed the Montgomery block at the corner of Washington Street. Here he crossed diagonally from the Bank Exchange to Pacific Express. James Casey, who had been pacing up and down Washington Street for some time, suddenly stepped out from behind an express cart pointing a large Colt Navy revolver at King’s chest and fired it. … [Read more...]

James King, marked for murder?

The publication by James King in the Evening Bulletin of the sentence of James Casey to Sing Sing Prison is often regarded as the first in California and as the sole cause of the determination of Casey to kill King. But while it is possible that the prominence of the Bulletin added to the murderous rage of Casey at the time, the news that Casey had been an inmate in the famous prison in New York was long in the public domain in San Francisco. On November 2, 1855, in a trial before the … [Read more...]

A set up to the murder of James King

May 14, 1856, James King published in the Bulletin that evening an article against the appointment of a man named John W. Bagley to a position in the US Customs House. Bagley had recently been involved in a nasty election fight with James P. Casey, a county supervisor, and Bagley was clearly the aggressor. Here King went on to say that it didn’t matter how bad a man Casey had been before, nor how much public benefit there might be to have him out of the way, one citizen could not be afforded the … [Read more...]

Fears for the safety of James King

After the jury deadlocked in the trial of Charles Cora and the outrage voiced by James King of William in the Evening Bulletin, there existed a general feeling that no man’s life was secure in San Francisco nor was there safety under the law anywhere in California. Only a few weeks before the assassination of William Richardson two other prominent men, Isaac B. Wall, in 1853 speaker of the California assembly and then collector of Monterey County, and T.S. Williamson, assessor of Monterey … [Read more...]

Anger at the Cora trial results

The afternoon that the jury in the trial of Charles Cora returned unable to decide on a verdict James King’s Evening Bulletin came out with an article that began, “Twelve o’clock noon, hung be the heavens in black. The money of the gambler and the prostitute has succeeded, and Cora has another respite.” King went on to say that one of the principal witnesses had already sold out for twenty-four hundred dollars and left the state. He openly wondered that if there were ever a second trial where … [Read more...]

The Charles Cora trial

Belle Cora, the mistress of Charles Cora, had determined to spare no expense to save her lover. To that end she hired the best attorneys she could, including the well known Edward D. Baker and James A. McDougall as well as George F. James and Frank Tilford. But, in spite of this impressive collection of legal talent Cora still appeared for his arraignment dressed in full gambler splendor, clad in a richly figured velvet vest, light kid gloves, with an overcoat thrown loosely over his shoulders, … [Read more...]

Hang Billy Mulligan

At a coroner’s inquest, held on the Monday following the shooting of Marshal Richardson, the crime was found to be premeditated murder with nothing to mitigate it. On Tuesday, in the Evening Bulletin, James King declared that San Franciscans did not want to see another vigilance committee if it could be avoided, but warned that no effort would be spared to get Charles Cora free. He reported that forty thousand dollars had already been put forward to defend the gambler, five thousand for … [Read more...]

The Vigilance Committee meets again

The night of the slaying, as details of the murder of Marshal William Richardson became known to the people of San Francisco, the excitement of the population increased. The public, already stirred by the fraud and corruption denounced regularly in the Evening Bulletin, was incensed by the senselessness of the crime. While it was well known the killer of Richardson was a man of terrible character, common knowledge also accepted that no amount of money or influence would be spared to save Charles … [Read more...]

William H. Richardson murdered

Between six and seven o’clock Saturday evening, November 17, 1855, a little more than a month since the Evening Bulletin began publication and while the San Francisco public was thoroughly moved by the exposures James King had made, William H. Richardson, U.S. Marshal for the district of California, was shot and killed by the gambler Charles Cora. The men had an altercation the night before over Cora’s mistress, a well-known prostitute named Belle Cora, and had met again this evening at … [Read more...]

James King, a voice for San Francisco

At the same time James King was talking to San Franciscans boldly, plainly and always in the most courteous way, he avoided any suggestion of indecency and professed to provide a moral, family oriented newspaper that would not offend even the most sensitive reader. He wrote with great favor on churches and schools but seemed hard pressed to find words strong enough to express his repugnance for gamblers and houses of ill repute that infested the city. He was always careful about what … [Read more...]