Archives for March 2012

King exposes David Broderick

On October 16th, James King went after David Broderick, the political boss of San Francisco, calling him David Catiline Broderick and charging him with the most ungodly efforts to get himself elected state senator for the purpose of accomplishing selfish ends. He accused Broderick of complicity in the Jenny Lind Theater swindle and said that he’d robbed the city in various ways, spread crime and rendered the voice of the people powerless at the polls. King continued the attack the next day, this … [Read more...]

The Bulletin exposes San Francisco corruption

On October 11, 1855, in the fourth issue of the Bulletin, James King railed at the corruption of Palmer, Cook & Co., the banking firm so closely connected to the failure of Adams & Co. He printed the names of the firm members and attacked them without gloves. Though some said his language was not as choice or as rhetorical as it might have been, King nonetheless showed that his plain talk was earnest and that he meant everything he said as he charged them with being some of the most … [Read more...]

The Daily Evening Bulletin

After the failure of Adams & Co. on Black Friday, James King had lost everything. He tried to start a second bank in partnership with Henry Reed, another former Adams employee, but on June 29, 1855, after less than four months, he dissolved the relationship and went out of the banking business permanently. But the frauds connected with the fall of Adams & Co. continued to fill the newspapers daily and King was repeatedly called upon to write articles or enter his opinion of matters. His … [Read more...]

James King challenged to a duel

On July 14, 1855, only a few months after the failure of both Page, Bacon & Co. and Adams & Co. and while there was still a great stir about all the losses and anger over the fraud supposedly perpetrated by the management of Adams & Co., James King of William published a statement in a local newspaper indicating that on more than one occasion Isaiah Woods of Adams & Co. had said that they made one hundred thousand dollars a year out of sales of gold dust to Page, Bacon & Co. … [Read more...]

James King joins Adams & Co.

It was in June of 1854, while James King suffered great anxiety that, because of the actions of one of his employees, he would not be able to meet his obligations. Isaiah Woods of Adams & Co. proposed to hire him for a salary of over one thousand dollars per month and if King would turn over all his assets to Woods’ express and banking company then they would be responsible for all of Kings liabilities. King accepted the offer believing Adams & Co. to be perfectly solvent, and Adams … [Read more...]

The bank of James King of Wm.

Not long after James King arrived in California he journeyed to the mines along the South Fork of the American River, but after only a short stay there he returned to Sacramento where he entered the mercantile firm of Hensley, Reading & Co. as a partner and bookkeeper.  By the fall of 1849 however he relocated to San Francisco and on December 5, 1849 he opened the bank of “James King of William” on the corner of Montgomery and Washington Streets along with Jacob R. Snyder. Here his … [Read more...]

James King of William

It was in the midst of this period of economic depression that James King of William began publication of the Evening Bulletin, an act that would lead to his murder and the second coming of the Committee of Vigilance. Born January 22, 1822, a native of the Georgetown in the District of Colombia, he began his career as a clerk in a bank in Washington in 1841 and married two years later. He assumed the title “of William” about this time to distinguish himself from all the other James King’s in … [Read more...]

San Francisco loses hope

In addition to the political and social corruption of the times could be added over speculation in consumer goods and a decline in the production of the placer mines that began in 1853, all of which combined to lead to the commercial depression of 1854. And while there continued to be extravagant spending on some luxury goods, the consumption of staple good decreased, the prices of merchandise declined, interest rates fell, businesses left town, others failed and bankruptcies piled up … [Read more...]

Corrupt justice in San Francisco

Under the corrupt system of elections that existed in gold rush San Francisco even the county and municipal officers could hardly be anything other than bad, and their subordinates untrustworthy and unreliable. Though some judges were honest, in general they tilted the law in favor of those to whom they owed their position. Police officers and sheriff’s deputies, with the rare exception of the few with integrity, were generally appointed to reward partisan and often fraudulent services, and as a … [Read more...]