Anger threatens the compromise with the vigilantes

When the men who had volunteered to guard the jail for Sheriff Scannell, by this time mostly lawyers, heard of the compromise Governor Johnson made with the Committee of Vigilance they were furious. Some handed back their weapons and left in disgust. Then the fact that committee members had an armed contingent inside the jail gave rise to rumors that they had actually taken over and had custody of James Casey and would not let him go. It was this rumor that soon made it’s way to the ear of the governor. He must have realized that by trying to please both parties he had actually pleased neither and to this point he was very sensitive. At noon that Saturday he called on William Sherman and insisted they go to the committee headquarters which just that morning had moved from Turn Verein Hall to the second floor of brick building on the south side of Sacramento Street between Davis and Front and occupied by Truett and Jones, wholesale liquor merchants.

Headquarters of the Committee of Vigilance

Vigilance committee headquarters

On their arrival William Coleman could not be found but another member met them and apparently said something about the relations between the two sides that did not please the governor. According to Sherman the member, whose name is a mystery, had denied the promise of the night before. The governor then angrily charged the man with treachery and falsehood. No matter what happened between the governor and the anonymous member of the vigilantes, it is clear that the executive committee did not deny or repudiate the treaty in any way. On hearing that such a question had been raised they passed resolutions saying they would make no change in their position at the county jail, that they had no more answers for authorities at this time, and that Governor Johnson would be promptly notified that they maintained the treaty made with him the night before. They also reminded the governor that they had no obligations under that treaty except that they would make no attack on the jail while their guards remained within. To make sure the governor received the resolutions three men were appointed to deliver them personally to him.


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