James Casey transferred to county jail

When James Casey’s carriage sped away from city hall a large crowd ran after it as fast as they could, shouting that he should be hung at once. They all soon arrived at county jail, a two story stone and brick building that had been set into an excavation on Telegraph Hill. Afterwards Broadway Street had been graded down some eight feet, leaving a bank of earth in front of the jail. Heavy wooden steps led up from the street to the prison, and Casey was hurriedly moved up them and into the single front door. Here the crowd, still hollering for a hanging, was stopped by sheriff’s deputies, police officers and a host of Casey’s friends, including Edward McGowan, Charles P. Duane and many others, all well armed and standing at the top of the embankment. It was noted that of the great number of Casey’s friends on the bank, most had congregated there well before Casey arrived. They did prevent the angry mob that followed Casey’s carriage from tearing the killer apart.

San Francisco County Jail

San Francisco County Jail

Shortly after Casey entered the jail, James King’s brother, Thomas, tried to get to the top of the bank to address the crowd but was stopped by officers. Soon, however, he was shown to a balcony across the street. The men quieted down when he appeared. He called the act of shooting his brother “a cold premeditated and cowardly murder by the hand of a Sing Sing convict and a plan of the gamblers of San Francisco.” He told the assembly what had just happened between his brother and Casey in the Bulletin’s editorial room. Then he went on to talk about what had just happened to him. “About an hour ago,” he began, “I was in old Natchez’ pistol gallery, and he told me that my brother was to be shot. If he knew it then did not the gamblers know it? And was it not a premeditated plan—and that by the gamblers of this city?” Thomas King questioned why the police didn’t know of the planned murder and stop it. Then he urged the crowd to rush the jail, and kill the officers if they resisted, then hang James Casey.

James Casey

James P. Casey

There was a tremendous outcry of agreement from the crowd. King jumped to the street and ran towards the jail as if to lead an attack on it. But along the way some even headed friends coaxed him into a carriage and drove away. Yet even at that early hour rumors spread that a vigilance committee was organizing in the lower part of the city. The information was whispered from ear to ear and apparently King was informed and this helped boost his confidence that something would soon be done to satisfy the peoples’ cry for justice.

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