Most liquor banned at vigilante headquarters

As soon as the death of Yankee Sullivan became known, William Coleman called an extra session of the executive committee. Already there was a rumor, put forth by enemies of the vigilantes, that they had killed Sullivan, but after reflection the executive committee decided that it was unnecessary to take any action on the matter. Yet the issue of alcohol and the depression the lack of it caused among prisoners was deemed to be a problem and, in order to prevent a recurrence of the Sullivan suicide, it was resolved that full rations of spirits would be provided for all in the custody of the Committee of Vigilance that needed it. However it was further ordered that, except for the situation just mentioned, no other intoxicating liquor of any kind would be allowed in the building.

William Coleman, SF vigilante leader

William Coleman

At the same session, Charles Doane reported that David Broderick, Austin Smith, Alexander Campbell and several other opponents of the Committee of Vigilance had been observing the rear of the headquarters from windows at Mills and Vantine’s store. With the cheerful permission of the storeowners a strong guard was placed to prevent any attack that might have been considered. While the exact purpose of Broderick and the others with him was unknown, the certainty existed that opponents of the committee actively wanted to make trouble and perhaps bring about a confrontation with state or federal authorities. Coincidentally on that same evening Sheriff Scannell arrived with a writ of habeas corpus for Billy Mulligan. Immediately Marshall Doane and the police removed all prisoners and the sheriff was allowed to search the building, which he did. Scannell reported that a party of armed men had prevented him from serving his writ.


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