Resolutions of the Committee of Vigilance

The work of enrollment for the 1856 Committee of Vigilance went rapidly. Most of the first to join had been members of the 1851 committee and knew how that organization worked.  They proceeded to elect a president, eight vice-presidents, a secretary, a treasurer and a sergeant-at-arms. William Coleman, the president, suggested an executive committee that would have general direction of the whole association, much like the original committee of thirty had in 1851. Twenty-six men were duly elected to the body. Nine more were chosen for an examining committee. A chief of police and twenty-five policemen were also appointed.

Medallion of the Committee of Vigilance

Committee of Vigilance medallion

As soon as the organization was in effect, matters of utmost importance were considered. First suitable quarters for the meetings must be found, and full power should be given to the executive committee to act on all matters and report to the general body. Further it was resolved that the committee should, as soon as the executive committee directs, visit the county jail and take from it Charles Cora and James Casey then give them a fair trial before the entire committee and deliver to them what punishment justice required.

It was also resolved that the executive committee should, after careful investigation, report to the general body the names of all who were notoriously, undeniably and criminally obnoxious to the lives, peace and prosperity of the citizens so that they would be persuaded to leave the state or face more decisive action by the committee to relieve the community of their presence. All resolutions seem to have been enacted unanimously and so the general scope and purpose of the organization was clearly understood and defined from the beginning.



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