The vigilantes adopt rules on home searches

While the Committee of Vigilance searched in vain for Edward McGowan and Peter Wrightman, and especially during the hunt for McGowan, unauthorized members of the committee entered certain houses more or less by force and at times displayed insolence. When the executive committee heard of this matter it decreed that no searches or arrests be made without a written order, except in cases of overt crime, and William Oscar Smith, the committee’s chief of police, was notified of this decision. Since there had been a great deal of talk and complaints by those already unfriendly to the committee, Miers Truett and George Ward were appointed to correct the false reports and impressions, and to reject any tendency to make forcible entry into any building or to abuse the power of search in any other way.

San Francisco judge Thomas Freelon

Judge Thomas Freelon

George Ward then notified San Francisco that he would introduce to the committee for consideration an invitation to Judge Thomas Freelon and associate judges of the court of sessions, Charles Chamberlain and Lawrence Ryan, as well as Sheriff David Scannell, county clerk Thomas Hayes, district attorney David Byrne, assessor James Stillman and other county officers deemed objectionable, that they resign. This attracted considerable attention and much discussion about town. A public meeting was held and acted on the suggestion, but the committee did nothing further on the matter. That same Sunday the executive committee did decide to furnish transportation to those it might require to leave the state and ordered the arrest of jailer Billy Mulligan and five others of the black list.



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