The vigilantes convict Philander Brace

After David Terry’s trial ended the next business before the executive committee was the trial of Philander Brace, a large, intelligent and reasonably well educated young man barely past twenty-one years old. He’d been arrested even before the stabbing of Sterling Hopkins and was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and attempted robbery of William Southwick at his home on Folsom and Fifth Streets and, along with a man named Marion, with the murder of Joseph B. West, a deputy police officer known as Captain West, at a house on San Miguel Rancho in San Francisco County. Brace had managed by various means to avoid punishment for his crimes.

Rancho San Miguel

Map of the Rancho San Miguel

On June 13th it was resolved by the vigilantes to arrest him but it took a week or so to find him and on the 21st the vigilantes opened his trial but were still involved with Terry. On July 27th the trial was resumed and Brace was convicted. That same evening the board of delegates confirmed the verdict and sentence and the execution was set for the following day between three and six o’clock. Brace continued to profess innocence but when told of his sentence said only, “Is that all?” When he was answered in the affirmative he added, “Then I am ready.”

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