Crimes and Criminals



California Genealogy and History Archives


Crimes and Criminals

Yuba/Sutter County

If the walls of the Marysville City Jail and of the Yuba County Courthouse could speak, they could rehearse many sensational events of a criminal nature. Crime started early to disturb the peace of the new settlement. 

One of the first crimes, a murder, is told of in a directory of Marysville compiled in 1856 by George Sturtevant and O. Amy. During the summer of 1850, one Greenwood, a quarter-breed, killed one Holden, a gambler. Much excitement prevailed, and Sheriff Twitchell with difficulty prevented the mob from taking Greenwood from his custody.

A few weeks later, one Keiger committed a cold-blooded murder in the street, in the daytime. The populace was again aroused. Passion prompted summary vengeance; but reason interposed, and the result was that a large volunteer guard watched the place used for a jail, then an adobe house at the foot of D Street, until Keiger could be examined before a magistrate, when he was committed and sent to a neighboring county jail to await his trial before a duly constituted court.

And so begins the history of our County's recorded crimes... Others are listed below.


Ball George Mock James
Bell Tom Picard Emile and Ellen
Brice Thomas Pier Julius
Brown Tommie and Brother Race Track Murder
Decker and Jewett Rideout N. D.
Dufficy Dennis Riordan Thomas
Gray Dr Robbery of Oregon Express
Heenan Francis Schindler Fred
Hop Field Riots Shanks, George
Jewett and Decker Sperbeck John
Manwell Edward Webster Jim
McDaniel, John Williams Charles

Homicides of Napa County

There is no subject which the faithful historian finds so hard to treat as that of the homicides of a county. It is difficult to learn of all that have occurred, as in many cases the perpetrators are never apprehended, or if they are, but little or no evidence is left on record of the fact. Again, there is much difficulty experienced in getting at the full and exact truth of the matter. Newspaper accounts are not always to be trusted, still they are the most reliable source of information accessible except the testimony given in Court. Of this, but little generally remains on record. Stenographers are paid large sums of money for reporting these cases, and yet practically it avails nothing to the State, for of what benefit is a book of short-hand notes to the majority of the people ? It should be so provided that each county should have a regular stenographer at a given salary per annum, who should be an officer of the Court, be present at all times, and his notes should be written out in full in a book of record prepared for that purpose. The time will come when such will be the case. We will now proceed with the Homicides of Napa County, and will premise by saying that no undue prominence has been given to one case above another except so far as the facts have been attainable. The most of the facts have been gleaned from newspaper reports of the affair which were published at the time, and on the most reliable information that is now to be had, except in a few cases where the testimony is on record.

Chinaman Mcdonald Alexander
Clark John Obrien Patrick
Coombs Fred Osborne Joseph Warren
Cummings James Prieto
Davis Jonathan Rice Charles R
English Daniel Ruesch August
Ennis Katie See John B
Ettenbrough George Sellers S H
Goodwin Patrick Thomas John
Guadalupe Peter Williams Mollie
Larkyns Harry Wilson Isaac
Letton Turner G Wilson Thomas