Chapter Nine: The Coburn Mystery [Original Draft]

Pacific Steamship Company at Pigeon Point: These are handwritten notes obviously from a source like a newspaper which I failed to identify.


Pacific Coast Steamship (PCS) leased Pigeon Point for ten years and erected a chute. At the end of the lease PCS tried to buy Pigeon Point, and failing to do so, refused to give it up.

The people of Pescadero were will the steamship company. They believed that if the chute fell into the hands of Coburn & Clarke, Pescadero was ruined.

Supervisors and San Mateo County courts came to their relief by condemning the land and laying out a road up to the rock end of the chute. This award the land owners refused to accept and expensive litigation ensued.

Lynching, shooting and tarring–was common talk.

Court decisions followed but Loren Coburn & Co. couldn’t get possession. Finally Loren Coburn went to San Francisco and hired three gunfighters–who got possession of the chute at night, built a breastwalk of planks two feet high across the chute and land behind it.

Alexander Rae, a brave, foolhearty Scotsman, who, when he saw the fortifications grabbed his pistol, rushed down the chute, cursing and threatening as he advanced–this despite the number of guns pointed at him.

Rae was warned to stop but instad fired at one of the heads, missing the target. In the flash of a gun, he was a corpse.

At the time Loren Coburn, who had hired the gunmen, was miles away but there were a loud cry for a lynching. Alexander “Scotty” Rae was popular in Pescadero.

Coburn and the shooters were arrested and taken to the Redwood City jail–but all of them were soon released on $10,000 bonds. At trial, Loren was acquitted of all charges.

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