1910: Crimes of Pescadero (5) Justice of the Peace Jailed!


Story by John Vonderlin
Email John ([email protected])
Hi June,
   I’m not sure why, but all the cbsr.tabbec.com sites have been down for more then a week. It’s frustrating me, as many of the articles I previously gathered from their Newspaper Archives are in the computer text recognition format and include mysterious words, where the computer just guessed what it was scanning. Let me do a little guessing myself and try to relate another in the Crimes of Pescadero series I’ve been posting, about the town’s frontier history of crime and punishment. Here’s Part 5:
The San Francisco Call
July 22, 1910
Arthur McCormick of Pescadero Convicted of Having Doe in His Possession (Special Dispatch to the Call) REDWOOD CITY October 21  Pescadero is without a Justice of the Peace tonight. The only judicial pebble on the famous beach is snug behind the (..?..) bars in Redwood City, under a sentence of (..?..) days and a fine of $150 for having in his possession the remains of a lady deer. Justice of the Peace Arthur McCormick was convicted by his judicial neighbor, John Pitcher, of Halfmoon Bay. With McCormick was convicted Alexander Moore, but he had his penalty whittled down by half for he pleaded guilty to the charge. Those two men, with Herman Fry, candidate for constable in the Fifth Township, were found by Assistant Chief Deputy Fish and Game Commissioner J.S. Hunter and Assistant Commissioner Frank H. Smith, skinning the carcass of a lady deer. Mr. Fry was merely a spectator of the operation and was not brought to trial. The deer slaying jurist of Pescadero essayed to defend himself of the charge brought against him, scorning an attorney. But, he could not get away with it.  Moore, upon seeing what the judiciary of Pescadero received, split the difference with the Halfmoon Bay justice.” 
  I believe the Alexander Moore mentioned here is actually William Alexander Moore, the son of Alexander Moore, one of Pescadero’s earliest settlers. But, it might be his grandson, James Alexander Moore. Our wayward Justice of the Peace, Arthur McCormick, was probably related to James McCormick, who in 1873 started a mercantile business in Pescadero, which became the leading store in his district. According to Philip Alexander’s 1916 book, “History of San Mateo,” “The business interests of the little town of Pescadero are largely represented by the interests of James McCormick, and though not a native Californian, he has thrown himself heartily into the upbuilding of his adopted land, which owes much to his earnest efforts.” 
   The Fish and Game Commissioner, Mr. Hunter, while a “Law and Order” man, even when it involved the well-connected, was not very enlightened in other areas, judging from this quote from a Cougar Restoration website: “In a report on bounty hunting published by the California Fish and Game Department in 1921, J. S. Hunter wrote, “The one predatory animal for which practically no good can be said is the mountain lion.””  Of course we know now, that their presence  is important in keeping the local ecosystem healthy and these days they are more protected then even the lady deer.  Enjoy. John
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