San Francisco News Letter/November 4, 1869
EDITOR NEWS LETTER:–I wrote you a couple of weeks ago from Mud Springs, and acknowledge the receipt of your kind invitation to stop it. This I have no intention at present of doing, as I have unlimited leisure and you charge nothing for publishing my letters. I had intended to remain long enough at Mud Springs to invent some more incidents for your paper, but the citizens somehow learned that I was connected with a San Francisco paper and recommended any place but that as a proper field for literary labor. So I came over here, where I mean to stay as long as I can conceal my ability to read and write, under the cloak of religion. If the secret gets out I shall have to seek a new sphere of usefulness, and my landlord will some morning wake to the consciousness that he is swindled out of a week’s board
The principal topic of conversation here is old Joe Hopper’s baby It is now known who is the guilty party, but as Joe has already dispatched three of the Johnsons it is supposed he has a shrewd suspicion that the destroyer of his peace is in some way connected with the family. Time will tell, for old Joe shoots so as not to kill them instantly and then goes up to the prospect for a confession. He hasn’t struck any so far, but he is sure to get the right chap if he keeps on long enough.
A man was hung here yesterday under rather peculiar circumstances. The preacher at Missionary Gulch had been playing draw with him, and during the game took occasion to inform him that the church was very much in need of converts to keep up the interest and the contributions, and asked the stranger if he wouldn’t come over next evening and go through the motions of being born again. The fellow asked what was the denomination, and being informed that it was a Methodist congregation, he rose up and replied as follows: “Now look a here, parson. I’ve been a hardshell Baptist all my life, and I consider that an indecent proposal, I do.” And packing up the whisky bottle he smashed it over the head of the man of God and went off in a rage. Well, the parson’s flock went for him, and just as they were throwing the rope over a limb the parson himself came up, wiping the blood off his head Said he: “Young man, what is your name; I want it for the coroner.” “Sam Smith, d—n you!” growled the doomed on. “Where are you from?” Jay County, Indiana.” At this the parson looked at him very hard and finally went up and shook him by the hand and cried a little. Then turning to the fellows, who were getting a little impatient at this kind of nonsense, “Boys,” said he, :this fellow is my brother,” and they embraced with tears in each other’s eyes. “Well, in that case,” said the deacon, who held the rop, “I suppose we shall have to let up on him.” “No,” said the parson, with a noble self-denial you would have not have looked for in one of his profession “I am a preacher of the Gospel, and a good law-abiding citizen I will not block the wheels of justice. Let the law take its course.” And they strung him up.
(Source: California State Library, Microfilm Collection)