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LMUD Presents: This Day in Susanville History – January 16th, 1906

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

Lassen Street and the Methodist Church from a photo postcard, 1906.

Sheriff After Horse Thieves
Lassen Officers Chase Men Engaged in Killing Animal for Hides
January 16, 1906

Armed with search warrants of arrest, sworn to by Charles Rager of Washoe county, Nevada, and James Russell of Lassen county, Cal., Sheriff Wilson of Lassen county proceeded to the state line on or about the 20th of this month to apprehend a party of men engaged in killing horses on the range for their hides.

The scene of slaughter, so far as investigation went, appeared to be on and along Rush Creek, in Lassen and Washoe counties, where the animals were bunched up in places that were most barren of snow.

From the fusillade of rifle shots heard by the officer just before reaching the rendezvous of the horse hunters, he says he knew that “something was doing.” On his arrival at the appointed place the firing ceased, as the men had evidently caught sight of him and decamped beyond reach or possibility of capture.

In reconnoitering for evidence fifty-seven hides were found, most of them being rolled up, tied and tagged for shipment to Bissinger & Co., Reno, “from J. F. Mathews, Hot Springs.”

Fourteen of the hides were brought to Susanville for further inspection. Of the number several bore distinct brands but the brands from the greater number of them had been cut out to foil identification.

It is but fair to state, however, in justice to the marksmanship of the parties, that four of the pelts did not bear the sign of any brand mark – except the bullet holes.

On his return trip, after a seven days search for the culprits, the sheriff incidentally learned at Amedee that a young man named Dugan was suspected of being implicated in the horse industry with Mathews, Emanuel, et al, and would arrive that day on the N. C. O. from Reno, on his way to rejoin his comrades.

Confronted with sufficient evidence, Dugan was arrested by the officer and lodged in the Susanville jail, a preliminary hearing of his case being set for February 7th.

“The wholesale slaughter of horses has undoubtedly been going on for some time, as it is revealed that shipments of their hides have been frequent in the past.”

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