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LMUD Presents: This Day in Susanville History – July 30, 1880

Thursday, July 30th, 2020

Looking east on Susanville’s Main Street from near where Lassen High School is today, 1880

July 30th, 1880

A correspondent writing from Susanville under date of August 8th furnishes the annexed news: The trial of C. F. Miers for the murder of Richard Walsh on the 11th of last April commenced here last Monday, in the Superior Court, Judge Hendricks presiding.

The trial consumed the entire week, and was attended by a large concourse of people, attracted, no doubt, more by the reputation for legal ability and talent of counsel employed than interest in the case, as the deceased and Miers were comparatively unknown in this community, living as they did in Big valley, some 75 miles from this place.

The principal facts that led to the killing, as developed during the trial, were that John, Richard and Peter Walsh, along with G. W. Jackson, owned a band of sheep. Mr. Miers was also a sheep owner. There was a piece of Government land which each claimed as a range for their sheep, and on which both had them at that time.

Richard Walsh made threats against Miers’ life if he did not take his sheep off the range. These threats, which were communicated to Miers, led to the shooting of Richard Walsh with a Winchester rifle.

G. W. Jackson was present at the time, and was the principal witness for the prosecution. His testimony and Miers’ conflicted, inasmuch as Jackson swore that Walsh was standing on a rock at the time the shot was fired, while Miers swore that Walsh was approaching in a threatening manner.

The theory of the defense was that a conspiracy to kill Miers had been formed by the Walshes and Jackson. The prosecution was conducted for the people by District Attorney Branham, assisted by Clay W. Taylor of Shasta county, and Judge S. Solon Hall of Sacramento for the prisoner, Creed Haymond of Sacramento. E. V. Spencer of Susanville, J. W. Parker of Adin, and Judge C. McCloskey of Susanville.

The examination of witnesses occupied the time from Monday until Thursday noon.

In the afternoon Judge Hall argued for the people, followed in the evening by Spencer for the defense. Friday morning he continued his argument, which occupied most of the forenoon. In the afternoon Creed Haymond closed “the argument for defense,” which occupied the time until 4:30p.m., when the Court adjourned.

In the evening Clay W. Taylor occupied the time until nearly 10 o’clock, when the jury received its instructions from Judge Hendricks and retired.

After sixteen hours it came into Court for instructions, after receiving which it soon returned a verdict of not guilty.

The jury was composed of worth and exceptional intelligence, and their verdict is received by the majority as just.

During the argument of counsel the Court-room was crowded with an interested but quiet audience, among which were many ladies.

Mr. Miers is a man 46 years of age, and has a wife and four children. He came to California in 1854, and has resided in Trinity, Siskiyou and Lassen counties. He was Assistant Federal Assessor of Siskiyou county three and a half years ago. He has taught school nearly three years, and has a grade State certificate.

The weather here is quite warm, the thermometer reaching 92 yesterday, and 98 in the shade to-day. The farmers are busy making hay, of which there is a larger crop than at first expected.

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