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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Downieville in Sierra County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Sierra County Sheriff’s Gallows

 
 
Sierra County Sheriff’s Gallows Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 27, 2011
1. Sierra County Sheriff’s Gallows Marker
Inscription.
Sierra County Sheriff's Gallows
On November 27, 1885, 20 year-old James O’Neill was hanged from this gallows for the August 7, 1884 murder of Webber Lake dairyman John Woodward. That execution, conducted by Sheriff Samuel C. Stewart, approximately 100 feet west of this site, was the last legal execution in Sierra County and the only time this gallows was used. Changes in State law in 1891 ended local executions in California and further changes in 1941 ended hanging as a means of legal execution within the state.


Second Marker:
This Gallows
Erected 1857

Last execution here on Friday November 27, 1885 by Sheriff Sam Stewart
Marker placed May 17, 1953 by
Naomi Parlor No. 36
Native Daughters of the Golden West

 
Erected 1988 by State Department of Parks and Recreation, County of Sierra and Sgt. Lee Adams, Project Director, Native Daughters of the Golden West. (Marker Number 971.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Native Sons/Daughters of the Golden West marker series.
 
Location. 39° 33.527′ N, 120° 49.801′ W. Marker is in Downieville, California, in Sierra County. Marker can be reached from
This Gallows Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 27, 2011
2. This Gallows Marker
The second marker, located on side of the base facing the gallows.
Courthouse Square near Calloway Street. Click for map. The marker is located at the south side of the parking lot at the Sierra County Courthouse. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 Courthouse Square, Downieville CA 95936, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sierra County, California (a few steps from this marker); Henness Pass Road - Downieville (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Hirshfeldter Building (about 700 feet away); Masonic Building (about 700 feet away); Downieville Veterans Memorial (about 700 feet away); First Protestant Church (about 700 feet away); In Memory of Juanita (about 800 feet away); Craycroft Building (about 800 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Downieville.
 
Regarding Sierra County Sheriff’s Gallows. This site was designated as California Registered Historical Landmark No. 971 on March 6, 1987 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 15, 1990.
 
Also see . . .  Sheriffs Gallows. Designated California Historic Landmark No. 971 in 1988, the Sierra County Sheriff's Gallows stands adjacent the Sierra County Courthouse in Downieville, the Sierra County Seat. On November 27, 1885, James O'Neill was hanged from this
Sierra County Sheriff’s Gallows Markers image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 27, 2011
3. Sierra County Sheriff’s Gallows Markers
The State Registered Landmark Marker is facing the front. The Native Daughters' and NRHP Plaques are mounted on the side.
gallows for the murder of John Woodward. (Submitted on June 27, 2011.) 
 
Additional keywords. Executions
 
Categories. Notable Events
 
Sierra County Sheriff’s Gallows and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 27, 2011
4. Sierra County Sheriff’s Gallows and Marker
Sierra County Sheriff’s Gallows image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 27, 2011
5. Sierra County Sheriff’s Gallows
Following it's one-time use it was dismantled and stored in the courthouse. It was restored and placed here in 1988.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 599 times since then and 8 times this year. Last updated on , by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   2, 3. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   4, 5. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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