Visalia in Tulare County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
The Hanging of J.G. McCrory
Erected 2003 by Dr. Samuel Gregg George Chapter 1855 of E Clampus Vitus.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Law Enforcement. In addition, it is included in the E Clampus Vitus series list.
Location. 36° 19.848′ N, 119° 17.264′ W. Marker is in Visalia, California, in Tulare County. Marker is on North Santa Fe Street just east of East Center Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 198 North Santa Fe Street, Visalia CA 93292, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Visalia Chinatown (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Visalia Saddle (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Old Tulare County Jail (approx. 0.2 miles away); Butterfield Overland Mail (approx. ¼ mile away); Camp Babbitt (approx. 0.3 miles away); Visalia Times-Delta (approx. half a mile away); Farmersville (approx. 5.1 miles away); Packwood Station (approx. 6.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Visalia.
1. The McCrory Episode
Vignette in the 1913 book History of Tulare and Kings County, California by Eugene L. Menefee and Fred A. Dodge.
Visalia in the ’70s numbered among its inhabitants a genuine “bad man.” This was one James McCrory, who at the time of his death had the reputation of having killed or wounded thirteen men.
McCrory, when sober, was pleasant and companionable and gained many friends. When drunk, he was cross-grained and surly and inclined to shoot on little or no provocation. His first serious trouble occurred here in October, 1870, when without apparent cause he shot and killed Manuel Barela, a Mexican barkeeper in the Fashion saloon. For this murder he was at his first trial, sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment. On the second trial he was acquitted on technicalities. As the murder was peculiarly cold-blooded and brutal this caused much unfavorable comment.
The culminating incident of his career, however, and the means by which he gained a large amount of such fame as lay within his reach, occurred on the night of December 24, 1872. McCrory had just returned from a prospecting trip to Arizona. He had met with no success and arrived broke, actually in rags, in fact. Charles Allen, a barkeeper in the Eldorado saloon, had been his good friend for years and to him McCrory appealed for assistance. Allen replenished his wardrobe, purchasing at Sweet’s store a $10 pair of trousers and other articles of good quality. After making the necessary purchases, the two chums proceeded to carouse around together all day. Allen went to bed in the saloon, but McCrory continued to celebrate. He became so boisterous that the Mexican barkeeper became frightened and woke Allen. When Allen suggested that he make less noise, McCrory pulled his pistol and, without a word, shot Allen just below the eye. There were numerous witnesses to the dastardly act and feeling against McCrory was intense. Allen died in about an hour.
McCrory made his escape through the rear of the saloon and had hid himself in an outhouse. whence he was coaxed to come out by “Picayune” Johnson, a citizen, who placed him under arrest. When being taken to the jail by deputy sheriff Jesse Reynolds, there were loud and frequent cries from the crowd of “hang him! hang him!” McCrory yelled back, “Yes, you ---- -- -------, you dassent hang me.”
It was Christmas eve. The church bells were ringing their call to attend the Christmas trees festivities at the Methodist church on Court street, but there were few men who answered this summons. They attended a graver and sterner meeting on Main street at 9 p.m., and as a result marched en mass to the jail where sheriff A. H. Glasscock with armed deputies were found guarding the prisoner. The sheriff asked the crowd not to act hastily and do things of which later they would be ashamed, and requested them to at least wait an hour before taking any action. This was agreed to and at the end of that time they returned with an eighteen foot piece of timber with which they broke open the outside iron door of the jail. After reaching the hall they had to pass the sheriff’s office where eight or ten armed men were on guard. These were forced to give way and were shoved into the office and held there. The keys were taken from Reynolds and the cell door opened.
McCrory had heard them coming and, determined not to “die with his boots on,” had removed them. When the leaders entered the cell they found him lying on his face. They caught him by the hair, raised his head up, placed a noose around his neck and half dragged, half carried him to the hall. A railing blocked the way here and in order to prevent premature strangulation, he was lifted over this. Outside, he was taken to the Mill creek bridge on Court street, the rope tied to a post of the railing, and he was thrown over.
A man made a motion that he be left there for one hour, which was duly seconded and carried. During the interim, a collection to defray funeral expenses was taken up, and arrangements made with the undertaker. At the end of the hour “Fatty Johnson,” the undertaker, appeared with his spring wagon. Six men pulled McCrary up and got him partially into the wagon. The incident was closed. Certainly there had been no delay or miscarriage of justice and not a cent of expense to the county.
— Submitted December 21, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
Additional keywords. outlaws & renegades
Credits. This page was last revised on December 23, 2019. It was originally submitted on October 28, 2019, by Frank Gunshow Sanchez of Hollister, California. This page has been viewed 425 times since then and 205 times this year. It was the Marker of the Week December 22, 2019. Photos: 1. submitted on October 28, 2019, by Frank Gunshow Sanchez of Hollister, California. 2. submitted on December 21, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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