Bridgeport in Mono County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
On this site, Bridgeport's most sensational court trial occurred June 9th, 1891. Ah Quong Tai, a local Chinese businessman accused of the cannibalistic murder of Poker Tom, a well known Paiute Indian, appeared in court defended by two attorneys, J.C. Murphy and W.O. Parker. Reportedly, several hundred people gathered around the Bridgeport Justice Court to observe this much anticipated trial. Although Deputy District Attorney Hayes made a strong case, Judge T. Fales ruled there was insufficient evidence to charge Tai with murder due to lack of witnesses, physical evidence and the body could not be identified. As Tai was being released, he met his fate. Ironically no charges were filed in the death of Tai due to the lack of witnesses, physical evidence, and the body could not be identified. Although this is only a footnote in California Case Law, it is a noteworthy example of the 1800's frontier justice.
Erected 2009 by Bodie Chapter 64, E Clampus Vitus.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Asian Americans • Native Americans. In addition, it is included in the E Clampus Vitus series list. A significant historical date for this entry is June 9, 1911.
Location. 38° 15.35′ N, 119° 13.667′ W. Marker is in Bridgeport, California, in Mono County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street and Sinclair Street, on the Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 258 Main Street, Bridgeport CA 93517, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "Bridgeport Inn" (within shouting distance of this marker); Mono County Court House (within shouting distance of this marker); "The Irwin" (within shouting distance of this marker); Bridgeport Chronicle-Union (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Old County Jail (about 400 feet away); Mono County Memorial Hall (about 500 feet away); Bridgeport Elementary School (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Bridgeport Courthouse (approx. Ό mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bridgeport.
More about this marker. The marker is mounted on the front of Ken's Sporting Goods,the brick building painted dark red. Ken's Sporting Goods sits between the Bridgeport Courthouse and the Bridgeport General Store on Main Street.
This building was known as The Brick Saloon in 1891.
Regarding Frontier Justice. Several hundred angry and armed Piute Indians threatened to burn down the town if anyone interfered and took custody of Tai in front of the saloon. They dragged him away and killed him. Tai was buried in Sinnamon's field, but a month later his long braided queue was brought to local rancher "By Day" by his dog. The queue of Ah Quong Tai was put on display in the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco by lawyer W. H Metson. It has since disappeared.
Also see . . . Blood for Blood: The Mono Lynching. Historynet entry (Submitted on March 5, 2021, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on March 5, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 6, 2010, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. This page has been viewed 1,741 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 6, 2010, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.