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

Arroyo de Cantua

14 Miles

Arroyo de Cantua Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 19, 2009
1. Arroyo de Cantua Marker
Inscription. Headquarters of notorious bandit, Joaquin Murieta. Killed here July 25, 1853, by posse of State Rangers, led by Captain Harry Love. Terrorized mining camps and stage operations during his career.
Erected by Department of Public Works - Division of Highways. (Marker Number 344.)
Location. 36° 14.789′ N, 120° 18.889′ W. Marker is in Coalinga, California, in Fresno County. Marker is at the intersection of Dorris Avenue (State Highway 198) and State Highway 33, on the right when traveling west on Dorris Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is located 9 miles north of Coalinga. Marker is at or near this postal address: 32400 Dorris Avenue, Coalinga CA 93210, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Arroyo de Cantua (approx. 0.2 miles away); Harry S. Watanabe (approx. 6.8 miles away); “Wooden Walking Beam” (approx. 6.8 miles away); Coalinga Union High School (approx. 7.6 miles away); Motte Fountain (approx. 7.6 miles away); Bob’s 76 Service (approx. 7.6 miles away); Coalinga Carnegie Library (approx. 7.7 miles away); Grammar School (approx. 7.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Coalinga.
Regarding Arroyo de Cantua. This site was designated as California Registered
Arroyo de Cantua Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 19, 2009
2. Arroyo de Cantua Marker
Historical Landmark No.344 on August 8, 1939.

Statement of Significance:
This was said to be the headquarters of notorious bandit Joaquin Murieta who made a career of terrorizing mining camps and stage operations. He was killed here July 25, 1853 by a posse of State Rangers led by Captain Harry Love.
Also see . . .
1. The Legend of Joaquin Murieta - Fact and Fiction in the Mother Lode. In July of 1853, a group of Love's rangers came across a group of Mexican men near Panoche Pass in San Benito County. (This pass lies some 50 miles from Monterey, in the Costal Mountains--over 100 miles from the Mother Lode region.) A confrontation occurred, and two of the Mexicans were killed. The rangers cut off the hand of one and the head of the other, and later placed them in jars of alcohol to preserve them. They claimed the badly mutilated hand to be that of the notorious "Three-fingered Jack", and the head to be that of Joaquin Murieta. (Submitted on June 20, 2009.) 

2. The California Rangers. Several murders were charged against Joaquin Murieta. He was accused of horse stealing and other serious offenses in the category of crime. Of the twenty men who were appointed to hunt down the outlaw, Harry Love was chosen as Captain. (Submitted on June 20, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.) 
Additional comments.
1. Murrieta vs Captain Harry Love – The Severed Head
An Article
Juaquin Murieta image. Click for full size.
3. Juaquin Murieta
by Mary Trotter Kion, June 1, 2006

Joaquin Murrietta continues his outrageous outlaw life until Captain Harry Love, a noted Los Angles gunfighter, steps in to rectify the situation and heads rolled.

The Earth Shakes and Heads Roll

Joaquin met his match, or so it's said but not believed by all, when Captain Harry Love, a noted Los Angeles gunfighter, decided to make a more celebrated name for himself. One day Love, with 20 men at his back, rode down on the Mexican bandits. Love surprised the Murrieta gang as they languished around their campfire near Lake Tulare.

The outcome of this 1854 confrontation was that Murrieta was not only captured but also got his head severed. After the bloody ruckus a man by the name of Billy Henderson presented the sheriff with a gunnysack containing some Mexican's head and claiming it to be Murrieta's. Now Murrieta actually had a price on his head when, in good old California mining camp style, the severed head was put up for auction. It went to the highest bidder for thirty-five dollars.

Joaquin Murrietta's head, confined to a large jar of alcohol, went on display in the old Gordon Museum on Market Street, in San Francisco. For the grand sum of twenty-five cents the curious could gaze to their heart's content. But even in death, and with a severed head or missing body, depending on how you look at it, Joaquin Murrieta made his great escape from the confines of the law.

The big glass jar jail
Advertisement to View Juaquin Murieta's Head image. Click for full size.
4. Advertisement to View Juaquin Murieta's Head
break came in 1906 when Mother Earth decided to shake and tremble, bring that City by the Bay to its crumbling and burning earth-quaking knees. In the ruckus and disaster, Murrieta's head disappeared for all time.
    — Submitted June 20, 2009.

2. Love/Murietta Site
Two scenarios abound re: the deaths/shoot out involving a group of Mexican horsemen in July 1853 with Capt Love's Rangers.
One states Capt Love found them near Panoche Pass - a distinct area in San Benito County. A second states Capt Love found them near Arroyo de Cantua (near Coalinga) in Fresno County. The latter has a state marker to that effect. The distance between these two spots in not 14 miles (as listed on the marker) but some 35-40 miles as the crow flies. Why this conudrum in listing the two sites? Also, is there a marker near Panoche Pass?
Editors Note: There are many reports of Joaquin Murrieta and his gang. These include his activities, his relationships, and of his reported death at the hands of Captain Love and the Rangers. Many of these sources were from articles written by the newspaper reports of the day, and many of those articles were based on interviews, rumors, and assumptions. There are conflicting reports in many articles which contribute to the confusion.
As to the actual site of the Murrieta killing this may one of those events of which the true story is lost to history forever.
Note To Editor only visible by Contributor and editor    
    — Submitted October 16, 2010, by Wayne Padgett of Daly City, Ca..

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Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 20, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 2,755 times since then and 65 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on June 20, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   2, 3, 4. submitted on June 21, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.
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