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

In Memory of Juanita

 
 
In Memory of Juanita Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 27, 2011
1. In Memory of Juanita Marker
Inscription. The Spanish woman also known as Josefa, was hung off the Jersey Bridge July 5, 1851 a short distance down stream from this spot, for the murder of Frederick Alexander Agustus Cannon.

Cannon and his friends were celebrating Independence Day and after closing most of the saloons they passed Jose and Josefa’s cabin. He broke the door down, however history did not tell what happened. The next morning he came back, supposedly to apologize. An argument ensued and Josefa stabbed Cannon fatally in the heart.

A mob trial was held and she was sentenced to death. Josefa climbed the scaffold without the least trepidation and placed the rope around her own neck. Her last words were; “I would do the same again if I was so provoked.”
 
Erected 1996 by Major William Downie Chapter 1849, E Clampus Vitus.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the E Clampus Vitus marker series.
 
Location. 39° 33.605′ N, 120° 49.675′ W. Marker is in Downieville, California, in Sierra County. Marker is on Commercial Street (State Highway 49) south of Main Street, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. The marker is mounted on the far right of the Craycroft Building facing Commercial
In Memory of Juanita Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 27, 2011
2. In Memory of Juanita Marker
Street (Highway 49) next to the bridge. Marker is in this post office area: Downieville CA 95936, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Craycroft Building (a few steps from this marker); The Shooting of Thaddeus Purdy (within shouting distance of this marker); St. Charles Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); Mackerman & Company Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Downieville (within shouting distance of this marker); Masonic Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Downieville Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Downieville Museum (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Downieville.
 
Regarding In Memory of Juanita. William Seacrest, the author of many books, pamphlets and articles on the history of California and it’s Gold Rush gives a detailed and well research account of the event in the booklet “Juanita – The Only Woman Lynched in the Gold Rush Days”. There are quotes from newspaper articles from all over California, and statements made from several witnesses and participants.

According to the research done by Seacrest, Josefá, “worked” at the local Craycroft Saloon. She
The Craycroft Building and the In Memory of Juanita Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 27, 2011
3. The Craycroft Building and the In Memory of Juanita Marker
The marker is mounted on the far right of the building next to the bridge.
lived with José in a nearby cabin. Following a full day of Independence Day celebrations and the closing of several saloons, Frederick Cannon and friends were walking down a path near Josefá’s cabin when Cannon fell, knocking in and breaking the flimsy door of the cabin. The following day Cannon visited the doctor who’s cabin was next to Josefá’s. José came out demanding that Cannon pay for the damage done to the door. An argument ensued which eventually led to his stabbing. When the news spread through town, miners converged on the Craycroft Saloon, where they knew Josefá and José were hiding. They were apprehended and the mob demanded an immediate trial. Josefá was found guilty, punishment by death, and José was acquitted but was told to leave town within 24 hours. News of the lynching spread throughout California and the idea of a woman being lynched was not received well. This incident gave a “black-eye” to the mining town of Downieville. To this day Downieville is known for being “the town that lynched a woman!”
 
Also see . . .  Hanging in Downieville. An article on the Yerba Buena Chapter #1, E Clampus Vitus website details the Juanita hanging event. (Submitted on April 28, 2012.) 
 
Additional keywords. lynchings
 
Categories. Notable EventsNotable Persons
 
The Craycroft Building image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, June 27, 2011
4. The Craycroft Building
Located on the corner of Main Street and Commercial Street (Highway 49).
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 28, 2011, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 689 times since then and 72 times this year. Last updated on July 10, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 28, 2011, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.
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