I have to thank the Orland Historical and Cultural Society for bringing this story to my attention on their Facebook page. And a great bit of history it is!
On April 20, 1865, Captain Augustus Washington Starr was sent from Sacramento to the town of Colusa to follow up on reports of Southern sympathizers who were “guilty of making exulting expressions over the assassination of President Lincoln.” So reported the Marysville Appeal of April 22nd. Southerners in the town, and there were many, planned to celebrate by “firing the anvil” at the blacksmith’s shop. Firing the anvil was a popular way to cause a ruckus in the 19th century.
Colusa was known as a hotbed of Southern sympathizers, and the men arrested by Captain Starr were among the most prominent men of the county. District Attorney A.D. Shepardson, Deputy Assessor C. Price, Justice of the Peace J. Scroggins and rancher John Campbell were all apprehended.
The next day four more men were arrested: the blacksmith, the keeper of the “Copperhead Saloon,” another rancher named O’Neil, and Will S. Green, the editor of the Colusa Sun. Green, a Kentuckian, was a strong supporter of state’s rights. The men were taken to Camp Union in Sacramento and then sent to Alcatraz, where they spent two months on the Rock.
Will Green went on to many prominent position in county and state government, including County Superintendent of Schools, Mayor of Colusa, State Assemblyman, State Treasurer, and Trustee of the California State Library.
In 2016 the Sam Brannan chapter of E Clampus Vitus placed a plaque commemorating the event at the Colusa County Courthouse.
You can read more about this event in this article from the San Jose Mercury News.