Monthly Archives: March 2019

The Tempestuous Life of David S. Terry

The most famous duel in California history took place in 1859 between David S. Terry, Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, and U.S. Senator David C. Broderick. David Smith Terry was born in Kentucky in 1823 and moved with … Continue reading

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Blooming Bonanza

It’s a great year for wildflowers — get out and enjoy them while they last. Today I went to Upper Bidwell Park to hike around a bit and see what’s in bloom. There are plenty of— And old Monkeyface Rock … Continue reading

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The Scandalous Saga continued — No Palimony for Allie

Senator Sharon’s suit against Sarah Althea Hill concluded in December 1885. The federal court had spent more than a year going over the same ground that the superior court of California had thoroughly dug up in 1884 and Judge Deady … Continue reading

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The Scandalous Saga continued — in Federal Court

No sooner was the divorce trial of Sarah Althea Hill and Senator William Sharon concluded in Sarah Althea’s favor, than the federal suit brought by Sharon against Allie began. It took up most of the year 1885 and went over … Continue reading

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Sharon v. Hill Meets The Wasp

The Wasp was a satirical weekly published in San Francisco from 1876 until 1941. Its editor from 1881 to 1885 was that acerbic wit, Ambrose Bierce. Here is the cover of the magazine for May 17, 1884. At this point … Continue reading

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The Scandalous Saga continued — Mrs. Sharon’s Triumph

The trial came to a conclusion on September 16, 1884 and after due consideration, judgement was rendered by Judge J.F. Sullivan on December 24th. He concluded that under California law a marriage contract such as Sarah Althea Hill claimed she … Continue reading

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The Scandalous Saga continued — Sharon Takes the Stand

Ex-Senator of Nevada William Sharon finally took the stand to tell his story late in May of 1884. Sarah Althea Hill, he said, had first come to his office in August, 1880, ostensibly seeking investment advice. He told her that … Continue reading

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The Scandalous Saga continued –Pistols in the Courtroom

The San Francisco of the 1880s was still the Wild West and both men and women often went armed, even into Court. Mrs. Mary Shawhan was summoned to testify about her relationship with Sarah Althea Hill. She was described as … Continue reading

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Dr. Poynter, One More Time

Readers of this blog might recall that last year I did a series on the first novel written and published in California: Entewa, the Mountain Bird, by J.R. Poynter M.D., published in Marysville in 1852. I have one more little … Continue reading

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The Scandalous Saga continued — Dirty Dealings in the Graveyard

Sarah Althea Hill tried potions and charms from an assortment of fortune-tellers – they were numerous in old San Francisco – but she had not secured Senator Sharon’s affections to her satisfaction. Another of the mystic league gave her a … Continue reading

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