Newspaper Archive of
Lassen County Times
Susanville, California
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July 18, 2000     Lassen County Times
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July 18, 2000
 

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6B Tuesday, July 18, 2000 LBBn Cou00 News Lassen C0un00 Photo by Wood The Lassen County courthouse remains a majestic landscape after nearly 100 years of existence. The site of the courthouse was also the location of the ever lynching in Lassen County. Last-ever lynching was at courthouse By Woudy Morpn Staff Writer Twenty years following the creation of Lassen County, the residents of Susanville lynched their last man. Lassen County was officially created April 1, 1864 and three months later, Susanville founder Isaac Roop donated one square block of land to build the Lassen County Courthouse. On June 18, 1864, Roop gave the county the block of land between what is now Mill Street and Court Street, the site of the present day courthouse. In 1915, by a large majority, voters passed a bond issue for a new courthouse. The bond is- sue also paved the way for the construction of the Lassen Hospital. That first hospital building is still in use today as the Annex of the Lassen Community Hospital. Andflnally, 53 yes after Roop danated the land, on September 21, 1917. the Lassen County urthouse was dedicated. And while th t Jail which was built in 1911 has now been con- demned, the courthouse is still in everyday use. While the courthouse has been the bastion of justice in Lassen County this century, at one time it was also the site of mob murder. In 188k Holden Dick and Mexican Ben were lynched a_ter being found guilty of murder. According to the Lassen Advocate, Su- sanville's first newspaper, the lynching oc- curred on the Sunday morning, January 24, 1886. Holden Dick, an Indian of unreported origin, had been arrested for the murder of Samuel B. Shaw on Madeline Plains and had been brought to Susanville for trial. Dick was later convicted of first degree mur- der and sentenced to death by Superior Court Judge Marsteller. He was awaiting-his execution date along with Mexican Ben, also know as Vincente Oli- vas. Mexican Ben had been brought Susanville in November of 1885 for trial after being arrested in the killing of a man by the name of McCoy. After being convicted of first degree murder, Mexican Ben was also sentenced to death by JlKe Marsteller. An unnamed reporter for the Lassen Advo- cate later described the scene of the lynching as most ghastly. "In the woodshed adjoining the jail were sus- pended the two inanimate bodies of Olivas and Dick. Olivas had no clothing upon him but a shirt, and his drawers were hanging loosely about his feet. The rope was thrown across the crossbeam of the woodshed and fastened to an upright post. His neck, from all appearance was broken. His hands hung by his side. and on his throat were marks of fingers, evidently having been choked in quietness by some of the mob. Olivas had been locked in one of the cells of the iron tank. and was probably in bed when the mob made its raid." The reporter also went on to describe the re- mains of Holden Dick. "Holden Dick's appearance was ghastly in the extreme. The upper part of his body was cov- ered with blood, leading one to believe that a hard and desperate struggle had been bad with him, he had been repeatedly hit over the head with a blunt instrument; but upon closer exami- nation, it is evident that no such means were employed." The rope had, in the first place, been tied to his hair, and he was probably manner in hopes of extractin who the other parties supposed to be with him in the murder of Shaw the weight of his body had scalp loose, when the rope was his neck. and the final pull given. "From appearances, his neck ken. He made a desperate struggle for his shirt and other clothing and smeared with blood. He was clothed, having on his shirt and In the report of the day, Holden ican Ben had been taken from the a body of men and hanged. The go on to say who the men in they It was the last time a lynching curred in Lassen County.  1.888.535.4453 www'citizenscm mu nicatins'cm How COULD YOU MISS THIS CALL? For the calls you can't miss you have another opportunity to get Call  from Cltlzeln Omlnnundk:atio! Order  today for as little as $3.75 a month-or order a of Flllr for less than $5.00 a month! You save 60% on Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, Speed Calling, and 3-Way Calling when ordered together. Never miss that important call again. Sign up today and receive your first month FREE m! FE hmhdon! Citizens Communtcatlons...your hometown link to the world. COUNTY " FREE GATE SSION PRE-SALE TICKETS (o. day o! show ody) i 6B Tuesday, July 18, 2000 LBBn Cou00 News Lassen C0un00 Photo by Wood The Lassen County courthouse remains a majestic landscape after nearly 100 years of existence. The site of the courthouse was also the location of the ever lynching in Lassen County. Last-ever lynching was at courthouse By Woudy Morpn Staff Writer Twenty years following the creation of Lassen County, the residents of Susanville lynched their last man. Lassen County was officially created April 1, 1864 and three months later, Susanville founder Isaac Roop donated one square block of land to build the Lassen County Courthouse. On June 18, 1864, Roop gave the county the block of land between what is now Mill Street and Court Street, the site of the present day courthouse. In 1915, by a large majority, voters passed a bond issue for a new courthouse. The bond is- sue also paved the way for the construction of the Lassen Hospital. That first hospital building is still in use today as the Annex of the Lassen Community Hospital. Andflnally, 53 yes after Roop danated the land, on September 21, 1917. the Lassen County urthouse was dedicated. And while th t Jail which was built in 1911 has now been con- demned, the courthouse is still in everyday use. While the courthouse has been the bastion of justice in Lassen County this century, at one time it was also the site of mob murder. In 188k Holden Dick and Mexican Ben were lynched a_ter being found guilty of murder. According to the Lassen Advocate, Su- sanville's first newspaper, the lynching oc- curred on the Sunday morning, January 24, 1886. Holden Dick, an Indian of unreported origin, had been arrested for the murder of Samuel B. Shaw on Madeline Plains and had been brought to Susanville for trial. Dick was later convicted of first degree mur- der and sentenced to death by Superior Court Judge Marsteller. He was awaiting-his execution date along with Mexican Ben, also know as Vincente Oli- vas. Mexican Ben had been brought Susanville in November of 1885 for trial after being arrested in the killing of a man by the name of McCoy. After being convicted of first degree murder, Mexican Ben was also sentenced to death by JlKe Marsteller. An unnamed reporter for the Lassen Advo- cate later described the scene of the lynching as most ghastly. "In the woodshed adjoining the jail were sus- pended the two inanimate bodies of Olivas and Dick. Olivas had no clothing upon him but a shirt, and his drawers were hanging loosely about his feet. The rope was thrown across the crossbeam of the woodshed and fastened to an upright post. His neck, from all appearance was broken. His hands hung by his side. and on his throat were marks of fingers, evidently having been choked in quietness by some of the mob. Olivas had been locked in one of the cells of the iron tank. and was probably in bed when the mob made its raid." The reporter also went on to describe the re- mains of Holden Dick. "Holden Dick's appearance was ghastly in the extreme. The upper part of his body was cov- ered with blood, leading one to believe that a hard and desperate struggle had been bad with him, he had been repeatedly hit over the head with a blunt instrument; but upon closer exami- nation, it is evident that no such means were employed." The rope had, in the first place, been tied to his hair, and he was probably manner in hopes of extractin who the other parties supposed to be with him in the murder of Shaw the weight of his body had scalp loose, when the rope was his neck. and the final pull given. "From appearances, his neck ken. He made a desperate struggle for his shirt and other clothing and smeared with blood. He was clothed, having on his shirt and In the report of the day, Holden ican Ben had been taken from the a body of men and hanged. The go on to say who the men in they It was the last time a lynching curred in Lassen County.  1.888.535.4453 www'citizenscm mu nicatins'cm How COULD YOU MISS THIS CALL? For the calls you can't miss you have another opportunity to get Call  from Cltlzeln Omlnnundk:atio! Order  today for as little as $3.75 a month-or order a of Flllr for less than $5.00 a month! You save 60% on Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, Speed Calling, and 3-Way Calling when ordered together. Never miss that important call again. Sign up today and receive your first month FREE m! FE hmhdon! Citizens Communtcatlons...your hometown link to the world. COUNTY " FREE GATE SSION PRE-SALE TICKETS (o. day o! show ody) i