Quantcast
Frontier Justice
rontier Justice: On this site, Bridgeport's most sensational court trial occurred June 9th, 1891. Ah Quong Tai, a local chinese businessman accused of the cannibalistic murder of Poker Tom, a well known Paiute Indian, appeared in court defended by two attorneys, J.C. Murphy and W.O. Parker. Reportedly, several hundred people gathered around the Bridgeport Justice Court to observe this much anticipated trial. Although Deputy District Attorney Hayes made a strong case, Judge T. Fales ruled there was insufficient evidence to charge Tai with murder due to lack of witnesses, physical evidence and the body could not be identified. As Tai was being released, he met his fate. Ironically no charges were filed in the death of Tai due to the lack of evidence and the body could not be identified. Although this is only a foonote in California case law it is a noteworthy example of the 1800's frontier justice. Plaque dedicated September 12, 2009 Bodie Chapter No. 64 E Clampus Vitus

Frontier Justice

I stopped in the town of Bridgeport, California for lunch on my way to Bishop. Standing on the main drag and waiting for my sandwich, I came across this sensational plaque (and briefly lost my appetite).

A businessman, Ah Quong Tai, allegedly murders and eats a beloved local named Poker Tom. Townspeople are outraged that he is found innocent and take justice into their own hands. Sensational story!

Frontier Justice: On this site, Bridgeport’s most sensational court trial occurred June 9th, 1891. Ah Quong Tai, a local Chinese businessman accused of the cannibalistic murder of Poker Tom, a well known Paiute Indian, appeared in court defended by two attorneys, J.C. Murphy and W.O. Parker. Reportedly, several hundred people gathered around the Bridgeport Justice Court to observe this much anticipated trial. Although Deputy District Attorney Hayes made a strong case, Judge T. Fales ruled there was insufficient evidence to charge Tai with murder due to lack of witnesses, physical evidence and the body could not be identified. As Tai was being released, he met his fate. Ironically no charges were filed in the death of Tai due to the lack of evidence and the body could not be identified. Although this is only a footnote in California case law it is a noteworthy example of the 1800’s frontier justice. Plaque dedicated September 12, 2009 Bodie Chapter No. 64 E Clampus Vitus

rontier Justice: On this site, Bridgeport's most sensational court trial occurred June 9th, 1891. Ah Quong Tai, a local chinese businessman accused of the cannibalistic murder of Poker Tom, a well known Paiute Indian, appeared in court defended by two attorneys, J.C. Murphy and W.O. Parker. Reportedly, several hundred people gathered around the Bridgeport Justice Court to observe this much anticipated trial. Although Deputy District Attorney Hayes made a strong case, Judge T. Fales ruled there was insufficient evidence to charge Tai with murder due to lack of witnesses, physical evidence and the body could not be identified. As Tai was being released, he met his fate. Ironically no charges were filed in the death of Tai due to the lack of evidence and the body could not be identified. Although this is only a foonote in California case law it is a noteworthy example of the 1800's frontier justice. Plaque dedicated September 12, 2009 Bodie Chapter No. 64 E Clampus VitusMetal-cast plaques are an enduring way to honor important people, dates, or events, but they have design limitations that make a story less accessible – like having to use all capital letters in small font sizes. On the other hand, this plaque will last 500 years or more. So, it’s a toss-up. I think this plaque does a good job of transporting the reader to a different time. It also marks an event and the people involved, and in a way that will last well into the future.

How often do you take the time to read plaques around your town? Have you discovered any surprising gems?

A side note: This plaque and others I’ve come across led me to research the E Clampus Vitus organization. All I will say right now is they seem like a very interesting bunch. If you’re into the history of the old west, and need to kill some time, look up a few ECV chapter websites.

1 Comment on this Post.

  1. I will look up ECV!! amazing but true, heh?!

Leave a Comment.