Frontier Justice Goes Awry in Callahan, Calif.
Around 1900 an angry mob sought but failed to apply frontier justice in Callahan, Calif. A man known to have a terrible temper had drawn a knife and threatened to “disembowel” another man standing at the bar in Baker’s Saloon. Others in the saloon grabbed the man with the knife and tied him up. In the heat of the moment, they decided to hang him from a nearby bridge.
The mob found some rope and hauled the man to the bridge over the East Fork of the Scott River, where they slipped a noose around his neck and tied the rope to the top beam of the bridge. They pushed the man off the beam toward the rushing water below.
The rope was too long, dunking the man in the river, where he flopped around and nearly drowned. Undeterred, the vigilantes pulled him ashore and repeated the process. Again, the helpless man had to be hauled from the water gasping for breath.
While the vigilantes passed around a bottle and argued about what to do next, the man slipped out of the rope and escaped.
Source: Hayden, Ernest A. Along Our History's Trail: An Anthology. Callahan: Ernest A. Hayden, 1984. 57-59. Print.