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Guide to the Vigilance Committee Records, 1856
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points
  • Contents
  • History
  • Correspondents
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Vigilance Committee Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1856
    Box Number: 324
    Collector: Mittlestaedt, Richard E.
    Repository: California State Library
    Sacramento, California
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information



    Conditions of Use

    Please credit California State Library.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to California State Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing. Permission for publication is given on behalf of California State Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Vigilance Committee Records, California State Library.

    Access Points

    San Francisco Committee of Vigilance of 1856.
    Vigilance--California--San Francisco.
    Vigilance committees--California--San Francisco.


    Correspondence, statement of ordinance, schedule of arms, items concerning military matters.


    The Vigilance Committee of San Francisco was founded in 1856 following the murder of William H. Richardson by Charles Cora And James King of by James Casey. The leader of the new committee was William T. Coleman and its headquarters was Fort Gunnybags. On May 18, 1856, 2,500 armed vigilantes seized Cora and Casey from the sherriff's custody, tried them and publicly hanged them four days later. Following a fight in which the vigilantes seized arms from the state militia, the Committee held a parade of 6,1000 followers and then disbanded.
    Although highly popular, the Committee did not enjoy universal support. Letters in this collection present the side of the "Law and Order" forces in opposition to the Committee. The Committee ceased operations in the fall of 1856.


    Major Correspondents

    • Johnson, James Meely.
    • Kibbe, William C.

    Other Correspondents

    • Allen, C. E.
    • Boutwell, E. B.
    • Cazneau, Thomas N.
    • Coleman, William Tell, 1824-1893
    • Howard, Volney Erskine, 1809-1885
    • Hungerford, D. E.
    • Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891
    • Ward, George R.

    Related Collections

    • Title: Anthony Lewis Tasheira Collection, 1849-1860