Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

The Jail Life of Vasquez.

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Interesting Details of the Jail Life of Vasquez.

[Special Dispatch to the Chronicle]

Los ANGELES, May 18. — The rush of visitors to see Vasquez this afternoon was so great that it was with the utmost difficulty an opportunity was found for taking his photograph. Among the callers were quite a number of first-class ladies, all of whom were evidently charmed with the prisoner's excessive politeness and lamb-like expression of countenance. Some of the ladies went so far in their admiration of the famous bandit as to present him rare bouquets and shower upon him their sweetest smiles.


To the casual visitor Vasquez is a most pleasing person to meet and converse with in a prison cell. He knows instinctively or by long practice just how to please each and every one who calls on him, and his vanity is so great that the pleasure of being so general and particular an object of atten­tion is a boost a full compensation to him for the humiliation of capture. But on those who are with him almost constantly and see his various moods, he produces a different impression. There are moments when his dark brow is knitted and his eye lights up with a glare that exhibits the real animus of his mind.


About 2 o'clock this afternoon his photo­graph was taken by Mr. Wolfenstein, as­sisted by Mr. Payne. He was plainly dressed for the purpose and was able to walk out of his cell and around to the shady side of the building selected by the artists for their work. He walked with­out assistance, though rather slowly and painfully. A well man not closely guarded would have considered the occasion a tolerably good opportunity for a desperate effort to escape, but Vasquez was out of con­dition. Most of his captors were standing about in every attitude, and Tiburcio appa­rently never glanced at anything after leav­ing his cell except the chair he was directed to occupy and the instruments that were to secure the shadow of his remarkable fea­tures ere their substance should fade. In sitting the bandit was as immovable as a statue of bronze, and the artists were very successful.


I have heard remarks from a great many visitors at the jail, objecting to the kind and courteous treatment shown Vasquez by Sheriff Rowland, and they seem to think that his opportunities of escape are good. They know nothing whatever of Rowland's manner of doing business. All the bolts, bars and chains in Christendom would not render him as secure as the present arrangements are. If it was necessary, in the prosecution of the attempt to capture other members of the band, to let Vasquez quietly out of his cell upon the streets, as Greek George has been to-day, it could be done and he would still be a prisoner, with no power to escape, while his identity is beyond dispute and he himself not only confesses frankly to numerous robberies, but evident­ly glories in his career; still, to Sheriff Rowland, he is


And not at present convicted of any crime. There are some who curse Vasquez' captors for not killing him on the spot, and who say they would like to help drag him from his cell and hang him to the nearest lamp-post. The same men would not have approached within rifle shot of the mustard thicket surrounding Greek George's house for all the gold in the Bank of California. Vasquez will not be allowed to escape. No attempt of his friends to rescue him will be successful, and no mob will be allowed an oppor­tunity to disgrace the State by summarily executing him. Sheriff Rowland will de­liver Vasquez safely into the hands of the Sheriff of Monterey county, at the proper time. The numerous visits to Vasquez, and the occasional presents made him by visit­ors, should not, I think, be characterized as a disposition to lionize him. He is a re­markable man, and the curiosity to see him and talk with him is only natural.


Sheriff Rowland has to-day received the following characteristic letter from Harry Morse:

Friend Rowland: Allow me to congratu­late you on your success in the capture of Vasquez, and the masterly manner in which it was done. No one rejoices more than I do at your success, although I should like to have been in at the last; yet my information led me to believe that he had started north toward the New Idria, and, of course, I im­mediately followed. Even after getting so far north as the Peso China, in Fresno county, I received what I thought was reliable information that he had passed through that place just four days ahead of my party. We spent ten days searching in and about the Cantua and New Idria country for him, but he not being in that vicinity, of course we could not find him.


All join in sending their respects, and are (without wishing you any bad luck) only sorry that we were not fortunate enough to effect the capture of Vasquez. From what I have learned, I hardly believe that — has been with Vasquez in your county. If there is anything that I can assist you in in this part of the country, please call upon me; I will be ever ready to respond.

Yours truly, HENRY N. MORSE.


Vasquez expresses admiration at the cool and subtle manner in which Rowland has so completely outwitted him. Rowland had been for a long time constantly watched by the wily bandit, who regulated his move­ments by information received through the medium of spies on the Sheriff's movements. Rowland found it necessary to deceive oven his own friends as to what he was doing, as even his conversation on the subject was re­ported to Vasquez, who has repeated many of these conversations. Rowland threw him off guard by assuming an entire indif­ference on the subject. The Sheriff's own friends were very much surprised at his frequently expressing himself in public conversation as not caring a cent whether the bandit was caught or not ; that if the Governor would only offer a re­ward worth while, say $20,000, he would catch him. Meanwhile he was incessantly


That finally caught Vasquez. His expense has been great, to say nothing of the neglect of other affairs.

Sheriff Rowland desires me to say that the above fraternal letter of congratulation is thoroughly appreciated, and that he will be glad to have Sheriff Morse's assistance, and stands ready to assist him whenever circum­stances require in the prosecution of these men.

Vasquez, this evening, has been moved into a more secure room.

A Denial of Vasquez' Stories.

In regard to Vasquez' thin story about the Tres Pinos tragedy, the San Jose Mercury says: "Leiva, an ex-member of the Vasquez band, now in jail here as a witness against that organization of outlaws, mildly says that Tiburcio lies when he denies having been at the Tres Pinos tragedy and taking a fatal hand in the shooting of Davidson and others. Leiva's testimony was given not long ago at a trial of one of the gang in Monterey county."

Newspaper images: 9600 dpi jpeg of 300 dpi jpg of original newspaper from collection of Alan Pollack.

IN CUSTODY 1874-1875


Ben Truman Jailhouse Interview


Jail Life


Final Statement to Sheriff Adams

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