Who Knows Him? sheriff Frank T. Johnson.

Who Knows Him?

Sacramento, California, 10 May 1897. Broadside, 11” x 8.5”.

A wanted poster for a notorious chicken thief in Sacramento, California, with a colorful background story.

This broadside reads as follows: “On May 1, 1897, one John McCrea was accidentally shot while resisting arrest. His is about 55 years old; about 5 feet 10 inches tall, weights about 155 pounds; slim build; hair of a reddish hue; partly bald in front; sandy mustache and chin whiskers; latter about 3 inches long; blue eyes and bushy sandy eyebrows; very small hole on side of nose, about an eighth of an inch deep; neck wrinkled and very much freckled; long slender fingers; wrists and back of hands also much freckled. Claims to have been herding sheep for R. T. Whitney, Roseville, Cal., and for R. Gifford, near Carson, Nevada. Judging from his language and gestures I am inclined to believe that he has been accustomed to addressing audiences, either as a street fakir or preacher. He has been stealing chickens throughout Sacramento County, also in Placer and other counties, using a mare and cart, we have reasons to believe that she is a stolen animal. She is a dark brown, about 10 years old; 16 hands high; weighs about 1100 pounds; one white hindfoot; D brand on left hindleg, between hock and stifle.” Those with information on this man are advised to contact Frank T. Johnson, Sheriff of Sacramento.

By 3 May 1897, the thief was in custody (prior to the publication of this notice). An article from The Record-Union chronicles this case as follows: “It is now believed by the Sheriff and his deputies—and McCrea's agility displaced in his desperate battle with Deputy Sheriff Fisher seems to bear out the theory—that the robber came down by way of Folsom, and not wanting to go home entirely empty-handed, stopped at old man Bidwell's place near Perkins to get chickens to perhaps fill an order at some tamale house in this city. The horse and cart were taken possession of by Smith and Aiston. When examined it was found to contain a sack bespattered with blood and containing chicken and turkey feathers [and] an empty peach can containing a package which proved to be a piece of canvas dipped in a solution of sulphur, and apparently some other poisonous ingredients which undoubtedly were used by McCrea to stupefy and bring down poultry from trees and high roosts… the man who had in less than four months stolen no less than 900 chickens and over 170 turkeys … That McCrea is the man who had been operating so extensively in this and neighboring counties, and that he is the man who nearly murdered farmer Bidwell near Perkins, there can be little doubt … McCrea's lower limbs are paralyzed from the effects of the [gun]shot. He was under the influence of opiates last night.”

No copies recorded in Worldcat.

REFERENCES: The Record-Union (Sacramento, CA, 3 May 1897), p. 3.

CONDITION: Small stain at bottom-left edge, rippling to paper, paper reinforcemen along edges of verso, old folds.

Item #6885

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