Biography of Jeremiah M. Stanley
Little Lake Township, Mendocino County, CA Biographies





Jeremiah M. Stanley. Was born in Missouri, August 20, 1845. In 1853 he, with his parents, came across the plains with ox teams to California. They remained in Sacramento till December of that year, when they came to Sonoma county, and erected a house where the " Revere House " now stands in Petaluma. In 1858 they moved to Mendocino county and located at Ukiah Here the father engaged in merchandising and hotel keeping, he having erected the hotel known as the "Ukiah House." Jeremiah assisted his father in the hotel, and also on a ranch, where he had a band of cattle. In 1861 he commenced the battle of life on his own account, and leased the Knight ranch, where he remained a year and a half, accumulating about $1,000. He then determined to complete his education, and for that purpose entered the schools at Ukiah_ at the same time assisting Lew. M. Warden in the Sheriff's office. He continued thus for about three years, and then began teaching, which he followed for five years. He was then appointed Deputy Sheriff under S. J. Chalfant, which position he filled for two years. He then leased a sheep ranch in Sherwood valley, and has since been engaged in stock and sheep raising. During Mr. Standley's term in the Sheriff's office, he filled the position to the entire satisfaction of the people of Mendocino county, and often to the imminent risk of his own life. He played no small part in the capture of the "Mendocino Outlaws:" but the story is best told by himself, and hence we append the following testimony given by him at the trial of John F. Wheeler: "I was summoned by the Sheriff, at Little Lake, on the 17th day of October, 1879, for the purpose of arresting the murderers of Dollard and Wright. Went to the scene of the murder on the 18th, and then to Mendocino City; thence to Courtwright's cabin, about twenty five miles north of Mendocino City, and from there to Bald Hills, Noyo river. I there met Mr. Moore and posse, and returned to Campbell's place in Little Lake valley. The next morning we went down to the cabin, but saw no one there. We were looking for Courtwright. We went back to the cabin the next day and arrested Carr. He was very much worn out in the feet; his ankles were sore and tied up. We delivered Carr to Constables Laird and Muir, and he was sent to Ukiah. We then went with the Sheriff to Kibesillah, where we remained all night. The next day we went back to Ten mile river, about three miles below Courtwright's cabin, and found George Cortez's tracking party. We did not see the tracks of the outlaws, and returned to Westport. The next day we went out on the Cahto road, but made no discoveries, and returned to Westport and staid all night. We went up the coast the next day as far as Rockville, and returned, when we met a messenger who informed us that the outlaws had been seen and one of them recognized. We went from there to Uncle Tommy Daimen's cabin, formed in ambush, and remained there until the next day. Here we received a message that the outlaws were going to the south fork of Eel river. We then went down to Leggett valley, secreted ourselves and remained all night. The next morning the Sheriff and posse went down to Sam. Pearce's place; myself, young Bowman and Wilson went out from the river until we came to a stream called Rattlesnake creek, which empties into Eel river, which we followed down to its mouth, where we discovered going down Eel river the tracks of three men; followed the tracks about a hundred and fifty yards, and was alarmed by a noise between us and the creek bottom; we were at the time on the bluff. On going to the edge of the bluff and looking over I discovered three men rushing up together, and picking up their guns. I at once commanded them to surrender, when they ran, jumping over the creek bank, our party firing at them as they ran. We secured their camp, capturing four blankets, a knife, two six shooters, a coffee pot, a cup, sack of dried beef, shaving utensils, two hundred and fifty or three hundred cartridges for pistols and rifles, a couple of pairs of boots, three or four coats, and two pairs of pants, which I took charge of, carefully marking each article so that I could identify them again I put on a pair of the pants, and a coat and overcoat, as my clothes had become badly torn in crawling through the bushes, and gave the rest of the things to a man to deliver at my house in Sherwood valley. This camp was about sixty miles from the scene of the murder. At this place I examined the tracks carefully, not having done so before, and found that the tracks differed greatly, one of them being made by a small heeled boot, the heel projecting under the font; another was a little larger, having a square toe and round flat heel; the third was still larger and longer, and having two large round headed tacks, running diagonally across one heel, the other heel having a large tack at its front edge next to the center. We followed the tracks about a quarter of a mile, when we met a messenger who informed us that the outlaws had taken breakfast at Ray's place, about eight miles from where we had routed them the day before. We went at once to Ray's place, and got a description of the men, and examined the tracks in front of the house, and found them to be the same as those seen at the camp on the river. We followed the tracks from Ray's to Blue Rock, where we lost them. By searching through the country and sending messengers to the various ranches, we again found the tracks north of Round valley, on Eel river. They were the same tracks we had been following previously. From there we followed them to John Watham's place in Trinity county; thence to Petit Johns' on Cold Fork of the Cottonwood, in Tehama county. Almost the entire distance traversed, from Eel river to Petit Johns, was through a rough, mountainous country, sometimes down into deep cannons, and at others over high ridges. Sometimes they would follow the road for five or six miles, and then suddenly abandon it for the hills and gulches. From Johns' ranch we followed the tracks to Veil's Gulch, on the Redbank, about sixteen miles from Red Bluff, where we again lost their tracks. After searching for about two weeks without finding them again we abandoned the search for the time being, and returned to Ukiah. I remained in Ukiah a couple of days, and having gained information which led me to believe that the men would go to the neighborhood of Nimshew, Butte county, near which place a brother in law of Brown's resided, Sheriff Moore and myself again started in pursuit of them. We first went to San Francisco, thence to Oroville, Chico, and Helltown, where we again heard of them, having found the man who piloted them to Battle creek, after night, by the aid of a lantern. From that place we followed them, by means of descriptions of the, men, to Nimshew, and learned that they had been there nineteen days before. We remained at Nimshew all night and a part of the next day, and then went away, leaving a man to watch for them. That night, at about 11 o'clock, we received a message as to the whereabouts of the men, and at once, in company with Sheriff Moore, Mr. Meager and Mr. White, went to McClellan's cabin, reaching there a little after daylight the next morning. The cabin is situated in a deep cannon running from Ninashew to Butte creek, the sides of which are covered with a thick growth of cheinissal brush. When we reached the cabin we saw a man chopping wood, whom Moore and myself recognized as Billings, and we at once commanded him to throw up his hands and surrender; but instead of doing so he ran into the house, and I fired at him as he ran. We then fired into and through the cabin ten or fifteen times. As soon as the firing commenced, Brown and Gaunce ran from the cabin, taking different directions, but both making for the brush. White, who was on the opposite side, and had been firing, then hallooed that they had gone, but that we had killed one of them. We then ran down and into the cabin, and out at the opposite side, and saw Billings lying on the ground, about thirty feet from the cabin, face downwards, with his gun tinder him. We went up to him and turned him over, when he gasped once and was dead. On examining the body we found the vest corresponded with a coat we had taken in the camp on Rattlesnake, and that the shoes were the ones with the large tacks in the heels. We then carried the body into the house and sent for the Coroner. On the arrival of the Coroner an examination of the body was made, which disclosed the fact that the marks on it corresponded with the description of those on John Billings, as furnished by the prison officials at San Quentin. After giving our testimony before the Coroner, we at once started out on the track of Brown, and followed it about a mile and a half, when we came to the conclusion that he was lame and could not travel far. We then returned to the cabin and struck out after Gaunce. We followed his tracks down the ravine to Butte creek, and down the creek three or four miles, where it made a square turn and led us back to within two hundred yards of Nimshew, where we lost the track, and blew out our light (we had been tracking by means of the light of a lantern, it being then about two o'clock in the morning) and went to the hotel. The next morning, just as we were getting ready to search the town, we learned that a buggy robe had been stolen from a shed adjoining a vacant cabin, not more than two hundred yards from the hotel. White and I went at once to the cabin and made a search. We searched each room as we came to it, and in the last one noticed an old cupboard behind which we saw our man. I covered him with my gun and ordered him to surrender, which he did, saying that he had nothing with which to resist. I took him in a buggy and followed after Sheriff Moore, who had already started with the body of Billings. I overtook him at Chico, and turned my prisoner over to him, and at once returned to Nimshew for the purpose of hunting for Brown. We then went out to the point where we had abandoned Brown's track, and followed it from there to Concord valley; thence due east up the slope of the Sierras to the snow line. Here he stopped all night with an Indian. The next morning he crossed the north fork of Feather river and stayed all night at a place called Last Chance. From there he crossed French creek and went to the Mountain House, on the road from Oroville to Susanville, and then on the main road to Bidwell's Bar. From there he took to the foot hills and went to Wyandotte, when he made a turn and went towards Rice's Crossing, on Yuba river. When a couple of miles beyond Wyandotte, we met two men - Thatcher and Ryan - with Brown in charge, they having captured him about a mile ahead of us. I immediately arrested him and brought him back. Most of the chase, from beginning to end, was made on foot, and thirty miles of the distance, between Nimshew and Bangor, was through soft snow over a foot deep." Mr. Stanley was married in September, 1868, to Miss Sarah C. Clay, a native of Missouri. Their children are: Minnie J., Harrison W., and Nettie F.

From:
History of Mendocino County, California
Alley, Bowen & Co., Publishers
San Francisco, California 1880


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