Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Hanging of William Buckley and John Daly

Both were members of the "Daly Gang" and were hanged in Aurora California 17 February 1864 for the killing of William Johnson. Vigilantes also hung two other Gang members -Three Finger Jack (aka McDowell) and "Massy" Masterson.

Johnson's hired hand had killed a Daly Gang member called James Sears. To get revenge Daly had someone befriend Johnson, get him drunk, and then steer him to a secluded area where he could be attacked by the 4 men. Daly shot Johnson - after which Buckley cut Johnson's throat.

Outraged at the murder, the citizens formed a "safety committee" & hunted down the 4. Then based on testimony from "Italian Jim" - they were tried, convicted and sentenced to hang.

At the gallows Daly took a drink of brandy, threw silver coins from his pocket into the crowd and said the following:

" I am guilty. I killed Johnson; Buckley and I killed Johnson. Do you understand that. Johnson was a damned old Mormon thief. He was the means of killing my friend (Sears) and I lived to die for him. Had I lived I would have wiped out Johnson's whole family."

William Buckley (from New York) then said his last words:

"Gentlemen, I do not stand up before you to say that I am innocent. Daly and I are guilty. There are two innocent men on this scaffold - Three Finger Jack and Masterson. I deserve to be punished and die a brave man.

I want Dan Toomy to see to getting a coffin for me and that any debts which you may contract on my account I have made arrangements to pay.

Adieu Boys, I wish you all well. All of you boys must come to my wake in John Daly' s cabin tonight. Be sure of this. Goodbye, and God Bless you."
Three Finger Jack (aka McDowell) then spoke:

"Gentlemen, I am as innocent of this as child unborn. You are going to me murder me. I am as innocent as the man in the moon. Is there no show for me? Am I to be murdered? Yes, you are determined to murder me. I don't want my body buried with the balance of them. Where is Jim Lintz?
Lintz and others then went up to the gallows and spoke to him. When they left, 3 Finger Jack pulled a derringer from his pocket, put it to his heart and pulled the trigger. It failed to fire. Three Finger Jack threw it to the ground and exclaimed: "That Son of a Bitch pistol has fooled me."

With that Three Finger Jack stepped back then said: "I'll die like a tiger"

All four men then had their hands tied. Rev Charles Yeager said a final prayer, and then in front of five thousand spectators the four were hanged.

1 comment:

Trooper York said...

I thought they hung William Buckley because he used too many big words.

Isn't John Daly too fat to hang?