Historic Sites and Points of Interest in Sierra County

Historic Marker on Craycroft Building 12 December 2013
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Craycroft Building
203 Main Street
Built 1852

The Craycroft Building sports three historical markers on its brick walls.

Craycroft Building

Originally a log building constructed in 1850 by John Craycroft & Company. It housed the famous Craycroft Saloon which boasted a 70 foot bar made from one rip-sawed board. Destroyed by fire, on February 19, 1852, it was immediately replaced by the present brick & stone structure. In the early days the building housed the Court of Sessions, the Masons, Sierra Citizen & Mountain Echo newspapers, La Belle Restaurant, and the jail.

Dedicated August 23, 1980
By Downie Chapter No. 1849
E Clampus Vitus

The Shooting of Thaddeus Purdy

In the Fall of 1853 a miner known as "Muntz" knifed and fatally wounded "Baltimore Jack" over a game of cards in Forest City. Muntz was taken to Downieville and held upstairs in the Craycroft Building for want of a jail. The next day a Forest City mob armed with "great clubs, knives, and revolvers" and "yelling like demons" attempted to take and hang Muntz. A shot rang out and Thaddeus Purdy, Sierra County's first District Attorney fell with a bullet to his brain. He died on a table in the saloon, the victim of a friend "handling the hammer of his revolver when it slipped through his fingers." The astonished crowd "slunk away". Muntz was acquitted on the grounds of self defense.

Credo Quia Absurdum
Dedicated August 24, 2002
Major William Downie Chapter 1849
E Clampus Vitus

In Memory of Juanita

The Spanish woman also known as Josefa, was hung off the Jersey Bridge July 5, 1851 a short distance down stream from this spot, for the murder of Frederick Alexander Agustus Cannon.

Cannon and his friends were celebrating Independence Day and after closing most of the saloons they passed Jose and Josefa's cabin. He broke the door down, however history did not tell what happened. The next morning he came back, supposedly to apologize. An argument ensued and Josefa stabbed Cannon fatally in the heart.

A mob trial was held and she was sentenced to death. Josefa climbed the scaffold without the least trepidation and placed the rope around her own neck. Her last words were; "I would do the same again if I was so provoked."

Credo Quia Absurdum
Dedicated August 24, 1996
By the Major William Downie Chapter #1849 E Clampus Vitus

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