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Transcript of The Hounds
Sam Roberts and the Hounds
Sam Roberts and the HoundsEarly Private Security ForcesGang members-Military Veterans-Domestic Terrorists
San Francisco Dungeon1
Yerbe BuenaSan Francisco (CA) had just became U.S. territory in 1948. Same year gold was discovered. City of 450 residents (Mid-1947).
In the early days of San Francisco (the city was named Yerbe Buena - meaning "good herb" - until January 1847. The area had just been acquired by the U.S. from Mexico in 1948, the same year gold was discovered there. The year prior to that, in mid-1947, a tally of the citizens revealed just over 450 residents. Browning, P. (1998). San Francisco/Yerba Buena: From the beginning to the gold rush. Lafayette, CA: Great West Books.
Gold RushMany captains lost crews upon arriving. 400 ships abandoned. No official police force.Private police protected individual establishments.No official sanction or authority.1,000 residents in 1948.Over 25,000 people in 1949.
Due to the gold rush, many sea captains lost their crews, and a way to offload their cargo, upon arriving at the San Francisco port. The problem was quite overwhelming, and in a very short time, thousands of seamen quit as soon as their ships arrived, leaving 400 ships abandoned, often full of cargo. Those activities went unchallenged, for the most part, as the City of San Francisco had no official police force, with only private security for its residents. Instead, private police were employed to protect individual establishments, and sometimes entire neighborhoods. That was a challenge, as they had no official sanction or authority, and the population was increasing rapidly. While there had been only 1,000 residents in 1948, more than 25,000 people called San Francisco home in 1949. Stringham, E. (2015). San Francisco's Private Police Force: The City by the Bay has a second, private police force...with a better record than the government cops. Reason.com - August/September 2015 edition. Retrieved from http://reason.com/archives/2015/07/21/san-franciscos-private-policeVan Meter, L.A. (2007). Yerba Buena. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing.
Veterans as Private SecurityBusinessmen contracted with recently discharged veterans to return runaway sailors - $25 a head. Most veterans there as early as March 1847 from New York.Members of Colonel Jonathan Stevenson's regiment.Mexican-American War (April 1846 February 1848). About sixty of the former soldiers formed the group.Many were members of Bowery and Five Points gangs in New York.
Without adequate local law enforcement, several businessmen contracted with a group of recently discharged army veterans to return runaway sailors at $25 a head. Most of the veterans had arrived in San Francisco as early as March 1847 as military recruits from New York, members of Colonel Jonathan Stevenson's regiment of volunteers, brought in to fight against Mexico in the Mexican-American War (April 1846 February 1848). Originally, they were enlisted so that after the war they would settle in California. When the peace treaty with Mexico was ratified, the regiment was released from August to October, 1848. About sixty of the former soldiers, many of whom had been members or associates of the Bowery and Five Points gangs in New York, formed the group that was hired by local businessmen to round up the sailors.Mullen, K. (1996, February 1). Gangs once ruled Frisco. SF Gate. Retrieved from http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Gangs-once-ruled-Frisco-3159206.phpAsbury, H. (1933). The gangs of San Francisco: An informal history of the San Francisco underworld. London, England: Arrow Books. Eldredge, Z.S. (1912). The Beginnings of San Francisco: From the Expedition of Anza, 1774to the City Charter of April 15, 1850. New York, NY: John C. Rankin Company
General Persifor SmithInstrumental in Mexican-American War.Commanded postwar Pacific Division in California.One of the last military governors of CaliforniaBanned foreigners from taking gold from the mines.Declared any non-citizen who mined for gold would be considered a "trespasser."
The HoundsVeterans transformed into Hounds.Protect American citizens against Spanish-speaking foreigners. San Francisco overrun with such men from the various countries and ports on the Pacific.Initially, Hounds practiced military drills and demanded order. Ultimately became nativist gang, attacking Chilenos, Peruvians and Mexicans.Claimed motivation was patriotism. Contemporary nationalism typically advocates racial definition of national identity, so Hounds would have been white supremacists.
Those loosely-organized veterans with gang experience transformed into the Hounds. San Francisco historian Eldredge noted the rough element was largely represented, and there was little doubt the New York gangs had formed a considerable portion of the organized band of desperadoes known as Hounds. It was observed that, even back then, the gangster mindset trumped military discipline. There were many complaints of insubordination and disorder, apparently because the officers had little control over the former gangsters. Not all the regiment soldiers were criminals, though, and many (especially the officers) attained positions of wealth and influence. The organization of Hounds formed to protect American citizens against Spanish-speaking foreigners, during the Gold Rush. Bear in mind that the discovery of gold excited not only the locals (of which there were few), but people from all over the world. Before many from the Atlantic side of the North American continent or treasure-seekers from Europe could set up gold-mining operations, San Francisco was overrun with such men from the various countries and ports on the Pacific. Initially, the Hounds simply practiced military drills and demanded order in the city. Ultimately, they became a nativist or anti-foreigner gang, and attacked Chilenos, people from Chile, as well as Peruvians and Mexicans who had travelled to California as part of the Gold Rush, claiming their motivation for beating and stabbing their victims was patriotism. Although not one of the contemporary classifications, the Hounds were considered nationalists. Contemporary nationalism typically advocates a racial definition of national identity, so the closest DTEs for the Hounds would have been the white supremacists. Soul, F., Gihon, J.H., and Nisbet, J. (1855). The Annals of San Francisco. Retrieved from http://www.sfgenealogy.com/sf/history/hbann3-1.htmEldredge, Z.S. (1912). The Beginnings of San Francisco: From the Expedition of Anza, 1774to the City Charter of April 15, 1850. New York, NY: John C. Rankin Company
Hounds became RegulatorsBolder, increasing attacks.San Francisco Society of Regulators.Demanded protection money.Ordered drinks, suggested collect from city. Beat and robbed business owners and citizens.
By 1849, members of the Hounds became bolder, increasing their attacks, adopting the name of San Francisco Society of Regulators, and demanding that all San Franciscans pay them for protecting the city in their self-appointed role of law enforcement. Often they would order drinks at a bar, and instead of paying their tab, would suggest the bartender collect their debt from the city. They beat and robbed business owners and citizens who failed to respect (and avoid) them. The group was notorious for their gross acts of pillage upon public and private property, according to Eldredge.Asbury, H. (1933). The gangs of San Francisco: An informal history of the San Francisco underworld. London, England: Arrow Books. Eldredge, Z.S. (1912). The Beginnings of San Francisco: From the Expedition of Anza, 1774to the City Charter of April 15, 1850. New York, NY: John C. Rankin Company
Because of a womanSam Roberts was in charge of the group.Was also former member of New York Volunteer Regiment. Roberts become infatuated with a Chilean prostitute.Found her with a German man, beat him senseless with a wooden plank. Cut the unconscious man in the face with a spur.Caused a lot of damage in town, threatening people.
Sam Roberts, described by historian Rand Richards as an illiterate boatman, was in charge of the group, at least at the end of their reign. He was also a former member of the New York Volunteer Regiment. Roberts prompted the end of his reign with a fit of jealousy. He had become infatuated with a Chilean prostitute, and when he found her one day in the company of a German man, Roberts beat him senseless with a wooden plank. He then cut the unconscious man in the face with a spur, inciting those around him to challenge his manliness. That night, Roberts and the Hounds caused a lot of damage in town, shooting off guns and threatening people indiscriminately. Richards, R. (2008). Mud, Blood, and Gold: San Francisco in 1849. San Francisco, CA: Heritage House PublishersRichards, R. (2008). Mud, Blood, and Gold: San Francisco in 1849. San Francisco, CA: Heritage House Publishers
The end was in sight230 men special deputies ordered to arrest them.Over 400 volunteer-vigilantes seized them. Hounds scattered, only 20 members captured. Roberts and 8 others convicted, no record of serving sentence. Political connections or limitations of criminal justice system. Other Hounds escaped, all apparently ceased their criminal behavior.
Eventually, the responsible citizens began taking back their city as two hundred and thirty men were appointed as special deputies and ordered to arrest the gang members. While few were killed during the Hounds rampage, the destruction perturbed many a citizen, and a crowd of over 400 volunteer-vigilantes seized them. The Hounds scattered, and only about 20 members, including their leader, Roberts, were captured. Roberts and 8 others were convicted, but