Bannack by Nancy Marie: Research Notes

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CHAPTER 1 RESEARCH NOTES

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Bannack, Montana
Founded in 1862 and named after the local Bannock Indians, Bannack was the site of a major gold discovery in 1862, and served as the capital of Montana Territory briefly in 1864, until the capital was moved to Virginia City. Bannack continued as a mining town, though with a dwindling population. The last residents left in the 1970s.

At its peak, Bannack had a population of about ten thousand. Extremely remote, it was connected to the rest of the world only by the Montana Trail. There were three hotels, three bakeries, three blacksmith shops, two stables, two meat markets, a grocery store, a restaurant, a brewery, a billiard hall, and four saloons. Though all of the businesses were built of logs, some had decorative false fronts.

Among the town’s founders was Dr. Erasmus Darwin Leavitt, a physician born in Cornish, New Hampshire, who gave up medicine for a time to become a gold miner. Dr. Leavitt arrived in Bannack in 1862, and alternately practiced medicine and mined for gold with pick and shovel. “Though some success crowned his labors,” according to a history of Montana by Joaquin Miller, “he soon found that he had more reputation as a physician than as a miner, and that there was greater profit in allowing someone else to wield his pick and shovel while he attended to his profession.” Subsequently, Dr. Leavitt moved on to Butte, Montana, where he devoted the rest of his life to his medical practice.

Bannack’s sheriff, Henry Plummer, was accused by some of secretly leading a ruthless band of road agents, with early accounts claiming that this gang was responsible for over a hundred murders in the Virginia City and Bannack gold fields and trails to Salt Lake City. However, because only eight deaths are historically documented, some modern historians have called into question the exact nature of Plummer’s gang, while others deny the existence of the gang altogether. In any case, Plummer and two compatriots, both deputies, were hanged, without trial, at Bannack on January 10, 1864. A number of Plummer’s associates were lynched and others banished on pain of death if they ever returned. Twenty-two individuals were accused, informally tried, and hanged by the Vigilance Committee (the Montana Vigilantes) of Bannack and Virginia City. Nathaniel Pitt Langford, the first superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, was a member of that vigilance committee.

A number of mining camps dotted the banks of Grasshopper Creek during the gold booms, starting at Bannack downstream almost to where the stream joins Beaver-head River. While many were short lived and considered just extensions of Bannack, others were designated towns of their own. Yankee Flats adjoined Bannack and was referred to as an “addition” to Bannack. Centerville and Marysville, about 1 mile downstream, were both laid out as little camps in the winter on 1862. By the following March, a townsite company had laid out and platted Centerville. However, Marysville, named for early arrival Mary Wadam, gained more people and so contemporary maps alternately used the name on record, Centerville, or the name used by locals, Marysville. Dogtown was south of and “near” Bannack in 1866. It was named for the numerous stray dogs, and had a blacksmith shop, saloon, and grocery store. Jerusalem (also New Jerusalem or Jerusalem Bar) was located 2 miles downstream of Bannack. Bon Accord, about 5 miles  downstream, was a larger camp that saw a revival in the 1890s, and had a post office and school district. White’s Bar, located possibly 10 miles downstream, was where John White and Company made the initial discovery of gold in 28 Jul 1862.

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CHAPTER 2 RESEARCH NOTES

Bannack Sheriff Henry Plummer
Bannack’s sheriff, Henry Plummer, was accused by some of secretly leading a ruthless band of road agents, with early accounts claiming that this gang was responsible for over a hundred murders in the Virginia City and Bannack gold fields and trails to Salt Lake City. However, because only eight deaths are historically documented, some modern historians have called into question the exact nature of Plummer’s gang, while others deny the existence of the gang altogether. In any case, Plummer and two compatriots, both deputies, were hanged, without trial, at Bannack on January 10, 1864. A number of Plummer’s associates were lynched and others banished on pain of death if they ever returned. Twenty-two individuals were accused, informally tried, and hanged by the Vigilance Committee (the Montana Vigilantes) of Bannack and Virginia City. Nathaniel Pitt Langford, the first superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, was a member of that vigilance committee.

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CHAPTER 4 RESEARCH NOTES:

BrahmaOriginally from India, the Brahman breed was developed through centuries of inadequate food, insects, diseases, and the weather extremes of the tropics. As a result, these cattle—considered sacred in India—developed remarkable adaptations for survival. Brahman cattle have a large hump over the top of the shoulder and neck, as well as curved horns, floppy ears, and excessive skin along the throat. They vary in color. They produce an oily secretion which repels insects with its odor. Although there are conflicting records, it’s believed that the first Brahman cattle were imported to the United States in 1849 by Dr. James Bolton Davis of South Carolina.

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CHAPTER 15 RESEARCH NOTES

Addison Niles  was an attorney, and served as Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of California from 1872 to 1880

William T. McNealy was the youngest man ever elected as a District Attorney at the tender age of 21.

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Changes to the System:In 1856, Judges of the Central Criminal Court were also given the right to hear cases outside the court’s ordinary jurisdiction, to ensure a fair trial where local prejudice existed or when it could offer an early trial and so avoid the delay involved in waiting for the next assizes. County courts, dealing with civil cases, were created under the County Courts Act 1846.

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The Judicature Act 1873 and after
In 1873, Parliament passed the Judicature Act which merged common law and equity. Although one of the Divisions of the High Court is still called Chancery, all courts could now administer both equity and common law – with equity to reign supreme in any dispute.
The same Act established the High Court and the Court of Appeal and provided a right of appeal in civil cases to the Court of Appeal. Criminal appeal rights remained limited until the establishment of a Court of Criminal Appeal under the Criminal Appeal Act 1907.

The Court of Criminal Appeal sat for nearly 60 years, until its existence as a separate body was ended by the Criminal Appeal Act 1966. Its jurisdiction passed to the Court of Appeal.

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California Court of Appeals
The California Constitution originally made the Supreme Court the only appellate court for the whole state. As the state’s population skyrocketed during the 19th century, the Supreme Court was expanded from three to seven justices, and then the Court began hearing the majority of appeals in three-justice panels. The Court became so overloaded that it frequently issued summary dispositions in minor cases, meaning that it was merely saying “affirmed” or “reversed” without saying why. The state’s second Constitution, enacted in 1879, halted that practice by expressly requiring the Court to issue every dis-positive decision in writing “with reasons stated.” In 1889, the Legislature authorized the Supreme Court to appoint five commissioners to help with its work.

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History of Capital Punishment in MexicoThere is significant history of abolitionism in Mexico, dating back to the 19th century. Following the Plan of Ayutla, the 1857 constitution was drafted, which specifically outlawed the death penalty for political crimes, and allowed abolition for ordinary crimes in the future. Mexico’s government at that time was quite unstable, and the express abolition of political crimes could have been linked to concern that the lawmakers themselves could become subject to the punishment if there was an uprising. Personal experiences too may have been a factor, as many Mexicans had experienced political repression. There was widespread condemnation of the death penalty in the media, and many Mexican literates were familiar with the work of Cesare, Marquis of Beccaria. Following the rule of Porfirio Díaz, the death penalty article was amended in the reform which led to the current Constitution of Mexico.

The last non-military execution in Mexico was in 1957 in Sonora, and the last military execution (of a soldier charged with insubordination and murder) was in 1961, so the official abolition of the military death penalty in 2005 and of the civil death penalty in 1976 lagged the de facto cessations by 44 and 19 years, respectively.

Mexico is a majority Roman Catholic country, with 88% of the population identifying themselves as adherents. The Vatican has made numerous statements criticizing capital punishment, and this may be a factor in the debate in Mexico.

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CHAPTER 16 RESEARCH NOTES

Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada
Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada Corral (Spanish pronunciation: [seβasˈtjan ˈleɾðo ðe teˈxaða]; 24 April 1823 – 21 April 1889) was a jurist and Liberal president of Mexico, succeeding Benito Juárez who died of a heart attack in July 1872. Lerdo was elected to his own presidential term later in 1872 rather than remaining successor due to his previous office of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Juárez’s political rival liberal General Porfirio Díaz had attempted a coup against Juárez, but his Plan de la Noria failed and Díaz was eliminated as a political foe during Lerdo’s 1872-1876 term, giving Lerdo considerable leeway to pursue his program without political interference. Lerdo was more successful than Juárez in his final years as president in pacifying the country and strengthening the Mexican state. He ran for another term in 1876 and was elected, but was overthrown by Porfirio Díaz and his supporters under the Plan of Tuxtepec, which asserted the principle of no-reelection to the presidency. Lerdo died in exile in New York in 1889, but Díaz invited the return of his body to Mexico for burial with full honors. Not counting Miguel Miramón, an unrecognized president during the Reform War, he is the first president of the recognized presidents that was not born during Spanish colonial rule.

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Mitigating Circumstances Definition
Factors that lessen the severity or culpability of a criminal act, including, but not limited to, defendant’s age or extreme mental or emotional disturbance at the time the crime was committed, and lack of a prior criminal record. Recognition of particular mitigating circumstances varies by jurisdiction.

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