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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


Jackson County News: 1860


    COMMUTED.--The sentence of Geo. M. Bowen, convicted of killing a Chinaman some time since, has been commuted from death to imprisonment for life in the penitentiary. The Governor acted thus in answer to the petition of over 600 citizens. The provisions of the commutation are--that if the prisoner escapes, or is found at large within the limits of the state, then he is subject to arrest as an outlaw, and the original sentence of death will be executed upon him.
Oregon Argus, Oregon City, March 24, 1860, page 2


    George M. Bowen, whose sentence was commuted from hanging to imprisonment for life for robbery and murder of a Chinaman, reached the penitentiary last week in charge of the deputy sheriff of Jackson County. The fellow richly deserved hanging. He had lived, as we are informed, by robbing Chinamen, for some time, and at the same time the murder was committed for which he was tried and sentenced, he with others attacked a party of Chinamen for the purpose of robbing them. The Chinamen resisting, one of their number was killed by Bowen, but finally they succeeded in overpowering their assailants and succeeded in capturing Bowen, whom they sewed up in a blanket and carried to Jacksonville. His accomplices escaped.
"Domestic Items," Oregon Statesman, Salem, March 27, 1860, page 2


    RIVER MINING.--Two companies, comprising some twenty-five men, says the Marysville Express, are now actively engaged in turning Rogue River from its natural course, at Long Bar and Big Bar, for the purpose of working the bed of the stream.
Sacramento Daily Union, April 30, 1860, page 3


    ENCOUNTER WITH A GRIZZLY IN OREGON.--The Oregon Sentinel, of November 10th, relates the following:
    A German named William Brahmar, living on Rogue River, two miles below Bethel's Ferry, had a terrible adventure with a grizzly bear on the morning of Thursday of last week. He was out hunting, accompanied by his two dogs. When about two miles from his cabin, in the woods, his dogs started upon the track of some animal, which they traced to a clump of brush. Here they halted and soon commenced barking violently. Brahmar, thinking that they had discovered a black bear, hastened to the spot. Just as he came in front of the stump of an old oak tree, a grizzly came charging toward him with jaws wide open, growling and snorting. Our hunter raised his rifle, quickly aimed at the brute's head, but before he could pull [the] trigger the bear was within a few feet of him. Instantly he lowered his piece so as to hit the monster directly in the mouth, and pulled. The cap snapped. In a moment, quick as a flash, the bear rose upon his hind feet, caught Brahmar's right arm between his teeth, and with his forepaws forcibly threw his victim to the ground. Before letting go with his teeth, the grizzly had torn the great muscle of Brahmar's upper arm almost entirely away, thus completely crippling him. But the plucky fellow reached for his knife with his left hand. The effort was vain, and meanwhile the bear was biting and tearing his limbs and flesh fearfully. With great presence of mind, Brahmar then, as a last chance for escape from the clutches of his assailant, cried out for his dogs. They answered to his call, happily, and at once set to worrying the common foe. Finding himself thus unceremoniously attacked in the rear, the grizzly turned, left Brahmar and commenced to battle with the dogs. The lacerated man took advantage of this diversion and, gathering all his energies, rose to his feet [and] made a pretty fleet run for about two hundred yards, when he fell exhausted and lay panting, awaiting reaction of vigor. The dogs and bear continued fighting. The loss of blood and the severe pain of his wounds began to tell upon Brahmar, yet he managed to creep and drag his way to his own cabin, which he reached in two or three hours' time. The bear had tracked him for a part of the way, but was kept from close approach by the faithful dogs. Some men happened to be at the cabin when Brahmar arrived, and while some of them attended to him, the rest went in search of the bear. He had made good his escape, and the dogs, apparently well content to let him alone, had returned to their master's cabin. Dr. Brooks was sent for, and on Friday he dressed the wounds that were serious or severe. On Monday Brahmar was brought to town and is now at Dr. Brooks' hospital, where we saw him on Wednesday and received from his own lips a sketch of his fearful adventure. His body is bitten and lacerated terribly. He has over fifty wounds in all--twenty-eight of which are quite serious. More than two pounds of flesh has been torn from his right arm, and the great muscle is quite gone. It is doubtful if he ever recovers any use of this limb.

Sacramento Daily Union, November 17, 1860, page 3



Last revised June 18, 2017