Re: Monkey Woods

01/15/09 - posted by Paul Rosenberg

Yes, indeed, GUNS AND GOLF is a terrific article. After that awful September in 1859, Edward Baker went on to become a United States Senator from Oregon and was a supporter and friend of President Lincoln who named a child Edwin after Senator Baker. He resigned from the senate to join the Union Army as a general where he died in battle. His grave is often a part of the Presidio cemetery tour. He is buried with the troops instead of in officers’ circle at his request.

David Terry went on to serve in the confederacy. He returned after the civil war and pursued a career as an attorney. He became attorney for Sarah Althea Hill (brother of Morgan Hill after whom the Santa Clara city is named) who sued Senator William Sharon over a marriage contract. Sarah was a protegee of Mary Ellen Pleasant (Mammy Pleasant) who supposedly masterminded Sarah's lawsuit. When the case was appealed, it was heard before United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Field. In those days before the development of our current appellate court system, Supreme Court justices still road circuit. Justice Field had sat on the state supreme court with David Terry. He was appointed to the federal Supreme Court by President Lincoln. Field and Terry never got along and, when Field decided against Terry, Terry threatened Field. Thus, Field was assigned federal Marshall David Neagle as a bodyguard.

Sometime later in Lathrop, site of a major railroad intersection, Sarah and Terry (by now, husband and wife) were dining at the same restaurant as Justice Field and Marshall Neagle. Terry ran across Justice Field and appeared to threaten to slap him. Marshall Neagle shot and killed him and was arrested for murder. The decision in the case, In Re Neagle, set the legal precedent to allow the federal marshal service to protect federal employees.

It is amazing how many lives that Terry touched. Justice Field who served in four decades, Marshall Neagle whose name is studied in law schools throughout the nation, Mammy Pleasant who is a local legend, Senator Sharon who 'inherited' the Palace Hotel when William Chapman Ralston mysteriously died, and, of course, Sarah Althea Hill, and General Senator Edwin Baker.

My favorite treatment of the book is by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Kroninger and is titled SARAH AND THE SENATOR.

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