A Great Civic Drama
This chronology, prepared
by the Museum of the City of San Francisco, lays out the high points of
the earthquake and fire disaster, as well as important dates in the graft
investigation, for a one-year period beginning in March 1906.
Shortly after the Great
Earthquake and Fire, Abraham Ruef, Mayor Schmitz, all members of the Board
of Supervisors, the police chief, as well as corporate officers of PG&E,
United Railroads and what would become Pacific Telephone, were indicted
for graft and bribery.
The mayor and the supervisors
had been bribed by these utilities before the earthquake, and former mayor
James Phelan and financier Rudolph Spreckels were determined to break this
cycle of bribery and graft.
The Great Earthquake
and Fire interrupted this great civic drama for a short time, but investigations,
and bribe giving and taking continued into late 1906.
July 18, 1996
March 5, 1906
Professor Alexander McAdie reported an earthquake at 9:30 p.m.
Supervisors voted to give
the Home Telephone Co. a 50-year franchise for telephone service in San
Francisco. There was immediate concern that the Supervisors had been bribed
to pass the ordinance.
March, 23, 1906
United Railroads President Patrick Calhoun wrote to several prominent San
Franciscans that his company would favor an overhead trolley system for
streetcars instead of the underground conduit system that James Phelan and Rudolph
Spreckels had proposed. Phelan and Spreckels said there would be no ugly,
dangerous overhead wires with the conduit system.
April 8, 1906
1500 labor unionists marched to Lottas Fountain, Market and Kearny, and
hoisted a red flag with the slogan Workingmen Unite.
April 12, 1906
Patrick Calhoun of United Railroads denied any knowledge of bribes to supervisors
and said not one dollar was paid for the purpose of securing an overhead
April 17, 1906
Mayor Schmitz received letter from the president of the Modesto Irrigation
District objecting to the plan to divert Tuolumne River water for municipal
use in San Francisco.
Waiters Union demanded
recognition from employers. Strike threatened tomorrow if wage demands
are not met. Techau Tavern, Cafe Fiesta, Cafe Zinkand and the Louvre were
threatened by the strike.
Rudolph Spreckels, ex-Mayor
Phelan and others incorporated to build a street railroad to run on the
conduit system , the power being underground, instead of the overhead trolley
system advocated by Patrick Calhoun of United Railroads.
Enrico Caruso opened in
Carmen tonight at the Grand Opera House on Mission St. He will
appear in La Boheme Thursday night, and sing Faust
Three-alarm fire destroyed
the Central California Canneries at Bay and Mason sts. The fire was discovered
at 11 p.m., and caused $50,000 damage. The warehouse was in the block bounded
by Bay, Northpoint, Mason and Powell sts. Last fire engines left the scene
shortly before 5 a.m.
April 18, 1906
San Francisco was wrecked by a Great Earthquake and then destroyed by the
seventh Great Fire that burned for four days. Hundreds, perhaps thousands
of trapped persons died when South-of-Market tenements collapsed as
the ground liquefied beneath them. Most of those buildings immediately
caught fire, and trapped victims could not be rescued.
Fire Chief Engineer Dennis
T. Sullivan was mortally wounded when a chimney of the California Theatre
and hotel crashed through the fire station in which he was living at 410-412
Bush St. Acting Chief Engineer John Dougherty commanded fire operations.
The earthquake shock was
felt from Coos Bay, Oregon, to Los Angeles, and as far east as central
Nevada, an area of about 375,000 square miles, approximately half of which
was in the Pacific Ocean. The region of destructive effect extended from
the southern part of Fresno County to Eureka, about 400 miles, and for
a distance of 25 to 30 miles on either side of the fault zone. The distribution
of intensity within the region of destruction was uneven. Of course, all
structures standing on or crossing the rift were destroyed or badly damaged.
Many trees standing near the fault were either uprooted or broken off.
Perhaps the most marked destruction of trees was near Loma Prieta in Santa
Cruz County, where, according to Dr. John C. Branner of Stanford University,
The forest looked as though a swath had been cut through it two hundred
feet in width. In little less than a mile he counted 345 earthquake
cracks running in all directions.
U.S. Post Office at Seventh
and Mission sts. was dreadfully damaged by the earthquake. Assistant to
the Postmaster Burke said, walls had been thrown into the middle
of various rooms, destroying furniture and covering everything with dust.
In the main corridors the marble was split and cracked, while the mosaics
were shattered and had come rattling down upon the floor. Chandeliers were
rent and twisted by falling arches and ceilings.
Fireman James ONeill, drawing
water for the horses in Fire Station No. 4 on Howard Street opposite Hawthorne,
was killed when a wall of the American Hotel collapsed onto the fire station.
Police officer Max Fenner
was mortally wounded when a wall collapsed upon him at 138 Mason Street.
All telephone and telegraph
communications stopped within the city, although some commercial telegraph
circuits to New York and to India, via the Pacific cable, remained in temporary
There were 135 aftershocks
on April 18, and 22 on April 19.
A messenger arrived at Ft.
Mason at 6:30 a.m. with orders from Gen. Funston to send all available
troops to report to the mayor at the Hall of Justice.
First Army troops from Fort
Mason reported to Mayor Schmitz at the Hall of Justice around 7 a.m.
At 8 a.m., the 10th, 29th,
38th, 66th, 67th, 70th and 105th Companies of Coast Artillery, Troops I
and K of the 14th Cavalry and the First, Ninth and 24th Batteries of Field
Artillery arrived Downtown to take up patrol.
75 soldiers from Companies
C and D, Engineer Corps were assigned to the Financial District at 8 a.m.,
and another 75 along Market from Third Street to the City Hall at Grove
and Larkin streets.
A major aftershock struck
at 8:14 a.m., and caused the collapse of many damaged buildings. There
was much panic.
Second day session of the
Grand Chapter of the Royal Arch Masons of the state of California fifty-second
annual convocation. The group met after the earthquake but evacuated before
the temple at Montgomery and Post streets was destroyed by fire. The Masons
listed the date as April 18, A.I. 2436, A.D.
At 10 a.m. Headquarters
and First Battalion 22nd Infantry, were brought from Ft. McDowell by boat,
and were held for a time in reserve at OFarrell St. They were later utilized
as patrols and to assist the fire department.
At about 10:05, a.m. the
DeForest Wireless Telegraph Station at San Diego radioed press reports
of the disaster at San Francisco to the U.S.S. Chicago. Admiral
Caspar Goodrich immediately ordered fires started under all boilers, and
after a confirmation message from the Mayor of San Diego, the Chicago
steamed at full speed for San Francisco. It was the first time wireless
telegraphy was used in a major natural disaster.
At 10:30 a.m., the U.S.S.
Preble from Mare Island, under the command of Lt. Frederick Newton
Freeman, landed a hospital shore party at the foot of Howard St. to help
the wounded and dying seeking help at Harbor Emergency Hospital.
Another fire broke out at
395 Hayes St. on the southwest corner of Hayes and Gough. It would become
known as the Ham and Egg fire and destroyed part of the Western
Addition, Mechanics Pavilion, City Hall and then jumped Market Street
General Funstons staff
abandoned the Dept. of Californias Headquarters in the Phelan Building,
across from the Palace Hotel, at 11 a.m. They did manage to save valuable
Winchester Hotel caught
fire at Third and Stevenson streets and collapsed at 11 a.m.
Fort Miley troops, the 25th
and 64th Companies Coast Artillery, arrived at 11:30 a.m.
Two earthquake in Los Angeles
just before noon, about ten minutes apart. The quaking began as crowds
gathered around bulletin boards to read the latest telegraphic dispatches
from San Francisco. Thousands ran in panic when the earthquakes struck.
Hearst Building at Third
and Market streets caught fire at noon.
Evacuation of the injured
from Mechanics Pavilion, Grove and Larkin, began at noon because of the
spreading Ham and Egg fire. The wounded were taken to Golden
Gate Park, Childrens Hospital and the Presidio.
Mechanics Pavilion took
fire at 1 p.m.
St. Marys Hospital at First
and Bryant sts. was abandoned to the fire at 1 p.m. Patients were loaded
aboard the ferryboat Modoc and taken to Oakland.
Entire area in the Financial District, behind the Hall of Justice, was
on fire by 1 p.m.
Fires so threatened the
Portsmouth Square area by 1 p.m. that General Manager Hewitt of the Dept.
of Electricity decided to abandon the Central Fire Alarm Station at 15
Brenham Place in Chinatown.
Restaurant atop the Call,
or Claus Spreckels Building, at Third and Market streets, took fire at
Postal Telegraph operators
transmitted their last message to the outside world as Army troops ordered
them from the building at 534 Market St., opposite Second St., at 2:20
p.m. because of the approaching fire.
Latest casualty count: 750
people seriously injured people were being treated at various hospitals
at 2:30 p.m.
Dynamiting of buildings
around the U.S. Mint at Fifth and Mission streets began at 2:30 p.m.
U.S. Army Signal Corps established
Ferry Building telegraph operations at 3 p.m.
Mayor Schmitz appointed
the Committee of Fifty at 3 p.m. at the Hall of Justice. The mayor also
said, Let it be given out that three men have already been shot down
without mercy for looting. Let it also be understood that the order has
been given to all soldiers and policemen to do likewise without hesitation
in the cases of any and all miscreants who may seek to take advantage of
the citys awful misfortune. The Mayor also appointed ex-Mayor James Phelan
as head of the Relief Committee.
Fifty or more corpses had
been buried by the police in Portsmouth Square by 5 p.m because the morgue
and police pistol range could hold no more bodies.
Mayor Schmitz, at 8 p.m.,
was still confident that a good part of downtown could be saved. Unfortunately
a possible arsonist set fire to the Delmonico Restaurant in the Alcazar
Theatre Building on OFarrell near Stockton, and that blaze burned into
Downtown and to Nob Hill.
War Department received
a telegram from Gen. Funston at 8:40 p.m., Pacific Coast time, that asked
for thousands of tents and all available rations. Funston placed the death
toll at 1000.
Firefighters attempted to
make a stand at 9 p.m. along Powell St. between Sutter and Pine, but it
was unsuccessful in keeping the fire from sweeping up Nob Hill.
Crocker-Woolworth Bank Building
at Post and Market took fire at 9 p.m.
April 19, 1906
Governor Pardee arrived in Oakland at 2 a.m. He was supposed to arrive
three hours earlier, but his train was stalled because of sinking of the
track in the Susuin marshes. The governor said he would declare a bank
St. Francis Hotel at Union
Square caught fire at 2:30 a.m.
Mayor Schmitz and Capt.
Thomas Magner of Engine No. 3 found a cistern at the Hopkins Mansion, Mason
and California streets, at 4 a.m., and attempted to keep the fire from
burning the structure. They were not successful.
Secretary of War Taft at
4 a.m. ordered 200,000 rations sent to San Francisco from the Vancouver
Secretary Taft ordered all
hospital, wall and conical tents sent to San Francisco from Army posts
at Vancouver; Forts Douglas, Logan, Snelling, Sheridan and Russell, from
San Antonio and the Presidio of Monterey.
Secretary Taft wired Gen.
Funston at 4:55 a.m. that all tents in the U.S. Army were en route to San
and Examiner printed a combined newspaper today on the presses
of the Oakland Tribune.
176 prisoners moved from
city prison to Alcatraz.
arrived in San Francisco Bay at 6 p.m.
The Great Fire reached Van
Ness Avenue during the evening. The Army dynamited mansions along the street
in an attempt to build a fire break. Demolition to stop the fire was ordered
by Colonel Charles Morris of the Artillery Corps.
April 20, 1906
The fire burned as far as Franklin St. by 5 a.m., then attempted to circle
At the foot of Van Ness
Avenue, 16 enlisted men and two officers from the U.S.S. Chicago
supervised the rescue of 20,000 refugees fleeing the Great Fire. It was
the largest evacuation by sea in history, and probably as large as the
evacuation of Dunkirk during World War II.
Fire approached the Appraisers
Building for a second time at 3 p.m. Lt. Freeman attempted to pump saltwater
from the Bay but found that his hose connections would not fit those of
the Fire Department, so the effort was abandoned.
Gen. Funston issued General
Orders No. 37 which placed Lt. Col. George Torney of the Medical Department
in full control of sanitation in San Francisco.
Gen. Funston wired War Department
at 8:30 p.m. on status of the fire. He advised that Fort Mason has been
saved, and some looters have been shot. His telegram said most casualties
are in the poorer districts, South of Market St.; not many killed in better
portion of the city.
April 21, 1906
Haig Patigians statue of President McKinley, commissioned for the city
of Arcata, found in the rubble of a local foundry and saved by several
artisans who carried it into the street.
The fire that swept the
Mission District was stopped at 20th and Dolores sts. by three-thousand
volunteers and a few firemen who fought the blaze with knapsacks, brooms
and a little water from an operating hydrant at 20th and Church.
April 22, 1906
Fire Chief Engineer Dennis Sullivan died at the Army General Hospital at
the Presidio at 1 a.m.
Father Ricard at the University
of Santa Clara wrote to the San Jose Mercury:
The earthquake period is
gone. Once the pent up forces of nature have had a vent, nothing of a serious
nature need be apprehended. At the most a succession of minor shocks may
be felt and thats all. It is not unreasonable, therefore, for people to
continue in dread of a new destructive temblor. People should fearlessly
go to work and repair mischief done and sleep quietly at night anywhere
at all, especially in wooden frame. Never mind foreboders of evil: they
do not know what they are talking about. Seismonetry is in its infancy
and those therefore who venture out with predictions of future earthquakes
when the main shock has taken place ought to be arrested as disturbers
of the peace.
Major-General Adolphus W.
Greely, Commander of the Armys Pacific Division returned to San Francisco.
Board of Supervisors met
for the first time since the earthquake in Sup. McGushins saloon. Lawyers
for the Home Telephone Co. were also there and paid bribes to the supervisors.
United Railroad crews began
stringing temporary overhead trolley wires on Market St., but did not repair
the cable traction system in the street.
April 23, 1906
Governor Pardee told a newspaper reporter, The work of rebuilding
San Francisco has commenced, and I expect to see the great metropolis replaced
on a much grander scale than ever before.
Imperial decree on the 30th
Day of the Third Moon from Empress Dowager of China to send 100,000 taels
as a personal contribution to the relief of the San Francisco sufferers.
President Theodore Roosevelt declined the offer, as well as donations from
other foreign governments.
April 25, 1906
Actress Mme. Helena Modjeska placed her ranch near Los Angeles at the disposal
of refugees from San Francisco and other cities affected by earthquake
April 29, 1906
Cyhow-Tszchi, first Secretary of the Chinese Legation at Washington met
with Gov. Pardee in Oakland to express the
with San Francisco authorities and the plan to move the Chinese to a new
Oriental City at Hunters Point.
United Railroads ended free
streetcar service and began charging men, but not women or children.
May 1, 1906
United Railroads stopped all free streetcar service and charged all passengers
May 2, 1906
Nevada Senator Francis G. Newlands urged his colleagues to support the
bill for the relief of San Francisco.
May 5, 1906
Jack Londons eyewitness account of
the earthquake and fire was published in Colliers Magazine.
He was paid 25 cents per word, the most money he was ever paid per-word
for his writings.
May 6, 1906
Red Cross survey found that only 186 Chinese resided in San Francisco.
They were at Relief Camp. No. 3 above Fort Point in the Presidio.
May 9, 1906
Francis J. McCarty, 18-year-old San
Francisco inventor of the wireless telephone, was severely injured in an
Oakland accident and not expected to live. His experimental wireless station
was on South Drive of Golden Gate Park.
May 10, 1906
Rudolph Spreckels told Francis Heney he would underwrite the costs of any
possible graft prosecutions against the Schmitz Administration.
May 14, 1906
Supervisors approved the stringing of overhead trolley wires by United
Railroads on Market St.
May 15, 1906
Examiner accused United Railroads of being corporate ghouls
for using San Franciscos adversity as a means to get its overhead trolley
franchise passed. Mayor Schmitz said the approval was only temporary.
May 16, 1906
Examiner attacked Patrick Calhoun and Thornwall Mullally of
United Railroads: If the supervisors aid and abet them, the people
will be warranted in setting up their effigies in lasting bronze, a group
of everlasting infamy, with the inscription: THESE MEN LOOTED SAN
FRANCISCO AT THE TIME OF THE GREAT FIRE OF 1906.
May 17, 1906
Very strong earthquake was felt at 8:21 p.m. It was stronger than most
of the hundreds of tremors that have been felt since the Great Earthquake.
May 19, 1906
Governor Pardee asked the subcommittee of the Mayors Committee on Reconstruction
of San Francisco to write proposed legislation for special Call of the
Legislature to assist San Francisco following the earthquake. Subcommittee
members include Tirey Ford of United Railroads. Attorney Garret McEnerney
and Boss Ruef. Subcommittee wrote the Burnt Records Act, as
well as the enabling legislation to allow the proposed City and County
of Los Angeles to acquire Owens Valley water for protection against major
fires such as the one that destroyed San Francisco.
May 21, 1906
Supervisors formally approved the overhead trolley franchise.
May 22, 1906
United Railroads received by telegraph $200,000 to be used to bribe city
officials. The money was received in gold, but was exchanged at the U.S.
Mint for small bills donated for earthquake relief.
May 25, 1906
Al McKinley was the first detective put to work on the graft prosecution.
He was detailed by William J. Burns to shadow Abe Ruef.
May 26, 1906
All 18 members of the Board of Supervisors signed a letter to ask the Examiner
to stop its unjustified attacks on the city administration for its handling
of the trolley wiring controversy.
June 15, 1906
Acting Fire Chief Engineer Dougherty retired. He was replaced by Patrick
June 28, 1906
Congressman Julius Kahn denounced dishonest fire insurance companies before
the House of Representatives.
July 1, 1906
Secretary Taft withdrew the Army from San Francisco today.
July 23, 1906
St. Francis Hotel Annex opened in Union Square to serve as the St. Francis
Hotel until reconstruction was finished. Profits from the temporary hotel
went the Park Commission to rehabilitate the square.
July 28, 1906
Professor Simon Litman of the University of California told students in
Philadelphia that San Francisco would never again be destroyed by earthquake
as it was a few months ago. The professor said new buildings were being
constructed that could not be destroyed by earthquake.
July 30, 1906
United Railroads employees struck for higher wages and the 8-hour day.
It was a bloody, vicious strike. Several people were killed.
July 31, 1906
A band of 1500 homeless called United Refugees passed out circulars
in front of the St. Francis Hotel that read Let the whole world know
that while we are starving they are feasting.
August 1, 1906
Supervisors received their first bribe payments from United Railroads for
voting on the overhead trolley franchise. Supervisor Gallagher delivered
the money from Ruef, and gave it to the other supervisors.
August 11, 1906
Regents of the University of California accepted an offer from the Massachusetts
Association for the Relief of California of $100,000 for a Massachusetts
Ward in the University Hospital.
September 1, 1906
Baldwin & Howell advertisement pointed out that Japanese and Chinese
had invaded the Western Addition, and residence districts were being ruined.
They offered for sale lots in Presidio Terrace with restrictions against
Orientals. The ad read, There is only one spot in San Francisco where
only Caucasians are permitted to buy or lease real estate or where they
may reside. That place is Presidio Terrace.
Bank became The Crocker National Bank of San Francisco. Crocker-Woolworth
National Bank was founded in 1886.
September 19, 1906
San Francisco had a surplus of tents because refugees were moving into
relief cottages. The Department of Camps stored 5000 of them in Golden
Gate Park. They were worth $25 a piece, and the city sold them.
October 8, 1906
William S. Tevis, president of Bay Cities Water Company, addressed the
Supervisors about his plans for a municipal water supply. Lake Tahoe was
to provide drinking water for San Francisco.
October 10, 1906
Meeting of businessmen at the offices of the California Canners to inaugurate
a movement to rid the city of Abraham Ruef and the grafters. Later a mass
meeting was held in Union Square. William A. Doble presided over the public
meeting, assisted by Samuel M. Shortridge. E.R. Lillienthal, president
of the Merchants Association, read the resolutions aloud. Members of the
Board of Supervisors feared that another Committee of Safety, or Committee
of Vigilance, might be formed.
October 21, 1906
District Attorney Langdon said he would ask a new grand jury to begin indictments
of the lawless element in San Francisco and to investigate graft and misfeasance.
He asked Francis J. Heney to assist him. His statement ended discussion
of the formation of a committee of vigilance or a committee of safety.
October 24, 1906
D.A. Langdon appointed Francis J. Heney Assistant District Attorney.
October 25, 1906
Acting Mayor James L. Gallagher suspended D.A. Langdon from office for
neglect of duty and appointed Abe Ruef District Attorney. A
civic uproar followed. Gallagher was acting Mayor because Schmitz was in
Europe attempting to persuade foreign insurance companies to pay fire settlements.
Acting District Attorney
Ruef wrote to Francis J. Heney: You are hereby removed from the position
of Assistant District Attorney of the City and County of San Francisco.
Heney said he did not recognize Ruef as D.A.
October 26, 1906
At 5.a.m., Judge Seawell signed an order temporarily restraining Ruef from
installing himself as district attorney.
Former D.A. Langdon had
his office placed under guard following his dismissal last night.
that the removal of Langdon was the last stand of criminals hunted
and driven to bay.
Impanelment of the Grand
Jury began at Temple Beth Israel, which housed several departments of the
Superior Court. Ruef appeared in court accompanied by his bodyguards Police
detectives Steve Bunner and Tim Riordan. Ruefs attorneys Henry Ach and
Samuel Shortridge were also in court.
President Theodore Roosevelt
sent Victor Metcalf, Secretary of Commerce and Labor, to San Francisco
to ascertain how the rights of the Japanese could be protected.
October 28, 1906
Rudolph Spreckels charged that Abe Ruef hired Samuel Shortridge as his
attorney a few days after the Union Square mass meeting.
Tirey L. Ford, chief counsel
of United Railroads, denied any graft in connection with the trolley franchise.
He said Of course there was no bribery, nor offer to bribe, nor was
there anything done except upon clean and legitimate lines.
October 31, 1906
Ruef-backed mass meeting at Dreamland Rink, later Winterland, to organize
a league to protect the Schmitz Administration from the graft prosecutors.
D.A. Langdon was denounced as a traitor to the Union Labor Party.
November 2, 1906
John E. Bennett of the Bay Cities Water Company denounced Heney and Langdon
as agents of the Spring Valley Water Company. The Bay Cities company was
backed by the grafters.
November 3, 1906
Auditorium Skating Palace, corner Fillmore and Page street, opened. The
owner bribed members of the Board of Supervisors for the permits.
November 7, 1906
Grand Jury sworn in. B.P. Oliver was appointed foreman, C.G. Burnett was
November 9, 1906
Grand Jury began investigation of the houses of assignation known as French
Restaurants. These included Marchands Delmonicos, the New Poodle
Dog, the Bay State, and the Pup which all featured supper- bedrooms.
Ruef had acted as attorney for French restaurants during liquor license
renewal in 1905.
November 15, 1906
Mayor Schmitz, Boss Abe Ruef and Police Chief Dinan indicted
by the Oliver Grand Jury for bribery and extortion following the French
November 16, 1906
Abe Ruef denounced his indictment as absurd, insisting that he had merely
taken fees for services rendered.
November 17, 1906
Little Palace Hotel opened on Leavenworth and Post Streets to serve until
the Palace Hotel was rebuilt at Market and New Montgomery streets.
November 29, 1906
Mayor Schmitz returned to San Francisco from his European trip.
November 30, 1906
President Roosevelt discussed San Francisco and the Japanese problem with
U.C. President Benjamin Ide Wheeler. The Cabinet also discussed the possibility
of hostilities with Japan.
December 6, 1906
Mayor Schmitz and Abe Ruef were charged with five counts of extortion.
December 8, 1906
Tammany Civic Federation and evicted refugees public meeting at Hamilton
Square. At 2:30 p.m., a procession of evicted refugees marched from Post
and Steiner to Hamilton Square.
decried an editorial cartoon in the Denver Post. The cartoons
caption read, Looted! Oh, the Shame of It! It depicted San
Francisco bowed in humiliation over a broken and open safe, on which are
the words: San Francisco Relief Fund while tracks pointing
away from the depleted safe are labeled: A Good Time in Europe.
The cartoon was a swipe at Mayor Schmitz who had been accused of looting
the relief funds before he began his junket to Europe.
December 10, 1906
Strong winds toppled weakened walls in the fire zone. Walls of the Justinian
Caire and Sterling Furniture buildings on Market St. collapsed.
December 17, 1906
Hearing began on the validity of the Grand Jurys
December 24, 1906
Los Angeles Citizens Relief Committee donated $10,000 to San Francisco.
$5000 went to the University of California Hospital to care for injured
earthquake survivors. The balance went to the Golden Gate Orphanage and
the Industrial Farm for Destitute Children.
January 6, 1907
Mild earthquake was felt here and in Santa Cruz, where it was described
as a quick, vicious shaker.
January 17, 1907
Ruef supporters in the State Legislature introduced a Change of Venue
bill to allow defendants to change the location of a trial should they
be unable to get a fair hearing. Bill introduced at the specific request
of Abe Ruef to derail graft trials in San Francisco. It was supported by
George B. Keane, who was both state senator from San Francisco as well
as Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.
January 22, 1907
Hearing ended on validity of the Grand Jury indictments. The indictments
February 16, 1907
Hon. Edwin Y. Webb of North Carolina, in the House of Representatives,
spoke on the issue of San Francisco and relations with the Empire of Japan.
February 18, 1907
Abe Ruef pleaded not guilty to graft charges. Trial was set for March 5,
February 23, 1907
Rep. Julius Kahn, a supporter of Schmitz and Ruef, invited the Mayor to
Washington to speak to the President about the necessary exclusion of Japanese
students from San Francisco schools.
March, 4, 1907
Abe Ruef surrendered to Sheriff ONeil. Ruef immediately filed for a writ
of habeas corpus, but Hiram W. Johnson, representing the D.A.s Office
urged it be denied, and then walked out of the courtroom because the judge
appeared intoxicated. The judge denied the writ, and Ruef was again released
on bond, but disappeared just after walking from the courtroom.
March, 5, 1907
Ruefs attorney Samuel Shortridge was sentenced to 24 hours in jail for
contempt of court. He kept interrupting the testimony of Coroner Walsh
who was describing the search for Ruef. Judge Dunne had ordered the coroner
to arrest Ruef, but Walsh failed to find him.
March, 6, 1907
Mayor Schmitz returned to San Francisco after meeting with the Vice President
on the Japanese students issue. President Roosevelt would not see Schmitz.
March, 7, 1907
Detective Burns trapped Supervisor Lonergan in a sting operation and forced
him to confess about the graft operations at City Hall. Lonergan exposed
the Home Telephone, Bay Cities Water, PG&E, Pacific Telephone Co.,
United Railroads, and the Parkside Realty bribery scandals.
March, 8, 1907
Coroner W.J. Walsh and Sheriff ONeil told the court they could not find
Abe Ruef. Judge Dunne disqualified Walsh and named William J. Biggy a representative
of the court with the power to arrest Ruef. Ruef was found two hours later
by Biggy and Detective William J. Burns at the Trocadero House in what
later became Stern Grove. Ruef henchman Myrtile Cerf was with him when
March, 9, 1907
Supervisor Wilson went to the home of Ruefs attorney Henry Ach at 2 a.m.
to confirm the rumor of Ruefs capture.
Abe Ruef held prisoner at
the St. Francis Hotel because the jails were unreliable. Police Chief Dinan
was also indicted in the graft scandal.
March, 13, 1907
Edwin Duryea, Jr. Chief Engineer of the Bay Cities Water Company, explained
the companys proposed water system for San Francisco to members of the
Commonwealth Club of California.
The school segregation order
against Japanese students rescinded by the school board.
Jury selection began in
the Abe Ruef graft trial.
March, 18, 1907
Sixteen of the eighteen Supervisors confessed to a grand jury that they
had taken bribes from United Railroads, Pacific Telephone Company and PG&E,
March, 20, 1907
Abe Ruef was charged with 65 more counts of graft.
Ruef sent word to Heney,
through Detective Burns, that he might confess if granted immunity. Heney
that Gov. Gillett might remove Mayor Schmitz and appoint a successor. Unfortunately
the Charter did not contain a mechanism for removing the mayor during his
Theodore V. Halsey of Pacific
States Telephone Co. was indicted for graft.
Return to the top of the page.
March, 23, 1907
Louis Glass, vice-president of Pacific States Telephone Co., was indicted
for bribing supervisors.
April 1, 1907
Laundry workers struck for wage increases and the 8-hour day.
April 2, 1907
Rabbi Jacob Nieto visited Ruef in an attempt to get him to confess. Heney
was not happy about the visit because he feared the introduction of race
prejudice into the defense. Ruef was Jewish.
April 3, 1907
Chronicle questioned why the boodle board remained
in office after confessing to taking bribes. It was Heneys position that
if board members resigned Mayor Schmitz would only appoint people of equal
honesty. Heney wanted Schmitz convicted and the board to then
elect a prosecution mayor, and resign. The new mayor would immediately
appoint new pro-prosecution supervisors.
April 13, 1907
New York City police were on the lookout for San Francisco attorney Walter
C. Stevens, who lost everything in the earthquake, became despondent, and
was given money by the relief committee. It was feared he would commit
April 16, 1907
David Clienhall, a clerk for the relief committee, was arrested for embezzling