Remember When for Aug. 8, 2014
115 years ago
A tall muscular stranger with dark hair, a sandy complexion and a two-inch scar in the middle of his forehead died on Prattville Road near the Mountain Meadows summit.
The stranger, who registered for the stagecoach ride to Chico as W. O’Donnell, boarded the stage “with a roll of blankets wrapped in black oil cloth.” He rode up top with the driver, who was surprised to hear the sound of a pistol hammer failing.
When the driver saw the passenger had a revolver, he asked him what he was doing, and the passenger replied he was “emptying a pistol.”
The driver did not think much of the man until he had put the revolver to his own head and pulled the trigger again. Seeing the need for action, the driver pulled up the horses, and he and fellow passengers tried to disarm the man.
The stranger lost them in the brush and the others ended their search. Before they could travel another half mile, they hear the retort of a pistol ring out across the summit. Susanville Sheriff Wilson brought the body back to town, and the coroner’s jury ruled the stranger “came to his death by gunshot wound inflicted with suicidal intent.”