joy lanzendorfer pacific sun

Happy Halloween! Take a look at my most recent article for the Pacific Sun about the last public hanging in Marin County. It resulted in a near-riot as a bloodthirsty crowd watched the hanging of a Chinese man. Sample:

On the first day of September, 1893, Lee Doon was condemned to die for killing a white man. Doon, who was Chinese, was the cook for San Rafael resident Tiernan Berry, who also hired an Englishman named William Shenton to paint his house. At the end of the first day of painting, Shenton called Doon out of the kitchen and ordered him to clean up his paint buckets and ladders, apparently believing it was the Chinese servant’s job to pick up after him. Doon refused. The next day, Shenton repeated his order and when Doon again refused, an argument broke out, during which “the painter became verbally abusive to Lee Doon,” according to an article by the Marin County Historical Society.

Doon claimed that Shenton attacked him and began beating and kicking him, according to the Supreme Court decision on the case. Either way, things got so heated that Doon rushed into the house, grabbed a pistol and shot at Shenton four times, hitting him once in the back. He was seriously wounded and died not long afterward. Doon was arrested, underwent a trial and was sentenced to death by hanging at the Marin County Courthouse located at Fourth and A streets in San Rafael.

More here.

Leave A Comment

Recommended Posts

I’m A Master Gardener!

After five-months of practicums, weekly classes, and a grueling 100-question exam, I graduated from the Sonoma County Master Gardener program! Here I am with my … certificate? Degree? Anyway, I’m a Master Gardener now.