TITLE: Famous Unknown Bandit Gets his due. SUBTITLE: It's Tiburcio Vasquez Day 1940
NEW ALMADEN-The "famous" bandit no one has heard of will get a tribute all his own here today.
"Tiburcio Vasquez Day" will be celebrated here starting at 2 p.m. with a re-enactment of some of the bandit's exploits, including a stagecoach robbery and gunfight.
Purpose of the free pageant, New Almaden residents say, is to make Vasquez' name and history more widely known.
Although he was in the bandit business for a longer time and ranged over a wider area than his predecessor, Joaquin Murietta, Vasquez has remained relatively unknown, except to historians.
"Everyone has heard of Murietta," people here gripe, "but who knows about Tiburcio Vasquez?" Thus, the celebration.
Vasquez, born in Monterey in 1835, got his start as a pioneer juvenile delinquent. At 17, he went "big time," formed a band, and roamed throughout Central and Southern California until his final capture in 1874.
Using hideouts near the quicksilver mines here and at the Pinnacles in San Benito County, Vasquez did a thriving business as a highwayman - and lover. A number of resident people protected him, fed his gang and their horses, and kept quiet-some through fear and others through pleasure at the lumps he was giving the "new" California land?
- Vasquez pushed his luck too far in 1873 (robbery) and in 1874 (love), both incidents leading to his downfall.
In 1873, three people were killed when his gang raided a store at Tres Pinos. The violence of this act caused much' of his clandestine support to be removed and he fled southward to what later was to become Hollywood.
While in seclusion (with an occasional robbery thrown in), Vasquez allegedly made successful advances on the wife of one of his aides. The aide retaliated by telling sheriffs where Vasquez was hiding, and he was captured with his boots off in 1874.
Officers returned the bandit to Hollister for trial, but public sentiment - and a display of lynch ropes - resulted in a change of venue. He was transferred to San Jose, convicted in Judge David Belden's court, and hanged in the old County Courthouse yard in 1875.
While awaiting the noose, Vasquez maintained his colorful image by writing passable poetry in his cell and penning an open letter to the public which warned parents to keep their children safe from "evil influences and bad companions."
The "Vasquez Day" pageant here today will present a composite picture of the bandit's activities -both as a freebooter and a gay blade. He'll take over the town during a miners' payday celebration, rob the payroll off a Frontier Village state, make eyes at dancing girls, and ultimately be captured and hauled off to jail after a running gunfight.
Paul Santos, president of the Wagon Stagers dramatic c o m p a n y, will portray Vasquez. Cleve Dayton of the same company will direct.
|Cataloged by||Boudreault, Art|