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“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.

—Gladys Hansen
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 Lotta’s 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 trolley franchise.
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” on Saturday.

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 O’Neill, 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 operation.

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 O’Farrell 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 at Ninth.

General Funston’s staff abandoned the Dept. of California’s Headquarters in the Phelan Building, across from the Palace Hotel, at 11 a.m. They did manage to save valuable records.

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, Children’s Hospital and the Presidio.

Mechanics’ Pavilion took fire at 1 p.m.

St. Mary’s 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 2 p.m.

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 city’s 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 O’Farrell 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 holiday today.

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 Barracks.

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 Francisco.

“Call,” “Chronicle” and “Examiner” printed a combined newspaper today on the presses of the “Oakland Tribune.”

176 prisoners moved from city prison to Alcatraz.

“U.S.S. Chicago” 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 south.

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 Patigian’s 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 that’s 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 Army’s Pacific Division returned to San Francisco.

Board of Supervisors met for the first time since the earthquake in Sup. McGushin’s 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 and fire.
April 29, 1906
Cyhow-Tszchi, first Secretary of the Chinese Legation at Washington met with Gov. Pardee in Oakland to express the Empress-Dowager’s displeasure 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 regular fares.
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 London’s eyewitness account of the earthquake and fire was published in “Collier’s 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 Francisco’s 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 Mayor’s 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 H. Shaughnessy.
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.”

Crocker-Woolworth National 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.

“Examiner” headlined 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. Ruef’s 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 elected secretary.
November 9, 1906
Grand Jury began investigation of the houses of assignation known as “French Restaurants.” These included Marchand’s Delmonico’s, 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 Restaurant” scandal.
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.

“Sacramento Bee” decried an editorial cartoon in the “Denver Post.” The cartoon’s 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 Jury’s Schmitz-Ruef indictments.
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 stood.
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, 1907.
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 O’Neil. 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
Ruef’s 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 O’Neil 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 arrested.
March, 9, 1907
Supervisor Wilson went to the home of Ruef’s attorney Henry Ach at 2 a.m. to confirm the rumor of Ruef’s 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 company’s 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, among others.
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 refused.

“Chronicle” reported 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 term.

Theodore V. Halsey of Pacific States Telephone Co. was indicted for graft.

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 Heney’s 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 suicide.
April 16, 1907
David Clienhall, a clerk for the relief committee, was arrested for embezzling relief funds.

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