Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Murder In Locke - Gambling Game Gone Wrong

7/27/1920 Sac Union Archive
On July 26, 1920, what seemed to be a regular game at the gambling tables ultimately led to murder, when Fred Chisholm was shot to death by Locke resident, George Shinn. Chisholm, who was a resident of Klamath Falls, Oregon, had come to California, originally visiting his friends A.W. Maher and James Brodie in Oakland.

With hopes to have a good time, the three traveled up to Locke (Lockeport) to play their hand at some card games. Expecting to win big, Chisholm literally had "a few cards up his sleeves."  According to Chin Wing Dong's statement to District Attorney Hugh B. Bradford, the three men had come to play 'blackjack'. After winning about $800, the dealer noticed that two "8 of Hearts"cards were laying on the table. Knowing he had just got caught cheating, Chisholm grabbed the bag of winnings and booked it out the door with his friends behind him.

Chin Wing Dong and George Shinn ran after the three men. The pair chased them about 200 yards. That is when the guns came out and shots were fired. According to statements, both men admitted to shooting at Maher, Brodie and Chisholm, but neither one wanted to admit which one actually shot Chisholm, with both blaming the other for his death. According to Dong, he started shooting at them but missed, when Shinn took the gun from him and pointed it straight at Chisholm, shooting him in the back.

George Shinn's Mug Shot

Chisholm was actually fatally hit with wounds to the neck and chest, falling in the middle of the highway (Old River Road). He was taken to Dr. Downing in Walnut Grove, but it was too late. He died shortly thereafter.  Deputy Coroner George Hall claimed that when Chisholm's body was searched "several steel contrivances, said to be used by professional gamblers in illegal pickups and hidings of cards, were found." Chisholms buddies, Maher and Brodie took off and were later located in a hotel in Stockton, but refused to speak about the matter.

Deputy Sheriffs Bryant, Wittenbrook and Cook made the arrest of George Shinn, Chin Wing Dong and Sam Jee, for their role in the crime. Although Dong and Shinn were involved in the shooting, Sam Jee, a stage driver, assisted in helping Chin Wing Dong escape Lockeport after the murder and was prosecuted for aiding and abetting.

The August 5, 1920, issue of the Sac Union newspaper stated that Judge Glenn refused to reduce the bail of "William Chin Wing Dong" from $10,000 to $7,500. Dong was indicted for  "assault to murder" of Fred Chisholm, while it states that George Shinn was actually the one charged with the homicide. Shinn was tried on October 25, 1920, in Sacramento.  As the article in the newspaper states, Shinn ignored the advice of his attorney, S. Luke Howe, to stick to their original plea, withdrawing it and instead "declared that he had killed Fred Chisholm."

Another newsclipping
Howe claimed that he "believed he had a fair chance of freeing the man or at least saving him from the extreme penalty of the law."- Shinn's criminal defense attorney, S. Luke Howe, had once been City Attorney in Sacramento, between 1902-1909, and was reported to be the only former city legal officer to have ever served jail time. He was also said to have been Lee Bing's personal attorney.

Because of ignoring his counsel's advice and admitting guilt, George Shinn was convicted of the 1st degree murder of Fred Chisholm, receiving a sentence of  life imprisonment.  His arrival records show he was received at San Quentin on October 29, 1920, and later transferred to Folsom State Prison on October 7, 1922.

As one of the Assistant District Attorney's noted, the State felt that under the circumstances, a life sentence was fair, rather than the alternative. He stated that if Chisholm had not been cheating he would not have died. Although I agree that Chisholm shouldn't have been cheating, I do not think it was okay for the two men to shoot him in cold blood.  The wild west days were over, and although it is true that there are always consequences for your actions, that didn't give them the right to end his life over a card game.

(Copyright: J'aime Rubio)
The papers noted that Fred Chisholm had a wife and children in Klamath Falls, and that the authorities were unable to immediately contact them about his death. Instead of being brought home to Oregon, he was buried at the Odd Fellows Cemetery on Riverside Drive, next door to the Masonic and Sacramento City Cemeteries.  After speaking to staff at the cemetery and looking over his burial record, I found that there is a mystery as to just who paid for Chisholm's burial and marker. According to their records, whoever paid for the plot put it completely in Chisholm's name posthumously. Oddly enough, whoever it was, also gave the cemetery Chisholm's primary residence as Washington. Newspapers claim he was from Klamath Falls, Oregon. 

There is no way to know exactly who covered the costs of his burial and headstone, but one thing we do know for certain is that Chisholm's grave is within viewing distance of the Locke family plot in the adjoining cemetery just feet away. I don't know about you but it makes me wonder if the Locke family took care of the burial cost? We may never truly know. 

Fred Chisholm is buried in Section G; Lot 18; Grave 6 at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Sacramento.

Note: This article predates the episode of Ghost Adventures which mentions this murder. Jeff Bellanger, the main researcher for Ghost Adventures, wrote me asking for details on this story, and I provided him with a detailed history of Locke as well as information pertaining to this story. In the end the producers chose to ignore some of the important factual information in regards to Locke's true history, but they had no problem using the photo of George Shinn I had posted here on my blog without asking permission. ----

(Copyright 2015- J'aime Rubio)            
Photo of George Shinn and criminal record c/o California Prison Records via
Photo of Fred Chisholm's grave by J'aime Rubio (Copyright)
(Sacramento Union Archives: 7/27/1920, 7/28/1920, 8/5/1920, 8/31/1920 &10/26/1920
and The Morning Oregonian Archive: 7/27/1920)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Forgotten Ones Who Built Locke

A somewhat forgotten part of Locke's history are the stories of those who actually built the town itself. Whether you choose to believe that the Chinese built it or not, the facts do not lie. The write up from the National Registry of Historic Places even states " the buildings were mostly erected by Caucasian contractors along conventional lines typical of the region."

Cleveland Hill

So who was it that built the buildings? One of the men that we know of for sure was named Cleveland Hill.  Born on January 7, 1885, in North Carolina, to parents John Hill and Anise Ives. He was one of nine children (four sons; five daughters). By the time Cleveland was 11 years old, he had lost two sisters, a brother and then finally his own mother, who passed away at the young age of 33.

Sometime after the turn of the century Cleveland moved out to California. By that time his trade was in construction, being a "Carpenter and Builder."  He would continue that trade well into his golden years. In a published interview of Theodore Peter Budnik, son of Russian immigrants Peter and Xenia Budnik, who lived in the area consistent with the original boundaries of Locke (as confirmed in 1920 Census), Budnik remembered Cleveland Hill working in the bar at "The White House"- this was a boarding house/saloon that was set up for prostitution.  In the book, "Bitter Melon" by Jeff Gillenkirk and James Motlow, Ping Lee claimed that Cleveland Hill was a friend of his father, Lee Bing, and that he had a bar next to his father's store in Locke. He also mentions that Hill came to build the gambling house and Lee Bing's store.

Records show that Cleveland lived in Locke for a few years, and eventually he settled down with a lady named Eva. At some point it looks as though either the couple divorced or his wife died. Later voting registry lists have Cleveland living in Walnut Grove and listed as a Republican. Census records show him being remarried, this time to a lady named Ida.  After a few years the happy couple bought a house located at 1856 44th Street in Sacramento, where they remained the rest of their lives. Cleveland Hill passed away on February 9, 1967, at the age of 82 years.

George Carlton

George Carlton was born in 1862, to German and English immigrant parents who had settled in California. Not much is known about Carlton's younger days or his profession before coming to town. By 1916, he is listed on the registered voting directory as a "Proprietor," residing in Locke, California. Although there is nothing that states he helped physically build Locke, the records show he certainly made a mark in its history there, which is worth mentioning.

By the 1920 census, he is listed as being 57 years old and his profession is listed as the "Watchman" for the "Town of Locke." What is interesting is that misread the cursive and noted it as "Watchman" in a "Laundry House" but as soon as I looked at the actual document and zoomed in, it was clear to see the words TOWN OF LOCKE- not laundry house!  How in the world someone mis-read that, I will never know!

This notation makes sense though, as a newspaper article in the Sacramento Bee dated 1920, claims that George Carlton was Locke's very own Constable. It appeared that at one point the town of Locke was used to getting away with a lot compared to the other little delta towns, when it came to the illegal activities going on such as gambling, drugs, etc. According to the newspaper, Locke was basically immune to any legal action from outside authorities, and that everyone knew it, and that is why it became the "Mecca" for gambling in Northern California. The explanation seemed to be evident in this snippet of the article:

"Exactly why Americans can gamble in Locke and cannot in Walnut Grove; why such gambling games as run at Locke, openly and in plain view from the streets do so without the slightest fear of interference from the Sheriff’s office; exactly why this freedom from arrest exists at Locke and apparently nowhere else in the county- at least to the same degree- is one of those mysteries over which Chinese game keepers smile inscrutably. The Sheriff of Sacramento County is Ellis Jones. The Constable of Georgiana Township in which Locke and Walnut Grove lie, is George Carlton, who lives at Locke.”---

By the 1930 census, George was now listed as the Assistant Postmaster, as Clay Locke was always the official Postmaster of Locke since October 13, 1916, when he was appointed by the U.S. Postal Service.  It appears that Carlton may have moved to Los Angeles later on, as death records state that a George Carlton, with the same birth year, passed away on December 12, 1930 in Los Angeles County.

(Copyright 2015- J'aime Rubio)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Drugs, Crime and Wild Gambling Raids...Just another day in Locke!

During the 1920s, especially the first few years of that decade, Locke seems to have been one of the wildest and obstreperous places in the state. The "roaring twenties" certainly lived up to its name in that delta hideaway, with constant newspaper headlines and accounts of suspenseful raids and arrests, police chases, cheating gamblers and shoot outs. Locke was known as the place to go to gamble your cares away, find a woman to lie with for the right price, or use as a haven for junkies needing a morphine fix. Opium dens, whore houses, saloons and gambling were rampant in this little town full of vice.

In the earlier years it appears that Locke was able to keep gambling dens full of patrons without issue from the law, but it seems that it may have eventually caught up with them as time went on.

According to one Sacramento Bee article, "Raids Are Bluffs," a resident of Locke claimed that the "Sheriff runs a bluff occassionally by making a raid, but Locke is never seriously bothered by Officials." It goes on to state that "Locke remains, as it has been, the gambling concession of Sacramento County, which runs without interference from either the Sheriff's office or from the Constable of that township*. or apparently without any danger of such interference."---

Still, when those raids did take place, they sure made headlines.

"Lockeport Raid Nets Seven Drug Victims"- 
Completely surrounding a house in Lockeport in which it was believed the use of drugs was being indulged in early Sunday morning, netted Deputy Sheriffs W.R. Cook, H.D. Bryant, John Pendergast, George Wittenbrock and George Altucker, aided by Bob Cole, seven prisoners, five of whom were Chinese.

One white girl, Miss Frances Reese, aged 22, and Charles Mehner, white, also aged 23, were among those caught in the net thrown around the building. All were brought to the county jail in this city to be charged with using drugs. A part of the evidence obtained was the finding of a package of more than 1000 morphine tablets on one of the Chinese. He will be charged with running an opium den and violating the state poison act."--- Sac Union, 6/24/1919

It didn't stop there. Raids on opium dens and gambling houses were just getting started and would continue, as the public officials and law enforcement decided to crack down on Locke.

On March 8, 1920,  Sheriff's deputies Brant and Cook raided an opium den in Locke (Lockeport). As the article in the Sacramento Union states, the raid was one of many in a "long campaign against drug users." Along with seizing pipes and "hop", two of the patrons using the drugs were arrested and brought to jail.

November 5, 1922, newspapers report of a "Sensational Raid upon Chinese den- Sheriff's deputies gain entrance to Lakeport [sic] house and arrest three.

Battering down the wooden doors of an alleged Chinese gambling den at Lockeport, while two deputies with drawn revolvers held a crowd of 30 gamblers at bay, deputy sheriffs from the office of Sheriff Jones raided the establishment of Tin Fan, in the river town last night.

Three Chinese were arrested and $1,500 taken from five tables. Those arrested were Tin Fan, housekeeper; Ching Sing, gamekeeper, and Gee Johnnie, gamekeeper. They were released on $900 cash bail.  The arresting officers were H.D. Bryant, chief criminal deputy sheriff; H.C. Cann, criminal deputy sheriff, and Deputies Oagle and Slater.

Elaborate plans were made and the raid went through without a hitch. Two of the deputies, dressed in old garments and with several days; growth of beard on their faces, gained entrance to the establishment in the guise of customers.

Tin Fan, the proprietor of the house, suspicious and wary of the strangers, delegated several Chinese to watch them. After remaining in the place for 20 minutes, the deputies drew their revolvers and gave a pre-arranged signal. The officers on the outside broke down the door and lined the patrons of the place up against the wall."-- Sac Union, 11/5/1922

(Copyright 2015- J'aime Rubio, )
* George Carlton is mentioned in Sacramento Bee articles as the Constable of Locke, the California Voting Registry for 1920-1922 also state him as the "Constable" in Locke. 1920 Census records state him to be the "Watchman for the Town of Locke."---

Sources: Sacramento Bee Archives, 1919-1920
Sacramento Union, 6/24/1919, 11/5/1922

In Deep Water- George Locke Accused Of Pandering

In my earlier posts, I have established that the town of Locke (originally Lockeport) was built on the property of George G. Locke. He had initially inherited the property after his father's death. George W. Locke was the original owner. After the Walnut Grove fire in 1915, George Granville Locke allowed Chinese from Walnut Grove to come and live on his property as tenants.

What is left out of the story is that he had already established Lockeport several years earlier, having several buildings on his property to accommodate the railroad workers and laborers in the area. Locke's packing house, the Lockeport Hotel, including the two businesses ran by Tin San Chan and Wing Chong Owyang, and a few other buildings were among the first. The NCCSAH has even stated that the "Locke Boarding House" located on Locke Road predates all of the buildings, having been built around 1910, while the State Parks website notes the Locke Boarding House as having been built in 1909.  This structure more than likely was used as lodging rooms for the railroad workers and also laborers working for G. Locke.


There were several residents of Locke during this time period, including Grace Melbourne, the madam of the houses of ill repute. I have traced Grace to Locke as early as 1916.  After the fire in Walnut Grove, many Chinese moved to Locke, but they were not the only ones living in town. By 1919-1920, the town had a notorious reputation for illegal gambling, prostitution, and drugs. Grace was not the only prostitute during this time either. So far I have found several painted ladies who lived and walked the streets of Locke.  The prostitution became so bad by this time that Senator E.E. Grant finally decided to charge George Locke** with illicit operations in the town of Locke (Lockeport), shedding light on some of the practices going on in Locke at the time.

Here's just a few of the women involved in prostitution in Locke:

  1. Grace Melbourne
  2. Dora Burns
  3. Mae Beach
  4.  Ruby Allen
  5.  Ellise (misspelled Ellis)
  6. Mary Roe 
  7. Grace Poe  
  8. Clara Smith
As I do more research, I will add more names I find to my list.

In April of 1919, both Mary Roe and Grace Poe, some of Locke's prostitutes, had warrants issued for vagrancy. In September of 1919, Dora Burns was also arrested for prostitution. She had rented a back room out from a Chinese merchant for the purpose of prostituting herself. The man ran the Opera House. The September 30, 1919 issue of the Sacramento Union newspaper states that Burns admitted to renting out a room in the back of the store under the Opera House building. The paper states she was using one of the "dressing rooms" for her immoral acts.  Pleading guilty in front of Justice of the Peace O'Brien, she was given a six month suspended sentence and basically banned from the Delta area.

The real scandal started in February of 1919, when Ruby Allen testified in front of the grand jury, speaking for over two hours about George Locke and his dealings with prostitution. Besides Ruby Allen taking the stand, Senator Grant also took up some of the grand jury's time, trying to convince them to take action against Locke. The story really made headlines a few months later, when prostitutes came forward with affidavits published in the local papers throwing George Locke under the bus and painting a picture of the situation in Locke.

"GIRLS ACCUSE GEO. W. LOCKE - Furniture Man Narrowly Escapes Grand Jury Indictment for Pandering-

George W. Locke, J Street furniture dealer and large property owner in Lockeport, narrowly escaped indictment yesterday by the county grand jury on a charge of sending girls to a life of prostitution in houses owned by him at that place.

Two affidavits were submitted by girls who swore that he directed them to houses of ill-fame, in which he is alleged to have said they could make more money than by working in a cannery. The affidavits which are in possession of the Union, contain detailed statements relative to time, place and money to be  paid for rental."----- Sac Union, 9/12/1919

Sac Union 9/13/1919

 By the next day, one of the affidavits had been published (see above). Ruby Allen  stated:

"A little over a year ago, George Locke, furniture dealer on J Street, Sacramento, California, rented to me one of his houses in the town of Locke, County of Sacramento, State of California, and told me to put girls in the house for the purposes of prostitution;

That I did thereupon occupy the house and had girls in said house for purposes of prostitution, in accordance with agreement with said George Locke; that a girl named Ellis [sic] came to the said house and stated she had been sent there by the said George Locke, and he told me that he had sent the said girl Ellis to my house in Locke, to work as a prostitute in accordance with this agreement, and told me to treat her right and that the said said Ellis did actually, in compliance with this arrangement, work in my house at Locke as a prostitute, practising prostitution for money."-- 2/4/ 1919 affidavit of Ruby Allen.

By September 14th, the second affidavit was published in the paper. It read:

"On or about the months of May or June, 1917, I was directed by George Locke, owner of a house of prostitution known as the White House, located in the town of Locke, otherwise known as Lockeport, County of Sacramento, State of California, to the said White House, the said George Locke telling me that it was a sporting house run by Ruby Allen and that I would make more money at the said White House than I would in the cannery, where I was going to work;

That following the directions of the said George Locke, I went to the said White House in Lockeport, met Bee, the negro maid, and then was admitted to the place by Ruby Allen and that I practiced prostitution in said White House run by Ruby Allen for a period of several months, practicing prostitution with different men for money;

On a subsequent occasion, the said George Locke, being the man who directed me into said house, told me that he owned the said White House, and on several occasions, I saw George Locke in the said White House and at least once, I saw Ruby Allen pay the said George Locke money;

Several months later the said George Locke came to the said White House in Lockeport and asked me in the presence of the landlady, Ruby Allen, to open up a house of prostitution in Sacramento over a firehouse, telling me that I could not keep any other girls there but would have to do all the prostitution myself and that I should be very careful as to whom I let in as there were many stool pigeons around; stating further that I should pay him all the money I made from prostitution."-- 3/3/1919, affidavit of Mae Beach.

** Records show that original owner of Locke, George W. Locke died in 1909, thus the George Locke that is accused for pandering and running prostitution houses in Locke would be his grandson, George R. Locke, since his father had moved away by this time.

--(Copyright 2015, J'aime Rubio)

Locke's Notorious Prostitution Scandals

George Locke was not the only one getting in trouble with the Red Light Abatement Act. Other Chinese residents of Locke operating "immoral" houses of prostitution were mentioned in the newspapers of the time, including Mar Lung.

 According to the October 24, 1919, issue of the Sacramento Union newspaper,  Judge Peter J. Shields granted a permanent injunction on one of the houses of ill-repute in Locke whose business was owned by Mar Lung, and built on land of George Locke.

District Attorney Hugh B. Bradford pressed charges on both Mar Lung and George Locke. As the story is reported, Mar Lung was able to remain at the building so as long as he only occupied it as a residence, and nothing  more under a $2,000.00 bond.

This was not the first, nor would it be the last of newspaper headline scandals regarding Locke's morally loose view of prostitution, or blatant disregard for the law. In fact, just a few months earlier in the same year, the headlines reported an extortion scandal which was allegedly claimed by Grace Melbourne, one of the madams of Locke (Lockeport).

The April 3, 1919 issue of the Sacramento Union newspaper states that Grace Melbourne had been paying for protection from the district attorney and sheriff's office. Within a six month period she had paid out approximately $1,500.00.  A former sheriff's deputy, J.C. Calvert testified in front of Judge Busick on this matter. Calvert, a resident of Walnut Grove, had only been on the job as a sheriff's deputy for 10 days before being forced to resign because of his stance on the matter.

"About a year ago I had a conversation in the White House with Grace Melbourne and she said: 'I'm getting -- --- good and sick of running a house of prostitution. I have been under heavy expenses here.'  

"She said she had paid within the last six months $1500 for protection from the distric attorney's and sheriff's offices." 

"I was appointed last January by Sheriff Jones as a deputy and held the position for 10 days. Jones requested me to resign...for the good of the sheriff's office and the district attorney's office."---  statement by J.C. Calvert (Sac Union 4/3/1919)

Only two days after the story broke, the newspaper ran another piece, this time with Melbourne adamantly denying she ever made such statements to Calvert.

 "Miss Grace Melbourne, whom A. C. [sic] Calvert said in the redlight abatement cases before Superior Judge Charles O. Busick last Wednesday, had told him that she had paid within six months the sum of $1500 for "protection" from the offices of the sheriff and the district attorney, yesterday came out with a denial of the statements attributed to her.

Miss Melbourne said she is ready to go before the grand jury at any time and will be glad to tell what she knows.

"Calvert told an untruth," she said. "I never gave a cent of money to anyone for protection. At the time Calvert said I made the statement I did not know any of the county officials."

Miss Melbourne said there were other things at the bottom of the whole affair, a difference between Calvert and George. W. Locke [sic] for one, regarding payment for a pump installed the the request of one of Locke's tenants at Lockeport."--- Sacramento Union,  4/5/1919

Whether Grace Melbourne was being extorted by the city officials and Calvert had the conscience to tell on them, or like the latter article describes, there may have been an actual personal vendetta against George Locke that brought this whole ordeal to the forefront, we may never truly know. As I will show you in future posts, the town of Locke was full of notorious scandals, and George Locke had a part in a lot of it.

You must remember though, this was not the original George W. Locke, he had died in 1909. The George Locke you will be reading about in future posts that are tied to scandal would be his grandson, although the newspapers of the time more than likely assumed they all had the same middle initials.

(Copyright 2015- J'aime Rubio) 

Cracking Locke's Secret Past

Something that I found quite interesting while researching Locke's history was the fact no one had written in depth about Locke's history of prostitution . The soiled doves lived in the town, and from my research, the majority were Caucasian. It wasn't until the 1950's that Chinese prostitutes were more prevalent in Locke, but prior to that all the prostitutes in Locke were always Caucasian.

Documented news articles around 1918-1920, reporting court cases against George Locke, (grandson of George W.), show that he was in charge of the area, not only as the owner of the town itself, but as the "Vice King" as one newspaper dubbed him.

I believe that when the opportunity arose to have the Chinese move to Locke, George G. Locke decided that he would make his property into a bustling place to serve the needs of laborers in the area. I also believe that his son, George R. Locke wanted to oversee that town and make money without all the rules and regulations that other Delta areas enforced.

He knew that all Caucasians were banned from gambling in Walnut Grove, and many laborers felt that was not fair. You can find that in several newspapers of the time period.

The Chinese, Japanese and even Hindu could gamble but the Caucasians could not. George Locke saw a need, one that would make him a lot of money, and he was simply filling the need.  So he let the Chinese set up gambling halls in various buildings that allowed anyone to gamble there, but he also had buildings he owned himself (records show this) where he operated houses of ill-repute under the guise of "boarding houses."

The White House was one of the houses of ill-repute located in the Historic District of Locke. One of the earliest Caucasian women in Locke was Grace Melbourne. Voting Registries of the time period going back as early as 1916, has her listed as a resident of Locke.

Although she was the "madam" of the boarding house, she listed herself as a "housewife" more than likely to avoid suspicion.  There is also a record of one Ruby Allen acting as a madam for the White House as well. Hiring her would prove to be a terrible mistake for George Locke in the near future.

Another one of George Locke's establishments was the New Home Hotel, and then of course the Lockeport Hotel, as newspapers confirmed. According to the National Registry for Historic Places, the listing for the town of Locke claims that the "boarding house" located where the Lockeport Hotel stands, was built by Wing-Chong Owyoung and is one of the original buildings constructed around 1912.  That is very possible, but newspaper clippings with legal notices, such as the request for liquor licenses and such, list George W. Locke & Son as the owners and proprietors of both the hotel and restaurant which they refer to as the Lockeport Hotel. There is also a newspaper clipping mentioning the Locke's requesting to have their Lockeport Hotel reopened after it had been closed down for violating the red-light abatement act.

There are plenty of other newsclippings showing other various Chinese merchants "owning" businesses and even houses of ill-repute in Locke, just not the three listed above (Lockeport Hotel, New Home and White House), owned by George Locke. It seems interesting to me that there are two stories going around about the Lockeport Hotel, yet the documented information of the time period show George Locke and family were the proprietors. (I will be doing more investigating into this buildings history in future blog posts).

The Lockeport Hotel (or the Lockeport House) was and is still located on the corner of Levee and River Road. It is the one that is boarded up across from the Chinese Garden Restaurant. When the lighting is right and the weather is good, you can still see an outline of the words "Lockeport Hotel" on the side of the building, too.

At one time, before the levee was raised, this building had a deck that stretched outward west, and a view to the river could be seen from it.  It appears that at some point the levee was raised about 10 feet or so, leaving all the front facing buildings in Locke to appear to be built up on a hillside, having their first floors to appear underground.

(Copyright 2015- J'aime Rubio)

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Forgotten Accident In Locke

Sac Union 6/20/1920
In my research into the history of Locke, I have discovered many stories about various events. Most of the stories are about scandals, crimes, illegal gambling, prostitution and even murder.

Scene of tragic accident
This event was an accidental death of a young boy by his best friend. This story touched me to my core, as any tragedy involving a child is a terrible loss to the world.

According to newspaper reports, on June 19, 1920, the death took place in the rear living quarters of Chin King's Butcher shop building in Locke. According to the book, "Locke and the Sacramento Delta Chinatowns", it states that Chin King was one of the partners who established the Yuen Chong grocery store. King operated his butcher shop inside the building.

King's son, Joe King* (Joe Kung), 6, and pal Fred Gunn, 9, were playing "highbinders," when Gunn decided to run home and retrieved his father's gun from beneath a pillow on his bed, bringing it back to play. He didn't know the gun was loaded and was pretending to shoot, saying "I'll teach you how to shoot!" when the gun fired.  The bullet penetrated his brain killing him instantly. He was brought to Sacramento for burial according to the newspaper accounts.

With all the history forgotten in Locke, let us never forget little Joe King and keep his memory alive.

-(J'aime Rubio, 2015, Copyright)

Newspapers state Joe Kung, however I believe that this may have been in error.

History of Locke - (Part 2)


The True History of Locke, California (Part 1)