February 15, 2007
Western Jewish history collection gets broken up among local academic institutions
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Under the headline "Terrible Affair," the newspaper chronicled the last night on earth of Lewis Polack, believed to have been the first Jew to settle in Yerba Buena (later known as San Francisco) in 1837.
"Last evening, about half past ten, a terrible affair occurred in a house of ill fame kept by Mary St. Clair in Merchant Street, just below the Plaza," the story started.
"A man named Lewis Polack, a sporting man well known in this city, it seems was in bed with an occupant of the house, a girl named Jane Hurley."
To encapsulate the action, there was a knock on the door and a gentleman named Samuel Gallagher, a previous customer of Ms. Hurley, entered. An argument ensued and Gallagher shot Polack through the head.
But justice pounced swiftly. Within the hour, "Gallagher was arrested immediately and taken before the Vigilance Committee. The coroner held an inquest upon the body, and the jury returned a verdict that the deceased came to his death from a pistol-shot wound, inflicted by Samuel Gallagher."
End of story.
David W. Epstein and Gladys Sturman -- preserving the historical legacy. Photo by Tom Tugend
David W. Epstein's site is www.wsjhistory.com.
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