The Old Bay Mare


August, 2005

Headline in the August 13, 1909 Record-Enterprise: “YOUNG POUNDMAN IS ARRESTED FOR FELONY – Homestead Man Arrested for Breaking Into Pound”

What followed was a Homestead Ballad:

“Oh, Molly dear, and did ye hear
The news that’s goin’ round
They stole Bill Ryan’s old bay mare
An’ put her in the pound;
But Bill, ye know, he isn’t slow,
His pate is good and sound,
He got his mare – but he’s in jail
For bustin’ up the pound.”

Here are the facts in the case: William H. Ryan was a 45-year old teamster who lived on Evergreen with his wife and four daughters. A young man named L. Bone was the deputy poundmaster of Mill Valley. Ryan’s old bay mare was impounded by Bone. Ryan recovered his mare by forcibly taking her from the pound. The pound was located on the corner of Reed and Ethel.

Bone claimed the mare was a stray or unclaimed horse. Ryan disagreed and claimed that Bone took his mare under color of authority of an officer, when as a matter of fact he was not 21 years old, and was therefore not entitled under law to be appointed an officer of any kind.

Two criminal actions were filed. Poundmaster Miller charged Ryan with misdemeanor and Constable Truette charged Bone with a felony, to wit, the theft of one bay mare.

Ryan’s case was to be heard before Recorder Fotrell upon return of town attorney Breen from Seattle. The felony charge against Bone was to be heard by the Justice Court at Sausalito.

[I have not located any further information about how these two interesting legal cases were decided nor have I found any more Homestead Ballads – ed.]

If you have comments or questions about this article or other topics
pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.