OTRON, A.R. (attributed)

OTRON, A.R. (attributed)

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Two Eras in the Life of the Felon Grovenor I. Layton. Who was lynched by the Vigilance Committee, at Sonora, Tuolumne County, California, June 17th, 1852. For Robbery, Murder and Arson, He Having Robbed Three Chilians (sic), Two Men and One Woman, of Ten Thousand Dollars in Gold Dust, at Mormon Gulch, Murdered and Burned Them, Together with Their Cabin, May 28th, 1852
  • OTRON, A.R. (attributed)

     

    Two Eras in the Life of the Felon Grovenor I. Layton. Who was lynched by the Vigilance Committee, at Sonora, Tuolumne County, California, June 17th, 1852. For Robbery, Murder and Arson, He Having Robbed Three Chilians (sic), Two Men and One Woman, of Ten Thousand Dollars in Gold Dust, at Mormon Gulch, Murdered and Burned Them, Together with Their Cabin, May 28th, 1852

     

    Mayhem in the Mines, Lurid Layton in Pictorial Wraps

     

    In the introduction to the 1998 Book Club of California edition, Editor Richard Dillon describes this work as “the best –written book in terms of seeming authenticity.” Popular culture and Gold Field fiction, interesting insights on attitudes toward Chileans in the Gold Rush, a rare gold field law item in collector’s condition.

     

    Baltimore publisher Orton, about whom little seems to be known, published in the 1850’s murderous accounts resembling this one, all being stories of murders, mayhem, and eventual hangings. It is believed that he in fact wrote most of them and that any number of them such as this work are fiction. In this story, Layton, originally from New York City, descends there into a life of dissipation, gambling, drinking, prostitution and murder before departing for California, where after numerous other similar crimes, he is finally hanged in Sonora.

     

    According to Kenneth Johnson in his article, “The Quest for Layton,” (The Pacific Historian Fall, 1972 pgs, 60-63) this publication was another example of fiction presented as fact, researching the rogue, Johnson could find no record of Layton, or the publisher, Orton.

     

    New Orleans, Charleston, Baltimore, and Philadelphia: Published by Orton 1853, Second Edition, (the First Edition was published by the same publishers in 1852), Octavo, 39 pages, Original yellow pictorial wrappers, upper wrapper with title and imprint printed in red, border and portrait of Layton printed in green, lower wrap with lynching scene in green, original stitching. Wrappers with several closed tears neatly mended and a few small voids not affecting the text or illustrations. Wrappers and text moderately soiled and wrinkled. Housed and preserved in a dark green morocco and green cloth slipcase, green cloth chemise.

     

    Kurutz: The California Gold Rush 641b, Cowan pg 137 (lists only the 1852 printing), Howes L159, Not in Eberstadt, Soliday, Rocq, Six Guns, or Streeter.

     

    Scarce