Captain Isaac Graham

by Michael F. Kinsella

Captain Isaac Graham - Time line biography of his life that was written by Mr. Kinsella. The pages use to be available on the internet at another location and are no longer there. I have created these pages because Isaac was a true California hero worth knowing. I once played Isaac at the Everygreen Cemetery in Santa Cruz on May 1st, 1999. - Floyd D. P. Øydegaard

Part 10 - The Trial

April 23, 1840

The town of Monterey came to life as 76-soldiers gathered most of the prisoners together and marched them to Alverado's home to stand trial. The men weak from their conditions in the jail sat huddled together on the Governors front lawn, waiting their turn at interrogation. Each man was separately taken to a lower room in Alverado's home and there asked to produce his passport. However, most could not do so because they were apprehended from their beds, or had every paper in their homes confiscated by the arresting soldiers.

The Alcalde said to the men individually, after hearing that they could not produce the requested document. "I have no evidence before me of your lawful right to remain in California."

Secondly he would ask, What do you know of a revolutionary movement under Graham? To the man, they would reply that they knew nothing of any plot by Graham to overthrow the government.

The Alcalde would then ask the men about the horse race Graham was advertising, which the men who knew about it would reply that it was the same advertising that Graham had been doing for the past few years, it being just a chance for Isaac to race his fine horse.

Yet, it was Garner again, that betrayed Graham with his predetermined testimony arranged by Alverado that would be the downfall of Isaac Graham. The former Botany Bay convict testified that Graham was in charge of a foreigner conspiracy, and had it not been discovered in time, they would have killed every Spaniard in California! They wrote out Garners' testimony for him and he signed it without hesitation knowing where his bread was buttered.

Isaac Graham's friend, Morris, who had testified to Alverado a few days before the others had been completely terrified by the authorities. When they asked him questions regarding the accusations made against Graham. He requested a neutral interpreter, Mr. Spence, however, Alverado insisted that a Mexican who spoke English do the job. And when asked repeated questions, the interpreter reported to Alverado that Morris was continuously insulting the Governor. So again, Alverado's paranoia got the better of his clear thinking, and he ordered Morris to be hung by the neck until dead, of course that was not until Morris was forced to sign a confession written in Spanish as to his involvement in the Graham plot to overthrow Alta California. Four days later, Morris was removed from his cell. The other prisoners were placed in front of him on a lawn to watch the sentence carried out. Yet, at the last moment, Alverado changed his mind and Morris's life was spared.

At the end of the Monterey trials, twenty-three Americans and twenty-three Englishmen were found guilty by Alverado of high treason against the government of Mexico. Others were released for "lack of evidence." Note, it is interesting that Alverado must have already been thinking about the reactions of the two giant countries involved, the way he divided the guilty into two groups of an even number of twenty-three, not wishing to single any single country out. Apparently Alverado had many different suggestions from his inner circle about what the men's punishment was to be after the preordained verdict. One idea was to ship them all on Vallejo's ship to the Sandwich Islands, where both England and the United States had a consul. However, Alverado decided to stick to his original plan and leave the problem to higher authorities in the Government. To keep the men safe from any harm along their journey, Alverado sent Jose Castro, Estavan de la Torre, and Antonio Pinto to accompany them.

Another fact that is rather noteworthy regarding the men that would be sent away from Monterey in chains, is that they were all part of Isaac Graham's circle of men, who, since 1836, had been questioning Alverado about the money and promises made to them, if they helped Alverado in his plans of conquest of Alta California. Beside Graham, also sent into exile was Henry Naile, Alfred Morris, and Graham's second in command during the 1836 insurrection, John Coppinger. While these men were in jail, awaiting transport by ship, south. These men had their homes searched for anything of value. Garner, the former Botany Bay prisoner, was seen walking by the Monterey jail by Graham, who pointed out that Garner was wearing better clothes than he's ever seen the man wear before. As it turned out, Garner had searched Graham's distillery and stolen $3,700.00.

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