Lynching of Two Santa Cruz Men

Francisco Arias and Jose Chamales, two men of Indigenous and Mexican descent, were lynched in Santa Cruz, California on May 3, 1877. The two men, who were in custody for murder, were taken from their cells at the county jail. A mob of over 200 people assisted in the lynching of Francisco and Jose. Francisco(35) and Jose(21) were both native to Santa Cruz.

The bodies of the men were left to be show-cased until the next afternoon. A local store owner, John Elijah Davis Baldwin, took a picture of the two men and displayed it at his shop on Pacific Avenue. Multiple shops on Pacific Ave. sold copies of the photo for profit. Pieces of the noose used to lynch them were also cut and sold as souvenirs for bystanders.

This is not a unique or isolated case for Santa Cruz and there are other reports of Mexican- American men being lynched in Santa Cruz County. To learn more about this, visit the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.

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