"Lucky Bill" Thorington

From Carsonpedia

"Lucky Bill" Thorington was an early pioneer resident of the Carson Valley. In the early 1850s Lucky Bill could be found in California, earning a living challenging gullible prospectors to a game of three-card monte. After California started to clamp down on shady gamblers with stricter laws, Lucky Bill moved to the Eastern Slope and settled into a life of more legitimate business in the Carson Valley.

Lucky Bill's luck ran out in 1858, when a group of vigilantes from the Honey Lake area of California came riding into Genoa. They were searching for a fugitive that was suspected of murdering a cattle herder, and they soon discovered that the accused had been given shelter by Lucky Bill. The mob rounded up Bill and his family, and after the wanted man had been turned over they held a perfunctory trial to decide Bill's fate. The judge and jury, made up entirely of members of the Honey Lake group, found Bill guilty of aiding and abetting the murderer, and prescribed a sentence of death. This sentence was carried out on a gallows that had been conveniently constructed outside, and soon after the mob left with their prisoner in tow.

Some have suggested that the swiftness of this justice points to there being more behind the hanging than just Lucky Bill giving shelter to a fugitive. In particular William Ormsby, a known enemy of Lucky Bill's, has been implicated in both pointing the way to Bill's house and making sure the punishment was harsh, even though Ormsby himself was discreet enough to stay far away from the trial and the hanging.


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