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James H. Lyndon - A faithful, efficient public official, whose record for unchallenged public-spiritedness and personal bravery, and also for exceptionally high integrity, was such that his name will always be held in esteem... The preceding was originally printed in the 1922 version of the HISTORY OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY.
Sheriff Lyndon was born in Grand Isle County, Vermont, on May 6,1847. In 1863 at the age of sixteen years, James traveled to Burlington and enlisted in the Fifth Vermont Infantry. He was promptly rejected by the inspecting officer, because of his young age. The following year, along with 300 other recruits, he joined Company I, Twenty-First Massachusetts Infantry. After six weeks of drilling, he was stationed in Annapolis until the middle of April when he received orders to join his regiment at the front. Lyndon participated in a number of bloody battles, including the Wilderness, Spottsylvania and Cold Harbor, where his regiment received heavy losses. For the next few months the Union Army surrounded Petersburg, bitter fighting led to heavy casualties for both sides. A few day's after Petersburg fell, the Union Army pursued Lee's Armies into Farmville. General Lee surrendered to General Grant the next day. On April 9,1865 James' regiment was ordered home. He returned home to Vermont in August after being honorably discharged. In 1866 he attended the Academy at Alburg Springs. Two years later, James left Vermont heading for California in order to join his brother John W. Lyndon. John had come to California in 1859 and owned a thriving lumber yard in Los Gatos. James worked as a clerk at the Lumber yard, and a few years later purchased the yard from John. He also bought and ran the Ten Mile House, later known as the Los Gatos Hotel. In 1875 he sold the hotel and went back to work for his brother.
In 1894 James ran for Sheriff on the Republican ticket and beat out three other candidates, including the incumbent, George Bollinger. A mass murder occurred on May 26, 1896, shocking the county. It remained unparalleled in its viciousness until recently. At about 9:30 PM, James C. Dunham rode his bicycle out to the McGlincy ranch in Campbell to see his estranged wife Hattie and their baby. What happened next is pure conjecture, but the results are well known. James' wife was found upstairs gagged, with her neck broken. The maid, Minnie Shesler, sleeping in the next room, must of heard something going on and went to investigate, because her body was found in the same room with her skull crushed. Hattie's mother, Ada Wells McGlincy, was found downstairs near her bedroom. Her head was bloody and mutilated; Dunham had slashed her head with an ax at least five times. Still not done, Dunham waited until more family members arrived home. At about 11:00 PM, Colonel McGlincy walked into his home and was almost immediately struck by an ax to his stomach. Dunham turned his attention to Jim Wells, who had arrived with the Colonel. Dunham chased Wells around the house, while the Colonel escaped out a window. Dunham caught up to Wells in the back parlor, where is his bullet ridden body was found. Returning his attention back toward the fleeing McGlincy, Dunham followed him to the cabin the ranch workers lived in. McGlincy had just reached the cabin and shut the door when Dunham fired his revolver through the door, striking his target. Robert Briscoe was inside the cabin when McGlincy charged through the door. Fearing the same fate, he tried to escape out a back window. Hearing the window break, Dunham ran around the building and shot the frightened ranch worker to death. Believing he had killed everyone at the ranch, Dunham took on of the ranches horses and rode off into the night.
Word reached Sheriff Lyndon early the next morning of the tragedy. The Sheriff set out posses to block all the exits from the county. Nothing was seen of Dunham until May 29, when Sheriff Lyndon discovered Dunham's horse and campsite near Smith Creek below Mt. Hamilton. The area was saturated with deputies but Dunham was never seen again.
Over the next few years people made claims of sighting Dunham as far away as Mexico, Ohio and Alabama. Even as late as 1943, Dunham was supposedly working as a blacksmith on a ranch on the Kern River.
James Lyndon died at his home in Los Gatos of pneumonia on March 28,1912.
The San Jose Mercury, March 29,1912.
The San Jose Daily Mercury, May 27, 1896.
The San Jose Daily Mercury, May 30, 1896.
Paper Clippings from September 1, 1899 to December 31, 1901.
Sawyer, Eugene T., History of Santa Clara County California,Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California, 1922
Foote, H. S., Pen and Pictures from the Garden of the World, The Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago Ill., 1888.A
Watson, Jeanette. Campbell the Orchard City.