On This Date in History: Cyrus Skinner was released from San Quentin Prison in California for the first time on August 18, 1853. Skinner isn’t a well known desperado from the old west but he certainly was notorious. He grew up in Ohio and began robbing people at an early age. He moved to California with the Gold Rush in 1850 where he continued his robbing ways. He was caught and went to San Quentin. After he got out on this date in 1853, he started robbing again and got caught and sent back again. This time he escaped, started robbing and was caught again and sentenced to 15 years in San Quentin. This time, he met up with a guy named Henry Plummer. Plummer was released and Skinner escaped again in 1860 and this time went to Idaho to meet up with Plummer.
Now, Plummer had actually been a sheriff in Nevada City, CA. But, he was having an affair with a miner’s wife and when confronted by the miner, Plummer shot him dead in a duel. Plummer was sent to prison where he met Skinner. Plummer got out due to tuberculosis or due to people asking for a pardon, depending on the source you believe. Anyway, when Plummer got out, he
turned to the other side of the law and he formed a road gang that robbed and murdered about 100 people in Idaho and Montana. When Plummer arrived in Bannack, Montana he killed the one man in town that was aware of his hoodlum past. Henry must have been quite the smooth talker because, not only was he acquitted of the murder, the town went and elected him Sherrif. By day he enforced the law and by night, he and his gang robbed and killed people at will. The gang became known as the Innocents because their not so secret password was “I am innocent.” Skinner was part of that group and was said to have been one of the worst offenders, killing people for no reason. The town folk got tired of it all and formed a vigilante group that one by one, rounded up the bad guys, held street trials and hung them. During this process, one of the bad guys ratted out Plummer.
The evidence mounted and the town vigilantes went after their two-timing sherrif and they eventually captured Plummer and two of his henchmen. With the winds howling on a bitter cold winter day, on this date in 1864, Plummer got hung on a gallows. The builder of the gallows that brought an end to Henry Plummer was none other than Henry Plummer himself. When confronted, Skinner tried to avoid the noose by running away, hoping to get shot….but the vigilante’s wouldn’t oblige. Nope, they caught him alive and then they hung him. It’s good for a rampaging vigilante mob to have principals. I suppose the lesson here is to not follow in the footsteps of a Plummer! Certainly not this one, whom you can read more about here.
Weather Bottom Line: High temperatures in some parts of Alaska for the past week have averaged 35 below zero and over night lows have been between 40 below and 60 below in many locations. This week we will see the jetstream buckle with a big ridge building all the way up the west coast to Alaska, which will warm up the southern part of the Last Frontier. That will allow the cold air to spill into a deep trough in the eastern third of the nation. The GFS wants to give us 1 below for a low on Wednesday or Thursday morning. That may be a bit of a stretch but its not out of the question. But, unless you are a thermometer, you won’t be able to tell the difference between 5 degrees and 1 below zero so its truly and academic point. Its going to get cold. I betcha this week on one day we will have highs in the teens. Its rain for Saturday. Chilly but not terribly cold for Sunday and Monday. Then there will be varying chances for some light snow from Tuesday through Friday. The models vary as little systems push through the cold air. But, because we won’t have an abudance of moisture, my guess is that snow totals over a 4 day period would probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of and inch or two. It’s a bit early to be going on that limb but the pattern would not generally support a big snow…at least that’s what conventional wisdom would hold.