Francis Burnham

Francis Burnham was a sailor born in Massachusetts in about 1827. He is most likely the Francis A. Barnham of Salem, Massachusetts, a mariner of the same age, that is listed in the 1850 census. This man is living with an Elisabeth Barnham who is presumably his mother and a George A. Barnham, most likely his brother. In the 1857 city directory of San Francisco is a listed "Burnham, Francis, watchman, 62 Pacific". This address was near the wharfs and men were often hired to watch the docks at night to ward of thieves and looters. He was arrested on a charge of sodomy in San Francisco in September of 1858, was indicted on October 6, plead guilty on October 24 and was sentenced to 8 years at San Quentin on October 28, 1858. He served his entire sentence and was finally released in April of 1866, but he was not pardoned to the extent of granting him full rights upon his release, as was the practice with many prisoners. We have no clear record of him after 1866.


Newspaper Articles

Sacramento Daily Union (Sacramento, California) - September 22, 1858

F. Burnham has been committed to answer for sodomy.

Sacramento Daily Union (Sacramento, California) - October 6, 1858

INDICTMENTS IN SAN FRANCISCO - The Grand Jury, in San Francisco, have returned the following among other indictments: Wm H. Newell, Henry Haskins, John Condon, T. G. Spear and H. Channing Beals, proprietors of the Times newspaper, for libel of David Jobson; George W. Mansfield, for burglary in the storehouse of Newhall & Gregory; Wm. Keefe, for attempted grand larceny; Francis Burnham, for a crime against nature; Robert Massay, for assault with a deadly weapon; William Wilds, for burglary. There were in all fifty-six bills presented.

Sacramento Daily Union (Sacramento, California) - October 24, 1858

Court of Sessoins - BLAKE, J.

Please of guilty were entered in the following cases:
John Lynch, indicted for highway robbery, by forcibly taking $7 50 from J. H. Johnston.
George W. Mansfield, burglary
Wm Wilds, burglary
Francis Burnham, the crime against nature.

Sacramento Daily Union (Sacramento, California) - October 28, 1858

Francis Burnham has been sentenced for eight years to the State Prison for a crime against nature.

Daily Alta California (San Francisco, California) - November 13, 1858

List of Convicts Received at the State Prison Since October 1st, 1858. Below we give a complete list of prisoners received at the Penitentiary at San Quentin since the first of October last, together with their nativities, crime, county sent from, term of imprisonment, and date of reception.

[among the list are included]:
October 31-Francis Burnham, Massachusetts, crime against nature, San Francisco - 8 years.

Sacramento Daily Union (Sacramento, California) - April 28, 1866

PARDONS - The following named persons have been pardoned by the Governor: Alonzo H. Duke, who was tried and convicted in Sacramento county of murder in the second degree and sentenced to eleven years in the State Prison. Duke has been pardoned because the verified statements of the wife of the party whom Duke killed, the statements to Father Gallagher, the statements of the counsel who assisted in the prosecution of Duke, all go to show that Duke was assaulted by deceased, rendering it extremely probably that the killing was in self-defense, and because of the request of the Judge before whom he was tried, and many other respectable citizens, and also on account of Duke's exemplary conduct during confinement. Also, Henry Deitzman, who was tried and convicted in Santa Clara county of murder in the second degree and sentenced to ten years in the State Prison. Deitzman has been pardoned because the Judge before hwom he was tried believes that the prisoner has suffered sufficiently, and joins in a petition, together with many other citizens and the Santa Clara delegation in the last Legislature, praying for his pardon.

Governor Low has pardoned the following persons by virtue of an Act of the Legislature: Sing Fo, convicted of grand larceny, and sentenced to one year in the States Prison; Peter Sprague, grand larceny, five years; Ah Chen, grand larceny, give years; Ah Dock, grand larceny, three years; William Harris, grand larceny, eight years; S. D. Thompson, assault to rob, ten years; Ah Mooey, grand larceny, three years. These are restored to all the rights of citizenship to which they were entitled before conviction. C. Barith, convicted of grand larceny, sentenced to one year; George Webber, grand larceny, two years; Waldo Lopez, grand larceny, one year; William Bome, grand larceny, five years; John Avery, burglary, three years; Henry Wilson, burglary, one year; Francis Burnham, crime against nature, eight years; and Jose Cazarilla, assault to murder, five years; who are not to be resotred to the rights of citizenship.

Census Records

Salem, Essex, Massachusetts - July 24, 1850

Name Age Occupation Real Estate Value Born
Elisabeth Barnham 54 $600 NH
Geo A. " 24 Baker Mass
Francis A. " 21 Mariner Mass

San Quentin State Prison, Corte Madera, San Rafael post, Marin, California - July 23, 1860

Name Age Race Occupation State Born Crime
Francis Burnham 33 white sailor Massachusetts crime against nature
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