nically, tne-ctl:y...tam~ SO(m djlsc~l.vel;ed,
Violation of the zoning OnJlilUlWC,ia-Jlt'
down. They talked to AI. But Al was not
listener. Finally, th~y took legal action.
,Chief Charlie O'Neal sent a couple of his
-out to tell Al Chamberlain he had three
his horses out of the Sonoma Avenue corral
th! city ordered it destroyed.
7iJ' The day of the automobile ihad arrived.
Rosa no longer needed a livery stable. .
".,iiONICALLV, AI Chamoo'rJain's s~cond
with.Cbi.elO'Neal was over an automobile
,lie knocked a woman down witt) his Model
ster in the downtoWn streets. It Charlie
~. arrested him ~d . him
~ty QYS in_ jail br ' a
Evell')tbody in tbWn; krte'w,1I)~ntJlle~
WHEN BE WAS released be retreate~, ;~
to acres he still owned 12 miles 'out on the>.
St. Helena. He had kept the house and bani
len acres when he sold the rest of his Alpine
Ranch to John McCabe.
Chamberlain became nearly a recluse on
Alpine Road home, But he let his property
sliQe. AJld, in 1935, the offici;il word cam
property had been sold for back taxes. He
have to get out. The buyer was John McCabe.
ON JULY 15, Al Chamberlain took two han
guns. a big, old-fashioned .44 and a nickle-plated .4
and went out to solve his problems.
He shot John McCabe five times while his wif
and two little girls watched and went off to town
leaving McCabe wounded and bleeding in the dus
of the barnyard.
In town~ he passed :throu 'hJoe SC~4rtrian's,'
serviCe station between the · lice station and th~:
'jail on Hinton Avenu·e. He' wa ked into the police
station where Charlie O'Neal as sitting at an oak
table reading the newspaper. e shot him at point
blank range, three times, and acked out the door.
Next door, at the jail, Sh iff Harry Patteson
had seen Chamberlain, unmis akeable in his red
shirt and old-fashioned cowboy attire, go into the
station, He had heard the shots. He started for ,the
station as Chamberlain eme~ged, pointing both
guns directly at him , .
Joe Schurman was yelling lit him to watch out.'
Sheriff Patteson slowed down but he never stopped .
He walked right into Al Chamberlain'~ gun barrels ,
never taking his eyes off the face of the dementl',j
old man who was out to kill those who had hurL I,
ated him .
SHERIFF PATIESON had no gun. J:le .crossed
the distance quickly because, als he said afterward ,
he knew he had to get in close before At fired. 'At 20
feet away, the sheriff spoke to Chamberlain, sa¥ing
something . like, "What the hell's the matter with
you this morning')" Then. as Chamberlain fired, he
jumped. The bullet chipped pl~ster off the Grand
Garage, half a block away . Th~ force of Patteson's
body blo('kthrew both men to, the pavement and
Joe Schurman and his l'ustorr\er, Burnett Dioble,
grabbed thl' revolvers out of Chamberlain's hands.
They lifted hIm to his feet and 'falked him off to the
Jail I •
John Ml'Cabe lived CharHe O'Neal died two
days later. AI Chamberlain ha~ a trial at which he
spoke in hlll own behalf '
"AU I g!)t DOW is my hOl101'" be said, " Every ·
thing else t$ gone t·
.' J_DonaId Geary seDte~c~d AI Cbambertata
.. life and be~' in-San ,Quentinse\!erai ,_
At CHAMB£RLAIN'S story has ·been ·well"
dramatized. It as bK-luded among the great CMe$
of ~e century, whenever they are summarized.
Former Press Domocrat reporter Denne Petitclerc
based a 1966 noyel on the incident - called Rage of
Honor. Harry Patteson became the hero-sheriff and
served another four terms, 20 years in all, before he
retired. Well into the 1950's, Patteson supporters
could be counted on, i'n the beat of an election. to
bring up "the day Harry walked down. tbe guy '11110
killed tbe cbief of police." .
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