Who Shot the Musicians?
A Gold Rush-Era Mystery
By Rick Just
Our guest columnist this month adapted the following story from his blog, Speaking of Idaho.
From time to time, I get questions from readers about an incident in Idaho history. I rarely get a question from out of the country, but I did receive one from the United Kingdom a few months back. Linda Bowditch was seeking information about an ancestor, Frederick Charles Cursons. About all she knew was that he was murdered in Placerville in 1865.
I was busy at the time but circled around to the request again and discovered that June 7, 1865, was a memorable day in Placerville, which was then a mining boomtown in the Boise Basin region of the Boise Mountains. That was a day of four deaths, one of them accidental and the other three murders. The murders are what are remembered, including that of Fredrick Charles Cursons.
I originally tracked down what was known of the crime in a 1934 edition of the Idaho Statesman that in turn drew its information from an 1865 account in the Idaho World, which is still being published in Idaho City and touts itself as the state’s oldest continuous newspaper.