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By Dutch Charley Duane, Charles P. Duane, John Boessenecker

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Extra info for Against the vigilantes: the recollections of Dutch Charley Duane

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Two days later Duane was fined a meager six dollars for the offense. 21 Dutch Charley's next reported affray took place early in September, when he and several cronies were arrested for assault, battery, and "riotous conduct" at a ball on Jackson Street, in what would become known as the Barbary Coast. They were all released when two friendly police officers testified that Duane and his comrades "were peaceably disposed and orderly" and had not been the aggressors. That same month Duane opened the Louisiana Saloon on Portsmouth Square.

He regularly kept an open eye for fire hazards, especially unsafe stovepipes. In June 1853, he noticed on the roof of a small shack a stovepipe encased by wood, a common cause of fire. The shed was vacant and he forced an entry. Inside, he found a trapdoor in the floor, and below was a three-ton stamping machine and press, plus dies, tools, and coins in denominations of two to fifty dollars. A surprised Duane realized that he had stumbled upon a large-scale counterfeiting operation. He called in the police, who seized the equipment.

At the age of only twenty-six he had been chosen to fill one of the most important posts in the city government. At the same time Duane managed the National Hall, the Whig Party headquarters on Kearny Street. Despite his Whig connections, he was close to the Democratic banking house of Palmer, Cook & Co. and kept rooms in its building from 1852 until he was banished by the vigilantes in 1856. 44 Duane fully recognized the great responsibility that had been placed on his shoulders, and his behavior began to improve dramatically.

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