Alberding’s Saloon

Alberding’s Saloon, another den of assorted wickedness, has also been known as the Pioneer, and more recently, as the St. Charles Saloon. A large, wooden building first stood on this site and served as a general merchandise store. At some time during the early 1850’s, Albert Alberding acquired the property and erected the brick building which still stands today. Alberding’s is reported to be the saloon in which Peter Nicholas stabbed Capt. John Parrot during a brawl. Nicholas was arrested and held at the Columbia jail while the mortally wounded Parrot was taken to a hospital in Sonora. There was much talk of lynching, but as Parrot was still clinging to life, the mob which had gathered about the jail settled down, and during some moment of confusion, the prisoner was taken to the jail in Sonora. Parrot finally succumbed to his mortal wounds, whereafter Nicholas was tried and convicted of first degree murder. Sentenced to hang, at the last moment the sentence was commuted by the governor to just seven years. A local legend gives one possibility for the governor’s action. Apparently a petition had been circulating about town asking the state legislature to consider Columbia for the capital of the State of California. Some ten thousand signatures were supposedly collected but the petition mysteriously disappeared, later appearing on the governor’s desk with the original wording obliterated, replaced by a plea for clemency on Nicholas’ behalf. The governor, a true politician eager to please ten thousand possible voters, commuted the sentence.

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