On July 8th, not the 7th as the cemetery records claim, Patrick Henry Dillon was murdered while taking a nap under a tree on the outskirts of town. Some reports claim he was passed out drunk, while others say he was just asleep. Either case, while he was sleeping, a man by the name of Vicente Valdez (other accounts name him as "Rodriguez") snuck up on him.
Valdez had went to the neighboring house of Mrs. Culp and taken an axe from her property. He then attacked the then sleeping Mr. Dillon, crushing his skull with every blow from the axe. After the dastardly deed was done, Valdez took the axe and put it back at Mrs. Culp's house and took off with the money he had stolen from Dillon's pockets and the boots off of his feet.
On July 10, 1878, just two days after the murder, Valdez was arrested and brought to jail. According to the newspapers of the time, the town was hell bent on vigilante justice but Sheriff Braham, "eluded the vigilance of Judge Lynch, and lodged the prisoner safely in jail."
I have contacted Findagrave to correct his name, so that he can be remembered properly. Although we may not know where he came from, we know where he had been, Anaheim. This town was the last place he called home. Why he was sleeping out there under a tree in the vineyards is not known. Perhaps he worked there and was taking a nap. Perhaps he was drunk and passed out. Who knows?!
But he didn't deserve to die the way he did.
Rest In Peace, Patrick Henry Dillon. You are not forgotten.
(Copyright 2014- J'aime Rubio)
Orange County Cemetery District Records
Sac Daily Union -July 8, 1878, July 9, 1878
Los Angeles Herald- July 10, 1878, August 17, 1878
Anaheim Public Library Archive Photo of Vineyard--