At 4 p.m.
on April 11, 1901, Captain Edward A. Reddy took his last
breath, succumbing to the affects of a stroke which had left
him in paralysis since July of the previous year. The much
loved, captain was touted in the obituaries of the San
Francisco papers as being “genial, kindly and generous to a
fault, always ready to assist a friend at whatever sacrifice
of his own time or money.” Captain Reddy earned his title
in 1884 when he was appointed Captain of the Guard at the
San Quentin State Prison, by Warden General McComb.
Portrait of Capt. Edward A. "Ned" Reddy accompanying
his death notice in the San Francisco Call,
April 11, 1901. Reddy held the rank of Captain of
the Guard at San Quentin State Prison. His obituary
described him as "one of the best-known men in the
State." Reddy's early days were less auspicious.
Reddy worked in this capacity until 1891, when he went on to
pursue other interests. By 1895, the Board of Health
selected by California Governor Budd, appointed Reddy to the
position of superintendent of the Almahouse. Under his
direction, this institution was completely free of flaw or
scandal. Captain Reddy was survived by two children from a
previous marriage, and his current wife, Mrs. Carrie Reddy.
Mrs. Reddy served as matron at the Almahouse during her
husband’s term as superintendent. Thousands of Californians
would mourn Captain Reddy’s death.
"Ned" Reddy was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, to Irish
immigrants. At age 16, he followed his older brother Patrick
to the California and Nevada mining camps. Pat started out
in the Sonora mines but would soon find himself in Aurora
during its boundary dispute between the two states, taking
advantage of the situation by collecting unpaid Mono County
warrants and declaring lawsuit against the Mono County
treasurer. Pat lost his case, but would later find his
forte in criminal law. Edward, now known as Ned, wound up in
Virginia City to try his hand at mining. When Pat went to
Virginia City to look up his brother Ned, he got in an
altercation during a card game and wound up with one arm
when it was all said and done.
had earned a reputation as the “terror of Aurora” in 1863,
but went on to study law and earn his title as the one armed
criminal lawyer. Ned would follow Pat wherever he went,
staking out mining interests for the two of them. He would
establish relationships in the boomtowns as a respected
saloon keeper and fearless gunfighter. Over the years, Ned
Reddy would live in Virginia City, Cerro Gordo, Columbus,
Panamint, Darwin, and Bodie, checking out gambling and
saloon opportunities while he kept on the lookout for
criminals in need of the legal services of his brother, Pat.
Reddy brothers obtained interests in many of the mines by
staking claims, registering them with the County Recorder,
and providing just enough work for the required assessments.
Pat would also buy up already patented claims from others,
then with his brother, Ned, they would buy shares of stocks
in the incorporated mines and properties. In essence they
were jumping claims, and receiving interests in it in
exchange for Pat’s legal services. By 1875 Pat was
frequenting tax sales of delinquent mining claims and gained
interests in at least eighteen mines in Cerro Gordo,
including the San Felipe, Guadalupe, Belmont, and the Union.
It has been said by some, the gun fighting prowess of the
Reddy boys may have played a part in their success in
obtaining claim rights.
It was in
Cerro Gordo, on Christmas Day, 1870, that Ned Reddy sealed
his reputation as gunfighter. According to an article that
appeared in the January 14, 1871 Inyo Independent,
Ned Reddy stepped in to keep the peace between James Cock
and Mart Sullivan at the saloon owned by John Hughes. The
two men fought, with the crowd taking sides both encouraging
and discouraging the fracas. Ned got into a clinch with Tom
Dunn and knocked him to the ground near the billiard table.
As Ned turned his back and went towards the water barrel,
Dunn pulled a gun and shouted “Clear the road! Fair play!”
A shout, “Look out Reddy!” and Ned quickly turned to shoot
Dunn through the right breast. Ned surrendered himself to
the Deputy Sheriff Joseph Duignan, later to be acquitted by
Justice Moore at the inquest.
involved in a few other incidents, details of which are
clouded by hazy reporting of local papers of the time. In
Bill O’Neal’s “Encyclopedia of Gunfighters” documented
gunfights and confirmed skills of gunfighters are tabled,
with Ned Reddy’s six incidents over his life time earning
him a place in the same ranks with Doc Holiday, Pat Garret
and Luke Short, and ahead of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson,
Jesse James, John Ringo and the Sundance Kid.
1871 advertisement from the Inyo Independent
for Ned Reddy's Saloon in Cerro Gordo.
quick on the draw in touchy situations and staking out
mining interests for his lawyer brother was just one aspect
to Captain Edward “Ned” Reddy’s early history. He owned at
least three saloons in the southern mining camps, where
gambling and drinks could be had in the finest ambience of
the day. His saloon in Cerro Gordo was known simply as Ned
Reddy’s Saloon. In Panamint City he was touted for his hard
reputation, as owner of the most elegant Independent Saloon.
When Darwin started to boom, his Capital Saloon was the
first frame building built. John Wilson, who sold the Reddy
boys the Defiance Mine, was Ned’s partner in the business.
Even in Bodie, following some time investigating mining
opportunities in Tombstone and the Arizona Territory, 1882
newspapers show Ned Reddy as one-half owner of the Parole
Throughout his life, Ned Reddy had his eye on politics and
the law, much as his brother did. True to form, when Pat
Reddy arrived back in Bodie in April 1879 to establish
residence with his wife, Ned was there a month ahead of him
with “kid gloves and carriages for the next prospecting
outfit, if you please” according to P.A. Chalfant. While Pat
worked on law cases for the bad men of Bodie and made the
rounds of its saloons swapping drinks and tall stories, Ned
found himself nominated by Democrats for the sheriff of Mono
County. As candidate he was chosen for Grand Marshal in a
Democratic campaign of 1880.”In the probably event of his
election, there will be no foolishness among the roughs
while Ned is around,” the Inyo Independent reported.
Ned, like all Democrats, that year, lost to the Republicans
in spite of endorsement by local papers.
was definitely a man with many faces and wore many hats,
from 1844 when it is believed he was born, until his death
in 1901. At one point he was offered the position of
Postmaster of Darwin, but turned it down without giving
reason. He was quick to try his hand at musical skills,
however, when the need arose for a brass band in Darwin. T.S.
Harris of the Coso Mining News headed the six man
ensemble with Constable Billy Welch on the horn, and Ned on
the tuba. Instruments were ordered and an instructor hired
to teach them all how to play. The newspaper declared, “we
have no doubt some if not all of them will succeed.” The
Darwin Brass Band did indeed succeed in it’s musical
endeavors, just in time to sponsor the Independence Day
Grand Ball, which was described as the “finest affair of its
kind” passing with “ no accidents or serious disturbances of
any kind worth mentioning.”
and his brother Pat are forever immortalized in history. In
Bodie, the Pat Reddy residence still stands today. In Cerro
Gordo, the home of the first chapel in the towns history was
formerly known as Ned Reddy’s garage, and stories of the
brothers are told over the saloon in the restored American
Hotel. A street sign in Darwin is still proclaimed Reddy
Street. Much as they followed each other back and forth
from each of the mining towns to another, the brothers
followed each other within less than a year to the grave,
with Pat Reddy paving the way. Ned’s fearless reputation
was earned up and down the rough and rugged mining towns
serving him well until his death as Captain Edward A. Reddy
of San Quentin and the Almahouse.
photo) This image from the L. D. Gordon Collection
taken about 1916 shows a building to the left of the
tram tower in the center of the photo that was
called "Ned Reddy's Garage" in later years. The
building is not present in earlier photos. Reddy had
a saloon, but not a garage in Cerro Gordo. It's
possible the "garage" sits on the former site of
(Bottom photo) Present day image of Cerro Gordo.
Mike Patterson converted the Ned Reddy "garage"
building into a combination chapel and theatre.
Captain Edward Reddy Dies At
Post of Duty
The San Francisco Call newspaper, Thursday, April 11,
The Fighting Reddy Brothers
of the Eastern Sierra
by Robert P. Palazzo
The Album 1996-Times & Tales
Chalfant Press Inc.
From This Mountain Cerro
by Robert C. Likes and Glenn R. Day
Community Publishing, 1974
Gunfighters Highwaymen and
by Roger D. McGrath
University of California Press, 1984
Looking Back At Cerro Gordo
by Robert C. Likes
RoseDog Books, 2010
The Silver Seekers
by Remi Nadeau
Crest Publishers, 1999