Survey number:      Owner:      Date of discovery:

Hill Brothers

In 1915 the Hill Brothers, of Johannesburg, excavated for a 40 x 50 foot garage across from the Houser Hotel. They stayed in business at this location until sometime in 1917 when they sold out to R.O. Rinaldi.  This is just to the left of the old barbershop complex on Butte Avenue

R. O. Rinaldi- Rinaldi’s Garage

In November of 1917 an advertisement appeared in the local newspaper stating that M. S. Moist and W. B. Herrington were not then nor had they ever been associated with the automobile business known as Rinaldi’s Garage and would not be responsible for any debts associated therewith.  In the same paper was an announcement that M. S. Moist and W. B. Herrington were now doing business in the general repair, sales and accessories in the automobile line at the location of the former Hill Brothers Garage.

It appears from these advertisements that R. O. Rinaldi had taken over from the Hill Brothers and then in November of 1917 the Garage was taken over by Moist & Herrington.

M. S. Moist & W. B. Herrington- Central Garage

As stated above it appears that M. S. Moist and W. B. Herrington took over the old Hill’s Brother’s Garage location from R. O. Rinaldi in November of 1917 and ran it until sometime in 1919 when the business was taken over by Witt & Thomson.

Ford Garage

This garage is listed in the 1920 business directory but no name of the proprietor is given.

N. B Wilcox — Vucanizing

Mr. Wilcox has an advertisement in the November 10, 1917 Golden State Miner and is listed in the 1920 business directory as providing vulcanizing services in Randsburg. He was still providing these services in 1928 as evidenced by a billhead that was once in the author’s collection.

Rose Brothers

Sometime between 1918 and 1920 the Rose Brothers, Herbert E., Frank H. and Frederick T. came to Randsburg and opened a garage. In addition to their garage business they had the Chevrolet motor car dealership for the area.  In 1922 they appear to have sold their garage to Mr. Anderson.  Frank Rose, however, was still plying his trade as mechanic in Randsburg in 1924.  4

C. A. Fernald—

A receipt, dated January 1, 1919, in the collection of Derik English shows that C. A Fernald was the proprietor of the Desert Garage and Machine Shop in Randsburg. It is believed that sometime during that year he sold out to the Frazer Brothers.

C. Goodrich

The Goodrich Garage ran by C. Goodrich was advertised in the June 7, 1922, edition of the Rand District News

Wood Brothers

The Wood Brothers Garage ran was advertised in the June 7, 1922, edition of the Rand District News

Stewart and Neil Fraser – Desert Garage

A listing in the 1920-business directory for the state of California shows that the Fraser Bros. was operating a garage in Randsburg.  This listing places them in business in 1919 in order to be listed in the 1920 directory. A receipt in the collection of the author shows that sometime during the 20’s the Fraser’s operated the Desert Garage and provided automobile repairing and machine work.

November 23, 1921:  “FOR SALE—Garage in Randsburg, doing good business. Cash or terms. See of write Fraser Brothers at Tehachapi, Calif. –Bakersfield Californian

Samuel M. Iles

Mr. Iles is listed as being a garage man in Randsburg in 1924, where he had the Chevrolet agency for the area.

Flint – Star Garage — Hardie B. Witt & James N. Witt

In 1924 James and Hardie were conducting a garage and had the dealership for the Star automobile in Randsburg.  The Star Garage was located on Butte Ave. in the vicinity of the parking lot for the present day Opera House Cafe and the Post Office.  The Witt family originally came to the Rand District in 1903 where they were employed in the Yellow Aster mine and had independent mining interests in the Rademacher district.

“Kills One and Fatally Wounds Companion During Dispute Over Land RANDSBURG. Aug. 2.— A double tragedy in which two men were shot, one killed and the other dangerously, wounded, occurred six miles west  of Garden Station this morning. The story was brought in by J. N. Witt, who did the shooting.
There had been difficulty over Witt and a man named Cheeseborough jumping a claim owned by M. S. Taritington and “Bradford Peck Jr.  Witt say he was living in his own house with  his family and was just preparing to go camping to the mountains this morning when Peck and Tarkington came into his yard and began ‘-to drive a stake. He ordered them off and went toward them carrying Winchester Rifle, and when within
a dozen feet of Peck shot him through the heart and then turned the gun on Tarkington, shooting him through the face and neck.  Tarkington begged him not to shoot again and got to hls feet, starting for a railroad camp several miles away.  Word was received after
word  that he reached the camp, fainting as he arrived, and it is thought he is mortally wounded. His family lives In Tulare and Peck’s father lives in Fresno. Witt brought his family to Johannesburg and came over and gave  himself up.

August 4, 1908: “DEATH OF PECK CLIMAX OF FORMER QUARRELS Fatal Tragedy at Randsburg Had Been Preceded by Much Trouble Between Principals in the Shooting Special to The Herald. SAN BERNARDINO. Aug.  The killing of Bradford Peck near Randsburg yesterday by J. N. Witt is not the first trouble the two men have had. Last winter Peck secured a warrant for Witt’s arrest and the officer went from here to serve it. On arriving at Johannesburg he found that Wittelived in Kern county and that the crime charged, if committed, had been committed there, so he did not serve the papers. He also found evidence which convinced him that Peck was the offending party, if anyone was, and that Witt was highly respected by the business men and others of that section. The officer Is said to have unearthed facts that indicated that Peck had tried to entice Witt’s boy away; that in fact, on several occasions he had taken him for trips lasting days, and the boy made statements that reflected seriously on Peck. It is believed here that this may have had something to do with the killing of Peck yesterday by Witt.” –The Herald

The Ogden Standard (Ogden City, Utah) reported that an application for the extradition of Horace B, Witt of Randsburg. Cal., on a charge of murder in connection with a shooting that occurred March 30, 1902 near the North Carolina-Tennessee state line, was under advisement. After a hearing in the governor’s office affidavits were presented in behalf of Witt, who is being detained in Bakersfield, Cal. to show that he killed two men in Monroe County, Tenn., in performance of his duties as a county constable The Indictment charged that the shooting occurred in Cherokee county, North Carolina.

April 29, 1908:  “WEALTHY MINER HELD IN BOND MYSTERY SURROUNDS CHARGE OF LARCENY IS ARRESTED ON TELEGRAPHIC INSTRUCTIONS. Bradford Peck, Well Known Investor, Gains His Liberty on a Writ of Habeas Corpus.  Bradford Peck, a prominent mining man with interests in Kern county and other places, was yesterday placed under arrest by a deputy sheriff and taken to the county jail. There he remained from 11 o’clock in the morning until 5 o’clock in the afternoon, when he was released on bonds of $2000, following the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus by Judge James. Peck’s arrest followed the receipt of a telegram from David E. Thompson, a constable of Randsburg, which stated that Peck is charged with a felony. This was supplemented by a second telegram, which changed the charge to grand larceny. Peck immediately upon his arrest communicated with his attorney, Judge
W. A. Hutton, who suggested that the matter be handled by the firm of Davis, Rush & Willis. When Peck reached the court room he appeared mystified over the proceedings. “I cannot fathom what it is all about,” he said. “I have mining Interests near Randsburg, but so far as I know everything is in good shape there and I am puzzled to understand why I should be arrested.” Attorneys Davis and Hutton were also unable, to give any explanation of the arrest and said the arrival of the warrant would probably have to be awaited before any statement could be made.  The hearing on the writ of habeas corpus was continued until tomorrow at 2 o’clock. H. G. Weyse and Judge A. W. Hutton qualified as bondsmen for Peck, who will remain at his home, 218 Hope street, until ho again appears In court.” –Los Angeles Herald


Horace P. Witt Wished to Return to Face Murder Charge –Said He Was An Officer At the Time – Escaped to California and Reported Dead in His Home State.

Horace P. Witt, the alleged North Carolina feudist, who was arrested at the Kelly mine at Randsburg this week, by Deputy Sheriffs Yancey and Cornwall, on a charge of murder, is being held at the county jail pending the arrival of an officer from the east to take him back to stand trial on the grand jury indictment against him.  The crime, for which Witt is in custody, is said to have been committed in 1903, 16 years ago.

According to Deputy Sheriff Call Davis, Witt and his brother, James Witt, have lived in this county for different intervals for the past 15 years.  Horace Witt has been away from time to time and recently returned from Alaska.  His brother, James was working at the Kelly mine with him when arrested.

Witt has informed the deputy sheriffs that he intended to go back to North Carolina last spring and stand trial for the alleged crime; only lack of funds to make the trip and employ an attorney prevented him.  He stated that he would have preferred to have given himself up voluntarily, rather than wait for arrest, as it would have increased his chances for acquittal, he believes.

Both the Witt’s are quiet men, intelligent and characterized by the officers as being very likeable.  Will does not discuss the crime for which he was arrested, aside from saying that he was an officer at the time the shooting took place.

A feud between two groups of mountaineers, one living in Tennessee and the other in North Carolina, according to the police, resulted in the killing and in the flight of Witt, under the alias of George Baker, and another man, known only by the name of Roberts.  Witt, for whom the police of every state in the country have been searching, came to California and lived here under the name of Baker.  Roberts was traced from one state to another, but just as he was about to be arrested, 10 years ago, he died.  The authorities of North Carolina gave up all hope of ever locating Witt when information was received by them that he had perished in the mountains of Arizona.

CLUE IN LOS ANGELES—While investigation a burglary case about three weeks ago, Police Detective W. E. Mann of Los Angeles first came upon a clue to the famous killing.  After an investigation lasting several weeks he learned, he says, that George Baker was really Horace P. Witt, wanted for murder.  The Los Angeles police telegraphed to Sheriff P. C. Gentry at Murphy, N. C. for a certified copy of the grand jury indictment and informed his that Witt was in Los Angeles.  But by the time a reply was received, asking that Witt be arrested at once, the suspect had left.  A week later he was heard from at the Kelly mine at Randsburg.  Sheriff Newell was notified and Witt was arrested by him yesterday while at work in the mine.

IN TENNESSEE—Captain of Detectives Charles Moffit of Los Angeles, who directed the search which resulted in Witt being arrested, says that the slaying took place in Murphy, near the home of Emery Flowers, and that although a number of shots were exchanged, the slayers escaped without injury.  Sheriff Gentry wrote that Roberts and Witt crossed the state line from Tennessee into North Carolina at Coker, Tenn., and, armed with rifles, went to the home of Flowers.  Before he was aware of the presence of the enemy, Flowers was shot to death and the two slayers fled through a hail of lead from friends and relatives of the dead man.  Both eluded pursuit and got away to the west, where Roberts died six years later.  Proof of his death was secured by Sheriff Gentry.

Within a month of the shooting both Witt and Roberts were indicted by the grand jury and warrants charging them with murder sworn out.  Every police department and sheriff in the United States was notified to arrest them.  The man supposed to be Witt was located in Los Angeles and the police were about to place him under arrest when a wire from Sheriff Gentry stating that no witnesses to the shooting could now be found, delayed action.  About two weeks ago a second telegram, from Sheriff Gentry notified Captain Moffit to arrest Witt, as witnesses had been located.  A copy of the grand jury indictment was also wired to this city.  When detective Mann called at Baker’s home they learned that he had left Los Angeles a week before and was somewhere in the mountains near Bakersfield.”  — Bakersfield Californian

August 05, 1919: “NORTH CAROLINA CALLS for Extradition Of a Murderer–SACRAMENTO, Cal.. Aug. 3 An application from the governor of North Carolina for the extradition of Horace B, Witt of Randsburg. Cal., on a charge of murder in connection with a shooting that occurred March 30, 1902. near the North Carolina-Tennessee state line, was under advisement.

Today after a hearing in the governor’s office affidavits were presented in behalf of Witt, who is being detained in Bakersfield, Cal. to show that he killed two men in Monroe eounty, Tenn. in performance of his duties as a county constable the indictment charged that the shooting occurred in Cherokee county, North Carolina.” - The Ogden standard. (Ogden City, Utah)

G. C. Hitt — Midway Service Station

The Midway Service Station was advertised in the Randsburg Times in January of 1925.  The service station, which was located midway up Butte Ave., provided gasoline, oil, and accesories.10

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