Berry Wey, a man who murdered his mining partner Galleger to obtain $80,000 in gold dust, was the first man to be hanged in Canyon City — in 1863. Some men, discovering the body of Wey’s victim, reported to the miners in Canyon City, and Wey was trailed into Idaho to be captured by a deputy sheriff. Wey was taken from the custody of the deputy and, although given a temporary respite by the attempts of Ike Hare, who pleaded for him, was convicted in a miners court, sentenced to hang — and the next day hanged.
The second man to be hanged in Canyon City: In 1865, a man named Sullivan hired a man named Cain to help him work his placer claim. Sullivan didn’t know about mining, it seems — he had the idea that gold could be found any place along Canyon Creek, and did not realize that unless a pay streak was hit that he might not find anything.
He had told Cain that, when he cleaned up, Cain would get his money.
When Cain found that there was no gold to be cleaned up and that Sullivan couldn’t pay him, he pulled an old fashioned cap and ball pistol and shot Sullivan. Sullivan fell into the flume carrying Canyon Creek waters and floated away.
Cain was tried in the circuit court and, although defended by four lawyers, among them Joaquin Miller, the “Poet of the Sierras,” he was convicted and sentenced to hang. He was executed Aug. 3, 1865.