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David Scannell
David Scannell
San Francisco Sheriff 1855 - 1856

David Scannell was born in New York on January 31, 1820. He arrived in San Francisco on the steamer "Gold Hunter" in 1851. Prior to winning his election he served as Undersheriff to Sheriff William Gorham. He was a very well educated man who as an officer served in the Mexican War with extraordinary distinction, which served as a testimonial to his bravery when running for the office of Sheriff. He was also praised for being free from the vices of "dissipation and gambling." His term of Sheriff was highlighted by articles in the local papers in which the citizens of the City were exhorted to "Hang Sheriff Scannell" for being in cahoots with the gambler Cora, who was in the county jail charged with murder. He was Sheriff during the Second Committee of Vigilance, and swore in special deputies to guard the jail from vigilantes attempting to hang the occupants. He was, however, unsuccessful, and two prisoners were taken in the charge of future Sheriff Charles Doane, who was at the time the Grand Marshal for the Committee of Vigilance and Major General in charge of the armed vigilante forces. Both prisoners were subsequently hanged.

Scannell did not seek reelection in 1856 . He went on to become the Chief Engineer of the San Francisco Fire Department, and was appointed Chief in 1871 when the Fire Department went from a volunteer organization to a professional one. He died March 31, 1893 at the age of 73, much beloved by the citizens of the City.

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