John “Sontag” Content

John “Sontag” Content

Birth
Mankato, Blue Earth County, Minnesota, USA
Death 3 Jul 1893 (aged 32)
Fresno, Fresno County, California, USA
Burial Fresno, Fresno County, California, USA
Memorial ID 13036516 · View Source
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Age 33 years, 6 months, 4 days

Sontag came to California to work for the Southern Pacific Transportation Company. He crushed a leg while coupling rail cars in the company yard in Fresno. He accused Southern Pacific of failure to care for his on-the-job wounds and then refusal to rehire him after he had healed.[2] In 1889, John Sontag was employed on a farm in Tulare County near Visalia by Christopher "Chris" Evans, a Canadian who had migrated to California. Evans was outraged over the dealings of the Southern Pacific, for high freight rates and the application of undue pressure to force landowners to sell their property to the railroad. The seizure of particularly valuable wheat-farming land is known as the Mussel Slough Tragedy.[3] Though called the Pacific and Southwestern, the Southern Pacific is the actual villain of Frank Norris' 1901 muckraking novel, The Octopus: A Story of California, a dramatization set in the San Joaquin Valley and stemming from the injustice of Mussel Slough.[3]

The date of his death is listed mistakenly on his headstone as 1892. He actually died July 3, 1893. His legal last name was Contant, he took the last name of his step-father. He was a famous alleged train robber. He died from wounds he got during a shootout with officers on June 11, 1893. His partner was Chris Evans and they were referred to as Evans and Sontag.


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  • Created by: David M. Habben
  • Added: 16 Jan 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 13036516
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John “Sontag” Content (27 May 1861–3 Jul 1893), Find A Grave Memorial no. 13036516, citing Calvary Cemetery, Fresno, Fresno County, California, USA ; Maintained by David M. Habben (contributor 835) .