It would be difficult to assess who was the blackest sheep in the Brannack fold, but Julia’s brother, Charles Edgar Brannack might be a good candidate.
In January 1882, Charles and his nephew, Fred Wermuth (the two of them only a year apart in age) were involved in a barroom brawl in Calaveras County. Charles and Fred along with their friends, a pair of cousins named Thomas and Robert Pope had gone quail hunting. The four men, none older than 23, packed their hunting gear, including four shotguns, and camped in a deserted cabin in the Sierra foothills. On Friday evening they traveled to the town of Camanche, and after a period of drinking in John Cavagnero’s general store, they got into a row with each other, breaking up furniture, glassware and windows. Henry Cavagnero, John’s brother, sent word to John who came in, calmed the men down and got them out into the street. Back inside, the Cavagnero’s heard someone in the street yell, “Look, he’s going to shoot!” whereupon Charles Brannack rushed back inside, leveled his shotgun at Henry and exclaimed, “Shall I shoot the son of a bitch?” And he did! Cavagnero was seriously injured, shot entering in his head and neck. Another man standing by him, Michael Fox, was also struck with shot in his nose.
The four ruffians took off in a wagon at break-neck speed, headed for Lodi. The wagon hit a stump, threw some of the men and some of the shotguns which fired as they hit the ground. The Pope cousins, one of whom was wounded on his head, turned themselves in the next morning, but were later discharged. Charles Brannack was arrested and jailed in Sacramento, though no charges were brought against Fred Wermuth. In July, Brannack was sentenced to two years imprisonment at San Quentin prison for shooting Cavagnero. It appears Henry Cavagnero survived.
Any time he may have served in prison did little to improve Charles Brannack’s behavior. In November 1887, the Santa Cruz police chief and another officer witnessed a man purchase opium. The two followed him, trying to find his “joint” – the place where he would smoke the entrancing drug. They followed him to Lyman Brannack’s barn . The officers saw a light in the upper part of the barn. Stepping to the door, the officers were confronted by Charles Brannack, the son of the owner, carrying a lantern in one hand and a shotgun in the other. Seeing the officers, Brannack blew out the light. They seized Brannack, and upstairs in the barn found there a regular opium joint. They arrested Brannack and confiscated all the paraphernalia. Charles Brannack and fellow smoker, Henry Horn, were brought before Justice Skirm, who fined Brannack $100 and Horn $25, and while Brannack was able to pay his fine, Horn could not and was sentenced to $25 in jail.
By the time Charles Brannack was arrested in Santa Cruz, his sister had been married to her third husband, Meliton Achard, a Frenchman, and at last a husband near to her own age…. More next week about Julia’s marriage to Mr. Achard.
 It appears that Henry Cavagnero was likely John Cavagnero’s brother-in-law per the 1900 census. - US Census 1900 Year: 1900; Census Place: Jenny Lind, Calaveras, California; Roll: 84; Family History Film: 1240084; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 1038; lines 36-43, accessed through Ancestry.com 29 January 2017
 San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Jan 1882, page 8 “A Barroom Brawl” and Sacramento Daily Union, 23 Jan 1882, page 1, “Result of a Carouse”
 San Francisco Bulletin, 22 July 1882, page 2, “State News Items”
 US Census 1900 Year: 1900; Census Place: Jenny Lind, Calaveras, California; Roll: 84; Family History Film: 1240084; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 1038; lines 36-43, accessed through Ancestry.com 29 January 2017
 Santa Cruz Daily Surf, 5 November 1887, page 1, col 5. “Opium Smokers Arrested”
“Sentinel Jottings,” Santa Cruz Sentinel (Santa Cruz, California) 06 Nov 1887, Page 3, col 1, accessed through Newsapapers.com 29 January 2017
Last we saw of Lyman Brannack, he had recently settled a law suit in Santa Cruz, California. To catch up, see my blog post, 'Here a Court Case, There a Court Case.
Shortly after he settled a lawsuit in Santa Cruz, Lyman decided to take a trip to Pontiac, Michigan, perhaps to see family. In any event, while he was there, he met a Mrs. Hagerman and after a whirlwind courtship they decided to get married, notwithstanding his marriage to Sarah. They were to have been married in Pontiac, but were worried about Mrs. Hagerman’s former husband, so they stole away and were married at Niagara Falls. They left for England. It was there that the new Mrs. Brannack learned that her husband had a legal wife in California. Upon her return from England, she writes to James Briggs, a friend of Lyman Brannack from Santa Cruz:
"Mr. James Briggs, Most Respected Sir. – It is with humility and under the most painful circumstances that I attempt to address you as I am the lady upon which Mr. L. H. Brannack practiced so much deception. I married Mr. B. in good faith that he was all he represented himself to be. I was wholly innocent in this matter and while I feel most deeply humiliated yet I committed no sin or crime.
"I had been, as I supposed, his legal wife just four weeks to a day, when a letter came from my dear children informing me of the fact that Mr. B. had a living wife. I asked him if the statement were true and he said it was. I never lived with him another hour as his wife after that, but immediately acted upon the advice of my dear daughter and sailed alone by first homeward bound steamer for New York. While I greatly deplore the step I took, yet I feel that I was not to blame. I am very proud and my family has ever stood above reproach and we feel all this very keenly. It has subjected me to much newspaper notoriety which is very mortifying to us all. I feel very sorry for all Mr. Brannack’s people, especially his present wife and his children. It is a most lamentable thing all around. I have returned to my own city and my many friends who crowd around me and say “You have our sympathy, we know you were not to blame.” Now Mr. Briggs, Mr. Brannach told me to write to you and ascertain from you what his reputation and standing had ever been in Santa Cruz, and where he had lived. Of course, after Mr. B. had so grossly deceived me I could not place much confidence in anything he told me and he referred me to you. Did Mr. Brannack own certain property in Santa Cruz, some lots described as follows?
"Now, Mr. Briggs, I wish to know if Mr. Brannack was the bona fide owner of these lots when he left Santa Cruz for his trip to Europe and if he still owned them up to July 1st, 1889, and if there was any incumbrance [sic] on the same, and will you please give me your estimate of their value. Mr B. told me to write to you as soon as I arrived home, and said you would give me any information I might wish concerning him. How much is Mr. Brannack considered worth as to property? Please make immediate reply, as I am very anxious to know.
Respectfully yours, Frances M. Hagerman"
While the former Mrs. Hagerman is “deeply humiliated” she’s also quite curious about just how much money she might have come into on her marriage to the deceptive Lothario whom she wed so quickly. In fact deeds sent by Mrs. Hagerman to the Santa Cruz County Clerk were filed on 24 July 1889. They were deeds for two pieces of property from Lyman Hibbard Brannack to Frances M. Hagerman, dated July 1, 1889 and were made in the city of London, England, describing property in Santa Cruz including several lots in one area, as well as another parcel with a house and improvements. According to the paper, “the entire property deeded by Brannack to Mrs. Hagerman is worth from $2,500 to $3,000. 
The legal Mrs. Brannack had filed for divorce when she determined that Brannack did apparently go through with the marriage to Mrs. Hagerman. In late August, Mrs. Hagerman-Brannack traveled to Santa Cruz to see “her” property. She sat down for an interview with The Daily Surf, and bore a letter from her attorneys in Michigan, supported by the signatures of many leading citizens of Pontiac. Interestingly, the supportive letter notes that she had been married to Francis Hagerman for a number of years until he became intemperate and abusive of her, but fails to mention that she had spent a term at the Kalamazoo Insane Asylum (where she was at the time the 1880 census was taken) and lectured publically about her time in the asylum. In October, Mrs. Sarah Brannack was granted a divorce on the grounds of bigamy. Mrs. Hagerman relinquished all the deeds to property in Santa Cruz and returned to Michigan. It does not appear that Lyman Brannack returned to the United States, preferring to remain abroad rather than face bigamy charges.
Mrs. Sarah Brannack was not quite done with her husband’s family when she received a good portion of real and personal property in October of 1889. In March of the following year, she was sued by Mrs. Sarah A Clapp, Lyman’s daughter, for some personal property. It seems that Lyman Brannack induced Thomas Clapp, Sarah’s husband, to leave a lucrative situation in Tulare county and make his home in Santa Cruz with his wife. Brannack gave the property involved, a stationery engine, two wagons, a buggy, two horses, harness, etc and a colt to Sarah Clapp. Sarah Brannack had received this property originally as part of her divorce settlement from Lyman, but the judge in Clapp v. Brannack ruled in favor of Mrs. Clapp. The paper lamented that the family’s dirty linen was taken to Court to be washed.
More next week - Like Father, Like Son - Julia's brother Charles Brannack has problems of his own....
 The Daily Inter Ocean, 23 July 1889 “She Married a Married Man”
 Santa Cruz Daily Surf 26 July 1889, page 3 “Brannack’s Badness”
 Santa Cruz Daily Surf 25 July 1889, page 3 “Brannack’s Benevolence”
 Santa Cruz Daily Surf 27 June 1889, page 1
 Santa Cruz Daily Surf 5 June 1889, page 3, “Brannack’s Bigamy”; 1880 US Census Year: 1880; Census Place: Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan; Roll: 586; Family History Film: 1254586; Page: 199A; Enumeration District: 134; Image: 0399, line 46
 Santa Cruz Daily Surf 9 Oct 1889
 Santa Cruz Daily Surf 9 Oct 1889, 21 March 1890, page 3
More than ten years ago while researching the death of my great-great uncle’s wife, I stumbled upon a character who has fascinated me ever since. I’ve researched Julia and her family in newspapers, census records, city directories and coroner’s inquests, and each story I find makes me want to dig deeper and learn more…
I originally wrote the post below as part of an article I aspired to publish in a Calfornia genealogical society periodical in the hopes that one of Julia's descendants might stumble upon it and want to connect with me. However the publisher felt the proposed article (at 5000+ words) was too long and I struggled with editing out any of the many good parts, so it was never published.
Two days ago, however, I had the most delightful email from Linda, Julia's great-great granddaughter who found the family tree I posted about Julia on Ancestry.com. We've had a couple of long phone conversations and she even sent me a picture of Julia. Linda is happy to have this information about Julia and her family out there,warts and all. In the coming weeks, as my Sunday Stories blog posts, I will run all the sections of those 5000+ words I wrote. Enjoy!
I first met Julia in 1901. Even then, I wasn’t sure what her name was. It might have been Achard, it might have been Shiland. It took me years to figure out which was the right one – and why there might have been any question in the first place.
I encountered Julia from the newspaper articles about Sarah Ahern’s death.
“The Bulletin says ‘With her lips sealed as to who gave her the medicine which caused her death, Mrs. Sarah Ahern of Tiburon died suddenly Friday. The circumstances surrounding the case are such that arrest may follow the investigation made by the coroner.’” Before her death, Sarah “…would say nothing other than that a friend had given her medicine. After her death, however, Mr. Ahern found a small box and some cards bearing the name of Mrs. J.A. Achard of 415a Third Street, San Francisco. Coroner Eden was notified and held an inquest. The facts as above stated were brought out, and Dr. W.J. Wickman, the coroner's physician made an autopsy, finding that the woman was a victim of malpractice and that death was due to septicema. James Ahern, the husband, remembered seeing Mrs. Shiland visiting his wife. Mrs. Shiland was called as a witness, and was put through a rigid examination. She admitted calling on Mrs. Ahern, but denied giving her any medicine or attending her. This is the second time she has been called before the coroner's jury. Three years ago she was a witness in a San Francisco case. The jury was given the case and returned a verdict that Mrs. Ahern came to her death from blood poisoning, due to causes unknown.”
Another article indicated that the box contained pills, and that the doctors who treated Sarah after Mrs. Achard left “stated their belief that she was suffering from the effect of medicine given her by a malpractitioner.”
What were these pills? I suspected that Sarah might have committed suicide. Her fifteen-month-old daughter, Agnes Jane, had drowned February 15, 1900, after wandering into a tidal lagoon behind the family home. Could Sarah have secured some pills which would put an end to her personal grief and perhaps her guilt? Perhaps if I could find Mrs. J.A. Achard I might learn something about what those pills might have been.
More next week…
 For more about Sarah Ahern, see my blog posts from January 2016, “Suffer the Little Agnes Ahern,” “One Loss Leads to More,” and “Discover Leads to Understanding” at http://www.mkrgenealogy.com/searching-for-stories-blog/archives/01-2016
 The Marin Journal, 16 May 1901
 San Francisco Chronicle 12 May 1901, page 11 “Died of Septicaemia”
 San Francisco Call, 16 February 1900, page 4, “Mother Finds the Body of Her Child”
4, “Mother Finds the Body of Her Child”
Mary Kircher Roddy is a genealogist, writer and lecturer, always looking for the story. Her blog is a combination of the stories she has found and the tools she used to find them.