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Looking Back to 1932: Seven-year-old shoots self, largest ever voter turnout 


Looking Back Paso Robles

This look back at Paso Robles history comes from local newspapers in the Paso Robles Area Historical Society collection. News for this column is selected with the assistance of Research Director Jan Cannon. Newspaper photography by GiGi Green.

Excerpts from the Thursday, April 14, 1932, Paso Robles Advertiser:

Tot, 7 years, shoots self with rifle

Mary McCann, the seven-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.T. McCann, accidentally shot and killed herself shortly after six o’clock Tuesday evening while handling a .22 rifle at her home three miles north of Paso Robles.

The slight blond girl was playing alone in a bunkhouse about twenty feet from the house, when her older brother John, heard a shot, heard the girl scream, saw her run towards the house, and collapse in a heap midway between the two buildings. It was found that the bullet had entered her right breast, two inches below the collar bone, pierced the heart and came through the left side.

She bled to death internally before the doctor arrived.

It was thought that the girl had pulled the gun from a shelf in the bunk house and it was discharged as the trigger scraped on the rough side of the shelf. It will never be known what happened.

Mary McCann was born in Paso Robles and was a student at the San Marcos school, where she had been in attendance that day.

Besides her father and mother, she is survived by two brothers, John and Jimmy, and a sister, Irene.

Paso Robles in 1932

Click here to read the full front page.

Funeral services will be held Friday at 9 o’clock from the St. Rose Catholic church. Father Beacon will officiate at the mass and the interment will be in the Catholic cemetery.

The body is lying in Kuehl’s Funeral Parlor, pending a report from the district attorney’s office.

Largest vote ever cast here elects new P.R. civic leaders

Young elected treasurer in spirited contest; 831 votes cast to elect Dougherty, Gates, Orcutt and Mrs. Henry

With the largest number of votes ever polled in Paso Robles, the municipal election contest was decided Monday when Al Young won the city treasurership, D.H. Orcutt, W.G. Gates, and B.J. Dougherty, were elected city trustees and Mrs. Lillian Henry was elected city clerk.

Election officers were busy every minute of the day checking voters who stood waiting in line to vote. The interest evinced in the contests was shown by the large poll of 831 votes. Registration for this election closed on March 2, and the figures showing those registered up to March 24, reveal the number 987. This would make it appear that very nearly one hundred percent of those eligible cast their vote for one or another of the slates.

Election officers worked until after one o’clock at the city hall tallying votes.

Semi-official returns of the election as handed to the city clerk Tuesday by Election Inspector Susan B. Fox were:

For councilman

D.H. Orcutt—713
B.J. Dougherty—629
W.G. Gates—480
Bert Noyes—290
George Root—199

For city clerk

Lillian Henry—608
Leo Oberg—205

For city treasurer

Al Young—461
Bob Olden—353

Three absent voters ballots will be counted when the election returns are canvassed by the board of trustees at Monday’s session. At that time the present board will retire in favor of the new board, and Mayor C.S. Smith will pass the reins of city government to another.

The contest between Young and Olden was watched perhaps the most closely, as there has been much rivalry between the two banks represented by the two candidates to place their man in office.

The two candidates for trustee backed by the Federated Church Brotherhood lost out to the ticket in the field. As it happens, all three of the elected trustees have been elected to the city board before. Dougherty and Gates have both served the city as mayor, and Orcutt has just finished a four-year stretch as a city dad.

Mrs. Henry who was appointed to her position by the board one year ago, will now hold the position for four years as an elected officer.

Read previous Looking Back articles

Thank you to the sponsors of Looking Back

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

Jackie Iddings is a contributing reporter and photographer for the Paso Robles Daily News.