May 16, 1903 – The wagon of traveling salesman Xerxes A. Phillips was broken into while it was parked in front of Switzer & Boyd’s stable, which was located on the northwest corner of Albion and Lansing Streets. According to the Beacon, “A box containing about seventy-five ladies’ shirt waists [blouses] was taken and about a dozen pairs of shoes were missing.”

Peddler and customer standing in front of wagon with four children in foreground.

Peddler and Wagon on Howard Street, 1903. Photograph of traveling salesman Xerxes A. Phillips and Mrs. Adaline Chambers standing on the street near her home on Howard Street in Mendocino with four children. She is shopping from a four-wheeled caravan drawn by two horses. (Photographer: Martin Mason Hazeltine)

A few days later, “the shirt waists were found in the clump of blackberry bushes near the foot of the incline by Joe Pacheco. The goods had evidently been thrown away by the robber after he discovered their character. The shoe boxes were picked up in another part of town, but none of the shoes was found. There is no clue to the robber.”

The theft didn’t deter Phillips from selling his wares. The Beacon announced his return to town about once a month during the remainder of that summer, and the following February he opened a dry goods store in Crescent City.

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