About Narcisso Rodriguez
On January 21 1871, Narcissio was arrested for assault following a shooting and cutting scrape with “Chino” Marcus Perez at Branciforte. He was out on bail awaiting trial when Tiburico Vasquez and Barcenas rode into town. He and brother Gracia were quick to cast their lot in with the gang. The gang moved south traveling through San Benito County passed the New Idria mines and set up headquarters in the isolated region of the Cantua Canyon.
On August 10, 1871, a Wells-Fargo stage left Gilroy carrying passengers and a strong box heading for Visalia. Suddenly as they approached Soap Lake, Vasquez, Barcenas and 20 year-old Narcissio Rodriguez, all heavily armed rode out of an arroyo and got the drop on the driver. As the coach came to a stop, the gang ordered the driver down and the male passengers out of the stage. While the men were being forced to put their money and other valuables in a canvas bag, Narcissio Rodriguez began to ransack the coach. True to the tradition of all Spanish highwaymen, the women were not robbed or molested in any way. As a matter of fact, one of the female passengers managed to move the strong box under her skirts so that it was untouched.
After securing several thousand dollars in plunder, the gang cut the string of horses free and ran them off. They tied the men to the wheels of the stage and ordered them to stay put under the threat of death. Mounting up, the Tiburico Vasquez gang rode off along the road to San Juan. As they moved through the countryside, they robbed anyone and everyone they happened upon - adding to their booty. Passing over the mountains on the San Juan Grade Road they rendezvoused with Gracia Rodriguez and set up camp in the thick scrub brush of Corral de Tierra the home of uncle Tiburico Vasquez grandfather of Benito Robles wife.
After they had left, Gracia Rodriguez, who had watched all of this from his hiding place in the bushes, mounted up and scurried off to hide out at the ranch of his Uncle Secundo Robles at Mayfield in the Santa Clara Valley.
Once back in town, Lincoln and his posse lodged the Lorenzana’s in a jail cell next to Narcissio Rodriguez, where no doubt they quickly passed the news of the gunfight on to the stage robber. Francisco Barcenas’ body was placed in a wooden coffin and was displayed on the sidewalk outside the Sheriffs office on Front Street.
A few days later, the Lorenzana’s were released and Narcissio Rodriguez was transferred to the Santa Clara County to await trial on the charge of Robbery.
His trial was held in Superior Court on October 14, 1871 and he was found guilty of all charges. The Judge gave him a sentence of five years in States Prison at San Quentin - where he joined his brother Jose Rodriguez. However, he was destined not to complete his full sentence.
Right from the beginning of his incarceration he was far from a model prisoner. He was always at odds with the authorities and using any excuse to dodge his work detail. It was his usual tact to fein illness so that he could be sent to the prison infirmary. There he had a friend who would supply him with medical alcohol which he would mix with other ingredients to make a potent drink. Unfortunately, however, on August 24, 1873, the wrong mixture proved to be a lethal poison and Narcissio Rodriguez died an agonizing death and was buried in the prison cemetery.
LOS BANDITOS DE BRANCIFORTE