One of San Mateo County’s most efficient peace officers is Ferguson Owen, constable of the 2nd Township. As well as the important part Owen has played in the suppression of crime in his township, he has figured in many important criminal cases.
One of the best known is the capture of Nick Greelich, the highwayman, who assaulted Mrs. L. Guggenheim in the Home of Peace Cemetery. While a thousand officers were in pursuit of this criminal, Constable Owen cleverly worked out his own set of clues and tracked him into a saloon on the state highway. Working single-handed Owen had Greelich handcuffed before the desperate criminal even realized that Owen was looking for him. Greelich is now serving a twenty-five year sentence for highway robbery.
Three years ago Owen’s bravery saved the lives of a score of San Mateo citizens. A drink crazed Austrian was standing on a balcony on Main street shooting with a rifle at every passerby. Exposing himself to the fire of the maniac Owen took a dead aim at the man and shot him through the arm which held the gun.
By trade Constable Owen is a painter but he has had to put aside the brush most of the time because of his arduous duties as constable. He was born in Virginia City, Nevada on July 25, 1875 and has lived in California 35 years, eight of which were spent in this county. He is a member of the Eagles, the Knights of Pythias and the Masonic orders.
Transcribed by Betty Wilson
Source: History of San Mateo County by Philip W. Alexander & Charles P. Hamm page 156. Press of Burlingame Publishing Co., Burlingame, CA. 1916.
© 2004 Betty Wilson.
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