45-year-old Edmund Manwell was going to leave Monday with his family of eight to Grass Valley for a vacation when he was asked Sunday to help stop trouble at a Wheatland Ranch.
Manwell, then the district attorney for Yuba County, never came back home on Aug. 3, 1913. He was shot and killed, as was a deputy sheriff and two hop pickers, in what became known as the Wheatland Hop Riot at the Durst Ranch. Two organizers for the Industrial Workers of the World were convicted of murder in Manwell’s death.
Historian David Vaught wrote about the 1913 riot in his book “Cultivating California.” Vaught says inadequate sanitation and water supplies meant the Durst Ranch owners took advantage of hop pickers. But, Vaught says, so did the IWW union.
Vaught says publicity was the oxygen that fed the radical 20th century union and that the IWW went to Wheatland in search of trouble.
The 600-acre Durst Ranch, where the hop riot happened in Yuba County, is now proposed for residential development.