Unlocking History

Cemetery Tales: The cook and the teamster

Photos of a cook and a teamster over an 1890s photo of San Quentin prison cemetery.
William Bryant, left, and Amado Aragon are buried in the prison cemeteries at Folsom and San Quentin. (Background image: San Quentin cemetery circa 1890s, courtesy Mike Ahmadi)

This week’s Cemetery Tales features two men, a cook and teamster, who ended up in the San Quentin and Folsom prison cemeteries.

Amado Aragon, 58210, prison booking photo.
Amado Aragon, 1935.

The first is Amado Aragon, alias Amado “Cassanovas” Aragon, 58210, received at San Quentin on Oct. 26, 1935.

Los Angeles County Superior Court convicted him of forgery and passing false checks, each earning him up to 14 years with concurrent sentences.

Born in the Philippine Islands and employed as a cook, Aragon was 31 years old at the time of his incarceration.

Aragon died in San Quentin on July 30, 1938. He was buried in the prison cemetery.

No additional information could be found for Aragon.

Teamster targets immigrants

The second subject is William J. Bryant, 5959, received at Folsom State Prison on Jan. 8, 1905, for second-degree burglary out of Monterey County.

Gravestone with the numbers 5959 engraved on it.
Bryant’s grave marker at Folsom State Prison.

He and accomplice CC Copeland pleaded guilty and both were sentenced to five years.

According to a 1904 Associated Press report, Bryant and Copeland “entered a Japanese house on the McGowan ranch near Pajaro and robbed it. They then held up several Japanese on the road, both securing clothes, money and jewelry. Bryant was arrested in Pajaro with a (stolen) suit which he says Copeland gave him. He also gave other information which led to (Copeland’s) arrest.”

At the time of his incarceration, the Pennsylvania native was 22 years old.

His occupation is listed as a teamster. Back then, a teamster was someone who drove a wagon or farm equipment pulled by a team of horses, oxen, or mules.

According to prison records, Bryant had a parole date of Aug. 8, 1908.

Bryant did not live long enough to see parole. He died on June 13, 1907, and was buried in the Folsom State Prison cemetery.

By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
Office of Public and Employee Communications

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