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Blog: The Eviction of Honora Sullivan

Here's a bad way to react to an eviction notice.
sullivan
pistol and bullets

Two articles from The Enterprise and the South San Francisco Journal presented a story about an eviction gone wrong. In the June 3, 1921, issue, the newspaper related:

Miss Honora Sullivan is in the county jail at Redwood City for threatening Under Sheriff H. W. Lampkin and Deputy Sheriff T. C. McGovern with a gun. The trouble arose Sunday morning when Miss Sullivan returned from church and found her household possessions on the sidewalk in front of the house, where they had been deposited by the two officers on eviction proceedings instituted by Mrs. M. F. Healy, owner of the property. It is stated that Miss Sullivan will be held at the county jail for observation as to her sanity. If she is proven sane, she may be prosecuted on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

Miss Sullivan has for some time been occupying the property from which she was evicted, having originally leased same from the late (Mr.) M. F. Healy. Following Healy’s death Miss Sullivan refused to pay the rent, and an eviction suit was brought by Mrs. M. F. Healy as executrix of the estate.

On May 9th the case was heard before Superior Judge George H. Buck, and an order was issued for Miss Sullivan to vacate the premises. Under Sheriff Lampkin and Deputy T. C. McGovern decided to remove her property from the house while she was absent, and selected Sunday morning while she was at church as the time. The property was all removed and on the sidewalk when Miss Sullivan returned. Lampkin handed her the eviction papers, and she went to a trunk and pulled out a gun. Lampkin grabbed the weapon. After taking the gun away from her, Lampkin and McGovern took Miss Sullivan to Redwood City, where she was placed in jail.

There was a follow-up article in the same newspaper on the 17th about the new management of Sullivan’s estate and outlining the end result of the arrest:

A petition for the appointment as guardian of the property and estate of Miss Honora Sullivan, former resident of South San Francisco, was filed in the superior court Tuesday by Rev. Cornelius E. Kennedy of Redwood City, through attorney James T. O’Keefe.

Miss Sullivan was recently arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon when she attempted to use a gun when her property was removed from a house by Under Sheriff H. W. Lampkin and Deputy T. C. McGovern. She was afterward examined as to her sanity and committed to Agnews and the assault charge dismissed.

The applicant recites in his petition that he is familiar with her property, which consists of stock in the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company and cash in San Francisco banks.

So she went to a mental health facility and the whole episode proved, yet again, that it is never a good idea to pull a gun on a law enforcement officer.


Douglas MacGowan

About the Author: Douglas MacGowan

Doug MacGowan has authored seven books and countless articles, mainly about history and true crime. He has been a resident of Redwood City since 2000.
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