In the late 1880s and early 1890s, Georgia-native Mace Mayes served as a constable in Lancaster. Mayes also owned and ran a saloon on Antelope Avenue where illicit and unlawful activities were often conceived.
Mayes and his nephew, Newton Morris, and several other accomplices were accused of running a cattle-rustling and raid ring within the Antelope Valley.
Mayes was later arrested by a fellow constable, Eli Cammer. The case of cattle-rustling was dubbed the “Crime and Trial of the 19th Century,” and was supervised by Judge Olcott Bulkley. The trial lasted ten days and it’s rumored that half of the Valley’s population attended.
Mayes was found guilty and convicted of grand larceny in 1895. He was sentenced to six years in San Quentin, while his nephew later became chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. After his release, Mayes’s life of crime continued, and he later returned to San Quentin for counterfeiting in 1902
"Gurba, Norma H. Legendary Locals of the Antelope Valley. Arcadia, 2013.
Photo courtesy of MOAH Collections"