A highway plaque has vanished that pays tribute to a deadly gunfight in Kings County back in 1880. The original marker still sits in Kings County, on Avenue Fourteen a few miles northwest of Hanford.
The Mussel Slough Tragedy was a deadly gunfight between farmers and U.S. Marshals. Farmers didn't want the railroad to encroach on their land and they died for the cause. In all seven people were killed.
The monument near Hanford was dedicated in February 1950. A similar landmark was placed in Selma on Golden State Highway but the plaque was recently stolen. The only difference is the Selma plaque has an arrow on the top that indicates the real plaque is 18 miles down the road.
KMPH News contacted the State Parks Department, but no one was aware that the Selma plaque existed.
The Mussel Slough Shootout was more deadly than the shootout at the O.K. Corral but it never generated the press clippings as Tombstone Arizona.
The Hanford Carnegie Museum has a Colt pistol and a 12 gauge muzzle loader shotgun used in the gunfight. The pistol belonged to John D. Purcell. Purcell survived the gunfight but he spent eight months in jail with four other farmers for resisting a federal officer.
Mussel Slough is a tragedy dating back 133 years. A marker that recalls that bloody day has vanished and since the state didn't know it existed it doesn't seem likely it will be replaced.