William Anderson aka “Norwegian Bill”
Date of Birth: 1836
Born In: Norway
Died: 6 Nov 1866
Cause of Death: Burned in Cabin
Death Location: Woodside
Burial Plot: PG
FindaGrave ID: 236646022
SAN MATEO COUNTY GAZETTE
Saturday, November 10, 1866
Doings of Rum, Two Men Burned up Alive
And their Bodies Nearly Consumed.
On Tuesday morning last, the cabin of Billy Walker, in Squealer Gulch, near Woodside, was burned, and with it two men were burned and their bodies almost entirely consumed. The principal facts in regard to this terrible catastrophe as far as can be ascertained, are as follows: On Monday night last, about 11 o'clock, Bill Walker, William Anderson alias Norwegian Bill, and Richard Duval alias Chapman pirate, left Kelly's store at Woodside, all badly intoxicated, but to be sure of keeping up steam enough to propel them home, they took along two bottles of schnapps. The party arrived at Walker's cabin some time that night, and near daylight, Billy Walker was awakened by fire around him, when he sprang up and succeeded in getting out of the door, and called to his companions to come out, but they failed to respond, and if any attempt was made to get out, they were too drunk, and bewildered to succeed, and were consumed by the devouring flames. Walker after finding that his companions were burned to death, immediately left for Redwood City in search of a Coroner, without even rescuing the lifeless bodies from the burning rubbish, but left them to be consumed by fire. We visited the scene of the disaster in company with Deputy Sheriff Whitlock, arriving up one spot about noon of Tues.
The scene was presented both shocking and revolting to the human mind, and which was unparalleled in all its aspects. No living being was present, except a large dog which was devouring what remained of the bodies. The upper portion of one of the men, apparently containing the lungs and heart, which were all exposed but burnt to a crisp, had been dragged by the dogs some ten or fifteen yards and partially eaten. What there was left of the men, still lay where the fire had consumed them, with the exception of what the dogs had disturbed. The heads, arms, and legs below the knees of the two men were completely gone. Fragments of the skulls were found burned into a white substance like lime. There was scarcely anything remaining to distinguish the blackened, deformed mass, as pertaining to the human kind. Near by, and in plain sight of the charred and mangled remains of these two victims of "schnapps," live a man and woman who were found beastly drunk, and unable to give anything like an intelligible account of the affair. Billy Walker escaped without further injury than a singed head and a momentary fright. There is no use in saying that the horrible fate of these two men ought to be a warning to others who are fair candidates for the same terrible end, for we now know that it will make no more impression on them than the burning of a dead dog.