In the early morning hours of November 18, 1858, William “Tipperary Bill” Morris, a 28-year-old native of Ireland, entered John Evans’s saloon on Pacific Street near Dupont (Grant Avenue). There he engaged the waitress, Elizabeth Riley, in small talk in Irish. At some point the conversation must have then switched to English, for when Morris asked Riley if she would like to “drink a glass of piss,” another patron, Richard Doak, the 23-year-old mate of a recently arrived bark, remonstrated with him. Morris told Doak to mind his own business and, to emphasize his point, brandished a large revolver. Evans, the establishment’s proprietor, ordered Morris out of the place.
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