Thanks to Charles Beal, (friend, historian, and Senior Land Surveyor for the County of Orange,) we now know a little more about the fate (and the exact location) of the hangman's tree in Precitos Canyon, as well as the historical marker/plaque that accompanies it.
"Using some of my previous research material, burn area aerial photos for the Santiago Canyon fire, and an old 1987 photo of the plaque that was found on the Internet lead us to the area. Just west of the Eastern Transportation Corridor (30-40 feet below the road elevation) near a ravine of trees, the foliage has grown high again since last year’s Santiago Canyon fire but the plaque remains... Coordinates for the plaque location are: N33° 45' 47" W117° 44' 00".The plaque can be seen in the photo above. It reads, "Under this tree, General Andres Pico hung two banditos of the Flores gang in 1857. Dedicated [by] El Viaje de Portola Ride, April 1967." At first, I was afraid the old tree was gone, because there isn't one immediately adjacent to the marker. But Phil Brigandi's comment gives me room for hope:
"I believe the actual tree is one of the larger ones on the left. It has (had?) a long, thick branch, parallel to the ground."
Viewliner Ltd. has posted a bunch of interesting photos from Orange County, dating from the 1960s, '70s, and early '80s. Go take a look.
Former Angels outfielder and author Jay Johnstone will speak at the June 12 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society. He will discuss "the wacky past of Angels baseball," including the 1960s, when Gene Autry brought the team from Los Angeles to Anaheim. The meeting begins at 7:30, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange.