Saturday, July 4, 2015

Fourth of July in Farmington. So who's the boy?

Happy 4th of July. Hope you are enjoying a good one. Here is a partial re-post from a few years back.

If you have been paying attention, you should know the "boy" in the excerpt below. This is an easy one. How many more hints do you need!

"The Fourth of July in Farmington began with a fanfare from the town's brass band, resplendent in gold and white, rumbling down Main Street in a wagon pulled by a four-horse team. Later, in a shady grove by the river, there'd be fried chicken, iced lemonade, a baseball match, fireworks at a recitation of the Declaration of Independenceand always a lawyer over from the county seat to deliver the patriotic oration.

The boy would see the lawyer's horse and buggy at the hotel in the morning, and think 'how nice they were, and how much money a lawyer must make.' When the visitor got up to speak, the boy noticed his 'nice clothesa good deal nicer than those of farmers and other people who came to hear him talkand his boots looked shiny, as if they had just been greased.' He talked very loud, 'and seemed to be mad about something, especially when he spoke of the war and the Bridish (sic), and he waved his hands and arms a great deal.' On he went in the midday sun, about the flag, and the G.A.R., and because our people were such great fighters,' and how they must be 'ready to fight and to die' for that flag. The farmers clapped their hands and said the lawyer was 'a mighty smart man' and 'could talk louder than anyone we had ever heard.' The boy thought 'what a great man he was, and how [he himself] should like to be a lawyer.'"

So click comment at the bottom of this post and tell me who is the boy! Was he born in Farmington? 

Related: Sunday, July 4, 2010
The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

7/1/15 - The People's Daily - Morning Star

JTR Collection
I will continue to post articles from time to time that are related to the topics on this blog―all viewpoints are welcomed. Click on the link below to read this one.

One Big Union, Three Giant Labour Heroes

Two of the three mentioned in the article are pictured to the left: Gurley Flynn and Bill Haywood.

And of course Joe Hill. On my bookshelf. A good read.
JTR Collection


Saturday, May 21, 2011  

More Reader Comments, Joe Hill, Unions, Violence/Non-Violence, Harry Orchard, etc.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Idaho Statesman Editorial 6/26/2015

Governor Butch Otter

Statesman: Same-sex ruling puts to rest decades of debate

From the Idaho Statesman Editorial Board (click above for full editorial): "We feel it is time for those in this state who object to the ruling to live and let live, and for those who can see their way clear to love and let love. Idaho same-sex couples who are already married, and those who will be, are entitled to every legal benefit and every “for better, for worse, for richer and poorer” attraction the institution affords." (Statesman editorials are the unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesman’s editorial board. To comment on an editorial or suggest a topic, email 

I see this photo floating around that has given Governor Otter a bit of color. Although it was a far different time in our history, I like to think Governor Steunenberg would have been on the right side of this issue as he was in regards to Women Suffrage in Idaho in the late 1800's/early 1900's, which also elicited very strong points of viewwith suffragettes ridiculed, spat upon and even jailed because of their advocacy for voting rights. Although Governor Otter may not welcome the rainbow in regards to marriage equality, I would hope that if my great grandfather were governor today that he would view it favorably―despite the likely objections from many others in Idaho as were also voiced in regards to voting rights for women in his day. 

Gov. Steunenberg in rainbow color.

JTR Collection

Also in the Spokesman Review 6/3/1900: Woman Suffrage In Idaho
Read more here:

Read more h ere:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Monday, June 22, 2015

Who is Rose Flora? What could she tell us? What do you know about her? Are there any photos of Rose?

On the morning of December 30th, 1905:
"Their hired girl, Rose Flora, served up the austere breakfast prescribed by Adventists: wheat cereal, stewed fruit, perhaps an unbuttered slice of oatmeal bread (the sect believed that butter-like eggs, bacon, other meats, coffee, and teas—stimulated the 'animal passions')."

OK, so maybe not as as drama packed as the missing Jack Simpkins, but who is this disappearing Rose Flora? The brief, almost unnoticed, early appearance (p.16) of Rose in Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas is about all we know about her. She is not mentioned anywhere else in the book. Lukas, with his extreme attention to detail and indexing, does not even list Flora in the books index or page notes. 

So how long had she worked for the Steunenberg's, where did she live, was she in the house at the time of the explosion, what happened to her after Frank's murder, etc.? These and other questions linger, as Flora, we would assume, would have considerable insight as to the daily life of the Steunenberg family—a fly on the wall so to speak. How did Flora come to be working for the Steunenberg's, what happened to her, where did go, what family did she have.....

Here are a few facts from a quick check of census information and other records:

1885 Census: Rosella Flora was born 9/12/1884 in Larimer Couny, Colorado, the daughter of William and Susanna Flora. Seven other older siblings are listed.

1900 Census:  We see the family is in Cliffs, ID (Owyhee Co.) and Rose is age 16 with three brothers listed, Peter the oldest at 19 and three younger, Carl 15, Charles 14 and Elijah 11.

1908 Marriage Certificate: A marriage certificate was located and shows on August 18th, 1908, Rose married Joseph Lessman. Both Rosa and Joseph are listed as "of" Cliffs, ID. The marriage takes place in Caldwell, ID and is presided over by Clergyman, College of Idaho (COI) President, and Steunenberg friend and confidant, William Judson Boone. William L. Flora signed the certificate as a witness.

1910 Census: Rose, Rosalia, or Rosella Flora (now Lessman) is listed as age 24 (about 19 at the time of Frank's murder) and Joseph Lessman as born in CA 1872 (estimated) and now age 38. They are living in Pleasant Valley, Idaho. A daughter, Lina Rose Lessman, age 0 (under 12 months) and born in Idaho, and a brother (of Rose), Carl Flora, age 14, born in Colorado, are all a part of the household.

1920 Census: Rose died 9/23/1920 and does not appear on the 1920 Census (not that I have spotted anyway). She would have been 36 years young. I have not done an extensive search but haven't yet found Joseph either.

1930 Census: Joseph does show up here, now age 58, still living in the Owyhees at Dairy, Idaho with three children, Alica or Alice age 9, Glen age 14 and Ralph age 16. No Rose or other spouse although James is listed as married.  

Our friend Vivian Good, up at the Owyhee Museum, tells us the Lessman children are mentioned in the May 1984 Outpost as attending the school in Cliff's ID.  This edition was about Owyhee County Schools.
Canyon Hill, Caldwell, ID. The 1890 birth year is apparently incorrect.

Next stop as I track Rose and Joseph is Find a Grave. Low and behold we are back in Caldwell, ID at a familiar place to many Steunenberg kin—Canyon Hill Cemetery.

Rosella "Rose" Flora Lessman (and you can link to Joseph & other family from there) is back where we first found her, near the Steunenberg family she served during those dark days of late December 1905. Rosa's birth year, as indicated in the Find a Grave information and inscribed on the headstone, does not appear to be correct.

Next time I am in Caldwell, and up to Canyon Hill, I will be sure to find and visit Rose. If only she could talk and tell me what it was like working in the Steunenberg household circa 1905.

If you are descendants of Rose and Joseph, and have any knowledge of her life in Idaho and time with the Steunenberg's, I would enjoy hearing from you. A picture of Rose would be a real bonus.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

"Big Bill" Haywood

We all know the story but here is another brief account from the Castle Rock News-Press.

One of the most feared radicals of labor movement

Haywood noted the importance of the Cripple Creek strike

From: Castle Rock News-Press

Posted Saturday, June 20, 2015 9:28 pm

More Haywood on this blog

The General Strike

Assassination: Idaho's Trial of the Century

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day & visit to the Warbirds

John & B-17G
Just a couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to see and explore a couple warbirds from the Collings Foundation that were making a stop in San Luis Obispo. I had been tracking the tours a few months back but not recently and almost missed this one. We just happened to be out at the SLO Airport seeing our daughter off when all of a sudden the B-17G Flying Fortress lands and is soon followed by the B-24J Liberator. A P-51 Mustang fighter was delayed until the following day so I went back to check it out too and to get a second look at the big birds.

The B-17G was of special interest. You may have read the previous blog entries regarding my mom's brother, my Uncle Jule (Juke) Steunenberg, who survived the war only to be killed on July 20th, 1946 in a post war accident when two B-17G's clipped wings while searching for three missing P-47 Thunderbolts off Coiba Island, Republic of Panama. I will include links to the accident report and about Uncle Jule at the bottom of this post.  

B-17G landing
While touring the B-17G and B-24J, and working my way fore and aft (crawling and squeezing) through the fuselage of each, one certainly gains a greater appreciation for the 10-man crews flying in far off regions and often under a heavy barrage of flak. Many never made it back home.

So enjoy a few pics of of these wonderful old Warbirds on this Memorial Day weekend, and please reflect on all the men and women who have been lost in service to our country.

Starting with a few pics and will probably add more as I go. Click on any of the pics for the enlarged slide show.

B-24 landing

P-51 landing.

Flying over my house!
Lying on my back looking up through the
 open bomb bay doors. Don't drop the bomb!

Turret was not open for tours. I wouldn't fit

1st class with back cushion

Tail gun

Looking down at the top on the belly turret. X marks the trapdoor through which the
crew member would enter. A tight fit.

This one from the Collings Foundation website.Bombardier station.

Here's one I took of the bombardiers station from the outside.

ARC-5 series radios.
BC-348 in the radio room.
Of course I had to make a stop in the radio room. We see the venerable BC-348 on the left and ARC-5 Command radio's on the right. Similar were used in the B-24. I have a couple setting around here and there. As we know, Uncle Cal was the radio guy, U.S. Army Signal Corp during the war and lifetime Ham Radio Operator. Click on link below.

Monday, May 25, 2009: "CQ,CQ,CQ, this is W6WFV....William 6, William, Frank, Victor...CQ, CQ, CQ" ...Memorial Day 2009...and "dits" and "dahs"  

You can see a little more radio stuff if you scroll about half way down over in the right hand column of this blog.
This pic from the Collings Foundation website as they couldn't drop any bombs on the fly byes.
Crew names

Nose Guns
Top Guns

Dual cockpit/dual seater so you can take a ride. I watched a couple guys check off a bucket list item at $2,200 for 30 minutes or $3,200 for a full hour.
From the Collings Foundation website since I wasn't able to get up close  to the cockpit.

Next in
Betty Jane

Taxi anyone?

I couldn't leave without a B-17G T-shirt.

Related Blog Post & Links

Monday, September 3, 2012
Dog Tags, Ribbons & Pins

Sunday, February 5, 2012
Jule "Juke" Steunenberg killed in air crash 7/20/1946

Monday, November 10, 2008
Veteran's Day November 11, 2008 - Staff Sargent Jule Steunenberg 

Army Air Forces Report of Major Accident (may be prompted to grant permission for download)

397th Bombardment Squadron

If you are family, friend, veteran, historian, etc. and have any more info on the above squadron, the accident, the B-17G pilot Paul J. Hydo or my Uncle Jule Steunenberg―I would love to hear from you.

 397th Bombardment Squadron emblem

B-17 patrolling the Panama Canal zone WWII. 
Click on the pic and go to my Fold3 account for better viewing.


B-17 ‘Texas Raiders’ To Fly in the Heart of Texas…

Crew Positions on a B-17G

B-17G “Lacey Lady” Safely in The Hangar

Jerry Yellin, World War II Veteran Interview

Chuck Childs Recalls Days In B-17 Bomber

Former B-17 pilot reflects on World War II, D-Day

'Get up close and personal' with B-17 at museum opening
From the above link: Lacey Lady (then Sky Chief) above it's former home over a Texaco station in Milwaukee, Oregon.

Can't believe we missed this on our trips through Oregon.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mom at the Frazier Farmstead Museum

While reflecting today about my mother, Brenda Steunenberg Richards, I was reminded that one of her favorite childhood experiences was visiting family at the Frazier Farmstead in Milton, OR. The photo of the Frazier home below comes from the Frazier Farmstead Museum website. I had been exploring the website recently as it was being updated.
Frazier Farmstead in Milton (now Milton-Freewater), OR. Former home of our Frazier kinfolk. Photo above comes from the updated Frazier Farmstead Museum website.
Mom proudly displaying her copy of Whither Thou Goest
A favorite book of mom's (and mine too) is Whither Thou Goest by Patrick Simpson. It is an account of the Beardsley family journey by covered wagon in 1878, and Patrick's retracing of that trip in 1996, from Wells Bridge, NY to the Wallowa Valley and Milton, OR. Mary Jane and Theo Beardsley made this long cross country trek with their two young daughters, Eva and Frankie. 

Frankie & Eva.
Photo Frazier Farmstead Museum.
To help make the family connections, Eva Beardsley would marry Ralph Maxon Wood and their daughter would be Francis Beardsley Wood Steunenberg—my grandmother.  Hence, Ralph and Eva were my great-grandparents, Theo and Mary Jane would be my great-great-grandparents and Patrick's great grand-aunt and uncle. Hopefully I got that right and it makes Patrick and I cousins of one kind or another.

The photo below to the right is of my mother in circa 1925 at the Farmstead. The cross in front of her came West with the Beardsley family in their covered wagon. If you compare the photo to the modern day view of the house, you can see mom would have been kneeling on the grass just behind the Frazier Farmstead Museum sign with the window seat over her right shoulder.  The cross now resides inside that same window seat. To find out more, read The Cross Story written by Museum Director Diane Biggs about our visit to the museum in 2005 (link below).

Brenda Steunenberg circa 1925.  JTR Collection.
I have always been pleased that my mother was able to enjoy Whiter Thou Goest and rekindle her connections to those memories of childhood before she passed away. I treasure our time spent reminiscing about the history of the Farmstead and all the good times she enjoyed during family visits.

Happy Mother's Day mom. 

The Cross Story

Frazier Farmstead Museum website

Facebook: Frazier Farmstead Museum - Milton-Freewater Area Historical Society

More fun at the Farmstead circa 1925.
Related Blog Posts
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Happy Mother's Day. We love you Mom.

Sunday, July 29, 2012
Where is Stonewall's Arm?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Frazier Farmstead Museum

Saturday, August 16, 2008
Private Justus Simpson, Company G of 152nd NY Volunteers

Saturday, August 16, 2008
Private Lewis Simpson, Company K of the Eighty-ninth New York Volunteers

Photo taken in 2005 during our visit to the Frazier Farmstead.