Saturday, May 17, 2008

Have You Seen These Harry Orchard Items?

The above photograph shows a display case with personal items that had belonged to Harry Orchard while he was in the Idaho Penitentiary. The photo came to me courtesy of Jan Boles, COI Archives. From where else it originates escapes me so my apologizes if not giving appropriate credit. Click on the photo to enlarge. When Orchard died in 1954, his modest personal effects were for the most part passed on to the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Boise, ID.
As most of you know, Orchard had converted to Adventism, a rather controversial conversion at
least partially attributable to my great grandmother the widowed Belle Steunenberg. That story is discussed elsewhere so I won’t go into detail here.

In 1990, C. Griffith Bratt's opera "A Season For Sorrow" was performed in Boise as a part of the states centennial celebration. Quoting from the opera program, “C. Griffith Bratt’s historical opera is based upon the capture, imprisonment and confession of Harry Orchard, assassin of Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg in the early 1900's.” I will have more to report on the opera itself at another time as I had a delightful phone conversation recently with the 93 years young Dr. C. Griffith Bratt.

The Adventist Church had loaned the Orchard items for display as pictured above at the Morrison Center in Boise, ID during the centennial celebration and opera performance. Apparently the items were misplaced, lost or stolen and never returned to the church. No one seems to know for sure other then they have not been seen since 1990.

If anyone has more information, has seen these items, knows there whereabouts, etc then we would sure like to have them returned to the proper owners (the Adventist Church) and made available for historical study. I believe the name of Leon Cornforth as Trustee (written on the smaller card on top of the display case) refers to Pastor Cornforth but I am not sure. Perhaps someone can shed light on that for me. I hope one of several Orchard descendants with whom I have had contact might recognize and be able to identity the people we see in the box of photographs. Email me at:

No comments: