Sunday, May 31, 2009
Courtesy Idaho State Historical Society
It is rare to have an item that has been signed concurrently by Governor Steunenberg's wife, Eva B. ("Belle") Steunenberg and three of the children, Julian (my grandfather), Francis and Frank Jr. In fact, this may be the only such example.
Belle would have been about age 56, Julian 35, Francis 29 and Frank Jr. around 21. Most likely it was written during the period of time that the family members were living in Walla Walla /College Place, WA. Frank Jr. attended Walla Walla College from 1920 to 1924 and my grandfather Julian and grandmother Francis (not the sister Francis on the letter) would have been living there at that time too. I am not sure if Belle and Francis were in that specific location or not.
Great grandma Belle was a rather dominant force and her forgiveness toward Harry Orchard has been well documented. It is likely that some degree of pressure or expectation of signing this letter was brought to bear on her children, even though they were well into adulthood at the time of its writing. Of course, that is just speculation on my part. My grandfather Julian never spoke about Harry Orchard so I can only guess his true feelings. He was a kind, forgiving man, a faithful Adventist although not with the traditional fervor of his mother. No doubt he would have been in favor of sparing Harry Orchard the gallows but I am not sure he would have been all that anxious to see Orchard released. Julian had been devastated by the murder of his father and himself never able to be "released" from the horror of that evening of December 30th, 1905 in Caldwell, Idaho. I don't believe he was concerned that Orchard spent his life in prison. What did become troubling later to Julian and his brother Frank, and perhaps Francis too, was the sometimes celebrity treatment that seemed to be afforded Orchard during his tenure in the Pen while little attention was afforded their martyred father. Scroll down to the picture section near the bottom of the blog and see "Harry 'behind bars' at the Idaho Pen."
Most of the rest of the family, led by Charles "Pete" Steunenberg, the governors brother, had a very different view in regards to Orchard and helped rally support to snuff out any attempts to commute the sentence.
See blog posts:
Mrs. Steunenberg Pardons Slayer of her Husband
Orchard's Letters to Charles "Peter" Steunenberg
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"
Today is Memorial Day and I want to pay homage to all those that have given the ultimate sacrifice for this country. Memorial Day had its beginnings during the Civil War and was later expanded to honor those who have died in all of our wars. We need to remember and remind ourselves of its purpose and intent. I have posted it before, but the poem to the left, written by Sgt. Cal Steunenberg, U.S. Army Signal Corp., always seems like a fitting tribute on Memorial and Veterans Days. This wonderful original version comes courtesy of Cal's sister, my mother, Brenda Steunenberg Richards.
You can read more about the history of this day at:
Memorial Day History
Every day, over 1000 of our WWII vets are dying as their numbers continue to dwindle. This past week our family lost 96 year old Army Sergeant Cal A. Steunenberg—my Uncle Cal. See previous blog post. The scrapbook pages shown here come courtesy of Sheri Steunenberg Beersman, Cal's granddaughter.
Growing up as a kid, I have many fond memories of visits with my Uncle Cal. Some of those took place at family gatherings during the holidays, others at visits to the home of my grandparents Julian and Francis Steunenberg or when Uncle Cal was out and about and made a trip to our various homes over the years. He sure liked to jaw with by dad (that sometimes got a bit boring for a kid!), always loved his little sister (my mother Brenda) and her home cooking, and enjoyed hanging out to watch Sunday afternoon football games. However, nothing could match my fascination with his passion for ham radio. I have faint memories of those very early ham radio stations he had at his home—the cool radio room with all kinds of interesting equipment and a giant antenna in the back yard. Listening in to the world on his receiver was a pretty amazing thing for a kid as was hearing him chattering in ham lingo with fellow operators around the state, country and world. It is where I first heard Uncle Cal uttering "CQ,CQ,CQ, this is W6WFV."
I remember an old receiver that Uncle Cal's gave me when I was probably 10-12 years old. I think it was a Hallicrafters. It was from one of his original station setups and had been setting around for awhile. It was pretty old then and would be a real antique today. Wish I still had it. Of course I never had much of an antenna but strung up some wire and could still pull in broadcasts from around the world. The constant “dit” and “dah” of Morse code still rings in my ears and is forever etched in a deep fissure of my brain. I use to keep a log book of all the different countries that I tuned in—of course I wasn't a real Ham but Uncle Cal kept a log book so I did too. Over time I added a copy of the Ham’s bible, The Radio Amateur's Handbook, and other books on radio. Uncle Cal gave me some guide books on licensing and Morse code along with an old straight key for code practice—and always words of encouragement.
Thanks to that interest Uncle Cal had sparked, I took several electronics courses in high school, learned the basics, built a few projects and always had a fascination with old radios—still do. My copy of The Radio Amateur's Handbook remained a handy reference and I still kept that old receiver out in the garage but never got a ham license. Many years later, by own two boys would take up an interest in amateur radio to go along with their expertise and careers in the computer technology field. Both of them got their technician licenses not long ago. Joe’s call sign is KI6MVD and Josh’s KG6CYK—but old dad continues to lag in that regard. I was always scared off by that code requirement—all those dits and dahs again. They tell me code is not required these days but Uncle Cal was always fast on the key. He had to be as a radio operator during WWII. He served his country honorably in the Pacific as a Sergeant is the U.S. Army Signal Corp. I am sure he probably thought ending the code requirement a few years back was making it too easy for the ham radio newbie’s. I can hear him now—scoffing loudly at such a thing. He was an original, a real purist when it came to ham radio.
In later years, Uncle Cal went with a mobile station as he spent more time traveling in his pickup truck with a camper on the back. He always raved about that Swan 350 rig. During visits to Los Osos, CA, my oldest son Josh would sit with him in the truck and learn about amateur radio just as I did as kid. The old truck got a lot of miles put on it and the Swan a lot of airtime. Just thinking about Uncle Cal has sparked my electronic interests again. Maybe I need to start looking at those license requirements and shopping for radio equipment with my boys. They have small hand held units and haven’t gotten into the bigger rigs yet.
L to R: Brenda, Jule, Cal, Frank ("Bud"), Doris, Grandma Francis
and Grandpa Julian Steunenberg in Caldwell, ID. The little
pip squeak on the far left, my mom, is now almost 91.
I know Uncle Cal would razz me a bit but I would probably be forgiven if I skipped trying to learn Morse code. However, he sparked an interest that remains today and I know he was happy to hear my sons had taken up the reins of ham radio. I will always love and remember who it was that first taught me about “dits” and “dahs.”
We love you Uncle Cal.
"73 W6WFV Clear"
Update 11/18/2009: A few decades late but I finally got my Generalist ticket Uncle Cal. 73, KJ6DOV
Springfield Missouri Veteran's Cemetery
Carroll "Cal" A. Steunenberg Footenote.com page (just starting)
The Passing of my Uncle Cal Steunenberg (previous blog post)
Friday, May 22, 2009
(May 19, 1913 - May 21, 2009)
Carroll “Cal” Arthur Steunenberg of Morrisville, passed away on May 21, 2009 at 2:00 a.m. at Citizen’s Memorial Hospital following a sudden illness. Cal was born May 19, 1913 in Caldwell, Idaho to Julian Pope and Frances Wood Steunenberg. He was the middle of five children. Cal was the grandson of the fourth Governor of Idaho, Frank Steunenberg, who was assassinated in 1905.
Cal was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Jule and Frank “Bud” Steunenberg, and one sister, Doris Knowles. He was also preceded in death by two children, Raymond Arthur and Maureen May.
Cal grew up in Idaho, Washington, and California, where, during the Great Depression, he joined the CCC using his older brother’s name and went to work to try to help support his family. Eventually, Cal became a Batallion Sergeant Major in the United States Army and served as a radio operator in the South Pacific during World War II. He worked for Mobile Oil as an electrician following his honorable discharge from the Army, where he received several medals and awards for conduct and service. Cal (W6WFV) also held a HAM Radio operator’s license with the Federal Communications Commission for more than 65 years and was a member of the American Radio Relay League for more than 40 years.
Cal moved from California to Missouri to live with his granddaughter, Sheri and her family in 2001. He has enjoyed many years of laughter, love, and happiness in the company of his family and will be dearly missed every single day.
Cal leaves behind his beloved granddaughter, Sheri Beersman, of Morrisville and her husband Wes, his cherished great grand children, LCpL Christopher Cable, USMC and his wife Reagan, both of Morrisville, Lauren Cable, of Willard and her fiancé, Shawn Cook of Brighton, and Danielle Beersman, of Morrisville. He is also survived by his son, Roy Steunenberg, of Put-in-Bay, OH and his wife, Mary, his granddaughter, Carri Carnahan of Mooresville, IN, and his great-granddaughter, Eden also of Mooresville, IN. He is survived by his grandson, Scott Cable, of Maryville, one sister, Brenda Richards of Paso Robles, CA and her husband John, his dear long time friends, Marilou Brennan and Gedney Gallagher of Palm Desert, CA, and several nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held on Monday, May 25 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Butler Funeral Home in Bolivar, Missouri. A graveside service with full military honors provided by the AMVETS Post #114 of Flemington, Missouri will take place at Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Springfield, Missouri on Wednesday, May 27 at 2:00 p.m. under the care and direction of the Butler Funeral Home of Bolivar. Dr. Ray Leininger will officiate the service. Pallbearers will be Shawn Cook, Chris Cable, Kenneth Cable and the AMVETS Post #114 of Flemington, Missouri.
Friends and family may sign the guest book or send private condolences at www.butlerfuneralhome.com
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Merritt who!? It would have been easier if Cousin Bill had had been Ex-Governor Frank Steunenberg but who the heck was Merritt Walley? That was not one of my immediately recognizable Steunenberg assassination or Haywood trial related names. Of course I went right to the other bible, Big Trouble, after all Lukas has everything and everybody documented in there--or so I thought. To my surprise, no mention of a Merritt Walley. So who was this guy?
A little more Goggling reminded me that poor Mr. Walley was the innocent bystander in Orchard's failed attempt to kill Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Gabbert. The murder occurred on May 28,1905. Mr. Walley was 48 years old and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He picked up the decoy pocketbook to which was attached the bomb intended for Gabbert. Another tragic murder of an often forgotten man with a family that suffered a terrible and tragic loss. Our family would suffer the same a few short months later.
The New York Times
Published: June 7, 1907
I suspect that in the play from 1963, Cousin Bill was likely on stage for a very short time but no doubt gave a dynamite performance.
Merritt W. Walley
If anyone knows more information about Merritt Walley, please let me know.
Monday, May 11, 2009
"I am glad to say I was his friend, the friend of a man who gave his life for his State and his country."
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Click on the pictures to use my footnote.com viewer for enlarging/reading.
OFFICERS OF THE MINERS ACCUSED-RUSHED OUT OF THE STATE-PLOTTED OTHER MURDERS-CONNECTED WITH THE STEUNENBERG MURDER
Monday, May 4, 2009
"Swine flu"--we can't seem to escape it, what with 24 hour cable news networks and websites giving case by case number counts. It's like listening to the score going up in an NBA basketball playoff game.
While browsing my footnote.com website, I ran across the article above. It is not Idaho or Steunenberg history but swine flu was already in the news some thirteen years ago on 4/2/1996 in the McKenzie Bridge, Oregon newspaper, River Reflections. Click the pic to enlarge for reading.
Not to take H1-N1 (the name used by us pig lovers) lightly, as I do hope everybody is keeping healthy and taking precautions as we would for any type of illness and flu. A flu outbreak is always of concern although this one has perhaps been a bit unfair to pigs.
Then we have this somewhat similar but more recent picture that is circulating the web. I think it's the pig that may have more to fear in this case.
At least I now know there is one other human that still loves a little fine swine.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Evidence from the Haywood Trial on display at the Idaho Historical Museum ....Not Quite Correct...Update...it is now
This display is labeled as " This damaged revolver was used by Harry Orchard to trigger the bomb mechanism which killed Governor Steunenberg. The force of the explosion caused the damage." I do not believe that is exactly correct but it had never registered with me until pointed out by Justice Byron Johnson. It is my opinion that these pieces were most likely non-active parts of the bomb that killed the Ex-Governor. The infernal machine had originally been designed by Orchard as a "time bomb" with an alarm clock and trigger mechanism. However, as he had done on other occasions too, he decided not to use the timing mechanism. Instead, as pointed out by Justice Johnson, he used a vial of sulfuric acid with a cork or stopper, a pin or screw eye in the stopper to which was attached a string or line. The line was attached to Governor Steunenberg's gate. When the gate was opened, it pulled out the stopper, spilled the sulfuric acid on the blasting caps and set off the dynamite. Hence, the revolver parts were not the trigger mechanism. I was in error when I accepted the display label as fact in my post on Saturday, March 7, 2009, Harry Orchard's Colt .45 Single Action Army Revolver. In that entry, I had posted and described the same photograph as above. There is also a 3/8/09 addendum to the same post that I had entered after Justice Johnson had pointed out the discrepancy in the information.
The above is supported by the the photos and trial testimony presented in Debaters and Dynamiters by David Grover and The Confession and Autobiography of Harry Orchard in McClure's Magazine, Volume XXIX, May to October 1907 and various other documents and accounts of the assassination. I will post some pictures after I hopefully recover programs and data from a complete computer crash this past week.
Here is a link to the online book version of The Confessions and Autobiography of Harry Orchard published in 1907. You will want to scroll up one page and should see the picture of the "The Two Steunenberg Bombs.". I have originals of the McClure's Magazine version published in serial format during 1907-08 and the 1907 book among the items in my collection.
In the interest of accuracy, the display labels at the Idaho History Museum should be revised unless other convincing evidence exists to suggest otherwise. I have forwarded my comments to the museum.
Clicking on the picture above will take you to my footenote.com viewer.
Visit the Idaho Historical Museum when in Boise and check out the trial display and all the other interesting items you will discover.
5/4/09 - UPDATE!
Rachelle Littau, Curatorial Registrar at the Idaho Historical Museum, tells me that the display card has been updated as follows based upon information from Justice Byron Johnson:
Prosecutors presented these revolver fragments as evidence of a prior bombing committed by Harry Orchard. The revolver was used as a triggering mechanism and the force of the explosion caused the damage.
That sounds a bit more like it, as we know the revolver was definitely not the triggering mechanism for the Steunenberg bomb. As long as there is nothing tying it to that particular bomb, then it is reasonable to assume it was part of the other evidence. In preparation for Orchard's testimony, available evidence from other bombings was brought to Boise and Orchard built mock-ups of several of the different types of bombs that he had previously used.
Thank you Byron and Rachelle for providing the additional information. John
Saturday, May 2, 2009
"Frank Steunenberg Shockingly Mangled by a Contrivance Placed at His Gate Which Exploded as He Entered"
San Francisco Chronicle, December 31, 1905.
Click on image to use footnote.com viewer.
Visit my footnote account for many other articles. I suggest Spotlights, Footnote Pages and Annotations.
Friday, May 1, 2009