Sunday, February 3, 2008

True West Magazine: A CASE FOR MURDER

Having gone through a couple of Blogger's own format changes and "updates", this and various pages became rather fragmented but still here. I cleaned it up a bit and one day I will get back here to perhaps redo the page. Photo's don't enlarge as they had been doing. 

Mark Boardman
"Mass bombings, revenge and labor upheavals come to a head at a murder trial 100 years ago"

This is an article written by Mark Boardman for the June 2007 edition of True West Magazine. Mark and True West have kindly provided their permission to allow it to be published on this site. Following the article is a letter to the editor that I wrote to thank Mark and to point out a few minor corrections. As we know, some corrections can be simple factual details and others fall more into the realm of interpretation. The complete letter was edited by True West (understandable as I was pretty long winded!) but I have included most of the content here. I did edit out some comments that I have already made elsewhere. You may recognize a few of the pictures as Mark had requested my input and some photographs. Thank you Mark for adding your part to the exciting events that have taken place in the past year. I will be back to comment more later. Click on each page/pic to enlarge for reading.

A couple extra pics provided by Mark. One showing the Independence Depot from the back side after the explosion from the bomb planted by Harry Orchard. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 14 "scab" miners killed and scores maimed. The other shows the troops moving in to restore order. (All pictures and the above article are provided and published courtesy of Mark Boardman and True West magazine). Check out the website at:

Letter to the Editor
May 19th, 2007
True West Magazine
I want to thank Mark Boardman for writing the article, A Case for Murder, published in the June edition of True West magazine. Mark and I had come across each other through that marketplace of the world–eBay–where we found ourselves bidding and driving up each others prices on some mining and labor memorabilia from around the year 1900. One thing led to another and we started emailing and discovered our mutual interest in the Steunenberg assassination and Haywood trial. I have a personal interest–being the great grandson of Governor Steunenberg–but I also have a broader fascination with all of the historical and legal aspects of those tragic times in the history of the West.
It was mentioned in the article that “he (Governor Steunenberg) caved to the pressure and decided not to run for re-election.” Yes, the governor’s democratic/populist coalition had disintegrated so rather then run again for a third term as governor, he pursued an unsuccessful bid for the 1900 democratic nomination to the U.S. senate. The talk was that he was positioning for another run in 1907. We shall never know.

In regards to William Haywood having “went to Moscow voluntarily”, the record shows that Haywood was convicted in 1918 along with other leaders of the IWW for conspiring to undermine the war effort. He spent a year at Leavenworth Prison before being released pending appeal of his sentence. Rather then face a court system that had been fair and just to him in 1907, Haywood chose to flee the United States in 1921 for exile in Russia where he died in 1928.
Under the “Trial on Exhibit” column on page 41 Mark mentions the Idaho State Historical Society (ISHS) Museum and their exhibit of trial artifacts. An interesting exhibit it is and I always feel a bit eerie as I look down at the tools of terror that ripped into my great-grandfather–shredding the skin from his bones as his children looked on. You can visit the ISHS website at here.

In addition to the many items at the ISHS, I would also direct readers to the Albertsons’ College of Idaho archives where now online is the largest available collection of papers and letters from the Steunenberg administration. Go to: (offline). Click on the upper left links under George L. Crookham Jr. Papers and you will be able to access many letters and documents related to the mining disputes in the Coeur d’Alene.

One correction I would like to offer is in regards to Mark's article is the information citing the Steunenberg monument located on the grounds of the now restored Oregon Short Line Depot at 7th and Main Streets in the city of Caldwell. The granite monument holds bronze relief portraits commemorating Governor Frank Steunenberg and his brother A.K. (not Ansel) Steunenberg. I have a hunch Mark saw “Ansel” in another document that I know had an incorrect citation. The initials A.K. actually stand for Albert Keppel. This monument was dedicated by the Steunenberg family and City of Caldwell in September of 2005–not by James Hawley in 1929. It carries the inscription “Make a mark, then stand aside.”

James Hawley did dedicate the Steunenberg statue that was created by artist Gilbert Riswold. It stands facing the capitol building in Boise and was formally dedicated by Hawley and others in a ceremony on December 11, 1927. It carries the following inscription: “When in 1899 organized lawlessness challenged the power of Idaho, he upheld the dignity of the state, enforced its authority and restored LAW AND ORDER within its boundaries, for which he was assassinated in 1905. Rugged in body, resolute in mind, massive in the strength of his convictions, he was of the granite hewn. In grateful memory of his courageous devotion to public duty, the people of Idaho have erected this monument.”

Correctly cited was the third monument–the large granite stone that marks the governor’s grave and the Steunenberg family plot at Canyon Hill Cemetery in Caldwell. I visited all these sites in 2005 and again this past March 2007 when I was in Boise to film a segment for Idaho Public TV’s production of the Assassination: Idaho's Trial of the Century. Look for that programs release in November of this year. For information go to:

If you have information, comments or questions related to these events, please feel free to contact me at:

Thank you to Mark and True West for providing us with a most interesting article during this 100th anniversary of the “Trial of the Century.”

John T. Richards Jr.

Los Osos, CA

No comments: