Saturday, April 26, 2008

Orchard letter's to Charles "Peter" Steunenberg

A couple of interesting letters written 100 years ago by Harry Orchard/Albert Horsely to Charles "Peter" Steunenberg, a brother of the slain governor. The one on the left is courtesy of the Idaho State Historical Society (MS 773 – George Huebner papers) and the one on the right from the College of Idaho Archives (George L. Crookham Jr. papers).

Orchard is requesting that Peter use his influence to stop any effort to have his (Orchard's) sentence commuted. Orchard is indicating that life imprisonment would be a worse sentence then death and that he would prefer to meet his maker. I find it doubtful that Orchard had any desire to hang and imagine he already knew too well that his neck had been spared. It is probably safe to say that Peter and the rest of the Steunenberg men and most of the women preferred to see him dangling from a rope. We know that Belle Steunenberg, widow of the governor, was already expressing forgiveness toward Orchard...much to the chagrin of many family members. Life imprisonment was probably viewed as a tolerable alternative but the family had no idea of the eventual freedom to roam as a trusty that Orchard would be given. I am sure one reason Peter and others preferred a more definite end was to eliminate any possibility of future shenanigans, pardon efforts, legal maneuvering etc. that might shorten the sentence and find Orchard being released. Of course a good witness protection program would have been needed if that had happened what with all the enemies Orchard had made in the course of these events.

I am injecting a bit of opinion and family bias into the above so feel free to take issue. Just can't help it sometimes!

Another Haywood Trial Picture

You have seen this photo before showing the 1907 Haywood trial in Boise so nothing new. It is one of two or three I picked up recently. You can see another toward the bottom of the blog that is a portrait of Bill Haywood. I will post this one down that way too along with the others that come from period magazines that covered the trial. This picture is not an original and was most likely copied from another photograph. Dates to the 1950's/60's. From the information imprinted on the back, it was licensed to be loaned out to media, publishers, etc for the purpose of making one copy for the intended use. Such photo publication services dramatically changed as the Internet took hold and items became more widely available and published in digital formats. The picture itself, being a copy, is not of great value and has limited historical significance. However, I am always a sucker for a pic of the trial like this one with hand written notations that relate the personal significance of the event and the price was cheap enough.

Lakers two up on the Denver Nuggets. Game three today!

1898 - The Seventh Annual Closing Exercises of the College of Idaho

Here is a simple little item I ran across and picked up for a few bucks. It’s an 1898 College of Idaho graduation announcement. My apologies for snatching it away from what may of been a couple of other COI enthusiasts. Of course, I am not being totally sincere in saying that but hopefully they find it here on the blog and can at least take a look.

As you see, this is not a formal announcement, but rather a simple mailer card used by the college to notify local businesses, organizations, media, etc of the upcoming event. This one was addressed to the Statesman Publishing Company (The Idaho Statesman). That was another point of interest. I have seen later versions of these cards from the COI but this is the earliest. Being it dates to 1898, the item caught my fancy as we know Governor Steunenberg was in office and COI was still a young and growing institution in only its 7th year of operation. Jan Boles, Archivist at COI, will see what he can track down about the 1898 ceremonies as perhaps a copy of the full commencement program is available. I am sure the events, faculty, students and dignitaries will offer up some items of interest. Maybe even Governor Steunenberg was in attendance. I will post that information after Jan has a chance to research it a bit.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

More Basketball

One of my other passions is college basketball followed closely by the pros. March madness is over and my San Diego State University Aztec's didn't even make it to the NCAA tournament. They did get an invite to the NIT but went out in the first round. I received my M.S. degree from SDSU although did not spend a lot of time on campus. My first Alma Mater, the Humboldt State University Lumberjacks, had a successful year and did make it to the Division II NCAA tournament before going out in the first round. I got my B.A. and did a couple years of graduate study at HSU. That seems a world away now but I sure loved it up on the far northern coast of CA. I have always been a coastal boy at heart. HSU was my escape from the hustle and bustle of southern CA. We were all a bunch of back to nature hippie types back then still trying to live the 60’s since everything in Humboldt County was about a decade behind the times anyway.

Congratulations Boise State University for a fine season and making it to the big dance.

Being a long time southern CA boy, I grew up in the shadow of John Wooden and UCLA. See more about the "Coach" at:

One of my high school basketball coaches had played under Wooden. Then and still now at age 96, Coach Wooden offers many lesson for life that I admire and try to live by. I have always been a big Bruin fan because of him and all those successful teams back in the 60's/70's. The Wizard of Westwood is still usually in attendance at Bruin games but had been hospitalized and unable to be there for the NCAA tournament. The Bruins in the end seemed to need his wizardry in the stands and fell just short but had a great year nonetheless.

Of course I can always find something historically related and same is true here. I found an old picture of Cousin George L. Crookham Jr., circa 1928 as a member of the College of Idaho basketball team. At least I believe I have that right. Maybe I will go dig up one of my old basketball pictures for comparison. For those tracking or wondering such things, the parents of George Jr. were Grace Steunenberg and George W. Crookham Sr. Grace was a sister of Governor Steunenberg and the youngest of the 10 children of Cornelia and Bernardus Steunenberg. Hence, the Steunenberg's and Crookham's became kinfolk and those ties remain strong today.

Here we go! John class of 1969 Thousand Oaks High School. Look at those high water pants. Tall and skinny...those were the days.

Steunenberg's and Religion

I received a note this week from Cousin Bill Crookham about the Steunenberg family participation in the Caldwell Presbyterian Church. Not surprisingly, Eveline "Belle" Steunenberg tops the list as the first entry on February 15, 1888. Of course Belle would also top the list as a founding member of the Caldwell Seventh Day Adventist Church a few years later.

As Bill mentions, paraphrasing from Tony Lukas in Big Trouble, the Iowa Steunenberg men did not cater much to religion, at least not as regular attendees or participants. I must admit that is pretty much a tradition that I still carry on today. However, we know Belle and some of the other Steunenberg women would insure that plenty of religion, prayer, bible study and respect for the Sabbath went on in the household even if they could not get their men to more openly participate.

Here is an essay written by Frank W. Steunenberg Jr., the governors youngest son. It provides a good overview of those early religions practices. Typed at the top is "copied November 15, 1977." I am guessing it was written shortly before that date.

The information below is taken from the first entry on the history page from the Caldwell Adventist Church.
A little history of the the Caldwell SDA Church from 1900 - 2000.
The Beginning
A Sabbath School was held in the home of Grandma White in Caldwell, around the turn of the century. In 1903 Sabbath School and church services were held in the home of Elder and Mrs. A.C. Bird. Elder Bird also conducted a grade school in their home at one time. From this beginning the church grew and was officially organized in April of 1905 with eight charter members.
The first church building was constructed at 16th and Everett Street in 1909 on land donated by one of the members, Mrs. Frank Steunenberg, wife of the Idaho Governor who was assassinated eight months after the church was organized. The Steunenberg's son, Frank Jr., was a small child at the time of his father's death, served as Pastor of the Caldwell church in later years.

The First Caldwell SDA Church in 1909. A more recent picture I took in 2005. (whoops, I just ran across this recent pic elsewhere and see that Jan Boles took this one. Figures, it is better and clearer then mine). Not an SDA church today but still in use as a house of worship and looks to be in pretty good structural condition.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Cut me some slack"

By the way, that earlier problem I discussed last week with opening and enlarging pics seems to be primarily limited to Firefox browser users but not Microsoft Explorer. I still recommend Firefox as we can't let Bill Gates dominate everything and get all the money. Firefox is free, constantly being updated and generally just better. If there is a problem interfacing with Blogger from the Firefox side then eventually it will be resolved. However, I have Explorer on my computer just in case I get too irritated with the picture issue. If you are having any particular problems with Firefox, Explorer or other browsers when on the blog then please let me know.

Hmm... noticed a couple of typos in that last post that came through on the automatic email notification. Of course typos are not unusual for this old dyslexic with double vision issues. My typing is not the best and then the trigger finger occasionally double clutches on the change button when spell checking. The result is an unintended but but at least a correctly spelled word. I hate it when that happens but it is worse when it is something embarrassing or derogatory that spell check spits out. At least that was not the case this time around. Cut me some slack if you please when it comes to any technical or spelling mishaps. Thanks, John

Tracing the Family Roots

I love the history of the West and to study the related family events and tragedy from the years around 1900. However, I am not much for documenting and tracing genealogy. We have been fortunate to have family members through the years that have taken up the cause and who possess the patience and eye for detail that such work requires...attributes that I generally lack.

Now our genealogy probably won’t be of any great interest to those outside the family as such documents rarely demand much popular appeal. But within individual family's, the process of tracing ones lines helps give a sense of who we are and from where we came. We have been fortunate on the Steunenberg/Keppel (and Beardsley too but that is another story) side of the family to have this information available. In contrast, over on my Ricciotti (Richards)/Costelloe father’s side we remain steeped in mystery regarding many of our Italian/Irish ancestors. No documents, no pictures, nothing beyond by grandparents. There is probably a lot that could be discovered but I have yet to muster up the time for the painstaking research that it would probably require. Genealogy has certainly become a very popular undertaking these days with the Internet providing ready and instant access to records. I cannot imagine how such research and documentation was ever done before the advent of the Internet and computer!

I was just looking over a couple of original, individually typed, family genealogies given to me by my mother. Imagine gathering information by snail mail, cranking out multiple originals on parchment paper using the old family Underwood (a typewriter for those that weren’t around) and then going back and starting anew each time a batch of information or round of new babies had to be added.

Of the two originals I have, one is “The Keppel Family History” by Grace Steunenberg Crookham and dated December 26th, 1945. A later version with additions was “Copied and added to by Brenda Steunenberg Richards” (my mother) and dated March 28th, 1960. The earlier 1945 version was not in the best of shape but I have rescued it from rusty staples and a few tears and tatters to where it now rests protected in archival pages and within an archival box. I do welcome and embrace today’s computer generated versions that allow for ease of transmission and the provision of so much more information. However, the historical and personal markings of time contained on these originals carries forth the love and the soul of the originators etched on every page. How fortunate we are for their efforts.

Although perhaps not containing the same historical character and romance of an old transcript that we historians prefer, today we are able to gather much greater detail about families through instant communication and the wide availability of records. It is what has made this blog and all my research possible. Hence, there has been a rapidly expanding interest in genealogy. We are indeed fortunate that Walter (with help from Bernard and Paul) Steunenberg has continued to carry forth the work of our ancestors and produce an extremely detailed and continually updated record of the family. It provides all of the information from the old versions, incorporates the new and Walter expands and updates it on a continuous basis. Hence, the process continues through the generations, honoring those that came before and waiting to honor those yet to be born. I refer to these genealogies often as I require constant reminders of whom and what name belongs where. Thank you Walter!

If you do not already have a copy but would like one of the latest version, starting with the first generation of Hendrik Peter Steunenberg and tracing all the U.S. based Steunenberg's, let me know and I will be happy to email or snail mail you one. I know Walter would be happy to do the same and to add anyone that is interested to his list for receiving future updates. He also welcomes additions and corrections.

Here is a sample of the first page.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Blogger is having some problems when clicking on a pic or doc to enlarge it in another window for viewing.

Sorry that Blogger seems to be having problems with being able to click on pictures and documents to enlarge them in another widow for easier viewing. They will open but it usually requires you click, then hit your back button/arrow, click again and then hopefully it will open. May even require you repeat the process a couple more times. Only the pics in the main entries of the blog are intended to be clickable for enlarging. Everything down the left hand column stays as is. Anyway, it is an irritant and I have emailed Blogger about it as seems to be an ongoing issue. These techno hiccups are not uncommon but always try my patience. I apologize for the inconvenience. If you see any pics that you would like me to send your way as an attachment then just email and I will be happy to oblige.

Thanks, John

National Capital Centennial - Program from 1900

This is a copy (?) I acquired of the program from the Washington, D.C. centennial celebration on December 12, 1900 that was attended by Governor Frank Steunenberg. For information on the centennial you can go to: Celebration of the One-Hundredth Anniversary of the Establishment of the Seat of Government in the District of Columbia

You will want to refer back to my 12/27/07 post that shows the original centennial medal belonging to Governor Steunenberg and explains how this lost item found its way back into the family. I will go ahead and include those pics again below since the medal goes hand in hand with the program. The front and back is shown on page one (1) below. You will also see Idaho and the Governor's name listed along with the other state/territorial governors on page six (6). Each received one of the commemorative medals.

I am not sure what to make of this program. The program itself is about 7 1/2" X 5" and what I expected was a photocopy made on heavy stock of about 11 1/2" X 9 1/4". I did not expect it to be a fully embossed version. Who, when, why it was done that way I don't know. Maybe an uncut original? I picked it up for a song from a seller of paper and empheria that could not sell it so I offered a few bucks rather then see it go into the trash. Figured I was doing them a favor and could always use another copy. I have copies of the program but not with the gold and color embossing. If anyone has any information out there then let me know. The scans are of the actual program size only. Click to enlarge the pics (may have to to back and then click again before they open).




Peep Show - "Ten Cents a Peep"

This is an early Caldwell, ID photo album of Edith Steunenberg and loaned to me courtesy of Al Steunenberg. Click on the pictures to enlarge. These photos are all about 4" X 4". Some are a bit high contrast and others quite sharp considering they are well over 100 years old. I decided to do some additional scans at higher resolution and then enlarge and crop the images to try and get a better look at the various family members. I have to get that done and this album back to Cousin Al before he sends the Pinkerton's to hunt me down. Eventually I will try to get more of the pictures posted as I would like some help with identifying people, places, house, etc.

L to R: Governor Frank Steunenberg teaching little Ancil Steunenberg (his brother AK's son) to do a somersault. Maybe that is Delia Steunenberg watching? I am sure Al or other family members can confirm that for me. To the right is Charles "Pete" Steunenberg, another brother.

That's my grandpa Julian Steunenberg with Jumbo the dog. Not sure whose house house that is in the background.

Julian on old "Colie." Maybe the same house in the background as the one above? Anyone know?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

ORCHARD INTERVIEW SCORED AND DEFENDED From The Daily Telegraph, St. John, N. B., Canada, Saturday May 18, 1907

Click on the images to enlarge. Above is just a partial scan of the complete article as it was slightly too long for my scanner. I mainly captured the headlines and the picture. Most of the papers I have are from New Brunswick, Canada. It was a big mining area in those days and Harry Orchard had lived up in those parts for a time. He was born over in Northumberland County, Ontario, Canada (**see below as this is incorrect. I am going to leave it here until I backtrack a bit and see if it was just my mistake (most likely!) or I got it from some other incorrect source since I have a lot of information on Orchard and have corresponded off and on with several of his descendants).

**The following correction and additional information was kindly provided by fellow blogger Ron Jack. Ron and I struck up a conversation that I am sure will continue from time to time well into the future. As I mentioned to him, don't ever be shy about correcting, adding, disputing information. I sure not! Thanks Ron.
Now I'm originally from Saint John, N.B., and was first a"local historian" before moving on to the West Coast, so I cut my teeth on those very newspapers - 30 years ago."Orchard" was from Wooler, Ontario and "Northumberland County" is in N.B. You're mixing two locations. I have not seen evidence that he was ever in New Brunswick. There is a reason why the Trial featured so prominently in those St. John newspapers - first, it was very interesting, 2nd the wire service copy was cheap to buy, and 3rd - the Labour situation in St. John was volatile. Local news editors were warning readers what could happen in their own city. Saint John is not a mining area, and taken as a whole the province has very little mining history. If you are curious, my Blog is
Ron Jack

Since my last posting, I have decided to proceed with immediate rescue of articles that are in some of these 100 plus year old newspapers. I am cutting out the articles from those that are in the worst shape, repairing if necessary with archival document tape and getting them into archival clear covers. Many are disintegrating anyway so it was time to act. Although I have not used it before, I may experiment on some left over old newspaper with the archival mists that are designed to neutralize acids. It would not have been practical on complete newspapers but for individual articles we will see if it is helpful.

Lee Morse
Be sure to check out other additions scattered throughout the blog. The Lee Morse link (over under the "Site of the Month" at top of the left hand column) is a must for old music lovers..or that should be music that is old but you can be any age. A bunch of those great scratchy 78 RPM jazz, blues band recordings. She also appeared in a couple of Paramount movies and I have included a clip in that section toward end of the blog (Lee Morse in Song Service, Paramount -1930). There is something about her voice and that sound. I just started the "Site of the Month" and will try to add new items of interest from time to time.

Maybe I need some Gin Pills
Just had the big going over by my doc but he never said anything about my back pain being related to the kidneys or taking "Gin Pills." "Take away the pain--clear the urine-- soothe the bladder--and strengthen the kidneys." Hmm...I wonder...if I write to that address can I still get some...
May 18, 1907

Saturday, April 5, 2008

ORCHARD TESTIFYING AT HAYWOOD TRIAL ...The Sun, St. John, N B., Canada.......... Monday, June 24, 1907

Click on the above to enlarge. Sometimes you might have to hit the back button and click on the pic again before it opens. I have quite a few of these 100 + year old newspapers about the trial. Most are a large 24" X 18" format and in deteriorating condition. It is always a dilemma to know what to do with old newspapers. Preservation is a challenge as they continue to fade, become brittle and the size makes for difficult handling. I keep debating about cutting out the articles of interest, scanning, perhaps neutralizing the acids with available archival products and then encapsulating each for longer life. As a collector, you hate to mess with anything too much and particularly when you destroy one part to save another.

Fortunately more and more are being put into PDF format and made available for research. The NY Times archives is a great source since reporter Oscar King Davis was in Boise to cover every day of the trial. The NYT archives can be located at:

The article above I managed to get on the scanner and crop using Photoshop. Many are too large or located in the paper where they are all but impossible to place on the scanner. Of course each time the paper is touched it tears and chips more. Any other ideas out there let me know but I am leaning toward removing the articles of interest and scanning and preserving those before I lose everything.

The photo of the trial is a common one used in publications and can be seen in Big Trouble (Photo #30) with the names of the numbered individuals. It is available from the Idaho State Historical Society. Henrietta Haywood, daughter of Bill Haywood, is #4. Gary Eller is working on a recording of "Are They Going To Hang My Papa." The original music score pictures little Henrietta on the front. You can see it below on this blog at: Saturday, January 19, 2008 What the Heck is an Emu-Z-Um Anyway?

And here's another. Also from June 24th, 1907.

"Songs of the Month"

Don't forget to check out the historical songs of the month on the Bona Fide website. Gary Eller have done a nice job of finding and recording (along with a few friends) this Idaho historical music from prior to 1910. He has just recently updated the Songs of the Month page.

Go to:
Check out all the links but click on "Songs of the Month" to hear some newly recorded old songs and for a little history on each one. Or just click on the title of this post and it will take you right there. Provides the perfect background music while browsing this blog in another window.

I will return later but right now I have to get back to cleaning some "historical" items out of my garage and yard.