Sunday, November 30, 2008

James H. Hart, author of "In Memory of Ex-Governor Steunenberg"

Before reading on, you will want to refer back to and read my November 16, 2008 post, In Memory of Ex-Governor Steunenberg, if you have not previously done so.

The poem in the above post and dedicated to Governor Steunenberg was written by a James H. Hart and I was trying to find more information about this gentleman. Not surprisingly, my fellow blogger and history and political junkie, Tara Rowe, located and sent me the article below. I also later found the complete book available online in case you have other Southern Idaho "Progressive Men" to look up.

Progressive Men of Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Fremont and Oneida Counties, Idaho. Chicago. A.W. Bowen & Co., 1904. You can view the complete book and the article being cited here by clicking on James H. Hart.

Knowing a bit more about James Hart helps in my understanding of his glowing praise and eulogy of the martyred governor. We discover that Hart was a Democrat (where did all those Steunenberg Idaho Democrats and Populists go?) and was a Mormon. Frank Steunenberg was of course a Democrat and at a time when the Mormons were experiencing a great deal of discrimination and downright hatred, he was a supporter and ally. The governor did not subscribe to Mormon beliefs but he did believe they were "good citizens" and opposed the persecution that was prevalent during that time as Mormon influence spread from Utah to throughout Idaho and the West. Although I have not found any specific reference, Hart and the Governor undoubtedly came in direct contact from time to time. Hart was very active politically, had been a Democratic member of the lower house in the Idaho legislature in the the late 1800's and was elected Judge of Probate in 1900. Hart probably wrote the poem, In Memory of Ex-Governor Steunenberg, shorty after the Haywood trial had ended.

The following provided courtesy of Tara Rowe.

Progressive Men of Southern Idaho (Illustrated). Chicago: A.W. Bowen & Co., 1904.

Entry for Hon. James H. Hart, pages 205-207:

History does not always make just and adequate return to the souls which have helped to create it. It is often arbitrary, whimsical and partial, celebrating as heroes mere opportunists and letting the pioneers, the real crusaders, go by unclaimed, unhonored. It is the province of this compilation to leave the speculations of historical disquisitions and to preserve the biographical features of the life careers of those who have, by their able endeavors and progressive connection with the development of any line, civil, professional or industrial, of the advancement of the community of their residence, rendered themselves prominent, active or beneficial. Most intimately connected with the history of Bear Lake County, Idaho, has been the gentleman whom we now have under consideration. Hon. James H. Hart, of Bloomington, who has most capable held the highly important office of probate judge of Bear Lake county, in which he rendered most satisfactory service by his erudition, dignity, courtesy and marked spirit of equity.

Judge James H. Hart was born in Abingford, Huntingtonshire, England, on June 19, 1825, a son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Marriott) Hart, descending from ancestors whose lineage runs back unbroken through many generations of active usefulness in his native land, his paternal grandfather, John Hart, being a native of the same county with himself and where his father was also born. Thomas Hart was the third in a family of eight children and engaged in the vocation of a builder for his life work, and, after performing most creditable labors in his chosen profession, and after attending with faithfulness to his duties as parish clerk and sexton for over half a century, his remains now repose in the old-time cemetery in Abingford, side by side with the mother of Judge Hart, who long ago passed to the Great Beyond.

In this religious atmosphere Judge Hart attained maturity, acquiring the elements of a solid literacy education in the parish schools and supplementing this instruction in the full course of stenography, following this as a profession for some time. A man beyond the ordinary in reasoning powers and mental endowment, James Hart was early convinced of the truthfulness of the religious doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and became a member of that body when he was twenty-two years old, later being called by the church to fill important missions in London, Birmingham, the Island of Jersey, Germany and in several departments of the church established in France, notable about them being St. Malo, Paris, and Havre, his efforts receiving attention and securing large additions to the members of the faithful. From France he was transferred to St. Louis, Mo., in 1857, in which city he was prominent in church activities and most capably performed the onerous duties of managing editor of the newspaper publication entitled St. Louis Luminary, in addition to these duties diligently working at carpentry. From St. Louis in 1857 he was placed in change of an ox train of Mormon emigrants en route for Salt Lake City, and brought them safely through to their destination, arriving there on October 9th of the same year.

Remaining in Salt Lake City and vicinity, engaged in various occupations until 1864, Judge Hart then made his home in the new town of Bloomington, Idaho, where he became a worker in wood, being a carpenter and also making all the doors and tables of the place. He was also commissioned as the first postmaster of Bloomington, holding the position for seven years, was chosen and served as a popular justice of the peace, and in 1870 he was nominated and elected judge of probate of the county, discharging the important functions of the office with great acceptability for the term of four years and thereafter representing the people of his district in the lower house of the state Legislature for six consecutive years, and later, in 1900 being nominated again, as the candidate of the Democratic party, for his former judicial office, judge of probate, and receiving a flattering endorsement and election at the polls. This term of office expired on January 10, 1903. For the past twenty years Judge Hart has practiced the legal profession at Paris, and occupies a leading and prominent position among the members of the bench and bar, having many friends and being noted for his constancy to his clients, his comprehensive grasp and presentation of the merits of his cases before the courts, and the affable courtesy of his manner.

Always deeply devoted to the interests of the Church of Latter Day Saints, Judge Hart has from the first held position therein, rendering also distinguished serve for a long term of years as one of the stake presidency, being in this connection the superintendent and manager of the Fielding Academy in Paris.

Miss Emily Ellingham, a native of Hertfordshire, England, and Jude Hart were united in matrimony in the city of London in 1852. She was the daughter of Thomas and Ann Ellingham, and of this union is there is but one surviving child, James Ellingham Hart, now serving in his second term of four years as auditor and recorder of Bear Lake county. By his second wife, Sabina Schieb, to whom he was united in 1862, he had nine children, of whom seven are now living. The oldest, Charles H., is serving his second term as judge of the First judicial district of Utah. The others are Alice C., who married Anson Osmond, has seven children and lives in Bloomington; Eugene S., a popular teacher in Fremont County; Arthur W., an attorney at Preston, Idaho. Both of the last named have preformed missionary service, the first in Missouri, the latter in Germany. Alfred A., of Bloomington, a graduate of the Agricultural College of Utah, has recently performed a mission of two years in Wisconsin; Hemoine, a graduate of the Agricultural College of Utah, is a teacher at St. Charles; Rosina, now Mrs. Ivan Woodward of Franklin, Idaho; the family includes also one adopted son, Henry J. Hart, a carpenter of Montpelier, Idaho.

To sum up, there is no one individual throughout the who extent of southern Idaho who has more completely lived up to the high standing of his ideals than has Judge Hart, and it stands in evidence, without an attempt at contradiction, that no man has filled important functions with greater fidelity, or ever discharged his duties as a citizen or church member with a clearer perception of their requirements or with a nobler result.

Other things to be thankful for:

My L.A. Lakers are 13-1.

I received my book and CD of Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigration Trails.

I still have a couple more days off.

I just found some new kinfolk with historical family information & items of interest.

**Sorry if Blogger spacing and formatting doesn't seem to be cooperating this morning.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Another Letter of Condolence to my grandfather Julian for the murder of his father/Ex.Governor Steunenberg

Here is a letter of condolence from Elizabeth H. Goetler (?) to Julian Steunenberg dated 12/31/1905. I am not sure of the last name spelling. If anyone has a better guess or knowledge of who this high school Principal is from Tekoa, WA during the period around 1905/1906 then let me know. There was no envelope. Eventually I will do a little detective work and track down the connection between Julian and Elizabeth. I am guessing that the trail may lead to Walla Walla College. Click on the letter to get the enlarged version.

Tekoa, Washington
Dec. 31, 1905

Dear Julian:
On my return from Church this morning, I was shocked beyond measure to hear of your father's death. What fiend could have perpetrated this awful deed!

I hasten to offer you my sympathy in this trying hour. May the Lord help and sustain you in this great bereavement is my prayer. I know that all words seem vain (?) when one is overwhelmed with grief as you are, and yet, sometimes, it is a comfort to know that our friends think of us and do sadly sympathize with us in our grief and sorrow for the loved one that has been so cruelly snatched from our side.

You have the comfort in knowing your father was a good and just man and respected by all who knew him.

I extend my heartfelt sympathy to your mother and entire family.

Most Sincerely your friend

Mrs. S. Elizabeth H. Goetler (?)
Principal High School Tekoa, Wash.

I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving weekend. We took a Turkey meal up to my folks (John Sr. and Brenda Steunenberg Richards) on Friday. They are not able to go out anymore and find it difficult to have any large groups in the house. We visit in shifts. Both were in good spirits and we were pleased to see Mom eat a pretty healthy portion. For Dad, a healthy portion is never a problem! I gathered with all my kids (son Josh and his wife Chrystie and their foster son Noah, my other son Joe, my daughter Caley and her friend Victor and my wife Cindy for dinner out this year. Plenty to eat as usual and happy to have all my kids nearby. Our best to you and yours. John and Family.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Harry Orchard Items at the Idaho Pen

A couple more items coming up from the depths of the blog picture section to now become regular posts. This way they can be more easily found using the archive listing or search tool.

This is the inlaid game board made by Harry Orchard while at the Idaho Pen. He had a lifetime to hone his skills doing such things. Those that he brutally murdered did not. This was shown to us during our November 2007 visit through the courtesy of Rachelle Littau, Interpretive Specialist with the ISHS.

If I remember Rachelle correctly, the shoe molds and leather were found down under the Idaho Pen in what I refer to as the "hole." It is suspected that they were used by Orchard to make shoes, a skill he developed during his long stay at the pen. Ironic that he would become a shoemaker , the same craft practiced by a number of Steunenberg's both in this country and back in Holland. Most notable was Will Steunenberg, brother of the governor, who had a shoe shop in Caldwell. Those were the days when shoes really were made in the USA. Whether Orchard's or not, these were an interesting find along with the game board. We appreciated the special showing arranged by Rachelle during our visit to the pen.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigration Trails

Our friend Gary Eller has just announced that the CD, Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigration Trails, is now available. This is great opportunity to get some great music AND a 75 page book documenting the historical roots of each song. Of course I am excited to see included among this collection Farewell Steunenberg (2008), the Harry Orchard Song (1907) and Are They Going to Hang My Papa?(1907).

Looking for holiday gifts? Help support the preservation of historical music and pick up a copy of Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigration Trails by contacting Gary Eller by email at or through his Pickle’s Butte Music website.

While you are at it, why not mosey on over to Idaho Public Television and get the perfect companion to this CD, and that would be a copy of the DVD, Assassination: Idaho’s Trial of the Century.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Knife Made by Harry Orchard, Mass Murderer

Here is another item I am moving up from the pictures section and into the main posts. It's a picture of Frank Steunenberg along with a knife made my Harry Orchard while residing in the Idaho Pen. This picture appeared in Knife World , August 1993, Vol. 19, N. 8 as part of a nice several page article. An original of this edition was graciously given to me by Roger Worley, a knife collector from Boise, ID., who has this knife in his collection. Orchard did not make it as a prison weapon or shank. He gave the knife to fellow inmate Tom Farley and it was probably held with Farley's belongings until released. I will have to get in touch with Roger again sometime and see what it might take to get him to part with it! Nice article and pics that I will try to scan and get on the blog at some point. Click the picture to enlarge.

Passing of Jean Smylie Steunenberg

Idaho Statesman Obituary

--A recently discovered photo courtesy of the College of Idaho Smylie Archives

From the Naperville Sun November 20th, 2008:
Jean S. Steunenberg, a resident of Naperville since 1951, died on November 16, 2008 at the age of 84. Her husband, Robert K. Steunenberg, predeceased her in 2002.

Jean was active in politics as a member of the League of Women's Voters and precinct Committeeman and Captain when she was not teaching piano. She was an avid reader.

A memorial service will be held at Beidelman-Kunsch Funeral Home, 516 South Washington Street, Naperville, IL on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. with visitation at noon. There will be a private interment in Canyon Hill Cemetery, Caldwell, ID. Donations to The College of Idaho (2112 Cleveland Boulevard, Caldwell, ID 83605-4432) in lieu of flowers in the name of Jean S. Steunenberg are requested.

Jean was married to Robert K. Steunenberg. I may have met Jean when I was very young but no memory of her or Robert. I have seen their picture in a Steunenberg reunion photo (c. 1970) that hangs in the living room at the home of my father and mother. Jean will be joining Robert and many other Steunenberg family members at their final resting place on Canyon Hill in Caldwell, Idaho.

To read more about Robert, go to an earlier blog entry at:

Monday, August 11, 2008

Robert K. Steunenberg-WW II Veteran on LST 808 and Distinguished Scientist

Governor Frank Steunenberg - Life, Assassination, Trial of the Century

I have started (somewhat randomly) posting a few items to a Frank Steunenberg page on Mostly stuff you have seen here. Feel free to email me comments regarding the web page or anything you would like to add. You won't be able to do so directly on the Footnote web page unless you are a paying Footnote customer but I will be happy to post anything you send my way.
Governor Frank Steunenberg - Life, Assassination, Trial of the Century - biography, pictures and information, learn share and discover the life and times of Frank Steunenberg.

After some fumbling around, it looks like I have have managed to find and eliminate most of the stray HTML that brought forth the pink and chartreuse colors. Of course, maybe they were an attention getter that I should have left in! It does have me playing with the colors a bit so you might notice some changes.

"To Hell With The Man Who Breaks My Will"

Will in the widow of his Caldwell store.
Below: inside his store (Will on the right. Unidentified person on the left). Caldwell, ID (photo got deleted. Have to find it again). 

The last will & testament of Will Steunenberg dated 5/9/1907. Some of you may have seen it before as moving up from the picture section at the end of the blog and adding a transcribed version. Certainly weighing on Will's mind as he wrote this would have been the untimely deaths of his brothers Frank and AK Steunenberg coupled with the passing of his father and family patriarch Bernardus Steunenberg. All were gone within an 18 month period beginning with that awful night of December 30th, 1905 when Governor Steunenberg was assassinated. Ancil Keppel “AK” died of a serious illness on March 16, 1907 and Bernardus Steunenberg passed away a short time later on March 29th 1907.

The following is a transcribed copy from the above 1907 diary along with a few additional entries of interest. Will was the second oldest of the ten children of Cornelia and Bernardus Steunenberg and the oldest brother of Governor Frank Steunenberg. He was a shoemaker by trade and owned the above pictured shop in Caldwell, ID. He was born 3/26/1857 in Holland, MI; died August 12, 1946 Caldwell, ID.
A few words are difficult to discern although eyes better then mine could probably figure it out. Will kept a daily diary throughout his adult life and typically made short and to the point notations on each calendar day. Most indicate the weather, lodge activities, visits to family, playing cards, results of hunting/fishing trips and daily personal and business expenses. The last will and testament appears in the memorandum section of the 1907 diary. The diaries are in the possession of my cousin Bill Crookham of Caldwell, ID and several were loaned to me for examination.

The names referenced in his last will and testament are of Will’s remaining seven Steunenberg siblings. I have attempted to use punctuation, capitalization and spelling as per the original. A few items in parentheses have been added for clarification or comment purposes.
May 9th 1907 (Memoranda section of the diary)
In case anything should happen to me, I would like Jo & Deal (sisters Josephine and Delia) to have the property on Gospel ridge 9 blocks and house in block 33 Dorman’s addition. (space) The ¼ share I own in the home property Block (space) to go to John. let Charley (his brother Charles Benjamin Steunenberg often referred to as “C.B”) & George (Steunenberg) divide my share of the shoe store equally between them. If there is any Money left give Lizzie & Grace (Elizabeth and Jennie Grace Steunenberg) One hundred dollars each & divide the balance equally among you all. see that the guns get good keepers. And if any of Frank’s Boys ever show any tendency to guns & will take care of same; give them the gun that belonged to Frank the 30-303 savage.Don’t blow in (spelling?) money foolishly on funeral Just plain. and remember no mourning goes, Just be Jolly & forget and don’t drag my carcass to a Church I would like the K.P’s (Knights of Pythias) & Odd Fellows to Plant me if they can do so without making blunders & would like for Prof. Boone to make one of his nice sensible talks, No Preaching goes (spelling?). And give Boone $25.00 for his trouble.
Let John, Charley & George see that my wishes are carried out.
W. L. Steunenberg
To Hell with the Man who breaks my will.

Transcribed by John T. Richards Jr.

Other samples of the entries in the 1907 diary include:
3/15 – went to A.K.’s in evening & stayed all night at A.K.'s… A.K. very low.
3/16 – don’t see how A.K. can get well…A.K. died at 5 min to 12
3/19 –A.K. was buried by the IOOF Grand Lodge officers and the canteen assisting…it was a very large funeral considering the muddy & sloppy roads.
3/29 – Father died at 1:15
4/21 – rode out to the cemetery
4/23 – went home and found John and Charlie looking over Frank’s papers.
7/28 – The jury acquitted Haywood this morning of having anything to do with Frank’s murder.
10/27 – went fishing with T.W. Boone 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Was Governor Steunenberg as Tall as Shaquille O'Neal or another Crocodile Dundee?

"Gov Steunenberg stood nearly seven feet in his stockings, and never wore a necktie. When he appeared on Broadway six years ago he created a sensation with his Western costume, broad hat and long hair."

Well the governor was a big guy but not seven feet. Otherwise he might have been playing basketball rather then being a governor. He was more like 6'4", about the same as me. Sensation on Broadway? Costume? My great grandfather had long hair? That sounds like when Crocodile Dundee came out of the Australian bush and was walking the streets of New York (for those that saw the movie). In this case it is Governor Steunenberg from the Idaho Treasure Valley. I think we see a bit of the still prevalent view in 1905 that Eastern papers had of the "Wild West."

I am proud to say that the Governor and I share the same view when it comes to neckties. A family tradition that I try to follow.

Chicago Tribune 8/29/1899.

In Memory of Ex-Governor Steunenberg

Another item I am moving up from the picture section. If anyone has more information on this poem, when it was written and/or the author James H. Hart then please let me know. Click the image to enlarge for reading.


You may have seen these postcards before in the picture section toward the bottom of the blog. I am moving a few items around and brought these up here to go along with the small article below that I just found on
Click on the pictures to enlarge.

"Bunker Hill & Sullivan Mill, April 28, 1899 before the wreck." The card below from after the explosion is highly sought after but this one from the day before is actually harder to find.

BH&S Mill after the explosion, April 29, 1899. Nothing but splinters. Click here to read "From Statehouse to Bull Pen"

Back side of the card above it. Someone had their history wrong. Of course the governor was not killed in this explosion on 4/29/1899 of the BH&S Mill. His was murdered several years later on the evening of 12/30/1905 when he opened the gate to his home triggering a bomb (see below).

May 4, 1899 - MARTIAL LAW
Martial law was declared by Governor Steunenberg (misspelled Steunberg in this article) within a few days of the bombing of the Bunker Hill & Sullivan Mill.
This is the same pic that I requested be posted on the "Historical Tour" link on the City of Caldwell website several years ago. The Steunenberg name had been there but a blank spot with no picture. Click the link and then "Choose site" and "Steunenberg." Check out the rest of the houses and information on the site.


We can see Judge Fremont Wood on the bench, perhaps a few members of the jury and Charles Moyer on the witness stand.

Monday, November 10, 2008

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

We honor our men and women serving around the world today and all those who have served and sacrificed throughout our history.

B17 Flying Fortress (contributed by sfalcont to

I never met my Uncle Jule (Juke) Steunenberg as he died over the Pacific on July 20, 1946 in an accident involving two B-17's such as the one pictured above. He was one of the six children of Julian and Francis Steunenberg. The others are my mother Brenda, Uncle Cal (both living at age 90 and 95 respectfully) Uncle Bud, Aunt Doris and John (died in infancy). Of course all were great grandchildren of Frank and Belle Steunenberg. Frank, having been assassinated on December 30th, 1905, never had the opportunity to see any of his grandchildren.

Jule had already served five years in the Army Air Corp during WWII. On the day of his death, two B-17's were patrolling in search of missing planes and investigating the possible sighting of a life raft when this tragic accident occurred. Twenty crew members died.

Written by my mother Brenda Steunenberg Richards on the back of the above left picture of Jule: "Brenda's brother Jule (Juke) youngest of my 3 brothers. They were so good to little sister Brenda."

Proclamation from President Lyndon Johnson. Not dated and probably done as a Memorial Day event during the Johnson Administration.

Also see:
Footnote Pages

The Marines

Robert K. Steunenberg-WW II Veteran on LST 808 and Distinguished Scientist

Saturday, November 8, 2008

December 31, 1905 - Telegram from President M.E. Cady of Walla Walla College

A little worn and difficult to read in spots but this is a telegram from M.E. Cady, President of Walla Walla College 1905-1911, to Julian Steunenberg, expressing his sympathies on behalf of the students and faculty.

December 31, 1905 Letter of Condolence from a friend

A letter of condolence from Clarence Kime, friend of Julian (Bill) Steunenberg and Francis Wood (Steunenberg), my grandparents. They had all been friends at Walla Walla College.

January 1, 1906 - Francis Wood to Julian Steunenberg

This is a letter from my grandmother Francis Wood, known as Fan or Fanny, to my grandfather Julian, known as Bill. They would be married later in October 1906. The letter was mailed from Medical Lake, Washington, on January 1, 1906 and arrived in Caldwell on January 2nd 1906. Click on the images to enlarge. I think you can read it pretty well. I will get transcribed copies up here eventually.

12/31/1905 - Western Union Telegram

This telegram is from Clarence Kime, a good friend of my future grandfather Julian Steunenberg, eldest son of the assassinated governor. It is written to my future grandmother Francis Wood.

"Julian's Father was Murdered at 7PM Dec 30th.
Clarence W. Kime"

Monday, November 3, 2008

More Historical Idaho Music

Check out Gary Eller's latest historical songs found recently during his wanderings through the Idaho panhandle. Some great stuff and new CD's coming soon. Gary has been making a major contribution to the discovery, preservation and recording of historical Idaho music. Many of the songs have been directly related to mining and labor and he even finds the occasional lyrics that refer to the Haywood trial and Governor Steunenberg. I will give a holler to everyone and maybe have some pics to post when the CD's come out.

Following comes from Gary:

Greetings, friends of early Idaho Roots music. The pre-radio Songs of the Month for Nov and Dec now can be heard and read about at

These postings feature some of the neat songs I found during my month of song collecting and performing in the Idaho panhandle in September.

The book/CD "Early Songs of Southern Idaho and the Emigrant Trails" will be available in two weeks, well in time for Christmas.

The Idaho Songbag CD will be finalized this week and available in time for Christmas as well.

Regards, Gary Eller

Sunday, November 2, 2008


A few election tidbits from 110-112 years ago when Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg was running for his first term in 1896 and second term in 1898. He won by a landslide in 1896 and handily in 1898 but certainly not by the same wide margin. In 1898, the Populists ran their own candidate as opposed to 1896 when they had fused with the Democrats and supported Governor Steunenberg along with silver Republicans.

August 21, 1896

Just a couple of more days and we will have the election of 2008. Get out and vote.

New York Times October 29, 1898