Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Hard Luck" Walley

Long before IPTV's production of Assassination: Idaho's Trial of the Century, there was The Steunenberg Murder Trial performed at the College of Idaho on August 5th and 6th, 1963...starring one William Crookham as Merritt Walley. Click on the pics to enlarge for viewing.

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.

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