Monday, June 29, 2009

More of Premiere Night - Assassination: Idaho's Trial of the Century

How about: A Good Hanging Spoiled

More pics moved up from the unarchived depths of the blog.The Egyptian Theatre Marquee.
Click on the pic to see more about the
Egyptian Theatre in Boise, ID

Samples of the autographs in a now very prized copy of Debaters and Dynamiters (Notable Trials Version) signed by the author David Grover and others during our visit to Idaho for the premiere of Assassination: Idaho's Trial of the Century. I hope to get a few of those I missed during the next Idaho trip.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sign My Guest Book - Don't be shy, stop in and say howdy. Click on the this link & then "Comments."

Click here on "COMMENTS" and pass along information you have about Idaho history that relates to the topics on this blog or just to introduce yourself and say hello. I would love to hear from folks and to make contact with family members and friends interested in our history. Of course, you can continue to email me privately too if that is your preference.

All comments are reviewed for content and any "junk" stuff is deleted prior to public posting.

Scroll to the bottom for the most recent comments and to post your own.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Visit to the The Idaho Pen - 11/8/2007

These pics probably look familiar, as I am moving some items up from the lower picture section. This way they can be be archived, save some download time and space and be available for easier viewing. These were taken during our special visit to the Idaho Pen on the day following the premiere of Assassination: Idaho's Trial of the Century.

John (me) on the left and Gary Anderson (aka Clarence Darrow) on the right "loafing" at the Idaho Pen. It was both educational and a lot of fun to spend a little time with "Darrow." Click on the image to go to Gary's "American Legends" website. 
John and Keith Couch (aka Judge Fremont Wood). "But judge, did you have to keep telling the jury that independent corroboration was needed of Orchard's testimony!" Click the pic to read more about Judge Wood (bad link).

Prisoners view of the cross up on the hill that overlooks the Idaho Pen (courtesy of Caley Richards). Click on the pic to hear some oral history interviews from previous guards at the pen. (bad link).

Daily Log of Premiere Week (no longer active link. I have to get it setup elsewhere).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Next-up in the terrorist-battle™/James Carafano/ Washington Examiner

Click on the heading below and read the article by James Carafano. He uses the Steunenberg assassination for comparative purposes. Following that article are my comments that may or may not get posted on the Washington Examiner site. As of this posting, they have not.

Next-up in the terrorist-battle™/James Carafano/Washington Examiner
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Comments by John T. Richards
Considerable documentation exists regarding the trial of “Big Bill” Haywood for conspiracy in the murder of former Governor Steunenberg of Idaho. Most recently, the assassination and trial were documented in a public television program titled, Assassination: Idaho Trial of the Century. You can read about it at:

As Mr. Carafano mentions, Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas “chronicles this crime.” However, Lukas, sometimes to the point of criticism of his minute detail, goes far beyond just a single crime as he documents the struggle between labor and capital during the 20th century industrial revolution and the mining exploration in the West. This struggle was a pivotal time in our nation’s history that would greatly influence the course of labor relations in the century ahead.

Regardless of one’s view of Bill Haywood, or where you fall in terms of labor and capital, to call the assassination of Steunenberg as a “one-off” demonstrates the shallow nature of Mr. Carafano’s knowledge of these events. We know that Steunenberg’s assassin killed some seventeen or more men during a western reign of terror that included a number of accomplices. Hardly a "one-off." I doubt Mr. Carafano read anything more of Big Trouble except reviews, cliff notes or perhaps listened to the very abridged recorded version. He certainly has missed grasping even a basic understanding of this epic discussion about 20th century America.

Big Trouble, though imperfect, is a detailed and exquisite exploration of the industrial revolution, the rise of labor and capital and the inevitable struggles (violent and non-violent). To categorize “Big Bill” as not being part of a broader social movement, comes, I am sure, as a surprise to both Haywood’s supporters and detractors. To summarily excuse a period of great social upheaval as amounting to “not much” is a rather surprising and uneducated view for a person of Mr. Carafano’s stature.

Are there "lone wolfs" out there? Certainly, and I concur that it is the terrorist networks that require our utmost vigilance and attention. However, a lone wolf, in these days of WMD, can cause great destruction and death and also requires our vigilance. Words do matter, and throughout history we have an uncountable number of individuals and groups that have been inflamed to sometimes unspeakable actions by the mere words of others.

The implications of those early 20th century events continue to influence us today. The struggle between labor and capital, as so intricately dissected by Lukas, and using the assassination of former Governor Steunenberg as the anchoring event in the story, cannot be thrown into the category of a “one-off.” The historical importance, and the human suffering and sacrifices on all sides, remains too important to be rendered such a dismissive attitude.

I will not belabor the historical content of Big Trouble. I do suggest that Mr. Carafano or those with historical interests, or that plan to use past history as a basis for argument, take the time to obtain at least a cursory understanding and appreciation of the topics under discussion. Read Big Trouble and/or the many other accounts of that period in history. In doing so, you will find many lessons that continue to be applicable today.

For more information and links to these resources, go to my blog at:

John T. Richards, Jr.

Friday, June 19, 2009

"Barn Where Assassin Was Concealed"

I don't recall seeing a picture before of this "barn where assassin was concealed." I assume it was on the Steunenberg property, being "some 300 feet distant," but could be wrong in that regard. And whose house is that in the background? Is it a still existing neighborhood home? If any one can shed some light on this photo then please let me know. Click images to enlarge.............................. (cont. from above)

Frank Crookham's Birthday Gathering

Frank Crookham's birthday at the home of Bill and Berit in Caldwell, Idaho. How young is Frank?....100! A fine looking bunch of kinfolk with the guest of honor sitting front and center with the cane.

I sure enjoyed having Frank along to add his knowledge and reminiscing about the area when Cousin Bill took me on the Caldwell tour in recent years.

Photo courtesy of Jan Boles and names courtesy of Judy Crookham Krueger. Click on picture to enlarge.

Back Row: Abdou Oumar, Aisha Abdou, Jamal Abdou, Davis Crookham, Kirsti Hammer, Jakob Hammer, Taylor Kimpton, Austin Kimpton, Jordan Kimpton, Kathryn Crookham, Grace Crookham, John McClain, Cindy McClain, Tracy Roche, Doug McClain, Donna Dempster-McClain

Middle Row: Bill Crookham, Karin Krueger, Mary Crookham, Brandon Hammer, Jerid Hammer, Elizabeth ____?___, Kevin Kimpton, Shelly Kimpton, Judy Krueger, George Crookham, Keri Crookham

Front Row: Malcolm McClain, Berit Crookham, Kris Crookham, Bob Eggiman, Linda Eggiman, Wade Crookham, Frank Crookham, Carl Crookham, Jill Crookham, Norine Crookham, Alison (Kim) McClain, Krista McClain-Rocha, Amy Roche, Krystynne Crookham, Jordyn Crookham.

Monday, June 15, 2009

When Everyone Had A Hankie...including Governor Steunenberg

I was digging around in the back of our crowded china cabinet and came across a long-lost item, actually a couple of items, which had faded from memory long ago. One was Governor Steunenberg's hankie.
Now old hankies are not typically an item I think about collecting, but this is one of the few personal items of the ex-governor that remains in our branch of the family. As I now vaguely recall, it was given to me years ago by my mother, Brenda Steunenberg Richards, only to be tucked away into the far dark corner of the china cabinet until now. The hankie had escaped my inventorying and gathering-up of Steunenberg related items over the intervening years. Also of interest is the old tattered envelope in which the hankie was neatly folded.
The handkerchief itself is pretty non-descript, but I was delighted to find a small embroidered "S" in one corner to identify a more definitive Steunenberg provenance. The connection is further strengthened by the writing on the envelope and the family chain of ownership. It seems well made as hankies go, sewn neatly around the edges and showing no sign of significant wear.
Written on the envelope is:
“Ex. gov. Steunenberg’s hankie given J. P. S. (Julian Pope Steunenberg, my grandfather) by Frances S. “
died 1905
............49 years ago”
I am not positive if “Frances S” is referring to Julian’s wife/my grandmother Frances or to Julian’s sister, and the Governor’s daughter, Frances L. Steunenberg Eastman. The notation regarding the date would indicate it was given to Julian in 1954, 49 years after the assassination.The writing appears to be my grandmothers but I will have to do some comparing and research.
I will also have to go back and check pictures of the governor so see if a handkerchief was ever in view. As often noted, Frank Steunenberg never wore a necktie and I would not expect to find any handkerchief folded neatly in his breast pocket. Long before the days of Kleenex and Purell hand sanitizer, most folks carried a hankie for wiping their eyes, sweat from the brow and to give the nose a "country blow" when necessary. Some folks say hankies lost popularity because all that blowing and wiping with something you kept in your pocket was viewed as rather disgusting. Of course, the Kleenex Corp. came along and put on a pretty good marketing blitz for their product and hankie sales started to plummet. Click her for more Kleenex History.

In the 19th century, a hankie was a prized possession and they were laundered and neatly ironed on a regular basis. I even remember having a drawer full of hankies in the 1950's/60's and often kept one in my back pocket (the habit of keeping it regularly laundered and neatly ironed probably didn't apply in my case). I am guessing that the governor kept one in his back pocket too. It seems today, with all the emphasis on using less trees, paper products and energy, that a lot of Kleenex and the boxes it comes in could be saved by merely having a few more hankies.

Swine flu has sure created a big brouhaha and folks are being told to sneeze or cough into their shirt sleeve if they don't have a Kleenex handy. Now that sounds a lot more disgusting then using a hankie! You would think keeping a hankie in our pocket would be more sanitary then coughing and sneezing into our shirtsleeve. Instead of revving up the production of flu vaccine, would it not be a whole lot easier, more economical and greener to start ramping up hankie production? I never heard one person make that suggestion when they said blow into you shirt sleeve! Seems to me, changing hankies would be easier that changing shirts.

Maybe I will give the governor's old hankie a gentle wash to get out the decades of dust and tuck it into my back pocket. I reckon I can give a good "country blow" or sneeze, will know that I have done my part to contain germs and save energy too
and will have been as close to nose to nose with great-grandpa Steunenberg as I will ever get.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"Caldwell Commercial Bank, Caldwell, Idaho"

Here is the first envelope I have seen with a photograph of the Caldwell Bank & Trust (for a short period called the Caldwell Commercial Bank). Unfortunately, there are no interesting postmarks or any address so I believe it is classified as just a plain old envelope. If it had stamps, postmarks, etc. then it would become a "cover." If I have that wrong, then undoubtedly Mark Metkin from the Idaho State Postal History Registry will appear again to straighten me out.

I picked up this envelope for a couple bucks on eBay. Anyone have or seen more of these envelopes or covers anywhere?

To read more information and see pictures of the bank (or any other topic), use the blog search tool in the very top left margin of this blog page. Or, click here on "Caldwell Bank", as I did the same search and this is the link.

There are more photos of the bank and that once thriving intersection of "7th & Main" in Caldwell, ID that you can view down toward the bottom of the blog. It is in a picture section that is unsearchable and is not on the archive list. You have to go find it. One of the photos shows the inside of the bank and on the back is labeled "Caldwell Commercial Bank."

The photo below is one seen elsewhere on this blog and is from my postcard collection. It shows the bank during roughly the same time period as depicted on this envelope and before the building was extended to the left to form the Steunenberg block.

Monday, June 8, 2009

6/6/1907 - Orchard's Black Tale of Murders

6/6/1907 - ORCHARD'S BLACK TALE OF MURDERS (page 1) You can use by viewer to read page one of this article below left from the 6/6/1907 Washington Post (far right column) and then click on the picture of Harry Orchard below to be taken to page two and the rest of the article.6/6/1907 _ HIS HIDEOUS TALE MADE HEARERS SHUDDER


The article below, with an interesting group photo of the the defense witnesses, appeared in the Washington Post the following month. I see Mrs. Moyer, Mrs. Pettibone and Mrs. Adams. "Nevada Jane" Haywood was present daily in the courtroom but she could not be called to testify against her husband and is not in this picture. In reality, she could just as well be shown front and center, as her daily presence in the courtroom as the invalid wife, staged to perfection by Darrow, spoke loudly to the jury.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sergeant Cal Steunenberg, 40th Infantry Division, 185th Infantry, 2nd Battalion

This is such a way cool picture of my Uncle, Sergeant Cal Steunenberg in the South Pacific, circa 1943, that I had to share it. My Cousin Roy (sadly Cousin Roy passed away the following year) has this wonderful original photograph and shared it with his daughter, Sheri Beersman Steunenberg, during the recent services honoring his father. Sheri sent a scan to me along with other pictures and mementos from the memorial and military burial service (see recent blog posts). Thank you Cousin Roy for sharing it. I love the grin on Uncle Cal's face despite being where he is at the time and the conditions under which he is living. Be sure to click on the picture to view the enlarged version.

"The 2nd Battalion redesignated 2nd Battalion, 185th Infantry, 1 April 1929; reorganized and federally recognized 27 May 1929 with Headquarters in Pasadena. Expanded and reorganized as 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 185th Infantry during March and April 1930. Inducted into Federal Service at Pasadena March 1941 with service with the 40th Infantry Division. The regiment, served with the division in the Southwest Pacific Theater of Operations including operations in the Philippines, Panay, Mindanao, & Negros Islands, ending up in 1945 as part of the U.S. Army occupational force in Korea. Upon return back to the United States, the unit was inactivated 7 April 1946 at Camp Stoneman, Pittsburg, California." --CA State Military Museum

"Troops of the 185th Inf, 40th Division take cover behind tanks advancing on Jap positions on (Panay, P.I.). This is one of the shots salvaged from the camera of Lt. Robert Fields who was killed in action shortly after it was taken."

Cal A. Steunenberg May 19, 1913 - May 21, 2009

Footnote Spotlight
Footnote Person Page
CA' s 40th Inf. Div.

Remembering D-Day, June 6, 1944

If you receive this link through an automatic email notification, the D-Day video immediately below may not be visible in your email. Go to: Steunenberg Blog to see the full view. Don't ask me why. If you would like to sign up for automatic notifications, just enter your email address in the box over in the upper left hand column. You won't get any junk mail, I promise!

Click on additional links below.

D-Day June 6th 1944

The Disaster that may have saved D-Day - Hushed up for Decades: How 749 U.S. Troops died in practice for Utah Beach

Normandy Landings

American D-Day

The Marines by Sgt. Cal Steunenberg

Normandy American Cemetery

This Day in History (History Channel)

D-Day Hero

Click on the picture below and be taken to my viewer.
D-Day War Theatre