Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Silver Valley

There is a lot of not so great stuff on You Tube but this is a pretty darn good series on the Silver Valley. Each one is about ten minutes so you might want to watch in several sittings. If you are receiving this as an automatic email notification you probably won't see the frames below. Click on the title above and come to the blog for viewing.

Whoops, looks like this series of videos was removed from YouTube by the owner. I will have to see what else I can find about the Silver Valley.

Big Bill Haywood in Silver City, Idaho

Click here for image of Big Bill Haywood in his Silver City days.
As a miner in Silver City, Idaho, Haywood began in earnest his life as an organizer and as a founding member of the Silver City local of the Western Federation of Miner's (WFM). Click on the above link (Idaho State Historical Society Digital Collections) where we see him in his classic pose, head turned to the right, shielding his bad eye from the camera. He right eye was blinded in an accident at the age of nine.

Below we have an overall view of Silver City circa 1900.

Postcard view of Silver City from the collection of John T. Richards

From Big Trouble, regarding Operative 53, who was working undercover for the Thiel Detective Agency:
"In his first report, filed January 13, Operative 53 said that R.J. Hanlon, financial secretary of the Sliver City Miner's Union, complained that Haywood and Charles H. Moyer, the president of the WFM, were 'trying very hard to get the Silver City Union mixed up in the {Steunenberg} affair.' Hanlon said two union officials had telegraphed him the day before to hire John Nugent, a Silver City lawyer and old friend of Haywood's, to defend Harry Orchard. An ex-miner who'd turned to the law after he was seriously injured in a mining accident, Nugent was serving as prosecutor of Owyhee County, where union sympathizers were in the saddle, but Nugent--perhaps seeing a conflict of interest--declined to take the Orchard case. Hanlon and other union members talked of a split between Idaho's 'hotheaded' unionists to the north and more conservative Silver City miners, who were reluctant to become embroiled in 'this mess.'
The Owyhee Nuggett, a Silver City newspaper friendly to the union, reported that the Steunenberg assassination was 'a serious affair in which {the miners} will do well to play 'hands off.' Many Silver City miners, the paper said, remembered Haywood from his days there and regarded him as 'very impetuous' but an honest man in his personal dealings, industrious, and wonderfully devoted to {his} wife.'
As snow blanketed the mining camp, the operative found it 'a hard matter' to get union men to talk about the case. 'When some of them get a little intoxicated,' he reported, however, 'they begin to talk a little.' Over several weeks, he spent more than fifty dollars buying drinks for cold, thirsty miners. Eventually, several told him that the WFM had recently voted to 'clean up' the union's enemies, among them Steunenberg, and that four or five men had been appointed to get those 'damn sons of bitches,' which they'd do if it took a hundred years."
--Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas

More ISHS Digital Collections
Haywood related documents

Steunenberg Documents

Old Harry Orchard

Silver City/Delamar area map

Be sure to browse all the photographs and documents in the Idaho State Historical Society (ISHS) Digital Collections.

Related Blog post:
Saturday, January 19, 2008

What the Heck is an Emu-Z-Um Anyway? Silver City/Delamar, Idaho, Big Bill Haywood & "Are They Going to Hang My Papa."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Interurban Car in Caldwell, Idaho

I have never been able to resist an Idaho Interurban car and picked up this rather scarce postcard image taken in Caldwell, ID. Behind the back of the car you get a peek of the Caldwell Banking & Trust Company and Steunenberg block. To the immediate right is the Saratoga Hotel, anchoring the focal point of the town at that time...the intersection at 7th and Main Streets.

You have seen this image in history books or websites about the area, and I have a reproduction (ugg!) but finally found the real deal. Bidding was a bit lively for this one so my insincere apology to anyone out there that I sniped in the last few seconds. I have other interurban images from Caldwell and Boise and most of them can be seen elsewhere on the blog or sprinkled about in the links below. Click on the above image to get a nice enlarged view.

Caldwell, Idaho Street View Early 1900's Click under this photograph where it says "original" and then click it again to enlarge even more. Is that the governor hanging out the door waving?

Caldwell-Boise Interurban under construction. There are some great links included here to informative outside websites about the Treasure Valley Interurban often known as "the loop."

Boise Valley Electric Railroads

Interurban Cars Running Through Main Street of Caldwell

Photo and narrative below from University Of Idaho Library Special Collections and ArchivesBoise & Interurban Railway car, 1907
Early-day Boise's transportation problems were to be solved by extending a branch line to Nampa to meet the transcontinental main line in 1887 after a five-year delay. By 1891, electric trolleys were seen as necessary and added to the mix. By 1902, both Nampa and Caldwell attempted to displace Boise as the region's economic center.
To capitalize on this effort, businessman Walter E. Pierce of Boise incorporated the Boise and Interurban Railway to connect the commuters of the three towns. In this souvenir promotional publication (1907) he proclaimed, "Under the general plan of the company every point offering paying business or capable of being developed to the profitable stage will be reached and the Boise and payette Valleys will be made tributary to Boise, as the very heart of the city can be reached in a short time, which will permit [the] business man and employees living anywhere along the line to perform their daily duties in the city."
The tracks of the interurban railways throughout the country and particularly in the West were ripped up and the cars shipped overseas as riders flocked to the freedom of automobile and bus manufacturers conspired to destroy the rail links. In the late 1990's, light interurban rail service is returning to the Boise Valley in the hopes of forestalling the paving of more real estate in the fast growing region.
Purchase of Boise & Interurban Railway Co. Ltd.: Souvenir ed., showing scenery along the route of the Boise and Interurban Railway, Boise and Caldwell (1907) was made possible by funds provide by the John Calhoun Smith Memorial Fund.
Caption: Boise & Interurban Railway car, colored lithograph pasted to the cover. Boise & Interurban Railway Co. Ltd.: Souvenir ed., showing scenery along the route of the Boise and Interurban Railway, Boise and Caldwell. (1907). Day-Northwest Collection, Special Collections and Archives, University of Idaho Library.

No Neckties Allowed #3 - the Brunelle/Haney family, Black Bear Idaho & a Harry Orchard connection

Hopefully I can get a post on here without too much trouble this morning. Some malware has been hijacking and redirecting to other links and not letting me get access during the past couple of weeks. It is still hanging around but my techie (son Joe) has weeded out some of it. Usually we clean those out without too much trouble but this one has been particularly troublesome.

A couple weeks ago I was contacted by an Andy Brunelle regarding an old photograph he had spotted on my blog. I had purchased it quite some time ago because I liked it. There was no particular Steunenberg connection other than it was circa 1906 and up in the mining region of Northern Idaho. The photo has been dwelling down in the depths of this blog in what is left of a non-archived picture section. I have been trying to pull those items up and incorporate them into main blog posts where appropriate and the time has finally arrived for this one.

From the writing on the back, it appeared to be a photograph taken near Black Bear, Idaho. It turns out that the woman on the far right with her dog is Margariete Haney, Andy's grandmother and the family has one of these same photographs. I also later connected up with Andy's brother, Michael, and his "Brunelle Nation" blog site on which the links directly below are located. The other woman and child are unidentified and not known to the family. If you know any more about this photograph, please email me. I did just notice that Margariete is the spelling on the back of the photograph but Marguerite is used on the Brunelle website. Andy and Michael no doubt have it correct. I seem to be having a heck of time spelling it right too.
The Brunelle's/Haney's have some interesting history in the Black Bear area, having run a boarding house in those early years. Not surprisingly, considering where the family lived, there were miners in the family too. However, I was surprised by a connection that led to Harry Orchard. See "Brunelle and the Assassin" and other links below.

The 1910 Fires and the Brunelle Story

Marguerite Haney

Brunelle and the Assassin

Some other new links of interest for this week:
Idaho Resolutions regarding the death of Frank Steunenberg

The Story of Governor Steunenberg's Murder, Current Opinion June 1907

Trust Companies of Idaho 1904 - Principals & assets of the Caldwell Bank & Trust (click again on the page that comes up to view the full length first column)

Assassination of Ex-Governor Steunenberg, History Of Idaho

The Case of "Big Bill" Haywood 1907

Woman Suffrage in Idaho by Frank Steunenberg (you may have seen this before on the blog but worth another look). Here is a link showing the original version I acquired of the Harper's Bazar in which the article appeared.

Previous "No Neckties Allowed"
No Neckties Allowed #1 - a Frank Steunenberg trademark, reader comments & links of interest

No Neckties Allowed #2 - Steunenberg pin back, Big Trouble...again, & a readers comments

Saturday, October 9, 2010

No Neckties Allowed #2 - Steunenberg pinback, Big Trouble...again, and a readers comments

This is my second installment of "No Neckties Allowed." What that means is an informal entry of recent happenings, new links, miscellaneous stuff and whatever tickles my fancy. I think I will identify the entries by using the above photograph of the small Whitehead & Hoag pinback button that you may have seen elsewhere on this blog. It is patent dated July 17, 1894, April 14, 1896 and July 21, 1896 on the back. I only have this one and would sure like to find be on the look out.

The pinback was part of a collection put out by Whitehead & Hoag of all the States Governors & Governors-Elect at the time. Clink on the right photo to enlarge the circa 1896 catalog page and of course look for Idaho. I don't own this catalog but see it kicking around online for around $350 - $400. The photo comes from Hake's Americana & Collectibles where it doesn't look like they got any bids with a starting price of $400. As you can see, the pinbacks sold for 5 cents a piece. Find a Steunenberg pinback and I will buy it off you for double or triple the questions asked.

I started reading Big Trouble (BT) by J. Anthony Lukas again this past week. This may be my third or so read through from cover to cover. Of course, BT serves as a primary research instrument because it really is BIG and Lukas really was quite good at documenting and referencing the material and sources. With all my research and quoting, I have probably read it many more times in various segments. I find as I have learned more about these events, pieces of the story spun by Lukas take on new significance and pop off the page where they may have been missed before.

I have a whole box full of BT books but just one old tattered paperback version that is marked up, written on, covered with post it notes and markers, has lists of stuff on the once blank pages and I have to tape it back together now and then when it falls apart into pieces. For those of you not inclined to wade through the complete volume of BT, there is an abridged cassette tape that was produced and sold and can still be found online through used book stores or eBay. It consists of four cassettes with a total of about six hours running time. That is pretty short compared to the whole book. The audio sticks to the main story line with none of the detail and historical digressions that folks either love or hate. I had to learn a little love too on my first read through.

I always thought the audio version would make a good basis for a movie. Assassination: Idaho's Trial of the Century came pretty close to meeting that need although I still think Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks could do some great things with it...maybe a Saving Governor Steunenberg?

The publisher never produced the BT cassette on CD but I am going to get it transferred over soon and make it available. I won't be selling it for profit or anything and the publisher never plans to put it on CD (at least not until the Spielberg/Hanks movie comes out!) so I probably won't get sued. Although reading the complete book is much more rich in terms of historical detail, if you just haven't been able to stick with it, give the abridged audio version a try. I think you will like it and may find yourself coming back to the book for more.


No Neckties Allowed #1

Idaho's all-time, top ten scoundrels

Law & Order watching over the Capitol

More from Capitolshots Photography

And an email this week from Les Wright. Thank you Les, for permitting me to post your message and for your contributions to the discussion and historical research. You will be hearing more from me.

October 8, 2010

Hello, Mr. Richards.

Let me start by saying that finding your blog has been a real treasure trove for me. I've been studying "Harry Orchard" for something like 25 years, now. It was frustrating, too, believe me, having only his book: "Harry Orchard", as a reference in trying to learn more of the behind-the-scenes story - like who he really was. Harry never revealed that and a lot of information about himself or his family. My own research, pre-Internet, was frustratingly slow and produced very little in the way of satisfactory results.

Years ago, I was given an old red hardcover book simply titled "Harry Orchard". I didn't read it right away, even though it was given "especially for me"... that it was something I needed to read. When I did read it, there was no turning back. I had to find out who this person was and why he did what he did.

Sniffing around old and dank, dusty libraries and archives produced nothing for years. When I got over my prejudice of computers and the Internet, I began to unravel the mystery of Harry Orchard. I was able to find out his real name - Albert Horsley - and even traced his genealogy back to the "Old Country", the same as my ancestors. Horsley was born in roughly the same area as my grandfather, too, though I doubt their families knew one another.

Finding your blog was an accident (I think) in that I was just trying to remember another site's location I had perused from time to time. I see you have been in contact with Horsley's family, as well. My own attempts to find them have been futile, though I have attempted a dialogue with some of Hattie Simpson's family. (She was the woman Horsley mentions in his book with whom he absconded to Nelson BC.) They rather politely told me where I could take myself. Like with your Larry Taylor fellow, there are some folk that don't like having their family history scrutinized, even though it's been several generations that have passed. Personally, I know it's not only his or my family that has some colorful individuals in it's history. I think we all have dirty laundry if we were to go back far enough. At any rate, there won't be any IWW hitmen going after us, now, after all this time.

Anyway, as stated, your blog is very detailed and informative. I've been putting my own little dossier together on Harry Orchard. Like I mentioned to the Simpson's, I have no interest in publishing a book on the subject, it's just for myself and my family. I have no interest, either, in doing anything for the local SDA Church, whom, for the most part, have shown next to zero interest in this story. Funny, too, as this Church has helped shape North American history in a very significant way. I have been in contact with the Caldwell SDA Church, though, their membership being very cordial and helpful to me in my research.

Harry Orchard, for me, was a very familiar fellow and one that I can understand... even empathize with, to a very great degree. He was and is a social pariah, something that represents the side of humanity no one really wants to have deal with or even acknowledge. Harry shows us what even a small, insignificant-looking fellow can do under the right circumstances, with the right influence and provocation. I don't see him as the embodiment of evil, nor as they only perpetrator in this story. He did have an alcoholic and abusive father that effectively drove him out of his home long before he would otherwise have had to leave. He then continued to parasite off of his earnings, showing little regard for honesty in his dealings with his son or the community. It is said that a man learns the most from his father in terms of character. If so, then Lyman Horsley has a lot to answer for in the character-building of his son.

I, too, know what it is like to hit the skids and reach the lowest depths of existence. The blackness that surrounds you, in times like these, seems insurmountable. Death does seem like a viable solution. I can well imagine what Orchard went through while he awaited trial in prison. I know that he must have found peace with God (there truly are no atheists in foxholes) and made a true confession and renouncement of his sins. He could have gotten off easy like the rest of his cohorts, yet, he chose to accept his punishment.

Well, I've bent your ear long enough. Primarily, I just wanted to praise your blog and offer thanks for doing it. I also learned a lot about your great-grandfather in my studies. He was a man's man and a brave one. The world truly didn't deserve such an individual and he certainly didn't deserve to go out like he did. Life doesn't play favorites, however, I believe that God has His hand over Frank Steunenberg. If the world hasn't forgotten him, God surely will not.

Take care, Mr. Richards.

L.A. Wright

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Idaho Gem of the Mountains - I.O.O.F Ribbon & Medallion - A.K. Steunenberg, P.G.M.

I recently acquired this I.O.O.F ribbon and medallion. A.K. Steunenberg was an active I.O.O.F member and as you see on this ribbon, a Past Grand Master (P.G.M.) to the Sovereign Grand Lodge. I do not know if A.K. was at this 1906 session of the Sovereign Grand Lodge or not, what with the assassination of his brother, Ex-Governor Frank Steunenberg, having occurred just nine months prior on December 30th, 1905. He was busily involved with representing the family interests during the course of the investigation. Unbeknownst at the time, A.K. was nearing his own death--to come all to soon on March 16, 1907.

From Big Trouble:
"Early in 1907, Operative 21 reported on a bold attempt to infiltrate some of the community's 'respectables' on the defense's behalf. The target was the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, one of Idaho's most active fraternal organizations. Ralph Gilbert, a tender of irrigation ditches in Parma and a 'sympathizer with the prisoners,' had long been an Odd Fellow in Parma. Operative 21 reported that Gilbert had agreed, 'on condition that his name was never brought into the affair,' to make regular reports to the defense on the conversations of Fred E. Fisk, chairman of the Canyon County Board of Commissioners, and other prominent Odd Fellows. If the Parma lodge was replete with local muck-a-mucks, Caldwell's boasted an even showier roster useful to the defense. A. K. Steunenberg held high rank, having served successfully as grand secretary, grand master, and grand representative to the Sovereign Lodge. John, Will, and Pete Steunenberg also belonged, as did their confidant Monte Gwinn, John Rice, Albert F. Isham, and Sheriff Nichols. Moreover, as of January 1907--thanks to A. K.'s efforts--the Caldwell lodge, in its brick building by the railroad tracks, became the headquarters of Idaho's Odd Fellows. If Ralph Gilbert kept his ears open around the lodge bars in Parma and Caldwell, there'd be no end of information he could pass on to Darrow's defense team."
-- Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas

--Early Caldwell Through Photographs

Although most of the architectural details have been covered, lost or modified, the following Google street view is the same IOOF Lodge building today near the old Caldwell Train station.

View Larger Map
Click above link for larger view on Google maps. It may take a minute or two or require you hit reload a couple times to get a larger and clearer picture. Seems to be going slow. Those of you receiving email notifications probably won't see the above Google map image. Go to my blog post as that is always a better view anyway.

Related Blog Posts

Seventh & Main Street

I.O.O.F. Oct. 7, 1889 Grand Encampment of Idaho held in Caldwell

Frank's Face

2010_02_20_737 Capitol3
Photo Courtesy of Obvertere's Photostream

Nice to see that Frank's face was cleaned up a bit as was in pretty bad shape when I saw it last.

Click on the photo for a full view on flickr and then click on that again for a nice enlarged version on black background.

Some Other Statue related posts.

(Frank's feet and more information about the statue are at the very bottom of the blog if interested)