Sunday, April 22, 2012

On the trail of Hannibal F. "Seven Devils" Johnson and Gary Eller

Here is an article sent to me by our friend and Idaho music aficionado Gary Eller. As mentioned previously on this blog, you will want to check out Gary and friends at The Idaho Songs Project.

Gary found this June 1906 Idaho Statesman article while doing research on Hannibal F. "Seven Devils" Johnson for his new CD/Booklet. The article is highly critical of the Socialist Newspaper Appeal to Reason and the Appeal's rants against the prosecution of Haywood, Pettibone and Moyer leading up to the trial and the possible end result should they be convicted.

For easier viewing and enlarging, I have posted this article on my Fold3 account. Browse my other "Spotlights" while you are there.

So what about Hannibal F. "Seven Devils" Johnson? You will have to wait and read Gary's booklet and listen to the CD to learn more about this colorful Idaho poet, politician and miner. For a sample, go to the Early Idaho Songs of the Month web page and click on Seven Devils Mine.  I have not done much of a search myself, but information on Hannibal seems a bit hard to come by. I found the following small description but the sources are unclear and the web page leads to nowhere and appears defunct. I will keep my eyes peeled but may just wait for Gary's CD/booklet.

JOHNSON, HANNIBAL F. "SEVEN DEVILS JOHNSON" One of the colorful characters who once inhabited the Council and Seven Devils areas was Hannibal F. Johnson.  He was a miner and poet, who acquired the title "Seven Devils Johnson"  from the local residents.  Johnson, born in Indiana in 1830, came west looking for gold, and was in the Boise area in the early 1850's.  He later located a mining claim in the Seven Devils about 1884.  In 1892, he ran for the office of Washington County Senator against T.C. Galloway.  During the campaign, Galloway called Johnson "Pine Tree Johnson", claiming that he had real no home and lived under a pine tree.  Johnson won the election and served one term.  * Pickett (p. 42-3 and Elsensohn p. 303) Johnson apparently never married, and did a great deal of traveling from place to place around the country, driving a two-wheeled cart.  In a time when doctors were few and far between, he was in demand as an authority on home remedies.  He was a good natured man with a keen sense of humor, and seemed to be liked by almost everyone.  *Cary, pp. 34-35.

No comments: