Sunday, October 27, 2013

Stewart Holbrook and Major George Steunenberg

Moving this letter up from the unarchived depths of the blog to make it more easily accessible. This original letter is signed by western history author Stewart Holbrook. I purchased it years ago where it had been folded neatly inside a copy of his book, The Rocky Mountain Revolution.
It seems George Steunenberg took issue with Holbrook's characterization of his brother, murdered ex-governor Frank Steunenberg, as a 'populist.' One could make the argument ether way, as certainly Frank was elected to his first term in 1896 as a 'fusion' candidate resulting from an alliance between the democratic and populist parties. Frank, unscathed at that point by any labor conflicts, had broad appeal as a somewhat benign and neutral choice acceptable to both parties. Hence, the alliance was formed as a necessary means to an end—defeat of the republican candidates.

So Frank could certainly be identified as a 'fusion candidate' in the 1896 election as Holdbrook had indicated. However,  George was right too, as Frank was always firmly in the democratic camp and much of that populist appeal had eroded by the time of his second term election—subsequent to the eruption of labor unrest in the Coeur D'Alene region of Idaho.

Orchard did make an appeal to the Steunenberg family to utilize their influence to seek his execution. Whether it was genuine or for show we probably will never know. Orchard may have already extracted a deal from James McParland and Governor Gooding essentially guaranteeing he would not swing from the gallows. However, many of the family, certainly Frank's brothers from most indications (but not widow Belle Steunenberg), would have been happy to oblige.

Related Links:

Stewart Holbrook

Saturday, December 20, 2008
1st Lt. George Steunenberg in the Spanish-American War

1st Lt. George Steunenberg

Idaho Military Project

Photos Of George & Charles Steunenberg

Sunday, April 15, 2012
The Riddle of the Sphinx

FOLD3 Memorial Page (under construction)

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