Boise Courthouse - Location of Haywood Trial.
         The struggle between the Western Federation of Miners and the Western Mine Owners' Association at the turn of the twentieth century might well be called a "war." When the state of Idaho prosecuted William "Big Billl" Haywood in 1907 for ordering the assassination of former governor Frank Steunenberg, fifteen years of union bombings and murders, fifteen years of mine owner intimidation and greed, and fifteen years of government abuse of process and denials of liberties spilled into the national headlines.  Featuring James McParland, America's most famous detective; Harry Orchard, America's most notorious mass murderer turned state's witness; Big Bill Haywood, America's most radical labor leader; and Clarence Darrow, America's most famous defense attorney, the Haywood trial ranks as one of the most fascinating criminal trials in history.

William "Big Bill" Haywood

      Frank Steunenberg, well-to-do businessman, sheep rancher, and former governor of Idaho, had recently been converted to his wife's religious faith, the Seventh Day Adventist Church.  That was why he postponed until after dark that Saturday evening of December 30, 1905, walking downtown and closing a business transaction, for the Adventist Sabbath lasted from sunset Friday until sunset Saturday. 

The Steunenberg residence was located on the southeast outskirts of Caldwell, Idaho, about a mile from the Saratoga Hotel, whose lobby was the usual after-hours meeting place for the town's businessmen and ranchers.  At that time, Caldwell boasted a population of about 1,100.  Boise City, twenty-five miles to the east, claimed some 18,000 residents, the statehouse, the penitentiary and a brand new electric trolley line.

Returning from a walk in eight inches of freshly fallen snow, Steunenberg opened an in-swinging gate leading to the porch of his Caldwell, Idaho home, and was blown ten feet into the air by an explosion that "shook the earth and could be heard for miles around."  He was carried into his bedroom where in the presence of  his wife, son and a neighbor he died within half an hour.  Speculation began immediately that Steunenberg's assassination was the work of the Western Federation of Miners (WFM), whose enmity Steunenberg had earned by his aggressive efforts, including the requesting of federal troops, to suppress labor unrest in the Coeur d'Alene mining district of northern Idaho. Messages were dispatched to Governor Frank R. Gooding in Boise.  A special train was immediately made up in the capital and started toward Caldwell, loaded with state officials and law officers.  Every stranger became a suspect . . .

Governor Frank Steunenberg

     The 1890's had been a time of unprecedented violence in Idaho's silver mines.  Federal troops were called to Idaho three separate times to combat union-sponsored terrorism that had resulted in many deaths and extensive property damage to mining company property, the last time being an eighteen-month occupation from May, 1898 to November, 1899 undertaken at the urging of Governor Frank Steunenberg.  Steunenberg asked President McKinley to send troops after union miners hijacked a train and planted sixty boxes of dynamite beneath the world's largest concentrator, owned by the Bunker Hill Mining Company of Wardner, Idaho, blowing it and several nearby buildings to smithereens.  Federal troops responded by arresting every male-- even doctors and preachers-- in union-controlled towns, loading them into boxcars, and herding them into an old barn where the over 1,000 men were held captive without trial.  In declaring martial law, Steunenberg said, "We have taken the monster by the throat and we are going to choke the life out of it.  No halfway measures will be adopted.  It is a plain case of the state or the union winning, and we do not propose that the state shall be defeated."  Steunenberg's tough anti-union stance infuriated leaders of the Western Federation of Miners, all the more so because he was a Democrat who miners helped elect.

Governor Frank Gooding; James Hawley, Idaho's foremost attorney; and William Borah, newly chosen U.S. Senator, were close friends of the Steunenberg family.  All pledged their personal resources and those of the state to the task of tracking down and convicting the killer.

     The day after Steunenberg's assassination, a waitress at the Saratoga Hotel in Caldwell reported that a guest, calling himself Thomas Hogan and claiming to be s sheep-buyer, had "trembling hands" and "downcast eyes" when she waited on him shortly after the explosion.  A search of Hogan's hotel room turned up traces of Plaster of Paris, the substance used to hold pieces of the bomb together, in his chamber pot.  Also found was a piece of fish-line, acid residue in an empty bottle, a powder-stained coat pocket, and other tools of the bomb-maker's trade.  Hogan was questioned about the bombing and, the next day (New Year's Day, 1906) arrested while having a drink in the hotel bar and charged with the first degree murder of Frank Steunenberg.  Interrogated repeatedly in a Caldwell jail, Hogan disclosed that his name was Harry Orchard, and that he knew leaders of the WFM, though he continued to deny both his own guilt and any recent contact with Federation insiders.

Albert E. Horsley: Alias Thomas Hogan, Harry Orchard

     No one in Idaho believed that Steunenberg's assassination was the work of just one man.  In those days, investigations of major crimes often were turned over to professional private agencies, such as the Thiel Detective Service or the Pinkerton Agency.  The first professional on the scene was Captain Swain from the Spokane office of the Thiel Agency.  Governor Godding hired him to take charge of sweating the truth out of Thomas Hogan. 

Among the papers that have survived in the files of the Idaho Historical Society are the confidential reports of Captain Swain and his operatives to the governor.  These cover the several weeks that the Thiel Agency was involved in the investigation.  If bright lights, rubber hoses or strong-arm methods of persuasion were used on the suspect, they were not detailed.

Thomas Hogan stuck to his story: he was nothing but a sheep-buyer, incriminated by circumstantial evidence.  He had been using plaster of Paris to make a set of loaded dice, he swore.  The fish-line was for fishing.  He knew nothing about the Western Federation of Miners.

Yet strangely enough, shortly after Thomas Hogan's arrest and without his sending a message to anyone, a telegram arrived from Fred Miller, in Spokane, saying that he was heading for Caldwell to defend Hogan.  Miller was an attorney for the Western Federation of Miners.  From the Denver headquarters of the Federation, William Haywood, Executive Secretary, sent an urgent telegram to the union miners in Silver City, Idaho, directly south of Caldwell, urging the local to raise a defense fund for Hogan.  The message was turned up by a Thiel operative, who had become a member of the union.  The Silver City local declined to have anything to do with defending a man who appeeared to have murdered ex-Governor Steunenbertg.

After going along with Captain Swain and the Thiel Agency for several weeks, Gooding, Hawley and Borah felt it was time for a change.  The Governor wired James McParland, Western manager of the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Denver, asking him if he would take charge of the case.  McParland wired back, "Catching next train to Boise."   James McParland was Pinkerton's most famous employee and America's premier detective.  McParland had made his reputation some thirty years earlier, working undercover in Pennsylvania's anthracite coal mining region to expose and convict a secret group of Irish labor activists suspected in a series of killings, the Molly Maguires.  A young man in his twenties then, his method had been to pose as a miner under the assumed name of Frank McKenna.  He worked, drank, and caroused with the violent element until he had gained its confidence, then exposed the guilty parties in a series of trials that sent a number of men to the gallows.  McParland's fame was great enough to attract the interest of the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who invented a meeting of Sherlock Holmes and McParland in The Valley of Fear, an unprecedented honor for a real detective.

James McParland

To union men, McParland was the devil incarnate.  To capitalists, he was the white knight in armor.  In 1906, he was in his late fifties, not in the best of health, ponderous, slow, and sparing of speech.  But what he lacked in physical vitality he more than made up for in mental capacity and experience.  When he moved in on a case, he supervised every detail; he played rough and he played for keeps.  But so did the other side.

During the eighteen months between the day of his first employment by the state of Idaho and the time when the case finally went to trial, McParland made almost daily written confidential reports to Governor Gooding.  This record runs over 1,000 pages and gives a fascinating insight into the workings of the mind of the "greatest detective of that day."

McParland's first act upon reaching Boise and conferring with Governor Gooding, Hawley and Borah was to tell them that he could not work with the Thiel Agency in any way.  He trusted no one but his own operatives.  He appears to have had a professional contempt for Captain Swain, discrediting everything the rival detective had done, even suggesting that the Thiel man had switched sides and now as secretly working for the defense.

The crime was committed in Caldwell, Canyon County, but as it had outgrown the capabilities of a rural sheriff and prosecutor, McParland suggested the prisoner, Thomas Hogan, be transferred from the Caldwell jail to the state penitentiary at Boise, in adjoining Ada County.  Even in a case of such importance, toes must not be stepped on politically; sheriffs, judges and county prosecutors must be pacified.  With McParland calling the moves behind the scenes, Governor Gooding arranges for the transfer of the prisoner.  As special prosecutors for the state, he appoints James Hawley and William Borah.

Now McParland goes to work on the prisoner.  First, he tells Warden Whitney to put Thomas Hogan alone in a comfortable but isolated cell and ban all visitors and no news of any kind for several days.  The idea is to make Hogan feel completely deserted.

McParland, without revealing his identity, visits Orchard in the state penitentiary near Boise.  He tells the prisoner that the evidence against him is ironclad; that if brought to trial, he is bound to be convicted and hanged; and that the people who hired him to assassinate the ex-Governor regard him as expendable and will not lift a finger to help him.

Without making any specific promises of leniency, McParland then goes on to say he feels sorry for the prisoner; that he knows he is merely a tool; that others conspired with him; that the big men should suffer rather than him.  McParland expounds at some length on similar cases in other parts of the country, particularly the Molly McGuires, where the hirelings who committed the actual crimes turned state's evidence and got off scot-free.  McParland also touches on the religious side of things, pointing out that the worst of sinners can be forgiven if he confesses his sins.

The prisoner, Thomas Hogan, listens attentively and politely.  He requests time to think it over, and asks McParland to come back and see him soon.

A few days later, McParland pays the prisoner a second visit and talks to  him in the same vein.  Now the prisoner recognizes him as the famous detective, James McParland, and is flattered and awed, and again asks for time to think it over.  Shortly thereafter, Hogan sends word to McParland that he is ready to make a full confession.

 Within days, Orchard, after breaking down and crying several times, offered one of the most amazing confessions in the annals of American justice.  In his 64-page confession, Orchard admitted both to the Steunenberg bombing and seventeen other killings, all, he said, ordered by the inner circle of the WFM.  Charles Moyer, President of the Western Federation of Miners; William Haywood, Executive Secretary; George Pettibone, former Treasurer and Jack Simpkins, Executive Board Member were all specifically accused of ordering the Steunenberg assassination.  Orchard also identified three other WFM miners who he said had been his accomplices in various acts of union terrorism.

With Orchard's confession in hand, McParland proceeded to devise a plan to arrest the three members of the WFM inner circle, all living in the WFM's headquarters city of Denver, and transport them to Idaho for trial.  Talking it over with Governor Gooding, Hawley and Borah, McParland points out that the above-named men are the real murderers and the prosecution should go after them, rather than their tool, Harry Orchard.  They agree.

According to Idaho law, any person or persons who conspire to commit a murder--no mater where the conspiring is done--are considered to be present in fact when the murder is committed.  Idaho law does not recognize an accessory before the fact; an accomplice is regarded to be as much of a principal as the killer himself.

In his confession, Harry Orchard has sworn that he was hired and instructed to assassinate Steunenberg by Charles Moyer, William Haywood, George Pettibone and Jack Simpkins.  The conspiring took place in Denver some months before the murder, and the first three men named were in Denver when the bomb went off.

No matter, McParland points out.  They conspired; murder was committed; therefore, they were present in the eyes of the law.  Thus, they are extraditable from the State of Colorado to the State of Idaho, where they must answer for their crime.  Gooding, Hawley and Borah agree.  So when the proper tome comes, McParland says, "we'll extradite them, bring them to Idaho, and try them for murder."  But there are other matters to attend to first.

In his confession, Harry Orchard, stated that Jack Simpkins, member of the executive board of the Western Federation of Miners, came to Idaho with him, helped him shadow Steunenberg, and then moved on before the murder was committed.  It certainly may be assumed that Jack Simpkins was in Idaho when the bomb went off.  Wherever he is now, he must be found and tried, also.  But Jack Simpkins has disappeared, and all the efforts of the far-flung Pinkerton system can find no trace of him.  However, his wife, who lives in Spokane, is under constant watch, and sooner or later must give away his whereabouts.

In his confession, Harry Orchard states that a man names Steve Adams was with him and assisted him on many of his bombing missions, not the least of which was the bombing of the Independence, Colorado, railroad depot, where some fourteen non-union scabs were blown into eternity.  According to Idaho law, the confession of an admitted murderer cannot be used to convict other members of the conspiracy--unless it can be corroborated by "independent evidence."  Steve Adams, according to Harry Orchard, is an habitual drunk, a weakling, and an ignorant man.  If he can be found and arrested, a master psychologist like James McParland no doubt can wring a confession out of him in short order, if he gets the idea that by confessing he can save his own neck.  Governor Gooding, Hawley and Borah agree that the State of Idaho can make no promises in advance; still, there are ways to get the message across.

Time is running on.  Jack Simpkins and Steve Adams cannot be found.  Almost daily, McParland is conferring with Harry Orchard, who now is the most willing and eager of witnesses, on details of his confession, seeking to pin down "independent evidence" to corroborate it.  Orchard's trail of violence is a long and crooked one, beginning at the Bunker Hill & Sullivan mill explosion in northern Idaho in 1899 and wandering with little rhyme or reason across the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Montana and Wyoming.  But always, Orchard claims, as a paid killer for the Western Federation of Miners.

Reluctantly, McParland agrees to go ahead with Simpkins and Adams still missing.  Over in Denver, Charles Moyer, William Haywood and George Pettibone are getting nervous; they know something is being cooked up, and the lack of news worries them.  Fred Miller, the W.F.M. attorney from Spokane, is in Boise, conferring frequently with Harry Orchard and trying to set up his defense.  Miller does not know that Orchard has confessed and that every word said by him to Miller is quickly passed on to McParland.  Moyer is ill and acting queerly; Haywood no long trusts him.

Haywood is the driving force on the executive board.  He is tough, aggressive and smart.  His early year as a miner were spent in Silver City, Idaho, fifty miles south of the gate where Steunenberg died.  He lost the sight of his left eye in a childhood accident and does not like to be approached from his blind side.  He favors merging the Western Federation of Miners with the radical Industrial Workers of the World, which plans to end the conflict between capital and labor by taking over the means of production--by bloody revolution, if necessary.  At least that's what the enemies of the I.W.W. claim--and the tone of the more radical labor papers bears out the theory.

McParland now moves into action.  He writes a confidential letter to Governor McDonald of Colorado.  He writes another to Colorado Supreme Court Justice Goddard.  He tells them he was something of importance to talk to them about, says he will be in Denver shortly, and begs for a few minutes of their valuable time.

Before leaving Boise, McParland goes over his plan in detail with Gooding, Hawley and Borah.  A code system is set up so that they may communicate with one another by telegram and letter without the enemy catching on to what they are saying, in case the messages are intercepted.  Code name for McParland wiill be "Owl."  Hawley is "Fox." Borah is  "Wolf."  Idaho and Colorado towns are given southern names such as "Savannah" and "Mobile" so that they cannot be identified by persons not in the know.  Moyer is "Rattler."  Haywood is "Viper."  Pettibone is "Copperhead."

McParland goes to Denver and has a talk with Supreme Court Justice Goddard.  In this session, Harry Orchard's confession is read aloud.  At one point in his confession, Harry Orchard states that a year or so earlier the Western Federation of Miners employed him to assassinate Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gabbart.  Orchard was to plant a bomb in a hole next to a path in a vacant lot Judge Gabbert customarily crossed each morning.  A purse would be attached to a wire triggering the bomb.  When the judge saw the purse, he would stoop, pick it up, the bomb would explode--and there would be one less Supreme Court Justice to render decisions hostile to the Western Federation of Miners.

The bomb was planted.  But on that particular morning Judge Gabbart took the long way around, using the sidewalk rather than the path.  A while later a total stranger to Orchard--a man named Walley--came along, saw the purse, picked it up--and was blown into eternity.

At this point in the reading, Judge Goddard interrupts.  He remembers the explosion.  In fact, he remembers that Judge Gabbert later said to him, "I don't know what made me stay on the sidewalk that day.  If I hadn't, I would have been killed instead of Walley."

"Wait," McParland tells Judge Goddard.  "There's more."  Later in his confession, Harry Orchard states he later buried a bomb near Judge Goddard's gatepost, with its triggering device to be fired by a string leading up through a screw-eye fastened to the bottom of the  gate.  For some reason, the bomb did not go off.  As far as Orchard knows, it is still buried by the judge's gate.

At this revelation, Judge Goddard becomes very agitated.  Bulkley Wells, a Harvard engineering graduate, former Adjutant General of Colorado, and an explosive expert, is summoned, and the reading session is recessed to Judge Goddard's residence.  After the family has been evacuated from the house, General Wells gingerly digs into the ground beside the gatepost, unearths the unexploded bomb, and carries it away to the arsenal for safe-keeping.  It is indicative of the iron nerve of this man that he offers to bring the bomb intact to Boise as evidence in the trial, if need be.  McParland tells him it will be permissible to remove its charge--before witnesses-and bring only the bomb case.  Railroads and courtrooms, it seems, have some stuffy rules against live bombs.

Now McParland and Judge Goddard pay a call on the Governor of Colorado.  Again the Harry Orchard confession is read.  The governor asks McParland what is required of him.  McParland points out that many of the crimes committed by Harry Orchard at the instigation of the Western Federation of Miners took place in Colorado.  It would be possible to bring charges against Moyer, Haywood and Pettibone and try them Colorado.  But a leading citizen of Idaho has been foully murdered.  Idaho wants these men.  Trials are expensive.  Idaho, with the help of law and order men (meaning mine owners) is willing to bear the expense of the trial if it can get its hands on the criminals.

McParland has extradition requests from Governor Gooding, which swear that the wanted men were in Idaho at the time of the crime--in spirit, if not in person.  He tells the Colorado governor if he will sign the necessary papers, he'll take care of the details.

Governor McDonald points out that, willing though he might be to grant extradition, the moment the papers are served on the three men, Western Federation of Miners attorneys will get writs of habeas corpus, which, with the inevitable appeals, will keep the men in Colorado indefinitely.  Furthermore, the extradition papers must be filed in the attorney general's office; he is a strong pro-labor man, so the secret will be out in a matter of minutes.

McParland has the answer for that.  Let the governor draw up and sign the necessary papers.  Let special deputies be sworn in to make the arrests at 2 a.m. Sunday morning.  Let a special train be ready and waiting on the outskirts of Denver.  Let General Bulkley Wells be in charge of it.  Let it leave Denver at 7 a.m.  The courts will not be in session on Sunday.  The train will be out of the state of Colorado before the Western Federation of Miners realize what has happened.  By dark Sunday night, the train will have crossed Wyoming and the birds will be safely flying across the state of Idaho.  Then let the lawyers scream.  As far as the labor-living Attorney General is concerned, he'll get the papers on Monday.  This, it is arranged . . .

     McParland wanted the arrest and trip north to be so surreptitious and swift that the men would have no opportunity to obtain the assistance of lawyers who might prepare legal challenges to extradition.  In effect, what McParland proposed was a kidnapping under the barest color of state law.  McParland and Idaho state officials succeeded in convincing the governor of Colorado to issue warrants for the arrest of the three men (codenamed Copperhead, Viper, and Rattler) on February 15, 1906.  Both the warrants and the planned arrests remained a closely guarded secret until the night of February 17, when the three were rounded up.  Moyer was arrested after boarding "the Deadwood Sleeper" which was to take him to South Dakota on the first leg of a probable planned escape to Canada.  Haywood was arrested while having sex with his sister-in-law.  Haywood, Moyer, and Pettibone were placed for a few hours in the city jail, denied permission to call family or lawyers, before being hustled in the early hours of the morning to the Denver depot.  Here placed on a special train with orders not to stop until it crossed the Idaho border.

McParland wants the train to move out at once, but the division superintendent of the Union Pacific says that is impossible.  The trains crews, clearances and changes of engines have been set up for early Sunday.  At this late hour, it is impossible to change the timetable.  The train rolls north at 6 a.m.

In order to keep the hands of the Pinkertons clean, McParland had arranged for Colorado officers to make the arrests and for the special Idaho deputies to act as train guards, with General Bulkley Wells in charge.  Wells declares that no law officer of less rank than a United States Marshall will be permitted to stop the train, and he is not at all sure that he would stop on even that officer's order.  At any rate, there is only one U.S. Marshal that could possibly stop the train along the route it is taking; he lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, which the train reaches at 10 a.m. Sunday morning.

The Cheyenne railroad yards have been cleared; the train, blinds on the passenger cars drawn, highballs through at thirty miles an hour.  It is scheduled to cross Wyoming during daylight hours, stopping for coal and changes of crew only at isolated places.  McParland reasons that a red lantern seen at night would make a stop mandatory, for a bridge might be out; in daylight, the engineer can see the track ahead.

Prisoners and guards are well supplied with fried chicken and beer, the latter strictly controlled by General Wells.  False trails and news stories have been planted back in Denver so the whereabouts of the three men is uncertain.  As for McParland himself, he stays in Denver, feigning ignorance of the whole affair.

At a late hour Monday night, the three prisoners reach Boise City and are placed in the penitentiary for safe keeping.  At about this same time, Steve Adams is located and arrested near Baker City, Oregon, and is taken to Boise.

Charles Moyer, William Haywood, George Pettibone

     Now the storm breaks in newspapers across the country, the labor press scraming "Kidnapped!" while the capitalistic press cries "Well done!"  Not long after the special train departed the Denver station, Edmund Richardson, the longtime attorney for the WFM, boarded another train to Idaho and began the legal battle to free the three leaders.  Richardson filed petitions for habeas corpus, arguing that their forcible removal from Colorado without an opportunity to legally challenge their arrest and extradition in Colorado courts violated the Constitution.  The prisoners' arguments lost both in the Idaho courts and the United States Supreme Court, which in December of 1906 in the case of Pettibone v. Nichols, ruled that a prisoner was "not excused from answering to the state whose laws he has violated because violence has been done to him in bringing him within the state."   Justice McKenna was the sole dissenter, writing: "Kidnapping is a crime, pure and simple.  All of the officers of the state are supposed to be on guard against it.  But how is it when the law becomes a kidnapper?  When the officers of the law, using it forms, and exerting its power, become abductors?"

Edmund Richardson

Eugene Debs, a Socialist Party leader in Chicago, threatens to raise an army of 50,000 working men, lead it to Idaho, and liberate the prisoners by force of arms.  Angry Idaho citizens answer, "Come ahead--we'll meat you at the border with hot lead."    

Haywood, Moyer, and Pettibone took their fates differently.  Moyer was frequently observed crying or walking nervously around his cell.  Haywood used his time in jail to design new WFM posters, take a correspondence course in law, read books such as Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, and run on the Socialist ticket for governor of Colorado (he received 16,000 votes).   Pettibone took his incarceration on death row almost cheerfully, shouting "There's luck in odd numbers, said Barney McGraw!"  Over the months of their detention, tensions grew between the radical and defiant Haywood and the more cautious Moyer.  Soon they were no longer on speaking terms and McParland began efforts, ultimately unsuccessful, to convince Moyer to testify against the other two defendants.

     Meanwhile, McParland continued to hunt down other witnesses who could strengthen the prosecution's case.  A miner named Steve Adams, implicated by Orchard in the bombing of a Colorado train depot that killed thirteen non-union miners and the killing of two claim jumpers in northern Idaho, was arrested.  Threats of hanging and promises of immunity finally induced Adams to confess.

McParland returns to Boise and is disturbed to find one important detail of his complex plan has misfired.  He had given specific intructions that Moyer is to be put in a cell separate from Haywood; he knows that Moyer is ill and has a seriously ill wife in California.  He knows of a growing split between Moyer and the other two men.  If given the opportunity, McParland is sure that he can get Moyer to turn state's evidence, corroborate Orchard, and cinch the case against Haywood, Pettibone, and Simpkins, whose arrest he expects momentarily.

But the three men had been placed in the same cell.  Moyer's backbone appears to have stiffened; the golden opportunity is lost.  No matter.  Steve Adams is available--and he is a weak man.  McParland goes to work on him in the same manner he had worked on Orchard.  In a matter of days, Steve Adams makes a full confession, not only corroborating most of what Orchard has said but adding a few murders in northern Idaho to which Adams was a party with the missing Simpkins.

By late February, 1906--two months after the murder of Frank Steunenberg--all the principals accused of the crime are confined in the Boise penitentiary.  Bothe Harry Orchard and Steve Adams have signed detailed confessions.  The charge against Moyer, Haywood and Pettibone is conspiracy to commit murder, a capital offense, for which they must be prosecuted as principals.  The defense has habeas corpus appeals pending; the prosecution has served notice that it intends to try Bill Haywood first, asking for the death penalty.

The ensuing year is a busy one as the prosecution tries to collect "independent evidence" that will corroborate details of the confessions and the defense tries to establish the fact that no evidence exists to connect the man on trial with the actual murderer.  For example, in his confession Steve Adams describes how he was taught to make "Pettibone Dope," a liquid that bursts into flame when exposed to air.

Adams says several years earlier Haywood sent him to Pocatello, Idaho, with several jars of the liquid, which he was instructed to throw into a railroad car filled with strikebreakers due to pass through.  Unable to accomplish his mission, he carried the evil-smelling jars into a vacant building just outside of town and  buried them in the dirt floor.  Now he is willing to take McParland to Pocatello and show him where the jars are buried.

Accompanied by the Pinkerton detectives, prison guards and a reporter from the Idaho Statesman, Steve Adams goes to Pocatello and supervises the search for the jars of "Pettibone Dope".  All the suspense elements of treasure hunt are here: changed landmarks, a burned-down building, abandonment of the search, the overhearing of a chance remark, a renewed search--and the eventual discovery of the jars which once contained the evil liquid.

Harry Orchard's confession states that two years previously Haywood sent him to San Francisco to murder Fred Bradley, manager of the Bunker Hill & Sullivan mill at the time of the 1899 explosion.  After an abortive attempt to poison Bradley by putting strychnine in his milk, Orchard planted a bomb at the door of the former mill-manager's apartment house, it exploded, threw Bradley into the street, and seriously injured him, but he recovered.

On checking the story, the Pinkertons learn there was indeed an explosion, but Fred Bradley thought it was caused by leaking gas rather than by a planted bomb.  In fact, the owner of the apartment building had sued the San Francisco Gas Company and collected damages.  Is Fred Bradley telling the truth?  Is he trying to avoid trouble?  Could there have been two explosions, first the bomb, then the gas from the ruptured lines?  Most important, how can it be proved that Haywood and Pettibone were connected with the alleged attempt on Fred Bradley's life?

Clarence Darrow

In December of 1906 while these investigations by the prosecution staff are going on, and with the habeas corpus appeals still pending, famed Chicago defense attorney Clarence Darrow arrives in Boise and confers with his associate-to-be, E. F. Richardson.  Richardson is an extremely capable man, one of the finest criminal lawyers in the country, but a plodder.  He has also been described as arrogant, opinionated, and temperamental.  Clarence Darrow is unorthodox, amiable-appearing, but a keen student of human nature.

Richardson is a detail man, with a fine knowledge of law.  Darrow is a gambler, going for the long-shot.  He is said to have made the statement, "I'll do anything to win--even if it means bribing the jury," though the statement cannot be proved.  Boise attorneys quickly dub him "Old Necessity"--for "necessity knows no law."  Darrow and Richardson each believe themselves in charge of the case--a matter that will cause great friction in time to come.

Darrow sees at once the most damaging part of the case to the defense is Steve Adams' confession, which corroborates Orchard's in many details.  Darrow's first priority was to convince Adams to withdraw his confession and thus make the state's case against Haywood stand on the uncorroborated testimony of Harry Orchard.  Denied personal access to the closely held Adams, Darrow was able to contact an uncle, known as "old man Lillard," living near Baker City, Oregon.  Darrow pays him a call.  Uncle and nephew are hill people who have migrated west from the Missouri Ozarks, ignorant, clannish, violent folk, with a long history of feuding and being "agin" the government.

Details of just how Darrow works on Lillard are not clear, but it may be reasonably assumed that the attorney reminds the uncle of the hill code: "Better to die with sealed lips than live after informing on your clan."

Perhaps money changed hands--as was charged.  Certainly it may be assumed that Darrow told the uncle that Steve Adams would have a more than even chance for life and freedom if he remained loyal to the Western Federation of Miners, while, if he testified against the organization in court, no power on earth could save him from assassination.  Whatever the method used, the net result of Darrow's talk with Lillard is that the old man goes to the penitentiary to see his nephew who, much to the chagrin of McParland repudiates his confession.

McParland, coldly furious, believes there is a way to tighten the screws on Steve Adams.  He points out to Borah and Hawley that Adams, in his confession, stated that with the help of Jack Simpkins he killed two timber-claim-jumpers in northern Idaho a few years earlier.  When Adams is released from custody on a writ of habeas corpus, the sheriff of Shoshone County is waiting with a warrant for his arrest on a murder charge.

Central and northern Idaho are extremely mountainous; in those days, direct transportation by rail from Boise to Wallace was impossible.  By rail, one could go east to Pocatello, north into Montana, then west to Wallace, Idaho; or one cold go west into Oregon to Pendleton, north into Washington, then east to Wallace.  Either way, the prisoner, Steve Adams, will have to be taken out of the state of Idaho--and the prosecution fears that the moment his physical person leaves the jurisdiction of the state of Idaho, habeas corpus writs will fall like manna from heaven.

McParland and Hawley make a "gentleman's agreement" with Darrow and Richardson that no legal papers will be served while the prisoner is outside the state of Idaho.  The defense attorneys board an Oregon-bound train; so do McParland and Hawley.  But Steve Adams is not on it.  During the dark of night, he has been quietly spirited out fo the prison by the back entrance, and, accompanied by Warden Whitney, Sheriff Angus Sutherland of Wallace, and a couple of guards, is transported north across the mountains by a rugged stage, wagon, and horseback rout that will require several days but will keep him within the boundaries of Idaho.  McParland, it appears, does not think Richardson and Darrow are gentlemen.

The trial of Steve Adams held in Wallace, Idaho during February, 1907 for the murder of Fred Tyler was a dress rehearsal for the main show soon to take place in Boise.  Hawley and Borah act as special prosecutors; Richardson and Darrow conduct the defense.

In those days, filing timber claims in remote mountain areas, getting deeds to the land, then selling the land to big lumber barons, was a handy way to pick up a few dollars.  Having such claims jumped was a hazard of the game.  Getting shot for jumping--or for not jumping quick enough--was another.

A couple of men have disappeared and rumor has it that Steve Adams and Jack Simpkins have killed them.  Some human bones and old clothes have been found, which are identified as the mortal remains of Fred Tyler.  Reluctant witnesses give indefinite testimony; the jury deadlocks six and six; Steve Adams goes back into the Wallace jail to await a new trial.

Darrow is satisfied; he says he could hardly hope for an acquittal.  McParland is satisfied; he says he could hardly hope for a conviction.  But Steve Adams is still in the toils of the law, with the shadow of the noose hanging over him.  Grimly, McParland goes back to work on him.  The state will ask for a change of venue at the next trial, he points out to Adams.  Next time, the trial will take place in a farming rather than a mining community; a jury of farmers will be sure to convict you.  But if you will affirm your original confession . . . Steve Adams remains sullenly silent.

Meanwhile, back in Boise, the legal maneuverings continue.  The defense sets up an intricate trap, into which it hopes the prosecution will step.  Earlier, the defense has filed habeas corpus writs for Haywood, Moyer and Pettibone, which have been denied by the Superior Court.  Appeals are taken to both the Idaho Supreme Court and the Federal District Court; both deny the appeals.  The defense then files appeals with the United States Supreme Court from both lower court rulings.  Noting that the appeals are identical, the Supreme Court combines them and sets an October 1906 date for the hearing, a date some months in the future.  Now the defense sets up a clamor in the newspapers for an immediate trial of Haywood on the murder charge, claiming that the defense is ready but the prosecution is stalling.

This is potent propaganda, for by now the prisoners have been in confinement for many months.  But Hawley and Borah refuse to step into the trap.  They know that while a trial may be held pending an appeal from a state court decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the result of a trial held pending an appeal from a Federal Court decision is null and void.  Thus, the hands of the prosecution are tied until the U.S. Supreme Court makes its ruling on the appeals--unless the defense is willing to drop its appeal from the Federal District Court ruling and rest its case on the appeal from the State court ruling.  This Darrow refuses to do--and he makes dramatic capital of the facct that the prosecution has asked a man on trial for his life to surrender one of his constitutional rights.

In October 1906, the attorneys go to Washington, D.C. and argue the habeas corpus appeals before the United States Supreme Court.  In late December, the Court hands down its ruling: appeals denied.  The 8-1 ruling is based on two principles: (1)  That an accused lawbreaker has no right of asylum in another state, and (2)  That once his physical person is within the jurisdiction of the state accusing him of a crime, he must stand trial, regardless of the methods used to transport him into that state.

In a lone dissenting opinion, Justice McKenna calls the removal of the three accused men from Colorado to Idaho "kidnapping," but he bases his charge of illegality solely upon the fact that the Idaho extradition request has sworn that the accused were present in Idaho when the murder was committed--which they obviously were not.  He overlooks the fact that Idaho law recognizes only principals, not accessories, and makes being present in spirit the same as being present in fact.

Although the little town of Caldwell, Idaho, has enlarged and remodeled its courthouse in anticipation of playing host to what Eugene Debs calls "the most important trial in American history," the defense asks for a change of venue to another county.  During the better part of a year, many residents and prospective jurors in southwestern Idaho have been receiving gratis copies of weekly paper such as the Socialist and the Appeal to Reason, both pro-labor publications whose chief purpose is to influence the readers in favor of the defendants.

Jury selection proved a difficult and time-consuming task, with 249 potential jurors questioned over more than six weeks to arrive at the final panel of twelve.  Both sides understood the importance of having a favorable jury in a case with the political implications of the Haywood trial.  Each side had invested great resources in compiling intelligence on members of the local jury pool.  Men were sent out into Boise and the surrounding countryside posing as encyclopedia and insurance salesman, with the purpose of investigating the affiliations, politics, and preferences of any who might be called for jury duty.  They work in pairs so they would be able to testify, if need be, that a certain prospective juror had discussed the trial and has formed an opinion.  Alphabetical lists of names were made and behind each name are the letters: "N.G." or "O.K."  The Pinkertons managed to place a spy, Operative 21, as a jury canvasser for the defense with the instruction to provide Darrow and the defense team with erroneous reports of the preferences of potential jurors.  (Only late in the jury selection game did the defense uncover the spy in their midst.)  Many potential jurors resisted serving on a jury for $3 a day for what promised to be a long and controversial trial, and some ran from the sheriff as he tried to round up potential jurors.  Some took off for the hills, while others were found hiding in cellars and haystacks.  Once in court, potential jurors were asked about what they thought of labor unions, what church they belonged to, and whether they heard a speech recently delivered in Boise by Secretary Howard Taft.  Both sides weighed the answers of potential jurors and exercised peremptory challenges or challenges for cause against those they saw as unsuitable jurors.  Bill Haywood huddled with his lawyers, seemingly taking an active role in the jury selection process. 

In requesting a change of venue, the defense files over 600 affidavits as proof that potential jurors have formed and expressed an opinion.  Judge Fremont Wood, who is to preside over the trial, states that while he is personally unconvinced that a fair; unprejudiced jury cannot be found in Canyon County, he will give the defense the change of venue which it has requested.

Eight telegraph wires are leased to accommodate the newsmen; during the ten weeks that the trial lasts, 50,000 words a day are sent out to the press services of the world, which include the Associated Press, Reuters and most of the metropolitan dailies.

While the selection of the jury is still in progress, Governor Gooding permits a group of reporters to see and interview Harry Orchard at the prison, expressly stipulating that there are to be no questions regarding the forthcoming trial.  Orchard makes such a favorable impression upon the reporters with his apparent truthfulness, sincerity and religious conversion, he is given an extremely good press.

Richardson scream, "Foul!"  Darrow chortles gleefully, "The sons-of-bitches will never get a jury in Ada County Now!"  Judge Fremont Wood is so fearful that this premature publicity may be grounds for  a mistrial he orders an immediate investigation by Ada County Prosecutor Koelish to see whether contempt charges should be brought against the news writers.  Though the prosecuting attorney's reply is negative, Judge Wood verbally chastises the newsmen, and, by  inference, Governor Gooding, McParland, Hawley and Borah.

Errors in judgment are not confined solely to the prosecution legal staff.  Soon after arriving in Boise, Clarence Darrow had asked Judge Wood's former law partner, Edgar Wilson, to join the defense team, offering him a fat $15,000 fee.  Wilson puts Judge Wood in an impossible position when he asks his old friend if his taking the job would in any way prejudice the judge's position.  Judge Wood coldly tells him to let his conscience be his guide.  After due consideration, Edgar Wilson accepts Darrow's offer--and then does nothing to earn the retainer except in the pre-trial examination of a couple of jurors.  During the trial itself, Wilson does not once open his mouth in court, and much of the time is not even present.

Finally, jury selection was completed with the addition to the jury of a rancher named O. V. Sebern.  Of the twelve jurors, nine were ranchers or farmers, one was a real estate agent, one a construction foreman, and one a building contractor.  Eleven of the twelve were men over fifty.

Haywood Jury

Now the rehearsals are over.  A date is set for the opening performance--Bill Haywood's trial--before a blue-ribbon panel of critics, fifty top reporters for the nation's leading newspapers and magazines.


     On May 9, 1907 the case of State of Idaho versus William D. Haywood was called for trial in Judge Fremont Wood's third-floor courtroom of the Ada County Courthouse.  Press reports that day from Boise announced that "the eyes of the civilized world are on these great proceedings," which was described as a "determined struggle between labor unions and capital."  One reporter called the Haywood trial "the greatest trial of modern time," while another described it as "one of the great court cases in the annals of the American judiciary." In a front row bench, much like an old-fashioned church pew, sat Haywood's wife, daughters, and mother, all of whom had been asked by Darrow to attend the trial so as to help create sympathy for his client.

Judge Fremont Wood

Boise remains remarkably quiet.  Rumors of mob violence, threats of assassination of Orchard by riflemen posted on the hills outside the prison, and bomb scares against the persons of Governor Gooding and Clarence Darrow--all prove to be as insubstantial as Eugene Debs' threatened army of 50,000 workers.  In the labor press, Debs declares his intention to attend the trial as a spectator and one-man judge and jury but is dissuaded by Darrow and Richardson, who feel that his presence will do their client's cause more harm than good.  Samuel Gompers, president of the conservative American Federation of Labor, is invited by Governor Gooding to attend the trial and witness the fairness of Idaho justice, but he stiffly declines.  Gompers does not want his union identified with violence even by association.

A bearded, suspicious-looking man carrying a package is arrested as he tries to push his way into the crowded courtroom.  When authorities question him and gingerly inspect the package, he is revealed to be a sheepherder jsut in from the hills carrying a dirty pair of overalls to his laundry woman.

Six attorneys sit at the defense table.  All during the selection of the jury and the trial itself, Bill Haywood remains alert, constantly jotting down notes and conferring with Richardson and Darrow.  Just behind him sits his family.  His wife, a thin, pale woman who has been an invalid for the past eight years, is brought into court in a wheel chair a few minutes before each session begins, somberly dressed, accompanied by her siste, who acts as her nurse, her tow daughters, thirteen and eight years of age, her mother, and Bill Haywood's own mother and father.

William "Big Bill" Haywood defense team - Darrow & Richardson far right.

The prosecution team consisted of William Borah who later became a member of the United States Senate as a leading voice for the Progressive Republicans.  Known for his shrewd strategizing and forceful oratory, Borah had the biggest and most profitable legal practice in the state.  Borah was joined by James Hawley, a stereotypical western lawyer, renowned for his rapport with Idaho juries and the state's most experienced trial attorney.     

Behind the prosecution table, the murdered man, Frank Steunenberg, is not nearly as well represented.  Following her collapse immediately after his death, Mrs. Steunenberg was gravely ill for a time, then, as she recovered, she was sent to Southern California where she had since lived with relatives most of the time.  A deeply religious woman, she will appear in court for only one session during the entire trial--and then apparently much against her wishes.  During the trial, she attends a Seventh Day Adventist Convocation in College Place, Washington, near Walla Walla, but the only comment she will make for the papers is that she cannot fond it in her heart to condemn Harry Orchard.  She hopes his religious conversion is genuine.

Julian Steunenberg, a young man of nineteen, appears in court and briefly testifies to having helped pick up the shattered body of his father and carry it into the house.  Lieutenant William Steunenberg, a brother of the ex-governor, now stationed with the Army at Fort Lapwai, in northern Idaho, attends a session or two but says nothing for publication.  The great actress, Ethel Barrymore, visiting Boise with a touring theatrical company, spends an afternoon in court while Harry Orchard is on the stand and is later quoted as saying that Orchard looks like a nice man, while Haywood's face frightens her half to death.

     James Hawley gave the prosecution's opening statement.  Hawley's attempts to describe Steunenberg's murder and the confession of Orchard were repeatedly objected to by Darrow, who called his statements argument rather than an outline of the proposed evidence as the rules for opening statements call for.  Darrow's interruptions and frequent sarcastic editorializing seemed to fluster Hawley, and most reporters rated the opening statement weak. Darrow opted to postpone his own opening statement until the close of the prosecution case.

James Hawley

     The first set of witnesses called by the state described events in Caldwell on December 30, 1905.  The group included a neighbor of Steunenberg who heard the explosion, a doctor who attended Stuenenberg at his deathbed, a Caldwell resident who witnessed Orchard observing the Steunenberg residence with binoculars, another resident who observed Orchard leaving the Saratoga Hotel shortly before the explosion and, finally, Steunenberg's son Julian, who once had a conversation with Orchard during which he was said to have asked about the possibility of buying sheep from his father.  Then the state called the witness everyone was waiting to hear.

     "Call Harry Orchard." The prosecution considered it something of a victory to present a live Harry Orchard, after months of rumors that the WFM was planning to poison him in jail or shoot him on the way to the courthouse. The rumors were taken seriously.  Hawley sent word to the defense that "the second man shot will be Darrow."  Orchard took the stand, wearing a tweed suit and a neat mustache, he was described by one reporter as "looking like a Sunday school superintendent."

Prosecution witness Harry Orchard on stand during Haywood trial.

     Before Orchard could begin to tell his remarkable tale of his career as a union terrorist, Hawley had some preliminary questions:

     "Is Harry Orchard your real name?"

     "No, sir."

     "How long have you used the name of Harry Orchard?"

     "About eleven years."

     "What is your real name?"

     "Albert E. Horsley."

With a strong, steady delivery, Orchard told his story to a packed courtroom (with hundreds of spectators unable to find seats milling around on the courthouse lawn).  Orchard said he was born in Ontario, Canada forty years earlier, left for the U.S. at age thirty, eventually finding work as a mucker in a Burke, Idaho silver mine, where he joined the WFM.  On April 29, 1898, Orchard was, he said, one of the thousand or so miners who hijacked a Northern Pacific train, diverted it to Wardner, then blew up the Bunker Hill concentrator, killing two men:

     "Who lit the fuse?"

     "I lit one of them. I don't know who lit the rest."

Orchard testified that he evaded arrest by hiding out in the hills above Burke, then making his way to Butte, Montana which was then the headquarters of the WFM.  His career as a union killer began in 1903 when he blew up the Vindicator mine in Colorado for $500, killing two.  In 1904, he dynamited the train depot in Independence, Colorado, killing thirteen non-union miners.  Later, under orders of Haywood and Pettibone, Orchard said that he attempted assassinations of the governor of Colorado, two Colorado Supreme Court justices, and the president of a mining company.  The attempts all failed, although one bomb intended for a justice killed an innocent bystander instead.  Orchard testified that he was the fifth man hired by Haywood, Moyer, and Pettibone to assassinate Steunenberg.  He testified that when he was hired Haywood said to him, "Steunenberg has lived seven years too long."  His reward for a successful job was to be several hundred dollars and a ranch.  The purpose of the Steunenberg assassination, according to Orchard, was to strike fear in any politician who might consider actions that would frustrate WFM goals.  (Additional reports by Oscar Davis on Orchard's Testimony.)

     Edmund Richardson cross-examined Orchard for the defense, after winning a battle with Darrow for the honor.  For twenty-six hours, Richardson subjected Orchard to a threatening, loud, and insulting attack covering every detail of his confession.  The cross-examination succeeded only in emphasizing his testimony through repetition.  Richardson attempted to damage Orchard's credibility by showing him to be a womanizer, a man who deserted his family, a bigamist, a heavy drinker, a gambler, and a cheat.  He was drilled about his indifference to the damage and destruction he inflicted.  Through it all, Orchard stood up well.  Richardson suggested that Orchard took the stand only to save his own life:

     "So you thought you could make your peace with the future by having someone else hanged, did you?"

     "No, sir. No, sir. [Orchard was sobbing at this point.] I had no thought of getting out of it, by laying it on anybody else.  I began to think about my own life and the unnatural monster I had been."

When Orchard finally left the stand, the reporter for Collier's called him "the most remarkable witness that ever appeared in an American court of justice."

     The state concluded its case by introducing articles from a WFM publication, Miner's Magazine, that revealed a deep hatred of Steunenberg and sardonic pleasure over his passing, some letters received by Orchard, and presenting an African-American witness who claimed to have seen Orchard and Haywood together in a buggy.  The defense asked for a directed verdict when the prosecution rested, but Judge Wood ruled that he was "thoroughly satisfied that the case should be submitted to a jury."

"Harry Orchard"

     The defense called nearly a hundred witnesses to refute various points of Orchard's confession or cast doubt on his motives.  Among those called was Morris Friedman, Pinkerton Detective James McParland's private stenographer and author of a book, Pinkerton Labor Spy.  Friedman described dirty tricks used by the Pinkertons to subvert the WFM, including the use of undercover operatives within the WFM who padded bills to drain the Federation treasury and reduced payments to miners to build dissatisfaction with Haywood.  The purpose of the testimony was to suggest to jurors that Pinkerton infiltrators may have committed some of the crimes Orchard attributed to the WFM in order to bring the labor organization into disrepute.  Charles Moyer and George Pettibone also testified and denied many of Orchard's specific allegations about their complicity in crimes.

     On July 11, 1907, Darrow called William Haywood.  Spectators fanned themselves with palm-leaf fans in ninety-five degree heat as Haywood, in a mild-mannered, soft-spoken, conversational tone, denied charge after charge that had been leveled against him by Harry Orchard.  He denied ordering Orchard to blow up any mine or assassinate Steunenberg or any other public official.  One reporter, no fan of Haywood, wrote in admiration of Haywood's "manly assertion of his principles."  Senator Borah cross-examined Haywood for the prosecution.  As Borah stood to begin his questioning, Haywood fixed his single eye (the other had been lost in a childhood accident) on the prosecutor.  Borah was to say later that Haywood's glare "doubled me up like a jack-knife."  For five hours, Borah tried and failed to crack the imposing defendant.

    J. Anthony Lukas, Pulitzer Prize winning author of the magnificent book about the Haywood case, Big Trouble, wrote that "rarely in the nation's first century and a quarter had a courtroom harbored four attorneys of such distinction as Hawley, Borah, Richardson, and Darrow."  There summations were, at a time when courtroom theater was a popular form of entertainment, greatly anticipated, and their performances did not disappoint.

J. Anthony Lukas

     Hawley summed up first for the prosecution, chatting with the jury in the informal way for which he was famous.  Hawley said the prosecution asked only for justice, then reminded them of that December day when Steunenberg was "sent to face his God without a moment's warning and within sight of his wife and children."  In Orchard's confession, Hawley saw "divine grace working upon his soul and through him to bring justice to one of the worst criminal bands that ever operated in this country."

     Richardson offered the defense's first summation.  In a nine-hour address full of theatrics and flourishes, Richardson asked jurors to determine Haywood's guilt "under the high dome of heaven."  He reminded juror's of Steunenberg's 1899 crackdown on northern Idaho miners and the resulting incarceration of miners in "bullpens" by federal "colored troops:"

"They threw them in the dirty, vile-kept bullpens and they were subjected to all sorts of indignities and insults at the hands of those negro soldiers.  If you had been there...gentleman of the jury, it is certain that you would have attained in your breast a righteous hatred for every person who had anything to do with causing your humiliation and suffering."

Richardson argued that the angry words about Steunenberg in Miner's Magazine were understandable given the events of seven years earlier.  Blame for Steunenberg's murder, however, Richardson laid on Orchard and the Pinkertons.  Richardson suggested it was odd that an assassin like Orchard would make himself known around Caldwell, fail to destroy incriminating evidence, and be called "Harry" by prosecutors.  The murder, he suggested, was a frame-up planned by the Pinkertons to discredit and ultimately destroy the leadership of the WFM.

     As impressive as the first two summations were, Hawley and Richardson were, in the words of Anthony Lukas, "a bit like vaudeville artists who warmed up the crowd for the top bananas," Darrow and Borah.  Darrow closed for the defense with an eleven-hour speech that at times, had Haywood's wife and mother and many of the women in the courtroom sobbing.

     Darrow pitilessly attacked Orchard, who he called "the biggest liar that this generation has known."  Any juror "who would take away the life of a human being upon testimony like that [of Orchard's] would place a stain upon the state of his nativity...that all the waters of the great seas could never wash away."  In a move much criticized in the press, Darrow both admitted and excused much of the violence attributed to the WFM:

"I don't mean to tell this jury that labor organizations do no wrong.  I know them too well for that.  They do wrong often, and sometimes brutally; they are sometimes cruel; they are often unjust; they are frequently corrupt. . .But I am here to say that in a great cause these labor organizations, despised and weak and outlawed as they generally are, have stood for the poor, they have stood for the weak, they have stood for every human law that was ever placed upon the statute books.  They stood for human life, they stood for the father who was bound down by his task, they stood for the wife, threatened to be taken from the home to work by his side, and they have stood for the little child who was also taken to work in their places--that the rich could grow richer still, and they have fought for the right of the little one, to give him a little of life, a little comfort while he is young. I don't care how many wrongs they committed, I don't care how many crimes these weak, rough, rugged, unlettered men who often know no other power but the brute force of their strong right arm, who find themselves bound and confined and impaired whichever way they turn, who look up and worship the god of might as the only god that they know--I don't care how often they fail, how many brutalities they are guilty of. I know their cause is just."

Darrow offered a different motive for Orchard's murder than the one suggested by his co-counsel.  He argued (unconvincingly, as far as the press was concerned) that Orchard bore a personal grudge against Steunenberg because the governor's intervention in northern Idaho resulting in him losing a share of a silver mine.  Finally, Darrow launched into a powerful conclusion that ranks among the best of his long career:

I have known Haywood.  I have known him well and I believe in him. I do believe in him.  God knows it would be a sore day to me if he should ascend the scaffold; the sun would not shine or the birds would not sing on that day for me.  It would be a sad day indeed if any calamity should befall him. I would think of him, I would think of his mother, I would think of his babes, I would think of the great cause that he represents.  It would be a sore day for me.

But, gentlemen, he and his mother, his wife and his children are not my chief concern in this case.  If you should decree that he must die, ten thousand men will work down in the mines to send a portion of the proceeds of their labor to take care of that widow and those orphan children, and a million people throughout the length and the breadth of the civilized world will send their messages of kindness and good cheer to comfort them in their bereavement.  It is not for them I plead.

Other men have died, other men have died in the same cause in which Bill Haywood has risked his life, men strong with devotion, men who love liberty, men who love their fellow men have raised their voices in defense of the poor, in defense of justice, have made their good fight and have met death on the scaffold, on the rack, in the flame and they will meet it again until the world grows old and gray.  Bill Haywood is no better than the rest.  He can die if die he needs, he can die if this jury decrees it; but, oh, gentlemen, don't think for a moment that if you hang him you will crucify the labor movement of the world.

Don't think that you will kill the hopes and the aspirations and the desires of the weak and the poor, you men, unless you people who are anxious for this blood--are you so blind as to believe that liberty will die when he is dead?  Do you think there are no brave hearts and no other strong arms, no other devoted souls who will risk their life in that great cause which has demanded martyrs in every age of this world? There are others, and these others will come to take his place, will come to carry the banner where he could not carry it.

Gentlemen, it is not for him alone that I speak.  I speak for the poor, for the weak, for the weary, for that long line of men who in darkness and despair have borne the labors of the human race.  The eyes of the world are upon you, upon you twelve men of Idaho tonight.  Wherever the English language is spoken, or wherever any foreign tongue known to the civilized world is spoken, men are talking and wondering and dreaming about the verdict of these twelve men that I see before me now.  If you kill him your act will be applauded by many.  If you should decree Bill Haywood's death, in the great railroad offices of our great cities men will applaud your names.  If you decree his death, amongst the spiders of Wall Street will go up paeans of praise for those twelve good men and true who killed Bill Haywood.  In every bank in the world, where men hate Haywood because he fights for the poor and against the accursed system upon which the favored live and grow rich and fat--from all those you will receive blessings and unstinted praise.

But if your verdict should be "Not Guilty," there are still those who will reverently bow their heads and thank these twelve men for the life and the character they have saved.  Out on the broad prairies where men toil with their hands, out on the wide ocean where men are are tossed and buffeted on the waves, through our mills and factories, and down deep under the earth, thousands of men and of women and children, men who labor, men to suffer, women and children weary with care and toil, these men and these women and these children will kneel tonight and ask their God to guide your judgment.  These men and these women and these little children, the poor, the weak, and the suffering of the world will stretch out their hands to this jury, and implore you to save Haywood's life.

     The final words belonged to the prosecution and Senator Borah.  Borah told the jury that this "is simply a trial for murder," not an attack on organized labor.  He asked the jury to consider Orchard's actions, not just his words, especially his frequent trips to Denver:  "Why? Why always back to Denver?  Unless it was to find there the protection and pay of his employers."  Borah closed by reminding jurors of their solemn duty:

William Borah

"I remembered again the awful thing of December 30, 1905, a night which has taken ten years to the life of some who are in this courtroom now.  I felt again its cold and icy chill, faced the drifting snow and peered at last into the darkness for the sacred spot where last lay the body of my dead friend, and saw true, only too true, the stain of his life's blood upon the whitened earth.  I saw Idaho dishonored and disgraced.  I saw murder--no, not murder, a thousand times worse than murder--I saw anarchy wave its first bloody triumph in Idaho.  And as I thought again I said, ‘Thou living God, can the talents or the arts of counsel unteach the lessons of that hour?'  No, no. Let us be brave, let us be faithful in this supreme test of trial and duty...If the defendant is entitled to his liberty, let him have it.  But, on the other hand, if the evidence in this case discloses the author of this crime, then there is no higher duty to be imposed upon citizens than the faithful discharge of that particular duty.  Some of you men have stood the test and trial in the protection of the American flag.  But you never had a duty imposed upon you which required more intelligence, more manhood, more courage than that which the people of Idaho assign to you this night in the final discharge of your duty."

    Judge Wood gave the jury their instructions.  He told them the defendant was presumed innocent, that proof of guilt must be established beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the jury could not convict without corroborated evidence that connected Haywood with the Steunenberg assassination. At 11:04 am on Saturday, July 28, 1907, the twelve jurors began their deliberations.

     As deliberations continued through the night, rumors of the jury's thinking began to swirl around Boise.  Most rumors had it that the jury was 11 to 1 or 10 to 2 or 9 to 3 for conviction.  Darrow seemed to be pinning his hope on a hung jury.  After deliberating through the night, the jury at 6:40 am on Sunday morning reported that they had reached a verdict.

     As the jury filed into Judge Wood's courtroom, Darrow put an arm around his client and said, " Bill, old man, you'd better prepare for the worst.  I'm afraid it's against us, so keep up your nerve."  Haywood replied, "Yes, I will."  The clerk of court, Otto Peterson, announced the verdict: "We the jury in the above entitled cause find the defendant, William D. Haywood, not guilty."  Haywood jumped up, laughing and crying, bear hugged friends, then rushed to the jury to shake hands with as many members of it as he could.


The trial transcript runs some 5,700 typed pages.  Harry Orchard is on the witness stand for eight days.  Interviews with jurors after the trial hint at several reasons for their surprising verdict--reached six ballots after an initial vote of 8 for acquittal, 2 for conviction, and 2 abstentions. Some jurors suggested that Judge Wood's instructions requiring corroboration of Orchard's testimony dictated the result.  If so, the defense's success in persuading Steve Adams, by bribe or threat or whatever, to withdraw his confession was the key to victory.  Other jurors expressed their positive impression of Haywood on the witness stand.  Still others credited Darrow's moving summation.  Members of the press offered other speculations as well, suggesting that fear of reprisals by the WFM may have persuaded some jurors to vote for acquittal.  At least one Pinkerton detective offered an even darker explanation: that at least one of the jurors was bought.

     George Pettibone was next up for trial.  Harry Orchard was the state's star witness.  This time his cross-examination was handled by Darrow who according to one observer, caused the jury to turn from Orchard as they would "from the carcass of a dead animal."  The Pettibone jury acquitted him in much less time than it took the Haywood jury to reach its verdict.  Charges against Charles Moyer were dropped after the Pettibone trial.

     Bill Haywood became the leader of the Industrial Workers of the World (the "Wobblies"). In 1918, Haywood was tried under an espionage and sedition act for urging a strike in a war-sensitive industry, was convicted and sentenced to thirty years in prison. In 1921, while out on bond pending appeal, Haywood jumped bond and fled to the Soviet Union, where he was to become a confidant of the Bolsheviks and a friend to John Reed.  Haywood died in Moscow in 1928.  Half of his ashes were buried in the Kremlin near those of Reed, and the other half were shipped to Chicago for burial near a monument to the Haymarket rioters whose actions in 1886 inspired Haywood's life of radicalism.

     Harry Orchard was tried and convicted of the murder of Frank Steunenberg.  He was sentenced to death, but his sentence was later commuted to life in prison.  He remained in the Idaho state penitentiary near Boise, raising chickens and growing strawberries as a prison trusty, until his death in 1954.

    The trials of Haywood and Pettibone roughly marked the end of the fifteen year labor war in the western mines, a period which approached nearer than any other in American history to open class warfare.  Anthony Lukas wrote in Big Trouble:

Finally, the opposing camps in this nasty class war sputtering along the icy ridges of the Rocky Mountains had just about canceled each other out.  Operative for operative, hired gun for hired gun, bought juror for bought juror, perjured witness for perjured witness, conniving lawyer for conniving lawyer, partisan reporter for partisan reporter, these cockeyed armies had fought each other to an exhausted standoff.

(Anthony Lukas was himself left physically and emotionally spent after seven years of work on Big Trouble. On June 5, 1997, after discussing final revisions on the book with his editor, Lukas hanged himself.)

     The Haywood Trial offers a fascinating window upon a time of economic conflict and change. Although called by one reviewer of Big Trouble "a long forgotten trial," it deserves to rank among America's greatest trials.