William "Big Bill"  Haywood

Followed by: Edward Boyce, Steve Adams, George A. Pettibone, Charles H. Moyer, Harry Orchard, James McParland, Charles Siringo, Governor Frank Steunenberg, Judge Fremont Wood, Edmund F. Richardson, Clarence S. Darrow, James H. Hawley, William E. Borah, J. Anthony Lukas and Oscar K. Davis.

William Dudley Haywood (February 4, 1869-May 18, 1928), better known as Big Bill Haywood, was a prominent figure in the American labor movement.  Haywood was a leader of the Western Federation of Miners (WFM), a founding member and leader of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and a member of the Executive Committee of the Socialist Party of America.  During the first two decades of the 20th century, he was involved in several important labor battles, including the Colorado Labor Wars, the Lawrence textile strike, and other textile strikes in Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Haywood was an advocate of industrial unionism, a labor philosophy that favors organizing all workers in and industry under one union, regardless of the specific trade or skill level; this was in contrast to the craft unions that were prevalent at the time, such as the AFL.  His belief that workers of all ethnicities should be united also clashed with many unions.  His strong preference for direct action over political tactics alienated him from the Socialist Party, and contributed to his dismissal in 1912.

Never one to shy from violent conflicts, Haywood was frequently the target of prosecutors.  His trial for the murder of Frank Steuenberg in 1907 (of which he was acquitted) drew national attention; in 1918; he was one of 101 IWW members convicted of violating the Espionage Act of 1917.  While out of prison during an appeal of his conviction, Haywood fled to Russia, where he spent the remaining years of his life.

Early Life

  William D. "Big Bill" Haywood was born in 1869 in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory.  His father, a Pony Express rider, died of pneumonia when Haywood was three years old.  At age nine, he injured his right eye while whittling a slingshot with a knife, permanently blinding him.  Haywood never had his damaged eye replaced with a glass eye; when photographed, he would turn his head to show his left profile.  Also at age  nine, he began working in the mines; he never received much formal education.  After brief stints as a cowboy and homesteader, he returned to mining in 1896.  High-profile events such as the destruction of the Molly Maguires, the Haymarket Riot in 1886 and the Pullman Strike in 1894 fostered Haywood's interest in the labor movement.

Western Federation of Miners

In 1896, Ed Boyce, president of the Western Federation of Miners, spoke at the Idaho silver mine where Haywood was working.  Inspired by his speech, Haywood signed up as a WFM member, thus formally beginning his involvement in America's labor movement.

Haywood immediately became active in the WFM, and by 1900 he had become a member of the national union's General Executive Board.  When Ed Boyce retired as WFM president in 1902, he recommended Haywood and Charles Moyer assume leadership.  Haywood became secretary-treasurer of the WFM, the number two position after President Charles Moyer.  That year, the WFM became involved in the Colorado Labor Wars, a struggle centered in the Cripple Creek mining district that lasted for several years and took the lives of 33 union and non-union workers.  The WFM initiated a series of strikes designed to extend their benefits of the union to other workers, who suffered from brutal working conditions and starvation wages.  The defeat of these strikes led to Haywood's belief in "One Big Union" organized along industrial lines to bring broader working class support for labor struggles.

 

Foundation of the Industrial Works of the World

Late in 1904, several prominent labor leaders met in Chicago, Illinois to lay down plans for a new revolutionary union.  The plan was written and sent around the country.  Unionists who found favor with the plan were invited to attend a convention to organize the new union which was to become the Industrial Workers of the World.

At 10 A.M. on June 27, 1905, Haywood addressed the crowd assembled at Brand's Hall in Chicago.  In the audience were two hundred delegates from organizations all over the country.  Haywood opened the First Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World with the following speech:  Fellow Workers, this is the Continental Congress of the working-class.  We are here to confederate the workers of this country into a working-class movement that shall have for its purpose the emancipation of the working-class from the slave bondage of capitalism.  The aims and objects of this organization shall be to put the working-class in possession of the economic power, the means of life, in control of the machinery of production and distribution, without regard to capitalist masters.

"Big Bill" Haywood

Bill Haywood at Convention

Other speakers at the convention included Eugene Debs, leader of the Socialist Party of America, and Mother Mary Jones, an organizer for the United Mine Workers of America.  After its foundation, the IWW would become aggressively involved in the labor movement.

Murder Trial

On December 30, 1905, Frank Steunenberg was killed by an explosion in front of his Caldwell, Idaho home.  A former governor of Idaho, Steunenberg had clashed with the WFM in previous strikes.  Harry Orchard, a former WFM member who had once acted as WFM President Charles Moyer's bodyguard was arrested for the crime, and evidence was found in his hotel room.  Famed Pinkerton detective James McParland, who had infiltrated and helped to destroy the Molly Maguires, was placed in charge of the investigation.

 

Charles Moyer-William Haywood-George Pettibone

Before any trial had occurred, McParland ordered that Orchard be placed on death row in the Boise penitentiary, with restricted food rations and under constant surveillance.  After McParland had prepared his investigation, he met with Orchard over a "sumptuous lunch" followed by cigars.  The Pinkerton detective told Orchard that he could escape immediate hanging only if he implicated the leaders of the WFM.  In addition to using the threat of hanging, McParland promised food, cigars, better treatment, possible freedom, and even a possible financial reward if Orchard cooperated.  The detective obtained a 64-page confession from Orchard in which the suspect took responsibility for a string of crimes and at least seventeen murders.

McParland then used perjured extradition papers, which falsely stated that WFM leaders had been at the scene of the Steunenberg murder, to cross the state line into Denver, Colorado and arrest Haywood, Moyer, and George Pettibone.  On February 17, 1906, in what writer Peter Carlson described as a "kidnapping scheme," McParland forced the three men onto a special train and extradited them to Idaho before the courts in Denver could intervene.  The abductions were so egregious that even American Federation of Labor president Samuel Gompers, who had little good to say about the WFM, directed his union to raise funds for the defense.  Yet a habeas corpus appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court failed, with only Justice Joseph McKenna dissenting.

Haywood's trial began on May 9, 1907, with famed Chicago defense attorney Clarence Darrow defending him.  The government had only the testimony of Orchard. the confessed bomber, to implicate Haywood and the other defendants, and Orchard's checkered past and admitted violent history were skillfully exploited by Darrow.  During the trial Orchard admitted that he had acted as a paid informant of the Mine Owner's Association, in effect working for both sides.  He admitted to accepting money from Pinkerton detectives, and had caused explosions during mining disputes before he had met Moyer or Haywood.  After Darrow's final summation (which moved many in the courtroom to tears), the jury acquitted Haywood.  Darrow was ill, however, and withdrew from the subsequent trial of George Pettibone, leaving Judge Hilton of Denver in charge of the defense.  After a second jury acquitted Pettibone, the charges against Moyer were dropped.

Lawrence Textile Strike

In 1908 Haywood was ousted by Ed Moyer from his executive position with the WFM.  Haywood turned his attention to the Industrial Workers of the World (the "Wobblies") and was organizing for the IWW by the time the Lawrence textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts garnered national attention.  On January 11, 1912, textile mill workers in Lawrence left their jobs in protest of lowered wages.  Within a week, twenty thousand workers were on strike.  The IWW already had a presence in Lawrence and assumed leadership of the strike. 

Authorities responded by calling out police, and the strike quickly escalated into violence.  Local IWW leaders Joseph Ettor and Arturo Giovannitti were jailed on charges of murdering Anna LoPizzo, a striker that nineteen witnesses said was killed by police gunfire. Martial law was declared.  In response, Haywood and other organizers arrived to take charge of the strike.  A national outrage was sparked when authorities forcibly detained a group of women and children who were being evacuated from the town.  A congressional hearing and the attention of the President William Howard Taft pressured the mill owners into cooperating with the strikers; on March 12, the owners agreed to all the demands of the strikers, officially ending the strike.

However, Haywood and the IWW were not yet finished in Lawrence; despite the end of the strike, Ettor and Giovannitti remained in prison.  Haywood threatened the authorities with another strike, saying "Open the jail gates or we will close the mill gates."  Legal efforts and a one-day strike on September 30 did not prompt the authorities to drop the charges.  However, on November 26, Ettor and Giovannitti were acquitted.

Socialist Party of America Involvement

For many years, Haywood was an active member of the Socialist Party of America.  Haywood had always been largely Marxist in his political views, and campaigned for Eugene Debs during the 1908 presidential election, traveling by train with Debs around the country.  Haywood also represented the Socialist Party as a delegate to the 1910 congress of the Second International, an organization working towards international socialism.  In 1912, he was elected to the Socialist Party National Executive Committee.

However, the aggressive tactics of Haywood and the IWW, along with their call for abolition of the wage system and the overthrow of capitalism created tension with more moderate members of the Socialist Party.  Haywood and the IWW focused on direct action and strikes, which often let to violence, and were less concerned with political tactics.  In a party opposed to violence and dedicated to respectability, Haywood openly advised socialists and workers to practice sabotage and risk imprisonment to foster revolution.  This conflict eventually led to Haywood's recall from the National Executive Committee in January 1913, thousands of IWW members left the Socialist Party with him.

Other Labor Involvement

In 1913, Haywood was involved in the Paterson Silk Strike.  Haywood and approximately 1,850 strikers were arrested during the course of the strike.  Despite the long holdout and fundraising efforts, the strike ended in failure on July 28, 1913.

 

1913 - Paterson Silk Strike

Patrick Quinan, Carlo Tresca, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Adolph Lessig and William Haywood

Espionage Trial

Haywood and the IWW frequently clashed with the government during their labor actions.  The onset of World War I gave the federal government the opportunity to take action against Haywood and the IWW.  Using their newly passed Espionage Act of 1917 as justification, the Department of Justice raided forty-eight IWW meeting halls on September 5, 1917.  The Department of Justice, with the approval of President Woodrow Wilson, then proceeded to arrest 165 IWW members for "conspiring to hinder the draft, encourage desertion, and intimidate others in connection with labor disputes.

In April 1918, Haywood and 100 of the arrested IWW members began their trial, presided over by Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis.  The trial lasted five months, the longest criminal trial up to that time; Haywood himself testified for three days.  All 101 defendants were found guilty, and Haywood (along with fourteen others) was sentenced to twenty years in prison.

Despite the efforts of his supporters, Haywood was unable to overturn the conviction.  In 1921, Haywood skipped bail while out on appeal and fled to Russia.

Life In Soviet Russia

In Russia, Haywood became a labor advisor to Lenin's Bolshevik government, but Lenin's illness and death and Stalin's rise to power ended his role as an advisor to the Soviet labor movement in 1923.  Various visitors to Haywood's small Moscow apartment in later years recalled that he was lonely and depressed, and expressed a desire to return to the United States.  In 1926 he took a Russian wife, though the two had to communicate in sign language, as neither spoke the other's language.  At the invitation of CPUSA member Gus Hall, Idaho newspaper reporter John Chapple traveled to Moscow in late 1927 in an attempt to interview Haywood, only to find him barely coherent and suffering from advanced diabetes.

Death

On May 18, 1928, Haywood died in a Moscow hospital from a stroke brought on by alcoholism and diabetes.  Half of his ashes were buried in the Kremlin wall; and an urn containing the other half of his ashes was sent to Chicago and buried near the Haymarket Martyrs' Monument.

Haywood's Labor Philosophy - Industrial Unionism

Even before Haywood first became an official with the Western Federation of Miners, he was convinced that the system under which working people toiled was unjust.  He described the execution of the Haymarket leaders in 1887 as a turning point in his life, predisposing  him toward membership in the largest organization of the day, the Knights of Labor.  Haywood had watched men die in unsafe mine tunnels, and had marched with Kelly's Army.  He had suffered a serious hand injury in the mines, and found that his only support came from other miners.  When Haywood listened to Ed Boyce of the WFM addressing a group of Idaho miners in 1896, he discovered radical unionism and welcomed it.  Haywood also shared Boyce's skepticism of the role played by the American Federation of Labor (AFL).  Haywood criticized labor officials who were, in his view, insufficiently supportive of Labor militants.  For example, he recalled with disdain the opening remarks of Samuel Gompers when the AFL leader appeared before Illinois Governor Richard Oglesby on behalf of the Haymarket prisoners:

"I have differed all my life with the principles and methods of the condemned."

Gompers was an advocate of craft unionism, the idea that workers should be separated into unions according to their skills.  The AFL was reluctant to organize workers who were not skilled.  Furthermore, in 1900 Gompers became the first vice-president of the National Civic Federation, which was "dedicated to the fostering of harmony and collaboration between capital and organized labor."  But Haywood had become convinced by the experiences of striking railroad workers that a different union philosophy, some form of industrial unionism, was necessary for workers to obtain justice.  This had become apparent in 1888 when the craft-organized locomotive firemen kept their engines running, helping their employers to break a strike called by the railroad engineers.

Eugene V. Debs had been head of the locomotive firemen's union, but he resigned to create the American Railway Union (ARU), organized industrially to include all railroad workers.  In June, 1894, the ARU voted to join in solidarity with the ongoing Pullman strike.  Railroad traffic throughout the nation was "largely paralyzed.  The effectiveness of the industrial form of unionism was an event from the start."  The strike was eventually crushed by massive government intervention that included 2600 Deputy U.S. Marshals, and 14,000 state and federal troops in Chicago alone.  Debs attempted to seek help from the American Federation of Labor.  He asked that AFL railroad brotherhood affiliates present the following proposition to the Railway Managers' Association;

". . . that the strikers return to work at once as a body, upon the condition that they be restored to their former positions, or, in the even of failure, to call a general strike."

Observing that the ARU was defenseless, AFL officials viewed the plight of the rival organization as an opportunity to bolster their own railway affiliates, and instructed all AFL affiliates to withhold help.  In spite of what Haywood perceived as "treachery" and "double-cross" by the AFL leadership--the ARU members had put their own organization at risk for others, but the AFL refused to even help them try to end the strike in a draw--the power of workers crossing their trade lines and jurisdictional boundaries to join together in a fight against capital greatly impressed him.  He described the revelation of such power as "a great rift of light."  For Haywood, industrial union principle were later confirmed by the defeat of the Western Federation of Miners in the 1903-05 Cripple Creek strike due--he believed--to insufficient labor solidarity.  The WFM miners had sought to extend the benefits of union to the mill workers who processed their ore.  Since the government had crushed the ARU, the railroad workers were again organized along craft lines under the AFL.  Those same railroad unions continued to haul the ore from mines that were run by strike breakers, to mills that were run by strike breakers.  "The railroaders form the connecting link in the proposition that is scabby at both ends," Haywood complained.  "This fight, which is entering its third year, could have been won in three weeks if it were not for the fact that the trade unions are lending assistance to the mine operators."  The obvious solution, it seemed to Haywood, was for all of the workers to join the same union, and to take collective action in concert against the employers.  The militants of the WFM referred to the AFL as the "American Separation of Labor," a criticism that was later echoed by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

Haywood's Revolutionary Imperative

Haywood's industrial unionism was much broader than formulating a more effective method of conducting strikes.  Haywood grew up a part of the working class, and his respect for working people was genuine.  He was quickly angered by the arrogance of employers "who had never . . .spoken to a workingman except to give orders."

Having met Debs during his WFM days, Haywood had also become interested in the former railway leader's new passion, socialism.  Haywood subscribed to the belief, and with Boyce, formulated as a new motto for the WFM, that:

"Labor produces all wealth; all wealth belongs to the producer thereof."

Haywood observed how the government frequently took the side of business to defeat the tactics and the aspirations of the miners.  During an 1899 organizing drive in the Coeur d'Alene's, with pay cuts as a motivating issue, the company hired spies and then fired organizers and pro-union miners.  Some frustrated miners responded with violence and when two men were killed, martial law was declared.  As they had done in a strike in the Coeur d'Alene's seven years earlier, soldiers acted as strike breakers.  They rounded up hundreds of union members without formal charges and put them in a filthy, vermin-infested warehouse without sanitation services for a year.  They were so crowded that the soldiers locked the overflow of prisoners in boxcars.  One local union leader was imprisoned for 17 years.

Haywood considered the brutal conditions in the Coeur d'Alene's a manifestation of class warfare.  In 1901 the miners agreed at the WFM convention that a "complete revolution of social and economic conditions" was "the only salvation of the working classes."

In the WFM's 1903-05 struggle in Colorado, with martial law once again in force, two declarations uttered by the National Guard and recorded for posterity further clarified the relationship of the mine operator's enforcement army--provided courtesy of the Colorado governor--to the workers.  When union attorneys asked the courts to free illegally imprisoned strikers, Adjutant General Sherman Bell declared, "Habeas corpus be damned, we'll give 'em post mortems."  Reminded of the Constitution, one of Bell's junior officers declared coolly, "To hell with the Constitution.  We're not going by the Constitution."

General Bell had been the manager of one of the coal mines in Cripple Creek where the strike was taking place.  It wasn't any surprise to Haywood that soldiers seemed to be working in the interests of the employers; he had seen that situation before.  But when the Colorado legislature acknowledged the complaints of organized labor and passed an eight hour law, the Colorado supreme court declared in unconstitutional.  So the WFM took the issue to the voters, and 72 percent of the state's voters approved the referendum.  But the Colorado government ignored the results of the referendum.

To members of the WFM, it became clear that government favored the companies, and only direct action by organized workers could secure the eight hour day for themselves.  When miners in Idaho Springs and Telluride decided to strike for the eight hour day, they were rounded up at gunpoint by vigilante groups and expelled from their communities.  Warrants were issued for the arrest of the law-breaking vigilantes, but they were not acted upon.

Haywood complained that John D. Rockefeller was "wielding more power with his golf sticks than could the people of Colorado with their ballots."  It appeared to Haywood that the deck was stacked, and no enduring gains could be won for the workers short of changing the rules of the game.  Increasingly, his industrial unionism took on a revolutionary flavor.  In 1905 Haywood joined the more left-leaning socialists, labor anarchists in the Haymarket tradition, and other militant unionists to formulate the concept of revolutionary industrial unionism that animated the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).  Haywood called this philosophy "socialism with its working clothes on."

Haywood favored direct action.  The socialist philosophy--which WFM supporter the Rev. Fr. Thomas J. Hagerty called "slowcialism"--did not seem hard-nosed enough for Haywood's labor instincts.  After the Boise murder trial, he had come to believe,

"It is to the ignominy of the Socialist Party and the Socialist Labor Party that they have so seldom joined forces with the I.W.W. in these desperate political struggles."

While Haywood continued to champion direct action, he advocated the political action favored by the socialists as just one more mechanism for change, and only when it seemed relevant.  At an October 1913 meeting of the Socialist Party, Haywood stated:

"I advocate the industrial ballot along when I address the workers in the textile industries of the East where a great majority are foreigners with political representation.  But when I speak to American workingmen in the West I advocate both the industrial and the political ballot."

The "industrial ballot" referred to the methods (strikes, slowdown, etc.) of the IWW.

Haywood seemed most comfortable with a philosophy arrived at through the hard-scrabble experiences of the workers.  He had the ability to translate complex economic theories into simple ideas that resonated with working people.  He would frequently preface his speeches with the statement, "Tonight I am going to speak on the class struggle and I am going to make it so plain that even a lawyer can understand it."  He distilled the voluminous work of Karl Marx into a simple observation, "If one man has a dollar he didn't work for, some other man worked for a dollar he didn't get."  While Haywood respected the work of Marx, he referred to it with irreverent humor.  Acknowledging his scars from dangerous mining work, and from numerous fistfights with police and militia, he like to say, "I've never read Marx's Capital, but I have the marks of capital all over me."

Edward Boyce

Ed Boyce (November 8, 1862 - December 24, 1941) was founder and president of the Western Federation of Miners, an American labor organizer, socialist and hard rock mine owner.

Early Life

Edward Boyce, more commonly known as Ed Boyce, was born in County Donegal, Ireland, in 1862 and educated in local schools.  He emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, at the age of 19.

He worked as a railway construction worker in Wisconsin before moving to Leadville, Colorado, in 1884.  He joined the Leadville Miners' Union, an affiliate of the Knights of Labor, but quit in 1886.

He worked at various mines in the Coeur d'Alene district and in Butte, Montana before moving to Wardner, Idaho.  He joined the Wardner Miners' Union in 1888 and was selected its corresponding secretary.

Coeur d'Alene Mining District Strike

In 1892, the 30-year old Boyce became an active leader in a strike in the Coeur d'Alene Mining District which encompassed primarily the area between Kellogg and Wallace, Idaho.  In January 1892, railroad companies serving the area increased the shipping rate of ore.  The mine owners decided to close the mines for four months until a compromise with the railroads could be reached.  This action threw 1,600 miners out of work.

The mines reopened two months early, but wages had been slashed by 15 percent.  The miners struck.  The owners offered to restore wages to their previous levels but refused to recognize the union, an offer Boyce and other union leaders rejected.  When three scab workers were forced to join the union by a mob of miners (a fourth fled the county), the Coeur d'Alene Mine Owner's Association obtained an injunction from the United States district court at Boise, Idaho, preventing anyone from interfering with the working of the mines.  The mine owners began importing scabs at the rate of 16 workers a day from outside the region.  Company militia provided protection.  (Idaho's state constitution contained a prohibition against the creation or use of private militia, but the law was not enforced.)

Random incidents of violence heightened the tension: A guard exchanged words with a miner and was whipped.  Two drunk guards picked a fight with a group of miners in a local bar.  Three guards armed with rifles threatened a miner's camp.  Late in the evening of Sunday, July 10, the miners discovered that their union secretary, Charles Siringo, was a mine owner spy hired from the Pinkerton Agency.  During that evening and into the early morning hours of July 11, armed miners surrounded the shuttered Frisco mill of the Gem mine.  A firefight broke out.  During the gun battle, miners dropped a barrel of gunpowder down the flume of the mill; the powder keg exploded, destroying the mill and killing a non-union miner.

The mine owners demanded that Governor N.B. Willey, a former mine manager, proclaim martial law.  Although violence in the region had ended, Willey called out the National Guard.  President Benjamin Harrison ordered federal troops to back up the Idaho state troops.  Martial law lasted four months.

Nearly 600 miners were arrested and confined in a large outdoor prison, or bullpen.  But since most of the local inhabitants were miners or sympathized with them, the state had little chance of obtaining convictions.

Several union leaders, however, were arrested for violating the district court's injunction--Ed Boyce among them.  Boyce and the other union officials were confined in the Ada County Jail.

Formation of the WFM

The Coeur d'Alene miners had received financial assistance from miners' unions in Butte, Montana, who had also paid legal fees for their attorney, James H. Hawley.  While the union leaders were still in jail, Hawley suggested that mine unions in the West needed to form a united front, and the union leaders agreed.  The Western Federation of Miners (WFM) was formed in 1893 in Butte.

Boyce served a six-month jail term for contempt of court for his role in the 1892 Coeur d'Alene District miners' strike, and was blacklisted by the mine owners.

After his release in 1893, Boyce prospected for a time in the Bitterroot Mountains in Montana before returning to the Coeur d'Alene District.  He obtained work in the mines and was elected president of the Coeur d'Alene Executive Miners' Union, a post he held until 1895.

Although not present for its founding, Boyce attended the WFM's second convention in 1894 and was elected to its executive board.  With its headquarters in Coeur d'Alene, nearly all the mines in the Idaho panhandle except for the Bunker Hill and Sullivan Mine recognized the union.  Still, the WFM barely survived the next three years.

Public Service

In 1894, Boyce was elected to the Idaho State Senate as a Populist from Shoshone County.  Boyce battled for the eight-hour day for miners, the establishment of an arbitration board to settle labor disputes, and an investigation of the 1892 mining war.  He objected to appropriations for the state militia, charging that it was a tool used by the state and mine owners to suppress labor.  He called for legislation to forbid employment of aliens, to outlaw yellow-dog contracts and prohibit company stores.

[A yellow-dog contract or yellow-dog clause of a contract or an Ironclad Oath is an agreement between an employer and an employee in which the employee agrees, as a condition of employment, not to be a member of a labor union.  In the United States, such contracts were, until the 1930s, widely used by employers to prevent the formation of unions, most often by permitting employers to take legal action against union organizers.  In 1932, yellow-dog contracts were outlawed in the United States under the Norris-LaGuardia Act.]

In one of the most dramatic speeches he ever made, Boyce denounced the blacklist:

"Senate bill fifty six provides for  no class, no special legislation, but under its provisions those relentless persecutors, known as corporations, are prevented when they discharge an employee from following him with a blacklist and depriving him of the means of earning an honest living in another part of the state. . . .Why do you not produce some argument against it to show that it should not become a law? No, it is not necessary: you of the Republican party have the votes to kill the bill and that is all you desire.  But remember these words: the laboring men of Idaho have asked you for bread and you give them a stone; we ask you for justice and you treat us with scorn, but the day is fast approaching when you actions will be condemned by every man who has one drop of manly blood in his veins."

But the Populists were unable to pass the legislation they desired, and Boyce--disillusioned with the political process--quit after one term.

WFM Presidency

While serving in the Idaho legislature, Boyce resigned as president of the Coeur d'Alene Executive Miner's Union in 1895, and took a job as a general organizer for the WFM.

In 1896, Boyce was elected president of the Western Federation of Miners.  He served until 1902.  James Maher was elected WFM secretary-treasurer the same year.  Boyce and Maher worked well together.  They pumped life into the faltering federation, and the WFM began a period of rapid growth.

William "Big Bill" Haywood heard Boyce make a speech in that first year as president of the WFM, and Haywood decided to become a union member.  Haywood later became WFM secretary-treasure, and a major figure in the American labor movement.

In late 1899, Boyce established the WFM's journal, the Miner's Magazine.  The first issue came out in early 1890.

Leadville, Colorado Miners' Strike

The Cloud City Miners' Union (CCMU), Local 33 of the WFM went on strike in 1896 over a reduction in wages that had persisted since the depression of 1893.  The Colorado Mine was re-opened with armed replacement workers during the strike, and an incident on September 21 resulted in shooting and dynamite explosions.  After surface building were burned, the Colorado governor sent the Colorado National Guard to Leadville.  Boyce was one of twenty-seven union men who were jailed, but all of the union's leaders were released for lack of evidence.

Unorthodox Positions

Boyce's position as president of the WFM knew few boundaries.  At the 1897 convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, Boyce told his fellow union members to arm themselves:

"I deem it important to direct your attention to Article 2 of the Constitutional Amendments of the United States--"the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.  This you should comply with immediately.  Every (local) union should have a rifle club.  I strongly advise you to provide every member with the latest improved rifle, which can be obtained from the factory at a nominal price.  I entreat you to take action on this important question, so that in two yeaers we can hear the inspiring music of the martial tread of 25,000 armed men in the ranks of labor."

Boyce quickly moved to abandon the conservative approaches practiced by most mine unions at the time.  He came to believe that class warfare made trade unionism obsolete and came out in favor of militant industrial unionism.

AFL and WLU

Boyce led led the WFM to jjoin the American Federation of Labor the year he became WFM president.  The affiliation lasted only until the spring of 1898.  Samuel Gompers had refused to give striking Colorado miners strike benefits, and Boyce heatedly debated the issue with Gompers.  But, convinced that the conservative and craft unionism policies of the AFL were inadequate to the task of organizing workers, Boyce led the WFM out of the AFL.

In 1898, Boyce, a strong believer in industrial unionism, led the WFM to found the Western Labor Union.  The Western Labor Union (later the American Labor Union) was established in direct opposition to the craft-oriented AFL, and included workers from all industries.

Bunker Hill Mine Bombing

In April 1899, WFM officials demanded that the Bunker Hill and Sullivan Mine recognize the union.  The mine owners' response was to fire all union members.  Union members then blew up the Bunker Hill and Sullivan ore concentrator in the town of Wardner, at the time the largest ore concentrator in the world.  Governor Frank Steunenberg declared martial law and President william McKinley ordered U.S. troops from Montana into the area.  The miners were rounded up and once again herded into a bullpen.  Some of the miners were released after denying that they belonged to any subversive organization.

Boyce was charged with conspiring to blow up the concentrator.  Boyce had been in Wardner conferring with local union officers only a week before the explosion.  In 1906, former union member and Boyce business associate Harry Orchard told a court that he knew Boyce had planned and approved the bombing of the Bunker Hill and Sullivan Mine.  Governor Steunenberg told a United States House of Representatives Committee on Military Affairs that he was convinced Boyce had "inaugurated or perfected this conspiracy by, choosing 20 men from different organizations in that county and swearing them.  These 20 men chose one each and swore him, and the 40 each chose a man a swore him, and the 80 each chose a man and swore him.  In that way there were at least 160 men in this conspiracy to do this thing, sworn to secrecy."

Boyce denied the charges, and no indictment was ever issued.  But the influence of the Western Federation of Miners in Idaho had nearly been destroyed, and its leaders dispersed.

New headquarters were established in Denver, Colorado, where Idaho officials could not so easily extradite and try WFM officials.

Beginning in 1900, Boyce also edited the WFM journal, Miners Magazine.  He left the position when he retired as union president in 1902.

Political Views

In 1901, Boyce successfully led a campaign to have the WFM an economic policy.  Boyce famously declared:

"There can be no harmony between organized capitalists and organized labor.  Our present wage system is slavery in its worst form. . . .Advise strikes as the weapon to be used by labor to obtain its rights, and you will be branded as criminals who aim to ruin the business interests of the country.  Change from the policy of simple trades unionism that is fast waning, and you will be told that your action is premature, as this is not the time.  Pursue the methods adopted by capitalists and you will be sent to prison for robbery or executed for murder.  Demand, and your demands will be construed into threats of violence against the rights of private property calculated to scare capital.  Avail yourself of your constitutional rights and propose to take political action, and you will be charged with selling out the organization to some political party.  Counsel arbitration, and you will be told that there is nothing to arbitrate.  Be Conservative, and your tameness will be construed as an appreciation of the conditions thrust upon you by trusts and syndicates.  Take what action you will in the interests of labor, the trained beagles in the employ of capital from behind their loathsome fortress of disguised patriotism will howl their tirade of condemnation."

Boyce became an associate of Eugene V. Debs, and endorsed the Socialist Party platform.

Boyce also urged the WFM to slowly buy up mines and mining company stock, to replace the wage system with union-owned mines.

Marriage and Retirement

On May 14, 1901, Ed Boyce married Eleanor Day in Butte, Montana.  Eleanor was the daughter of Henry L. Day, a former bookkeeper who had become a wealthy mine owner.  Day and Fred Harper, a local prospector, had discovered the Hercules mine, one of the richest silver and lead mines in the Coeur d'Alene region.  The Newly weds honeymooned at the Boyce family home in Ireland.

Eleanor worked part-time in the Denver headquarters of the WFM as a volunteer.  She often wrote to her father about mining or smelting methods her husband had seen, suggesting that they might be useful at the Hercules mine.  The Days and their business partners were friendly to labor organizations (although that attitude would change during World War I), and Ed Boyce's marriage was a happy one.

Boyce declined re-nomination as WFM president in 1902.  He had become disillusioned with mismanagement in some WFM locals.  But strong opposition to his continuing presidency had emerged in the powerful Butte Miners' Union Local 1 of the WFM.  A dwindling union treasury convinced him that he could not fight the battles he wished any longer.

In his farewell address, Boyce still remained the firebrand: "There are only two classes of people in the world.  One is composed of the men and women who produce all; the other is composed of men and women who produce nothing, but live in luxury upon the wealth produced by others."  Socialism, he still argued, was the only way "to abolish the wage system which is more destructive of human rights and liberty than any other slave system devised."

Boyce recommended that Bill Haywood and Charles Moyer assume leadership of the rapidly growing organization.

After Retirement

After retirement from the WFM, Ed Boyce attended several more WM conventions.  He supported the WFM's creation of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in 1905, and testified on behalf of Haywood, Moyer and others at their 1907 murder trial.

But Boyce gradually separated himself from organized labor, and eventually declined to discuss his part in the miners' union.

The Boyces moved to Wallace, Idaho, and then in 1909 to Portland, Oregon.  Boyce became an avid reader of social theory and Irish poetry.  The Boyces lived quietly, often passing the whole day sitting in the same room reading.  Eleanor Boyce took an interest in art and became a member of the Portland Art Association.   The Boyces also donated freely to a number of local charities.

Ed Boyce invested in the luxurious Portland Hotel Company in 1911, as well as in other real estate ventures in the city.  He was the Portland Hotel's vice-president from 1920 to 1929 and its president from  1930 to his death in 1941.  In 1936, Ed Boyce was elected president of the Oregon Hotel Association.  On December 31, 1923, the Hercules mine partnership was dissolved and the Hercules Mining Company (now Day Mines, Inc.) incorporated in Delaware.  Eleanor Day Boyce was the largest stockholder.

Ed Boyce died on December 24, 1941.  He left an estate valued at slightly over $1 million.

Eugene V. Debs wrote a month later that Boyce had been "virtually forgotten by the officials of the organization he served at the time when it required real men to speak out for labor."

Eleanor Day Boyce returned to Wallace after her husband's death, where she died on January 9, 1951.

Steve Adams (WFM)

Steve Adams, sometimes known as Stephen Adams, played a minor, but particularly revealing, role in events surrounding the murder trial of Harry Orchard, and the trials of Western Federation of Miners (WFM) leaders Bill Haywood, Charles Moyer, and George Pettibone, all charged with conspiring to murder former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg, allegedly relating to a miner uprising in the Coeur d'Alene Mining District, and in the aftermath of the Colorado Labor Wars.  The investigations were led by famed Pinkerton agent James McParland.  As a witness for the state who recanted, Adams in particularly notable for his comment about the methods used by agent McParland to turn defendants against each other.

The Haywood Trial

McParland had WFM member Harry Orchard in custody, and had obtained an elaborate confession.  However, McParland knew that he needed more than the confession of one man to convict Bill Haywood, who was being tried first among the trio of WFM leaders.  Steve Adams was "a thirty-nine-year-old former Kansas City butcher and Cripple Creek miner with heavy, drooping eyelids and a booze-blotched complexion."  Harry Orchard had described Adams as an accomplice in several crimes.  As in the cases of Haywood, Moyer, and Pettibone, McParland relied upon a perjured warrant to cross state lines and grab Adams.  The prisoner wasn't charged with any crime, but was held at the penitentiary in Idaho with Orchard.  This was not according to McParland's plans:

"If arrested, Adams was supposed to be kept in a separate cell away from Orchard as McParland explicitly spelled out to the warden.  To prime a man for confessing, McParland required solitary confinement, a penetrating silence, the watchful presence of a stonly guard, and as few contacts as possible.  Adams was to be denied access to an attorney, knowledge of his wife and children, and no information on the charges against him"

Together in the cell, Orchard described his own confession to Adams, and urged Adams to also confess.  In spite of the missed instruction about isolation, McParland reportedly later obtained such a confession from Adams.

Although Steve Adams wasn't allowed to know anything about his wife and children, they were not far away:

His wife, Annie, and their small children had also been locked in the penitentiary shortly after his arrest for "their own protection," McParland had assured him, hinting that something dreadful might befall them.

Adams' family was brought to the prison "as a means to 'sweat' him."

Clarence Darrow Intervenes

However, Haywood defense attorney Clarence Darrow passed the word that he would defend Adams, and the prisoner immediately recanted.  This provoked the prosecution to try Adams in an old murder case for which there was only flimsy evidence.  In fact the only significant evidence against Adams was his now-repudiated confession which appeared to have been coerced, as Harry Orchard's confession was coerced.  The difference appeared to be that there was clear evidence of Orchard's guilt in the Steunenberg murder, and perhaps in a string of crimes, but little or no evidence linking the others.

Adams had been dining well and provided with fine cigars since signing his confession, as had Harry Orchard.  The note announcing that Adams recanted that confession was passed secretly from his cell via his wife, Annie, during a visit.  The note "delivered a lightning bolt" to the prosecution.  It declared,

"This is to certify that the statement that I signed was made up by James McParland, detective, and Harry Orchard, alias Tom Hogan, I signed it because I was threatened by Governor Gooding, saying I would be hanged if I did not corroborate Orchard's story against the officers of the federation union of miners.  Stephen Adams. Witness: Annie Adams."

Steve Adams Testifies

Adams took the witness stand in his own murder trial and testified, in part,

"I was taken to the office of the penitentiary and introduced to detective McParland.  He told me about "Kelly the Bum" [from McParland's Molly Maguires case] and other men who had turned state's evidence and had been set free. ...McParland told me he wanted to convict [WFM leaders] Moyer, Haywood, Pettibone, St. John, and Simpkins, whom he called 'cut-throats.'  If I did not help to convict them, he said, I would be taken back to Colorado and either hanged or mobbed.  If I did help, I would only be taken to Colorado as a witness. ...When the confession was made, McParlend led me on a step-by-step and showed me all they wanted me to say. ...He wanted the names of the officers of the Federation used as much as possible all through the confession."

Steve Adams Testifies

McParland's own reports to Idaho Governor Gooding confirm Steve Adams' courtroom statements.

Adams described how information from the question and answer session with McParland, with the Pinkerton detective guiding him from "notes in his pocket," had been typed and returned to him in the form of a narrative document which he was required to sign.  The narrative was written in a form that was not consistent with Adams' manner of speech.  The document ended with, "I hope that the reign of terror inaugurated by Moyer, Haywood and Pettibone. . .will cease."

Adams also claimed that Orchard had colluded with McParland to rewrite his own confession because "he could not repeat it the second time anything at all like the first one."

It was L.J. "Jack" Simpkins, also known as J. Simmons, who accompanied Harry Orchard to Caldwell, but left before former governor Stuenenberg was assassinated.  Simpkins was the WFM executive board member with responsibility for Idaho.  The Pinkerton Agency produced a poster offering a two thousand dollar reward for his arrest, but "some skeptics believed that he was actually a Pinkerton agent provocateur."  The allegations appear to have been unfounded.

 

Other McParland Schemes Involving Steve Adams

At one point in the trial of Bill Haywood, McParland concocted a scheme that would seek to frighten Moyer into testifying against Haywood and Pettibone by alleging that Pettibone had urged Orchard and Adams to kill Moyer.  The plan was not carried out because McParland came up with an alternative scheme.  But the alternative scheme failed when Moyer refused to accept the bait.

Results Of The Trial

Adams was not found guilty of murder.  He was tried three times altogether, and both trials in Idaho ended in hung juries.  Yet he would still face a trial for his life in Colorado.

Haywood and Pettibone were found not guilty of the Steunenberg assassination in separate trials.  Moyer was released.

Harry Orchard was found guilty of the murder of Frank Steunenberg and sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted..  Orchard would spend the rest of his life in prison.

In the Colorado trial of Steve Adams, attorney Orrin N. Hilton challenged the legality of Adams' confession.  McParland testified, and so did the Pinkerton stenographer who took down the confession.  The stenographer admitted that McParland directed him what to take down, and what to leave out.  The stenographer also confirmed that the confession was not written in language attributable to the defendant, and that sometimes "the substance of the conversation" was added in at a later time.  The judge considered the issue overnight.  In court the next day, he cited McParland's own testimony about the threat of hanging, and the promise of reward--freedom in return for a confession--Which McParland routinely used in obtaining confessions.  The judge ruled that the confession was gained illicitly, and the confession itself was barred.  The judge ruled, however, that witnesses could attest to what Steve Adams had admitted in their presence.  The information provided by the witnesses was contradictory, incomplete, and in some cases appeared to come from newspaper accounts.

In fact, Steve Adams had been accused of involvement in two murders in Colorado, one of which never happened.

In her book The Corpse On Boomerang Road, Telluride's War On Labor 1899-1908, MaryJoy Martin uncovered an elaborate scheme by mine owners and their supporters to blame the Telluride, Colorado, local of the Western Federation of Miners with a string of murders for which there was no evidence.  Newspapers printed articles about how the murders allegedly occurred, and named union officials who had committed the crimes.  The mine owners, the local sheriff, and James McParland of the Pinkerton Agency used the accusations of murder to publicize an alleged "reign of terror" as a means of destroying the union.  One alleged deceased victim, William J. Barney, was a mine guard who simply had disappeared from his job.  In spite of elaborate and detailed chronologies of the murder that were printed in the local newspapers, Barney was still alive.  However, this fact wasn't known to the jury sitting in judgment of Steve Adams.

Even so, it wasn't long before the jury decided that testimony by Bulkeley Wells, manager of the Smuggler-Union Mining Company, who had sought the conviction and execution of Western Federation of Miners leaders for years, was not credible.  Wells had constructed a scenario under which Steve Adams committed the murder with a shotgun.  The jury, mostly area farmers, were intimately familiar with shotguns.  The murder scenario, in their judgment, was impossible.

The jury deliberated for an hour before taking a straw poll.  They were unanimous; the defendant was not guilty.  After three years in prison, Steve Adams was set free.

George A. Pettibone

George Pettibone (died August 3, 1908) was an Idaho miner.  He was convicted of contempt of court and criminal conspiracy in the Coeur d'Alene Mines labor confrontation of 1899.

 

Charles Moyer-William Haywood-George Pettibone

He was later implicated in the 1905 assassination of Frank Steunenberg, ex-governor of Idaho, by a confession and testimony coerced from Harry Orchard by James McParland, a Pinkerton agent hired to conduct the investigation.

Pettibone, according to Orchard, was the inventor of an extremely powerful incendiary substance called "Pettibone Dope" or "Hellfire".  Orchard testified that Pettibone gave him two grips containing two quart bottles and three pint bottles of the Dope with orders to toss the bottles into railroad cars carrying non-union miners.  When, however, Orchard discovered the cars carrying the non-union miners also carried other, innocent passengers, he decided against: throwing the bottles.

Orchard testified that Pettibone had ordered the assassination of mining company presidents, state supreme court justices and governors, including Steunenberg.  Orchard said that Pettibone told him of the Steunenberg assignment, it would be "a very hard job in a little country town like Caldwell."

Pinkerton detectives code-named Pettibone "Rattler."  He took his arrest and incarceration coolly, if not even cheerfully.  As he assumed his new quarters with his two colleagues in Idaho's death row, Pettibone shouted, "There's luck in odd numbers, said Barney McGraw!"

Western Federation of Miners (WFM) general secretary Bill Haywood and WFM president Charles Moyer were also implicated.  Haywood was represented by Clarence Darrow, the most renowned defense lawyer of the day, who obtained an acquittal.  Pettibone was tried after Haywood in March 1908, and was defended by Orrin N. Hilton of Denver.  Pettibone was also acquitted.  Charges against Moyer were dropped.

Pettibone fell ill with cancer during his trial.  He returned home to Denver, Colorado, where he died on August 3, 1908, after an operation.

Charles H. Moyer

Charles H. Moyer, president of the Western Federation of Miners at the time of the Steunenberg assassination, was the most cautious and moderate of the three inner circle members facing murder charges.  While Haywood and Pettibone were associated with the most radical ("the revolutionists") wing of the WFM, Moyer generally aligned himself with "the reformists."  Moyer's advocacy of negotiations and arbitration with mine owners brought him into frequent conflict with Haywood, and their bad feelings only seemed to worsen during their common incarceration.  By December, 1906, Moyer and Haywood were no longer on speaking terms.  Detective McParland saw Moyer as the weak link among the three defendants, and had agents discuss with him the possibility of turning state's witness.  Moyer strongly considered the suggestion, but ultimately took the stand for the defense, answering questions in a self-possessed manner and denying ever having discussed Steunenberg's murder with Harry Orchard. (Orchard testified that Moyer said the murder would have "a good effect," and would "scare" other politicians opposed to WFM goals.)

Moyer grew up near Ames, Iowa.  His mother died when he was one.  He had only four years of formal education.  At age 16, Moyer headed west, landing a job for a year as a cowboy in Wyoming.  In 1885, after driving a herd of cattle to Chicago, he decided to settle there.  After serving a year in the Illinois State Penitentiary for robbery, Moyer went west again, this time finding a job as a miner in South Dakota's Black Hills and joining the WFM.  In 1902, Moyer was elected President of the Federation.  Two years later, when martial law was declared in Colorado because of unrest in the mines, Moyer was charged with printing and distributing an illegal poster and held in a Telluride jail.

Moyer was arrested on charges of conspiring to murder Steunenberg after boarding "the Deadwood Sleeper" at the Denver depot.  At the time of his arrest, Moyer possessed $521 in cash, a .44 revolver, and 100 rounds of ammunition.  He apparently was fleeing Colorado and his likely arrest, probably hoping to reach Canada.  Moyer took his arrest and trial the least welll of the three inner circle members.  He was often observed crying in his cell, walking with a gaze fixed "ever downward," and nervously fidgeting during trial testimony.

When both Haywood and Pettibone were acquitted by juries, the government dropped all charges against Moyer.

 

 

 

Albert E. Horsley, Alias "Harry Orchard"

Albert Edward Horsley (1867, Wooler, Ontario, Canada- 1954, Idaho) was a miner accused in the assassination of former Idaho governor Frank Steunenbuerg.  He was one of eight sons of an Ontario farmer.  Educated only through the third grade, Orchard worked his father's farm and took a job in a cheese factory before leaving Canada at age 30 for the northwest United States.  Throughout his life he used many aliases including Harry Orchard, Thomas Hogan, Demsey and Goglan.  Orchard was a member of the Western Federation of Miners (WFM). 

In 1897, Harry Orchard, along with August Paulsen, Harry Day, May Arkwright, butcher F.M. Rothrock, lawyer Henry F. Samuels and C.H. Reeves, invested in the Hercules silver mine in Idaho.  A decade later, Orchard's ownership of a share in the mine would be used in an effort to impeach his testimony in a murder trial. 

By 1899, Orchard was among the thousand miners who hijacked a Northern Pacific train on April 29, 1899 and then blew up the Bunker Hill concentrator, killing two men.  Orchard was one of the miners who planted the dynamite and lit a fuse.  Orchard's career as a paid union terrorist began in 1903 when he blew up the Vindicator mine in Colorado, again killing two men, for a fee of $500.  Six months later a bomb planted by Orchard at an Independence, Colorado train depot exploded, killing 13 non-union miners. 

In his testimony, Orchard also told of other planned killings that for one reason or another did not succeed, all ordered, he claimed by Haywood and Pettibone.  Among the unsuccessful efforts were the assassination of the Governor and two Supreme Court justices of Colorado and the president of the Bunker Hill Mining Company.  The reason for Orchard's life of union terrorism is not entirely clear, but was most likely the result of a combination of factors--anger at mine operators and scabs, union loyalty and greed.

Steunenberg Murder

In 1905, Frank Steunenberg, ex-governor of Idaho, was killed by a bomb placed at the gate of his home.  After midnight on the evening of Steunenberg's murder, Harry Orchard (as Tom Hogan) walked with Clinton Wood, the desk clerk at the hotel in Caldwell, to the site of the murder, now hours past.  Although he didn't seem to know they way to the murder scene.  Orchard expressed the belief that the governor had been given a "big wad" of money by Idaho mine owners after he had left office.  Such a view was common among miners, and publicized by Emma Langdon, a union supporter and author, who wrote of an 1899 confrontation between miners and mine owners,

"Frank Steunenberg was then serving his second term as governor.  His first term being satisfactory as far as the writer knows.  In 1899 he proved a willing tool of the mine owners and allowed outrages perpetrated which were a disgrace to any civilized community.  It is significant that within one week after the decisive step, which showed him to be subservient to the mine owners, it is said, he deposited in the bank $35,000, yet up to this time he was considered a poor man."

Orchard was later arrested for the assassination.  He raised suspicion when a detective for the Mine Owner's Association recognized him as Orchard, he responded that his name was Hogan; and it was discovered that he was registered at his hotel under the name of Goglan.  When his room was searched, evidence related to the murder was discovered.

The Haywood Trial

Orchard made a confession to Pinkerton detective James McParland.  Orchard also confessed to murdering at least Sixteen other people.  He agreed to testify that the murder of Steunenberg was ordered by Bill Haywood, Charles Moyer and George Pettibone, all leaders of the WFM.  Labor Historian Melvyn Dubofsky observed,

"Idaho had selected [Haywood] as the first of the three defendants to stand trial.  Prosecutors thought him the most vulnerable.  His physical appearance [he was blind in one eye], his increasing resort to hyperbolic language, his recalcitrant behavior in prison (compared to the more co-operative demeanor of Moyer and Pettibone) made Haywood more likely to be associated with conspiracy and murder in the minds of the jurors.  This was especially important to the prosecution because McParland had been absolutely unable to find corroboration for Orchard's confession."

The prosecution acted with significant support and direction from Agent McParland, and with assistance from Governor Gooding.  Chief prosecuting attorneys were William Borah and James H. Hawley, who were paid in part by money secretly supplied by western mine operators and industrialists.  Orchard's testimony was persuasive, at least to reporters attending the trial.

Meanwhile, McParland arranged for Orchard's confession, which he had worked on for fifteen months, to be serialized in a magazine to "reach the largest possible public."  The defense presented evidence of extensive infiltration, spying, and sabotage of the WFM by the Pinkertons.  One witness was Morris Friedman, James McParland's former stenographer.  Haywood testified in his own defense, and he stood up well under five hours of cross-examination.  Then the defense presented what they claimed was "startling new evidence" about insanity in Orchard's family, including a grandfather who needed to be "chained up" and an uncle who went insane.  Orchard admitted that one of his uncles was "demented" over family problems and had hanged himself, but testified to knowing nothing about his maternal grandfather, who had died before Harry Orchard was born.

Orchard was described in Collier's magazine in 1907 as "the most remarkable witness that has ever appeared in an American court of justice."  For several days in June of 1907, Orchard recounted from the stand, in a polite, precise, matter-of-fat, and unhesitating way, a career as a union terrorist, under the direction of the inner circle of the WFM, that resulted in the loss of 17 lives, including that of Governor Frank Steunenberg.  Cross-examined for 26 hours about his killings, bigamy, heavy drinking, compulsive gambling and womanizing, Orchard stood up to his grilling in a way that amazed even veteran reporters.

Orchard testified that he was hired by Haywood to kill Steunenberg as revenge for the former governor's harsh crackdown on miners in 1899.  He said that Haywood asked him to kill Steunenberg after four others had bungled the job.  If he killed the man Haywood said had "lived seven years too long," Orchard would be given several hundred dollars and a ranch.  Orchard checked into the Saratoga Hotel in Caldwell under the name "Thomas Hogan."  He assembled a four by eight inch bomb using ten pounds of dynamite and on December 30, 1905 planted it by Steunenberg's side entrance gate.

On the stand, Orchard's body convulsed with sobs as he described the "unnatural monster I had been."  He said that a Bible sent by a missionary society in Chicago convinced him that "I would be forgiven if I truly repented and decided to make a clean breast of it all."  Suggestions that a confession might lead to more lenient treatment may also have had something to do with his decision to become state's witness.

In the February, 1906 confession that Orchard gave to Pinkerton detective James McParland, concluded by saying: "I awoke, as it were, from a dream, and realized that I'd been made a tool of, aided and assisted by members of the Executive Board of the Western Federation of Miners....I resolved, as far as in my power, to break up this murderous organization and to protect the community from further assassinations and outrages from this gang."

Harry Orchard's History

Harry Orchard was a complex individual who apparently had sought opportunity working for both sides in labor disputes.  Orchard confessed to playing a violent, and ultimately, decisive, role in the Colorado Labor Wars.  During the Haywood trial Orchard confessed to serving as a paid informant for the Mine Owners Association.  He reportedly told a companion G.L. Brokaw, that he had been a Pinkerton employee for some time.  He was also a bigamist, and admitted to abandoning wives in Canada and Cripple Creek.  He had burned businesses for the insurance money in Cripple Creek and Canada.  Orchard had burglarized a railroad depot, rifled a cash register, stole sheep, and had made plans to kidnap children over a debt.  He also sold fraudulent insurance policies.  Orchard's confession to McParland took responsibility for seventeen or more murders.

Orchard also tried to help McParland build a case by implicating one of his fellow miners from the WFM, Steve Adams, as an accomplice.  The effort failed, but it revealed interesting details about the methods McParland used to induce defendants to turn state's evidenced.

Results Of All The Trials

In the Bill Haywood trial, labor historian Melvyn Dubofsky observed that,

"Even before Darrow's closing argument, the prosecution was in trouble.  Having relied totally on Orchard's testimony, the state found it too good by half.  Orchard confessed to crimes that he could never have committed."

The state of Idaho had provided Orchard with "a library of religious tracts," which may have influenced his announced conversion to religious belief.  In The Pinkerton Story, a 1951 book that is very sympathetic to the Pinkerton Agency, the authors state their belief that the leaders of the WFM may have been guilty, but,

". . .the prosecution let Orchard get away from the facts and his testimony turned into a syrupy story of repentance, religion, and God's mercy to sinners, which had the effect of turning everyone's stomach."

The Idaho jury found Haywood not guilty.  One juror told a reporter,

"There was nothing against the accused by inference and suspicion."

Pettibone was found not guilty in a separate trial, after the defense declined to argue the case.  Charges against Moyer were dropped.

Steve Adams was tried in three separate trials, resulting in two hung juries in Idaho, and an acquittal in Colorado.  After all the others were acquitted or released, Orchard was tried alone.  He received a death sentence in Idaho for the murder of Steunenberg.  McParland invoked religious symbolism in a letter to Governor Gooding, arguing against executing Orchard:

"I have seen many penitent sinners who were fully prepared to die, but all such would have much rather lived if that were possible.  Even the Savior of Mankind, as the Holy Writ informs us, requested of the Father in Heaven that if in His Wisdom He could do so the cup, the crucifixion, should be passed away..."

Orchard was sentenced to die in the gallows, but Judge Fremont Wood recommended that his sentence be commuted to life in prison and the Board of Pardons agreed.

Orchard, third from left, being transported to prison after the trial.

When the question of pardon came up in 1920, William A. Pinkerton wrote,

"I know McParland was in favor of Orchard being pardoned but I always regarded Orchard as as cold-blooded desperado and murderer and the only reason he gave information was to save his own wirthless  hide..."

Pardon was eventually granted, but Orchard chose to continue his life at the prison.  Orchard remained a trusty of the Idaho State Penitentiary, raising chickens and growing strawberries, until his heath in 1954.

 

 

 

 

 

James McParland

James McParland, also known as James McParlan, was a Pinkerton agent.  Born in Ireland in 1843, remained in Ireland and England for 26 years, working as a stock clerk, a field hand, a circus barker, and a chemical plant worker before taking a ship from Liverpool to New York in 1867.  He operated a liquor store in Chicago until the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed his business.  He took a job with the Pinkertons and began his career as a detective.

Sometimes referred to as the Great Detective, McParland was noted for success against the Molly Maguires, failure against the leadership of the Western Federation of Miners, and a fictional appearance in The Valley of Fear.

Infiltration of the Molly Maguires

McParland first came to national attention when, as an undercover operative using the name James McKenna, he infiltrated and helped to dismantle an organization of rebellious Pennsylvania coal miners called the Molly Maguires.

During the 1870s, miners in the region of the anthracite mines lived a life of "bitter, terrible struggle."  Wages were low, working conditions were atrocious, and deaths and serious injuries numbered in the hundreds each year.  Conditions were certainly ripe for labor unrest:

"Labor angrily watched "railway directors (riding) about the country in luxurious private cars proclaiming their inability to pay living wages to hungry working men."

Some faced the additional burden of prejudice and persecution.  The Molly Maguires were Irish and Catholic in a time and place where signs in employment windows often declared, "No Irish need apply."  It was a time of rampant beatings and murders in the mining district, some of which were allegedly committed by the Mollies.

Franklin B. Gown, the President of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, and of the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company, a Protestant and "the wealthiest anthracite coal mine owner in the world," hired Allen Pinkerton's services to deal with the Molly Maguires.

Pinkerton assigned McParland to the job.  Although James McParland was an Irish Catholic like those he would be investigating, he and his brothers had been the only Catholic boys at a Protestant school in the parish of Mullagbrack, County Armagh, Ireland.  Parts of County Armagh, along with County Antrim and parts of County Down, had the highest living standard in Ireland.  Conversely, North Leinster, south and west Ulster, and north and east Connacht, from which most of the Molly Maguires emigrated, were the most impoverished parts of Ireland.

McParland successfully infiltrated the secret organization, becoming a secretary for one of its local groups.  McParland turned in reports daily, eventually collecting evidence of murder plots and intrigue, passing this information along to Benjamin Franklin, his Pinkerton manager.  He also began working secretly with Robert Linden, a Pinkerton agent assigned to the Coal and Iron Police for the purpose of coordinating the eventual arrest and prosecution of members of the Molly Maguires.

On December 10, 1876, three men and two women with Molly connections were attacked in their house by masked men.  One woman in the house, wife of one of the Molly Maguires, was taken outside of the house and shot dead.  McParland was outraged that the information he had been providing had found its way into the hands of killers.  McParland protested in a letter to his Pinkerton overseer which declared, in part:

"Now I wake up this morning to find that I am the murderer of Mrs. McAliste.  What had a woman to do with the case--did the [Molly Maguires] in their worst time shoot down women.  If I was not here the Vigilante Committee would not know who was guilty and when I find them shooting women in their thirst for blood I hereby tender my resignation to take effect as soon as this message is received.  It is not cowardice that makes me resign but just let them have it now I will no longer interfere as I see that one is the same as the other and I am not going to be an accessory to the murder of women and children.  I am sure the [Molly Maguires] will not spare the women so long as the Vigilante has shown as example."

McParland was prevailed upon not to resign.  A man named Frank Winrich, a first lieutenant with the Pennsylvania National Guard, was arrested as the leader of the attackers, but was released on bail.  Then another Molly Maguire, Hugh McGehan, a twenty-one year old who had been secretly identified as a killer by McParland, was fired upon and wounded by unknown assailants.  Later, the McGehans' house was attacked by gunfire.

Eventually enough evidence was collected on reprisal killings and assassinations that arrests could be made and, based primarily on McParland's testimony, ten Molly Maguires were sent to the gallows.

Some writers declare unequivocally that justice was done.  Others have argued that,

"...punishment had gone too far, and that the guilt of some of the condemned was that of association more than participation and but half established by other condemned men seeking clemency for themselves."

Joseph G. Rayback, author of A History of American Labor, has observed:

"The charge has been made that the Molly Maguires episode was deliberately manufactured by the coal operators with the express purpose of destroying all vestiges of unionism in the area.... There is some evidence to support the charge.... the "crime wave" that appeared in the anthracite fields came after the appearance of the Pinkertons, and... many of the victims of the crimes were union leaders and ordinary miners.  The evidence brought against [the defendants], supplied by James McParlan, a Pinkerton, and corroborated by men who were granted immunity for their own crimes, was tortuous and contradictory, but the net effect was damning... The trial temporarily destroyed the last vestiges of labor unionism in the anthracite area.  More important, it gave the public the impression... that miners were by nature criminal in character..."

The Valley Of Fear: McParland "Meets" Holmes

Reports about McParland's success against the Molly Maguires came to the attention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes detective novels.  Conan Doyle wrote McParland into The Valley of Fear, creating an encounter between the fictional Sherlock Holmes, and a character whose history loosely recalled McParland's experiences with the Molly Maguires.

Conan Doyle had encountered head of the Pinkerton Agency William Pinkerton on an ocean voyage, where the writer became fascinated by the "singular and terrible narrative" of the Molly Maguires.  Later, however, "William Pinkerton's and Arthur Conan Doyle's friendship ended over the rendition of some Pinkerton exploits in fictional form..."  Patrick Campbell, a relative of one of the executed Mollies and author of A Molly Maguire Story, discovered from a McParland relative that James McParland 's two brothers, Edward and Charles, also went undercover against the Mollies.  This appears to have remained a closely guarded secret for many decades.  Campbell speculates that the break between Pinkerton and Conan Doyle may have resulted because,

[The McParland character in The Valley of Fear] was portrayed as being very wealthy [suggesting a possible 'payoff ... and] Pinkerton did not like the fact that [the McParland character] was characterized in the novel as having married a German girl from [the anthracite fields... Brother Charles had actually] married the German girl, not James, but Pinkerton must have disliked how close the novel was getting to the truth.

Knights Of Labor Railway Strike of 1886

During the Knights of Labor Railway Strike of 1886, James McParland worked undercover in Parsons, Kansas for railroad tycoon Jay Gould.  McParland developed a relationship with Jacob McLaughlin of the notorious Grand Central Hotel which was near the railroad yards.  Anthony Lukas recorded,

For years, its staff had preyed on visitors--notably Texas cattlemen who, having driven their herds up the Chisholm Trail to Abilene, returned through Parsons with bulging pockets.  The hotel provided everything the footloose cowboy or railway man night require: liquor, drugs, gambling, and prostitutes.  But once a man had savored those delights, he was likely to find his pockets picked, his horse stolen.  If a guest proved recalcitrant, he was chloroformed, butchered, then buried in the basement or thrown in the Neosho River.

McLaughlin and his associate, Wash Bercaw, spent time in the county jail for liquor violations.  They reportedly murdered a cellmate by the name of Frank P. Myers, a horse thief who had overheard them in the jail, by drowning him in the river.  The two were charged with the murder just as troopers brought their strike under control.  But the witnesses to the murder changed their stories, apparently due to behind-the-scenes operation by McParland.  The witnesses admitted they had been bribed, and went to jail for perjury.  E.C. Ward, McLaughlin's lawyer, who had offered the bribes, was disbarred.  McLaughlin walked free, and many in the community--judges, lawyers, and merchants--apparently shared the view that the perjured testimony was somehow McParland's doing.  A meeting chaired by a local Socialist denounced the "infamous" detective.  A statement was issued stating that when money could be made,

"...he will do anything, no matter  how low or vile, to accomplish his purpose... There is not today, in the United States outside prison walls, a more conscienceless and desperate criminal than McParland."

Lukas [Anthony Lukas, Big Trouble, 1997] observes that it is "hard to imagine" how McParland became associated with "a scoundrel like McLaughlin," and then speculates that the connection must have resulted from activities relating to the strike.

More than two decades later, McParland would be interrogated about his time in Parsons while under cross-examination by attorney Edmund Richardson.  This occurred during the first of three murder trials of Steve Adams, this one taking place in Wallace, Idaho.  Immediately after the questioning, the attorney and the detective had a verbal confrontation in the courtroom.  An Associated Press writer wrote that spectators cheered the attorney, and hissed McParland.  The detective later argued that the newspaper reporter must have been bribed to write such a story.

Criminal Detection

In Columbus, Kansas, McParland discovered a conspiracy to dynamite Cherokee County's records vault to hide fraudulent mortgages.  McParland helped convict train robber Oliver Curtis Perry.  He helped to apprehend a criminal who committed the largest bullion theft in U. S. history--$32,000 in gold from a San Francisco smelting company.

McParland in Colorado

in 1885, the Thiel Detective Agency opened an office in Denver.  Allan Pinkerton, who had died two years earlier, left the Pinkerton Detective Agency to his sons.  The brothers opened their fourth office in Denver in order to compete with Thiel.  They assigned Charles O. Eames to head the Denver office.  When it appeared that Eames was running the western branch dishonestly, they assigned McParland to investigate.  McParland discovered extensive abuses against clients and against the agency, and reported on them.  Everyone was fired except for McParland and Charlie Siringo.  McParland was named superintendent of Pinkerton's Denver office, and of the Pinkerton's western division.

In April 1891, Mrs. Josephine Barnaby was murdered by poison.  McParland tricked Thomas Thatcher-Graves, her accused murderer, into traveling from Providence, Rhode Island, to Denver where he was arrested and convicted of the crime.

McParland hired the notorious gunman Tom Horn, who was executed for murder in Wyoming.  While in the pay of the Pinkerton agency, Horn killed seventeen men, according to a count by Siringo.  While Horn had been working for Wyoming cattlemen, it was the cattle interests who decreed that he must die," probably to keep him from talking.

One of McParland's tasks was infiltrating and disrupting union activities.  He successfully placed scores of spies within the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) union, and more into the United Mine Workers.  Some of McParland's agents took part in the WFM strike that came to be called the Colorado Labor Wars.  One in particular was charged with sabotaging the union's relief program during the strike.  Bill Haywood, Secretary Treasurer of the WFM, wrote about the sabotage in his autobiography:

"I had been having some difficulty with the relief committee of the Denver smelter men.  At first we had been giving out relief at such a rate that I had to tell the chairman that he was providing the smelter men with more than they had had while at work. Then he cut down the rations until the wives of the smelter men began to complain that they were not getting enough to eat.  Years later, when his letters were published in The Pinkerton Labor Spy, I discovered that the chairman of the relief committe (sic) was a Pinkerton detective, who was carrying out the instructions of the agency in his methods of handling the relief work, deliberately trying to tir up bad feeling between the strikers and the relief committee."

The book called The Pinkerton Labor Spy was an expose of the detective agency written by Morris Friedman, who had been McParland's private stenographer.

The Steunenberg Assassination

In 1899, Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg crushed a rebellion of miners during a labor dispute in the Coeur d'Alene Mining District.  On December 30, 1905, Governor Steunenberg, now retired, opened the front gate of the picket fence at his home, triggering an explosive device that took his life.  A man using the name Tom Hogan had set the bomb.  The man was born Albert Horsley, but was better known as Harry Orchard.  The killer left evidence in his hotel room, and did not try to flee.

After the assassination, Idaho's Chief Justice Stockslager drafted a telegram which invited the Pinkerton Agency to investigate.  Idaho Governor Frank Gooding was persuaded to approve the request, and Pinkerton agent James McParland arrived in Boise in January of 1906 to lead the investigation.  The portly master detective, then 62, spent five hours going over details of the case with Idaho's Governor Gooding.  McParland announced his suspicion that Orchard was "the tool of others."  McParland frequently used the expression inner circle to describe a secret cabal in the Western Federation of Miners when pitching Pinketon's services to mine owners.  McParland's stenographer, Morris Friedman, observed that by portraying the WFM in this manner, the Pinkerton office in Denver had generated "as much, and at times even more business than five other offices of the Agency combined."  Before the investigation began, McParland picked his targets in the WFM for prosecution--President Charles Moyer, and Secretary-Treasurer William D. Haywood.

McParland's first order was to have Orchard transferred from the relatively comfortable Caldwell Jail to death row in the Boise penitentiary, before any trial had occurred.  The move was initially resisted by Judge Smith, who would be responsible for trying the case.  The local judge anticipated a successful habeas corpus lawsuit against the tactics.  McParland gave him "thirty precedents for the move."  However, the sheriff in Caldwell also opposed the move.

Governor Gooding arranged a meeting between McParland and Chief Justice Stockslager, and then with Judge Smith.  Before Smith arrived, McParland declared the county jail insecure, a potential target for dynamite.  He also stated the purpose of the move to death row.  "After three days I will attempt to get a confession."  Chief Justice Stockslager approved of the move.  In a pre-arranged plan, the Governor was called out of the room as soon as Judge Smith arrived, leaving McParland and the two judges alone.  With the Chief Justice supporting the move to death row, Judge Smith also agreed.

On death row Orchard was placed under a constant watch, and his food rations were cut.  He was incarcerated next to two death row inmates who were awaiting execution.  Relays of guards watched him night and day, but never spoke to him.  The three day wait turned into nine days.  On January 22, the hungry prisoner was escorted into the warden's office and left alone with McParland.  The two enjoyed a lavish meal followed by fine cigars.  McParland threatened Orchard with immediate hanging, and said that he could avoid that fate only if he testified against leader of the WFM.  McParland allayed Orchard's skepticism by telling him about "Kelly the Bum," a confessed murderer who became a prosecution witness in the Molly Maguires cases.  McParland said that "Kelly" not only had received freedom as part of the deal, but he had been given "one thousand dollars to subsidize a new life abroad."  McParland also dismissed the possibility that Orchard would ace charges in Colorado if allowed to go free in Idaho.  McParland had offered a stark choice: an immediate visit to the gallows, or better treatment for the prisoner with the possibility of freedom, a possible financial reward, and the gratitude of the state of Idaho.

Orchard was known to Charles Moyer, having once acted as his body guard on a trip from Denver to Telluride.  Orchard had also met Bill Haywood.  And, in 1899 he had been at the scene of the labor unrest in the Coeur d'Alene Mining District when Steunenberg had severely punished the union miners for an act of violence.  He chose to cooperate.

Orchard was immediately transferred from death row to a private bungalow in the prison yard.  He was provided with special meals, new clothing, spending money, his favorite cigars, and a library of religious tracts.  The current governor of Idaho stopped by to shake his hand and congratulate him on cooperating.

McParland then had Western Federation of Miners leaders Bill Haywood, Charles Moyer, and George Pettibone arrested in Colorado, using extradition papers which falsely claimed that the three men had been present at Steunenberg's murder.   McParland arranged the special train that would carry ther three inner circle members to Idaho.  In his book Roughneck, writer Peter Carlson described the arrest across the state line as a "kidnapping scheme," yet it went unchallenged by Colorado authorities.

The Steunenberg Trials

McParland rounded up potential witnesses, assembled evidence, checked out potential jurors, and "leaked information that would tarnish the reputations of the defendants and their attorney."  McParland placed a spy, "Operative 21", on the defense team.  The spy operated as a jury canvasser, and may have been instructed to provide the defense with erroneous reports of the preferences of potential jurors.  However, the spy was discovered.

McParland sought to bolster Harry Orchard's testimony by forcing another WFM miner, Steve Adams, to turn state's evidence.  With his wife and children also confined in the Idaho prison, allegedly for their own protection, Adams signed a confession, then later recanted.  McParland sought leverage over Adams to force him to re-affirm the confession.  Charges against Adams for several murders resulted in two hung juries and one acquittal.  As a result of Adams' first trial, in which he was defended by attorney Clarence Darrow and Edmund F. Richardson, details of McParland's coercive treatment of witnesses when seeking a confession were revealed on the witness stand.

McParland had contracted to provided Pinkerton services for Bulkeley Wells, the president and manager of the Smuggler-Union Mining Company in Telluride, Colorado.  Together with Wells and others, McParland helped to concoct a plan to charge Adams with involvement after-the-fact in the murder of mine guard William J. Barney, who had disappeared one week after accepting the job of guarding the Smuggler-Union mine.  There was one difficulty with the accusation:  William J. Barney hadn't been murdered; in fact, he was very much alive.

McParland then concocted a plot to turn conspiracy defendant Moyer against co-defendants Haywood and Pettibone by having a sheriff claim Pettibone, Adams, and Orchard were plotting to kill Moyer, but that plan wasn't put into action.  A slightly different scheme was tried to split the trio, but Moyer didn't take the bait.

At the Haywood trial, which was funded, in part by direct contributions from the Coeur d'Alene District Mine Owners' Association to prosecuting attorneys, the only evidence against the WFM leader was Harry Orchard's testimony.  But Orchard confessed to acting as a paid informant for the Mine Owners' Association.  He reportedly told a companion, G.L. Brokaw, that he had been a Pinkerton employee for some time.  He was also a bigamist, and admitted to abandoning wives in Canada and Cripple Creek.  He had burned businesses for the insurance money in Cripple Creek and Canada. Orchard had burglarized a railroad depot, rifled a cash register, stole sheep, and had made plans to kidnap children over a debt.  He also sold fraudulent insurance policies.  To satisfy McParland, Orchard had signed a confession to a series of bombings and shootings which had killed at least seventeen men, all of which he blamed on the Western Federation of Miners.  The original confession was never made public, but a more comprehensive version released in 1907 included many pages of incriminating allegations.

Although at first his testimony on the witness stand in the Bill Haywood trial seemed both fantastic and plausible, the defense pointed out some significant contradictions.  Although Orchard had claimed his instructions came from Haywood and Moyer, the authors of The Pinkerton Story observe,

"It was impossible to establish beyond a reasonable doubt through any witness, except Orchard's wife, second and bigamous, the fact of private meetings between him and Haywood."

The defense called two surprise witnesses--Morris Friedman, who had been McParland's private stenographer until 1905, testified about Pinkerton's practices of infiltration and sabotage of the WFM.  And, McParland's brother Edward, who had been a shoemaker in the Cripple Creek District during the Colorado labor Wars, was also called.  Edward testified that he had been working at his cobbler's bench in Victor when national guardsmen,

"...took him in custody, striking him several times with their gun butts for moving too slowly.  After days in a Cripple Creek bullpen, he and seventy-seven others were put on a train and deported to neighboring Kansas..."

The appearance of his brother Edward, writer Lukas observes, was intended "simply to embarrass" the detective, for it recounted "the imperial style of Peabody administration in Colorado, with which McParland and the Pinkertons had been closely associated."

The majority of jurors in the Haywood trial found Orchard not to be a credible witness, and Haywood was acquitted, Charges against Moyer were dropped.

After the cases against the WFM leaders failed, Harry Orchard was tried alone for Steunenberg's murder, was found guilty, and was sentenced to death.  However, that sentence was commuted to life, and he lived out the rest of his life in his prison bungalow.

Competitive Practices

McParland was a rival to Wilson S. Swain, northwestern manager of the Thiel Detective Agency.  During the Stuenenberg investigation, Swain set up shop in Caldwell, Idaho, intimating to county authorities and to the governor that he'd been hired by the mine owners to investigate the crime.  When he later presented his bill to the Canyon County Commissioners, they felt that they had been conned.  Meanwhile, McParland was interviewed for the investigation by the governor.  McParland sought to further undermine the competition:

[McParland never lost an opportunity to remind [Idaho Governor] Gooding that Swain had committed a "cold-blooded murder" on Denver's Larimer Street twenty years before.  More often he worked surreptitiously, passing stories he knew would be repeated, impugning Swain's investigative skills, ridiculing his minions, suggesting [Swain] was in league with the [Western Federation of Miners].  He'd taken care of Swain all right, he told his superiors, "but done it in such a way that I am not suspected."

The rivalry was significant because, while the Pinkerton agency was associated with Colorado's mine owners, the Thiel agency had been closely tied to Idaho's mine owners.  With the subsequent dismissal of the Thiel agency, Colorado's mine owner gained control of the Idaho investigation.

Allegations

When gunman Charlie Siringo wrote his memoirs about working for the Pinkerton Agency, he accused James McParland of ordering him to commit voter fraud in the re-election attempt of Colorado Governor James Peabody.

Charles A. Siringo, a Pinkerton who had worked for more than twenty years as an operative, detective, and spy, and McParland's personal bodyguard in Idaho, declared the agency "corrupt."  [His 1915 book charged] the Pinkertons with election fraud, jury tampering, fabricated confessions, false witnesses, bribery, intimidation, and hiring killers for its clients... Documents and time sustained many of his assertions...

The Pinkerton Agency suppressed Siringo's books, in one case with an accusation of libel.

MaryJoy Martin, author of The Corpse On Boomerang Road has written,

"McParland would stop at nothing to take down [unions such as the Western Federation of Miners] because he believed his authority came from "Divine Providence."  To Carry out God's will meant he was free to break laws and lie until every man he judged evil was hanging on the gallows.  Since his days in Pennsylvania he was comfortable lying under oath.  In the Haywood trial and the Adams trials, he lied frequently, even claiming he never joined the Ancient Order of Hiberians.  Document showed he had.

Death

James McParland died on May 18, 1919, in Denver's Mercy Hospital.  He had a widow, Mary H. McParland, but no children.  MaryJoy Martin has written,

"The Denver Post, Rock Mountain News, and the Denver Catholic Register filed columns in tribute, recounting his Molly Maguire tales and Harry Orchard triumph, tucking in fiction and numerous lies along the way.  It mattered little, since the man had become a legend..."

 

Surviving Relatives

The surname McParland is still very common in the Chicago, Detroit and Toronto Metropolitan areas.  It is also common in Counties Armagh and Down in Ireland.

Charles Angelo Siringo

Charles Angelo Siringo (February 7, 1855 - October 18, 1928), was an American author, lawman, and famous detective and agent for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency during the late 19th century and early 20 century.

Brief Biography

With 2,000 active agents and 30,000 reserves, the forces of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency were larger than the nation's standing army in the Late 19th century.  The Pinkertons provided services for management in labor disputes, including armed guards and secret operatives like Charles A. Siringo.  A Texas native and former cowboy, Siringo moved to Chicago in 1886, where first-hand observation of the city's labor conflict (which he attributed to foreign anarchism) moved him to join the Pinkertons.  Angry with the agency after it sabotaged the publication of his cowboy memoirs, Siringo published Two Evil Isms: Pinkertonism and Anarchism, a revealing chronicle of Pinkerton methods and deception.  Guarding its reputation, the Pinkerton Agency succeeded in suppressing the book.  Operatives bought up all copies available at newsstands and a court order confiscated the book's plates.  In the book, Siringo (who, even when alienated from the Pinkertons, never displayed any sympathy for the labor movement) described among other things, how he infiltrated and undermined miners' unions in northern Idaho during the 1892 Coeur d'Alene Mining District strike.

Full Biography - Early Life

Siringo was born in Matagorda County, Texas to an Irish immigrant mother and an Italian immigrant father from Piedmont.  He attended public school until reaching ther age of 15, when he started working on local ranches as a cowboy.

In March, April and May 1877, Siringo was in Dodge City, Kansas.  It was during this period that he was present during a supposed confrontation between Clay Allison and Wyatt Earp, Earp being the Dodge City Deputy Marshal at the time.  Earp later claimed, after Allison's death in 1887, that he and Bat Masterson had forced Allison to back down from an impending confrontation.  Siringo, however, later gave a written account of that incident which contradicted Earp's claim, stating that Earp never came into contact with Allison, and that two businessmen, cattleman Dick McNulty and the owner of the Long Branch Saloon, Chalkley Beeson, in Dodge City actually defused the situation.

After taking part in several cattle drives, Siringo stopped herding to settle down, get married (1884), and open a merchant business in Caldwell, Kansas.  He began writing a book, entitled A Texas Cowboy; Or Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony.  A year later, it was published, to wide acclaim, and became one of the first true looks into life as a cowboy written by someone who had actually lived the life.

Detective Career

In 1886, bored with the mundane life of a merchant, Siringo moved to Chicago and joined the Pinkerton Detective Agency.  He used gunman Pat Garrett's name as as reference to get the job, having met Garrett several years before.  He was immediately assigned several cases, which took him as far north as Alaska, and as far south as Mexico City.  He began operating undercover, a relatively new technique at the time, and infiltrated gangs of robbers and rustlers, making over one hundred arrests.

In the early 1890s he found himself assigned to office work in the Denver office of the agency, work which he greatly despised.  During that time, he worked with noted Pinkerton agent, gunman, and later assassin Tom Horn.  He greatly admired Horn's talents and skills in tracking down suspects, but reflected later that Horn had a dark side that could easily be accessed when need be.

In 1892, Siringo was assigned to a case in Idaho, where he worked undercover to get information against labor union officials.  Despite his despising labor union officials, he later stood against a lynch mob to protect attorney Clarence Darrow from being hanged.

Telling Secrets Out of School: Siringo on the Pinkertons

With 2,000 active agents and 30,000 reserves, the forces of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency were larger than the nation's standing army in the late-19th-century.  The Pinkertons provided services for management in labor disputes, including armed guards and secret operatives like Charles A. Siringo.  Angry with the agency after it sabotaged the publication of his cowboy memoirs, Siringo publish Two Evil Isms: Pinkertonism and Anarchism, a chronicle of Pinkerton methods and deception.  Guarding its reputation, the Pinkerton Agency succeeded in suppressing the book.  Operatives bought up all copies available at newsstands and a court order confiscated the book's plates.  In the following passage, Siringo even when alienated from the Pinkertons, never displayed any sympathy for the labor movement.  It describes how he infiltrated and undermined miner's unions in northern Idaho during the 1892 Coeur d'Alene Mining District strick.

Excerpt from Two Evil Isms: Pinkeronism and Anarchism

"Shortly after my return from the White Cap operation, I was called into Superintendent James McParland's private office and told to get ready for a long operation into the Coeur d'Alenes of northern Idaho."

"He explained that I would have to join the miner's union and disclose their secrets to the mine owners' association,, that they were having trouble with their miners.  I refused to work on such an operation, as my sympathy was with laboring men and against capitalists.  The he excused me by saying if such was the case I could not do justice to the clients.  He selected another operative, who had been a miner, for the work, and I was sent to Utah and California on a railroad operation, there being six sleuths in the bunch."

"About a month later, while in Salt Lake City, Utah, I received a telegram to take the first train for Denver, and I did so.  Calling me into his private office, Mr. McParland said: "Now, Charlie, you have got to go to the Coeur d'Alenes.  You are the only man I have got who can do the work right.  The other operative I sent there was suspected and had to skip out to save his life.  I am going to make you a proposition: You go there and join the union.  If you find the miners are in the right and the mine owners wrong, come home at once; otherwise stay to the finish."  This seemed fair, so I agreed."

"Reaching Wallace, Idaho, the central town of the Coeur d'Alenes, I met some of the officials of the mine owners' association, Mr. John Hays Hammond being at its head, and Mr. John A. Finch being the secretary.  I was advised to make my headquarters in the hurrah mining camp of Gem, for miles up the canyon from Wallace, this being considered the toughest camp in the Coeur d'Alenes."

"I went to work in the Gem mine at the regular wage of three dollars and fifty cents a shift, and two weeks later I joined the Gem Miners' Union, it being a branch of the mother union of Butte, Montana.  I had to take a Molly McGuire oath to bleed and die for my noble order, and if I ever turned traitor and gave the secrets of the union away death would be my reward."

"In the course of two months I was elected recording secretary of the Gem union.  Then I quit work and became the running mate of that true blue anarchist, George A. Pettibone, who was the financial secretary of the Gem union and one of the executive officers of the Central Miner's Union of the Coeur d'Alenes, taking in the mining camps of Burk, Gem, Wardner and Mullen."

"From now on I had nothing to do but drink booze and study anarchy at close range.  My sympathy for labor unions had taken a genuine flop and I concluded to stay and see the war out."

"My chum, George A. Pettibone, was also justice of the peace in Gem and dealt out scab justice with a vengeance."

"During the coming winter I had to help trample the constitution of the United States into the mud by assisting the union in gathering up scabs and marching them up the canyon above the town of Burk, and giving them a good start for the state of Montana.  Often there would be half a dozen scabs in a bunch.  They were taken from their homes, sometimes with weeping wives and children begging for mercy.  They were marched through the streets of Gem and spat upon amidst the beating of pans and ringing of cowbells, this being a warning to others who might have the manhood to criticize this noble union, or refuse to pay dues and assessments."

"Above the town of Burk these poor half-clad citizens--some of whom had fought in the Union army--were told to hit the trail for Montana and never return, at the peril of their lives, and to give them a good running start shots would be fired over their heads.  In this Bitter Root range of mountains the snow in winter is from four to twenty feet deep, so you can imagine what those scabs had to endure on their tramp without food or shelter to Thompson's Falls, the first habitation, a distance of about thirty miles."

"Then the newspapers of Anaconda and Butte, Montana, were furnished write-ups of how a citizens' mass meeting in Gem had branded these men as undesirable citizens and ran them out of the state."

"This kind of anarchy was kept up all winter and my Texas blood was kept at the boiling point, but I had to pretend that I liked it."

"Late in the spring a strike was declared throughout the Coeur d'Alenes.  Soon after the mine owners' association began to ship in non-union miners by the trainload.  Then the war of slugging scabs began, but real war did not start until after the fourth of July, 1892."

"All the miners of the Coeur d'Alenes district met in Gem armed to the teeth, with the intention of starting a revolution which they hoped would spread throughout the West.  My written reports kept the mine owners' association posted, so that previous to the uprising most of the mine owners pulled out for Spokane, Washington, on a special train from Wallace."

"On the morning of the uprising I had to endure the scene of seeing a brother Knight of Pythias, who was one of the Thiel guards, shot through the heart and killed.  This virtually opened the war between the more than one thousand armed unionists and the tree hundred armed guards and non-union miners at the Gem and Frisco mines on the edge of the town.  A delegation of union warriors, under the leadership of Peter Breen and Dallas, the secretary of the mother union, had been sent from Butte, Montana, to take part in the revolution."

"To make a long story short, on this big day of bloodshed I was branded as a Pinkerton spy and doomed to be burnt at a stake as a lesson to other traitors.  Black-Jack Griffith, who had helped to blow up the two Tuscarora, Nevada, mine owners, had recognized me as Charles Leon of Pinkerton fame."

"After the Frisco mill had been blown up with dynamite, may men being killed and wounded, and the whole force of over a hundred men captured, I was billed for the start act in being burnt at a stake."

"Not caring to take part in such a brutal affair, I hugged my Winchester rifle and old cowboy Colts 45 pistol close to my bosom and rebelled single handed."

"In a two-story house in the town of Gem I sawed a hole through the floor in a rear room and got close to mother earth.  When the mob led by Dallas broke down the door and entered to get the fatted calf for the slaughter, I crawled up under the board sidewalk, under the mob's feet, and wormed my way for a distance of about a hundred feet to an opening, from whence I made a dash for liberty.  One bullet singed by breath just as I sprang into a stream of foaming water flowing through a wooden flume under the high railroad grade.  After forcing myself through this flume I ran for a distance of about seventy yards, were I joined Mr. John Monihan, the superintendent of the Gem mine, and his one hundred and thirty armed men."

"The war continued, but finally Mr. Monihan was forced to surrender with his little army.  Then I and a young here by the name of Frank Stark, who begged to stay with me, struck out for tall timber."

"In our only path to liberty stood four union guards.  We made these men nearly break their necks rolling down the mountain side."

After Mr. Monihad had surrendered his men and arms they were taken next day to the bank in Wallace to draw their money.  Then they were taken to the Coeur d'Alenes Lake, where the steamer from Spokane, Washington, lands, and at dusk a gang of mounted union men, under the leadership of Bill Black, charged among them, firing rifles and pistols.  Mr. Monihan and Percy Summers sprang into the lake and swam to an island.  The balance were robbed of their money in true desperado style."

"One man, John Abbot, who was shot through the body by the first volley, hid in the tall grass on the water edge, and he said he saw this noble band of union cut-throats rob the bodies of several murdered men and then slash open their stomachs, so they would sink, and throw them into the deep water."

"Monihan and his man Friday were picked up by the steamer next day."

"After a count was made there were fourteen non-union men missing, and the supposition is that they are the ones Abbot saw go to the bottom of the lake."

"For two days the excitement continued in Wallace.  All men not in sympathy with the union were marched out of town, with shots fired over their heads to give them a running start.  They were told to leave the state and never return."

"Stark and I hugged the tall timber in the mountains, south of Wallace, for three days and nights, until the one thousand United States troops and state militia under command of General Carlin arrived.  Then we emerged from the wilderness and filled ourselves with good food from the Carter Hotel tables."

"I was appointed a United States deputy marshal, and with squads of soldiers to back me up, I started a general round-up.  I had, as a cowboy rounded up wild cattle, but never before did I boss a round-up of dynamiting anarchists."

"The mountains were scoured to the line of Montana.  General Carlin would not permit his soldiers to leave the state of Idaho, therefore many dynamiters escaped.

"My bosom companion, Judge George A. Pettibone, was found in the mountains with a shattered hand and other wounds, caused by the blowing up of the Frisco mill.  It was he who touched off the fuse which sent men to an early grave.  The force of the explosion had thrown the Honorable Pettibone up into a treetop."

"The round-up did not cease until the bull-pen in Wallace contained three hundred angry and unruly men."

"I was the star witness in Judge Beatty's United States Court in Coeur d'Alene City and at Boise, Idaho.  Eighteen of the union leaders were convicted."

"My friend, George A. Pettibone, donned prison stripes in the Detroit, Michigan, penitentiary, and after his release he helped to organize all the miner's unions of the West into the Western Federation of Miners, an order which has since made bloody history."

"After an absence of one year and two months, I returned to Denver to try something else."

Source: Charles Siringo, Two Evil Isms: Pinkertonism and Anarchism (1914).

Life After the Coeur d'Alene Mining District

In the late 1890's, posing as "Charles L. Carter", an alleged gunman on the run from the law for a murder, he infiltrated outlaw Butch Cassidy's Train Robbers Syndicate.  For over a year, using information he would gather, he severely hampered the operations of Cassidy's Wild Bunch gang, but without a large number of arrests.  After they committed the now famous train robbery near Wilcox, Wyoming, in which they robbed a Union Pacific train, he again found himself assigned to capture the Wild Bunch.  On that case, Siringo often coordinated with Tom Horn, who was by that time working for large cattle companies as a stock detective ("hired gun:), but who also was retained by the Pinkerton Agency on contract to assist in the robbery investigation.  Horn was able to obtain vital information from explosives expert Bill Speck that revealed to investigators who the suspects were who had killed Sheriff Josiah Hasen, who had been shot and killed during the pursuit of the robbers.

Several members of the gang were captured as a result of information Siringo gathered, including the capture of Kid Curry, who escaped but was again cornered and killed during a shootout with law enforcement in Colorado.  It was Siringo's information that helped track him down on both occasions.  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid both fled to South America, feeling their luck was running out in the United States.  They were later allegedly killed by Bolivian police in a shootout there following a mine payroll robbery.  During the work on the Wilcox Train Robbery, he first came into contact with lawman Joe Lefors, who later would arrest Tom Horn for a murder that Horn has since been largely vindicated for.  Siringo crossed paths with Lefors several years later while working other cases.  Siringo found Lefors incompetent, at best, and greatly despised him.

Siringo retired in 1907, and began writing another book, entitled Pinkerton's Cowboy Detective.  The Pinkerton Detective Agency held up publication for two years, feeling it violated their confidentiality agreement that Siringo had signed when he was hired and objecting to the use of their name.  Siringo gave in, and deleted their name from the book title, instead writing two separate books, entitled A Cowboy Detective and Further Adventures of a Cowboy Detective.

In 1915, Siringo wrote another book, entitled Two Evil Isms: Pinkertonism and Anarchism.  Again, the Pinkerton Agency blocked publication, additionally they attempted to have Siringo prosecuted for libel, asking that he be extradited from his ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico to Chicago.  However, the governor of New Mexico denied the extradition request.

Two Evil Isms: Pinkertonism and Anarchism included the statement that Siringo had been instructed to commit voter fraud in the re-election campaign of Colorado Governor James Peabody.  Siringo stated, "I voted eight times, as per [Pinkerton supervisor] McParland's orders--three times before the same election judges".  The election was unique due to fraud by Democrats and Republicans, resulting in Colorado having three different governors seated during the course of one day.

In 1916, Siringo began working as a New Mexico Ranger to assist in the capture of numerous rustlers causing problems in the area, holding that position until 1918.  His health began to fail, and his ranch was failing due to his having been away for some time.  He moved to Los Angeles, where he became somewhat of a celebrity due to his well publicized exploits.  In 1927 he released another book, Riata and Spurs, a composite of his first two autobiographies.  The Pinkerton Agency again halted publication, resulting in a whittled down and revised copy being released the following year, with many fictional accounts rather than the true accounts that Siringo had envisioned.

Death

Siringo died in Altadena, California on October 18, 1928.  Internment at Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood California.  His activities remain some of the first examples of the use of undercover work in the capture of fugitives.

 

Governor Frank Steunenberg

 

Frank Steunenberg (August 8, 1961 - December 30, 1905) was the fourth Governor of the State of Idaho, serving from 1897 until 1901.  He is perhaps best known for his 1905 assassination by one-time union member Harry Orchard, who also admitted to being a paid informant for the Cripple Creek, Colorado, Mine Owners' Association.  Orchard attempted to implicate leaders of the Western Federation of Miners in the murder.  The labor leaders were found not guilty in two trials, but Orchard spent the rest of his live in prison.

Early Career

Frank Steunenberg was born in Iowa.  After leaving school at age 16, he apprenticed at the Knoxville, Iowa paper for four years before taking a job in 1881as a typefitter for the Des Moines Register.  Steunenberg quit his job in Des Moines, studied two years at the Iowa Agricultural College in Ames, then returned to Knoxville in where he published the local paper until 1886.  Steunenberg arrived in Idaho in 1887 after receiving a request to help a brother who had just acquired the Caldwell Tribune.  He worked with his brother for the next six years.

In Caldwell Steunenberg became active in politics and was elected to the first Idaho Legislature in 1890 as a fusion candidate endorsed by both the Democratic and Populist Parties.

Governor

Governor Frank Steunenberg 

With labor union support, in 1896 Steunenberg was nominated as both the Democratic and Populist candidate for governor.  The Idaho Republican Party was split between those loyal to the national ticket headed by William McKinley, a champion of keeping the gold standard, and Silver Republicans who favored a move to a silver standard that would greatly benefit Idaho's many silver mines.  Steunenberg won the Democratic nomination by endorsing "fusion" with the Populist ticket, then went on to win the governorship by the biggest landslide in Idaho's history.

He became the first Governor of Idaho who was not a member of the Republican Party.  Steunenberg served during a period of considerable labor unrest in the Idaho mining industry.  As a result, may corporations, fearing that Steunenberg's government would not support them if there was a strike, increased their wages for workers. 

The Bunker Hill Mining Company, however, did not.  In April 1899 striking members of the Western Federation of Miners destroyed the company's mill at Wardner.  With the eruption of labor violence in northern Idaho, Governor Steunenberg took a tough stance.  He said at the time, "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 declared martial law and asked President William McKinley to send federal troops to quell the unrest.  This decision led to the arrests of hundreds of union activists who where rounded up and kept in northern Idaho stockades for months without trials and was seen as a betrayal by Steunenberg's union supporters.  Steunenberg did not seek reelection in 1900.

Assassination

On December 30, 1905, Steunenberg was killed outside his house in Caldwell by a bomb rigged to his front gate.  Harry Orchard was arrested shortly thereafter for the murder, and the investigation was conducted by Pinkerton agent James McParland.  With the Promise of a lighter sentence, McParland compelled Orchard to write a confession in which he implicated "Big Bill" Haywood, general secretary of the Western Federation of Miners, Charles Moyer, president of the Western Federation of Miners, and George Pettibone, a labor activist who had a prior conviction related to an 1892 dispute in the Coeur d'Alene Mining District, as co-conspirators.  McParland arrested the three in Colorado in February 1906.

The nationally publicized trial took place in Boise in 1907.  There was a lack of evidence in a case that was supported only by Orchard's testimony.  Clarence Darrow, a lawyer who specialized in defending trade union leaders, won an acquittal for Haywood.  Pettibone was defended in a separate trial by Judge Hilton of Denver, and was also acquitted.  Charges were dropped against Moyer.  Orchard received a death sentence in a separate trial, but the sentence was commuted to life in prison. 

Judge Fremont Wood

Fremont Wood, a 51-year-old Republican elected to the bench in 1906, presided over the Haywood trial. Wood was a former U. S. attorney who prosecuted Pettibone and three other miners for their activities in the 1892 unrest.  Despite this experience, Wood was so widely perceived to be a fair-minded person that the defense was actually pleased to have the trial in his third-floor courtroom in Boise.  Wood sat on a pulpit-liked bench, surrounded by law books, issuing even-handed rulings that caused one member of the press to write that Wood "radiates a square deal."  Wood seemed to enjoy the attention his trial received.  When actress Ethel Barrymore attended one session, Wood adjourned court to hold a spontaneous reception for her in his chambers.

Wood was born in Maine, the son of an abolitionist legislator.  After attending Bates College and reading law, Wood travelled to the Idaho Territory in 1881.  In addition to his legal career, Wood was a "country gentleman," and the proud owner of one of Idaho's most extensive apple orchards and finest rose gardens.  He also was an avid fly fisherman, taking four weekend fishing trips during the trial with New York Times reporter O. K. Davis.  In reports after the trial, Davis wrote that Wood was convinced of Haywood's guilt.

 

 

 

Edmund F. Richardson

Edmund Richardson

Edmund Richardson was general counsel for the Western Federation of Miner and along with Clarence Darrow, one of the two lead defense attorneys in the Haywood trial.  Both lawyers had oversized egos and neither adjusted well to the unaccustomed position of sharing the spotlight.  As a reporter for the Denver Post observed, "Two stars of the same magnitude cannot occupy the same orbit."  After the trial, Darrow was to refer to Richardson as "that ass, my former associate," and describe him to a reporter as "very hard to get along with, very egotistical, arrogant, and exceedingly jealous."  At one time during the trial, a dispute between the two caused Darrow to threaten to quit the defense team.

Richardson's Denver law firm had for years been the principal source of legal support for the Western Federation of Miners.  Because of this long relationship, Richardson did not hesitate to catch a night train for Idaho on the day of the arrest of the three inner circle members.

Richardson's style in the courtroom differed markedly from the more folksy style of Darrow's.  J. Anthony Lukas described Richardson, with his impeccable tailoring, "coiled energy," "biting wit and sarcasm," to be "the very picture of a big city barrister."  During the hot days of the trial, Richardson remained in a three-piece suit, wiping his bald head with a large, floppy handkerchief.  Whereas Darrow preferred to position himself as close as possible to the jury, Richardson stayed near the defense table "as if the jury were schoolchildren and he the master."

Richardson's biggest failure in the trial was his 26-hour cross-examination of Harry Orchard extending over five days, which failed to seriously undermine the star witness's testimony. 

Excerpts from Edmund Richardson's Closing Arguments

"It had been Governor Steunenberg's fortune while governor of this state to be called upon to stand in the forefront of a labor controversy which occurred in the northern part of the state.  Perhaps the situation demanded of him all that he did.  I don't know about that, and I am lnot going to discuss. . . ."

"One thing is certain, that it gave rise to an endless amount of discussion throughout the entire civilized world.  For the first time in the history of America the military bull pen was established in the administration of what were practically civil affairs.  For the first time in the history of America men were deprived of their liberty with, perhaps, just cause abut without due or any process of law."

"They arrested the union miners right and left without warrant.  They deprived them of their liberties.  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, covered with vermin . . . if you'd been there, gentlemen 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 . . . ."

"Where is this 'terror to evildoers,' as Mr. Hawley had called him.  Hawley promised you he would have Mr. McParland tell his story.  Never but once has his figure darkened the door of this courtroom . . .Was he afraid of the questions I would ask him on cross examination?  Where are the other slimy Pinkertons who sneaked in our unions to make trouble?  Why have they not testified?"

His best moments came during his "mesmerizing" and eloquent nine-hour summation.  Richardson asked the jury:

"I say this man [Orchard] is a cheap and a tawdry and a tinsel hero, seated on this witness stand like a king upon his throne...under a promise as plain as noonday that his worthless head and carcass shall be saved if only there it can be secured a condemnation of the officers of the Western Federation of Miners.  Which would you rather believe, this man on the stand wearing his cheap bravado and putting obloquy upon those who are innocent, or this husband and this father [pointing to Haywood], an exemplary citizen all of his life, nursing tenderly and caring properly for this crippled woman [Haywood's mother] who now sits and has for long year sat by his side? 

Clarence S. Darrow

Clarence Seward Darrow (April 18, 1857 - March 13, 1938) was an American lawyer and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union, best known for defending teenage thrill killers Leopold and Loeb in their trial for murdering 14-year-old Bobby Franks (1924) and defending John T. Scopes in the Scopes Trial (1925), in which he opposed William Jennings Bryan (statesmen, noted orator, and three time presidential candidate for the Democratic Party).  Called a "sophisticated country lawyer", he remained notable for his wit and agnosticism that marked him as one of the most famous American lawyers and civil libertarians.

Early Life

Clarence Darrow was the son of Amirus Darrow and Emily (Eddy) Darrow.  Both the Darrow and the Eddy families had deep roots in colonial New England, and several of Darrow's ancestors served in the American Revolution.  Clarence's father was an ardent abolitionist and a proud iconoclast and religious free-thinker, known in town as the "village infidel."  Emily Darrow was an early supporter of female suffrage and a women's rights advocate.  Clarence attended allegheny college and the University of Michigan Law School but did not graduate from either institution.  He was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1878.  The Clarence Darrow Octagon House, which was his childhood home in the small town of Kinsman, Ohio, contains a memorial to him.

From Corporate Lawyer to Labor Lawyer

Darrow began his career reading law in Youngstown, Ohio, where he was first admitted to the profession by Judge Alfred W. Mackey.  He opened his first practice in Andover, Ohio and then moved to Ashtabula, where he became involved in Democratic Party politics and served as the town counsel.  In 1889 he married Jessie Ohl, and seven years later he moved to Chicago with his wife and young son, Paul.  There, he worked for the city government as a lawyer, and made a mark for himself speaking at Democratic rallies and other speaking engagements.  He was a close friend and protégé of Illinois Gov. John Altgeld, and helped secure a pardon from the governor for the anarchists who were imprisoned for the Haymarket Square bombing.  With Altgeld's help, Darrow became a corporate lawyer for the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company, a major Midwestern railroad.  In 1894 Darrow represented Eugene V. Debs, the leader of the American Railway Union, who was prosecuted by the federal government for leading the Pullman Strike of 1894.  Darrow severed his ties with the railroad to represent Debs, making a financial sacrifice.  He saved Debs in one trial, but could not keep the union leader from being jailed in another.

Also in 1894, Darrow took on the first murder case of his career, defending Patrick Eugene Prendergast, the "mentally deranged drifter" who had confessed to murdering Chicago mayor Carter H. Harrison, Sr.  Darrow's "insanity defense" failed and Prendergast was executed that same year.  Among fifty defenses in murder cases throughout the whole of Darrow's career, the Prendergast case would prove to be the only one resulting in an execution.

Darrow became one of America's leading labor attorneys.  He helped organize the Populist Party in Illinois, then ran for Congress as a Democrat in 1896, but lost.  In 1897 his marriage ended in divorce.  He represented the woodworks of Wisconsin in a notable case in Oshkosh in 1898, and the United Mine Workers in Pennsylvania in the great anthracite coal strike of 1902.  He flirted with the idea of running for mayor of Chicago in 1903, but ultimately decided against it.  That year he married Ruby Hammerstrom, a young Chicago journalist.

From 1906 to 1908, Darrow represented the Western Federation of Miners leaders William "Big Bill" Haywood, Charles Moyer and George Pettibone when they were arrested and charged with the 1905 murder of former Idaho Gov. Frank Steunenberg.  After a series of trials, Haywood and Pettibone were found not guilty and the charges were dropped against Moyer.

The American Federation of Labor then called on Darrow to defend the McNamara brothers, John and James, who were charged with dynamiting the Los Angeles Times building during the bitter struggle over the open shop in Southern California (21 employees had died as a result of the explosion).  Darrow came to realize that the McNamara brothers were guilty, but worked hard to have them acquitted.  With his help, they were portrayed by the AFL as heroes to American workers, who contributed their hard-earned money to a McNamara defense fund.  In November, 1911, an orchestrated plot was launched by the defense to bribe jurors in the McNamara case.  Darrow was at the scene of one attempted bribery, as one of his investigators was arrested handing money to one of the prospective jurors.  With the case collapsing around him, Darrow convinced the brothers to change their plea to guilty.  The plea bargain he helped arrange got them lengthy prison sentences instead of the death penalty, but he was accused by many in organized labor of selling the movement out.  Two months later, Darrow was charged with two counts of attempting to bribe the jurors.  He faced two lengthy trials.  In the first, defended by Earl Rogers, he was acquitted.  Early during the second trial, Rogers abandoned the case, disagreeing with Darrow about the defense strategy, and Darrow defended himself.  The trial ended with a hung jury.  Subsequently the D.A. agreed not to retry the case of Darrow promised not to practice law again in California, and Darrow was allowed to go home.

From Labor Lawyer to Criminal Lawyer

As a consequence of the bribery charges, most labor unions dropped Darrow from their list of preferred attorneys.  This effectively put Darrow out of business as a labor lawyer, and he switched to civil and, most notably, criminal cases.

Throughout his career, Darrow devoted himself to opposing the death penalty, which he felt to be in conflict with humanitarian progress.  In more than 100 cases, Darrow only lost one murder case in Chicago.  He became renowned for moving juries and even judges to tears with his eloquence.  Darrow had a keen intellect often hidden by his rumpled, unassuming appearance.

A July 23, 1915 article in the Chicago Tribune describes Darrow's effort on behalf of J.H. Fox--an Evanston, Illinois landlord--to have Mary S. Brazelton committed to an insane asylum against the wishes of her family.  Fox alleged that Brazelton owned him rent money although other residents of Fox's boarding house testified to her sanity.

Leopold and Loeb

In the Summer of 1924, Darrow took on the case of Leopold and Loeb, the teenage sons of two wealthy Chicago families, who were accused of kidnapping and killing Bobby Franks, a 14-year-old boy from their stylish Kenwood neighborhood.  Nathan Leopold was 19 and Richard Loeb was 18 when they were arrested.  Leopold was a law student at the University of Chicago, about to transfer to Harvard law school.  Loeb was the youngest graduate ever from the University of Michigan.  When asked why they committed the crime, Leopold told his captors: "The thing that prompted Dick to want to do this thing and prompted me to want to do this thing was a sort of pure love of excitement....the imaginary love of thrills, doing something different..... The satisfaction and the ego of putting something over."

The Chicago newpapers labeled the case a "crime of the century, and Americans around the country wondered what could drive the two young men, blessed with everything their society could offer, to commit such a depraved act.  The killers were arrested after a passing workman spotted the victim's body in an isolated nature preserve near the Indiana border, just half a day after it was hidden, before they could collect a $10,000 ransom.  Nearby were Leopold's eyeglasses, with their distinctive, traceable frames, which he had dropped at the scene.  Leopold and Loeb made full confessions, and took police on a grim hunt around Chicago to collect the evidence that would be used against them.  The state's attorney told the press that he had a "hanging case" for sure.  Darrow stunned the prosecution when he had the killers plead guilty, to avoid a vengeance-minded jury and place the case before a judge.  The trial, then, was actually a long sentencing hearing in which Darrow contended, with the help of expert testimony, that Leopold and Loeb were mentally diseased.

Darrow's closing address lasted 12 hours.  He repeatedly stressed the ages of the "boys (before the Vietnam War, the age of majority was 21)," and noted that "never had there been a case in Chicago, where on a plea of guilty a boy under 21 had been sentenced to death."  His famous plea was designed to soften the heart of Judge John Caverly, but also to mold public opinion, so that Caverly could follow precedent without too huge an uproar.  Darrow succeeded.  Caverly sentenced the killers to life plus 99 years.  The Leopold and Loeb case raised, in a well-publicized trial, Darrow's lifelong contention that psychological, physical and environmental influences control human behavior - not a conscious choice between right and wrong.  The public got an education in psychology and medicine and, because Leopold was an admirer, the philosophy of Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.

During the Leopold-Loeb trial, the newspapers claimed that Darrow was presenting a "million dollar defense" for the two wealthy families.  Many ordinary Americans were angered at his apparent greed.  He had the families issue a statement insisting that there would be no large legal fees, and that his fees would be determined by a committee composed of officers from the Chicago Bar Association.  After trial, Darrow suggested $200,000 would be reasonable.  After lengthy negotiations with the defendant's families, he ended up getting some $70,000 in gross fees, which after expenses and taxes, netted Darrow $30,000.

The Scopes Trial

In 1925, Darrow defended John T. Scopes in the State of Tennessee v. Scopes trial of 1925.  It has often been called the "Scopes-Monkey Trial," a title popularized by author and journalist H.L. Mencken.  This pitted Darrow against William Jennings Bryan in an American court case that tested the Butler Act which had passed on March 21, 1925.  The act forbade the teaching, in any state-funded educational establishment in Tennessee, of "any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.  "The law made it illegal for public school teachers in Tennessee to teach that man evolved from lower organisms, but the law was sometimes interpreted as meaning that the law forbade the teaching of any aspect of the theory of evolution.  The law did not prohibit the teaching of evolution of any other species of plant or animal.

During the trial, Darrow requested that Bryan be called to the stand as an expert witness on the Bible.  Over the other prosecutor's objection, Bryan agreed.  It might be said that the following exchange caused the trial to turn against Bryan and for Darrow:

Darrow: "You have given considerable study to the Bible, haven't you, Mr. Bryan?"

Bryan: "Yes sir, I have tried to ... But, of course, I have studied it more as I have become older than when I was a boy."

Darrow: "Do you claim then that everything in the Bible should be literally interpreted?"

Bryan: "I believe that everything in the Bible should be accepted as it is given there; some of the Bible is given illustratively.  For instance: "Ye are the salt of the earth."  I would not insist that man was actually salt, or that he had flesh of salt, but it is used in the sense of salt as saving God's people."

After about two hours, Judge Raulston cut the questioning short, and on the following morning ordered that the whole session (which in any case the jury had not witnessed) be expunged from the record, ruling that the testimony had no bearing on whether Scopes was guilty of teaching evolution.  Scopes was found guilty and ordered to pay the minimum fine of $100.

A year later, the Tennessee Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Dayton court on a technicality--not the constitutional grounds as Darrow had hoped.  According to the court, the fine should have been set by the jury, not Raulston.  Rather than send the case back for further action, however, the Tennessee Supreme Court dismissed the case.  The court commented, "Nothing is to be gained by prolonging the life of this bizarre case."

Ossian Sweet

A white mob in Detroit attempted to drive a black family out of the home they had purchased ina white neighborhood.  In the struggle, a white man was killed, and the eleven blacks in the house were arrested and charged with murder.  Dr. Ossian Sweet and three members of his family were brought to trial and after an initial deadlock, Darrow argued to the all-white jury: "I insist that thee is nothing but prejudice in this case; that if it was reversed and eleven white men had shot and killed a black while protecting their home and their lives against a mob of blacks, nobody would have dreamed of having them indicted.  They would have been given medals instead..."  Following the mistrial of the 11, it was agreed that each of them would be tried individually.  Darrow alongside Thomas Chawke would first defend Ossian's brother Henry, who had confessed to firing the shot on Garland Street.  Henry was found not guilty on grounds of self defense and the prosecution determined to drop the charges on the remaining 10.  The trials were presided over by the Honorable Frank Murphy, who went on to become Governor of Michigan and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.  Darrow's final closing statement, which lasted over 7 hours, is seen as a landmark in the Civil Rights movement, and was included in the book 'Speeches that Changed the World (given the name 'I Believe in the Law of Love').  Uniquely, the two closing arguments of Clarence Darrow, from the first and second trials, are available, and show how he learned from the first trial and reshaped his remarks.

Massie Trial

Aged 68, Darrow had already announced his retirement before he volunteered to take part in the Scopes Trial, apart from the Sweet trial later that same year.  After those final trials, Darrow would retire from full-time practice, emerging only occasionally to undertake cases such as the 1932 Massie Trial in Hawaii.

In his last headline making case, the Massie Trial, Darrow--devastated by the Great Depression--was hired to come to the defense of Grace Hubbard Fortescue, Edward J. Lord, Deacon Jones and Thomas Massie, Fortescue's son-in-law, accused of murdering Joseph Kahahawai.  Kahahawai had been accused, along with four other men, of raping and beating Thalia Massie, Thomas' wife and Fortescue's daughter; the resulting 1931 case ended in a hung jury (though the charges were later dropped and repeated investigation has shown them to be innocent).  Enraged, Fortescue and Massie then orchestrated the murder of Kahahawai in order to extract a confession and were caught by police officers while transporting his dead body.

Darrow entered the racially charged atmosphere as the defense lawyer for the murderers.  Darrow reconstructed the case as a justified honor killing.  Considered by the New York Times to be one of Darrow's three most compelling trials (along with the Scopes Trial and the Leopold and Loeb case), the case captivated the nation and most of white America strongly supported the honor killing defense.  In fact, the final defense arguments were transmitted to the mainland through a special radio hook-up.  In the end the jury came back with a unanimous verdict of guilty, but on the lesser crime of manslaughter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William E. Borah

William Edgar Borah, the chief prosecutor in the Haywood trial, was born at the close of the Civil War, the son of a stern, puritanical Illinois farmer.  In college at the University of Kansas, Borah befriended William Allen White, later to become the famed editor of the Emporia Gazette, who described his college buddy as a "hardworking, substantial, serious student who smiled easily but rarely laughed."  After two years at KU, Borah contracted tuberculosis and dropped out of college to read law.  After impregnating a Lyons, Kansas woman and being asked to leave town, Borah boarded a westbound train where he met a gambler who told him that Idaho, then only three months a state, was an ideal place for young, ambitious men.  Borah took the gambler's advice and opened a law office conveniently located on the edge of Boise's red light district, where Borah frequented the best homes, earning a reputation as "the town bull."  Borah's practice grew as he became a favorite of timber barons, ranchers, mine operators, and other men of commerce.  Eventually Borah was to have the biggest and most profitable legal practice in the state.  Borah's interest in women continued unabated throughout his career, and at one time a long affair between him and Theodore Roosevelt's married daughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, earned her the nickname "Aurora Borah Alice."

Borah had a strong interest in politics, beginning with a race for city attorney of Boise which he lost by three votes in 1891.  By 1896, Borah was the leader of Idaho's Silver Republicans, molding the national ticket to support Frank Steunenberg's campaign for governor.  Borah maintained his political independence, often opposing the Republican Old Guard.  Eventually, he found himself drawn into the Progressive camp of the party.  In 1906, as Bill Haywood bided time in a Boise jail, Borah was at the peak of his political powers, and seen as a virtual shoe-in for the Republican nomination to the the U. S. Senate.  Later that year an investigation of timber fraud was to threaten to bring down his promising political career.  (Borah was tried on timber fraud charges in late 1907, defended by James Hawley, and acquitted by a jury after 14 minutes of deliberation. Clarence Darrow took an interest in Borah's case, publicly pronouncing him "guiltless of complicity" in the fraud.)

In the courtroom, Borah had a reputation for both shrewd strategizing and forceful oratory.  He was generally seen as the lead prosecuting attorney in the Haywood trial, handling the cross-examination of Haywood and providing the final prosecution summation.  Borah's closing argument was described as "one of the finest summations of his life."

Excerpts from William Borah's Closing Arguments

"There is here no fight on organized labor.  This is simply a trial for murder.  Frank Steunenberg has been murdered, and we want to know.  A crime has been committed, and the integrity and the manhood of Idaho want to know.  An offense which shocked the civilized world has taken p lace within our b orders, and unless we went about it earnestly and determinedly to know, we would be unfit to be called a commonwealth in the sisterhood of commonwealths of the Union"

"Watch these five men.  In a little over thirty days Frank Steunenberg is going to die.  What are their actions?  They are going to and fro, their association, their connection--you will find out whether there is evidence here or not to show a conspiracy outside of any testimony of Harry Orchard. . . .Watch them. . . .We have got them in touch with one another.  They are moving to the scene." 

"You are carrying with you tonight the solicitude of an entire people."

"There is no home in Idaho tonight, but that a thought of you and your final duty will mingle with the sentiment which made that home possible. . ."

After the trial has been finished, after the work is over...the thing which will remain with us is that sleepless mentor of the soul asking over and over again as the years go by were you brave and faithful in the discharge of the most solemn duty of your life?" 

"You have not doubt often in this case been moved by the eloquence of counsel for the defense."

They are men of wonderful powers.  They have been brought here because of their power to sway the minds of men. . .to sometimes draw you away from the consideration of the real facts in this case, to beguile you from a consideration of your real and only duty.  But as I listened to the voice of counsel and felt for a time their great influence, there came to me after the spell was broken another scene. . ." 

"I remember again the awful thing of December 30, 1905, a night which has added 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 an peered at last into the darkness for the scred 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." 

"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." 

Aftermath 

Borah himself was drained both by the trial and the ongoing federal investigation of his timber dealings.  He called the Haywood trial "one of those battles that make a man grow old."  Borah was the only attorney not present when the jury announced its verdict.  Later he was seen standing in a doorway leading to his law office looking, according to Ruby Darrow who saw him, "alone, abandoned-- the most downcast man I ever saw."

After the Haywood trial, William Borah served in the United States Senate, becoming a notable champion of Progressive causes.  

 

James H. Hawley

James Hawley, who by many observers was considered to be the best criminal lawyer in the West, had come from his birthplace in Iowa to prospect for gold in the Boise Basin, northeast of Boise.  He had become co-owner of a rich silver claim, which he and his partner sold in the mid-1860's.

With his substantial profits, Hawley went to San Francisco, where he studied in college for two years.  After a sojourn as a seaman and adventurer in the Far East, Hawley returned to Idaho.  He was elected to the Idaho territorial legislature, served as mayor of Boise,  and U. S. attorney.  In 1890 he opened his own law office and became a very successful defense laywer.  It is said he was involved in 300 murder cases during his career.

James Hawley was one of the two lead prosecuting attorneys in the Haywood trial. With his partner, William Borah, distracted by his own legal problems, the 61-year-old Hawley had to carry more than his share of the prosecution's load.  He was physically drained by the experience, complaining that he was "doing the work of three men."

At the time of the Haywood trial, Hawley was the most experienced trial attorney, both as a defense attorney and a prosecutor, in the state of Idaho.  Borah said of him, "Jim Hawley has defended more men, got them acquitted, and prosecuted more men, and got them convicted, than any lawyer in America."

 

Hawley fit the stereotype of a western lawyer perfectly.  He would sit at the counsel table during trials, dressed and groomed casually, chewing on a toothpick with his boots on the tabletop.  He was famous for his ability to establish rapport with Idaho juries, talking to them as a neighbor might, rather than offering flights of oratory.

Hawley was confidant that his efforts in the Haywood trial had secured a conviction.  He said that he had "no more doubt of the result than I had of getting up in the morning."  Some time after the acquittal of Haywood, Hawley blamed the verdict on instructions favorable to the defense given by Judge Wood.

 

Excerpts from James Hawley's Closing Arguments

"We have for ten weeks, gentlemen of the jury, been in continuous session in this court, giving our attention to this question.  It is probably the most important criminal case that was ever given to a jury for its attention and consideration in these United States . . . ."

We are not here to urge the conviction, gentlemen, of a man whom you believe is innocent or think under any circumstances can be innocent.  We are not here, gentlemen, representing anyone except the state of Idaho."

"We have been engaged here in making history, I might say; this case will be looked upon as one of the most important in the criminal annals of the country.  It is important, therefore, that we do our duty fully and come to a correct conclusion."

" The days pass and the Christmas season comes with all its thoughts--of peace and good will--the season when men live with their families, when people of the Christian faith rejoice, and if there is ever a time when all thought of fear should be laid aside then is the time.  That is the season when love for mankind should rule, and exist if at all.  That is the season when men should most feel safe from harm."

Just as the old year was fading--just as the new year was about to make its appearance--when all seems safe and peaceful, Orchard lays his bomb in front of Steunenberg's gate, and that night as the governor hastens home through the disk to his  family, in his mind the happy thoughts of the loving greeting in store for him . . . he is sent to face his God with out a moment's warning and within the sight of his wife and children. . . ."

"Now, I am not one of those that believe in death bed conversions."

"Gentlemen, the conviction has been forced upon me in this case, as I believe it has been forced upon every man that heard the testimony of Harry Orchard, that some cause has impelled him to tell the entire truth.  I think I understand what that cause is.  I believe it is the religious training of his early youth awakened by those references that were made to him in the loneliness of his cell by the gentleman who approached him and obtained his confession."

"And I believe that we are warranted in coming to the conclusion that it was the saving power of divine grace, gentlemen of the jury, working upon the conscience of this man that finally impelled him to make this confession that in all probability will bring to the bar of justice the worst set of conspirators that have ever infested any section of the United States."

"I'll tell you this , gentlemen: If Orchard had killed anybody else besides Steunenberg or some man who had not acted contrary to the interests of the Western Federation of Miners--had not gained their enmity--you wouldn't have found Moyer and Haywood putting up any $1,500 or 15 cents for his defense.  That money was not to defend Orchard.  It was not put up to protect him so much as it was put up to protect their own necks. . . . ."

"Gentlemen, it is time that this stench in the nostrils of all decent persons in the West is buried.  It is time to forever put an end to his high handed method of wholesale crime.  It is the time when Idaho should show the world that within her borders no crime can be committed and that those who dome within her borders must observe the law. "

"Gentlemen, I which that I could look over this evidence and find some way of satisfying myself that this man here upon trial was innocent and that these other men associated with him in this indictment were also innocent of this offense.  I have no desire, gentlemen, to have the scalp of any innocent man hanging at my girdle. . ." 

"But we can come to but one conclusion, and that is that he is not only responsible for this atrocious murder but that for more than a score of other murders that have been proven here he is equally responsible."

"I ask you to take this evidence and carefully consider it.  I ask you to give it that weight and consideration that under the instructions of the court it will be entitled to.  I ask you that you honestly, in your own good judgment, apply the law to the evidence and thus find your verdict. And I for one, gentlemen, will say in advance that with the utmost confidence in this jury and every member of it, I will be satisfied whatever that verdict may be.  Gentlemen, I thank you for your attention . . ."

Aftermath 

In 1910, he was elected governor of Idaho on the Democratic ticket and served two years.

In 1927, he spoke at the dedication of a statue of Steunenberg in front of the Statehouse in Boise.  It is said he was the one who convinced those in charge of placing the statue to have Steunenberg face the Statehouse, instead of looking south on capitol Boulevard.  It is said the reason for this was so that the elected officials in the Statehouse would know that the former governor was keeping his eye on how they were governing the state.

J. Anthony Lukas

J. Anthony Lucas, two-time winner of Pulitzers, spent the last seven years of his life researching and writing his 754-page opus "Big Trouble," which will remain without question the seminal study of one of America's most fascinating trials.  

On the morning of June 5, 1997, Lukas met with his editor to discuss final revisions to Big Trouble.  He returned in the afternoon to his Upper West Side apartment and hanged himself with a bathrobe sash.  He was 64 when he died.  Lukas, who had been diagnosed with depression ten years earlier, wrote a 1987 book "Silent Grief: Living in the Wake of Suicide," inspired by his pain of living with the suicide of his mother, who had slashed her throat at age 33.

Lukas was known for the "excruciating, almost obsessive precision of his research."  After graduating from Harvard he worked as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, then the New York Times.  He won his first Pulitzer in 1967 for an account of a wealthy teenager found beaten to death in Greenwich Village by her counter-culture boyfriend.  His second Pulitzer was for "Common Ground," a 1985 book about race relations in Boston.  Lukas also wrote in 1971 a book about another famous trial, "The Barnyard Epithet and Other Obscenities: Notes on the Chicago Conspiracy Trial."

Many adjectives have been used to describe one of America's most brilliant writers: decent, erudite, insightful, dedicated, intense, energetic, inventive, sensitive, tender, self-righteous, brooding, restless.  A friend described Lukas as "the happiest and the saddest man I know."   Apart from his love of writing, Lukas found happiness in gardening, baseball, and pinball (Lukas bought his own machine: "The ball flies into the ellipse, into the playing field-- full of opportunities.")

"Big Trouble" was Lukas's first attempt at pure history, and the project left him full of self-doubt.  He worried that his book was too ambitious, that he wouldn't be able to get his point across, that it didn't show his talents as well as "Common Ground."  As the Big Trouble neared completion in the spring of 1997, friends worried that he seemed mentally and physically exhausted.  On the Monday before he died, Lukas called an editor at Life who had assigned him the task of writing a piece on Caldwell, Idaho's changes since the Steunenberg assassination and told him "he didn't know what to write."  Friends who knew Lukas said such a thing had never happened before.

Oscar K. Davis

Oscar King Davis covered the Haywood trial as senior correspondent for the New York Times.  His extensive reporting on the trial was attacked by the labor and Socialist press, who accused him of having been bought by capitalist interest.  Although Davis made no secret of his belief in Haywood's guilt, he insisted years later in his autobiography that his trial reporting was honest.  Davis also revealed, years after the trial, that a widely credited rumor circulating in the press corps that the defense had bribed at least one of the Haywood jurors.

Davis had been in the newspaper business since 1888, accompanying Dewey to Manila, covering the Boxer Rebellion, the Russo-Japanese War, and America's "flying squadron" during the Spanish-American War.  His writing style appears overwrought by contemporary standards, but was widely admired at the time.

Davis and other members of the elite press corps were treated as celebrities by Boise residents, and were the recipients of an overwhelming number of invitations to social gatherings.  Davis, a gregarious man, enjoyed the attention.  Over the course of the trial, Davis became a close friend of the trial judge, Fremont Wood, accompanying him on four weekend fly fishing outings.  His campfire conversations with the judge generally avoided the subject of the Haywood trial, but on at least one occasion Wood confided in Davis his belief in Haywood's guilt.

Davis was particularly fascinated with defense attorney Clarence Darrow.  He described Darrow as "a master of invective, vituperation, denunciation, humor, pathos, and all the other arts of the orator, except argument." 

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