Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bob & John Richards (AKA Ricciotti), Football & Nile Kinnick

If you are receiving this as an automatic email, it will probably be rather disjointed. You may want to try coming to the blog for better viewing. Formatting was giving me fits today and I finally threw in the towel.

I hope my Idaho friends will forgive me if I venture off in another direction. There is certainly a never ending amount of Steunenberg, Idaho, labor, mining, Haywood trial and other Western related history, much of it with threads that can be traced in some way to our family. However, on the Richards' side the pickings are more limited. I have thought about starting another blog but I am going to stay put for now. After all, Richards and Steunenberg are forever linked no matter where we have lived in this world.

Here's a story that is purely from the Richards' (Ricciotti if you want to go with our original and legal Italian name at the time) side. No Steunenberg connection yet but it would be coming just a few years later. I don't have nearly the volume of information on my dad's side as we do with the Steunenberg's. No governors, no murders (not that I have found yet anyway), and in fact much remains shrouded in mystery, but this is an interesting football related story nonetheless.
©JTR

Mary Richards
It was the late 1930's-40's, the Richards' family, consisting of grandma Mary Costello Richards, an immigrant from County Mayo Ireland, and grandpa Robert
Joseph Richards (AKA Gabriel Ricciotti), a first generation Italian American, and their two boys, the oldest Robert 'Bob'  and the youngest John Thomas Richards (my father), were living in Philadelphia, PA. Sometimes referred to as North Philly, the area had a booming industrial base, warehouse and manufacturing buildings were prevalent along with tightly packet row houses with the many Irish and Italian immigrants of the day. They lived at 3108 N. Marston St.  It's still there but not looking very good after a fire and all these years later. I have photo's of Bob and my dad playing around and on those steps. Grandpa Richards worked for the Railway Express Agency, driving a delivery truck in Philly for some 30+ years before the family uprooted in the early 1950's and headed for California. The photo to the left comes from an article in Southwestern Trucker & Shipper, 1/1950, regarding safety awards for Railway Express drivers.

Robert Richards 1939 (©JTR)


My Uncle Bob attended Roman Catholic High School (RCHS). From what I can tell, he was a pretty good student but an even better football player. He graduated from RCHS in 1939.
Bob 3rd from right or left. ©JTR




After high school, Bob went on to play sandlot/semi-pro football. The small, tattered, heavily taped article to the right says the following (as best I can read it):  
"Bob Richards Zephyr A.C. ace center and former Roman Catholic High School star received the greatest award that any High School, Collegiate and Sandlot star could ever receive.  On Monday November 24th (maybe & guessing 1941 as no year date on the article), Bob Richards and (could be several or four, five, etc) other High School and College stars at a banquet held in their honor received the Maxwell Trophy for being the outstanding stars of the season. Bob has also received the honor of being the only sandlot star to ever win such an award. To him all take off their hats and wish him and his team the best of luck in the future."

With the Pearl Harbor attack and start of WWII on 12/7/1941, sandlot football, quite popular at the time, was suspended until after the war. Pretty obvious why, as young men like Bob were heading off to war and postponing football or other careers. Hence, Bob got in a year or two of sandlot before enlisting in the U.S.Marine's July 1942, his dream of perhaps professional football probably over. 



John T. Richards Sr Age 16.
John T. Richards Sr. (age 12?)

My dad attended only one year of high school and, probably in an attempt to keep up with his brother, would falsify his birth record and join the Marines soon thereafter (Nov. 1942). Unfortunately, doing so was a mistake, as he was a troubled 16 year old kid and emotionally unprepared for military life. Bob went on to serve in the war and to have an honorable military career. His little brother did not and the Marine Corp. gave John T. the boot. I guess I should give him some credit for trying.






So where does Nile Kinnick come in on this? I am not really sure except for an autographed photo postcard of Kinnick sent to Bob's younger brother, my dad John T. Richards, from Iowa City, IA in 1940. Now I have to admit I knew very little about Kinnick and had not given him much thought when my dad gave me some photos of Bob along with with the signed postcard below. My dad didn't know much about it either and Nile was tossed into a box where he stayed for a few years without any particular archival protection.

Nile Kinnick, University of Iowa. ©JTR Collection
You can look up and study Kinnick online as quite a lot of information is available. I will list a few resources at the end of this post. To summarize briefly, in 1939 he had led the University of Iowa football team back to prominence and was a consensus All-American, Walter Camp, Heisman, Maxwell, etc., award winner. Kinnick enlisted in the U.S. Naval Air Corps in September 1941. In Hawkeye territory you had better know who he is! He too postponed a professional football and/or political career but died on 6/2/1943 in the service of his country—a promising lifetime ahead cut terribly and tragically short.
Reverse side of the autographed photo of Nile Kinnick to John T. Richards. ©JTR Collection.
 I had to add a Kinnick TOPPS card. ©JTR Collection.

©JTR Collection
So why the postcard to my dad? I'm pretty sure dad didn't send for it and he wasn't ever much of a football fan. I think more plausible, but up to now difficult to prove, is the common link of football and military service between Bob and Nile. However, their military careers did not start until long after this postcard was sent. Kinnick, having excelled at Iowa, was certainly a more big time player than Bob but I can't help but think in the short window of time between 1938 -1940, the two met up at a football function and Bob maybe said, "can you send one of those photos to my kid brother"?  We know too they both won Maxwell Awards, Kinnick in 1939 and Bob in 1941. However, Kinnick's was the national Maxwell Trophy that had been initiated a couple years earlier in 1937. Bob's award was not the national Maxwell, but most likely a local award from the Maxwell Club to PA area players, much like today's Mini-Max. Unfortunately, when I contacted them, the Maxwell Club could not shed any information on the local awards from that time period.  

Regardless how it might have happened, Nile Kinnick, in the form of an originally autographed photo postcard, addressed to John T. Richards and postmarked 1940 from Iowa City, found his way to the Richards' household in Philadelphia. I have received a few offers for the card (feel free to make more!) but with the sports connection, especially what I have learned about Nile, and my dad's name right there too, parting with it remains difficult but I'll keep thinking about it. I guess everything has its price. Feel free to take a run at it Hawkeye fans!

Other items related to Bob Richards, military, football and the Kinnick name pops up again too:
©JTR Collection. Bob right square in the middle, 4th from right or left middle row. A.R.M, R-8, SEC-D, NATTC, Memphis, 48
 On the back it looks like Bob got all his unit members to sign.
©JTR Collection
©JTR Collection
During the occupation of Japan there was still time for some football. I have this program from the New Years Day game, 1/1/1950. Air Force versus Army All Stars.
Bob is front row second from the left. Anyone else you know? Why Air Force? As far as I know Bob was still a Marine but can't say for sure. Perhaps some mixing and matching went on among the branches to come up with teams. I would love to hear from any service men, women, family's that were in occupied Japan during that period. BTW, Air Force won, 18 to 14. Beat Army!

Bob (left) with fellow startiing tackle Cecil Evans (written on back and also front row in the team picture and listed and pictured in the program). Looks like they are just getting ready to load the buses to the game.

We know Bob remained stationed in occupied Japan until at least 1950 as evidenced by this program confirming he played on New Year's Day that year in Tokyo. Interestingly, he found himself playing in what the allies had renamed—Nile Kinnick stadium.
©JTR Collection. Game Day, 1/1/1950 Nile Kinnick Stadium, Tokyo


If you have information, corrections, something to add to any of the above, please click below on "Post a Comment" or email me directly at:  john.t.richards@sbcglobal.net

A few other Kinnick related websites below. There are many more if you do a search.

Nile C; Kinnick Jr.

Nile Kinnick (Wikipedia)

A Hero Perished (A decent read for information on Kinnick).

Papers of Nile C. Kinnick, University of Iowa

Nile Kinnick Digital Collection

Iowa Gridiron Collectables (Mark has helped me out with info on Kinnick and of course remains hot on the trail of anything Hawkeye football related.

And oh yes, there was another football player in the family.
John circa 1969

Old #74 and he was also a tackle. Maybe not as long ago as Bob or Nile but long enough!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Update 9/23/2014: Edna Steunenberg & Cassidy's 8th Grade History Project

Edna Jessie Steunenberg Oldridge (and I believe a later life divorce/marriage added the last name Maves). Photo provided by Alice Steunenberg Willloughby as part of an oral interview completed and recorded by my Cousin Bill Crookham. This still shot was taken from the DVD.

I have updated the post below with additional pictures of Edna Steunenberg after the original story on Cousin Cassidy's history project. Click on the UPDATE link below.

Saturday, April 7, 2012 - UPDATE 9/23/2014 - Cassidy's 8th Grade History Project

I have also added the above photograph to my FOLD3 website. Click on:  Edna Jessie Steunenberg Oldridge Maves (and feel free to add information).


Monday, September 22, 2014

Does the Steunenberg home that burned in 1913 live on?

As we know, the home of Governor Frank & Eveline 'Belle' Steunenberg, near the corner of 16th & Dearborn in Caldwell, ID,  burned in 1913. I do not know the circumstances of the 1913 fire or if anyone was living there at the time. The home was not rebuilt but apparently some salvageable parts remained.
Frank W. & Francis, two of the children of Belle & Frank Steunenberg, sitting on the edge of the front porch. This home was located at the corner of 16th & Dearborrn, Caldwell, Idaho. Photograph from JTR Collection and The Martyr of Idaho.
After Frank's assassination on 12/30/1905, Belle reportedly lived in a smaller home in Caldwell for a few years. We believe that home is the one at 3410 South 10 Avenue, Caldwell, Idaho.  It's hard to view through the trees on Google maps but you can see part of the house (zoom in) and the address on the fence to the right of the driveway. The current resident, Sandy, is interested in finding out more about the homes history and so am I. If anyone has information or early photographs taken of the inside or outside we would sure like to know about it.

At some point, Belle left Caldwell and lived in Walla Walla, WA for a time (late 1910's - early 1920's perhaps?) and other locations in Washington, Oregon, etc., to be near family and/or Adventist communities. Eventually she headed to California where some of her children had moved. The post assassination timeline regarding Belle's movements is a bit murky.  Maybe other kinfolk or historians can shed some more light on it.

Looking at the front gate leading up to the circular porch to the entry door and the prominent second floor turret. This is not the gate through which Frank entered when he was killed. He came through the side gate and up the path to the right. The above photograph is available from various sources and publications, including the JTR Collection, ISHS, Early Caldwell Through Photographs.
Reportedly, it was the very front portion of the home, the entry area/room and the turret, that survived the 1913 fire and may have been used in the construction of another home...or homes.

1406 Everett, Caldwell, ID. I have lightened up the picture a bit as the original was rather dark.
JTR Collection
This is the house at 1406 Everett, Caldwell (Goggle map) that we believe was built from a portion of the salvaged Steunenberg home. Reportedly, it at one time had a second story, including the turret from the Steunenberg house. Interestedly, a second story fire destroyed the upstairs beyond repair. The roof was added and the home remains today much like seen above in this 1965 photograph. Any earlier photographs taken pre-fire and showing the turret would be quite a find.

Written on the back of the photo above by my father during a visit to Caldwell for a Steunenberg reunion.
JTR Collection
I vaguely remembered seeing the above home on a Steunenberg reunion bus tour of Caldwell (here's a later 1977 reunion). Glad I found this photo with identification written on the back by my father to reaffirm its existence.

1417 Fillmore Street, Caldwell, ID. Photo courtesy of Jackie Mills.
Recently I received an email from Janet Mills, a blog reader, who indicated her aunt had owned a home at 1417 Filmore, Caldwell Idaho (Google map). According to Janet, the home was originally located at a different nearby location and moved to Fillmore street sometime later. The current location is in the same neighborhood as the 1406 Everett home.

Janet had a strangely similar story to the house on Everett, indicating this home as also having been constructed utilizing some remnants from the burned Steunenberg house. This home reportedly had an outside stairwell that led to a second story consisting of a turret. And yep, it too had a fire that destroyed the upstairs. The home was recently sold and an inspection of the attic showed evidence of a previous fire. Adding to the interest is that Janet's aunt, who lived here for quite a number of years, was Elaine C. Leppert, a local Caldwell librarian and co-author of Early Caldwell Through Photographs. As I told Janet, I have three copies of the book, one that remains an arms length away from where I am typing this blog post. I use the book very frequently for reference when researching Caldwell photographs.

Detail of the turret on the original Steunenberg home at 16th & Dearborn.
 Above is a closer view of the turret with a small balcony and a door to the inside room.

From another photo of 1417 Filmore Street showing left front porch/corner area. Courtesy of Jackie Mills.
Notice the window on the left is at a 45 degree angle rather than a 90 degree corner.

Detail of the left front corner/porch area of the Steunenberg home.
The Steunenberg home, with the circular design of the front porch, entrance and turret, had a number of windows set at similar angles. A little hard to see, but scroll up and then down between the windows on the left side of the Steunenberg house and the Filmore Street home above it. You can make your own comparisons.

So what does all this mean? Two homes, same neighborhood, both allegedly built with some salvaged pieces from the front of the Steunenberg house, including the second story turret and both having had fires that destroyed the turrets, upstairs and leaving both as single level homes.

So one or the other (or maybe both?) of these homes have or had a piece of the original Steunenberg residence. Early photographs of either house showing what allegedly were second story turrets would certainly be helpful. I am hoping someone has more information or photos.

I will no doubt scout out these homes a little closer when I visit Caldwell again—maybe even knock on a couple doors. Perhaps the current residents will see this post and contact me directly. Does the partially burned Steunenberg home equate to two homes, two turrets, two fires?  A lot of coincidences. If no more information surfaces, we may need to call in the local Idaho Ghostbusters on this one. Something fishy is going on and taking a piece of the Steunenberg house from where Harry Orchard prowled the grounds before brutally killing Frank may not have been a good idea.

Should you know and/or find other information about any of the homes mentioned above, please click below on "comments" to this post or email me privately at: john.t.richards@sbcglobal.net
  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Update: Brenda Steunenberg Richards returns to Jefferson School, Walla Walla, WA

Another update to a previous post. As I go through photographs and other items you can figure "Update" will become a regular feature on this blog from time to time.

Click on the link below.

Sunday, December 2, 2012
Jefferson School, Walla Walla, WA...Brenda Steunenberg Richards...circa 1924...and again in 1966.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Update: Mansion Identified by a reader

Check out the update to a previous post. Thanks to a reader, we have identified a mansion shown in one of the Real Photo Postcards.

Go to:
Saturday, June 22, 2013-Boise Idaho Real Photo Postcards

TRIAL OF HAYWOOD FOR MURDER of GOV. STEUNENBERG

Click on the pic or SPOTLIGHTS to use the viewer and for more of my FOLD3 items.

http://www.fold3.com/spotlight/42810/trial_of_haywood/

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Real Labor Day 1866

Although we celebrate today as Labor Day, historically it is May 1st that is sometimes characterized as the "Real Labor Day." As related to labor, I seem to be exerting a minimal amount of it right now. 

Here is a partial re-post from a previous years entry:

Photos from collection of John T. Richards
So does anyone know the origins of May Day and its connections to the labor movement, Bill Haywood and ultimately to the trial and events in Idaho? May Day is sometimes referred to as the "Real Labor Day" as it was on May 1, 1886 that marches began in the streets of Chicago in support of the eight-hour work day.

"The 1886 Haymarket riots, trials, and executions made a deep impression on Haywood inspiring, he would later say, his life of radicalism. The Pullman railroad strikes of 1893 further strengthened Haywood's interest in the labor movement. Then in 1896, while working a silver mine in Idaho, Haywood listened to a speech by Ed Boyce, President of the Western Federation of Miners. Haywood immediately signed up as a WFM member and by 1900 became a member of the organization's executive board."
--From William D. Haywood, Famous American Trials, Bill Haywood Trial 1907

(Half of Haywood's ashes were entombed at the Haymarket Monument in Chicago). jr
  
May Day - the Real Labor Day



Saturday, June 28, 2014

May Day Parade in Caldwell, Idaho circa 1906-1910?

For a mere few bucks, I purchased this nice old photo taken in Caldwell, Idaho, perhaps circa 1906-1910. The location is near the intersection of 7th & Main Streets. We see the Saratoga Hotel with a crowd of parade watchers on the balcony over the entryway and to the left across the street we get a peek of the Caldwell Bank & Trust
The photo looks to be from one of the many parades that took place down Main Street—but which one and when? Let's take a closer look. We see Main Street is still dirt but the interurban tracks are in evidence which would take us to about 1907.
Who is Dr. M. Nichter, Veterinary Surgeon? I have not found much of anything on this gentleman nor spotted any other photos in Early Caldwell Through Photographs, Canyon County A Treasure of Land and Its People (V. 1&2) or the Nichter name in any of various Idaho reference books. Help me out here if you can. Thanks to Jenny, the friendly seller of this photo, we do have a couple more clues. It seems Dr. Nichter crossed paths with Jenny's Great Uncle Walter. Here's her description of their connection:

"Offered for sale is a vintage PHOTOGRAPH by Hildreth Studios Caldwell, Ida. I am including copies of census records and other documents pertaining to the man in the photo. He is in a parade (note people watching from balcony) driving a wagon with 2 horses and advertising DR. M. NICHTER VETERINARY SURGEON.  Mr. Nichter, whose parents were born in Germany, is wearing a dashing black top hat. Matt Nichter was born in about 1872 in Indiana and remained there until after the 1900 census where he is found in Wea, Tippecanoe, Indiana where his occupation is listed as a "Horse Trader". It must have been about this time that he met my Great Uncle, Walter Dispannett, also from a family of horse traders. Walter drove his first harness race in 1907 at the age of 21. By 1910, Mr. Nichter had moved west and was living in Caldwell Ward 2, Canyon County, Idaho and listed his occupation as a "Vet Surgeon". He married April 7, 1919 to May Sullivan in Payette, Idaho but by 1920, she is no longer in the picture as he is listed as a boarder in the James Sively household on Blain Street in Caldwell, Idaho. On various census's, he is listed as a widower and divorced so I don't know what happened to May. After 1920, he moves to the State of Washington where he appears on the census records in 1930 and 1940 in Yakima County. He dies in Yakima, Washington October 2, 1944 at the age of 72. This information led me to assume this picture was taken while he still lived in Idaho between his arrival in Idaho after the 1900 census and his leaving before the 1930 census. He must have sent it to his old pal, Walt Dispannett, as he came from items I inherited from Great Uncle Walter. Please examine the photos and ask questions before bidding. It may be that a local historian in Caldwell may be able to date the photo exactly from town records of when the parade took place."—Jenny
On that 2nd floor outdoor balcony over the Saratoga entrance we see a party of onlookers. Anyone you know? I don't see any Steunenberg's. Although pretty obvious, we know this photo is at least pre-1923 as the remodeling and 3rd floor addition to the Saratoga has not yet been done.
Well here's a clue. To the immediate right of the Saratoga entrance, we see the business is a "Barber Shop" as indicated on the window and by a barber pole to the right. I believe the storefront was once the Caldwell Forwarding Company office and later H.H. Jones Furniture & Undertaking but not sure the time period. In the window, but difficult to make out, is a advertising poster. The first three lines are something like: "Watch May Day, .....on 1, May, Caldwell Idaho" or similar. So I am figuring this is in fact a May 1st—May Day Parade but don't yet know the exact year.
Over to the left we get just a peek of the Caldwell Bank & Trust and maybe someone will recognize this fella standing in the crowd. I see a couple shadows in the windows of the bank but probably not Frank, as I am guessing this photo is post assassination but perhaps around the time of the Haywood trial. Frank's brother, A.K. Steunenberg, may have passed away already too.
The photo is by Hildreth Studio of Caldwell, IDA. I have seen the same name and logo but searching for specifics on the photographer and when the studio existed.

As I just received the photograph today, I have barely begun to search Idaho records but maybe someone out there can add to the information so far. If you have more clues or knowledge about this photo please let us know. You can click on comments or send an email to: john.t.richards@sbcglobal.net 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A collection of Idaho news clippings & political notes from an A .D. Johnson of Wallace Idaho, 1906

Was digging through the archives (fancy name for my closet) this morning looking for something else but ran across this tattered old notebook. I had picked it up somewhere, maybe eBay, a couple years back but had not yet looked at it very carefully until now.
Mostly it is a collection of news clippings pertaining to the 1906 elections, with emphasis on Idaho, Gooding, Borah, Taft, Bryan, etc. The clippings are from all over but quite a bit from The Idaho Statesman. Of course Frank's assassination, labor and capital, and the "extradition", incarceration and impending trial of Haywood, Pettibone and Moyer were influencing the debate.  
The notebook comes from an A.D. Johnson of Wallace, Idaho. I have not yet done an extensive search but if if you have any information on Mr. Johnson I would love to hear from you.
For now, I am scanning the index portion and will add more pages down the road. As you can see, the notebook is pretty fragile and so I may not be able to get everything scanned if it would cause further damage. Some items are missing and the loose newspaper pages are oversize for my scanner. Nice nearly full page from The Coeue d'Alene Sun (date trimmed off but would be 1906) and one from The Idaho Daily Statesman 11/3/1906.
I will be taking my time as have to do a little conservation work, get the larger articles unfolded and protected and decide how best to preserve some of these other pages.
I see "Steunenburg" [sic] by the #14 entry on this page. Check back as I may add more to this post or will do a follow-up with additional images later. If you see something in the index of particular interest just give a holler and I will check it out for you.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Idaho Statesman Top 50 Stories — 1907 — 'Trial of the Century' By Dan Popkey

From Fold3.com

From today's (6/8/2014) Idaho Statesman:
For 11 weeks in the summer of 1907, a murder-conspiracy trial that embodied violent conflict between labor and business was front-page news across the country and in Europe....click here for the rest of the story.

Idaho Statesman link to scans of original editions showing front pages/headlines and stories.
"Ex-Governor Steunenberg Falls Victim To Dynamiters"
"Orchard Is Sentenced To Be Hanged On Friday, May 15"
And more: Stories about Steunenberg killing, Big Bill Haywood trial, Orchard trials

Frank Steunenberg on Fold3

Saturday, June 7, 2014

"Conversion of Harry Orchard - Turning a Criminal Into A Christian"

Caldwell's 1st SDA Church 1909
If you are receiving this as an email notification, the formatting may be rather scrambled. Come to the blog for better viewing (at least I hope it's better!).

I will get to the point of the title of this post in a minute. First let me give a little family related Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) history. As some of you know, the SDA church played a significant role in early Steunenberg history. We still have a few kinfolk who are SDA's. Much of our more readily known SDA history began when my great grandma, Eveline "Belle" Steunenberg, left the Presbyterian Church to join a small and newly established SDA church in Caldwell, ID. 

From Big Trouble:
"The community's general air of well-being was reflected in the bustling jollity of Caldwell's holiday festivities, formally ushered in on Saturday, December 23, with Christmas exercises at three downtown churches. The most impressive were those at the Presbyterian Church, the house of worship that attracted many of Caldwell's leading citizens. Belle Steunenberg had stood proudly among its founders, a teacher in its Sunday School, a doyenne of the congregation, a community leader 'jeweled with Christian graces,' until her inexplicable defection to Caldwell's tiny eight-member Adventist Church when it was inaugurated a year before—an act of such breathtaking betrayal it had left a strong residue of resentment in the front pews."
Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas


However, the family SDA association actually began quite a few years earlier in Walla Walla, WA with the grandparents and great grandparents of  Francis Beardsley Wood, my grandmother, who would marry Julian Steunenberg in 1906.

(Right) From my mother's (& her mother Frances Wood Steunenberg's) copy of 60 Years of Progress - Walla Walla College (1951-52). Stephen and Lois Babcock-Maxson (top) and J. Franklin and Carolyn Maxson-Wood (below)—my great great great and great great grandparents.

My grandparents Julian and Frances Steunenberg were life long SDA's and we visited them frequently during the years. Although never "preachy" and always accommodating, they did not talk a whole lot about the SDA, but we learned to respect the Sabbath and various SDA practices. For example, being a frequent visitor to grandma's kitchen, I always remember those funny Loma Linda can goods in the pantry. We laugh about it today as one of my sons is vegetarian and my daughter is vegan. I am still a carnivore of sorts but to a much lesser degree. We all eat more healthy these days and little did we realize that grandma and grandpa Steunenberg were far ahead of us in that regard. Years later we further learned the value of a vegan diet from Loreen Steunenberg Dinwiddie.




Re-enactment (Left) at Fort Walla Walla Museum of pioneers Carolyn Wood, husband J. Franklin Wood and her parents Stephen and Lois Maxson.

I cannot recall grandma and grandpa ever speaking of Harry Orchard. My mother always said that during her youth, Orchard, and Frank's assassination, were clearly not topics of conversation within the family.

Although I will always have the utmost love and respect for my SDA friends and family, and great grandma Belle, I do have a different view when it comes to the glorification of a mass murderer through the years and Orchard's alleged Christian conversion. I have shared thoughts on Orchard before and they have not changed appreciably over the years.


Here is an excerpt from A Good Hanging Spoiled written by me some years ago:
"In terms of Orchard's much debated religious conversion and whether it was genuine or contrived — I have always viewed it as a moot point, as he will be judged by a far greater entity then this mere mortal. Perhaps it was Charles "Pete" Steunenberg, brother of the fallen governor, who found the perfect blend of religion and punishment. Pete said something to the effect that if Harry Orchard had found religion then the sure-fire way to guarantee he kept it was to keep him right there in the Idaho penitentiary! His letter published in the Idaho Statesmen raised a public outcry and served to snuff out a near successful attempt by Gooding, Hawley and others to obtain Orchard's release."

"One matter on which much of our family probably does agree is the post-trial treatment of Orchard during the long years he spent at the Idaho penitentiary. He became a trusty, had his own cabin outside the prison walls, was given freedom to roam about as he pleased, and was photographed with governors and their children and grandchildren. As he grew older, Orchard was written about and pictured in the press as the nice old grandfatherly type. I cannot think of any mass murderer ever receiving such favorable treatment in the history of the American prison system! One can argue whether Orchard should or should not have swung from the gallows, but to go from a wanted poster to a poster child for Idaho was and is a tough pill to swallow for our family and friends. Frank Steunenberg never had his opportunity to grow old or to enjoy being a grandfather to my mother Brenda or his other grandchildren. Were it not for that dastardly deed of Harry Orchard on the evening of December 30th 1905, he would have most likely lived to see some of his great grandchildren—perhaps even this one."
John T. Richards
2007

The following is a view expressed by a great grandson of Orchard:  
"For years, I've researched the history that surrounded my great grandfather, Albert Horsley, aka Harry Orchard. In discovering that a documentary has been produced, I again find it sad that commentary surrounding Harry Orchard and his deeds forgets that there is a side to this story that fails to mention the pain and decimation that has affected our family. Harry Orchard destroyed the lives of his Wife and Daughter in Canada, and the scars that he inflicted erased any joy and happiness that these two people might have enjoyed during their lifetimes. He destroyed their livelihood when he burned down their cheese factory in Canada and added insult to their lives by running off with an other women, leaving them penniless. While I did not know my Great Grandmother, I am told that she was a hollow bitter woman whom no one enjoyed being around. Her bitterness affected my Grandmother deeply, and I never once remember her smiling. While the Stuenenburg family lost a great member of their family on December 5th 1905 in a terrible event perpetrated upon them by my Great Grandfather, Harry Orchard also destroyed his own family, people just as innocent as the Stuenenburgs. My Great Grandmother and Grandmother refused to discuss my Great Grandfather in any terms other than to mention that he had left them. It was only after my Grandmother had passed away that we found an obituary of Harry Orchard in her belongings and discovered the history of Harry Orchard. Learning that you are only a generation or two away from a mass murderer isn't a family history that you are proud of."

"As I am an atheist I was further frustrated to learn that a religious organization holds Harry Orchard up as an example of the transforming power of God's Forgiveness. This is almost too much to tolerate. Harry Orchard was a monster, plain and simple. No higher power is going to judge him. He spent his days in Jail for the most part in relative comfort, and thanks to the Seventh Day Adventists, as a semi-celebrity. He should have lost his life, as should his three co-conspirators, at the end of a noose."
Larry Taylor, June 15, 2010—From Assassination; Idaho's Trial of the Century-Feedback:

And here is a 1983 article from the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin about "Uncle Frank", the youngest child of Frank and Belle Steunenberg. Uncle Frank was about 5 years old at the time of his father's assassination. He graduated from Walla Walla College in 1924.

September 4, 1983
"I want the world to know that when this incident is mentioned I want them to be aware of the real hero of this story: my father, instead of the criminal who killed him."—Frank W. Steunenberg

So all the above leads me to the article and cover photo below of  Harry Orchard from a hard copy of Adventist Review. Just below the photo is a link to the online version of the same magazine and article. You can find all the references online that are not in the hard copy version.

I learned of the upcoming article when Sandra Blackmer, Feature Editor of Adventist Review, contacted me regarding use of some photographs she had seen on this blog. As was the case at the time of the Haywood trial, Harry Orchard continues to elicit many different viewpoints, all of which I respect and welcome. I am happy to provide photographs and information—even where viewpoints might differ.

Click on this link for the online article:
Conversion of Harry Orchard - Turning a Criminal Into A Christian
Now, some 110 plus years later, the discussion and debate continues. The article provides an interesting and already familiar SDA viewpoint and comes with an excellent list of references available online. I was pleased to see at least cursory attention given to Belle Steunenberg's role (as controversial as it remains) and acknowledgement of the destruction and suffering caused by Orchard.

Jim Nix, Director of the Ellen G. White Estate at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, wrote the original article for a presentation he had put together a couple years ago and had asked at that time if he could use some photographs. I want to also thank Sandra Blackmer, Adventist Review Editor, for requesting permission to utilize my photographs on this occasion and for our always friendly and interesting contacts. I welcome them anytime.

One other little tidbit related to Jim, I believe he also bought a copy of Harry Orchard, the Man God Made Again, from me on eBay three years or so ago. That was before Jim and I had direct contact a year or so later. If I had known, I might have written a few friendly comments on the inside cover and signed my name to it! Thank you again Jim and Sandra for your recent and past contacts and for continuing the discussion.
  
Other Links:
Click here for references from the Web version of the above article

A Public Silence Broken
The Murderer Harry Orchard's Forgotten Family by Jan Boles

My Grandpa Julian at Walla Walla College circa 1905

Dormitory Students & Julian at Walla Walla College circa 1905 

Saturday, March 22, 2008-Brenda Steunenberg Richards-The Graduate-Class of 1936-Honorary Diploma September 2004

Sunday, April 20, 2008-Steunenberg's and Religion

Saturday, September 13, 2008-Mrs. Steunenberg Pardons Slayer Of Her Husband

Saturday, December 29, 2007-Letters from Assassin Harry Orchard

"Just past 7:30 p.m., he gasped three or four times, like a man trying to catch his breath, and muttered something unintelligible. As Will leaned closer, trying to hear those last syllables, the governor sank back and died.  'Frank died in my arms', Will wrote a sister in Iowa, 'and I hope the fellow that killed him will die in my arms, only in a different manner.'" —Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas
(*Will Steunenberg, brother of the slain governor).


Left: Frank—probably circa early 1890's before he became governor.