Murder of Frank Steunenberg

Murder of Frank Steunenberg


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In 1899 Idaho was hit by a series of industrial disputes. The governor, Frank Steunenberg, took a tough line and declared martial law and asked President William McKinley to send federal troops to help him in his fight with the trade union movement. During the dispute over a thousand trade unionists and their supporters were rounded up and kept in stockades without trial.

The unions felt betrayed as they had mainly supported his campaign to become governor. Activists were particularly angry about Steunenberg's attempts to justify his actions: "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."

Frank Steunenberg retired from office and on 30th December, 1905, he went out for a walk. On his return, when he pulled a wooden slide that opened the gate to his side door, it triggered a bomb, that killed him.

James McParland, from the Pinkerton Detective Agency, was called in to investigate the murder. McParland was convinced from the beginning that the leaders of the Western Federation of Miners had arranged the killing of Steunenberg. McParland arrested Harry Orchard, a stranger who had been staying at a local hotel. In his room they found dynamite and some wire.

McParland helped Orchard to write a confession that he had been a contract killer for the WFM, assuring him this would help him get a reduced sentence for the crime. In his statement, Orchard named William Hayward (general secretary of WFM) and Charles Moyer (president of WFM). He also claimed that a union member from Caldwell, George Pettibone, had also been involved in the plot. These three men were arrested and were charged with the murder of Steunenberg.

Charles Darrow, a man who specialized in defending trade union leaders, was employed to defend Hayward, Moyer and Pettibone. The trial took place in Boise, the state capital. It emerged that Harry Orchard already had a motive for killing Steunenberg, blaming the governor of Idaho, for destroying his chances of making a fortune from a business he had started in the mining industry.

During the three month trial, the prosecutor was unable to present any information against Hayward, Moyer and Pettibone except for the testimony of Orchard. William Hayward, Charles Moyer and George Pettibone were all acquitted. Harry Orchard, because he had provided evidence against the other men, received life imprisonment rather than the death penalty. Orchard died in prison in 1954.

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.

For three hours and a half today Harry Orchard sat in the witness chair at the Haywood trial and recited a history of crimes and bloodshed, the like of which no person in the crowded courtroom had ever imagined. Not in the whole range of "Bloody Gulch" literature will there be found anything that approaches a parallel to the horrible story so calmly and smoothly told by this self-possessed, imperturbable murderer witness.

Orchard in his first day on the stand told the details of these crimes. In 1906 he with another man placed a bomb in the Vindicator Mine at Cripple Creek, Colorado, that exploded and killed two men. Later he informed the officials of the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad of a plot of the Western Federation to below up one of their trains, because he had not received money for work done for the federation. He watched the residence of Governor Peabody of Colorado and planned his assassination by shooting. This was postponed for reasons of policy. He shot and killed a deputy, Lyle Gregory, in Denver. He planned and with another man executed the blowing up of the railway station at the Independence Mine at Independence, Colorado which killed fourteen men. He tried to poison Fred Bradley, manager of the Sullivan and Bunk Hill mine, then living in San Francisco, by putting strychnine into his milk when it was left at his door in the morning. This failed, and in November, 1904, he arranged a bomb which blew Bradley into the street when he opened his door in the morning.

Orchard spoke in a soft, purring voice, marked by a slight Canadian accent, and except for the first few minutes that he was on the stand he went through his awful story as undisturbed as if he were giving the account of a May Day festival. When he said, "and then I shot him," his manner and tone were as matter-of-fact as if the words had been "and then I bought a drink."

There was nothing theatrical about the appearance on the stand of this witness, upon whose testimony the whole case against Haywood, Moyer, and the other leaders of the Western Federation of Miners is based. Only once or twice was there a dramatic touch. It was a horrible, revolting, sickening story, but he told it as simply as the plainest narration of the most ordinary incident of the most humdrum existence. He was neither a braggart nor a sycophant. He neither boasted of his fearful crimes nor sniveled in mock repentance.

Through all the story ran the names of the men for whom he worked and those who helped him in his wretched tasks. Haywood as the master. It was he who gave most of the orders. Pettibone, too, gave directions, furnished money, and once started out as if to help, but made excuse and turned back. That was in the Gregory murder. Haywood was the source of the money. Even what Pettibone gave him came from Haywood. Moyer he named occasionally, but not often. Moyer knew of some of the crimes, for he talked to Orchard about them and joined in Haywood's declaration that this or that "was a fine job."

But Haywood was the master, with Pettibone as the chief assistant, and then there were W. F. Davis, the old Coeur d'Alene comrade, and Sherman Parker and Charley Kennison of the district union, with W. B. Easterly Financial Secretary of Orchard's own union. Parker is dead now, shot a little while ago in Goldfield.

The defense professed to be pleased with the story as one that disproved itself. The prosecution, however, is sure it can be corroborated. Without question it produced a tremendous effect, and throughout its recital there ran a growing conviction of its truth.

Gentlemen, I sometimes think I am dreaming in this case. I sometimes wonder whether this is a case, whether here in Idaho or anywhere in the country, broad and free, a man can be placed on trial and lawyers seriously ask to take away the life of a human being upon the testimony of Harry Orchard. We have the lawyers come here and ask you upon the word of that sort of a man to send this man to the gallows, to make his wife a widow, and his children orphans--on his word. For God's sake, what sort of an honesty exists up here in the state of Idaho that sane men should ask it? Need I come here from Chicago to defend the honor of your state? A juror who would take away the life of a human being upon testimony like that would place a stain upon the state of his nativity--a stain that all the waters of the great seas could never wash away. And yet they ask it. You had better let a thousand men go unwhipped of justice, you had better let all the criminals that come to Idaho escape scot free than to have it said that twelve men of Idaho would take away the life of a human being upon testimony like that.

Why, gentlemen, if Harry Orchard were George Washington who had come into a court of justice with his great name behind him, and if he was impeached and contradicted by as many as Harry Orchard has been, George Washington would go out of it disgraced and counted the Ananias of the age.

I am sorry to say it, but it is true, because religious men have killed now and then, they have lied now and then. Of all the miserable claptrap that has been thrown into a jury for the sake of getting it to give some excuse for taking the life of a man, this is the worst. Orchard saves his soul by throwing the burden on Jesus, and he saves his life by dumping it onto Moyer, Haywood and Pettibone. And you twelve men are asked to set your seal of approval on it.

I don't believe that this man Orchard was ever really in the employ of anybody. I don't believe he ever had any allegiance to the Mine Owners Association, to the Pinkertons, to the Western Federation of Miners, to his family, to his kindred, to his God, or to anything human or divine. I don't believe he bears any relation to anything that a mysterious and inscrutable Providence has ever created. He was a soldier of fortune, ready to pick up a penny or a dollar or any other sum in any way that was easy to serve the mine owners, to serve the Western Federation, to serve the devil if he got his price, and his price was cheap.

Let me tell you, gentlemen, if you destroy the labor unions in this country, you destroy liberty when you strike the blow, and you would leave the poor bound and shackled and helpless to do the bidding of the rich. It would take this country back to the time when there were masters and slaves.

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

I hope that the trouble and the strife and the contention has been endured. Through brutality and bloodshed and crime has come the progress of the human race. I know they may be wrong in this battle or that, but in the great, long struggle they are right and they are eternally right, and that they are working for the poor and the weak. They are working to give more liberty to the man, and I want to say to you, gentlemen of the jury, you Idaho farmers removed from the trade unions, removed from the men who work in industrial affairs, I want to say that if it had not been for the trade unions of the world, for the trade unions of England, for the trade unions of Europe, the trade unions of America, you today would be serfs of Europe, instead of free men sitting upon a jury to try one of your peers. The cause of these men is right.

He (William Hayward) has fought many a fight, many a fight with the persecutors who are hounding him into this court. He has met them in many a battle in the open field, and he is not a coward. If he is to die, he will die as he has lived, with his face to the foe.

To kill him, gentlemen? I want to speak to you plainly. Mr. Haywood is not my greatest concern. Other men have died before him, other men have been martyrs to a holy cause since the world began. Wherever men have looked upward and onward, forgotten their selfishness, struggled for humanity, worked for the poor and the weak, they have been sacrificed. They have been sacrificed in the prison, on the scaffold, in the flame. They have met their death, and he can meet his if you twelve men say he must.

Gentlemen, you short-sighted men of the prosecution, you men of the Mine Owners' Association, you people who would cure hatred with hate, you who think you can crush out the feelings and the hopes and the aspirations of men by tying a noose around his neck, you who are seeking to kill him not because it is Haywood but because he represents a class, don't be so blind, don't be so foolish as to believe you can strangle the Western Federation of Miners when you tie a rope around his neck. Don't be so blind in your madness as to believe that if you make three fresh new graves you will kill the labor movement of the world. I want to say to you, gentlemen, Bill Haywood can't die unless you kill him. You have got to tie the rope. You twelve men of Idaho, the burden will be on you. If at the behest of this mob you should kill Bill Haywood, he is mortal. He will die. But I want to say that a hundred will grab up the banner of labor at the open grave where Haywood lays it down, and in spite of prisons, or scaffolds, or fire, in spite of prosecution or jury, these men of willing hands will carry it on to victory in the end.

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


Big Trouble: A Murder in a Small Western Town Sets off a Struggle for the Soul of America

After Idaho's former governor is blown up by a bomb at his garden gate at Christmastime 1905, America's most celebrated detective, Pinkerton James McParland, takes over the investigation. His daringly executed plan to kidnap the radical union leader "Big Bill" Haywood from Colorado to stand trial in Idaho sets the stage for a memorable courtroom confrontation between the flamboyant prosecutor, progressive senator William Borah, and the young defender of the dispossessed, Clarence Darrow.

"Big Trouble" captures the tumultuous first decade of the twentieth century, when capital and labor, particularly in the raw, acquisitive West, were pitted against each other in something close to class war.

Lukas paints a vivid portrait of a time and place in which actress Ethel Barrymore, baseball phenom Walter Johnson, and editor William Allen White jostled with railroad magnate E. H. Harriman, socialist Eugene V. Debs, gunslinger Charlie Siringo, and Operative 21, the intrepid Pinkerton agent who infiltrated Darrow's defense team. This is a grand narrative of the United States as it charged, full of hope and trepidation, into the twentieth century.


Frank Steunenberg

Frank Steunenberg, född 8 augusti 1861 i Keokuk, Iowa, död 30 december 1905 i Caldwell, Idaho, var en amerikansk politiker och publicist. Han var guvernör i delstaten Idaho 1897–1901. Han blev mördad av fackföreningsmedlemmen Harry Orchard.

Steunenberg var ansvarig utgivare för en lokaltidning i Iowa och flyttade 1887 till Idahoterritoriet där han skrev för Caldwell Tribune. Han skrev om lokala frågor, bland annat om bristen på ogifta kvinnor i Caldwell. I guvernörsvalet 1896 nominerades han av både demokraterna och populisterna. Valsegern var betydande. [ 1 ] Två år senare omvaldes han för ytterligare en tvåårig mandatperiod. [ 2 ]

År 1899 strejkade gruvarbetarna i Idaho. Steunenberg bad president William McKinley om federala trupper till delstaten. För att få slut på strejken blev över tusen fackföreningsmedlemmar anhållna utan rättegång. [ 3 ]

Steunenberg omkom i ett bombattentat fyra år efter att ha lämnat guvernörsämbetet. Harry Orchard dömdes till livstids fängelse för dådet. [ 4 ]


The Massacre of Black Sharecroppers That Led the Supreme Court to Curb the Racial Disparities of the Justice System

The sharecroppers who gathered at a small church in Elaine, Arkansas, in the late hours of September 30, 1919, knew the risk they were taking. Upset about unfair low wages, they enlisted the help of a prominent white attorney from Little Rock, Ulysses Bratton, to come to Elaine to press for a fairer share in the profits of their labor. Each season, landowners came around demanding obscene percentages of the profits, without ever presenting the sharecroppers detailed accounting and trapping them with supposed debts.

“There was very little recourse for African-American tenant farmers against this exploitation instead there was an unwritten law that no African-American could leave until his or her debt was paid off,” writes Megan Ming Francis in Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State. Organizers hoped Bratton’s presence would bring more pressure to bear through the courts. Aware of the dangers – the atmosphere was tense after racially motivated violence in the area – some of the farmers were armed with rifles.

At around 11 p.m. that night, a group of local white men, some of whom may have been affiliated with local law enforcement, fired shots into the church. The shots were returned, and in the chaos, one white man was killed. Word spread rapidly about the death. Rumors arose that the sharecroppers, who had formally joined a union known as the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America (PFHUA) were leading an organized “insurrection” against the white residents of Phillips County.

Governor Charles Brough called for 500 soldiers from nearby Camp Pike to, as the Arkansas Democrat reported on Oct 2, “round up” the “heavily armed negroes.” The troops were “under order to shoot to kill any negro who refused to surrender immediately.” They went well beyond that, banding together with local vigilantes and killing at least 200 African-Americans (estimates run much higher but there was never a full accounting). And the killing was indiscriminate—men, women and children unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity were slaughtered. Amidst the violence, five whites died, but for those deaths, someone would have to be held accountable.

Out of this tragedy, known as the Elaine massacre, and its subsequent prosecution, would come a Supreme Court decision that would upend years of court-sanctioned injustice against African-Americans and would secure the right of due process for defendants placed in impossible circumstances.

Ulysses Simpson Bratton, attorney, Little Rock, Ark., ca. 1890 (Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History and Art, Central Arkansas Library System)

Despite its impact, little about the carnage in Elaine was unique during the summer of 1919. It was part of a period of vicious reprisals against African-American veterans returning home from World War I. Many whites believed that these veterans (including Robert Hill, who co-founded PFHUA) posed a threat as they claimed greater recognition for their rights at home. Even though they served in large numbers, black soldiers “realized over the course of the war and in the immediate aftermath that their achievement and their success actually provoked more rage and more vitriol than if they had utterly failed,” says Adriane Lentz-Smith, associate professor of history at Duke University and author of Freedom Struggles: African Americans and World War I.

During the massacre, Arkansan Leroy Johnston, who had had spent nine months recovering in a hospital from injuries he suffered in the trenches of France – was pulled from a train shortly after returning home and was shot to death alongside his three brothers. In places like Phillips County, where the economy directly depended on the predatory system of sharecropping, white residents were inclined to view the activities of Hill and others as the latest in a series of dangerous agitations.

In the days after the bloodshed in Elaine, local media coverage continued to fan the flames daily, reporting sensational stories of an organized plot against whites. A seven-man committee formed to investigate the killings. Their conclusions all too predictable: the following week they issued a statement in the Arkansas Democrat declaring the gathering in Elaine a “deliberately planned insurrection if the negroes against the whites” led by the PFHUA, whose founders used “ignorance and superstition of a race of children for monetary gains.”

The paper claimed every individual who joined was under the understanding that “ultimately he would be called upon to kill white people.” A week later, they would congratulate themselves on the whole episode and their ability to restore order confidently claiming that not one slain African-American was innocent. “The real secret of Phillips county’s success…” the newspaper boasted, is that “the Southerner knows the negro through several generations of experience."

To counter this accepted narrative, Walter White, a member of the NAACP whose appearance enabled him to blend in with white residents, snuck into Phillips County by posing as a reporter. In subsequent articles, he claimed that “careful examination…does not reveal the ‘dastardly’ plot which has been charged” and that indeed the PFHUA had no designs on an uprising. He pointed out that the disparity in death toll alone belied the accepted version of events. With African-Americans making up a significant majority of local residents, “it appears that the fatalities would have been differently proportioned if a well-planned murder plot had existed among the Negroes,” he wrote in The Nation. The NAACP also pointed out in their publication The Crisis that in the prevailing climate of unchecked lynchings and mob violence against African-Americans, “none would be fool enough” to do so. The black press picked up the story and other papers began to integrate White’s counter-narrative into their accounts, galvanizing support for the defendants.

The courts were another matter altogether. Dozens of African-Americans became defendants in hastily convened murder trials that used incriminating testimony coerced through torture, and 12 men were sentenced to death. Jury deliberations lasted just moments. The verdicts were a foregone conclusion – it was clear that had they not been slated for execution by the court, they mob would have done so even sooner.

“You had 12 black men who were clearly charged with murder in a system that was absolutely corrupt at the time – you had mob influence, you had witness tampering, you had a jury that was all-white, you had almost certainly judicial bias, you had the pressure of knowing that if you were a juror in this case that you would almost certainly not be able to live in that town. if you decided anything other than a conviction,” says Michael Curry, an attorney and chair of the NAACP Advocacy and Policy Committee. No white residents were tried for any crime.

The outcome, at least initially, echoed an unyielding trend demonstrated by many a mob lynching: for African-American defendants, accusation and conviction were interchangeable.

Nonetheless, the NAACP launched a series of appeals and challenges that would inch their way through Arkansas state courts and then federal courts for the next three years, an arduous series of hard-fought victories and discouraging setbacks that echoed previous attempts at legal redress for black citizens. “It’s a learning process for the NAACP,” says Lentz-Smith. “[There is] a sense of how to do it and who to draw on and what sort of arguments to make.” The cases of six of the men would be sent for retrial over a technicality, while the other six defendants – including named plaintiff Frank Moore – had their cases argued before the United States Supreme Court. The NAACP’s legal strategy hinged on the claim that the defendants’ 14th Amendment right to due process had been violated.

In February 1923, by a 6-2 margin, the Court agreed. Citing the all-white jury, lack of opportunity to testify, confessions under torture, denial of change of venue and the pressure of the mob, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote for the majority that “if the case is that the whole proceeding is a mask – that counsel, jury and judge were swept to the fatal end by an irresistible wave of public passion,” then it was the duty of the Supreme Court to intervene as guarantor of the petitioners’ constitutional rights where the state of Arkansas had failed.

The verdict marked a drastic departure from the Court’s longstanding hands-off approach to the injustices happening in places like Elaine. “This was a seismic shift in how our Supreme Court was recognizing the rights of African-Americans,” says Curry. After a long history of having little recourse in courts, Moore vs. Dempsey (the defendant was the keeper of the Arkansas State Penitentiary) preceded further legal gains where federal courts would weigh in on high-profile due process cases involving black defendants, including Powell vs. Alabama in 1932, which addressed all-white juries, and Brown vs. Mississippi in 1936, which ruled on confessions extracted under torture.

Moore vs. Dempsey provided momentum for early civil rights lawyers and paved the way for later victories in the 󈧶s and 󈨀s. According to Lentz, “when we narrate the black freedom struggle in the 20th century, we actually need to shift our timeline and the pins we put on the timeline for the moments of significant breakthrough and accomplishments.” Despite Moore vs. Dempsey being relatively obscure, “if the U.S. civil rights movement is understood as an effort to secure the full social, political, and legal rights of citizenship, then 1923 marks a significant event,” writes Francis.

Elaine Defendants: S. A. Jones, Ed Hicks, Frank Hicks, Frank Moore, J. C. Knox, Ed Coleman and Paul Hall with Scipio Jones, State Penitentiary, Little Rock, Pulaski County, Ark. ca. 1925, (Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History and Art, Central Arkansas Library System)

The ruling also carried broad-ranging implications for all citizens in terms of federal intervention in contested criminal cases. “The recognition that the state had violated the procedural due process, and the federal courts actually weighing in on that was huge,” says Curry. “There was a deference that was being paid to state criminal proceedings, then this sort of broke that protection that existed for states.”

The sharecroppers that had gathered in Elaine had a simple goal: to secure a share in the profits gained from their work. But the series of injustices the events of that night unleashed would - through several years of tenacious effort - end up before the nation’s highest court and show that the longstanding tradition of declaring African-Americans guilty absent constitutional guarantees would no longer go unchallenged.


Hamer and Gault did not like the attention they received after killing Bonnie and Clyde

The highly publicized shootout brought Hamer the sort of widespread attention he despised. He said he would not attend the proposed Hamer-Gault Hero Day in Austin, and turned down all media offers to share his story of the Bonnie and Clyde investigation with the public.

Gault proved equally tight-lipped on the subject. He quietly served out the remainder of his years as captain of the Rangers&apos Company C division, with one profile in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal describing him as "taciturn as a turtle in a drought." He died in relative anonymity in December 1947.

Hamer, meanwhile, enjoyed a lucrative post-Ranger career as head of a private security company. He emerged for one final legendary lawman moment in 1948, when he accompanied Texas Senate hopeful Coke Stevenson into the town of Alice to investigate suspicions of voter fraud by Lyndon B. Johnson&aposs operatives, though LBJ would eventually win the seat. Hamer died in his sleep after suffering a heart attack on the night of July 10, 1955.


Murder of Frank Steunenberg - History

Overnights and Day Tour Pricing

Day tours will start April 3rd. DAY TOURS ARE CASH ONLY. Normal business hours Tuesday-Sunday 1-4pm last tour at 3:30 pm CLOSED MONDAYS, however we have to follow new temporary protocols for safety. No children under 7, masks are required and tours will be limited to 6-10 at a time for 15 minute time limits. You will be given further instruction when arriving at the house. We ask that one person checks in your group and then you wait in your vehicle as to keep with social distancing guidelines until its your turn. We apologize for any inconvenience, however it has to be this way for now. Overnights pricing is $428 for groups from 1 to 6 people, $75.00 each additional person. $200 non refundable deposit to be paid when you book a date, this deposit goes towards full amount due. Don't book until you can pay deposit.


GPS ADDRESS IS 508 e 2nd st. Villisca Iowa NEW RULES ADDED TO OVERNIGHTS PLEASE READ!

On a quiet residential street in this small town sits an old white frame house. On a dark evening, the absence of lights and sounds are the first indication to visitors that this house is different from the other homes that surround it. Upon closer inspection, you'll notice the doors and windows are tightly closed and covered. An outhouse in the backyard suggests that this house does not occupy a place in the 21st century but somehow belongs in another era or another story. A weather-beaten sign warns rather than welcomes. This is the "Murder House".


Murder of Frank Steunenberg - History

Bio: Martell, Frank (Murder Sentence - 1915)

Surnames: Martell, Schroeder, Williams, Gorman, Fischer, Lang

----Source: Colby Phonograph (Colby, Clark County, Wis.) 04/15/1915

Martell Held on Murder Charge

Held for Trial Without Bail at Next Term of the Circuit Court

The preliminary examination of Frank Martell, who at Mannville on April 3, shot and killed Charles Schroeder, his son-in-law, was concluded at Wausau Monday and he was bound over for trial in the circuit court on the charge of murder.

Schroeder&rsquos wife had left him and returned to the home of her father, where Schroeder went to have an interview with her. At the preliminary hearing, Frank Fischer, who lives near the Martell home, testified that on the afternoon of the tragedy he had watched Martell and Schroeder while they were in the Martell yard shortly before the shooting. He testified that Schroeder, after gesticulating for a while, took off his overcoat and hung it on a wood rack, then started toward the house. Martell went into the house and soon returned with a shot gun, and the witness heard him say, "Gol dern you, get out of here." After watching them for a short time Fischer went to the woods and later heard a shot. When informed that Martell had shot Schroeder, he and his father went to the Martell home. The elder Fischer had asked, "What have you got here?" and the answer made by Martell was, "A crazy man or a wild man, I don&rsquot know which to call it." Martell informed those present that he would give himself up and started toward Mannville.

The statement that Schroeder took his coat off after entering the Martell yard was corroborated by other witnesses.

Henry Lang, who conducts a store at Mannville, told of Martell coming up to his place after the tragedy and asking him to telephone for the officers. He said that Schroeder had stopped at his place in the afternoon, talked of his family troubles and said, "I hate to make the trip down there," indicating Martell&rsquos, and later left, going in that direction.--Stevens Point Daily Journal

----Source: Colby Phonograph (Colby, Clark County, Wis.) 06/03/1915

Three Years For Frank Martell

In circuit court this morning Frank Martell, who was recently found guilty of manslaughter in the third degree by a jury in circuit court, was this Tuesday forenoon sentenced to serve a term of three years in the state prison at Waupun, the third day of June of each year to be spent in solitary confinement.

It was expected that a formal motion for a new trial would be filed on behalf of Martell, but this was not done, the verdict being accepted and the defendant threw himself upon the mercy of the court.

Neither Martell or his attorney, P. A. Williams of Marshfield, made any plea or statement. District Attorney E. P. Gorman said he believed the jury had been lenient.

Martell gave no sign of emotion when the judgment was pronounced.--Wausau Record-Herald

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Homicide in Chicago 1870-1930

The years between 1870 and 1930 marked the emergence of Chicago as a dominant American city, undergoing some of the most dramatic and extensive social, political and economic changes in our national history. Against this backdrop we present a unique record – the Chicago Police Department Homicide Record Index – chronicling 11,000 homicides in the city during those years. Because these crimes became cases, these records are also the foundation for a study of courts and legal institutions. The police and their operations were inextricable from those they answered to, the mayor and alderman, ward politicians, and the citizens of Chicago. Thus the records offer an opportunity to study the rule of law, or its absence, and this theme is echoed throughout the various facets of the research conducted to date under the auspices of this Project.

Leigh Bienen, Senior Lecturer in the School of Law at Northwestern University and the Director of the Chicago Historical Homicide Project, and her colleagues created both a sequential text file and a quantitative database from these handwritten records. The first academic publications from this work are published in Northwestern University School of Law&rsquos Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 92, No.s 3 &frasl4. For our academic audience we provide this research, and both the case summaries and the coded quantitative database for your use and further research.

For the public, we invite you not only to interact with this searchable database, but also to explore some of the more fascinating aspects of the 25 cases highlighted here and to explore the historical context – with emphasis on the rule of law – of these crimes and cases.

This research and the development of this site is made possible through the generosity and support over several years of the Northwestern University School of Law faculty research funds, the Joyce Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the McCormick Foundation.


The spread of the Plague: Ireland

It is difficult to assess the affect of the plague in Ireland, because of the scarcity of manorial records and other sources. However, it is from Ireland that we get perhaps the most poignant testimony to the effect of the plague:

Plague stripped villages, cities, castles and towns of their inhabitants so thoroughly that there was scarcely anyone left alive in them. The pestilence was so contagious that those who touched the dead or the sick were immediately affected themselves and died, so that the penitent and confessor were carried together to the grave. Because of their fear and horror, men could hardly bring themselves to perform the pious and charitable acts of visiting the sick and burying the dead. Many died of boils, abscesses and pustules which erupted on the legs and in the armpits. Others died in frenzy, brought on by an affliction of the head, or vomiting blood. This amazing year was outside the usual order of things, exceptional in quite contradictory ways - abundantly fertile and yet at the same time sickly and deadly. It was very rare for just one person to die in a house, usually, husband, wife, children and servants all went the same way, the way of death.

And I, Brother John Clyn of the Friars Minor in Kilkenny, have written in this book the notable events which befell in my time, which I saw myself or have learned from men worthy of belief. So that notable deeds should not perish with time, and be lost from the memory of future generations, I, seeing these many ills, and that the whole world encompassed by evil, waiting among the dead for death to come, have committed to writing what I have truly heard and examined and so that the writing does not perish with the writer, or the work fail with the workman, I leave parchment for continuing the work, in case anyone should still be alive in the future and any son of Adam can escape this pestilence and continue the work thus begun.

Here the narrative breaks off and is followed by a note in another hand:


Anne Frank

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Anne Frank, in full Annelies Marie Frank, (born June 12, 1929, Frankfurt am Main, Germany—died February/March 1945, Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, near Hannover), Jewish girl whose diary of her family’s two years in hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands became a classic of war literature.

Why is Anne Frank significant?

Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager, wrote a diary of her family’s two years in hiding (1942–44) during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II, and the book—which was first published in 1947, two years after Anne’s death in a concentration camp—became a classic of war literature, personalizing the Holocaust.

What was Anne Frank like?

Through her diary, Anne Frank is shown to be insightful, humorous, and intelligent. Many entries involve typical adolescent issues—jealousy toward her sister annoyance with others, especially her mother and an increasing sexual awareness. Anne also discussed her hopes for the future, which included becoming a journalist or a writer.

How did Anne Frank die?

On August 4, 1944, Anne Frank’s family’s hiding place was discovered by the Gestapo, and she was taken to Auschwitz in Nazi-occupied Poland before being transferred to Bergen-Belsen in Germany. According to the Dutch government, Anne died during a typhus epidemic in March 1945. Other research suggests she might have perished in February that year.

Early in the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler, Anne’s father, Otto Frank (1889–1980), a German businessman, took his wife and two daughters to live in Amsterdam. In 1941, after German forces occupied the Netherlands, Anne was compelled to transfer from a public school to a Jewish one. On June 12, 1942, she received a red-and-white plaid diary for her 13th birthday. That day she began writing in the book: “I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.”

When Anne’s sister, Margot, was faced with deportation (supposedly to a forced-labour camp), the Franks went into hiding on July 6, 1942, in the backroom office and warehouse of Otto Frank’s food-products business. With the aid of a few non-Jewish friends, among them Miep Gies, who smuggled in food and other supplies, the Frank family and four other Jews—Hermann and Auguste van Pels and their son, Peter, and Fritz Pfeffer—lived confined to the “secret annex.” During this time, Anne wrote faithfully in her diary, recounting day-to-day life in hiding, from ordinary annoyances to the fear of capture. She discussed typical adolescent issues as well as her hopes for the future, which included becoming a journalist or a writer. Anne’s last diary entry was written on August 1, 1944. Three days later the annex was discovered by the Gestapo, which was acting on a tip from Dutch informers.

The Frank family was transported to Westerbork, a transit camp in the Netherlands, and from there to Auschwitz, in German-occupied Poland, on September 3, 1944, on the last transport to leave Westerbork for Auschwitz. Anne and Margot were transferred to Bergen-Belsen the following month. Anne’s mother died in early January, just before the evacuation of Auschwitz on January 18, 1945. It was established by the Dutch government that both Anne and Margot died in a typhus epidemic in March 1945, only weeks before the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, but scholars in 2015 revealed new research, including analysis of archival data and first-person accounts, indicating that the sisters might have perished in February 1945. Otto Frank was found hospitalized at Auschwitz when it was liberated by Soviet troops on January 27, 1945.

Friends who searched the hiding place after the family’s capture later gave Otto Frank the papers left behind by the Gestapo. Among them he found Anne’s diary, which was published as Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (originally in Dutch, 1947). Precocious in style and insight, it traces her emotional growth amid adversity. In it she wrote, “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are really good at heart.”

The Diary, which has been translated into more than 65 languages, is the most widely read diary of the Holocaust, and Anne is probably the best known of Holocaust victims. The Diary was also made into a play that premiered on Broadway in October 1955, and in 1956 it won both the Tony Award for best play and the Pulitzer Prize for best drama. A film version directed by George Stevens was produced in 1959. The play was controversial: it was challenged by screenwriter Meyer Levin, who wrote an early version of the play (later realized as a 35-minute radio play) and accused Otto Frank and his chosen screenwriters, Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, of sanitizing and de-Judaizing the story. The play was often performed in high schools throughout the world and was revived (with additions) on Broadway in 1997–98.

A new English translation of the Diary, published in 1995, contains material that was edited out of the original version, which makes the revised translation nearly one-third longer than the first. The Frank family’s hiding place on the Prinsengracht, a canal in Amsterdam, became a museum that is consistently among the city’s most-visited tourist sites.


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