Harry Orchard (Killed Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg)

Photo of Harry Orchard

Burial Date: April 19, 1954
Location: Section C-8-1

The bomb slayer of a score of men in mine labor violence at the turn of the century, died and was buried at Morris Hill Cemetery after nearly 50 years of imprisonment. He was 88 years old.

A trustee who was permitted to live outside the Idaho State Penitentiary for years, Orchard was brought back inside the walls when he suffered a stroke in 1953. He became bedfast for three months then lapsed into a coma one week before he died in the prison hospital.

His career as a killer ended with the dynamite slaying of former Idaho Governor, Frank Steunenberg at Caldwell on December 30, 1905 and his confession led to one of the most celebrated trials of the early twentieth century. He was the last survivor of the famous participants in this trial - Clarence E. Darrow, William E. Borah and William D. (Big Bill) Haywood.

Steunenberg incurred the wrath of the Western Federation of Miners Union when he called in federal troops to quell labor violence in the north Idaho mining district in 1899. Unmanageable miners were herded into bullpens, but Orchard escaped this confinement by hiking over the hills to Montana. He became a vagabond dynamiter, killing mine owners, non-union men and public officials who opposed the federation in California, Colorado and Idaho.

Haywood, Secretary Treasurer of the union; Charles Moyer, President, and G. A. Pettibone, Director, were arrested in Denver on secretly drawn extradition warrants and brought to Boise. The State and U.S. Supreme Courts held that although their arrest and transportation might have been illegal, they had to stand trial for murder once they were in Idaho.

Darrow, later to become famous as a defense attorney, assisted in their defense while Borah, who had just been elected to the U. S. Senate, was a special prosecutor.

Haywood and Pettibone were acquitted and the charge against Moyer was dropped. Haywood later fled to Russia to avoid prosecution for seditious conspiracy. He died there in 1928 and is buried in the Kremlin.

After the trial, Orchard pleaded guilty and was sentenced to hang. His sentence later was commuted to life. He was converted to Christianity soon after his arrest, and in recent years wrote a book in collaboration with Seventh Day Adventist church officials. It was titled "Harry Orchard: The Man God Made Again".

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