Orchard Tells Story of Bomb
Placed It Under Steunenberg's Gate Where It Was Bound To Kill
FIRST ATTEMPT FAILED
Resumes His Recitation of Crimes Which He Says Were Suggested by Haywood
Tried to Kill Two Judges, Two Capitalists, and Colorado's Adjutant General
by Oscar King Davis
BOISE, Idaho, June 6--The longer Harry Orchard remains on the stand the stronger he becomes as a witness. His direct examination was concluded this afternoon after a four-hour continuation of the recital of horrors which he began yesterday. Then for half an hour Richardson went after him four bells, the whole crew at battle quarters, with decks cleared for action, guns cast loose, and ammunition served at every hoist, and as a contemplative deputy who heard it all said, as he stood on the Court House steps and watched Richardson going down after adjournment: "He never made a dent on him."
It was an enlivening attempt at impeachment that Richardson made, and coming after a day full of the most sombre and gruesome incidents, it opened the laughter valves all over the courtroom for two or three good round laughs. Then in the very midst of his attempt to show that no man wh o has confessed to twenty or thirty cold-blooded brutal murders is to be believed if he has previously run away with another man's wife or spun yarns to his murdering comrades about his youthful exploits. Richardson opened a door through which Senator Borah promptly walked to clinch the earlier story of intimacy between Pettibone and orchard, which the defense is bound to overthrow if it saves its case.
"Didn't you tell Pettibone you had been in the transport service and made a trip to the Phillippines?" he asked.
"I may have. I don't remember." said Orchard.
"Or that you had burned the factory after stealing all the cheese?"
"I may have."
"Or that you pitchforked your brother and ran away with another man's wife?"
"I may have. I don't remember."
"Didn't you tell Pettibone those things while you and he were talking over your boyhood exploits in a friendly way?
"When was that friendly conversation?" asked Borah, innocently, "just fix that date."
"It would have been in 1904." said Orchard. Richardson saw then what he had led up to, so did everybody else, including the jurors, but it was too late to back out and the cross-examination had the earlier story of intimacy between Pettibone and Orchard that it needs so earnestly to disprove.
A Tense Day
It was a tense and nerve-wearying day. Orchard had been taken back to the penitentiary last night for a good night's rest after his exhausting day in court. He was as fresh and fit this morning as if he had had no part at all in the distressing tale of yesterday, and it was evident whatever effect his story had had on anybody else connected with the trial, the telling of it had not disturbed his sleep.
He walked into the courtroom this morning with a strong, even, steady step, preceded by Ras Beemer and followed by two or three guards. His face was ruddy and his eyes clear. His voice when he spoke was steady and calm, and it was plain that he was quite at ease. There was a crowd in the room that filled every seat and left a row standing along the back wall.
Haywood was far from showing the composure of Orchard. His face was sallow and worn, and both manner and appearance betrayed the strain under which he is laboring. He took his old seat at the end of his lawyer's table, surrounded and half concealed by them. As soon as Orchard came in Haywood bent forward between Richardson and Darrow and began to stare at the man whose testimony it will be that sends him to the gallows if he goes.
Orchard glanced unconcernedly at Haywood, and then turned toward Hawley, ready to go on with his story. Haywood's wife and mother were both in court, seated near him. Both were nervous, and, with tense, wearied faces, looking first at one and then at the other of the two men, the central figures of this scene.
Orchard Begins Testimony
Neither of the Haywood children were in curt this morning, but came to the afternoon session Mrs. Steve Adams and Mrs. Pettibone apparently heard enough of the drunkenness and murdering exploits of their husbands yesterday, for neither of them came to get the completion of the tale to-day. Immediately after all connected with the trial were in their places the marvelous story was resumed.
As on yesterday, Orchard sat easily in the high witness chair and reeled off the narrative of his murderous deeds, unmoved and seemingly immovable. It was the same sort of tale exactly, in its continuation as in its beginning, with more variation of incident and difference now and then of dramatic quality. But that never affected the teller. He recounted the humdrum and the most extraordinary in the same soft, even voice, without excitement, without emotion.
There was no posing, no attempt at the theatrical, just a simple, plain recital of the most astounding story ever related in a courtroom. To-day, even more than yesterday, there ran throughout the narrative accounts of conversations with Haywood, Moyer, and Pettibone in which they planned the killing of this or that man whom they accused of standing in their way of their purposes, or of being antagonistic to the interests of the Western Federation of Miners. Often they talked of crime that had been committed or of attempts that had been made and had failed. Failures they discussed as they would have spoken of missed shots at billiards.
"Hard luck," was the chief comment, "too bad, better luck next time."
To kill a man was to "get rid of him." Or to "get him out of the way." "Murder" they seem to have held in aversion, but "assassination they took to with kindly feeling.
Again and again in his narrative Orchard used the words "they wanted me to go and see if I could not assassinate" Peabody or Moffatt, or Johnnie Neville, his old friend, or Sherman Bell, Judge Gabbert, or Judge Goddard, or whoever it might be who happened to be the focus of their animosity at the moment. And what hair-breadth escapes some of these men had! Orchard told yesterday of several attempts on the life of Governor Peabody of Colorado.
Peabody's Narrow Escape
This morning he recited the most dramatic incident in all his story, when he told of another effort to kill Peabody that came so near to success that a great sign of relief pervaded the courtroom when it was ended. He told how he had ‘Billy' Ackerman planted a bomb, made like that which blew up the "scabs" at Independence, and lay in wait to pull the wire that was to explode it when the Governor stepped on the ground where it was buried. They saw him leave his home and walk toward the bomb.
They gripped the wire ready to pull. But a single instant separated Peabody from death. But in that instant a lumbering coal wagon rolled out of an alley and on to the wire. They could not pull, and when the weight o the wagon was removed so that they could, Peabody was over the bomb and safe.
So it was with Chief Justice Gabbert. Orchard told how he saw the Jude leave his house and start for his accustomed path down to his office. He hurried ahead, and where the usual bomb had been buried, carefully fastened to the wire hook that led to the acid bottle which was to set off the dynamite, the pocketbook that was to be the lure. If Gabbert saw that lure lying squarely in his path and tried to pick it up, death would be the inevitable result, but something turned the Judge away out of the accustomed path which he had already entered into another, and it was "an innocent man," as Orchard described him, who tried to pick up the pocketbook and was blown to pieces.
Hour after hour the wondering intense crowd heard the story, molded all on the same lines, told all in the same simple, straightforward, convincing way. But toward the close there was a change. Only in an incidental fashion did it come out, but nevertheless it did appear that at last this human murder machine sickened of his terrible trade, he began to think and plan of the time when he would be through with his ghastly work. He wanted to secure a place to "hide" out when it was all over.
What made him think there would ever come such a time he did not disclose. From every talk he had with the directors of the grand scheme of assassination in which he was enlisted, there appeared only new names of those marked for slaughter, and added lists of victims yet to be dealt with.
Knew There Was an End
But somehow the idea grew up in his mind that there was an end for him of the bloody calling. He talked with Haywood and Pettibone about it, and when he was in Wallace, on his way to the last of his string of murders, he told Jack Simpkins of his hope to get a ranch somewhere out in this country where he could bury himself and get away from crime.
In all the talks with the overseers and architects of his work, which Orchard recounted both yesterday and to-day, Haywood stands out as the iron man, insatiable of blood, vindictive, savage, revengeful, who never thought of stopping and never reeked of consequences.
It was kill, kill, kill with him, kill and never cease. So, too, with Pettibone, who even on occasions went out to join in the execution of their murderous plans. He had no thought of anything but blood. Thee was no sign of weakness in him, and there was none in Haywood. It was Moyer who showed the only indication of softness in all the brutal story. Moyer had been in jail. He had been arrested times enough. His health was bad, and when after an absence from Denver he returned and found plans under way for murders there at home he interposed and forbade them.
"Go somewhere else," said Moyer. "Kill some other man. If anything is pulled off here I shall be arrested, and I have been in jail enough."
So they gave up the design on which they had been working and Haywood remembered Steunenberg.
"Go, get him." he ordered Orchard. "We have sent after him times enough and failed, now you get him. And the obedient murder machine did as he was told. It was the murder of Steunenberg that brought out the only sign of feeling Orchard has given in all his hours on the witness stand. That story shook him up. As he told it his voice grew lower and tremulous, and thee was a softness in his eyes that suggested once or twice the verge of a breakdown. But he carried it through, and in two minutes after it was ended was back in his old easy way, undisturbed as ever, talking of murder and blood letting.
"This is a better way than if he had been killed outright," said Haywood. "Now he'll be a living example."
"Living example of what?"
"Of the opposition he had made to the Federation of Miners," replied Orchard, as if surprised that such a question be asked. Adams was Steve Dixon then, married and keeping house. Orchard lived with the Adams-Dixons until Spring, when Steve got another job of murder and left the city. Meantime there was much talk with Haywood and Pettibone.
Haywood advised Orchard to lie very low so as not to be arrested, but bless you, Orchard never worried. He walked about the city mostly at night, it is true, but he never suffered from overconfinement to the house. They discussed plans for more murder, and Haywood said Adams had been trying to get Judge Gabbert.
That was in the Winter of 1904-05. Gabbert had decided against Moyer in the Telluride habeas corpus case, and, of course, his life was forfeited. there was no justice to be had in Colorado while such a villain as he continued to live.
"We watched his house some evenings with shotguns," said Orchard, and that was about the only shotgun episode of the crowded day.
"We worked around thee once in a while, but it was cold weather and we did not go out much. We never seen him." So Gabbert got away, thanks to the weather being unsuited for the pleasant trade of murder.
Peabody was making a contest for the Governorship in the Legislature then against Alva Adams, and Haywood was fearful that he would win.
"We've got to get him," he declared. "He is liable to be seated, and if we have two yeas more of him, organized labor will have to leave Colorado. I don't care how you get him, only do it."
The fate of organized murder was at stake in Colorado, too, and the chief murderer did his best for his trade. That was the time he and Billy Ackerman planted the bomb in the snow by the edge of the sidewalk where Peabody passed every morning on his way to the Capitol. It was a skillful plan, the result of much experience in the destruction of life, and it was calculated to succeed. But fate ruled in through the medium of the coal cart, and Peabody escaped with the skin of his teeth.
Then Haywood and Pettibone swore and railed at their hard luck, with Moyer in jail and no murder done. They seemed to have no heart just then for further bomb practice, and pretty soon, when the Legislature seated Peabody, he resigned and went back to his home in Canon City. But there were plenty of other murder subjects. There was Frank Herne, President of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, of whom Haywood said "they brought him out from Philadelphia to fix the Legislature, as he used to do in Pennsylvania. He's a good man to put out of the way."
"Steve and I watched his house a few times, but we never seen him," said Orchard.
Then there was E. H. Moffatt, the bank President and railroad man.
"He is behind Peabody and the people in these strikes," said Haywood. "He is the man responsible for the use of militia." So Steve and Harry made a feeble attempt at Moffatt, but while they were so occupied Haywood remembered Judge Goddard, Justice Gabbert's companion on the Supreme bench. Haywood decided that Goddard was the man who had compassed the defeat of the Eight Hour bill, and so his life was justly forfeited to the murder-bund.
"Adams and I hung around a month or more trying to get a shot at him through the window at night," said Orchard, but Goddard was not in the habit of sitting near windows, and they failed. Then Haywood reverted to his old passion, Peabody. There had been a lot about his removal from the path of organized labor. Moyer said: "I'd be glad to get the da--- out of the way." Haywood said: "Put him out. I don't care how."
It was Pettibone who devised the scheme. "Get a contract to write life insurance," he said, "and go to Canon City." So Orchard, now for the first time Thomas Hogan, got the contract from John L. Stearns, agent of the Mutual Life Insurance Company in Denver. Hawkins, law partner of Richardson of counsel for the defense, recommended him, knowing him as Orchard, but approving him as Hogan. So did other Denver lawyers, one of them the Sullivan who went to see him in the Cauldwell jail when he was first arrested and said he had done business for Hogan before.
"The reference could not be better," said Stearns, and gave the contract. The Canon City job was a bomb plan. Orchard acquaint ed himself with Peabody's habit of life in his home, watching from the window of his room in Mrs. Lizzie Adam's house. Then he returned to Denver and reported progress. He and Pettibone gathered up fifty ponds of dynamite they had cached at Max Malich's saloon, and Orchard made a bomb out of a lead bucket he got a plumber to make for him, on the plea that it was to hold a cactus plant.
With thirty pounds of giant powder in this contrivance in his grip he sauntered back to Canon City only to find that Peabody had begun some alterations in his house and no longer sat beside the window on the edge of which the bomb was to have been placed, to be exploded, by clock work.
Leaving the bomb in Mrs. Adams's closet, Orchard went off writing hail insurance with Billy Vaughn, and presently got back to Denver. Pettibone cussed again. He wanted something pulled off before the convention to show something for the money that had been spent on Orchard and Adams. So they went out and planted a new bomb for Judge Gabbert.
That was the one for which their devilish ingenuity had planned the pocketbook lure. Pettibone went off to the convention and Orchard stayed to murder the Judge. Fate again interfered. Gabbert went out of town. He put the bomb in his truck. He went up to Portland, spent a few days at the exposition, then to Seattle for a week to look up that ranch where he was going to hide out after the murder. Then he went to Wallace and met Jack Simpkins. They took a trip up into the St. Joe country, where Steve Adams had earlier in the year helped Simpkins kill off a few claim jumpers, and then went down to Caldwell, stopping at Nampa on the way. Simpkins went over to Silverton and finally back to Spokane, leaving Orchard on the job.
Steunenberg came to Boise one day and Orchard followed. He had a chance her to turn the trick, but did not do it, and went back to Caldwell. Finally he learned Steunenberg's habits thoroughly, and made a bomb to take the place of the one he had brought from Denver. Simpkins had objected to that as dangerous to carry around, and so they had thrown it away at Wallace, buying new materials in Spokane. On the night of the murder Orchard watched Steunenberg at the Saratoga Hotel, sitting in the lobby reading a newspaper.
When it became time for his victim to go home Orchard went up to his room, got the bomb from his gripsack, took it to the gate and planted it, hooking up the piece of fish line that was to set it off when the gate was opened. Then he started back to the hotel. On the way he met Steunenberg. He ran then so as to get back quickly, but heard the explosion before he got there.
He went into the barroom and helped the bartender tie up a package, then went to his room to clean things up, and in doing so set off a giant cup in his coat pocket by putting an acid bottle there. The only emotion he showed all day in telling his story, but a minute later, as he told of his arrest, he recovered his amazing nerve and was cool as ever. This ended the main story.
Orchard Can't Recall More
"Any other attempts you can think of" asked Hawley.
"Not that I can recall now," replied Orchard serenely. Hawley took him back to a few unimportant things that had been overlooked and then brought out a matter where the prosecution had suffered a hard blow.
In jail at Caldwell Orchard had received a letter which he swears now was from Pettibone. It was the unsigned letter referred to by Hawley in his opening. The Sheriff of Canon County copied the letter, but then gave it to Orchard, who promptly destroyed it. Hawley and Borah started to lay a foundation for the introduction of that copy, and from the Judge's rulings it seemed that they might succeed, but they gave up the effort for the time being and turned Orchard over for cross-examination.
Then began at once the attempt of Richardson to demonstrate that a man who had confessed to murders by the score is not believed if he is a bigamist. He went into the story of Orchard's life hammer and tongs, and very soon brought out the fact that Orchard--then Albert Horseley--had run away from h is Canadian home with Hattie Simpson, another man's wife. He left his own wife and daughter in their home. He was Albert Little then, and remained so until Mrs. Simpson went back to her home from British Columbia; then he came to Idaho as Harry Orchard.
Orchard's demeanor as he answered these questions about his early life never changed a whit from that as he told the story of his monstrous crimes. He faced Richardson coolly, and his replies were in a clear, steady voice. Throughout it all he demonstrated the accuracy of the judgement formed when I saw him first in the penitentiary some time ago, that he had made up his mind to tell the whole story, whatever it cost and wherever it led. Thee was never a quiver as he responded to the savage questioning of Richardson, and not once did he manifest either resentment or confusion.
With flushed face and rising, angry voice Richardson fired in question after question the answer to which could only be degrading. Orchard sat thee perfectly calm and admitted that his wife is still living, that he has heard from her and written to her, and that he has another wife living in Cripple Creek.
"Then you are a bigamist?" shouted Richardson.
"I don't know what that is," replied the unmoved Orchard.
"You have married a second wife while the first is living, and without being divorced," explained the lawyer. "Oh, that," said Orchard, as if it were nothing more than the purchase of a new hat while the old one was still good. "Then I guess I did that."
Then Richardson went through the cause for leaving Canada again, and brought out the stories Pettibone had said Orchard had told him. Nothing bothered the imperturable murderer. He half smiled at the thought that anybody could regard the lies he had told Pettibone about his early doings as being any indication of the truth or falsity of his confession of murder, and so the audience smiled, too, once or twice very audibly, for it was amusing to see a confessed assassin impeached for bigamy and silly boasts of prowess as a Lothario. It was in boring in on these yarns to Pettibone that Richardson opened the door for Borah and gve the crowed another laugh.
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