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My daughter and I traveled from California to Boise to attend the premier of the program at the Egyptian Theater on the evening of November 7th, 2007. It was quite an exciting premier and an interesting and enjoyable few days' visit.
I hope this interactive component will allow an opportunity for thoughtful discussion and debate to continue regarding these important events. We have already heard from a number of you with family or other personal connections to the principals in this saga, some with bits and pieces of new information and others with items, documents and possessions of historical interest. I will leave it to those individuals to reveal that information and to utilize this interactive page if they should choose to do so.
Assassination: Idaho's Trial of the Century provides us with a dramatic view of the trial as it unfolded and explores some of the unanswered questions surrounding these events. Rather then being an end, the program is intended to be a catalyst for further exploration. We hope it will continue to stimulate research in our libraries and archives and result in new discoveries coming forth from faded family memories, dusty attics, the depths of old family trunks and yes, dirty dumpsters too.
Additional discoveries lie ahead . . . spurred on by the release of this historic program produced through the efforts of many but spearheaded by retired Idaho Supreme Court Justice Byron Johnson and Idaho Public Television. Each new finding expands our base of knowledge as we continue to wrestle with the who, what, where, when and why of this story. We invite you to participate and use this interactive page to share your own views and discoveries regarding these important events in not only the history of Idaho, but in the legal, political and industrial history in all of these United States of America.
John T. Richards Jr. (Read more from John at his blog)
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.
June 15, 2010