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Topics in Chronicling America - The Haywood Trial

In connection with the bomb-rigged assassination of former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg, radical union official William "Big Bill" Haywood is arrested and extradited to Idaho in February of 1906 to face murder charges. Covered extensively by the media, Haywood's trial ended on July 29th, 1907 when he was acquitted with the help of respected defense attorney, Clarence Darrow. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.


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Important Dates:

  • December 30, 1905: Frank Steunenberg, a former governor of Idaho, is struck and killed by a bomb planted outside his home.
  • January 1, 1906: Albert Horsley, a former member of the Western Federation of Miners, is arrested in connection with the murder.
  • February 1, 1906: Horsley confesses to killing Steunenberg. He implicates leaders of the Western Federation of Miners, including William Haywood, the organization’s secretary, George Pettibone, WFM’s president, and Charles Moyer, a former member of WFM’s executive board.
  • February 17, 1906: Haywood, Moyer, and Pettibone are arrested and extradited to Idaho. December 3, 1906: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the extradition of Haywood, Moyer and Pettibone was not unconstitutional.
  • May 9, 1907: Haywood, represented by Clarence Darrow, goes on trial for the murder of Steunenberg. On July 29th he is found not guilty.
  • January 1908: Pettibone is acquitted and charges against Moyer are dropped. March 1908: Horsley is convicted of murder and sentenced to death, but his sentence is commuted to life in prison.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Steunenberg, bomb, assassination, Horsley, Haywood, Pettibone, Moyer, Darrow, trial.
  • The name of Steunenberg’s assassin, Albert Horsley, was also reported as “Alfred Horsley.” He was also known by the aliases “Harry Orchard” and “Thomas Hogan”, so when searching for information about him in relation to the incident, use each term separately in combination with other search terms.
  • To narrow results, search between December 1905 and March 1908.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  February 11, 2013
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