Hellraisers Journal: Haywood Trial Proper Begins: Prosecution Opens, Harry Orchard Tells Tale of Murder & Mayhem

There are no limits to which
powers of privilege will not go
to keep the workers in slavery.
-Mother Jones

Hellraisers Journal, Thursday June 6, 1907
Boise, Idaho – Prosecution Opens in Haywood Trial

From the Decatur Herald of June 2, 1907:

HMP, Defense Attorneys Drawing, Decatur Herald, June 2, 1907

Defendant Expected to Be Able to
Appear in Court Monday.

Boise, Idaho, June 1.-The trial of William D. Haywood was interrupted today by the illness of the defendant who suffered an attack of intestinal poisoning early this morning. Physicians called to attend the prisoner found it necessary to administer opiates before the severe pain was relieved.

At the beginning of the morning session it was expected Haywood would be all right by afternoon, but when court reconvened the prisoner was too weak to be present. Adjournment was then taken until Monday [June 3rd].

Attorney Richardson said Haywood’s illness was not serious and there was no doubt of his ability to be ready Monday.


From the Deseret Evening News of June 4, 1907:

Expects to Prove Officers of W. F. M.
Responsible for Death of
Steunenberg and Others.

To Carry Out its Objects, He Declared,
Blood Was Traded in and Assassins
Hired and Paid.

Orchard to Go on Stand-Defense
Reserved Its Statement Until
the State Finishes

HMP, James Hawley Prosecutor, DEN June 4, 1907

Boise, Ida., June 4.-William D. Haywood, accused of the murder of Frank Steunenberg, has heard the elaboration of the state’s charge, and the first witness has taken the stand to give testimony against him. James A. Hawley made the state’s statement this morning and its burden was that an inner-circle of the Western Federation of Miners planned and procured the murder of Frank Steunenberg as one of the steps in a far-reaching conspiracy that embraced many murders. The statement consumed one hour and 20 minutes and was delivered to a crowded courtroom, without attempt at oratorical effort. It met a fire of objection from the defense, first against the assertion of Mr. Hawley that the leaders of the Western Federation of Minters was responsible for “scores of murders,” and the next against the charge that the great conspiracy extended back to the infancy of the federation. Then there were repeated objections on the ground that Hawley was arguing the case. By agreement the defense was given a general exception to any part of the opening statement that it objected to.

The attitude of the defense clearly indicated a purpose to defeat the plan of the state to show a general conspiracy, and to limit the case as closely as possible to the Steunenberg crime alone.


The courtroom filled up quickly this morning with those who came to hear the opening statement of the prosecution and the first witness in the famous case. The jury filed in promptly at 9:30 o’clock, but Judge Wood was a trifle late in arriving. It was also stated that the delay was in part due to the defendant who was said to be none too well.

When Mrs. Haywood was wheeled into court in her invalid chair she was handed a large bunch of red roses by Mrs. Steve Adams, wife of one of the men said to have been involved in the alleged Western Federation of Miners’ conspiracy. Haywood was a trifle pale as he took his place near the long counsel table and declared he felt “quite well” after his brief illness of last night. Judge Wood appeared on the bench at 9:40 o’clock.


[…..Much of the first page was then taken up with Hawley’s opening statement and the back a forth between Darrow and Hawley.]

From the Albuquerque Evening Citizen of May 25, 1907:

HMP, Mrs Haywood, Mrs Adams, Abq Eve Ctz, May 25, 1907

From the Deseret Evening News of June 5, 1907:

Orchard’s Story of His
Career of Crime.

Takes Witness Stand and Tells History
of an Unprecedentedly Wicked Life.

“I Lit One of Fuses That Blew Up
Concentrator Mill at Wardner,
April 29, 1899.”
Says That Haywood Told Him
“It Was a Fine Piece of Work”
-He Showed No Emotion.

HMP, Haywood Jury, DEN June 5, 1907

Boise, Idaho, June 5.-A well groomed, stockily built man, dressed in a grey sack suit and apparently as composed as any one of his hearers, the man known as Harry Orchard, a self-confessed many-time murderer, took the witness stand in the district court of Ada County at 9:42 o’clock this morning. He is the principal witness against W. D. Haywood, charged with the murder of former Gov. Steunenberg and who is, by Orchard’s story, connected with many fearful crimes.

Some knowledge of the ghastly series of narratives to be related by Orchard has reached the public form time to time since his arrest, but the crowded court room thrilled when early within the first 15 minutes of his testimony, Orchard, in reply to a question from J. H. Hawley, leading counsel for the state, cooly said:

“I lit one of the fuses that blew up the concentrator mill at Wardner on April 29, 1899. Two men were killed.”

A courtroom, seating some 300 people was filled to its capacity. Among the spectators were many women. A number of the seats reserved inside the bar were also occupied by the wives of attorneys or relatives of those concerned in the case.

Haywood was the principal figure of a family group. His invalid wife, in her rolling chair, was immediately to his right; next to her his mother-a handsome woman of 60 years, who appeared in court today for the first time. Again to the right Haywood’s sister, a slight and pretty girl in white waist and black skirt.

Orchard was called this morning earlier than was anticipated. Several minor witnesses were examined. Then came the first really dramatic situation in the course of the Haywood trial.

“We will have our next witness here in a few minutes, your honor,” announced Senator Borah.

There was a busy stir in the courtroom and then there fell a silence maintained for fully five minutes. Judge, jury, bar and public waited until Sheriff Shad Hodgin nodded to Senator Borah.

“Our next witness will be Harry Orchard,” said the senator quickly, addressing the court.

Then the man who for 18 months has been closely guarded, almost incommunicado, in the Idaho penitentiary, the murderer who, repenting, has confessed, entered through the side door, leading to the judge’s room.

He walked with a quick, springy step preceded and followed by deputies and detectives. They passed through the bar enclosure out into the audience along the outer rail again entering the enclosure at the center gate. Orchard was sworn and directed to the witness chair, immediately in front of the judge and jury. Every eye was on the remarkable man who was there to place his own neck in the noose and whose story as told on the stand up to noon today reveals an almost endless chain of fearful deeds done by him and his fellows.

Haywood perhaps was the most intense of the spectators. For the greater part of the morning he kept his one eye fixed staring upon the witness, who seldom glanced his way. There was a curl as of contempt on his mouth. Now and then he flushed slightly under a sallow skin. When later, Orchard told how Haywood paid him $300 for blowing up the Vindicator mine and agreed with him for other murders. Haywood swallowed hard on a lump in his throat, but otherwise showed little emotion. At recess Haywood even chatted pleasantly with some friends and laughed heartily at a joke by one of his counsel. Orchard will be allowed to tell his whole story leaving out certain minute details only. This question was settled this morning when Judge Wood said that on assurance from counsel for the state that they would connect Haywood with the story of the Coeur d’Alenes and other mine troubles and the crimes confessed by Orchard he would let the evidence in but if they failed to do so it would be barred out.

[…..Much of the first page was then dedicated to Orchard’s tale of murder and mayhem.]

HMP, Harry Orchard, DEN June 5, 1907



Decatur Herald
(Decatur, Illinois)
-June 2, 1907

Deseret Evening News
(Salt Lake City, Utah)
-June 4, 1907
-June 5, 1907

HMP, Mrs Haywood, Mrs Adams, Abq Eve Ctz, May 25, 1907

See also:

Haywood Trial-Darrow Collection

Trial Transcripts, June 4-7
Note: pdf, slow to load.

Bill Haywood’s Book
The Autobiography of William D. Haywood

-by Big Bill Haywood
International Publishers, 1929
See Chapter XIII-The Boise Trial