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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Social Chat > Shades of Whitechapel

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  #531  
Old 01-25-2014, 12:22 AM
Mayerling Mayerling is offline
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The fact that Matthew Henson made it to the pole first by 45 minutes and Peary let it stand when he could have moved the finish line, is one of the reasons I finally accept Peary didn't perpetrate a hoax.

I also double-checked the National Geographic magazine's photographic analysis as much as I could and found it to be acceptable, after first thinking it fudged it's data, having originally been totally convinced by Denis Rawlins book, Peary At The North Pole: Fact or Fiction.

Granted that was virtually the only source of information so it was Rawlins or nothing--nothing but complete ignorance of the expedition and the controversy. So happy belated anniversary!
Thanks for noticing my earlier comment. There is, by the way, a homicide connected to the last Peary - Hanson North Pole Expedition. A party led by Ross Marvin, a young man working with Peary, returned and Marvin was said to have died in the journey. Subsequently it was found he was killed by the Inuits who were with him, presumably because of his rather harsh relationship with them. The story is still rather murky and we are not certain the why or where. Neither of the Inuits were ever arrested and tried for the killing.

Jeff
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  #532  
Old 01-25-2014, 12:27 AM
Mayerling Mayerling is offline
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150 years ago - 1864 January 10 - In then Idaho Territory (at present the state of Montana), Sheriff Henry Plummer with two of his deputies, Buck Stinson and Ned Ray, are hanged by vigilantes. The group asserted that Plummer was corrupt and responsible for many killings.

100 years ago - 1914 January 10 - While closing their Salt Lake City grocery store, John Morrison and his son Arling are killed in a shootout with two masked robbers. In the same evening, labor leader Joe Hill visits a local doctor for treatment of a gunshot wound. Although Hill claimed that the wound was the result of an altercation over a woman, he was convicted of the Morrison murders and executed by firing squad in 1915.
"I dreamt I saw Joe Hill last night alive as you and me.
"But Joe it's been ten years your're dead!"
"I never died!", said he."

To his credit President Wilson tried to convince the Utah government to stop Hill's execution, but they went anyway. Most historians on the case feel he could have been in the robbery, but there are others who feel that he was targeted because he was involved in labor organizing throughout the western mining communities.

Jeff
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  #533  
Old 01-25-2014, 12:35 AM
Mayerling Mayerling is offline
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100 years ago - 1914 January 9 - Five-year-old Willie Starchfield is found strangled in a compartment aboard a London train. A signalman said that he'd actually seen a man standing over a boy as the train passed him. The little boy's mother and father were separated and he had vanished while running an errand for his babysitter. A, later less certain, witness claimed to have seen Willie with a man who they identified as his father John. Another individual claimed to have seen Willie being reluctantly led away by an unidentified woman. John Starchfield was charged with the murder but the charges were later dismissed for lack of evidence. To this day, it is a mystery as to how Willie got on the train and who killed him.
John Starchfield had already gotten a degree of notoriety when he was wounded by a crazy Arminian named Titus a number of years earlier, trying to disarm the madman after Titus shot and killed a woman. For his bravery Starchfield got a medal and a pension from one of Andrew Carnegie's charities.

Basically what happened at his trial was that the witnesses who were sure they saw Starchfield with his son renegged on their identification when questioned by his lawyers. The open and shut case collapsed as a result. Starchfield could not be tried again, and the police did an interesting second act - they brought in Starchfield's estranged wife (Willie had been living with his mother, with John getting visiting rights) for questioning as she was now the number two suspect. This did not get as far as the attempt to prove Starchfield was guilty.

Starchfield died (as a delayed result of his gunshot wounds) a couple of years after his trial. He always felt that friends or family of Titus had been responsible for what happened to Willie, and did it as an act of revenge. But nothing has been discovered in the last century regarding the tragedy.

Jeff
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  #534  
Old 01-25-2014, 12:39 AM
GUT GUT is offline
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G'Day Jeff

Can you help a poor dumb boy not too familiar with the case.

Why did President Wilson try to stop the execution, because he thought Hill innocent? Or some other reason?

As someone not to familiar with your system:

Couldn't the President have issued a pardon?
Was their political mileage to be gained by calling for sparing his life?
Was the Governor [or whoever could have commuted the sentence] of the same party as the President?
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  #535  
Old 01-25-2014, 01:02 AM
Mayerling Mayerling is offline
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G'Day Jeff

Can you help a poor dumb boy not too familiar with the case.

Why did President Wilson try to stop the execution, because he thought Hill innocent? Or some other reason?

As someone not to familiar with your system:

Couldn't the President have issued a pardon?
Was their political mileage to be gained by calling for sparing his life?
Was the Governor [or whoever could have commuted the sentence] of the same party as the President?
Hi GUT,

Wilson is a particularly difficult "great" President for the current age. He was a Southerner (almost every cabinet officer he had was Southern born), and a Democrat, and although he was governor of a northern state (New Jersey), his reforms tended to ignore the plight of African-Americans. Basically he was a bigot. He made sure the U.S. Civil Service had "Jim Crow" regulations seperating the races. That kind of bigot.

Yet he also had two Jews among his advisors (Barnard Baruch and Louis Brandeis) and he actually appointed Brandeis to the Supreme Court (the first Jewish Associate Justice on the Court - in 1916). In is reforming stance he was willing (like his hated rival Theodore Roosevelt) to accept reasonable Union labor demands, including the right to organize. Hill (originally named Joe Hilstrom) was good at this but this would put Hill at odds with the mine and banking and railroad interests in the Western states (all of which were very powerful). They saw the killing of the Morrisons as a big chance to get rid of this "troublemaker".

Wilson could not enter the matter except from a sideline point. It was not a Federal crime involved but a homicide under the laws of the state of Utah. All he could do was what he tried to do - ask the Governor to review the evidence and reduce the sentence to one of imprisonment instead of death (like the death of Gary Gilmore in the 1970s Hill would face a firing squad in Utah). The action was well meant but hopeless - Utah's state government at the time was not only Conservative but Republican. The request was rejected and Hill executed.

Wilson would be less cooperative with labor after April 1917 when we entered World War I, and he did everything he could to keep the war industries at full power despite low wages and long hours. Also he could be unreasonable regarding pacifism. The labor leader and Socialist Eugene Debs made a speech in late 1918 condemning the war and the government's harsh curtailment of civil liberties. Debs was arrested and found guilty of violating an act passed in 1917 to curtail anti-war speech. This act is still on the books today. Debs was sent to the Atlanta Penitentiary by Wilson (who refused any requests for leniency) for a 10 year sentence (Debs was in his
sixties). In December 1921 President Warren Harding released Debs for Christmas, ending his sentence.

Jeff
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  #536  
Old 01-25-2014, 01:07 AM
GUT GUT is offline
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Thanks Jeff I was sort of familiar with Debs but knew almost zip about Hill.

I guess from what I know about American poltics a Democrat would be more "friendly" towards a labor leader than a Republican.
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  #537  
Old 01-25-2014, 01:53 AM
Mayerling Mayerling is offline
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Thanks Jeff I was sort of familiar with Debs but knew almost zip about Hill.

I guess from what I know about American poltics a Democrat would be more "friendly" towards a labor leader than a Republican.
The period was a twisted one regarding reforms in general. The Republicans had been championing them under Roosevelt, but when he left office the more Conservative Republican Taft came in. Taft tried to keep Roosevelt's policies, but his own Conservative tendencies took over. In 1912 the Republican Party's Liberal and Conservative wings split and Taft was renominated for the Presidency as a Republican, while T.R. was nominated as a Progressive or Bull Moose Candidate by the Liberals. The Democrats finally chose Woodrow Wilson who had been known as a reformer as President of Princeton University and Governor of New Jersey. Due to the split between Taft and Roosevelt the Republican vote was split and Wilson became the first Democrat to be elected since Grover Cleveland in 1892. Wilson (like Theodore Roosevelt) was reforming the government (the Federal Reserve System, the Clayton Anti-Trust Act, and several major Amendments (the graduated income tax and the direct election of Senators) occured while Wilson was in his first term. Like Roosevelt he encouraged business and labor to negociate and arbitrate. However he had limits (as he would show towards labor in World War I). Wilson also did not fully support two other movements for amendments: Prohibition and Women's Suffrage. Both would get adopted into the Constitution in his second term, but neither with much encouragement from Wilson. In the case of Prohibition he was wise. In the case of Women's Suffrage he was too Victorian.

Jeff
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  #538  
Old 01-25-2014, 02:00 AM
GUT GUT is offline
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Thanks Jeff.

But is there any record showing that President Wilson thought Hill innocent?

I find President Clevland interesting, isn't he the President that paid someone else to fight in the war [Civil War as I recall] and was later an executioner? Or do I have the wrong president?
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  #539  
Old 01-25-2014, 04:59 PM
Mayerling Mayerling is offline
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Thanks Jeff.

But is there any record showing that President Wilson thought Hill innocent?

I find President Clevland interesting, isn't he the President that paid someone else to fight in the war [Civil War as I recall] and was later an executioner? Or do I have the wrong president?
Hi GUT,

I don't know if he believed Hill innocent, but if he tried to get clemency he probably felt that the evidence was not as conclusively against Hill as the state of Utah's court system did. As for evidence of his personal feelings, I just know that he acted this way - I can't say I have seen any deeper information.

Stephen Grover Cleveland (our 22nd and 24th President) is usually considered the only "near great" President between Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt (although many feel McKinley was far more effective and successful, and Grant has slowly been gaining admiration for trying to make racial equality in the Reconstruction Era a reality, but getting smeared due to too many political scandals). Cleveland was quite honest, and a fierce fighter against any bills that seemed aimed at emptying the public treasury for private gain (he vetoed more personal pension bills from Congress than any other President did). He left his first administration with a treasury surplus - the first President to do so. Unfortunately in his second term he had a really bad depression (the Panic of 1893) and (like Herbert Hoover in 1930) did not know how to handle it.

Cleveland (a Democrat) did hire a replacement to serve for him in the Civil War. You could do that legally back in that war. So did his 1884 opponent James G. Blaine. His opponent in 1888 (who defeated him that year) and in 1892 (when he was defeated by Cleveland this time) was Benjamin Harrison, who had been a Brigadier General in the campaigns of General Sherman in Georgia. The Republicans did make the most of Cleveland using the replacement, but in 1884 Blaine's similar act nulified the attack and in 1888 Cleveland's excellent handling of the office made the public unconcerned about his Civil War record.

As Sheriff of Buffalo Cleveland was forced to act as hangman on two murderers, the only President who has that on his resume. However, he hated doing it and was a lifelong opponent of capital punishment afterwards.

Jeff
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  #540  
Old 01-25-2014, 05:15 PM
GUT GUT is offline
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G'Day Jeff

I realized that it was legal for Cleveland to hire a replacement for the War. And I found it interesting when I stumbled across him as

A hangman

A Governor deciding if executions should proceed or not than

A President [the only one to serve non-consecutive term I believe]

The other President that I find interesting is the one who didn't run for a second term and is considered to have fulfilled every election promise he made [can't remember his name off hand].
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