Sunday, September 13, 2009

Magruder -- 1863

The gold-rush article for the South Fork Revue is coming along. However, one of the stories I had to trim concerns the infamous Magruder murders of 1863. Lloyd Magruder, a Marylander who had done poorly in California, prospered in idaho, owning a store and a pack train. Late in the summer of 1863, the packer carried supplies to the Montana gold fields, crossing the Bitterroot Mountains via Nez Perc├ęs Pass. On the return trip, four “helpful” conspirators accompanied the train back to Idaho. On the night of October 11, one of the conspirators split Magruder’s skull with an ax, from behind, and then they murdered four other innocents.
Later captured, the four were tried and convicted of the killings and three of them became the first legal hangings in what was then Idaho Territory. (The fourth turned state’s evidence to escape the noose.) A more extensive “suite101.com” article about the murders can be found at The Murder of Lloyd Magruder.

Also, the book The Magruder Murders: Coping with Violence on the Idaho Frontier by Julia Conway Welch (Falcon Press Publishing, Helena, Montana, © Julia Conway Welch, 1991) provides an in-depth look at the murders, the trial, and the event’s aftermath.

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