Lost Butte, Montana, a book by Richard I. Gibson, is in stores and museum gift shops around Butte. Or order from the publisher. It's also in E-book formats at all the usual places. And read an interview with Gibson, here, and on KXLF here. The Facebook page has many historic photos of Butte, and the Butte-Anaconda NHLD project showcases many historic buildings. Location-oriented posts can be found on HistoryPin. On Mondays beginning in January 2016, look for Gibson's "Mining City History" column in the Montana Standard.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Tom Manning

Harriet Schultz and Cheryl Ackerman examine one volume of the transcript of Tom Manning's inquest.

By Richard I. Gibson

Most of my readers probably know of Tom Manning, one of the two killed in the Anaconda Road Massacre on April 21, 1920.

Striking miners marching up the Anaconda Road were shot by armed gunmen coming from the Neversweat Mine – probably agents of the Anaconda Company, but the whole truth will never be known. Twenty-five-year-old Manning, an Irish immigrant who lived at 20 West Quartz Street (Montana Standard parking lot today), intended to bring his wife and infant son to Butte that fall, using savings he’d scraped together in three years of mining. But he never got the chance.

Doctor's testimony shows that
Tom Manning was shot in the back.
Manning died four days after he was shot in the back. He lay in state at the home of Tom Scanlon, an IWW sympathizer, at 316 North Idaho (a vacant lot today). 3,000 mourners followed Manning’s casket from St. Patrick’s church to Holy Cross Cemetery.

While most union men believed the Company did the deed, the coroner’s jury undoubtedly was influenced – if not outright controlled – by the Anaconda Company. Ultimately, the verdict was returned that they could not determine blame. The radical Butte Daily Bulletin, with obvious irony, headlined

“Tom Manning Dead, According to Verdict Rendered by Coroner’s Jury.”

So, if this is all well known, why this post? Recently the entire transcript of the inquest into Tom Manning’s death re-surfaced. It had been in obscurity in the Court House, and now resides in the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives. The transcript runs to a couple thousand pages, and includes, as evidence, a complete typescript of the Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels. Together with pages of testimony.

While the final result of the inquest has always been known, to know that the full text is now available is great news for historical researchers. Thanks to Harriet Schultz at the Archives for showing it to me!

Photos by Dick Gibson. Additional information from Lost Butte, Montana, by Richard I. Gibson, and More Montana Campfire Tales, by Dave Walter.

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