|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.
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.