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Celebrating History: crime and politics

 

August 28, 2020



By Emily Mayer

A.B. Livermore, the escaped prisoner from last week’s column, had been apprehended but had very interesting news to share, which was published in the Aug. 12, 1920, edition of The Hill County Democrat:

LIVERMORE SAFE IN PEN.

Sheriff Matt McLain has safely landed A. B. Livermore, who broke jail here and was recaptured in Canada, in the state penitentiary at Deer Lodge, where he will serve a term of from 10 to 20 years on conviction for grand larceny.

After being taken to Deer Lodge, Livermore confessed that in the house where he was captured by the Hill county sheriff there was hidden at the same time another man wanted by the Canadian police.

It was also an election year, and political advertising was found throughout the paper. Among the candidates was the owner/editor of the Democrat, J. K. Bramble, for Hill County attorney. He took out a large ad in his paper, promising the following:

Economy, efficiency, lower taxation. (On the latter, how? County attorneys don’t set taxes; that is the job of County Commissioners.)

He is against the institution of groundless criminal proceedings.

He believes in investigation before informing.

He is opposed to the persecution of any person.

He will lower the taxes in Hill County. (He can’t.)

He will not hire, at the expense of the taxpayers of Hill county, any spotters in blind pigging cases, nor will he prosecute cases in which there is no evidence to convict.

He is opposed to the inciting of class hatred. He believes in the doctrine of altruism, is opposed to spiteful persecutions. (And you thought this was a 21st century issue!)

He promises, if elected, to stamp out of Hill county all anarchy, sovietism, bolshevism. He stands for Americanism.

He believes in the personal liberty of man, woman and child.

The Americanism statement is interesting, as this was a strong movement after The Great War. It was a direct reaction to immigrants, who by the way were numerous in Hill County and an important economic and cultural navigator here and elsewhere in the country. The movement would have both good and bad qualities about it, and both would find a place in Hill County history.

Also in the Democrat was the following article:

VOTERS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ABSENT VOTERS’ LAW

A large number of voters in Hill county have applied for blanks to vote under the absent voter law, according to J. H. Devine, the county clerk and recorder.

Use of the ballot under the law is allowed in any special, general and primary election. Any voter who is registered and duly qualified to vote can make use of the provision when absent from his or her precinct.

A fee of thirty cents must be paid at the time of filing.

Absentee voting laws now allow voters to vote absentee even when in your precinct on Election Day, and there is no fee charged.

And, just in case you thought things were quiet and peaceful in Hill County 100 years ago, here is this entry in the Havre Local News column:

Early Saturday morning a shooting affair occurred 30 miles north of Havre. Mrs. Pearl Hinze shot Matt Ulmer in the shoulder and the extent of his injuries are not yet reported. It seems the Ulmer and one H. Robinson were fighting and the former husband of Mrs. Hinze, was about to assist Ulmer and Mrs. Hinze fired two shots at Ulmer, one in the air and the other in the shoulder of Ulmer.

The following week, all involved were facing charges, because Matt Ulmer didn’t survive his wound.

The Hill County Democrat reported in its Aug. 19, 1920 issue:

MRS. HINZE IS ARRAIGNED.

Mrs. Pearl Hinze and Harry Robinson were arraigned before Justice of the Peace William B. Pyper on Thursday morning at the District court room upon a charge of burglary. The complaint alleges they took the gun, with which Mr. Ulmer was shot by Mrs. Hinze from the home of Johnny Lynch, without his consent and that they with force and arms entered the building to procure the gun.

Both defendants demanded a preliminary hearing and hearing was set for next Saturday, the 28th, at 10 o’clock a.m. before Judge Pyper. Bail was fixed in the case of the State of Montana vs. Robison at $2,500.00. Inasmuch as Mrs. Hinze is being held in the county jail upon a charge of first degree murder and the offense is not bailable, no bail was fixed in her case.

Separate hearings were not demanded by the defendants and they will both be had at the same time.

Deputy County Attorney A. Lee Golden appeared for the state at the arraignment and J. K. Bramble is attorney for both defendants in the burglary case and attorney for Mrs. Hinze attorney for both defendants in the burglary case and attorney for Mrs. Hinze in the murder case. The time for the preliminary hearing in the murder case has not yet been set. Possibly the county attorney may file an information direct in the district court.

It was an election year in 1920, and of course local attorney and owner of the Hill County Democrat just couldn’t help himself in taking a couple of swipes at his political nemesis, Reverend Huston, in its Aug. 26, 1920 issue:

We would suggest that the M. E. church send Huston to the Fiji Islands, where the cannibals can get him if he don’t watch out.

And, of the elections and it’s weeding out of primary candidates.

And the nicest part of it all is Havre at last gets rid of Huston.

Bramble could be brutal and downright nasty to those he didn’t like, including women (particularly to their receiving the right to vote, which occurred nationally 100 years ago this month with the passage of the 19th Amendment but made no mention in his newspaper), minorities (such as the cannibal comment above), and those who were pro-Prohibition.

 

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