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Frank R. Gooding: Wikis


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Frank R. Gooding

In office
January 15, 1921 – June 24, 1928
Preceded by John F. Nugent
Succeeded by John W. Thomas

In office
January 2, 1905 – January 4, 1909
Lieutenant Burpee L. Steeves (1905), Ezra A. Burrell (1907)
Preceded by John T. Morrison
Succeeded by James H. Brady

Born September 16, 1859(1859-09-16)
Tiverton, Devon, England
Died June 24, 1928 (aged 68)
Gooding, Idaho
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Amanda Thomas
Residence Gooding
Profession Agriculture
Religion Methodist

Frank Robert Gooding (September 16, 1859 in Tiverton, England – June 24, 1928 in Gooding, Idaho) was a Republican United States Senator and the seventh Governor of Idaho. The city of Gooding and Gooding County, both in southern Idaho, are named for him.

Born in England, Gooding emigrated to the United States with his family in 1867. The family settled on a farm near Paw Paw, Michigan. Gooding attended the common schools there, and moved to Mount Shasta, California in 1877, and engaged in farming and mining.

Gooding moved to Idaho Territory in 1881 and settled in Ketchum where he worked as a mail carrier, and subsequently engaged in the firewood and charcoal business. In 1888 he settled near present-day Gooding.

After Idaho became a state in 1890, Gooding emerged as a leader of the conservative faction of the Idaho Republican Party. Gooding was a powerful figure in Idaho in the early 20th Century, as demonstrated by the fact the city of Gooding and Gooding County were both named after him in his lifetime. Gooding also managed to get elected to the Idaho Legislature in 1898 and as Governor of Idaho in 1904 before he became a United States citizen.[1]

Gooding had a reputation for having an off-putting and abrasive personality, and often clashed with others in the Republican Party, notably progressive Senator William E. Borah.

From 1905 to 1909, Gooding served as Governor of Idaho. During his administration the Idaho State Capitol building in Boise was constructed.

In 1918 Gooding was the Republican nominee in a special U.S. Senate election to complete the term of James H. Brady, who died in office early in the year. Gooding was defated by Democrat John F. Nugent.

In 1920 Gooding defeated Nugent for a full six-year term in the Senate. He took office in January 1921 two months before his term began to replace Nugent, who resigned to accept an appointment on the Federal Trade Commission.

Gooding was reelected in 1926 by defeating Nugent again. He died in office in 1928 and was succeeded by a political protégé, John W. Thomas.

Gooding is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Gooding.


The Steunenberg assassination

Governor Gooding came to national attention during the trial phase of the conspiracy prosecution of three leaders of the Western Federation of Miners (WFM), charged with the assassination of former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg. In 1899, Steunenberg had crushed a rebellion of miners during a labor dispute in Coeur d'Alene. Steunenberg was murdered in 1905, and Harry Orchard was arrested for the crime.

Idaho's Chief Justice Stockslager drafted a telegram which invited the Pinkerton Agency to investigate.[2] Governor Gooding was persuaded to approve the request, and Pinkerton agent James McParland soon arrived to lead the investigation.[3] McParland announced his suspicion that Orchard was "the tool of others."[4]

McParland's first order was to have Orchard transferred from the relatively comfortable Caldwell jail to death row in the Boise penitentiary, before any trial had occurred. The move was initially resisted by Judge Smith, who would be responsible for trying the case. The local judge anticipated a successful habeas corpus lawsuit against the tactic. McParland gave him "thirty precedents for the move." However, the sheriff in Caldwell also opposed the move.

Governor Gooding arranged a meeting between McParland and Chief Justice Stockslager, and then with Judge Smith. Before Smith arrived, McParland declared the county jail insecure, a potential target for dynamite. He also stated the purpose of the move to death row: "After three days I will attempt to get a confession." Chief Justice Stockslager approved of the move. In a pre-arranged plan, the Governor was called out of the room as soon as Judge Smith arrived, leaving McParland and the two judges alone. With the Chief Justice supporting the move to death row, Judge Smith also agreed.[5]

McParland later threatened Orchard with immediate hanging, and said that he could avoid that fate only if he testified against leaders of the WFM.[6] Orchard confessed, and was transferred from death row to a private bungalow in the prison yard. Governor Gooding stopped by to shake his hand and congratulate him on cooperating.[7]

McParland then had WFM leaders Bill Haywood, Charles Moyer, and George Pettibone arrested in Colorado, using extradition papers which falsely claimed that the three men had been present at Steunenberg's murder.[8]

The investigation and trial were financed with "deficiency certificates." In his book Big Trouble, J. Anthony Lukas recorded that with the use of these certificates,

In effect, the bank acted as a mere conduit for the passage of money from the mining industry to the state for use in the Haywood prosecution.[9]

Thousands of dollars were also provided directly from the mine owners to the prosecuting attorneys in the case.[10] Thus, mine owners were deliberately financing the state's prosecution of leaders of the union which had been organizing their mines. Upon hearing of this circumstance, President Theodore Roosevelt issued a particularly stern rebuke to Governor Gooding, describing such a state of affairs as the "grossest impropriety." President Roosevelt wrote:

[Idaho's government would] make a fatal mistake—and when I say fatal I mean literally that—if it permits itself to be identified with the operators any more than with the miners... If the Governor or the other officials of Idaho accept a cent from the operators or from any other capitalist with any reference, direct or indirect, to this prosecution, they would forfeit the respect of every good citizen and I should personally feel that they had committed a real crime.[11]

Governor Gooding's response to the President provided a "severely distorted" account of the financial arrangements for the trial, shifted the blame to others, and promised to return money contributed by the mine owners. Gooding then:

...kept the narrowest construction of his promise to the president... [He then proclaimed publicly and often that no] dollar has been or will be supplied from any private source or organization whatsoever, [and then] went right on taking money from the mine owners.[12]

George Pettibone, Bill Haywood, and Charles Moyer were found not guilty of conspiracy in the killing.[13] Orchard was convicted and sentenced to death. His sentence was commuted, and he spent the rest of his life in an Idaho prison.

Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind

The Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind (ISDB) was first established in 1906 in Boise and operated there until it burned down on December 8, 1908. The Idaho Legislature passed an act on March 16, 1909 establishing a permanent state school. Governor Frank Gooding donated land for the ISDB so it was moved to Gooding and started accepting students in September 1910.[14]

The grounds and some of the dormitories at the ISDB.The school covers a 40 acre area and provides dormitories for many of its students and has other facilities, such as a gymnasium and park. [15] [16]

See also


  1. ^ Idaho State Capitol at
  2. ^ The Pinkerton Story, James D. Horan and Howard Swiggett, 1951, page 294.
  3. ^ Roughneck, The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood, Peter Carlson, 1983, page 88.
  4. ^ Famous American Trials, Biographies of Key Figures in the Haywood Trial, James McParland Biography, Retrieved February 22, 2007.
  5. ^ The Pinkerton Story, James D. Horan and Howard Swiggett, 1951, pages 296-297.
  6. ^ Roughneck, The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood, Peter Carlson, 1983, page 90.
  7. ^ Roughneck, The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood, Peter Carlson, 1983, page 92.
  8. ^ Roughneck, The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood, Peter Carlson, 1983, page 93.
  9. ^ Big Trouble, J. Anthony Lukas, 1997, page 350.
  10. ^ Big Trouble, J. Anthony Lukas, 1997, pages 350-351.
  11. ^ Big Trouble, J. Anthony Lukas, 1997, page 369.
  12. ^ Big Trouble, J. Anthony Lukas, 1997, pages 370-372.
  13. ^ The Autobiography of Big Bill Haywood, William Dudley Haywood, 1929, page 224 ppbk.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^


Party political offices
Preceded by
John T. Morrison
Republican Party nominee, Governor of Idaho
1904 (won), 1906 (won)
Succeeded by
James H. Brady
Preceded by
James H. Brady
Republican Party nominee, U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Idaho
1918 special (lost), 1920 (won), 1926 (won)
Succeeded by
John W. Thomas
Political offices
Preceded by
John T. Morrison
Governor of Idaho
January 2, 1905–January 4, 1909
Succeeded by
James H. Brady
United States Senate
Preceded by
John F. Nugent
United States Senator (Class 3) from Idaho
January 15, 1921–June 24, 1928
Served alongside: William E. Borah
Succeeded by
John W. Thomas


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