Metis Men Lynched in Montana

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By Martha Harroun Foster and Lawrence Barkwell During the 1880s range wars in Montana, Narcisse Laverdure 1 was hung, and Joe ardner shot dead without trial, !y a cattle"en#s vigilante grou$ known as %&tuart#s &tranglers' na"ed a(ter rancher )ranville &tuart* +his grou$ was also known as the %Judith Basin igilantes*' ,t the ti"e, &tuart was also $resident o( the Montana +erritorial -ouncil* He was constantly accusing the .ndians and Metis o( stealing cattle and horses* +hese "en were accused o( stealing seven horses* /ne "onth later the ar"ed $osse hung &a" Mc0en1ie* , horsethie( na"ed Narcisse Laverdure was lynched at Judith Landing on the Missouri on the night o( the 23th o( June* +he (irst a$$earance o( the vigilantes was at -laggett, now Judith, on the Missouri, June 28, 1884* +here one !reed was shot and another hanged* +he na"e o( the !reed who was ca$tured and hanged was Narcisse Laverdure5 his uncle was wounded !ut got away* , "an !y the na"e o( 6illia" +* +ho"$son ca"e u$on this $air with 30 head o( stolen horses* He was taking Laverdure to -laggett when over taken !y a $osse, who relieved hi" o( his $risoner, and a(ter securing the !reed#s con(ession, hanged hi" to a convenient tree* July 7, another !reed, &a" Mc0en1ie, was taken on the Fort Maginnis reservation and hanged, his !ody !eing le(t sus$ended with a $lacard attached reading %Horse +hie(*' +he soldiers cut down the !ody and interred the re"ains* The Helena Independent, 8Helena, Montana9 July 10, 1884 Near Judith Landing, on the Missouri river, on the 23th o( June last, two hal(:!reeds stole (ive head o( horses (ro" ,*J* 6ells#s !and* ,s they were driving the" o(( they were "et !y 6illia" +ho"$son, who knew the horses and ordered the" to sto$* +his they re(used to do, !ut se$arated and started o(( at (ull s$eed* +ho"$son gave chase to one o( the" and ca$tured his "an* He was !rought !ack to Judith Landing, and the sa"e night, (ourteen hours a(ter the horses were stolen, was hanged to a cottonwood tree and $lacarded %Horsethie(*' His na"e was Narcisse Laverdure, and his co"$anion who esca$ed was his uncle* The Helena Independent, 8Helena, Montana9 July 17, 1884 /n July 7rd or $erha$s July 4th 1884 the )ranville &tuart cow!oys lynched a &cotts:Metis, &a" Mac0en1ie !ecause he was !elieved to have stolen (ive horses (ro" H*;* Brooks o(
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Laverdure was one o( the !u((alo hunters who signed the ;etition o( 18<8 (ro" the -y$ress Hills Metis asking (or reserve lands*

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,ndersonville, Montana the $revious May* &tuart had told Brooks they would look (or Mac0en1ie and even i( they could not $rove he was the thie( they would %arrange "atters so he will steal no "ore horses*' +he night !e(ore he was hung Mac0en1ie had !een $laying the (iddle at a dance unaware that the drunken cow!oys who were at the dance were vigilantes* ,ccording to .sa!elle Laroc=ue, %+hey took hi" in the "orning and hung hi" u$*'
>e(erence? Martha Harroun Foster %%6e 0now 6ho 6e ,re'? Multiethnic .dentity in a Montana Metis -o""unity*' ;h*D* diss*, @niversity o( -ali(ornia Los ,ngeles, 2000*

Compiled by Lawrence Barkwell Coordinator of Metis Heritage and History Research Louis Riel Institute

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