Saturday, October 09, 2010

Today -100: October 9, 1910: Of the Battle of Cameron Dam

With elections one month away, Massachusetts Democrats have no candidate for governor. The party convention descended into fist-fights and decided to leave it to a Committee of Four, but they haven’t managed to make a decision either.

The Battle of Cameron Dam is over. In 1900 John Deitz bought a farmstead in Wisconsin and found that his property included the logging dam, which he blocked in 1904 after a lumber company owned by Weyerhaeuser refused to pay the toll he demanded. The company orchestrated an ambush by a sheriff’s posse in July 1906 in which one of Deitz’s sons was nearly killed. He and his family held off sheriff’s deputies for the next four years, surviving the siege with food contributed by readers of a sympathetic newspaper editor. They finally succumbing yesterday (-100) to an onslaught by a posse of 60 men. Deitz’s log cabin, where his family including minor children held out, was riddled with 1,000 shots during the five-hour gun battle. One deputy was killed and another had his ear shot off. Deitz was imprisoned for murder but his folk hero status forced the governor to pardon him in 1921. There’s an interesting article from the Wisconsin Magazine of History available online.

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