Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Death of Harry Foight

Harry Foight

Harry Foight
Harry Foight was born November 20th, 1889 in Sheridan, Indiana. Harry worked in the oil fields in Indiana and came to Bridgeport, Illinois sometime before 1917. By 1917 Harry was living on Main Street in Bridgeport and working for the Big Four Oil and Gas Company there. When World War I broke out, millions of men registered for the draft, including Harry Foight. His draft number #661 was called and Harry was sent on a train to Camp Taylor in Kentucky.

Harry would eventually wind up at Camp Upton on Long Island, New York where he became  a cook and baker.  Camp Upton had a capacity of 18,000 troops and was one of three transient embarkation camps. After his discharge Harry returned to the oil fields to work but this time in Ohio. He got a job as a tool dresser for the Ohio Oil Company and sometime after 1920, went to Basin, Wyoming at the "Oil Camp" of the Grass Creek Oil field. Harry lived in one of the bunkhouses provided by the company. Each bunkhouse contained six compartments, each just large enough for sleeping quarters. Harry shared the house with four other employees: Worley Seaton, and men named Crandle, Wilcox, and Schroeder.

Grace Lee
Miss Grace Lee was employed as a caretaker of several of these bunkhouses. Every unmarried man in the Ohio Camp admired her until it became apparent that Harry Foight, ex-soldier and strapping young man, had dominion over her heart.

Albert Lampitt, a former suitor became enraged when he heard that two were to be married. Lampitt also worked at the camp and lived in a small cabin in the camp. Grace complained to Harry that Lampitt had been annoying her. Harry told her "he would eliminate the annoyance."  Lampitt overheard the conversation.

On April 7, 1921 at one o'clock in the morning, the bunkhouse in which Harry Foight was sleeping was blown to bits including Harry,  his dog and Worley Seaton, who was not supposed to have been in the adjacent bunk that night. The explosives were placed directly under the bunkhouse where Harry was sleeping. Witnesses said their bodies were hurled more than 150 feet in the air.

In addition, Crandle, Wilcox, and Schroeder were unconscious and badly maimed, thrown one hundred feet from where the bunkhouse once stood. Every resident of the camp, except one, was soon at the scene of the tragedy. The residents of the camp noted Lampitt’s absence and knew of the trouble between the two men. Lampitt’s car was loaded for a camping trip parked outside his cabin. Sheriff Harry Holdredge was summoned from Thermopolis, forty miles distant over bad roads.

When the Sheriff arrived at the camp, he knocked on Lampitt’s door and placed him under arrest. Lampitt contended he had not heard a thing.  Faint tire tracks led from the company's explosive storage shack to Lampitt’s car. Lampitt was the camp’s explosive expert. As Lampitt was driven away in the Sheriff's car, he said, "I've been through this before you don't have anything on me."

Ed Note:  This article was researched and written by Kevin Borden.. and  as Kevin loves to say, wait till you hear the rest of the story ....tomorrow.