Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Rest of the Story...by Kevin Borden

(Ed Note:  If you didn't read Kevin Borden's article about the death of Harry Foight on yesterday's blog, you should read it before you read the rest of the story.......)

Life Stranger than Fiction
Catherine Lockhart, author, came to the Wyoming country ten years earlier looking for material for a western romance novel, "Fighting Shepherdess."

She met Albert Lampitt and based the character of "Pete Mullendore" on Lampitt. She would write he was the embodiment of the western bad man and there was a bit of lawlessness about him. She also met Dr. Joseph Ash, whom she drew inspiration for as "Mormon Joe", who was kindly and good. In her book, Fighting Shepherdess, Mormon Joe saves a young lady from advances of Pete Mullendore. Pete becomes jealous, and kills Mormon Joe in this work of fiction.


In real life

Albert Lampitt and Dr Joseph Ash were actually love rivals for a real woman named Dorothy Newton. Ash was killed by an explosion of a carefully crafted trap gun fastened to the door of his house. Lampitt was arrested but was released from lack of evidence.

Death of Harry Foight
However,

Lampitt was tried and convicted in the murder of Harry Foight and Worley Seaton in connection with the bunkhouse explosion. He maintained that it was an accident caused by a gas leak under the bunkhouse. Extensive forensic evidence was provided including an unburned part of a fuse wire and a pattern of debris consistent witha  dynamite explosion. Lampitt was convicted but not sentenced to death,. Instead he was fined $500 and sentenced to life in prison. The Ash Murder was reopened but no action was taken. His sentence was later reduced to 65 years and with time off for good behavior he only served half his term. He was released in 1947 at the age of 67, and "headed for Montana."

Grace Lee died in the 1940's.

Former Bridgeport, Illinois resident Harry Foight was buried in Oak Hill cemetery, Battle Creek, Calhoun County, Michigan