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Ray Norton is the winner!

Henry Plummer is the answer for Week 371 of Orofino History Trivia a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country. Watch each day for another clue.

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Monday: A man of two personalities

Tuesday: Deadly

Wednesday: Charming

Thursday: A professional gambler

Friday: His gang operated out of Culdesac.

According to most online sources, Henry Plummer was born in Maine, but came to California with the gold 1852. He settled in Nevada City, CA and for a time had a bakery and became active in politics, joining the Democratic party. He was well-spoken, friendly and ambitious. However, he was found guilty of second-degree murder for killing an unarmed man and spent time a San Quentin, before being pardoned by the governor.

He returned to Nevada City, but was soon in trouble again for killing another man. He fled to avoid prosecution. He did some wandering in the gold fields of the west ending up for time in Lewiston where he was seen as charming, graceful and well dressed. He was a professional gambler and the handsome, blue-eyed man who charmed the ladies.

According to John H. Bradbury's Clearwater County History series Plummer hid his part as an outlaw and leader of a gang that robbed and murdered miners and others carrying gold from Pierce City to Lewiston. The gang had their headquarters in Culdesac, but had "shebangs" where they waylaid and murdered travelers.

North Idaho History reports that the few who defied the gang members were marked for death. They usually got them into a quarrel and under the guise of self-defense killed them with a pistol or Bowie knife.

Vigilance committees were formed because no one was safe alone. These committees became the law enforcers of the day. In addition to routes from Pierce City, those from Florence and Elk City were also frequented by Plummer's gang.

Bradbury said the test of wills came when the Plummer gang, posing as road agents confronted Pierce City saloon keeper Pat Ford and some of his companions while they were riding from Lewiston to Oro Fino. Ford knew some of the gang members and told them he was on to their stunts and going to keep an eye on them. The gang followed him to Pierce City and rather than confront him in his saloon, shot up the town, forcing people into their homes. Ford went out on the street to confront them with a revolver in each hand, but he was no match for the gang. His body was riddled with bullets.

Ford's killing generated such anger that the gang fled to Montana where for a time Plummer was sheriff of Bannack. Soon people found out what his gang was doing there and a vigilantee committee was formed that hanged Plummer and several other gang members.

(Photo courtesy of Clearwater Historical Museum)

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