Name:  Martin Ferkovich

Age/DoB:
  39

County of Conviction: Musselshell

Judicial District:
  15th

Case No.:
278

Date of Conviction:
Sentenced 2/21/19


Sentence:
10-20 years

 

 

 

Allegations: That on Friday, September 13, 1918 (day after registration day) said in Waddy Russell (Kumor & Russell) saloon in Carpenter Creek, "This Government cannot take me (meaning that the United States Government could not select him under the national selective service regulations). I would kill the first man who tried to take me. Austria is my country and I won't fight against her. I wouldn't shoot my own brother. I would shoot someone else first. The Government didn't do right; they didn't give me my citizenship papers. The Kaiser is all right; he didn't bother me. The Kaiser didn't bother this country."

 

Case Details: Found guilty by jury. Sentencing judge George V. Jones later said he "had a very poor impression" of Ferkovich as "defiant and peculiarly un-American" because  "he aped the airs of the Kaiser in the way he wore his mustache" (which he evidently grew back after it was shaved off by the citizens of Musselshell). Ferkovich served 33 months, working as an outside trusty on construction projects, including the new prison theater, the brick yard and the milk ranch. He was the last sedition prisoner. Recommended for clemency by Warden Conley, former employers and even by the sentencing judge. Sentence commuted by Gov. Dixon to 3-10 years for immediate parole and approved by state board of pardons (Wellington Rankin, chair) on Oct. 21, 1921.

 

Personal information: Native of Croatia. Poor understanding of English and may have been illiterate. Had worked in Montana coal mines and as a stone mason for 12-14 years. Lived in Fergus Co. from 1906 to 1917 and worked at the Kendall gold mine, the Three Forks Portland cement mine at Hanover and at Lewistown before moving to Roundup to work at the Star Coal Mine near Musselshell. Wife and three children in Roundup.

 

The Montana Sedition Project

 

Revised 3/29/06