Name: Dr. John Silas Geiser


Age/DOB: 1870


County of Conviction: Sheridan


Judicial District:  17th


Case No.: 244


Date of Conviction: Information filed May 21, 1918; amended July 2, 1918


Sentence: $200









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Allegations: Probably in a sermon on May 5, 1918, said: "All war is wrong.  It is all wrong to buy liberty bonds or thrift stamps.  We should remain firm; and I urge you not to buy or purchase any liberty bonds or thrift stamps."  He also said: "I believe it is wrong to kill one's fellow man.  One who buys Liberty Bonds and Thrift Stamps [then and thereby meaning Bonds and Thrift Stamps of the U.S., issued for the purpose of maintaining the cost of the conduct of the war in which the United States of American wasÉand is engaged with the government of Germany] to furnish ammunition for the killing of people is as bad as it would be to kill one's self.  I believe that one who buys Liberty Bonds and Thrift Stamps to aid and support the war is as bad as those who hire gunmen in the city of New York to kill their fellow man [then and thereby meaning and intending to convey the meaning that the soldiers and sailors of the U.S. who, in battle, kill their enemies, were similar to the gunmen in the city of New York who, for hire, feloniously kill and murder their fellow man]."


Case Details: 12 witnesses for the state. $5,000 bail bond.


Personal Information: Became the first minister of the United Brethren Church in Baltimore in 1907. Came west in 1911 after his first wife died in childbirth. Hundreds of Brethren attracted by the claims of the Great Northern Railroad settled in North Dakota, Montana and further west. Geiser settled in Froid and also worked as a dentist there. Was an Elder and minister in the Grandview Church of the Brethren from 1915 to 1928, except for a period when he resigned in 1918 after declaring bankruptcy. The Church of the Brethren had always stood against war and had passed a new statement "Teaching Against Militarism" in 1916. John remarried in Montana and had four children. The family returned to Maryland in 1928 and settled in Riverdale, Prince George's County.  John died in 1934.


The Montana Sedition Project




Updated 4/11/06