Name:  Anton Schaffer (also spelled Schaefer and Schafer)

Age/DoB: abt. 1857

County of Conviction:  Fergus

Judicial District:  10th               

Case No.:  1110

Date of Conviction:    June 18, 1918

Sentence:  $12,000











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Allegations: On March 6, 1918, Schaffer allegedly said "Those people in the White House and President Wilson has their bellies full of what they want to eat and I am going to have mine full of what I want, the same as the President." On March 26, while helping put up telephone poles in windy weather, he allegedly said "This government would be better off under German rule and us Germans could then send over to the foreign countries for men and us Germans could do the bossing." On April 5 he allegedly said "If I was one of President Wilson's bodyguards, I would blow him up with a stick of dynamite while he was working in his office." On April 13 he allegedly said "The money spent for Liberty Bonds is going to Washington and is locked in the cells and will not help win the war."


Case Details:  Defense counsel pointed out that both the state witnesses were or had been tenants of Schaffer and there had been trouble between them (Billings Gazette May 20, 1918). Further evidence that one of these men became a tenant in order to get the goods on Schaffer and that Schaffer, who was not fluent in English, was goaded into making remarks. Convicted by a jury on June 15,1918, evidently on the March 26 statement.  Ordered to purchase and sign over $13,000 in Liberty Bonds as security on an appeal bond, on which he was paying 10% interest. State received $1,582.10 in interest. State Supreme Court affirmed at 59 Mont. 463 197 Pac. 986 (1921). Pardon petition signed by 100 leading central Montana residents. Schaffer had already paid $8,000 in attorneys fees and interest, and evidence that he would be bankrupted if he had to pay the entire fine. Over objections by the American Legion, Gov. Dixon reduced his fine on June 1, 1921, to $500, noting that his informants believed that witnesses against him had hoped to secure title to his land by discrediting him.


Personal Information:  Born in Germany. Listed as trustee of Dist. 92 Willow Creek/Dry Land School near Stanford in 1911. Schaffer was a wealthy sheep grower and rancher and owned several hundred acres of land. Married with seven children. Place and date of death unknown.


The Montana Sedition Project

Revised 3/29/06