Jerks and beer are typically a bad combination.Saturday’s Suds with a Scholar provides rare exception. The Latah County Historical Society event will feature a talk on the jerks in Idaho’s history and brews from Hunga Dunga Brewing Co. The talk will be given by Randy Stapilus, of Carlton, Ore., an author of numerous books and articles about Idaho history, politics and people.
Assembling the particularly unpleasant characters in the state’s past is just another way of looking at history, said Stapilus. Some of Idaho’s jerks are bona fide criminals, like Harry Orchard who assassinated Idaho’s then-governor, Frank Steunenberg; or Lyda Southard, one of the first known female American serial killers who lived in southern Idaho and Montana.
Other Idaho jerks were people known to incite conflict or act in ways that didn’t show consideration of others.
“It has to be something other than just a difference, say, of philosophy,” said Stapilus. “They did things that created havoc and that were bad — and they must have known they were bad.”
When it comes to infamous Idahoans, Stapilus noted two from the area that qualify as jerks. The first is Henry Spalding, who established a mission among the Nez Perce. Though he was a reverend and cared about his work, he “cared too much,” Stapilus said. He was obsessive, bitter and unable to work cooperatively with others and eventually left the settlement with hard feelings.
Another local “jerk” in the state’s history was E.D. Pierce, who established the gold mining town that still carries his name. Pierce illegally invaded areas that were designated as Nez Perce land to do so, and thus was a link in the chain of events that led to the Nez Perce War, Stapilus said.
Doors open at 4 p.m., and the presentation begins at 4:30 p.m. One beer is included with the entry fee, and additional beverages and barbeque will be available for purchase. Live music by local musicians will follow the presentation.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Suds with a Scholar: “Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in Idaho History,” a talk by Randy Stapilus
WHEN: 4 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Latah County Fairgrounds, 1021 Harold St., Moscow
COST: $10 Latah County Historical Society members, $12 nonmembers