Page 18 - MFMJan 2016
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Col. Everton J. Conger

               F. Lee Graves (16)

  Everton J. Conger was born in                                            with his daughter Margaret and son-
Huron County, Ohio in 1834, the                                            in-law Joseph B. Poindexter. Judge
son of a Presbyterian minister. He                                         Poindexter a member of Dillon
got an education and went into                                             Lodge No. 16 had been appointed
dentistry giving up that endeavor                                          to the territorial bench by President
when the Civil War began in 1861.                                          Woodrow Wilson.
He initially was a private in the 8th
Ohio Infantry. He later became a                                             Colonel Conger suffered a massive
captain in the 3rd West Virginia                                           stroke in 1918 and died. His body
Cavalry and eventually rose to the                                         was returned to Dillon where he is
rank of lieutenant colonel of the                                          buried in Mountainview Cemetery.
1st District of Columbia Cavalry.                                          The Dillon Masonic Lodge has a
He suffered severe wounds during                                           Tyler’s sword which up until recent
combat three different times once                                          years hung on the frame of the door
even being left for dead. His war                                          to the ante room. The writer’s father
wounds bothered him all during his                                         was secretary of Dillon Lodge No.
later life and alcohol and morphine                                        16, A.F. & A.M. for many years, and
provided him small relief.                                                 I used to accompany my father to the
                                                         Lodge twice a month to run off dues cards notifying
  He was assigned to detached duty in Washington,        members of meetings. When my father was busy, I
D.C. due to his health status of the time. He recovered  used to go into the main Lodge room, take the sword
and finally joined General Lafayette Baker’s             off the hook on the door, and run around the massive
intelligence service as a detective with National        room pretending all kinds of wonderful things,
Detective Police (the unit was also referred to a the    saving General Custer from the Sioux, battling
Secret Service serving under the War Department).        Road Agents with the Vigilantes at Bannack, and
Following the assassination of President Abraham         even capturing John Wilkes Booth with Colonel
Lincoln on April 14, 1863, Colonel Conger was            Conger. My father would always caution me not to
ordered to accompany a group of soldiers to pursue       play with the sword since it was a special sword.
and capture John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin.       Local history states that it was the cavalry sabre that
Conger’s work as an investigator paid off and he         Colonel Conger wore when he captured Booth, the
finally traced Booth to a tobacco barn just South        rascally actor who assassinated our 16th president.
of Port Royal, Virginia. Booth’s accomplice, David         How Dillon Lodge No. 16 obtained the sword is
E. Herold surrendered but Booth refused to come          a mystery, but hopefully perusing some of the old
out. Conger set fire to the barn in an attempt to flush  Lodge minutes will finally uncover the story. Most
out Booth. Against direct orders, Sergeant Boston        likely the sword was presented to the Lodge by
Corbett shot Booth in the neck who was dragged to        Col. Conger’s son Raymond who was a member of
the porch of the farmhouse where he died a short         Dillon No. 30, Ponemah No. 63, Missoula No. 13
time later. Conger was given $15,000.00 as a reward      and Thompson Falls No. 70; or by his son-in-law
for the successful operation which he used to build      Judge J. B. Poindexter who was a member of Dillon
a home and start a law practice in Carmi, Illinois.      No. 16.
                                                           The sword is now held in a secure environment for
  One of his good friends happened to be President       security, however symbolically still hangs on the hook of
Rutherford B. Hayes who was one of Conger’s              the door to the preparation room in case our Tyler should
dental patients in Fremont, Ohio. In 1880 President      ever need it to “keep off all cowans and eavesdroppers”.
Hayes appointed Conger to the Montana Territorial
Supreme Court as a Associate Justice. Three years
later he was not reappointed to the bench due to a
political squabble.

  He went to Dillon where he was a prosecuting
attorney and also worked on a ranch. Col. Conger
spent his last few months in Hawaii where in 1917

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