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Lewis J. Duncan

Lewis J. Duncan, a Socialist and Butte’s first Unitarian minister, was elected mayor of Butte in 1911 and again in 1913, the first Butte mayor to win two consecutive terms. He was impeached in October 1914 after being found guilty of neglecting his duties during the Miners Union Hall bombing in June 1914. Sheriff Timothy Driscoll was also impeached after admitting that his deputies failed to restrain the rioting miners. There is speculation Duncan was impeached to get him out of the way of Amalgamated Copper.

Prior to the trial, Duncan was attacked and stabbed three times in his office in July 1914, and shot and killed his attacker, Erik Lantala, a Finn, in self defense.

However, though Duncan is remembered for his impeachment, his service as mayor was greatly beneficial to Butte. Under his guidance, the city improved sanitation and public health. In his first year as mayor, deaths from contagious diseases dropped 84 percent, and deaths of children younger than 12 dropped by 50 percent. He also curbed municipal graft in the city’s police force, stabilized Butte’s finances and upgraded streets.

He died in Rochester, Minn., in 1936 at the age of 78.

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