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 • Montana State Prison Cemetery
 • Deer Lodge
 • Powell County
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Paul G ""Turkey Pete"" Eitner
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Birth: Oct. 8, 1877, Germany
Death: Apr. 4, 1967
Deer Lodge
Powell County
Montana, USA

Eitner left New Jersey in 1914 when he was told he needed a dryer climate or he would die in six months from tuberculosis. He settled in Montana where he worked on a ranch until he was kicked in the head by a horse. He also had a heavy drinking problem and found employment in a liquor store. Whether it was the head injury or the drinking that led to his problems is unknown. On the night of January 21, 1918 he emptied his pistol shooting at Joseph Nugent in their home in Miles City, Custer County, Montana. One bullet took affect and hit Nugent in the stomach. He clung to life for several days before his passing. Nugent was reading a paper at the time and no reason has been determined for the shooting. Possibly both were courting Miss Hope Mathena who was living in the same rooming house which was owned by Mathena's sister and her husband. Eitner pleaded guilty to the murder in hopes for a lighter sentence. He was devastated when the judge sentenced him to life. A model prisoner, he was assigned to tend the prison turkeys. As the years passed, reality slipped away from him. One day a man stopped to admire the turkeys and Pete sold him the entire flock for 25 cents apiece. This earned him one of his nicknames, "Turkey Pete" and ended his farming days, but marked the beginning of his new fantasy career as an "entrepreneur and philanthropist." The prison administration humored Pete and allowed him to have printed checks from the prison print shop. He "purchased" the prison and proceeded to "operate" it. He paid all the expenses and wrote checks to the guard for their salaries. "Eitner Enterprises" saved Brazil's coffee crop, sold pink alligators, purchased alfalfa seed from Poncho Villa, sold grasshopper legs to Fidel Castro and sold ships to the Navy. As entertainment for the inmates they would bring in from time to time professional boxers and have matches in the prison. Pete was known for his performances of "shadow boxing" and always got a chance to be introduced to and with the visiting boxers. He was the honorary manager of the prison boxing team and was always in the prison's fighters corner whenever the team fought a match. He would cheer the fighters on and shadow box his way through the match. He would even get in the ring sometimes even in his 80's to spar a bit and show the boxers, who went along with his antics, who was the boss. I guess that's the reason he always won. And that's how he earned the nickname "The Champ." As a side note Pete traveled with the prison boxing team and the prison band on trips outside the prison and was known to dance with the ladies at the dances. When Pete died in 1967 at age 89, his cell was retired and converted to a barber shop. His funeral was the only one ever held within the walls of the prison. As I went through the prison I discovered that the baseball field was named for Pete and he had his own special chair in the TV room.
 
 
Burial:
Montana State Prison Cemetery
Deer Lodge
Powell County
Montana, USA
 
Maintained by: mamie5356
Originally Created by: Tom Todd
Record added: Aug 10, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 40529136
Paul G Turkey Pete Eitner
Added by: Tom Todd
 
Paul G Turkey Pete Eitner
Added by: Tom Todd
 
 
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Rest in peace Uncle Paul.
- Wes and Joy Morris
 Added: Jun. 30, 2013

- Terry Topin Kaufman
 Added: Mar. 21, 2013

- ghost girl
 Added: Dec. 31, 2009
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