Tuesday July 5, 1904
From the Appeal to Reason: George H. Shoaf Reports from Cripple Creek Zone
George H. Shoaf, special correspondent for the Appeal, has managed to send another report from the Cripple Strike Zone despite military occupation and Citizens' Alliance domination. Shoaf describes hardships endured by the miners and their families such as most of us have never imagined. Nevertheless, Shoaf goes on to state that the miners and their families are keeping the spirit of unionism alive:
But while the visible union local, with its officers, charter and paraphernalia, have joined the procession of the deported miners, the spirit of labor unionism is not dead, but is sleeping....The capitalist mine owners and Citizens' Alliance thugs have not read history correctly if they think these drastic methods will put down the spirit of rebellion dominant in the heart of the common people.
We will present Shoaf's report in two parts. Part I can be found below and Part II will appear in tomorrow's Hellraisers.
The Cripple Creek Vigilance Committee Inflicts
Cruel and Inhuman Treatment Upon
Union Miners and their Families.
Staff Correspondence to Appeal to Reason.
Cripple Creek, Colo., June 22-Peace and tranquility are beginning to reappear in the military-ridden districts of Colorado. Civil government, administered by the hired minions of the mine owners is preserving law and order at Telluride and Trinidad. The mines in those places are running short handed because of the recent deportations, and good non-union miners at high wages are in demand.
In the Cripple Creek district martial law still obtains. There is some semblance of civil government, but every step the local officers take is with the knowledge and consent of the military commander. There is now not a single county or city official in the Cripple Creek district from the highest prosecuting attorney down to the lowest deputy constable, but what has received his appointment through the sanction of the Mine Owners' Association. Armed deputies still patrol the streets, but most of the militia are gone.
Hung Head Downwards
The vigilance committee is still taking testimony from every possible outside source that will throw light on the Independence horror, while Sheriff Bell, prosecuting Attorney Crump and several able assistants are busily engaged in the work of "sweating" the prisoners for incriminating evidence. All sorts of rumors are afloat as to the nature of the "sweating" process. According to one story, John Harper, manager of the Victor union store, was hung up three times by the neck in order to obtain a confession. John James, member of Victor 32, who was captured in the Dunnville fight, after being beaten into insensibility with a club, was suspended head downwards by the toes for five minutes. Walter Warner had no sooner denied complicity in the Independence plot than a big burly deputy delivered a blow that knocked him clear across the room. These facts, highly colored, are purposely carried to the wives and mothers of the tortured men in order to accentuate their already almost unendurable agony. No one is permitted to communicate with the imprisoned men.
Cheated Out of Their Little Home.
A large proportion of the families of the deported men have either left the district or are preparing to leave. Household goods are sold at a sacrifice, and homes that represent the savings of years are going for a song. In nearly every instance the purchaser is a mine owner, or his representative, who is availing himself of this opportunity to buy cheap from the union people to sell dear to scabs. In Goldfield, Independence. Anaconda and Altman at least half the houses are empty. "To rent" signs are stuck up all over Victor and Cripple Creek, and business is at a standstill. Some of the mines have been opened but the output is not large. In fact, the entire district presents the appearance of just recovering from the effects of pestilential visitation and people who come out on the streets tread softly and talk in whispers.
Clerks Now Work Two Hours Longer.
Very few arrests have been made during the last few days for the reason that no union miners remain to be arrested. The unions of the retail clerks, musicians, barbers, etc, have met only to withdraw from the District Trades Assembly, but no announcements of future local meetings have been made. As a result of the crusade the retail clerks have had their time lengthened two hours each day, the stores now closing at eight instead of six o'clock.
Union Miners' Homes Burned.
All insurance has been removed from the homes of union miners and it is the declared intention of the Citizens' Alliance to burn out any unionist who has the temerity to remain. Three mysterious fires have already occurred in which union families have been the victims. Mrs. Maggie Morrison, who closed her restaurant in Independence at the beginning of the strike, was ordered by the Citizens' Alliance to dispose of her effects and leave the district. She is accused of agitating Socialism. Several attorneys of liberal sympathies have been boycotted by the powers that be and notice has been given to the working people throughout the district that they must not give their legal patronage to these boycotted lawyers.
Was a Republican-Now a Socialist Agitator.
The most incorrigible unionist yet arrested is L. E. Krotz. Krotz is a well educated young man from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who came west in quest of gold. Desiring to learn the business thoroughly, he joined the union and hired out to one of the large mining companies. When he went into the bull pen he was a pronounced republican. After three days' imprisonment he declared for the democratic party. He now says that if he ever secures his release he will spend the rest of his life agitating Socialism.
The Influence of the Women.
Prior to the Independence depot explosion the Woman's Auxiliary to the miners' union had a membership aggregating over seven hundred members. They constituted a power almost equal to the union itself. When these women withdrew their patronage from the regular merchants and threw it to the union stores a mighty howl went up. Destruction of the Auxiliary was resolved upon forthwith by the stranded merchants. During the strenuous excitement their charter was destroyed, their principal officers were arrested and further meetings of the members were ordered to cease. When suffering among the families of the exiled miners began to appear some of these women took it upon themselves to relieve the distressed ones. This was at once stopped by the military authorities. But the plucky women found a way to beat the militia by doing the work secretly under cover of the night and it is now reported that no cases of actual want exist. However there are no more open meetings of the Woman' Auxiliary.
Eight Men Reported for Work.
When the Portland mine opened Tuesday night eight union miners responded for work. This mine formerly employed five hundred men, ninety-five per cent of whom were members of the Western Federation. One of these men told the writer just after the close-down that the men had taken a solemn resolve not to return to work unless the mine reopened on the old basis. These men have all scattered through the adjoining states looking for a job.
Deputy Sheriffs in the Raid.
The Victor Record has made an appearance on the streets again, but with an editorial policy immensely subdued in tone. While Editor Kyner's thoughts have not changed since the raid was made upon his office, he does not care to give them expression through the columns of his paper. He has named the men responsible for the outrage but no steps for their apprehension have been taken by the vigilance committee. They are all members of the Citizens' Alliance, some of them are deputy sheriffs, and not a single one of them ever carried a union card.
Miners' Attorney Released.
Attorney Frank J. Hangs, the legal representative of the miners' union, who was arbitrarily arrested by the militia, and subsequently released, without reason, has announced his willingness to continue his relations with the Western Federation. While he has made no statement to the public in regard to his unwarranted imprisonment, he nevertheless attributes his early release to the storm of indignation that was rapidly gathering in the association of the Colorado bar.
Chas. Moyer Now in Cripple Creek.
Charles Moyer, the imprisoned Federation president, has been transferred from Telluride to Cripple Creek. His long confinement has undermined his constitution and today he is only a shadow of his former self. Throat troubles have rendered him almost speechless and he has very little to say about the situation. He is allowed to see no one, and everything sent out by telegraph connecting him personally must first receive the approval of the authorities. C. G. Kennison, president of local union No. 40, has been persecuted to the verge of insanity. He was struck a heavy blow on the head by a Cripple Creek deputy at the time of his arrest in Denver, and it is said that this blow has seriously affected his mind. Jail guards claim that his present actions are caused by epileptic fits. Warrants for the arrest of W. D. Haywood, secretary of the national organization, have been issued, but thus far they have not been served.
No Effort to Apprehend the Real Culprits.
While every effort to extort confessions from the imprisoned men is being made, and numerous charges, from petit larceny to murder, have been preferred against the more prominent strike committeemen, apparently nothing has been done to apprehend the real perpetrators of the Independence massacre. Numerous clues have been unearthed by newspaper men that point strongly to the guilt of several well known mining detectives but no notice is given them by the sheriff or the prosecuting attorney. An evident determination to railroad several union agitators is under way.
Mrs. Ada B. Hanna, humane officer of the district, is authority for the statement that no fewer than six premature child-births have been recorded with the coroner-all resulting from the terrible nervous strain to which the mothers have been subjected during the last two weeks.
Miss Hattie Westover, a high-grade teacher in the McKinley school in Cripple Creek, was haled before the Citizens' Alliance Saturday charged with "talking back" to a Hungarian Jew who persisted in villifying union men in the presence of the pretty school teacher. She was admonished to keep quiet or leave the district.
Not a Local Union Remains.
The declaration to wipe the miners' union off the map made by General Sherman Bell early in the campaign, has apparently been made good in the Cripple Creek district. Not a single local union remains. The officers are either in jail or deported, and the rank and file of the membership are scattered broadcast over the continent. Any man who would dare proclaim his allegiance to a labor organization in the Cripple Creek district today would be immediately arrested and made to recant. His failure to do so would result in exile.
The Spirit Still Alive.
But while the visible union local, with its officers, charter and paraphernalia, have joined the procession of the deported miners, the spirit of labor unionism is not dead, but is sleeping. Fully sixty per cent of the men who stood by while militia and deputized scabs were disgracing the nation by their high-handed procedure were either union men or union sympathizers. They had felt the economic pressure and knew that the rights of their class were being invaded. But what could they do? They had neither arms nor organization. They had no leaders, and each man suspected the other of being an association spy. It was a plain case of the demoralized, disorganized majority having their opinions stifled, their rights invaded, their liberties trampled upon by an organized minority, backed up by the owner of the state guard. It might be said that these workingmen were cowards and deserved this treatment. In a measure this is true. But resistance this late in the strike would have been folly.
The capitalist mine owners and Citizens' Alliance thugs have not read history correctly if they think these drastic methods will put down the spirit of rebellion dominant in the heart of the common people. They may congratulate themselves for a season. They may announce through their hireling press that Socialism has received its knock-out blow, but they are mistaken. As surely as oppression produced revolt in English history; as certain as poverty resulted in the overthrow of the Bourbon kings of France, then will history repeat the experience of the ages, and here in America oppression and persecution must inevitably drive together the now discordant ranks of labor for the final triumphant Waterloo of the its enemies.
GEO. H. SHOAF.
Appeal to Reason
-of July 2, 1904
Union men and union sympathizers being deported from Cripple Creek Strike Zone
Vigilante Man-Ry Cooder