You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones

Sunday May 17, 1914
From The Brooklyn Daily Eagle: Mother Jones to Speak to Women's Relief Committee

Mother Jones with Strikers Children
Mother Jones remains in New York City working for the relief of the strikers and their families in Colorado. The Ludlow refugees, now being cared for by the United Mine Workers in Trinidad, lost everything they owned except for what they were wearing when the militia set fire to their homes. There is great need for clothing, blankets, and even shoes-for it was the morning after a holiday when the militia attacked the Colony, and many fled not yet dressed for the day, especially the children.

Announcement in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:


Mother Jones, who comes direct from the scene of the recent trouble in Colorado, will speak at the meeting held by the Colorado Relief Committee, at the Masonic Temple, tomorrow evening, at 8 o'clock. Mrs. Fola La Follete Middleton will open the meeting by reading letters for Miss Helen Schloss, Max Eastman, Frank Bohn, and others who are now in Colorado. Contributions of blankets, underwear and simple clothing for men, women and children are solicited. These and any money contributions will be sent directly to the needy in Colorado. Mrs. James P. Warbasse will act as chairman of the committee.

Ludlow Refugees in Trinidad
Today's edition of the Daily Eagle also carry's this account written by the remarkable Miss Helen Schloss, the trained nurse sent by the Women's Relief Committee into the Colorado strike zone:

Helen Schloss Writes Colorado Strike Story

(By Helen Schloss,)

Miss Helen Schloss is a trained nurse who has been active as a suffrage organizer in this borough in behalf of the Woman Suffrage Party. She was sent to Colorado by the Brooklyn Committee for the Relief of Wives and Children of Colorado Strikers to organize a relief station at Trinidad. Mrs. Frank H. Cothren, Mrs. Herbert Warbasse and James P. Warbasse are especially active on this committee. This is the story of conditions as Miss Schloss heard it from the strikers:


THERE has been a strike in the State of Colorado, since last September, and if memory serves rightly, there have been strikes ever since the mines began operating.

Mines are unsafe, and hundreds of men are being killed in them every year. Water is scare in this part of the country, and coal dust is very plentiful. When a sufficient amount of coal dust has gathered in the air there is an explosion and many lives are snuffed out. When the operators are asked why they do not sprinkle the mines, they answered that the country lacks sufficient water.

The present strike has been in progress, in a peaceful manner, since September. There was no trouble of any moment till April 20. The militiamen were in the field to protect the mines, and incidentally to break the backbone of the strike.

The militia men had nothing to do, but to have a good time. So for just a little pastime, they started with Ludlow.

Ludlow had 12,000 [1200] inhabitants, with over 100 tents. The Ludlow people were about twelve nationalities in that small colony. They had parties and feasts, the women had plenty of time to go visiting, and to gossip. The men hung around, laughed and sang. There was nothing to do but wait until the strike was settled. The militiamen had work to do, and that was to break the strike.

Long before April 20, the tents of the strikers were searched. Trunks were ransacked, floors torn up, and there seemed to have been brooding a general feeling of hatred for the militia.

While the militia searched the tents, they usually had a machine gun on top of the hill. Be it known that Ludlow is sitting in a valley. The militia were stationed on the hills. This gave them a good chance to watch the doings of the strikers.

Militia Fires on Camp of Women and Children.

Monday morning, April 30 [April 20], at 10 a. m. the Ludlow people heard an explosion, and rushing out to the tent doors, they saw the machine guns in full blast, firing down upon them.

Under almost every tent was a large cave. The women and children scrambled into them, while the men grabbed their rifles and ammunition, and went up on the hill to fight.

The women and children who were in the caves tell horrible stories. The firing from the hills kept up all day, until 3 o'clock the next morning. No one knew whether his companions were alive or not. No one knew whether they would ever see his friends again. The rumbling kept up on the hill.

One young woman [Pearl Jolly] who had some training as a nurse, put Red Cross on her breast, and carrying a white flag, went from cave to cave with food, and drink for the women and children. She was fired at from all directions, and it is a great wonder that she lives to tell the tale. The heel was shot off one of her shoes.

One time when she ran into one of the tents, to get some food, so many shots followed her through the canvass that she had to lie still on the floor for hours. A dresser in the tent was shot to pieces.

It is said that the explosive bullets that were used set the tents on fire. The tents began to burn towards evening, and the fires kept up all night. The women and children fled from the caves, to the nearest ranch, and as they were running , shots followed them. The firing became so insistent that the people had to flee from the ranch. The militia looted the house, and left a note on a blank check, saying "this will teach you a lesson not to harbor strikers next time," signed with the initials of the Baldwin gunmen.

Towards morning at the break of day, that they saw the militia looting and setting fire to tents.

On going through the ruined tent colony, one was struck with the terrible amount f bullets lying everywhere. Everything had been riddled.

The stoves that might have been used after going through the fire were full of holes, where the bullets struck. Barns, sheds and everything in sight was destroyed. It was a ghastly sight to walk through the ruined colony, with the frames of the bedsteads standing out like ghosts amid the ruins.

We stopped near the cave, where eleven children and two women were smothered alive. Big, strong men stood at this cave, in silence, with bowed head. We slid down the gruesome hole, and I gave it a sort of rough measurements and found it 5 feet high, 7 feet wide and 9 feet long. A little high chair and a baby's gocart were still there.

The Red Cross party that went to Ludlow to recover the dead were arrested and detained for a little while. At first they received permission to pass, but later on General Chase told them he had received word they could not pass. Later this same general became abusive and called the minister choice names.

The Red Cross party recovered the eleven children and two women, but it is said that there are a great many bodies still missing, which are not accounted for.

Grocery Store Looted by the Militiamen.

About one mile away there is a grocery store, which is run in opposition to the company store. A visit to this store convinces one that destructive demons had been there. Flour and cereals were spilt all over the floor. The cash register was broken open, canned stuff opened and spilled, fixtures destroyed and windows broken. hundreds of dollars worth of damage was done.

Upstairs there was a rooming house, and the woman who ran this has lost everything. Never in my life have I witnessed such a state of affairs. The floor was strewn with papers, drawers were ransacked, bureaus, tables and chairs broken, mattresses destroyed, glasses broken. All the good things had been taken away. The poor people did not even have a chair to sit on. Unmentionable outrages were committed in this house. The poor woman sits on the floor on the torn mattress, with her hands up to her head in a state of terror. The reason this house was destroyed was because one leader, who was the strikers' best fighter, used to room there at one time.

Louis the Greek was killed. He fought at the front all day. When the moaning of the women and children became too terrible, this big strong man went on the hill through the storm of bullets to beg them to stop firing. He was hit with a gun over the head, and knocked senseless, and then shot through the head with an explosive bullet. He was found at the foot of the hill with an old pair of shoes on. Before he was shot he had new shoes. His gold watch and chain were gone. One of the militia boasted that he traded shoes with dead Louie.

After the terrible Ludlow massacre, the fighting began. Women and children were brought to Trinidad by the wagon load, the children fairly naked. For five nights and days the work kept up. The men went to the firing line, and the women stayed up all night cooking and sending shifts of men into battle. What a bloody war it was for five days! Those Greek men fought wonderfully. They fought against hundreds of machine guns. The strikers had a small force. They had little ammunition, but they fought bravely. A great many are soldiers from the old countries. The mixture of nationalities proved a great help in time of war, for it seemed that each nationality had something to offer and suggest against the "Tin Wollies," as they called them.

A few days later there was another battle. The strikers fought at Walsenburg. Fire was set to some houses, men were killed, and there was a bloody war; but the women and children were protected.

Peace has been restored in the community, the strikers are looking forward to a settlement. All strikers have been disarmed, and all mines guards are supposed to be disarmed.

The only solution of this problem is to close the mines, and as long as there will be strikebreakers in the mines there will be hatred, and hence more bloodshed.

Conditions among the miners are very pitiful, indeed, especially the Ludlow survivors. They are being fitted out as fast as possible, but there is still a great need. The strike benefits are $3 a week. One dollar extra is allowed for the wife, and 50 cents for the children. Babies are coming very fast, too. Since I started the work we have had two newcomers, and a dozen more are expected.

The strikers ask for their own check man. They wanted someone representing the workers to act a a check man to weigh the coal and offered to pay him. This was denied. If they became too persistent they were kicked out and blacklisted.

Miners say that the scales of the owners differ from the standard scales of the United States.

When the strike was declared, the company wagons came, went into homes and hauled out all furniture, leaving the people in the streets. They then sought shelter in tents with what results I have described above.

The Ludlow massacre shows the intention of the mine owners. It shows that Colorado does not belong to the free United States, and it show that because there are thousands and thousands of miles of empty space, that because life is crude and uncivilized in the great canyons, the greedy are taking advantage of this, and using every method to gain their end.


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
(Brooklyn, New York)
-of May 17, 1914

Out of the Depths
The Story of John R. Lawson, a Labor Leader
-by Barron B. Beshoar
(1st ed 1942)
CO, 1980

Mother Jones with Strikers Children
Ludlow Refugees in Trinidad

Saturday May 17, 2014
More on Miss Helen Schloss, The Red Nurse:

Helen Schloss in Center
I have encountered Miss Helen Schloss several times in the past few weeks while researching the events following the Ludlow Massacre. Sadly, I have never encountered her before in any of my many books on the subject. So then, imagine my delight at finding this long article (see above) written by Helen Schloss recounting her experience in the strike zone!

This is the earliest mention of Helen Schloss and her work for the Brooklyn Women's Relief Committee that I have found thus far:

Going as Red Cross Nurse.

It was announced yesterday that among a group of women who are organizing for relief work of the Colorado strikers under the supervision of Mrs. Frank Cothren, 173 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn, the first to leave for the mining regions as a Red Cross nurse will be Miss Helen Schloss, a member of the Women's Department of the Socialist Party, who will start to-day.

The New York Times
(New York, New York)
-of April 25, 1914

I am reasonably sure that this is the same Helen Schloss, but more research needed:
The Red Nurse: a tale of the 1912 Little Falls Textile Strike
by Michael Cooney
Wilderness Hill Books, 2013

Photo: Helen Schloss center of group

The Rebel Girl-Mats Paulson

And the grafters in terror are trembling
When her spite and defiance she'll hurl.
For the only and thoroughbred lady
Is the Rebel Girl.

             -Joe Hill


Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Sat May 17, 2014 at 11:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Sexism and Patriarchy, Shamrock American Kossacks, In Support of Labor and Unions, Anti-Capitalist Chat, and History for Kossacks.

Your Email has been sent.