Skip to main content

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

Thursday February 19, 1914
From the Miners Bulletin: Jury Finds Waddell Men Guilty of Seeberville Slaying

A jury in the strike zone of Michigan has found three Waddell men and a deputy sheriff guilty of manslaughter in the deaths of Steve Putrich. This report is from the latest edition of the Miners' Bulletin:


Arthur Davis, William Groff and James Cooper, Waddell gunmen and Ed Polkinghorne, a deputy sheriff were found guilty of manslaughter after a trial lasting two weeks in the circuit court. The case was turned over to the jury Saturday at 4 o'clock and after twenty hours deliberation the above verdict was reached. In its verdict Polkinghorne was recommended to the mercy of the court, probably on account of his being a deputy sheriff. Harry James, another deputy sheriff, who stood trial along with the others was not considered in the verdict in compliance with the instructions of Judge Flannigan to the jury. James, it was brought out by the testimony, did not take any part in the shooting but was merely in company with the others, he not firing a shot.

When the verdict was read in court Monday morning, Attorney Galbraith for the defense addressed the court, stating that he had three motions to make as follows,-First, that the court set aside the verdict and dismiss the respondents at the bar; Second, that the court set aside the verdict and order a new trial; Third, that a stay of sentence be granted pending a bill of exceptions. In a lengthy statement and detailed explanation Judge Flannigan denied the motions. Attorney Nichols for the people then moved that sentence be passed on the prisoners and four defendants were requested to stand up.

Before passing sentence Judge Flannigan stated that passing sentence on prisoners was one of the most unpleasant and harder duties the court had to perform during his term on the bench. The court then sentence Cooper, Groff, Davis and Polkinghorne to hard labor at the branch prison at Marquette for not more than 15 years, and not less than 7 and 1/2 years. The prisoners appeared very much downcast when they heard their doom. It is believed they looked for an acquittal or a very light sentence, and were greatly disappointed.

The prisoners were then taken to jail to await transfer to the penitentiary. Thomas Raleigh one of the accused men who was out on bonds of $10,000 left the country about one month ago forfeiting his bonds. If caught he will probably be given the maximum sentence.

The crime for which these men were convicted was the murder of Steve Putrich, a striker, on August 14th last at Seeberville, a small mining camp near Houghton [where] an altercation occurred in which the deputies drew their guns shooting [a boarding] house full of holes, killing Steve Putrich and Louis Tijan, two absolutely innocent men and injuring several others who were in the house.

[paragraph breaks added]

The Judge made this statement before imposing his sentence:
I have tried to find mitigation if it existed. I have made an effort to find something, somewhere, in mitigation for your act. I know too that the jury sat through this trial hoping that from the lips of some witness might fall something that would put at least a drop of humanity into that awful transaction.

It is not right for a circuit judge to scold convicted men when passing sentence and I do not want to be looked upon as doing so. I have tried to give you boys a fair trial. It was impossible for it to be fairer. If the jury had found your plea of self defense true in this case it would have been a travesty of justice.

On Tuesday, the convicted murderers were taken to the train station and shipped off to serve their sentences. The Daily Mining Gazette reported that event:
The Gazette further reported that a huge crowd of well-wishers gathered at the station to witness these fine but "luckless young men" being deported from Michigan's copper country.

And from The Atlanta Constitution of Georgia:


Denver, Colo., February 18.-The state supreme court today denied the petition for the writ of habeas corpus filed by "Mother" Jones, a military prisoner in the southern Colorado coal fields. Two of the seven justices dissented.

Miners' Bulletin
"Published by authority of
 Western Federation of Miners
 to tell the truth regarding
 the strike of copper miners."
-of Feb 18, 1914

Death's Door
The Truth Behind Michigan's Largest Mass Murder

-by Steve Lehto
MI, 2006

The Atlanta Constitution
(Atlanta, Georgia)
-of Feb 19, 1914

See also:
WE NEVER FORGET: August 14, 1913 The Seeberville Massacre


Wednesday February 19, 2014
More on the Seeberville Murders:

Raleigh-who was called "the ugly-faced one" by a witness-skipped bail and did not appear for trial. It was of no consequence to him; the $5,000 bond had been posted by the mine for which he worked. The $5,000 bond posted by the mine was equivalent to the salary of a miner for more than five years of labor at that time. It was a crazy proposition for the mine, knowing that the man was not a Michigan native and that the evidence against him was overwhelming. When it posted the bond, the mine must have known it would never get the money back...

The manger of a local mine, who was paying for the legal defense of the killers, fired the attorneys for being inept and hired another firm to handle their appeal....

[Rees, Robinson & Petermann] decided the best route was to simply appeal to the governor and ask for the four men to be pardoned. According to the new attorneys, the men were "trustworthy" as well as "handsome, fine-looking specimens of manhood." Apparently what would pass today for a bad Internet-dating-service description was considered possible grounds for pardoning a murderer. The governor asked Judge Murphy what he thought of pardoning the men. Murphy had actually met with the men around the time of the inquest and confided to the governor: "They are scum." Ferris denied the pardon.

Death's Door
The Truth Behind Michigan's Largest Mass Murder

-by Steve Lehto
MI, 2006

And More on the Fugitive Waddell Gunthug, Thomas Raleigh:

For almost 100 years now people have wondered what happened to Thomas Raleigh, the man who was charged with murder in the deaths of Alois Tijan and Steven Putrich in the infamous Seeberville shootings. It was thought that he had fled the country, and even Houghton's Special Prosecuting Attorney brought in to expedite cases during the strike opined that he was unable to be found.

Where did Tom Raleigh go? Well we've "found" him almost 100 years later in the historic record, and what we have uncovered is damning evidence against the Calumet & Hecla (C&H) mining company officials, the legal firm of Rees, Robinson, and Petermann, and the Waddell-Mahon detective agency.

It seems that Thomas Raleigh was working for C&H through Waddell-Mahon to spy on the WFM mineworkers union in New York City. Correspondence between C&H agent O.F. Bailey and a lawyer from Rees, Robinson, and Petermann--a firm representing C&H throughout the strike--gives documentary proof that C&H knew of Raleigh's whereabouts and even employed him in subterfuge during the strike while he was wanted for murder in the Copper Country.

SOURCE, Text and Photo
The 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike and Italian Hall Book Project

This is an amazing piece of research!!
Congratulations to Gary Kaunonen and Aaron Goings, authors of:

Community in Conflict:
A Working-Class History of the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Mine Strike
  and the Italian Hall Tragedy

MI State U Press, 2013

Coal Miner's Grave-Idaho Silver Hammer Band

So pay no attention; it's only an old miner's grave
Pay no attention to the briars and weeds; let them stay
For who's gonna miss him or care that he's gone away
For he was only a miner and it's only a coal miner's grave.

                    -Hazel Dickens

Written to honor Francisco Estep,
 used here to honor Brothers Putrich and Tijan.

Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 11:00 AM PST.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, WE NEVER FORGET, Shamrock American Kossacks, In Support of Labor and Unions, Anti-Capitalist Chat, and History for Kossacks.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site