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

Tuesday June 7, 1904
Independence, Colorado - Bomb Explodes at Station, W. F. of M. Accused and Attacked

We have received this word from Mrs. Emma Langdon of Victor, Colorado:

At about 3 o'clock on the morning of June 6, a mine of dynamite was exploded by means of an infernal machine, place underneath the station platform at Independence and thirteen men were instantly blown to fragments and many other mutilate...
Mrs. Langdon reports that the Citizens' Alliance has placed the blame, without any proof whatsoever, upon the Western Federation of Miners. The militia, apparently, agrees. Union halls have been raided, and union men killed. We will have more news from strike zone tomorrow.

For now, we have this front-page report from The San Francisco Call:



Anarchy ran riot in the Cripple Creek district of Colorado yesterday. At Findlay dynamite under the railroad station platform was touched off by means of a revolver so placed with a wire connection that it could befool from a distance. The platform was crowded with non-union miners at the time. Thirteen of these men were killed and others were shockingly mangled. Then followed a succession of street riots in Victor, resulting in numerous casualties, and a charge of soldiers upon the headquarters of the miners union. Volleys were fired into the building and at least seven men were killed. At an early hour this morning the rioting had not been checked, and shooting affrays were occurring constantly.

Series of Bloody Affrays Follows Diabolical Murder of
Non-Union Men by Means of Dynamite.

DENVER, June. 6.— A "reign of terror," brought on by a diabolical dynamiting plot, followed by rioting and an assault upon the militia, exists in the Cripple Creek mining district to-night. Armed men throng the streets and conflicts are of hourly occurrence. Militia men are marching, hither and thither, making arrests by the wholesale. A number  of union miners have been placed In the military "bull pen" and others are being gathered in at frequent intervals. City and county officials have been compelled to resign their offices because of their reputed union sympathies.

As nearly as can be estimated tonight, 22 men are dead and a score or more wounded as a result of the events leading up to the conditions described. Beginning with this morning, when an infernal machine, set under the station platform at Findley, on the line of the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad, was touched off and a number of non-union men, who were waiting for a train, were sent into eternity and others horribly mangled, conflicts followed thick and fast. They culminated in a riot at a mass meeting, where bullets flew and at least one was killed and a number wounded.

Later, as a company of militia was marching past union headquarters pursuing its search for union miners, it was fired upon by armed men concealed in the Union Hall. The soldiers stormed the building and from last accounts seven unionists were shot dead in their tracks. The remainder fled precipitately, blood streaming from the wounds of many. The soldiers who were unhurt pursued and arrested  a number of the fleeing men and continued far into the night to search the country for men supposed to have been in the union hall at the time of the assault.

At the headquarters of Adjutant General Bell in this city everything is in readiness to promptly meet a call for additional troops in the gold camps. It is understood that the railroads have been instructed to have engines and cars ready, and a quick run to Cripple Creek would follow an appeal for more soldiers. However, from the tone of a communication received from Sheriff Bell, the newly appointed official of the county, he will ask for further aid from the authorities only, as a last resort. He says he can control the situation unless a general clash occurs.

To-day's outburst had its inception in the strike of the members of the Western Federation of Miners more than a year ago, when 4000 men quit work for the purpose, primarily, of enforcing an eight-hour day. This action so incensed the mine owners that they declared war on unionism, and the breach has grown wider with the passage of time. Considerable lawlessness has prevailed in the strike-ridden districts and unionists  have been brought to trial on numerous charges. They were invariably acquitted.

CRIPPLE CREEK, Col.. June 6.— A concealed assassin, by merely pulling a wire, exploded an infernal machine at Independence to-day. Instantly killing eleven men and severely wounding twelve others, two of whom have since died. All of the killed and injured, with the exception of two men from the Deadwood mine, were non-union miners employed on the night shift of the Findley mine.

The men had quit work at 2 o'clock this morning and were waiting to board the suburban train on the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad and return to their homes in Cripple Creek and Victor. Just after the engineer of the approaching train blew his whistle as a signal to the miners, according to custom, a terrific explosion occurred underneath the depot platform, on and near which twenty-six men were gathered. The platform was blown into splinters, the depot was wrecked and a hole twenty feet in circumference and about as, many feet in depth was torn into the ground.

Fragments of bodies were hurled through space for several hundred feet and later were picked up still quivering. Some of the bodies dropped into the pit made by the explosion, but heads, hands, ears, legs, arms and trunks were strewn about on all sides. Pieces of flesh were found on buildings 500 feet away and blood stained every thing within a radius of fifty feet.

The force of the explosion was felt throughout the camp and the, crash awakened everybody. The approaching train was stopped and the train crew were, the first men  to reach the scene of the disaster. They were joined in, a few minutes by hundreds of persons and relief work was begun at once. A special train, was sent from Cripple Creek, carrying physicians, nurses, officers and many others, but when it reached, Independence the injured had already been placed on, board the suburban train and removed to the hospitals in Victor. The mangled bodies of the dead, pieced together as well as possible, were removed to the Coroner's office...

The Cripple Creek Strike
-by Emma F Langdon
(Part I, 1st pub 1904)
NY, 1969

The San Francisco Call
(San Francisco, California)
-June 07, 1904

Independence Station Explosion from The San Francisco Call of June 7, 1914
(see link above)

Vigilante Man -  Woody Guthrie

And they herded us around like a wild herd of cattle.
Was that the vigilante men?

    -Woody Guthrie


Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 11:00 AM PDT.

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

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