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

Sunday June 19, 1904
From The San Francisco Call: Mob Plots to Hang Moyer During Transfer to Cripple Creek

Readers of Hellraisers will remember that Charles Moyer, President of the Western Federation of Miners, was arrested in March of this year for "desecration" of the flag. He has been held in the Telluride Strike Zone since that time. Those charges have now been dropped, and President Moyer now stands accused of complicity in the Vindicator Explosion. Today's edition of The San Francisco Call reports that there are grave concerns for Moyer's safety during his transfer to Cripple Creek:

Western Federation of Miners Poster: IS COLORADO IN AMERICA?
Flag "Desecration" which led to the arrest of
President Moyer in March.

Plot in Cripple Creek to Hang the President of the Federation of Miners

Special Dispatch to The Call.

CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo., June 18-General Bell has just heard of a conspiracy to capture and hang Charles S. (sic) Moyer, president of the Western Federation of Miners, on his arrival in the district. He is due here at 9:30 o'clock to-morrow morning, being under arrest and accompanied by only two deputy sheriffs.

But there will be no hanging, General Bell has ordered a special train and will meet the regular with a heavy detail of militia at a place in the canyon at or near the point where the battle was fought on the 8th inst. that resulted in the death of one miner and the capture of a score of strikers.

TELLURIDE, Colo., June 18.-Sheriff Rutan to-day delivered Charles H. Moyer, president of the Western Federation of Miners, to two deputy sheriffs from Cripple Creek, who hold a warrant charging Moyer with having been implicated in the Vindicator mine explosion of November 1, 1903, by which two men were killed. Moyer had been held a prisoner here nearly three months under Governor Peabody's orders without recourse to the courts. He was turned over to the Sheriff on Wednesday evening after United States Judge Thayer at St. Louis had issued a writ of habeas corpus in his case. District Attorney Mullin has dismissed all charges against Moyer in this county.

DENVER, Colo., June 18.-Messages have been received at headquarters of the Western Federation of Miners in this city telling of interference by the military with relief work among the families of deported miners in Cripple Creek. Information also was received that the military had attempted to "sweat" John Harper, the union storekeeper at Victor, by putting a rope around his neck. It was said that this was done in the presence of General Bell.

The San Francisco Call
(San Francisco, California)
-of June 19, 1904

See also:
Hellraisers, March 27, 1904: "Charles Moyer Arrested"

Western Federation of Miners Poster: "IS COLORADO IN AMERICA?"


Friday June 19, 1914
Salt Lake City, Utah - Testimony Begins in Murder Trial of Fellow Worker Joe Hill

Joe Hill, IWW

The State of Utah vs. Joseph Hillstrom

Jury selection was completed by noon on Wednesday and testimony began that afternoon in the murder of trial of Fellow Worker Joe Hill. Yesterday's Salt Lake Tribune reported:

Alleged Slayer of J. G. Morrison Faces Men Who Will Decide His Fate.
Judge Rebukes Counsel for Defense for Methods of Examining Veniremen.

Ernest K. Alder, teamster.
Joseph Kimball, real estate dealer.
H. C. McDonough, collector.
Rudolph Boss, farmer.
H. E. Thomas, laborer.
John Garbett, coal dealer.
T. J. Owen, motorman.
Robert McDowell, salesman.
Joseph M. Green, farmer.
Fred R. Robinson, blacksmith.
George E. Nichols, contractor.

Taking of evidence in the trial of Joseph Hillstrom, charged with the murder of J. G. Morrison, began yesterday afternoon in the district court, the twelfth juror having been obtained and sworn in just at noon.  He is George E. Nichols, a contractor, and is the product of a three-day exacting search for the twelfth man in the jury box.

Just before the last juror was obtained Judge M. L. Ritchie denounced the methods of counsel for the defense in questioning perspective jurymen.  He declared that the keenest of men or the most impartial could be confused and forced to answer unsatisfactorily by the “metaphysical subtleties of counsel.”

Challenge Rebuked.

The defense had asked that John Q. Ryan be dismissed from the jury box after having been examined for more than an hour.  The defense could not remove him by peremptory challenge, having exhausted the allowed fifteen challenges, so they asked that he be challenged for cause.

The court replied that he would excuse Ryan because of the unsatisfactory answers he had made to the highly involved and complex questions of the defense, but he declared that until Ryan had been drawn into a confused state of mind by the questions of counsel, he gave every indication of being a fair and impartial juror.  Continuing his remarks, the court denounced as absurd the system of examining jurors in murder trials. “If counsel can take the whole morning in subtle questioning of one prospective juror, then I see no reason why he should not be allowed to take a whole day or a whole week or month, for that matter,” the court said.  “The line must be drawn somewhere.”

“Counsel asks a question he desires to be answered in a certain way.  It is propounded in such a way that the juror answers no other answer but the one desired.  The answer looks bad on paper and appears to be ground for challenging the juror, but, as a matter of fact, it does not represent his state of mind, but only the state of mind of the questioning attorney.”

Application General.

The court spoke in general terms and remarked that he was not particularly referring to counsel in the present case.

The remarks of the judge apparently were productive of results, for the twelfth juror was obtained a few minutes later.

Opening statements to the jury by the state and the defense occupied most of the afternoon session.

Attorney E. D. McDougall of the defense declared that it would be shown to the satisfaction of the jury just how Hillstrom received the bullet wound in his breast, for which he was treated the night of the murder of Morrison. It was the bullet wound that led to Hillstrom’s arrest, the authorities knowing that young Arlin Morrison shot one of the robbers before he, too, was murdered.

Hillstrom has maintained that he was shot in a quarrel over a woman.  He has refused to give the name of the woman because, he said, to do so would impeach her honor.  The defense did not say whether or not the woman would be produced at the trial.

Claims of State.

E. O. Leatherwood, the district attorney, said the state would endeavor to prove that the defendant was the taller of the two men who entered the Morrison grocery store on West Temple street near Eighth South street the night of January 10 last and murdered Morrison and his young son.  It would be shown, he said, that the boy, before he was murdered, wounded one of the highwaymen, and that as the men ran from the store the taller one was heard to exclaim.  “Oh, Bob, I’m shot.”  The state will also prove, he said, that Hillstrom was treated for a gunshot wound in the chest a few hours after the murder, and that when he was being treated he refused to tell how he received the wound.

The first witness called was Harry A. Ruger, a deputy in the office of the county surveyor, who produced maps of the store where the murder occurred.  R. H. Seager, a deputy sheriff, testified to having attempted to serve a summons on Dr. H. R. Sprague, who examined the holes of the highwaymen’s victims, and said the physician was out of the state.  On this showing a transcript of the testimony of Dr. Sprague at the preliminary hearing was allowed to be read into the record.

red bandanna
Young Merlin Morrison, who witnessed the murder of his father and older brother, gave tearful testimony yesterday. He was unable to positively identify Joe Hill as one of the murders, stating only that Hill resembled the taller of two gunmen.

Two red bandannas play a leading role in trial, and are offered as proof positive by the District Attorney that Hill is guilty of the crime of murder. One of the handkerchiefs was found near the scene of the crime, and the other was found in Joe Hill's room in Murray.

Fellow Worker Hill has previously given this statement regarding the red bandannas:

I have only this to say. I fail utterly to see how any significance can attach to the discovery of a red bandanna handkerchief such as I owned. Many persons have red handkerchiefs and it is no uncommon thing to lose them.
Today's Salt Lake Tribune reports:
Merlin Morrison Describes Killing of Father and Brother by Robbers.
State's Witness Identify Bandanna Handkerchief and Clothing.

If Joseph Hillstrom is convicted of the murder of J. G. Morrison and his son Arlin Morrison, it undoubtedly will be due in a large measure to the story told on the witness stand in the district court yesterday by Merlin Morrison, aged 13 years, who was the only survivor of the murders fire of the highwaymen in the little grocery store.

The boy was placed on the stand yesterday morning as the state’s chief witness.  He told the only direct narrative of the shooting the state will place before the jury.

Other witnesses examined yesterday were police officers, who testified concerning the exhibits entered by the state, such as the bandanna handkerchiefs alleged to have been worn by the robbers, the gun with which young Arlin Morrison shot one of the robbers, and the bloody clothing worn by Hillstrom at the time of his arrest.

Detective George E. Cleveland identified the gun introduced as an exhibit as the one that was handed to him when he arrived on the scene of the murders.  The same gun was identified as belonging to Morrison, the murdered grocery man.

Tells Graphic Story.

Young Merlin Morrison’s story of the murder of his father and brother by the highwayman was a graphic but straightforward account.  Tears welled to his eyes and his voice choked at times as he recited the details of the wanton killing.  He strove hard to restrain his emotions, though, and for the most part was cool and careful in his testimony.

Being the only eyewitness, the boy’s story is the most important bit of testimony the state has to offer.  Scanning the defendant up and down carefully, the boy declared up and down positively that in general build, height, form of body and shape of head Hillstrom bears a striking resemblance to the taller of the two highwaymen.  Hillstrom was visibly affected by the boy’s identification and he dropped his eyes before young Morrison’s steady gaze.

The witness said that the shooting occurred at about 9:45 o’clock Saturday night, January 10, 1914, just as his father, his brother and himself were preparing to close the store for the night.  He said he was standing near the southwest end of the store and his father was dragging a sack of potatoes through an opening in the counters at the north end of the store.  His brother, Arlin, was sweeping the floor in the center of the room.

Heard Shouting.

“I had my back to the door when I heard a shout from the front door, and it sounded like two men shouting together,” he said.  “I turned and saw two men just inside the door.  They wore bandanna handkerchiefs over the lower parts of their faces, and had on soft felt hats and the taller one was in the lead, carrying an automatic revolver in his hand.  They rushed toward my father and shouted, ‘We've got you now.’”

The witness said that he was frightened and that he rushed back to the door leading to the storeroom in the rear.  He heard the first shot fired, but did not see it, and was not certain whether it struck his father.  He said he turned as he heard the shot and saw the taller highwayman leaning over the edge of the counter pointing his gun at the elder Morrison.

“I saw him fire and father dropped behind the counter,” he continued.  “Father’s back was turned down toward the robber when the shot was fired.”

He said he heard five or six more shots, but did not see them fired, nor did he know by whom they were fired.

The gun with which Arlin Morrison shot one of the robbers before he was killed was then shown to the witness and was identified by him as his father’s gun, which was kept in the ice box.  It was this gun that Arlin Morrison secured and opened fire on the robbers after they had shot his father.  It was a .38 caliber Colt revolver.

Spoke to Father.

Merlin then resumed his story of what occurred after the robbers ran from the store.

“I ran to my father.  He was lying face down behind the counter.  He was not dead and he spoke to me.”

Merlin’s voice choked here and he wiped his eyes.  He was given time to calm himself before another question was asked.  Only the muffled grief of the boy was to be heard in the room for a moment.  He went on finally:

“I ran to my brother and he was dead.  Father’s revolver was lying near Arlin’s outstretched hand.  I tried to lift the body, but I could not.”

Hillstrom took many notes while young Morrison told his story and kept running through a list of newspaper clippings telling of the murder as though to compare the published accounts with the boy’s version.

“Have you ever seen Hillstrom before?” the district attorney asked the witness.

“Yes sir, at the county jail and at the preliminary hearing,” he replied.

“How does his height compare to that of the taller of the two men who entered the store?” was the next question.

After looking at Hillstrom carefully the witness said that his height was about the same as that of the man who killed his father.  He said he had not been able to see the features of the men but he had been able to notice the general appearance and that in general appearance Hillstrom resembled the taller highwayman.    

Policemen Questioned.

It was noon when the boy finished his story.  He was cross-examined during the afternoon, but the defense did not succeed in breaking his story at any material point nor in weakening or qualifying his identification of the defendant.

Other witnesses besides the boy and Detective Cleveland were W. C. Zeese, Richard Beynon, Charles A. Vance and Inspector Carl A. Carlson, all police officers.

The state showed through its testimony that one of the bandanna handkerchiefs was found in an alley near the grocery store the night of the murder and the other was found in Murray at the place where Hillstrom was arrested the following day.  The handkerchiefs were about the same in appearance.

Just at closing hour the defending attorneys asked leave to consult with Hillstrom in the courtroom.  E. O. Leatherwood, district attorney, objected, saying that there was a private reception room at the county jail for just such conferences.

“For obvious reasons we do not care to talk with our client at the county jail,” said attorney Scott.

“Oh, I can assure you on my word of honor that the room is not equipped with dictographs,” said the district attorney.

“Maybe so,” was the reply of counsel for the defense as he repeated his request for a conference in the court room.

Judge Ritchie granted the request, but informed counsel that he would not entertain a similar request hereafter.


Salt Lake Tribune
(Salt Lake City, Utah)
-of June 18 & 19, 1914

The Case of Joe Hill
-by Philip S Foner
International Publishers, 1965

Fellow Worker Joe Hill

The Preacher and the Slave-Utah Phillips

Workingmen of all countries, unite,
Side by side we for freedom will fight;
When the world and its wealth we have gained
To the grafters we'll sing this refrain:

You will eat, bye and bye,
When you've learned how to cook and to fry.
Chop some wood, 'twill do you good,
And you'll eat in the sweet bye and bye.

                    -Joe Hill


Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Thu Jun 19, 2014 at 11:00 AM PDT.

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

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