From the New York Times, June 6, 1904:
SHOTS FIRED FROM WINDOWS.; Miners Hoisted White Flag When Troops Stormed Building.
VICTOR, Col., June 6. -- Armed conflict between the union miners and the State troops has come at last in Colorado. Bitter feeling growing out of the great mining strike resulted to-day in a fight in which a squad of militiamen stormed the Miners' Union Hall at this place and wounded at least twenty men.
The Sheriff of this county has been force to resign and the City Marshal who tried to assume authority has been deposed by the Mayor. Lieut. Gov. Haggott, who is Acting Governor of the State during the absence of Gov. Peabody at St. Louis, has ordered out two companies of militia. Miners, union and non-union, are arming, and the prospects for to-morrow presage bloodshed and violence on every hand.
The trouble started at an early hour this morning, when twelve men were killed and seven severely wounded by the explosion of an infernal machine at the railroad station in Independence, near Cripple Creek. Eleven men were killed outright, being blown to pieces, and one died later from his wounds. All 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.
While this outrage was being discussed by an open-air mass meeting here, a riot started and forty shots were fired into the crowd, with the result that one man was killed and at least six persons were wounded, two probably fatally.
It was when a squad of soldiers sent by Mayor Naylor to aid in quelling the disturbance arrived on the scene and were fired on that the storming of the Miners' Union Hall took place. It was reported all afternoon that vast numbers of sympathizers were trooping in from the hills. [Mayor] Naylor, acting Marshal of Victor, smiled grimly when told of the report. He said nothing, but pointed significantly to his men, all of whom are well-seasoned soldiers and know every foot of the territory.
Mass Meeting Battle.
In the shooting which occurred while the mass meeting was discussing the crime at Independence, R. McGee of Victor was killed, William Hoskins, Goldfield, was shot through the body and may die; Alfred Miller, Goldfield, shot in body also, may die; J. D. Davis had his skull fractured by a blow from a revolver, and Peter Fleming, Fred Strudevess, engineer at Independence mine, and an unidentified women [sic] are suffering from gunshot wounds.
Secretary Clarence N. Hamlin of the Mine Owners' Association, who had gone to Victor to take charge of affairs there, and who had declared that the men who were responsible for the Independence outrage should be hanged from a telephone pole, was addressing the meeting, and in concluding said:
"I want to hear what the boys in the mines have got to say about this trouble."
William Hoskins, a union miner from Goldfield, threw up his hand and shouted, "Let me talk!" At this the crowd began to hiss Hoskins, and cried, "Put him out!" A free for all fight followed, and shooting began. Most of the shots were directed skyward.
Hoskins fell with a bullet in the body, and the crowd scattered. Secretary Hamlin, who was standing on a wagon, kept talking, unmindful of the storm of bullets that whizzed about his head.
After the first excitement had somewhat cleared away, the injured and dying were gathered up. Alfred Miller and J. D. Davis were carried to the Victor Hospital.
R McGee of Victor, who was instantly killed, had been standing on an embankment thirty feet above the men who had been fighting, and was an innocent spectator.
A witness of the shooting said: "I saw them carry away two men, one shot through the head and another shot through the arm."
Sheriff Forced to Resign.
Previous to the rioting Sheriff Henry M. Robertson had been summoned to a meeting of the Mine Owners' Association, in Armory Hall, by a committee composed of C. N. Hamlin, Secretary of the association; J. S. Murphy, manager of the Findley mine, and L. E. Hill of the Theresa mine. At this meeting Robertson's resignation was demanded. He yielded to the demand. Then Edward Bell was appointed by the County Commissioners to fill Robertson's term. Robertson was a union miner before he was elected Sheriff. Bell is a member of the Citizens' Alliance.
Nearly all mines in the region had been closed by order of the Mine Owners' Association, and hundreds of miners flocked into town from the surrounding hills. Fully 1,200 supporters of the association gathered about the armory at a mass meeting. At the same time 1,000 men, armed with all sorts of weapons, were assembling on the vacant ground at Victor Avenue and Fourth Street in response to a call for a union mass meeting. Most of these were union men, who declared their intention to resist to the death any attempt to run them out of the region.
City Marshal Michael O'Connell, who had been refused admittance to the mine owners' headquarters, hurriedly swore in several hundred citizens, most of them union men, as deputy policemen. After a conference with Sheriff Bell and a number of mine owners, Mayor Frank D. French removed City Marshal O'Connell and dismissed his deputies. Then followed the rioting in which McGee was killed.
After the rioting began, Sheriff Bell ordered out all the soldiers in the region. He also appointed 100 deputies.
Troops Fired on from Windows.
Meanwhile Mayor Naylor had sent guards to aid in quelling the riot at the mass meeting. As the uniformed men swung into Fourth Street they were fired upon from houses on both sides of the thoroughfare. They returned the fire and raced on at double quick until they were near the miners' union hall.
At that point the mob had scattered in all directions and as the soldiers halted several shots were fired at them from the windows of the hall. The doors of the building had been left open and the guardsmen rushed for cover to the side of the building. A dozen of them forced their way to the entrance and fired into the hall as fast as they could work their rifles. After a few volleys the order to take the place by assault was given and they dashed in.
About twenty men were seriously wounded and then the miners hoisted a white flag. They came out of the hall with their hands held high in the air.
[end New York Times account]