pages 220 to 239
The Citizens' Alliance held a weekly meeting in the Alliance Hall on the night of December 8, pursuant to a signed call by the secretary, L. F. Parsons. An astonishing feature of the call was the concluding paragraph which read word for word as follows: "We herewith inclose you a list of the firms that do not belong to the Alliance. You can govern yourselves accordingly." Then followed a list of seventy business firms of Cripple Creek. By reference to the constitution and by-laws of that organization, the inconsistency of the Alliance becomes apparent at once. Article II reads as follows: "Section 1. The objects of the Alliance are: 1. To promote the stability of business and the steady employment of labor, whether organized or unorganized, by encouraging friendly relations between employers and employes; and to discourage lockouts, strikes and boycotts and all kindred movements which savor of persecution."
In the first part of this work in recording the forming of a Citizens' Alliance in Cripple Creek, I said be it recorded to the credit of Victor's merchants that the Alliance proposition was turned down. I am now compelled to record that at about this date (they were not proud of the institution and did not publish their organization), a few of Victor's merchants were led into the erroneous belief that it was a good thing to divide their business and lose the steady union trade they had been enjoying and hustle for the non-union trade. They succeeded in losing the union trade, all right, but as for getting the non-union trade—well, indications are that the non-union workers scattered their trade and the merchants that would not be forced into the Alliance secured the greater per cent of both union and non-union customers.
Reckless Shooting.—December 21, all citizens of Cripple Creek were frightened by volley after volley being fired at the corner of Second and Carr. It was claimed that the shots were fired by the military and it is said it was done for the purpose of creating excitement and a cause for being here.
Broke up Union Meeting.—December 19 a squad of soldiers under McClelland and Hoag demanded entrance to a meeting of No. 32, W. F. M. They arrested James Baker. (No charge or warrant.)
Search the Trains.—December 19, Captain Hoag in charge of a detachment of troops, guarded the Short Line depot and searched the Short Line train upon its arrival from Denver, for President Mover and Secretary Haywood of the Western Federation, with the intention of arresting them in the event they came to the district. The soldiers also searched all trains that entered Cameron.
Arrest Portland Representative.—Mr. Charles Reimer, special representative of the Portland Mining Company, was arrested January 6, by the military at the instigation of Scott and Sterling, local railroad sleuths.
Arrest Organizer White.—Mr. M. B. White, of the executive board of the American Labor Union, arrived in the district from Denver December 23. Mr. White has complete jurisdiction in Colorado and has devoted the past thirteen years to the advancement of organized labor in this state. He had hardly arrived when he was "military necessitated," lay in the "bull pen" two days, "verminized," escorted to the train, told that no organizing of unions goes in the Cripple Creek district and told to "never come back." (No charge.)
Bold Robbery by Soldiers.—A daring robbery occurred on Meyers avenue, Cripple Creek, on December 14. James II. Smith of Denver, was the victim, and his assailants were Frank Boyle and a Mexican known as Jose, both members of company H of Cripple Creek. These two "law preservers" tried to "dope" Smith in a low resort, but failed, as he was suspicious and hurried from the place. He had not proceeded far when he was overtaken by the "soldiers" who held him up and forced him to turn over his valuables, consisting of $40 in cash and a certified check on a Denver bank for $300. The blue-coated highwaymen successfully eluded capture.
Nasty Gun Play.—December 4, Patrick Mullaney was the maddest Irishman this side of Dublin. Mullaney has no love for the militia. He had long been in durance vile for no other offense than refusing to salute and kotow [sic] to passing blue-coats. He had just been released and when interviewed he stated that shortly prior to leaving camp for Cripple Creek, on the 3rd, an attempt was made by the soldiers on guard to create a fight with prisoners. The blue-coats persistently taunted and intimidated the "bull penners," threatening to shoot them without provocation. The sergeant of the guard leveled his gun at Mullaney and told him to close a window through which he was peering or he would "let daylight through him." At this juncture, Mullaney alleges, a superior officer came along and warned the guards not to get too close to the prisoners, as they were a desperate lot and might take the guns away from the captors. No charges of any nature have ever been preferred against Mullaney, yet he was twice taken prisoner and subjected to the most inhuman treatment by the "constitution preservers."
A. G. Paul "Necessitated."—December 10, A. G. Paul, secretary of No. 40, W. F. M., was transferred to temporary quarters in the county jail by "military necessity." Paul was guilty of the heinous crime of being secretary of a union. Such being the case, he had to be placed in the safety deposit vaults for "safe keeping" and the "preservation of the constitution."
Justice Courts Put Out.—December 4, "military necessity" demanded the closing of justice courts, so Justice Harrington and Justice Patrick "necessarily" closed up. On the 5th, however, Colonel Verdeckberg called up justice Harrington by 'phone and informed him that he could resume business, but admonished him to confine his judicial actions to civil and minor criminal cases. Criminal cases of any gravity must be turned over to the military. And the judge hung out his permit to do business as a justice. "This court is now open for business. C. S. Harrington, J. P."
In Justice Patrick's court the following sign greeted the eyes of all inquisitive visitors: "This court is out of business, by order of the governor.''
Military Break up Dance.—New Year's night, while the young people of the P. W. C. club were enjoying a social club dance, several "law and order" preserving militiamen with six-shooters strapped on their hips and accompanied by a couple of Casino women made their appearance at the entrance and demanded admission and that the women be allowed to dance. The request being refused, they stated that they would break up the dance, and they did. The music was stopped and the dancers left the hall, where the intention was to dance until 3 o'clock. But rather than allow the music to continue and be forced to witness the soldiers and their two well-known companions on the floor, the original dancers decided that they had had enough dancing and went home. "Military necessity" being in operation, of course Peabody's "constitution preservers" received no punishment for this brave defense of the constitution.
Military Steals Water.—January 1, the military came to the conclusion that it was easier to steal water than to buy it, so they "necessitated" six or eight million gallons from reservoir No. 8, from which Colorado Springs is supplied. A squad of cavalry and infantry went to the reservoir, locked up the watchman and turned on the water. Colorado Springs was horrified and very indignant, but then a little thing like eight million gallons of water is nothing when compared to "military necessity."
D. C. Copley "Necessitated."—On December 12, D. C. Copley, member of the executive board of the W. F. M., going to his home in Independence from Denver, after an' absence of weeks, and while eating a lunch which his wife had prepared for him at 1:30 a. m. the door was broken open, the military entered and without explanation or charge, dragged him away to the "bull pen." In this crowded den he was thrust to keep company with drunken militiamen. Here he spent the night, blistered on one side by the red hot stove and frozen on the other by the raw mountain wind. In the morning each inmate stripped stark naked, and, going to the stove, raked the lice off their tortured bodies. Later they were marched out in the cold and given a scanty breakfast. Mr. Copley was kept in the "bull pen" for twenty-four hours and then told to get out of town and "never come back."
Soldiers Egg an Actor.—December 29, a gang of a dozen or more militiamen gathered around the entrance of the Novelty theatre just before the 8 o'clock performance, begging the doorkeeper to let them in free of charge, and making themselves so generally obnoxious that they were forcing the patrons of the theatre to turn away from the entrance. Manager Smith courteously invited the whole crowd to come in and witness the performance free. They all went in, and with them went numerous eggs of maturity and many in the stage of second childhood. An Irish comedian by the name of Baker had been cracking jokes, one of which ridiculed Peabody or Bell, and when he appeared the "rookies" began pelting him with the eggs of ancient pedigree, spoiling the scenery and demoralizing the performance. The military authorities failed to punish any of the contemptible perpetrators of the outrage. Doubtless it was a "military necessity" for disposing of rations.
M. W. Shelly Refuses to Move.—January 4, Jovial Mike Shelly was notified that the atmosphere his body displaced was essential to the preservation of the "constitution of Colorado and to hie away to denser air." Shelly's health requires rarified ozone and he decided to consult his own inclinations and welfare and remain near the pearly gates located slightly above Victor; so when the military were resting from their labors, feeling secure in the fact that a man "answering the description of Mike Shelly in every particular" had been seen in the neighborhood of Skagway and had inquired the way to the nearest route to the F. & C. C., the cause of their serenity still enjoyed Victor weather and the society of his many Victor friends, although in a different rooming house.
Discourteous Treatment of a Lady.—Sunday, January 17, a squad of militiamen under command of Lieutenant Gunn, surrounded the home of Mrs. Mart Morrison and demanded entrance. Mrs. Morrison was alone and opened the door. They entered and searched her home. The lieutenant began questioning Mrs. Morrison in a "military necessity" tone of voice and finally he and one of the "constitution preservers" seized her and dragged her from the house, in doing so, tearing the sleeve from her waist. With oaths and villifications she was forced to walk from Independence to Victor over rough granite roads with her clothing in the torn condition. She was placed in the custody of Officer Printy and charged with "disturbing their peace!" To the credit of Colonel Verdeckberg, he immediately released the lady but of course the "constitution must be preserved" and the perpetrators of the outrage are immune by reason of "military necessity.''
A horrible accident occurred at the Stratton's Independence mine at 2:35 a. m. January 26. Through carelessness, it is said, Engineer Gellese lost control of the engine and the cage loaded with sixteen men ran into the sheave wheel with tremendous force and hurled fifteen of the passengers into eternity. The fifteen men had no warning of the approaching danger and were hurled to their death almost instantly.
The victims were mostly men of family, and a majority of them were new men in the district. Early in the morning hundreds of people rushed to the mine to ascertain if their relatives were among the victims. There was little information obtainable for some time as the military were hastened immediately to the scene and took complete control, not even allowing press representatives near enough to gain facts. As near as the writer could learn particulars they are as follows:x
Frank T. Gellese, engineer from Cour D'Alene, was on duty during the night and had experienced no difficulty with his engine, he stated, and at 2:30 he started to hoist the machine men from the sixth, seventh and eighth levels. Sixteen men were on the cage and started for the top. At the seventh level the men noticed that the cage was acting peculiar, and it appeared as if the engineer had lost control of it as it advanced in an unsteady manner. They soon reached the top and were hoisted about six feet above the collar of the shaft and suddenly powered about thirty feet, then up they went to the sheave wheel and the disastrous accident was the result.
It is believed that the men were thrown against the top of the cage, from the force of the sudden stop, that they were knocked unconscious and knew but little, if anything, after that took place; that in the drop of the cage the speed was so rapid that through the force of the air pressure they were thrown out against the walls of the shaft, which caused them to be literally torn to pieces. When the cage struck the sheave wheel it not only threw Bullock (the only one saved) out, but also threw out a man by the name of Jackson and killed him.
No one aside from the engineer saw the accident. A miner stepped into the shaft house just after the accident and saw a number of hats laying around. He then looked up and saw Jackson in the timbers with the sheave wheel on top of him.
The military and Manager Cornish were immediately notified and hastened to the mine. Engineer Gellese was arrested and held for investigation.
The remainder of the force, numbering about 200 men in the mine, were obliged to be taken out on a small cage that would accommodate but two men at a time, and they did not all succeed in getting out until about 6 a. m.
Most of the men killed fell to the sump below and it was twenty-four hours before all the bodies could be found. There were portions of them found from the top to the 1,400 foot level. The bodies were almost all beyond recognition, heads, legs and arms being torn from the trunks. It was a grewsome [sic] sight.
Engineer's Union No. 80, as did other unions, offered their services to render all the assistance possible until the bodies could be brought to the surface. Coroner Doran made all possible haste to find the bodies. He ordered the machinery left untouched until he could have the conditions thoroughly investigated.
The Mine Owners' Association and Citizens' Alliance did not neglect trying to make capital out of this great disaster by trying to place the blame upon the strikers. It was given out that the machinery had been tampered with and other accusations all of which were disproved by the verdict of the coroner's jury.
The coroner's jury consisted of six men beyond reproach. After a thorough investigation and the examination of many witnesses the following verdict was rendered:
"We, the jury, find that the above men came to their deaths at Stratton's Independence mine, January 26, 1904, by the engineer, Francis T. Gillese, losing control of the engine there in use, and pulling the cage into the sheave, thereby parting the cable and precipitating the cage, loaded with the above named men, down the shaft to their deaths.
And we further find that if the management had not neglected the usual necessary precautions, the said casualties might have been reduced, if not avoided. The usual precautions referred to, which were not taken, are as follows:
"First—No man is required to preside at the collar of the shaft while hoisting men.
"Second—No safety device was in use on the cable to prevent the overwinding of the same.
"Third—Men were loaded and unloaded without placing the cage upon the chairs.
"Fourth—The disc brakes of the hoisting engine were detached from their usual positions and were useless.
"We, the jury, would recommend that all safety appliances and the precautions herein named and recommended be adopted and used, not only by the Stratton's Independence mine, but all the mines in the district, not now using the same, thereby reducing to a minimum the damage to life and limb that men working in mines are subjected to.
"We further recommend that a competent extra man should stand near the engineer while he is hoisting or lowering men, whose duty should be to render assistance needed.
(Signed) "THOMAS M. HAMILL, Foreman,
"FRANK AKINS, Clerk,
"T. S. LELAND,
"R. W. REED,
J. L. TOPPING."
There was an attempt made by a man in the employ of the Independence to influence the jury. He made the proposition to Rev. T. S. Leland, pastor of the M. E. church of Victor, a man who has the respect of everyone who meets him. It is needless to say that the attempt was exposed and also denounced. In the Cripple Creek district could not have been found six men more thoroughly conscientious and responsible than the six comprising the coroner's jury.
I responded to a ring at the door, a party of about forty of my friends filed into the house, all loaded with the necessaries for a splendid spread. By the time I had recovered they owned the house and had proceeded to entertain themselves. I did the best I could, but my friends were the entertainers, not I. For three hours I was in ignorance of the occasion and was only apprised of it after a splendid banquet which they had brought with them. Then it was that Dr. Hopkins, as master of ceremonies, informed me that the meaning of the unceremonious raid was in appreciation of an act that I had performed and for which I was entitled to much credit, and that they were here to deliver to me the testimony of appreciation of the residents of the district. Such talk from my old tried and true friend was very pleasant to hear, and as he continued I thought of the pleasure of having friends such as these. Dr. Hopkins introduced Mr. Frank P. Mannix, our county clerk, who, he said, would further enlighten me. I quote Mr. Mannix, who I know as a member of my own union and a strong, firm and conscientious worker in the interest of right and justice; not because of the praise he bestowed upon me, but because of the deep, manly and American spirit of justice he so fearlessly expounds in his honorable resentment of oppression by military despotism. Mr. Mannix spoke as follows:
"Mrs. Langdon:—An incident occurred during the 'late unpleasantness' in which you played an important part, and which deserves commemoration. I use the term 'late unpleasantness' to designate a page in the history of the Cripple Creek district which has been blotted and besmeared by Governor Peabody's martial outlawry; a period in which more crimes, under the guise of law, were committed against the peace of the public and the rights of the individual, than the history of American communities records. I say 'late' because we are told by the governor that the 'war' is over; that 'law and order' has been restored. In this the governor reminds me of the woodpecker that Lincoln told about. The bird was plying his usual vocation on the main body of a big tree. He was pecking and pecking away when the wind blew down the tree. The woodpecker always believed that he pecked the tree to the ground. But let's not talk about the governor. When we can't say anything good about a person, as in this case, it is better not to say anything. For my part, I am willing to wait until next November—when Governor Peabody will be tried before the bar of public opinion—for a correct estimate of his merits and demerits as a public servant. If the verdict shall be 'well done,' then I will have to confess that a residence of twenty-three years in Colorado has not familiarized me with the true sentiment of the people of this state.
"On the night of September 29, 1903, after the military had invaded the Victor Daily Record office and taken to the 'bull-pen' almost the entire editorial and mechanical force, for the plain purpose of preventing the printing of the paper which was friendly to the striking miners and opposed to Peabody's brand of legalized outlaws, you stepped into the breach and set the type, causing the Record to come out as usual the next morning.
"Thus the diabolical attempt to smother the press was thwarted— and by a physically frail woman.
"Of course, the principal actor in the tragedy which is being played on the Industrial stage is man. But woman's influence over man, for good or for evil, is great, and the outcome of the struggle between man and mammon depends largely upon the efforts of the fair creatures.
"While history records some notable exceptions, as in the case of Jezebel, whose wicked advice caused her king husband's death and her own, the influence of woman is usually on the side of God, justice and decency.
"All that is admirable in the character of Henry VI was the reflection of his good wife, Margaret; Justinian, the Roman emperor, confessed that most of his wise laws were inspired by Theodora; Andrew Jackson, warrior and president, received his chief reinforcement from his plain and unassuming wife; Washington, who burst the shackles which bound this country in foreign vassalage, himself wore a chain around his neck from which was suspended a miniature likeness of her who, whether in the enow drifts of Valley Forge or in the presidential chair, was Washington's chief inspiration.
"Mrs. Langdon, a few of your friends have gathered here this evening to assure you that your influence is being exerted in the right direction.
"The pluck and ability you displayed on the night in question, in getting out the paper after your husband and the rest of the force had been marched to the 'bull-pen,' and in the face of the despotic military edict that the paper MUST NOT BE PRINTED, have not been without influence in the local struggle, and I believe your work will have a national scope.
"You are a heroine, though doubtless it was from a sense of plain duty, rather than from any thought of achieving glory, that you acted.
"While recognizing your modesty in this matter, we desire to consider your conduct as of the heroic kind. Therefore, a few friends, representing the entire community, it might be said, have gathered here for the purpose of formally expressing their respect, gratitude and appreciation in the form of a gold medal, suitably inscribed, on the face being 'Mrs. Emma F. Langdon. For bravery in defeating military suppression of the press, Sept. 29, 1903,' and on the reverse being, 'From friends of the Cripple Creek District, Feb. 19, 1904;' which I have the honor of now presenting to you. May you wear it with as much pleasure as your friends feel in presenting it to you."
To say that I was pleased, surprised and proud does not express my feelings. I was dazed. I replied as best I could, but speech fails to express the pleasure I felt in the knowledge that in the medal presented lies testimony of true friendship that no wealth can buy, no misfortune turn aside, nor tongue of envy tarnish.
In these pages I wish to thank my friend Mrs. S. D. Hopkins, for her unselfish labors and her pure friendship as chairman of the committe in preparing a surprise, the result of which I prize beyond the power of wealth.
Throughout the pages of this work is chronicled the various illegal arrests and brutal treatment of these honest, law-abiding, patriotic, strong and firm American citizens, but a brief resume before the trial at which they were all completely vindicated is not out of place. In the case of Parker, which is very similar to that of Davis, Kennison and Foster, all innocent of any crime or intention of crime—he was first arrested at 12:30 at night, September 11, by militia, without charge or warrant or any process of law; dragged from his bed at the dead hour of night, thrown into a filthy tent, fed on nauseating viands, insulted by negro cooks, called murderer, dynamiter, rioter, anarchist, traitor and coward! He was, with the others, released September 24, by writ of habeas corpus from Judge Seeds' court under an aggregate bond of $20,500. Fourteen days incarcerated amid the vilest surroundings, subjected to insult and degradation that would shame a sultan as a novice in torture—and for what? For being an American citizen! A believer in the principles of our forefathers, a supporter of the constitution of the state and the United States! During his bonded freedom the victim of continued military oppression, hounded by the sleuths of the Mine Owners' Association, arrested whenever seen by the military, declared to have forfeited his bond, continually dodging the hell hounds of Bell, Peabody and the Mine Owners' Association, regardless of the guaranty of his bond. Again arrested November 22, without warrant or charge, confined in the "bull pen," subjected to the same indignities for fourteen days more! Delivered to the sheriff December 2, on capias charging him with blowing up the Vindicator, held in the county jail until January 14, the victim of vituperations unmentionable by the press, absolutely controlled by the interests of his persecutors, the Mine Owners' Association, aided and abetted by that deadliest foe to American independence, a prejudiced governor and the Citizens' Alliance! Released January 14, under $19,000 bonds, charged with pulling railroad spikes to wreck a train and destroy hundreds of human lives, many of his own union brothers! Was free just twenty seconds; arrested by the military on the court house steps without warrant or charge, taken back to the "bull pen," repetition of the same and even more indignities and torture! Held a military prisoner without bail until January 20! Then brought to Cripple Creek and released from Justice Harrington's court under $1,500 additional bond! Dodged the militia, who were on hand to arrest him, escaped to his home, kissed his wife and caught the train to Denver. Was arrested in Denver as he stepped from the train by a sleuth under military orders, was released by Chief Armstrong, who informed Bell that "military warrants didn't go in Denver." Arrested January 22, in Denver, charged with "harboring 'Slim' Campbell." (Campbell murdered a dance hall girl in Cripple Creek October 2.) Was brought back to Cripple Creek, dodged the military in order that he could get into the justice court to be tried, was dismissed from Justice Harrington's court because Attorneys Crump and Temple (who had made the charges), did not appear to prosecute! Was immediately rearrested by the military, taken to the '' bull pen'' and held until February 2, when he was again released under an accumulated bond of $28,000 and charged with almost every crime or breach of peace committed in the Cripple Creek district since the inception of the strike or, for that matter, since the district first became a gold camp.
Foster, Davis, Steve Adams and Kennison underwent similar persecutions—were tortured in the "bull pen," released on bond, re-arrested, confined in jail, released by habeas corpus, charged with train-wrecking, charged with murder, and finally held for trial for their life and liberty for crimes of which they were innocent, crimes which their persecutors they were innocent of, crimes conjured and planned by hired sleuths to railroad them to the penitentiary, crimes that only existed in the fetid minds of men of many aliases, self-confessed criminals, who would do murder to hundreds for a few paltry dollars; men who, like bustard carrion crows, live and thrive in filth and decay, and who, to fill their greedy craws in their banquet of putridity, would make of society complete debauchery; of honor a childish story; of justice a hollow mockery, and of truth a living lie!
And why this vicious persecution? To satisfy justice? No! To do honor to our laws? No! To mete out punishment for crime? No! But to crush out the true spirit of the manhood of the west; the spirit of freedom and liberty inherited from our forefathers, inherited from the exterminators of King George's Tories; the spirit of our constitution framers; that spirit of opposition to oppression which created a nation at whose voice the world trembles and whose basic principle is justice, liberty, freedom and honor! And by whom? By these scullion sleuths? No! By the cringing, cowardly, perjured witnesses? No! By the deluded non-union men who fail to see that their employers laugh at their claims of freedom? No! A thousand times no! By the former union men who have broken their oath, betrayed their manhood, lied to themselves, their God and their fellow man? No! Then who are the instigators of these wicked, vile and unjust persecutions? I, a frail woman from the south, a woman who has seen in the last six months atrocities perpetrated in the name of law and the constitution that make me shudder when I gaze upon our glorious flag and think of the crimes against manhood and honor committed in its name and beneath its sheltering folds! I will tell you. The Mine Owners' Association—aided and abetted by a military crazed political accident in the mis-occupied governor's chair, ably assisted by a frenzied, ambitious adjutant general and applauded, eulogized and endorsed by a slave producing and serf-creating Citizens' Alliance! Yes, this association of millionaires, and their kowtowing lackeys have created unto themselves a court of aristocracy to which a comparison with the debauched court of Louis XIV would insult the history of France! Not satisfied with untold wealth, dug from the bowels of the earth by the brave brawny arms of organized labor, they would crush, mutilate and destroy the very brawn that created their affluence.
But I, a woman, will make the prophecy that from the ashes of the fire of the tribulations of these heroes, aye martyrs: Parker, Davis, Kennison, Foster Adams, deported miners, imprisoned Record force, military oppressed patriots all, in the Cripple Creek district and Telluride, will rise a phoenix of united labor, brain and brawn, that will destroy this military oligarchy and cause the glorious emblem of red, white and blue to once more proudly wave "o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave."
Friday morning, February 19, was the day set for the trial of Parker, Davis and Foster, charged with train wrecking, conspiracy, murder, in fact, the writer cannot keep track of what they were not charged with, but suffice it to say that there was no crime committed or alleged to have been committed in the district, but what every effort was made by the mine owners and their agents to saddle it on these innocent men.
The court room was crowded with interested spectators and the trial was attended by crowds until its completion. Attorneys Crump and Temple were for the prosecution and Attorneys Hawkins and Hangs for the defense. The main witnesses for the "persecution" were Chas. McKinney, D. C. Scott, Sleuth Sterling, Gleason, Mrs. McKinney and a fellow named Beckman and his wife. Witnesses for the defense were over forty in number, inclusive of the defendants. McKinney, the star witness for the "persecution," was claimed to have turned state's evidence. He is not and the records show that he has never been a member of the Western Federation of Miners, but when he was arrested the Federation rendered him every assistance in its power, because they thought him innocent of the crime for which he was arrested, and in charity tried to shield him from persecution! The writer believes that McKinney was not in the scheme and that he did not help the sleuths pull the spikes, but was induced to make false testimony in the hope of reward and like the traditional viper, turned his poison on those who had warmed and fed him! That he became entangled with Scott and Sterling and for a paltry money consideration, entered into the plot to send innocent men to the penitentiary after the alleged "attempt" at train-wrecking.
McKinney's record is alleged to be a cattle thief in Kansas and Nebraska, run out of Utah for horse stealing, the blood of one man on his hands, a traveler under God knows how many aliases, a self-confessed perjurer, a self-confessed maker of false affidavits, a conscienceless liar and a self-confessed thief. As a witness he proved himself a monster, utterly without conscience, and was shown up to public view as a human weakling, a mental and moral degenerate. He is more to be pitied than censured, for it is utterly impossible for this miserable, trembling creature to tell an intelligent lie, and he is apparently irresponsible for his speech and actions. His only hope of escape from the penitentiary seems to be in the promises of Sleuths Scott and Sterling, who are alleged to have promised him a pardon through the influence of the Mine Owners' Association with Governor Peabody and $1,000 in cash for trying to swear away the liberty and manhood of the union leaders. Poor, miserable McKinney, whose oaths would make him contaminating company to the society of the penitentiary and who by suicide could only partially oblige humanity by his retirement to oblivion!
McKinney's testimony drew Sleuths Scott, Sterling and Beckman (all star witnesses in the "persecution"), into the meshes and showed them up to appear as arch conspirators in a premeditated attempt to railroad innocent men to the penitentiary! He testified that he and Beckman attempted to wreck a train, and that Beckman advised administering poison to the "scabs," thereby suggesting wholesale murder! Attorneys Hangs, Richardson & Hawkins demanded the arrest of Beckman as a conspirator and protested to Henry Trowbridge and J. C. Cole, district attorney and his deputy: "We protest against the partiality shown in this case and demand that you do your duty at once."
On Tuesday, February 23, Chas. Beckman testified in the "persecution" as star witness No. 2 in the most contemptible plot that blackens the history of Colorado. Beckman succeeded in convincing all who heard him that he "is the most despicable and contemptible specimen of humanity—a sneaking, cowardly spy, a traitor, a betrayer of his oath, a wanton liar and a mercenary criminal with instincts that would cause a yellow cur to commit suicide from appreciation of his own debasement.'' He admitted his participation in the dastardly attempt to precipitate a loaded passenger train down a three hundred foot embankment! That he joined the Western Federation of Miners to become a spy in the organization! That his testimony was paid for by the Thiel sleuth agency! He admitted nearly every detail of the dastardly plot entered into with McKinney and showed his contemptible cowardice by attempting to throw the responsibility upon his miserable partner in crime!
The only deduction that can reasonably be made from Beckman's testimony is that he is a natural born crook and scoundrel who plies his vocation under the guise of a detective, and in his profession of spy and sleuth, is not even respected by members of that fraternity, owing to his prostitution of his questionable trade to the filthy channels of divorce business—putting up dirty jobs to sever marital relations and breaking up happy homes! Verily the noose is already tightening about his miserable neck.
On February 24, Beckman implicated Sleuth Sterling as connected with the plot, stating that he had prearranged signals with Sterling whereby he could watch himself and McKinney pull the spikes in the hellish scheme to send martyrs to the penitentiary!
Mrs. McKinney, star witness No. 3, in the "persecution," assisted very materially in exposing the nauseating plot. Her face was alternately suffused with blushes and blanched to marble whiteness as her relations with the sleuths were uncovered. She proved a more artful liar than her miserable poltroon husband, yet she was forced to acknowledge the wanton falsity of her statements, and when cornered she simply admitted that she lied, and with every such confession her eyelids drooped with shame. She admitted that Sleuth Sterling had "kept" her, paid her expenses, bought her meals, slept in adjoining rooms, swore that her husband gave her no money, and when cornered as to where she got the money to pay for $4 meals for herself and Sterling, swore her husband gave it to her! But she is a woman, and in charity I say no more of her—suffice it that when the ordeal of cross-examination was finished she left the court room with shame-flushed face and downcast eyes, closely followed by Sleuth Scott.
On the 25th Sleuth Sterling was placed on the stand and proved himself skillful in refraining from incriminating himself by adroitly fixing the responsibility for dirty detective work on Sleuth Beckman. He tried hard to shield Mrs. McKinney, but did not spare her husband. His evidence was clearly presented and conflicted but little in a few details. Sleuth Scott was called to the stand and sorely disappointed the "persecution." His direct testimony showed a careful and studied comparison with Sterling's, but on the cross-examination he became sadly mixed. He admitted that he lied to Sheriff Robertson, to Judge Seeds, to President Jesse Waters and to many others. Sleuth Scott left the witness box a self-confessed liar.
Hard words, these, but true. The testimony of these self-confessed conspirators and apparently unprincipled sleuths and their accomplices was intended by the "law and order" "persecutors" to send to the penitentiary honest men, known by them to be innocent!
But now came a sensation and a bombshell to the "persecution"—the testimony of an honest man! W. W. Rush, who was at the throttle of the "ill-fated" train the night of the "wreck." Under cross-examination the nervy engineer fatally contradicted stories sworn to by Sleuth Scott and startled court and spectators by declaring that Scott had approached him some time before the "attempted wreck" and told him that it would be "pulled off.'' Scott further asked Mr. Rush where he considered the best location for a wreck. Rush answered that the overhead bridge would be the most dangerous place. The "attempt" was later made at the identical place suggested by Rush! This blow paralyzed the "persecution," and Judge Lewis immediately ordered the jury to bring in a verdict of "not guilty" in the case of Davis and "not guilty" on one count against Foster.
After months of imprisonment, innumerable indignities and persecution, but little freedom under an exorbitant bond of $15,000, W. F. Davis, an innocent man, was liberated and free, now fully vindicated and by the very witnesses who were summoned to railroad him to the penitentiary. No witnesses were necessary to vindicate him. No witness was questioned in his behalf. No lawyer's plea made to defend him. Not one scintilla of evidence produced against him. He, as the reader will well see, was the innocent victim of one of the most damnable and foul pieces of jobbery in the annals of degenerate sleuthdom. How plainly did the jobbers over-job themselves!
Friday, February 26, the examination of witnesses for the defense began, and then came revelations of the utter debasement of hired fiends whoi would have perpetrated a crime upon Colorado 's fair name that time could never eradicate. The testimony of dozens of unimpeachable witnesses proved clearly an absolute alibi for Parker and Foster. The testimony of Victor Mathers proved conclusively to any mind that the foul conspiracy and alleged crime was carried out by Sleuth Scott with Sleuth Sterling a close accomplice! Section Foreman Powers measured the tracks in the snow the morning of the bungling job and his testimony proved a most perfect link in the unbroken chain of evidence against Scott and Sterling as the actual perpetrators of the alleged "attempted wreck." Under the positively unimpeachable evidence of the numerous witnesses for the defense, the "persecution" utterly collapsed.
Saturday, February 28, witnessed the complete demolishing of every scintilla of every suspicion, let alone of evidence, against the defendants, and the diabolical jobbery of ambitious sleuths and spies and the wholesale perjuries of the star witnesses for the "persecution" had been thoroughly exposed and nothing but the formality of absolute acquittal by the jury was necessary to legally establish the innocence of the victims of one of the most heinous plots ever conceived in the minds of persecutors.
On Wednesday vindication came, and on the first' preliminary ballot of the jury! The corrupt house of cards has fallen— shattered by honesty and truth! And now I am proud to give to the world the verdict of the jury of peers, as follows:
"The people of the State of Colorado vs. Sherman Parker and Thomas Foster—No. 785. Verdict—We, the jury, find the defendants, Sherman Parker and Thomas Foster, not guilty.
"E. A. EISWORTH, Foreman.
"The people of the State of Colorado vs. Sherman Parker—No. 784. Verdict—We, the jury, find the defendant, Sherman Parker, not guilty.
"E. A. EISWORTH, Foreman."
The above verdicts were reached by the unanimous agreement of the jurors, after a single ballot had been taken, within five minutes from the time the jury retired! "Out of courtesy to the court," as one of the jurors expressed it, "we remained out nearly an hour before announcing our verdict."
Before the jury came in the cases against Sherman Parker, C. G. Kennison, W. F. Davis and Steve Adams for the alleged murder of Superintendent McCormick and Shift Boss Beck, of the Vindicator mine, November 21, 1903, were nolle pressed by Assistant District Attorney Cole. At the same time he nollied the cases against W. F. Davis, who was accused of pulling spikes in the alleged attempted train wrecks of November 13 and 17. He also said that he would nolle prosse the cases against Thos. Foster and Sherman Parker, which he did on March 7.
Thus have the despicable machinations of the Mine Owners' Association and Governor Peabody's "constitution preservers," aided by that workingman's foe—the Citizens' Alliance—fallen to the ground! Out of the hundred or more arrests, villainies unsurpassed in the history of the United States, not one conviction secured! The Record forces' cases all nolle prossed and all other cases either nolle prossed or found not guilty by a jury of peers! An expense to Teller county of over $8,000; an expense to the state of over half a million; a loss to the mine owners of many millions; an unremovable smirch on the fair name of Colorado and an expense of thousands to the Western Federation.
And what has been accomplished? It has been proven that the Western Federation of Miners is composed of men of honor, that their leaders are patriots and martyrs, that crime is foreign to their nature and that they have suffered as did the Christians in the time of Nero!
That the Peabody administration is a remorseless enemy to labor, a supporter and abettor of injustice, no respecter of the courts or laws and a militant usurper of the constitutional rights of the masses!
Oh God, workingmen, union or non-union, will we endorse such atrocities, such unjustness in our high places of honor, such tyrannical treatment of our brother man, such despotism, such serf-creating usurpation of our constitution of liberty, to the foul ends of such a class of greed and corruption? No, a thousand times no! Will ALL labor unite and forever overthrow by peaceable ballot an oligarchy that dooms us to slavery? Yes, a thousand times, yes!