pages 275 to 295
IN concluding the narrative of the Telluride strike no attempt will be made to narrate all the incidents, nor to give them literary form— simply an unvarnished statement of the facts. There is a family likeness running through all the attempts of the corporations assisted by the governor and local officers to crush out and destroy the unions. It is my aim to recite sufficient instances of violations of the law and the constitution that the reader may not only know who the real law-breakers are, but may also realize the despotic nature of the methods employed, the substitution of corporate rule, backed up by the militia, for the authority of the law and the regular administration of justice in the courts.
From the deportations following the declaration of martial law on the 3d of January, no event of special interest occurred until the first of March, when thirty-four men were arrested in the justice court on the charge of vagrancy, twenty-seven of them were fined $25 and costs and given until two o'clock the next day to pay their fines, leave the county or go to work. Sixteen reported for work the next day, they were taken to the jail by Willard Runnels and put to work on the sewers of the town. One of the men, Harry Maki, refused to work. Runnels led him to a telephone pole, compelled him to put his arms around the pole, then fastened handcuffs on his wrists. The wind was blowing a gale and the snow filled the air. He was left standing chained like a beast for several hours. After many protests had been made against this cruel treatment Runnels took him to the jail where he was kept thirty-six hours without anything to eat.
It might be proper to state something of the men whom the mine managers brought in to lead the fight against the miners. Willard Runnels and Robert Meldrum were imported from Wyoming by the mine managers for the avowed purpose of discovering the murderer of Arthur Collins. But their only contact with the union was when some man was held up on his way to town and searched for stolen ore, without warrant or any process whatever. Runnels find Meldrum were pals of Tom Horn, the leader of a band of desperadoes who had been hired by the cattle ranchers to fight the sheep ranchers. Horn was hanged at Cheyenne, Wyoming, in November, 1903, for the murder of little Willie Nickell, the twelve-year-old son of a sheep rancher. The evidence indicated that he received $600 for the murder. It was characters like these who lead the "law and order" brigade for the Mine Owners and Citizens' Alliance—men skilled and reckless in the use of the gun. When a corporation pays fancy prices for skilled labor of any kind—carpenters, electricians, engineers or man-killers—it expects the employe to give value received for the wages paid, and they never pay for anything they do not expect to need.
An appeal was taken from the decision of the justice of the peace in the vagrancy cases to County Judge Wardlau; the men had on their persons and produced in court $1,148.25, besides having the union at their backs. The cases were instituted at the instance of Attorney Howe, who at the time was in the employ of the Tom Boy Mining Company, and has shown a disposition to be useful to his employers, though he prostituted his office of deputy district attorney in his eagerness to serve. Judge Wardlau discharged the prisoners.
During the trial, Attorney E. H. Richardson, who had conducted the defense of the miners, was quite severe in his cross-examination of Walter Kinley, a man who had served a jail sentence a few months before for assault with intent to do bodily harm. The examination revealed that he was in the employ of the mine managers. As the attorneys were leaving the courtroom for the hotel E. H. Richardson and A. H. Floaten were assaulted, by Kinley. Richardson had a number of teeth loosened. The act met the full approval of the Citizens' Alliance and was favorably commented upon by their organ, the Journal, which also approved the act of handcuffing Maki to a telephone pole, in the following language: "A portion of the men fined for vagrancy on Monday were put to work on the streets today under a military guard. One fellow refused to toil while the others entered upon their task with zeal. Officers intimate that with a few days disciplining the obstreperous individual will be willing to do his part."
The Cosmopolitan saloon, the back part of which was occupied by the Miner's restaurant, was closed by order of Captain Wells on the 24th of February. Later the proprietor opened up and was thrown into jail for disregarding orders. Eventually all the saloon-keepers friendly to the union were compelled to quit business. Friends of the Citizens' Alliance run without let or hindrance.
The affidavit appended below tells its own story of intimidation.
State of Colorado, County of San Miguel, ss.
I, the undersigned A. A. Pratt, make the following statement under oath: On or about February 26, 1904, I was in Denver looking for work. A man by the name of Johnson told me I could get work as a miner in Telluride; that the strike was off and there was no martial law; that the soldiers were all withdrawn, and that transportation was furnished free. I concluded to go, and a Mr. Snodgrass gave me a ticket to Telluride. When I arrived at Telluride, on the evening of the 27th, I was met at the depot and taken to the Victoria hotel to stay all night. The next morning a horse was brought to the hotel for me to ride to the Smuggler-Union mine, about four miles away. On the way to the mine we passed soldiers standing guard. When I got to the mine I made inquiries and found out that the strike was on, that the district was under military rule. As the conditions had been misrepresented to me, and I did not want to work under these conditions, I told the boss that I had forgotten something in town and thus obtained a pass to present to the soldiers between the mine and the town. In Telluride I was arrested on a warrant sworn to by Bulkely Wells, manager of the Smuggler-Union mine and commander of the militia, charging me with obtaining money under false pretenses. He appeared as a witness against me, although there had been no agreement made with him, nor with any one else, that I was to pay anything for fare, hotel or horse hire. These were furnished me without me asking for them, and he admitted that he had no agreement with me. There was no one but myself that knew anything about the matter, so the justice found me not guilty, but it shows to what measures they are willing to resort.
I do solemnly swear that the above statement is true to the best of my knowledge. A. A. PRATT.
Sworn and subscribed to before me on the 3rd day of March, 1904.
ALBERT HOLMES, Justice of the Peace.
The facts in the Telluride strike show that at all times, Bulkely Wells, manager of the Smuggler-Union Mining Company, and military commander E. E. Howe, attorney for the Tom Boy Gold Mining Company, the sheriff and his deputies, aided by the city administration, acted as a compulsory employment agency for the Mine Managers' Association and the Citizens' Alliance.
Among all the brutal acts charged to the account of the Citizens' Alliance none stands out in clearer relief than the deportation of eighty-one citizens on the night of the 15th of March. It was the result of a carefully-laid plot and beyond doubt Governor Peabody was chief of the conspirators. Martial law was revoked in Telluride on the 11th, but Governor Peabody had prepared an order revoking it several days prior to that time and had intended making the announcement at a banquet of the mine owners; other influences prevailed, the order was recalled; in the light of subsequent events, it would seem because his friends were not ready to derive the greatest possible advantage from it.
Almost immediately after the strike had been called, the unions in a mass meeting decided to compel the enforcement of the laws against gambling and so notified the council; they reluctantly stated our order as a request. All the gambling house keepers except two bitter members of the Citizens' Alliance complied with the request. The committee proceeded to the office of Prosecutor Howe and asked warrants for their arrest; he insisted that the warrant be accompanied by a signed request to the sheriff demanding the enforcement of the law, the warrants only to be served in case the gamblers refused to comply. It was done, they kept on playing, the warrants were served, the men were arrested and fined $25 and costs, payment suspended. The action caused bitter feeling, not only among the gamblers, but among the mine managers and Citizens' Alliance. They knew that the miners would be able to hold out much longer with their wages in their own pockets instead of in the gamblers. Men stood five and six deep about the tables when the keepers were arrested and the games stopped. For the first time in Telluride's history as a mining camp gambling had ceased. It was not a moral question— simply one of self-preservation, so far as the miners were concerned, yet they accomplished that which the church and reform element had been unable or unwilling to do.
When martial law was declared gambling was closed and remained so until the order for its revocation. Gambling was opened immediately. About the last act of the military authority, before revoking the order, was to search the homes of the miners for arms. Doors were broken down and trunks broken open, but few arms were found; these were confiscated—notwithstanding that provision of the constitution which declares that '' the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
With their victims naked and defenseless the brave mob was ready for its task. All elements were aroused, for as soon as gambling had re-opened the miners began the work of collecting evidence, assisted by lawyer Kinnikin.
The nature of a conflict can be pretty accurately determined by the class of people whom it calls to its aid. In all battles between the capitalists and the workers the thug, the gambler and the prostitute are ever the allies of the forces engaged in beating labor to its knees.
The Citizens' Alliance organ, the Journal, in its evening edition, stated that there would be a meeting of great importance to citizens and taxpayers. It was a stormy one, completely dominated by its most radical members, such men as A. M. Wrench, cashier of the First National Bank—short, suave, urbane, treacherous, vindictive, malignant in his hate of everything connected with unionism—the man of whom Assistant Attorney-General Melville, after hearing him harangue the Citizens' Alliance, said: "That man is a genuine anarchist. Take away his polish and education, put him at work among the miners and he would blow up the county roads." Another was Chas. F. Painter, proprietor of the Telluride Journal, a man whom brother Masons on a grand jury were compelled to bring in an indictment against for insuring property and converting the premium to his own use; a man whose scurrilous screeds and bitter invective of unionism and union men is born of his own slimy heart and whose vicious influence is only limited by the putrescent mendacity of a degenerate intellect. These were the men whose words contributed very largely to move men to madness. They went to their homes or stores for arms and met again at the First National Bank armed largely with the weapons of the local military company. The elite of labor's enemies were there, as were those whose support comes from the half-world. John Herron, manager of the Tom Boy, Bulkely Wells, manager of the Smuggler-Union and military commander, Chas. Chase, superintendent of the Liberty Bell; Shockley of the Four Metals; W. B. Vannatta, Kracan, Rittmaster, Adams and others, leading business men, Walt Kenley and Willard Runnels of the sheriff's office—these are illustrative of the mob of a hundred men who drove men from their wives and homes with jeer, and curse and insult. Antone Matti was compelled to get up from his bed, his wife insulted before him.
When a group was gathered together they were taken to a store that had been used as a commissary by the military and put under guard there. The mob rained curses upon the men and frequently dealt blows. But one mask was seen; many seemed proud of the part they were playing. Sackett, proprietor of the foundry, said that the cooler ones had great difficulty in preventing a wholesale killing. A. H. Floaten's account of his deportation gives a very clear idea of the mob spirit:
"On Monday night I was at home with my wife. She had retired, and I was partially disrobed. I had taken off my shoes and was just getting ready for bed when I heard the knock on the door. I knew what was coming, for I had heard a number of men in the alley at the rear of the house. The man did not knock at the door with his hand, but with the butt of a gun. They broke in the glass panel of the door, and then my wife, who was upstairs, demanded to know who was there. The people outside said they wanted the man who was in the house. When my wife demanded to know who they were and what they wanted of me, they gave her no reply, but broke the lock open and came in, searching the house. I stepped into the bedroom downstairs, and then into the clothes closet, in hopes that they would not find me. I was discovered by Walter Kenley, who shoved a revolver into my face. I said: 'For God's sake, have you come to kill me!' Kenley, who is the same man who assaulted Attorney E. P. Richardson a few weeks ago, answered: 'You get up and come with us.' I asked him if he had a warrant for me, and he answered that he had. I told him to read it, and then he said that he did not need any warrant for me; that I would have to come anyway.
"He and his companion pushed me out of the bedroom into the hall. I asked him to let me put my shoes on. Then without warning he struck me over the head with a revolver, cutting a gash about an inch deep in the left side of my head, at the same time telling me that I did not need any shoes. They then pushed me out onto the sidewalk, and my wife came out after them, begging to let me put on my shoes and hat. She had my shoes and hat in her hand, but they would not allow me to put them on. Just as my wife was trying to give me my shoes someone in the crowd, which had gathered, struck me on the head again with a gun. Kenley then took me by the arm and marched me up the alley from my house to a vacant lot near the city hall. The ground was frozen with mud and ice, and my feet were bleeding before I had taken a dozen steps. I was being pushed by one man and then another.
"Before we had gone a block we came to a large pool of water in the alley, and someone in the crowd yelled: 'Shove the ———— through the water!' which Kenley did. When we got to the first street I asked them to let me walk on the sidewalk, but they continued down the alley. At this time Kenley was walking directly behind me.
"Again without warning he struck me on the head with a revolver, and at the same time someone yelled: 'Shoot him!' with an oath. When we got to the vacant lot near the city hall I found that there were a number of others there in almost my predicament. We were surrounded by armed men, some having guns, some revolvers and some both. We were forced to remain there until midnight. Then we were taken to an empty store room, where we were kept until 1:30 a. m. By this time over sixty men had been gathered there, and we were all marched to the depot, where a special train was waiting for us. As I entered the car, bleeding profusely, with my head tied up in handkerchiefs, someone shouted: 'If that fellow tied up in white ever comes back to this town he will be hung.'
"When the train started a fusillade of about 200 shots was fired by the mob as a parting salute. Fifteen members of the mob accompanied us to Ridgeway, forty-five miles out, where we were ordered to get off the train. Fifty-three of us then walked from Ridgeway to Ouray, a distance of eleven miles, where we arrived at 6 o'clock in the morning. The other men remained at Ridgeway, being unable to continue on the journey.
"There is but one reason why I did not defend my family and my home, and that is because of the union rule which was laid down at the beginning of the strike, to the effect that we must submit and not resist, so as to give them no excuse to do violence. There has not been one cent's worth of property destroyed during this strike."
Stewart Forbes, the secretary of the union is a graduate of Queens College, one of the colleges of great Cambridge university. His wife and three children are in Telluride.
Floaten, Matti and Forbes came to Denver as representatives of the union; for three days they attempted to get an interview with the governor, without success. They appealed to Attorney John H. Murphy, who used the telephone with the same result; he then wrote the governor as follows:
James H. Peabody, Governor of the State of Colorado:
Dear Sir—Yesterday I endeavored to get into communication with you over the telephone, but failed to reach you. The object of my 'phoning was to ascertain whether or not you would give audience to three of the men who were driven out of Telluride by a mob on the night of March 14, and who, with a large number of other citizens driven out at the same time, are still prevented from returning to their homes on account of the threats of the same mob, that if they do return their lives will be taken.
As I understand from the three individuals, they simply desire the audience with you for the purpose of laying before you the facts relating to the outrages perpetrated upon them. Yours most respectfully,
JOHN H. MURPHY.
Three days later the governor stated that he was without "official information." The newspapers were full of the story, they also related the visit of the committee. His attitude is further illustrated by his comments on a Durango telegram sent the day following the mob:
"Does not the situation at Telluride warrant and demand that you send troops there under command of an officer not identified with the mob who last night outraged law and constitution, and that you instruct for protection of citizens against mob rule and for establishment of bullpen accommodations for those guilty of this midnight raid and outrage? Kindly wire reply at our expense." "The dispatch does not warrant a reply," says the governor, "and none will be made."
And thus it ever was. The straining muscles of the worker pushed back the frontier, subjugated the desert, gave a continent to civilization; his bloody sweat reared and cemented free institutions, but no law is written in legislative halls to protect his bread, and in the temple of justice his cry is unheard. In the gloom of the mine, the isolation of the-farm or the glare of the furnace, his work is done—his reward a crust of bread. The primeval curse rests on him and his; in the sweat of his unrequited toil the idlers of the world are fed. And if he rebel, if he strikes, if he throws down his tools and demands that before he uses them, again his life shall know more of the sunshine, his wants be better supplied —then poverty pinches the face of wife and child and feeds on his own heart. If he still stand, Spartan-like, the state comes to complete hunger's conquest and sends him back to his task subdued, submissive to those who dole out his bread, hoping faintly that in another world he may rest and enjoy as a divine gift the things his toil should have secured in this.
It is this interference on the part of the state that he resents most bitterly, and yet he has learned to expect it. Experience has taught him that it comes whenever the employer becomes too impatient for dividends to await starvation's slow palsy of conscience and arm. He finds himself a part of things, an unconscious part it is true, until a policeman's billy or a soldier's bayonet awakens him; then he realizes that his interests and welfare are no more considered by the state than at the factory or mine. The directors only consider their dividends, not his needs. He feeds the machine, the machine feeds him; there is perfect reciprocity between them. The machine is oiled to keep it from wearing out too soon, he is paid wages to enable him to feed himself and reproduce his kind—neither get any more than is necessary.
The machine is a social product, made possible and perfected through the co-operation of the workers, but it is used in a nonsocial way, for it is used to create dividends for its owners instead of for the benefit of its users. Each new machine is a social menace instead of a universal blessing so long as it is individually owned. In every age men have exercised the power they held for their own advantage and to the world's detriment. The owners of the factories and mines have only been repeating history.
The class that owns the machine controls the state and uses it to protect profits as the machine is used to make them. While the worker struggles to increase his portion through the strike it will be in vain. His employer can wait longer for dividends than he can for dinner. The rifle's crack will down his child's cry. So long as he is willing to accept a slave's life a slave's portion shall be his. So long as he demands less than justice he is content with injustice and should bear it.
The last dregs of the cup of slavery is at the worker's lips and a night more agonizing than that of Gethsemane is falling upon him.
Newspaper correspondents had been warned away from the scene the night of the mob and all persons who were not known to be in sympathy with it were ordered from the streets. J. M. Wardlau, county judge, editor of the Examiner and correspondent for Denver papers, was notified that it would not be necessary for him to send out any news concerning the Telluride situation. There are many reasons in the history of the Citizens' Alliance why they prefer darkness rather than light. The censorship of the press was removed in theory; in fact it was extremely rigid.
Extra policemen were sworn in and from fifteen to twenty citizens patrolled the streets, keeping a sharp lookout for any of the deported men. The number was constantly added to.
Attorney Murphy notified Judge Stevens of his intention to apply for an injunction protecting the deported men in returning to their homes. The men were preparing to return. Governor Peabody, when interviewed concerning the matter, spoke as follows:
"There is one thing, however, upon which I shall insist most firmly as long as I am governor of this state. This is that armed men will not be allowed to parade in this state unless authorized to do so by proper authority. The constitution and laws do not permit the mobilization and marching of armed bodies of men without the sanction of the governor, and I certainly shall exert all the authority I possess against such procedure. The law will be maintained in Colorado."
This sounds strange in the face of his connivance at the infraction of the law and his violated oath to support the constitution.
Judge Stevens granted the injunction late on the night of the 23d; at 3:30 the following day the bugle sounded calling troop A into service. Censors were placed at the telegraph and telephone offices and at 4:40 martial law was proclaimed. The proclamation follows:
"State of Colorado, Adjutant General's Office, Denver, Colorado, March 23, 1904. General Order No. 15:
"The following proclamation is issued from these headquarters for the information and guidance of all concerned, and it will be obeyed and respected accordingly:
"Whereas, There exists in San Miguel County, Colorado, a certain class of individuals who are acting in conjunction with a certain large number of persons outside of said county who are fully armed and acting together; and,
"Whereas, Open and public threats have been made to resist the laws of this state and offer violence to citizens and property located in said San Miguel County; and,
"Whereas, At divers and sundry other times various crimes have been committed in San Miguel County by or with the aid and under the direction of said vicious and lawless persons; and,
"Whereas, It is stated by the sheriff of said San Miguel County that these forces, within and without said county, are about to join forces within the said San Miguel County for the purpose of destroying property and for the purpose of inflicting injuries upon persons in said county; and,
"Whereas, By reason of such lawlessness and disturbances and threats and acts of violence, the civil authorities are unable to cope with the situation, now, therefore,
"I, James H. Peabody, governor and commander-in-chief of the military forces, by virtue of the power and authority in me vested, do hereby proclaim and declare the said County of San Miguel, in the State of Colorado, to be in a state of insurrection and rebellion.
"JAMES H. PEABODY, Governor and Commander-in-Chief. "SHERMAN BELL, Adjutant General."
Troops were sent to Trinidad and martial law proclaimed there also. In regard to the payment of the troops it might be noted here that before the troops were first sent to Telluride the Mine Managers' Association and the Citizens' Alliance put up $155,000 in collateral securities to guarantee their payment. This made the militia the hired men of the mine managers and they were used accordingly. Some of them even went to work in the mines; whether they drew pay from two sources or not, I cannot say.
Immediately after the declaration of martial law the pass system was put into effect and every person found on the streets after 9 o 'clock was taken to the guard-house and asked for an explanation. Many families voluntarily left Telluride in the week preceding the declaration of martial law; the Finlanders were especially in evidence. Twenty men and women left on the morning of the 24th. And thus the hopes of men who had fled from the despotism of the Tsars were blasted under the stars and stripes.
On March 24th President Moyer sent a telegram to Governor Peabody asking him if he would insure the men protection upon their return to Telluride; he received the following in reply:
"Answering your telegram of yesterday, I have no disposition to interfere with or intercept the movements of unarmed citizens going from place to place in a lawful manner, but armed bodies of men will not be permitted to march in any portion of the state other than the state militia.
"JAMES H. PEABODY."
Interviewed in regard to their return, he said:
"As for the deported men," said the chief executive, "I understand that a dozen of them have returned to their homes. They can all return as long as they behave themselves. There will be no rabid talking, however, and there must be no criticism or threats against the military. Men who make threats or don't behave themselves will not be tolerated."
On April 8th sixty-eight men, who had been formerly deported, returned to Telluride; they were met at the depot by General Bell with about one hundred soldiers and two hundred armed citizens, who were on duty in the town, and marched to the Red Men's Opera House. There they and their baggage were searched for weapons, relieved of their cash, then they were fed. More than one thousand people were present when the train arrived. The crowd pressed forward until the soldiers warned them back. Among them were the wives and children of the deported men, watching for the return of husbands and fathers with white, strained faces and tear-dimmed eyes. No greetings were permitted. That night they were marched back to the cars from which they had alighted. General Bell took command, accompanied by Captain Wells and thirty troopers. The men were unloaded at the Dallas divide on the extreme northern line of San Miguel county, and warned not to return.
The facts in the deportation and re-deportation of the men furnish sufficient comment upon Governor Peabody's pretensions as an upholder of law and order. In their light, men might well be wary of reposing any confidence in his promises.
This was the last concerted attempt of the men to return. Individuals and small squads returned later; they were always sent back. Others were added from time to time to the list of men who were personna non grata to the mine managers. To note them all would only weary the reader.
On April 30th the remaining union men in Telluride were advised by Captain Wells that it would be best for them to leave town as he could not guarantee them immunity from personal violence in the event of another raid by the citizens. The Citizens' Alliance resumed the night patrol and Major Rogers swore in the three hundred members as special policemen.
Viewed from another standpoint Judge Stevens' peremptory adjournment of the May term of court emphasizes the contempt which the Citizens' Alliance has ever shown for all authority which it could not control. When the judge arrived at the depot all the soldiers in the camp were present, jumped on the cars, jostled the people in their search for returning deportees and by their conduct generally showed their contempt for civil authority.
When the sheriff opened court the following day Judge Stevens delivered the following order:
"Gentlemen of the bar, I came here yesterday for the purpose of opening court and transacting such business as I felt the conditions would justify.
"I find a different condition here than what I had expected. The demonstration at the depot last night upon the arrival of the train could only have been planned and executed for the purpose of showing the contempt of the militia and a certain portion of this community for the civil authority of the state and the civil authority of this district. I had always been led to suppose from such research that I have been able to make that in a republic like ours the people were supreme; that the people had expressed their will in a constitution which was enacted for the government of all authority in this state. That constitution provides that the military shall always be in strict subordination to the civil authorities. It is doubtless construed differently, however, by the executive, who has declared this county to be in a state of insurrection and has declared martial law within its limit. In effect, therefore, the executive has said that there is no law in this county, except the military commander.
"I can only believe from the indications, from the demonstrations that have been made, and the conditions which seem to exist here, that the executive and the militia and a portion of the people of this county are willing that this court should be opened and such business transacted and such orders of the court executed as meet the approval of the military commander and a portion of the people of the county, may be executed; but that such portion of the orders of this court, or the decrees of this court as do not meet with the approval of this militia and the people of this county, may not be executed. Under such circumstances the court would not be in a position to enforce its lawful orders, or what it conveys to be its lawful orders.
"Such being the case, it would simply be a farce to attempt to enforce the civil law in this county. It seems to the court, further, that the members of the bar of this county, with a few exceptions, have become imbued with the military spirit to such an extent that they would not feel right assisting this court in the proper transaction of the business of the term. Under such circumstances the court will be greatly hampered should it attempt to do business. For that reason I have decided that until a different condition exists, until the supremacy of the civil authorities is acknowledged in this county, I shall not attempt to transact any business within its limits.
"It is, therefore, ordered that all matters pending and undetermined in this court be continued until the next term.
"It is further ordered that court be adjourned sine die."
The reader should remember that the machinery of deportation during these weeks when nothing is said was in constant operation, the order to depart being usually given by Captain Wells. The following instance is typical:
Tony Ralla, a property holder, who formerly owned the Senate saloon in this city, was today notified by a deputy sheriff that it would be best for him to leave the county. "When he attempted to argue the matter with the officer, he was referred to Captain Wells. He had an interview with Captain Wells later, but it ended without any definite understanding whether or not Ralla would be compelled to leave the county. But for the delicate condition of his wife the man would have been deported with others a month or so ago. Ralla states that he will not go unless positively compelled to do so by the authorities.
The latter part of June Harry Floaten was compelled to leave town for the second time. In the absence of his brother he was manager of the People's Supply Company, carrying a stock of $25,000. The only accusation was one by Captain Wells, stating that he received funds of the Miners' Union on deposit. His statement covers many instances:
"Having been compelled to leave my home and business in Telluride I will give the public a statement of facts in my case. I am secretary of the People's Supply Company, doing a general merchandise business in the city of Telluride. On June 3, I was notified by Captain Bulkely Wells that I must leave on June 7. Several of my friends went to Mr. Wells and protested. I had a talk with him also and told him I was going to Denver on the 15th, but intended to return by July 1. He said that would be all right. On the 15th martial law was declared off in San Miguel County. When I had transacted my business in Denver I made up my mind to return home, as I thought civil rights would be respected once more. Before I left I called upon Acting Governor Haggott and stated my case. He assured me that I could go home and there would be no interference. I arrived in Telluride on the night of the 23rd, and, in stepping off the train, was told by the night marshal that I was under arrest. I asked what the charge was. He said: 'You will find out.' I was taken to the sheriff's office and told to remain there. After a while I requested the sheriff to show cause for my detention. He told me to wait a few minutes, and when the minutes were up told me I could go. At my home in the evening later I was waited on by a committee of five. They stated that but for their interference a mob would have had me before this time, and advised me not to stay, but if I would leave on the morning train I could stay over night. I took their advice.
"What are things coming to in this state? I have lived in Telluride over thirteen years, and there isn't a person that can point out that I ever disobeyed any law. All I have on this earth is there—my home, my wife, child and business. They say I have been doing business with the union. It is true, but is that a crime?
"The Citizens' Alliance has boycotted our store, and now they ask that we discontinue to sell to people that will patronize us. As for the miners' union, let me say that that body of men has shown the most exemplary conduct during the strike. Goaded to desperation through tyrannical oppression, they have not resisted and have never interfered with non-union men. The lessons the union has received from this strike must be demoralizing to them. It shows that when they are using force in a strike they win. When they are law-abiding and the other side is using force, they get the worst of it. But the only solution of it is peaceable means. Workers, do your duty next election.
"(Signed) HARRY A. FLOATEN."
The Smuggler-Union mine closed down the first of July. For many months it had been reported that they were running behind from $10,000 to $15,000 per month. Manager Wells in issuing his statement said that they could not secure sufficient skilled labor from the fear that a tragedy would befall the men who took the miners' places. Mr. Wells simply made the mistake of calling loyalty to unionism, fear. It is certain that the skilled men could not be secured. A few weeks later the men on the Mayflower, a mine employing about thirty men quit work because the management leased a mill and put on twelve hour shifts. Incidents like these reveal the devotion of men to their union, and the fundamental mistake of the corporations in considering the eight-hour day a demand made by agitators instead of the desire of the men.
Marshal Geyer escorted Grover Skelton, a 19-year-old lad out of town and told him to go on; instead he returned to his mother's home in Pandora. Geyer learned of his return and went to his home after him. Grover was at supper. Mrs. Skelton stood in the doorway as Geyer came up and when he went to enter she put up her hand to keep him out or ward off his blows. Geyer struck her over the head with his revolver, knocking her down. From his advent on the premises he had been using the vilest and most abusive language. A sister of Skelton's, Mrs. Bacheller, heard the disturbance and abuse of her mother. She came—a cripple —Geyer knocked her down on the porch, then kicked her off. Young Skelton was then handcuffed to Dan McMillan and taken back to the edge of town. Geyer was one of the bulwarks of the Alliance from the inception of the strike.
The Alliance hounded Cory, whom the people elected marshal and who refused to do their dirty work, until he resigned his place. Geyer took it and has worked in perfect accord with his masters.
The only respect for property on the part of the mine managers, is that which they happen to own or control. On August 21st John Herron, manager of the Tom Boy, David Herron, superintendent; W. T. Tobin, bookkeeper; Willard Runnels, deputy sheriff and an office man of the company named Stevenson, rode over the range from the Tom Boy mine to the property of the Black Bear Mining Company. The entire party threw stones down the air shaft and rolled them against the shaft house till the men on the inside rushed out. They were lined up and four of them, staunch union men, were marched over the range to Silverton. All of them were stockholders in the company whose property they were developing.
But all things finally come to an end and thus the Telluride strike. The latter part of November the large mines posted notices stating that the eight-hour day would go into effect the first of December, together with a scale of wages practically identical with that which the union had demanded fifteen months before, and which the mine managers had practically agreed to more than a year before when the troops were secured by the Citizens' Alliance.
The new scale is given here:
Underground, Eight-Hour Shifts—Miners, $3; machine men, $4; trammers and shovelers, $3; drivers, caring for horses, $3.25: drivers, not caring for horses, $3; timbermen, $3.50; timbermen, helpers and laborers, $3; nippers, $3; hoisters, engineers, $4; station tenders, $3; cage tenders, $3.50.
Outside of Mines, Eight Hours—Engineers, $3.50; engineers if hoisting men, $4; firemen, $3; blacksmiths, $3.75; blacksmith helpers, $3; tool sharpeners, $3.25; laborers, $3.
Tramway, Eight Hours—Gripmen and loaders, $3; brakemen, $3.75; linemen, $4.
Mill, Cyanide Works, Etc., Eight Hours—Crusher men, $3; battery men, $3.50; battery men helpers, $3; Huntington and Chile mill men, $3; concentrator men, $3.50; concentrator men helpers, $3; engineers, $3; firemen, $3; blacksmiths, $3.75; carpenters, $3.75; laborers and shovelers, $3; canvas plant employes, $3; solution men, $3.50.
Boarding Houses—Head cook, if over 100 men, $100 per month and board; night cook and baker, if over 100 men, $90 a month and board. If over 175 men, the head-cook will be furnished with a meat cutter at $80 a month and board. Second cook, $65 a month and board; waitresses and dishwashers, $60 per month and board.
The San Juan District Union concluded its session in Ouray November 29th, when the strike was declared off. President Moyer, who was at the conference, stated the position of the union very concisely: "We have called the strike off, because we take the position that the issues involved have been conceded by the mine owners and operators in the Telluride district in that they recently posted notices to the effect that after December 1st they would grant an eight-hour workday in the mills and a minimum wage scale of three dollars. These were the demands we made over one year ago."
The Telluride Miners' Union No. 63 made a statement of conditions which was endorsed by the District Union. Much of it is already familiar to the reader, that part which refers to the attitude of the union is a temperate, well-considered document, worthy of a place in the minds of men ever ready to denounce the union as a lawless aggregation.
After fourteen months of industrial conflict, for which the Citizens' Alliance is solely responsible, the mine managers have discovered that the interests of the Citizens' Alliance are not the interests of the mine operators and that the Citizens' Alliance is not a promoter of peace, but of strife. The mine managers have accordingly posted notices at their various properties, conceding the eight-hour day and the minimum wage of $3 per day, which was all that was asked before the strike was declared on September 1st, 1903.
"We would infer from the action taken by the mine managers in granting the eight-hour day and a satisfactory wage scale that it is their desire that peace and normal conditions shall again prevail in San Miguel County.
"We, as members of the Western Federation of Miners of the San Juan district are in hearty accord with this sentiment. The issues involved in the controversy having been adjusted, we have no desire that any conflict shall be continued, but in the language of our preamble, to use all honorable means to maintain and promote friendly relations between ourselves and our employers and endeavor by arbitration and conciliation, or other peaceful means, to settle any difficulties which may arise between us. It will require a large number of practical mine and mill men to successfully operate the mining properties of Telluride and place them upon a paying basis.
"As such men return to Telluride, we will expect the mine owners to co-operate with us to prevent the Citizens' Alliance from continuing assaults upon the rights of men "to work when, where and for whom they please" and reside in any community which they may select as an abiding place.
"We demand that the Citizens' Alliance shall be prohibited from employing armed forces and murderous thugs, contrary to the laws of the state. We shall expect that the laws shall be made effective and that the restraining order of the district court shall be obeyed.
"As members of organized labor, we have endured untold sufferings through unlawful imprisonment, through invasion of our homes, through confiscation of our property and to deportation by Citizens' Alliance mobs. We can not forget the brutal and barbarous indignities that have been heaped upon us; but we will endeavor to endure these cruel memories now that our demands have been granted and we have the opportunity of resuming our vocation on an eight-hour basis.
"Indorsed by the San Juan District No. 3 this 29th day of November, 1904. "FRANK SCHMELZER,
"President San Juan District Union No. 3.
"San Juan District Union No. 3."
The policy of intimidation did not stop with the strike. The first of December Runnels and Meldrum remarked to three men that no one who spoke against Peabody could remain in San Miguel county, escorted the men to the depot and they left; nine men were treated similarly the next day.
Doubtless the story of the Telluride strike will be read by many who are unacquainted with the metalliferous miner. I know him in his every vice and virtue, know him with the intimate knowledge that comes from membership in his class, toil at his side, struggle in a common cause, know that his vices are not different from other men's, unless it be that he takes less trouble to conceal them.
Given the conditions under which men work, and any intelligent man could give the characteristics of the class that would result. The needs and wants of a man are not supplied in bunkhouse life; men herded together, none of the refining influences of women's society; newspapers, plenty of them, but no books, save an occasional cheap novel; in his poor, mean pleasures there is nothing of science, nothing of poetry or song in his desolate life, empty of joy as the dreary arch of the winter sky above the barren sweep of storm-swept peaks.
It was a homeless man who wrote "Home, Sweet Home." I am sure if the miners' critics could know the hunger, tue unsatisfied longing for life's beautiful things that these men, whose only shelter is a roll of blankets, feel, they would be kinder, more just in their criticisms. They would realize that when feeling becomes too poignant, too bitter, the natural thing is to take an anaesthetic, and that at last the power to feel, to be, is dead. The individual has committed against himself the wrong that society in every age since history began has committed against the working class. Silent through the ages, the ruins of extinct civilizations are the dumb witnesses of labor's immemorial wrongs. The greatest gift the years have brought him is increased power to suffer that may awaken him at last.
Fortunate indeed it is for the world's vampires that he has drank of the cup of forgetfulness so long, else they had ceased to prey upon his vitals. An hour of consciousness on his part would end his wrongs forever, for once aroused, he will never sleep again until his chains lie rusting in the museums of the past—till the means of life are common property and no man controls another's bread.
The Telluride strike has made its contribution to this result— the rule of man uncontrolled by men. The world might well learn a lesson from the grim patience of men who stood with folded arms and waited for the mine managers to operate the mines in compliance with the constitution.
The spirit with which they met oppression, their fidelity to the cause of unionism—seventeen members were false to their obligation—is their contribution to the world-emancipation of the workers.
The Telluride strike has passed into history; between the worker and the goal of his desire stood all the forces that feed upon and are supported by him; he passed on, un-awed by the malignant hate of corporate and business interests supported by the sinister power of the state, refusing to be provoked into violence or driven into crime, submitting to the grossest indignities, the most brutal outrages in the spirit of men who, in other ages, stood while the fagots were piled at their feet, serene, above the flames, above the mob's brutal cries and appealed to the centuries for history's verdict.
GUY E. MILLER.