pages 363 to 382
W. H. Morgan, an assayer from Cripple Creek district, president and general manager of the Grouse Mountain Mining Company, committed suicide in Denver on the afternoon of July 4th. Letters left behind by him showed that he had been hounded and threatened by the military.
Morgan was one of the first men to be deported from the district. Although not a union man, he had been an employer and sympathizer with all organized labor.
Deportation so preyed upon his mind that when the statement was made by General Bell through the daily press, he determined upon suicide. This was ascertained through letters left by him. He accomplished this end by swallowing cyanide of potassium and then shooting himself through the heart.
This man's death was undoubtedly due to Colorado's militarism.
July 8th, C. M. Tully, president of the retail clerks union, D. C. O'Neill, secretary of the same union, Fred Warburton and G. C. Fraser, members of No. 32, W. F. M., were cruelly betrayed by deputies into the hands of a mob, by whom they were beaten and robbed. Three weeks previous, Mr. Tully returned to the district on a pass issued by General Bell at the solicitation of Dr. Latimer of Victor. Mr. Tully had left the district for the reason that his wife was in a delicate condition and he feared for her safety if he became involved in trouble.
Mr. O'Neill was among those deported to Kansas on June 10th. A few days previous he succeeded in securing a pass from General Bell to return to Victor in order to collect his personal effects. Mr. Warburton had returned to Victor on a pass issued to him by Colonel Verdeckberg. Mr. Fraser also had a pass signed by Bell.
All these men were arrested and taken to the Mine Owners' and Citizens' Alliance headquarters where, upon producing their passes, they were released. They were later arrested by Deputy Sheriffs Kid Waters and William Dingman.
Sam Larson, William Miller and Ed Wilder assisted Waters and Dingman. The prisoners were taken to the Baltimore hotel and confined in a room. As the prisoners were being conducted through the streets to the hotel they were seen by dozens of the military officers to whom they called that they had passes from Bell, but none made any attempt to rescue them. They were held in the hotel until ten o'clock that night. At that hour Waters rushed into the room exclaiming, "For God's sake, get these men out of here."
Mr. O 'Neill, when interviewed, spoke as follows:
"We knew we were up against it then. They rushed us out the rear way to the alley and marched us down the alley to the F. & C. C. tracks and continued still in the alleys between Sixth and Seventh streets to Wilson's creek. Here, a question of the road to take arose and Waters decided the men should take the main road although they wanted to go around by the railroad tracks. At this point Waters lighted a number of matches for the double purpose, we believe, of searching the road for fresh tracks and to signal the mob leaders of our whereabouts. He was apparently satisfied with the search, for he soon gave the word to go on, and with one deputy guarding our rear and Waters leading, we proceeded. We had gone one hundred yards when the mob broke upon us. They had a few words with Waters and he promptly stuck his guns in his pockets. They paid little attention to the other deputy, who promptly turned his back and went back in the direction of Victor. During our march out of town Tully asked Waters why he did not turn us over to the military, as they were close at hand and could protect us? Waters replied: 'That would make a pretty fix, wouldn't it? Having the soldiers shooting their own people.'
"After the mob had sent Waters and the other deputy away they ordered us to step forth. I was the first one, They gave me a crack over the back with a club and then one of them took out a long blacksnake and began on me. He must have given me about fifty lashes, but the blow in the small of the back is causing me the most inconvenience, although my body is covered with stripes."
When O'Neill paused for a moment Fraser took up the thread of the story. He is a powerful man, well dressed and has the stamp of intelligence. He said:
"While they were flogging O'Neill three of them set on me and I was knocked down with a Winchester. I tried to get up, and three times they floored me. They beat and kicked me when I was down, and when they finished lashing O'Neill they turned to me with the blacksnake."
Warburton and Heeney escaped with floggings and verbal abuse. Tully was not assaulted, one of the mob explaining to him: '' You weak-looking little ———, we won't do anything to you this time, but if you come back, we'11 hang you.''
After the business of the floggings and assaults had been completed, the five men were faced up against the wall of the mountain and ordered to throw their hands in the air.
O'Neill continued as follows:
"They then made a run for us to go through our pockets. There did not seem to be any leader, but every member of the mob acted on his own responsibility."
Following is the haul which the mob secured:
D. C. O'Neill—Fifty dollars in cash, fountain pen, pocket comb, papers and letters.
Fred Warburton—Diamond, valued at $50 or $60; watch, $65; fob chain, $35; railroad ticket to southern Kansas, $20; check on Colorado Springs bank, $30; $11 in cash, pocket knife, pocketbook, letters and papers.
J. C. Fraser—$39 in cash, letters and papers.
From the two other men they secured nothing of value except that each one was robbed of his pass signed by Bell. During the search O'Neill turned his head to get a better look at the thieves who were going through him, when one of them dealt him a savage blow on the head. Fortunately, he wore a stiff hat, which broke the force of the blow.
The men were then marched about 100 yards farther, when they were released with the warning never to return, emphasized by several volleys fired in close proximity to their persons.
O'Neill and Fraser seemed to be the objects of the mob's particular hatred. Curses and foul names accompanied the parting words which were delivered to the men. "If ever you come back here," said one of the mob to Fraser, "we'll hang and quarter you. You ———, I've a notion to kill you now."
It was about eleven o'clock that the lame and sore quintet began the weary march across the hills to Canon City. They were suffering from hunger and ready to drop from exhaustion when they reached the home town of Governor Peabody at seven o'clock in the morning. After staying in Canon City all day they boarded a Rio Grande train for Denver on transportation which had been wired them by the Western Federation of Miners.
The men were advised not to give out the names of the persons they recognized in the mob, but they could swear to the identity of at least a dozen of them. The case of Mr. Tully was particularly pathetic. His wife was still in delicate health, and the shock of the outrage on her husband, it was feared, would have a serious effect upon her.
General Bell, when questioned in regard to the men being assaulted after having received passes from him, expressed himself as follows: "They just wanted to find out what would happen to them if they returned to Cripple Creek and I am glad they found out."
July 8th a committee from the Citizens' Alliance of Victor went to Cripple Creek to demand that the board of county commissioners appoint a successor to Frank P. Mannix, county clerk and recorder, whom they were trying to force to resign. At seven o'clock, p. m., Mr. Mannix, while at supper with his family, was arrested and taken to the Mine Owners' Association room and later brought before the military commission. He was questioned at much length regarding his attitude during the strike troubles. After nearly an hour spent in examining the prisoner, he was requested to hand in his resignation as clerk and recorder. This he refused to do, stating that he had done nothing that would justify his resigning by force or otherwise, and that there was no legal basis or any just cause for enforcing his resignation. He was released and demanded military protection from General Bell, fearing that he would receive violence. Bell furnished Mr. Mannix with a guard.
On the following day Mr. Mannix, accompanied by General Bell, Major McClelland, General Reardon and two private soldiers went to Canon City. Mr. Mannix, in speaking of the affair said that he had not been deported but left because of imminent trouble in the district. Discussing his reasons for leaving Victor Mr. Mannix said:
"I had no idea that the situation was as bad as it is. No one can comprehend the state of affairs unless he sees things for himself. The military almost admit that the armed thugs are beyond their control, and I felt that one of these might do me harm if I remained. There is no telling what they will do to other union sympathizers in the district, as the military is powerless to restrain their reckless acts. It is quite likely that we will hear of more dastardly acts on the part of the members of the Citizens' Alliance.
"Every effort was made to make me resign from the office of county clerk, but I went back to the district determined that no kind of threat would induce me to give up the office. A proposition was made to me that if I gave a deputy power to act and went back to my ranch I would receive the salary from the office just as heretofore. I told the person who made this proposition that I would sooner resign than consent to anything like this.
"It is all plainly a game of politics. The mine owners and members of the Citizens' Alliance realize that without the office of county clerk they will be greatly hampered in stealing the election in Teller county this fall. * * * It is the desire of the mine owners to register all the strangers they have brought into the camp, and as they can not be qualified voters on account of their short residence, it is necessary to Republican success that the mine owners and members of the Citizens' Alliance have full possession of the office of the county clerk. I will go back to my ranch at Montrose tomorrow and stay there until I think I can go back to the Cripple Creek district and live in peace. I did not take my wife along with me. She is in bad health, and it was more on account of her condition that I left the district than any other reason I can assign. I feared that some violence would be attempted at my home, and General Bell will keep a guard there until my wife can join me at Montrose."
Mr. Mannix is one of the best known Democrats in Teller county and has always been very popular. He is a member of the Typographical union and has a very wide acquaintance throughout the state.
General Bell in speaking of the Mannix affair said he was sorry that Mannix was compelled to leave the district on account of the danger he was in, but he did his best to do things right for him, and added that it was all because of personal friendship.
Pity others did not enjoy the friendship of Military Dictator Bell, who, might thereby, have been saved beatings and humiliations.
From July 11th to 20th the people of the district were kept on the qui vive both day and night on account of the many arrests and frequent deportations. No person, unless an adherent of the Citizens' Alliance or Mine Owners' Association felt safe from molestation.
Squads, under orders of the military commission, inspected all persons arriving in the district. Strangers were hauled up before the commission, made to give an account of themselves, and, if the account was not satisfactory, were forced to leave or thrown in the ''bull pen.'' An interview with Mr. Franklin, ex-mayor of Victor, a member of the military commission, by a Rocky Mountain News reporter will enlighten the reader as to how that body was conducting things at this time. Mr. Franklin said:
"While things are quiet now, deportations are going on just the same as before. We are not telling who is deported at present. The committee simply works on the list, and then the men are deported without anything being said."
July 20, the Portland mine was closed by the military for the second time. The close-down was due to the arrest by the military of nearly all of the mechanical force of 500 employed on the surface in the three shaft houses. This comprised engineers, firemen, master mechanics and men in other departments. All of the men arrested were miners' union members who refused to take out working cards in the Mine Owners' Association.
The action taken against them constituted one of the most specific phases that developed during the strike. It was expected for nearly a week, and if it had not come up that night, the next morning the men who were arrested would have quit their positions at the Portland, thus saving the military the trouble of arresting, imprisoning and finally sending them out of the district. As a matter of fact, the union men arrested continued to hold their jobs in the expectation that the Mine Owners' Association would demand that they take out association cards or suffer arrest. It was believed by the miners that military action would occur at that time but when it did not materialize at the time expected the decision was reached by the men to cease work, take their wages and leave the district forthwith.
When the Portland was closed by General Bell, which occurred about one month before, it was understood that no Union men would be re-employed unless they should surrender their allegiance to the Western Federation of Miners, and take out Mine Owners' Association cards. The majority directorate of the Portland Gold Mining Company, however, in order to retain the services of the splendid force of miners which it had prior to the closing down of the mine by the military, decided for the time being at least, to allow a certain number of the old force to go back to work without first compelling them to take out the Mine Owners' Association permit. This course was especially applicable to the engineering and other departments, and the result was that substantially all of the men employed in those branches remained with the Portland company.
Between 11 and 12 o'clock details of military were sent out to Goldfield and Cripple Creek and to other points for the purpose of making arrests of Portland miners who worked on the day shift. One military attache stated that it was not the purpose to deport the men, and the same authority remarked later that the whole scheme was a conspiracy to shut down the mine.
July 29, the attorneys for the Western Federation of Miners won their first victory in their efforts to procure the release of the men incarcerated, charged with the Independence disaster and the street riot in Victor June 6, for whom bail had heretofore been refused. Bonds were fixed for forty-six men, charged with these crimes, bonds ranging from $1,500 to $10,000 each. Among the men for whom bonds were secured was Michael O'Connell, the deposed marshal of Victor.
Upon the release of Mr. O'Connell, he went to Denver. He arrived in that city August the 5th. On the following evening he met his death by falling from a window of the fourth story of the Markham hotel. The cause of his fall from the window was shrouded in mystery. Some advanced the theory that his mind had become partly unbalanced on account of the indignities he suffered while an inmate of "bull pen." Others entertained the opinion that his death was an accident, but a large majority of the deported miners then in the city, openly charged that he had been deliberately murdered by a paid assassin.
The untimely death of Mr. O'Connell was deeply regretted by all who were acquainted with him, with the possible exception of a few people who were interested in the Mine Owners' Association and Citizens' Alliance. Mr. O'Connell, while acting as marshal, won the esteem of all persons with whom he had dealings on account of impartiality and a desire to maintain the law, regardless of who were the offenders. It was on account of this well-known trait of his character, that he was deposed from office and persecuted, as it did not suit the purposes of the element, carrying things with a high hand in the district, to have a marshal who was impartial and would enforce the law and protect the interests of all alike.
The Miners' Magazine of August 18, 1904, contained the following eulogy upon the life of Mike O'Connell:
"Michael O'Connell, the deposed marshal of the city of Victor, is now numbered with the silent majority, who are wrapped in the somnus of death. The good, brave and generous man who came to Colorado with the blush of boyhood on his cheek, is now numbered with the thousands who sleep in Evergreen cemetery, in the City of the Clouds. For sixty days he suffered all the humiliation which a Mine Owners' Association and a Citizens' Alliance could heap upon him in a bull pen, and when his friends secured the bonds which liberated him from persecution and imprisonment, he was forced to leave his home and family under threats from a hired, blood thirsty mob. He was even denied the right of an American citizen, to remain at his home. We are told that a man's home is his castle, and that no man or party of men, has the right to invade or trespass upon the sacred precincts of the home. But the Mine Owners' Association and a Citizens' Alliance have no reverence for the sanctuary of a home, no sympathy for the breaking heart-strings of a woman's holy love for her husband and no pang of pity for the flowers of childhood that bloomed in the once happy home of Michael O'Connell.
"We have known the dead man for fifteen long years. We are proud of the honor of having been numbered among his friends. The Great Ruler of human destiny and Creator of human life only ushers into existence in a generation a few men like the departed Michael O'Connell.
"He was the soul of honor, a prince among men—one of those grand characters, whose every act in life soared in an atmosphere of moral grandeur where dishonor could not live. In his death, another sacrifice of human life lies indirectly at the door of the governor of this state. There was no protection for the brave and heroic marshal of Victor. He had sinned against the governor, because his heart beat in sympathy with the cause of the striking miners. He was a law-breaker and an insurrectionist, because his honor and his manhood scorned to bow in submission to the Mafia, that has been backed and supported by the armed power of the state. In the years that are to come, if a conscience returns to the chief executive of Colorado, the memory of Michael O'Connell's death will rise up like a ghost, to haunt him in his midnight dreams.
"In the Cloud City the brave man has been laid to rest. All over the jurisdiction of the Western Federation of Miners the untimely death of Michael O'Connell will be mourned, and the keenest sympathy and sorrow will be felt for his bereaved wife and fatherless children."
July 26, a mass meeting was held in Cripple Creek at the headquarters of the Mine Owners' Association for the purpose of considering the advisability of recommending suspension of martial law to Governor Peabody. So much pressure had been brought to bear by conservative citizens of the state against martial law and acts growing therefrom, being continued, and the campaign for the state election being about to open, and the maintenance of martial law in the district, it was feared, would weaken the chance of Republican success, it was deemed policy on the part of the powers in control to have martial law suspended.
In accordance with the desire of this mass meeting, on the 28th, Governor Peabody issued a proclamation suspending martial law in Teller county.
General Bell said that he looked for trouble to start as soon as the troops were withdrawn, intimating that the strikers would cause trouble, when the facts were that all the trouble and violation of law under the reign of martial law, was committed by the henchmen of the mine owners and Citizens' Alliance, ably assisted by the militia. The General further stated that the troops had been kept in the district to protect the union miners and their friends. The reader can judge as to how successful Bell and his "army" had been in protecting these people from the facts previously recorded.
The suspension of martial law put an end to the famous military commission. The commission, in winding up its affairs, made the following report:
"The military court was appointed June 8, and assembled at once and elected H. McGarry as president and Nelson Franklin as recorder, and proceeded to examine all parties appearing. The number of those appearing was 1,569; the number of those recommended for deportation was 238; the number of those recommended for trial in the criminal court was 42; the number recommended for release was 1,289.
"Of those recommended for deportation the list was composed of agitators, ore thieves, keepers of fences for stolen ore, habitues of bawdy houses, saloon bums and vagrants. The examination was conducted along the line of desirability of those examined for residence in the district, with a view to peace and law observance, and no other purpose was had in view of the recommendation."
The reader can form an opinion of the vindictiveness and untruthfulness of the foregoing report when it is borne in mind that among those deported by that body were people in all walks of life, other than union men, among them being respected business men, attorneys, one former attorney-general and they did not even draw the line at ministers of the gospel.
While it is true that some of the people referred to above were deported after the military commission had suspended, it is nevertheless true that the gentlemen (?) that had comprised the same took a conspicuous part in the deportations.
The suspension of martial law and the military commission made very little difference in the treatment of union people and those suspected of being friendly to them. The only difference being that instead of being deported with a military escort, victims were led up the mountain trail by mobs, beaten, robbed and compelled to make their way afoot over the hills.
At 9:15, p. m., of the same day martial law was suspended, John and Joseph Fisher, John Schmidt and John Miller were made victims of a mob. July 31, under promise of protection, by Sheriff Bell and Adjutant General Bell, John Harper and T. H. Parfet, former managers of the co-operative stores in the district, made arrangements to re-open the stores. How faithfully this promise of protection was kept the reader will learn from what follows:
On August 9, John Harper was seized by eight masked men at his home and driven from the district. The seizure was made about 8 o'clock p. m. Harper was taken from his home without hat, coat or vest. The sheriff's office was notified. Undersheriff Underwood with four deputies started out with the avowed intention of rescuing him but needless to say the rescue was a failure. Mr. Harper, after being beaten by the mob and released, made his way on foot to Canon City, from which place he took a train to Denver.
On August 10, five masked men went to the home of George Seitz, at 11 o 'clock at night to deport him from the camp. They were met with a fusillade of shots. The fire was returned but no blood was spilled. Seitz held the fort. Seitz lived with his two children, both girls—one about twenty years old and the other about nine—was called to his door by a loud knock shortly after 11 o'clock. He asked who was there. The reply came:
"Never mind. We want you."
One of the men opened the back door and stepped into the kitchen. Seitz ordered the masked man out. He refused to go, but fired a shot. Seitz in return fired three shots. Then a fusillade of bullets was sent into the house.
Officers were quickly on the spot and carried Seitz down to the city jail for protection. He told a representative of the press that he had not taken out a mine owners' card and that he would not.
Former Mayor W. J. Donnelly, a hardware merchant of Victor, and the Rev. Mr. Leland were notified by a mob to leave the district. Mr. Donnelly's offense was that he had gone on bonds of some of the strikers and Mr. Leland was guilty of preaching a sermon in which he denounced the outrages perpetrated by the brigade of thugs that termed themselves the "law and order element." Both the gentlemen appealed to the sheriff for protection and were given a temporary guard.
So much indignation was aroused in the state over the frequent assaults and deportations in the district that the conservative element discussed the advisability of forming a vigilance committee to enforce real law and order. This, together with the protests appearing in the daily papers, compelled the authorities of the district to make an attempt to put an end to lawlessness. To that end Sheriff Bell issued the following proclamation:
"Whereas, Many evil-disposed persons have assaulted citizens of Teller county, taken them from their homes, forced them to leave the county, indulged in incendiary talk and in other ways continually agitated the unhappy condition of affairs existing in our county for months past; and
"Whereas, Many citizens are carrying arms; now, therefore
"All citizens of Teller county will refrain from carrying concealed weapons. They will, likewise, refrain from congregating on the streets and in public places and from in any manner using language that may tend to cause violations of the law. Each and every citizen, whatever his position may be, will be governed by this proclamation.
"The law will be enforced without regard to party in respect to these matters, and the lives and property of all citizens of this county shall and will be protected. The deputies of this office will strictly follow these instructions, and I urge all parties residing within and without the county to refrain from in any manner doing anything that will cause or incite trouble in this county.
"Issued from the office of the sheriff of Teller county, this 11th day of August, 1904."
Mayor Shockey of Cripple Creek and Mayor French of Victor issued the following statement:
"We, the undersigned, mayors of the cities of Cripple Creek and Victor, hereby pledge to the sheriff our hearty support and the support of the police departments of our respective cities in carrying out the spirit of the above proclamation, and all police officers of both cities are hereby required to carry out the sheriff's proclamation and co-operate with the sheriff's office to enforce the law.
"W. L. SHOCKEY, Mayor of Cripple Creek.
"F. D. FRENCH, Mayor of Victor."
From the foregoing it would appear that the officials had finally determined to make an effort to suppress lawlessness. Whether they were only half-hearted in this or that the tough element, whom they had been instrumental in bringing into the district had gotten beyond their control, I do not know. Certain it is, however, that the proclamation issued by the officials had little, if any, effect. Lawlessness continued as the following will show.
August 20, a wholesale deportation took place. The cooperative store in Cripple Creek, that had been opened under new management, was closed and partially destroyed. The authorities seemed powerless to do anything to restore order.
Between 5 and 8 o'clock p. m., above date, a mob of fully 1,000 armed men took possession of the store and the authorities. All the afternoon men had been congregating on the streets of Cripple Creek.
A little after 4 o'clock the various shifts of non-union miners gathered in the town and took places at the corner of Second and Bennett avenues. Everyone seemed to be in the dark concerning the purpose of the crowd. All were armed and it was easy to surmise that something more than ordinary was about to take place, although few words were spoken.
At 5 o'clock a crowd swept up Bennett avenue, like a great wave, toward the union store, that was just a half block away. No attempt was made to stop the rush of men on the store, which the mob soon reached. The leader yelled that the time had come for a final clean-up of the Cripple Creek district. That was their determination and if they did not carry it out, at least they showed their good will to do so.
The mob dashed into the store from the front and rear, ordering every one in the store to hold up their hands. The command was obeyed quickly, and within a very few minutes the employes of the store, together with General Eugene Engley, were led out prisoners. At once the work of destroying the store commenced. Canned goods were hurled through the plate-glass windows, all shelf goods were either thrown in the street or on the floor; all canned goods were in this manner either destroyed or carried away by the crowd that gathered. A car load of flour and almost as much sugar was totally ruined by being either poured out or saturated with coal oil.
No masks were worn by any member of the crowd. As they approached the store a couple of those inside attempted to escape by running up the stairs of an adjoining building, but they were soon caught. Mr. Heinerdinger, the manager of the store, was in the sheriff's office, a few doors above but on the other side of the street, at the time, and told Undersheriff Parsons the store was to be raided. Undersheriff L. F. Parsons immediately left the office and went over to the store. He was quickly seized. Two guns were drawn on him and he was not permitted to go in. The undersheriff did not even have an opportunity to address the crowd, which he claimed was his intention. He was taken up the street about one hundred feet, where he was detained. His guards then took him down the street to the corner of Second. There he was left and immediately retired to his office, where he found Frank J. Hangs, attorney for the W. F. M., who asked him for protection. At this time Mr. Parsons was told that he was wanted in the rear office. No sooner had he entered the rear office than he was seized by a couple of masked men, who took him into the private office in the rear, where he was held a prisoner for over an hour. During the time the undersheriff was held prisoner the crowd began the work of searching for all the men marked for deportation. Committees were sent hither and thither to locate them. The men taken out of the union store were marched up Bennett avenue toward the county jail, where seventeen men were still confined for complicity in the riot in Victor June 6. In the middle of the block they were halted, and the crowd was ordered to fall back. Other searching parties began to return with other prisoners, and it did not take long to decide upon which road the men were to be taken out of the district.
A photographer stood opposite the county jail and attempted to take pictures but was prevented.
Michael O'Neill, the deputy county clerk and recorder, was one of the men sent for, and he, with others, was deported.
J. C. Cole, former deputy district attorney, surrendered to an officer, who guarded him to the best of his ability. Several men tried to take Cole from the officer, but he would not give him up, and finally reached the sheriff's office with Cole in custody. There he asked for protection, but the undersheriff was powerless. Attorney Cole was taken to where the other prisoners were. General Engley, while being marched between armed men, smiled a bitter smile at intervals, and occasionally strongly denounced those in command.
The first party deported was composed of the following distinguished gentlemen: General Eugene Engley; J. C. Cole, former deputy district attorney; Frank J. Hangs, attorney for the W. F. M.; H. N. Heinerdinger, James Redd, J. W. Higgins and others. The party, which was composed of about ten, was escorted a distance of about four miles from Cripple Creek and there left. Before reaching the place where the mob halted, they discovered that Mr. Higgins had a revolver and began to assault him. Higgins drew his gun to defend himself but before he could use it he was struck over the head with a gun and otherwise badly injured.
The spokesman of the mob warned the men in the following language:
"You have been disturbers! If you come back, there will be a bullet or a rope ready for you. Keep on going. Remember, you are not coming back!''
Some demon, in human form, in the party suggested that the men being deported should be forced to remove their shoes but another objected.
T. H. Parfet, the former manager of the union store at Cripple Creek, Michael O'Neill and F. J. Hall composed another party of victims, they were taken another route.
Undoubtedly the cause for the foregoing despotic action, was the fact that it was reported in the district that Messrs. Hall and Heinerdinger, managers of the Interstate Mercantile Company, of Butte, Montana, were backed by the Western Federation of Miners. A few days previous, the two papers of Cripple Creek had refused advertising space to the company, one of the papers accepted advertising matter and the next day refused to run the matter. By the above the reader can plainly see that the merchants who belonged to the Citizens' Alliance, were afraid to compete with a co-operative store and employed radical methods to prevent the same being re-established. It would probably be well to mention here that when the store was wrecked the second time and during the trouble that followed, Sheriff Bell was out of the county. Not only was this the case on this date but it either was deliberately planned so or by chance, that on other occasions he returned just a few hours too late to prevent trouble.
Many of the mob that resorted to the lawlessness I have attempted to portray, wore buttons upon which were the words:
"You can't come back."
The men deported August 20, reached Denver sometime during the following day. They were all tired, but Mr. Higgins was especially so, being very weak from loss of blood caused by the wound on his head. After being refreshed and somewhat recovering himself he talked of the affair. In order that the reader may realize the brutality of the methods adopted and show clearly who the anarchists were, I could not do better than to run the following statement made by Mr. Higgins which appeared in the Rocky Mountain News August 22;
"I was at home, when my little girl came in and said there was trouble in town, and I went down to see what it was. When I walked up to the crowd A. E. Carlton, the banker, pointed at me and said: 'There is one you want,' and the next instant they had me fast. Carlton and Nelson Franklin were directing things.
"About a week ago Carlton came to me and asked me to withdraw from the bond of William Graham, one of the imprisoned miners, and I refused to do so. This is the offense for which I was deported. J. K. King, a well known man there, shoved a gun in my face and told me not to make any resistance. William Carruthers, deputy county clerk, was also leading the mob. It was a little after 5 o'clock when the mob got me and about 6 o'clock when the leaders started up over the mountains. They rode along with guns, talking in insulting language, saying: 'Have you the ropes?' 'How many ropes do we need?' 'Oh, one is enough.' 'Will it be hanging or shooting or dropping them into a pit?'
"We walked along silently, and had gone most of the distance, when two of the guards saw my gun. I had not tried to use it when they jumped on me, although it was reported that I tried to do so. One of them grabbed at me and the other the gun. He did not quite get hold of it, and I reached for it, too, and had I secured it I would have begun shooting. One of them struck me with a six-shooter. I tried to aim, but they got the gun away, struck me on the head a fierce blow, hit me on the shoulders and chest and kicked me. They did not help me in any way after I was wounded, and as I walked along I bled profusely from the cut, the blood running down my clothes and into my shoes. When we had gone out three or four miles they stopped on the crest of a hill, and the leader, said: 'Gentlemen, this is the last time we will ever give you any show at all. If you ever return it will be a bullet or a rope.' They went off yelling:
" 'They can't come back!' " * * *
Former District Attorney J. C. Cole, made a similar statement as to the treatment accorded the party by the mob. He, also, stated that Carlton and Franklin were directors, and that a number of deputies and ex-militia were recognized among the whitecappers.
When General Bell was seen in Denver and the foregoing related to him, he took a long breath, assumed the air of a Napoleon and said he had not been ordered to mobilize troops, that he had not been officially notified and knew nothing of it except what he had seen in press reports. He concluded:
"Those fellows up there can shoot and kill each other and hang a man to the nearest lamp post every five minutes if they want to, and I can do nothing to prevent it. Until there is a request made on the governor by the civil authorities for troops I have no authority to order any military to the district, and none will be sent."
Governor Peabody had been absent from the capitol for awhile and chanced to return on the same train that the deportees were on. The governor had a good deal to say about the condition that existed in Cripple Creek. But he, too, said he did not know whether the matter published by the press was true or not and ended by saying: "I have not been officially notified of the need of the military to protect the men that are being deported. There has not been an official request for troops.''
The indifference of the governor to what was taking place in the district, can be readily understood, as the mob was only continuing work formerly done, to a large extent by the governor's "army." If it had been the strikers committing these lawless acts the governor would not have waited for what he termed "official notice." But would have hurried the troops to the district on a special train. That this is true, former acts of the governor in sending troops to Telluride, Trinidad and the district, presumably to maintain the law, proves. A saloon row or an ordinary fight such as is of daily occurrence in any community, if participated in by strikers was sufficient excuse for his ordering out the troops, providing he could thereby accommodate the Mine Owners' Association.
August 30, A. G. Leduc, a union miner of Cripple Creek district, reached Denver, bruised, limping and very weary. His experience with the desperadoes in Cripple Creek was terrible. Mr. Leduc had been out of the district on account of poor health and was returning to his home when a neighbor called to him and requested him to stop in and eat supper which he did. While still at his friend's home some one rapped at the door and upon answering the knock Mr. Leduc was asked for. Leduc went to the door and the visitor said the whitecappers were after him (Leduc) and that the sheriff had sent for him and would give protection. Leduc said he would go but first wished to go to his cabin, and the two started in that direction. The man that called for Leduc said his name was Sharpe and that he was a deputy sheriff.
Before Mr. Leduc reached the cabin door a mob of men who had been in hiding rushed out and seized him. They searched him and took from him a pocketbook containing $45. He had no arms of any kind upon him. The crowd then told him to move on, and pushed him on ahead to a point two miles away from his home.
On the way the members of the mob would say to each other: "Who's got the rope?" "How deep is the shaft?" "Thirty feet," would be the reply, and then came the grim rejoinder, "Oh, well, that's deep enough to hang him." "Hang him! What do you want to do that for? Let him down and leave him there. He'll be dead soon enough."
When the mob finally stopped, Mr. Leduc was ordered to take off his coat. He did so, and several of the ruffians then lashed him with blacksnake whips till the blood flowed from the lacerations. Several times the whips were reversed, and he was beaten over the back with the butts till his body was a mass of blood and bruises.
When this cruel orgy was ended one of the men stepped up to him, and after helping him on with his coat, pointed out the road to Canon City, saying:
"There is your road. Take it, you ———, and if you ever come back to this place you'll hang as sure as ——."
Almost fainting at every step, Mr. Leduc painfully made his way to Canon City, and later was able to travel on to Denver where he was properly taken care of. He was in a critical condition when he reached his destination. He showed his bruises to many people in proof of statements he made as to the cruelty to which he was subjected, so that more than one person knows, as dreadful as it seems, that the foregoing was an unvarnished fact.