Hellraisers Journal: Orphans and Widows Wait and Weep as Monongah Mine Gives Up Its Dead

Pray for the dead
And fight like hell for the living.
-Mother Jones

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Hellraisers Journal, Tuesday December 10, 1907
Monongah, West Virginia – No Hope Remains as Rescue Work Continues

Monongah Mine Disaster Waiting for News 3, Dec 6, 1907

From The Fairmont West Virginian of December 9, 1907:

Monongah Mine Disaster, Fairmont West Virginian, Dec 9, 1907

Continue reading “Hellraisers Journal: Orphans and Widows Wait and Weep as Monongah Mine Gives Up Its Dead”

Hellraisers Journal: Rescue at Monongah Mine Disaster Hampered by Another Fire; Agonizing Scenes of Grief as Hope Fades

How can God forgive you, you do know what you’ve done.
You’ve killed my husband, now you want my son.
-Hazel Dickens

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Hellraisers Journal, Monday December 9, 1917
Monongah, West Virginia – Agonizing Scenes of Grief and Despair

From The Pittsburgh Press of December 7, 1907:

Monongah Mine Disaster, Ptt Prs, Dec 7, 1907

James Cain, an inspector, was overcome while working in the mine this afternoon and is in a precarious condition.

Many women are rallying to aid in giving temporary relief wherever possible. Across the street from the mine quarters have been arranged where the distracted widows of the dead miners are cared for…..

AGONIZING SCENES.

With the early dawn of day and rising of the sun, the beautiful little mining village of Monongah was found to be one of sorrow and despair. Throughout the night widows and orphans hovered close together at the mine entrance, despite the coldness of the night, hoping against hope that their loved ones would still be found alive who were entombed.

The concussion was felt all over the country, houses were wrecked, windows broken and many persons near the mines knocked down and injured.

Thousands of people have assembled at the mine entrances.

The scenes about the mine openings throughout the night were agonizing in the extreme. The anguish of wives and mothers who wrung their hands and cried hysterically out of their solicitude for bread winners who were locked up in their underground sepulchre, were painful in the extreme. Women fainted. Strong men gave way. Little children, only faintly realizing what happened, cried pitifully, not for absent fathers and brothers, but because of the distress round about them and their intuitive knowledge that it was an occasion that called for tears…

Continue reading “Hellraisers Journal: Rescue at Monongah Mine Disaster Hampered by Another Fire; Agonizing Scenes of Grief as Hope Fades”

Hellraisers Journal: Not One Miner Brought Out Alive after Explosion at Old Ben Mine, Christopher, Illinois


You ought to be out raising hell.
This is the fighting age.
Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones
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Hellraisers Journal, Saturday December 8, 1917
Christopher, Illinois – All Bodies Recovered from Old Ben Mine

From the United Mine Workers Journal of December 6, 1917:

Old Ben Mine Disaster, Christopher IL, Nov 29, 1917

Eighteen Men Die in Illinois Explosion

Christopher, Ill.—On the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day an explosion occurred at the Old Ben Mine, four miles north of this town, that wrecked both shifts and all the approaches to the workings.

Eighteen day hands were in the mine at the time of the explosion, and all of them were killed.

Rescue teams worked day and night in the hope that some of the trapped men might be found alive. Timbers had been blown out and all the entries were blocked with rock. It was necessary to establish a ventilating system as the rescuers advanced into the wrecked workings. The bodies of all the victims were recovered.

The immediate cause of the explosion is not determined. It is believed that a fall of rock drove a body of gas that had accumulated on the open lamps of some of the men; coal dust and gas together made for the terrible explosion that ensued. The first party of rescuers that entered the mine were driven back by afterdamp. Some members of this rescue party were overcome; pulmotors were used to revive them.

Some 700 men are employed in this mine. Had the explosion occurred on a working day, the loss of life would have been far greater.

Continue reading “Hellraisers Journal: Not One Miner Brought Out Alive after Explosion at Old Ben Mine, Christopher, Illinois”

Hellraisers Journal: Heartrending Cries of Grief and Horror at Scene of Monongah Mine Explosion; 400 Miners Feared Lost

Monongah MnDs, Raging Sea of Fire, Ptt Prs, Dec 6, 1907

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Hellraisers Journal, Saturday December 7, 1907
Monongah, West Virginia – Explosion Followed by Fire at Nos. 6 & 8

From The Pittsburg Press of December 6, 1907:

Monongah MnDs, HdLn, Ptt Prs, Dec 6, 1907

The Grim News from Monongah:

Monongah MnDs, Tipple Blown Across River, Ptt Prs, Dec 6, 1907

Monongah MnDs, Foreigners, Ptt Prs, Dec 6, 1907

By United Press.

Monongah, W. Va., December 6.-An explosion of dust in the Nos. 6 and 8 mines of the Fairmont Coal Co. here at half past ten o’clock this morning, resulted in the death of probably four hundred men.

At 2 o’clock this afternoon eight dead bodies were found near the entrance of No. 6 and had been taken out, but at that time dense volumes of smoke from a fire in the heart of the mine drove the rescuers to the open air and they have not since been able to return, although every effort is being made to get in.

Continue reading “Hellraisers Journal: Heartrending Cries of Grief and Horror at Scene of Monongah Mine Explosion; 400 Miners Feared Lost”

Hellraisers Journal: Montana News: Pettibone Trial Begins; Adams Trial Ends; The “Big Stick” & the Goldfield Miners


There are no limits to which
powers of privilege will not go
to keep the workers in slavery.
-Mother Jones
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Hellraisers Journal, Friday December 6, 1907
Idaho and Nevada – Western Federation of Miners on the Firing Line

Through their ownership of state and federal government power, the Mine Owners carry on their battle against the Western Federation of Miners. The Socialist Montana News of December 5th reports:

PETTIBONE TRIAL BEGINS

George A Pettibone, Darrow Collection

Boise, Idaho, Dec. 1.—Sheriff Shad Hodgins and force of deputies yesterday completed the serving of summons on the talesmen for the special venire of 100, to respond for service when the Pettibone trial is resumed Monday morning at 10 o’clock.

During the day yesterday the eleven talesmen now in the custody of the bailiffs awaiting the opening of court Monday, informally reported at the court house and to the court. They were given magazines, papers and reading matter, all of which had been censored relative to anything concerning the trial, after which they returned to the quarters at 612 Bannock street where they enjoyed a session of news, fiction and romantic. In the afternoon they took a long walk out beyond the Boise barracks returning just before the supper hour.

Attorney W. E. Stone of counsel for the state was appointed by the court to censor the reading matter that is to go to the jury during the trial and Leon Whitsell for the defense.

The defendant’s health is still very poor and he is barely able to climb the two flights of stairs to the court room. He continues to give assurances however, that he will be able to sit through the trial.

The elimination of testimony in regard to the Colorado labor war, which was stricken out by Judge Wood in the Haywood trial, will mean the saving of much time, and it is believed that the taking of testimony will not require over four weeks.

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Continue reading “Hellraisers Journal: Montana News: Pettibone Trial Begins; Adams Trial Ends; The “Big Stick” & the Goldfield Miners”

Hellraisers Journal: Women and Children Gather at Scene of Naomi Mine Explosion at Fayette City, Pennsylvania

The women and children are crying continually,
and stare with hope at the
seemingly fruitless work of rescue.
The Pittsburg Press
December 2, 1907

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Hellraisers Journal, Thursday December 5, 1907
Fayette City, Pennsylvania – Many Dead in Naomi Mine Explosion

An explosion Sunday night at the Naomi Coal Mine, followed by fumes of poisonous gas which soon filled the mine, led to the death of at least 27 miners, with some saying that the death toll could reach as high as 68.

From The Pittsburg Press of December 2, 1907:

Naomi Mine Disaster, Fayette Cty PA, Ptt Prs, Dec 2, 1907

The death list will be at least 46. Their chance of ever getting out alive is hopelessly slim.

Continue reading “Hellraisers Journal: Women and Children Gather at Scene of Naomi Mine Explosion at Fayette City, Pennsylvania”

WE NEVER FORGET: Thomas Baldwin, Union Coal Miner, Murdered at Raleigh, West Virginia, November 13, 1917

Pray for the dead
And fight like hell for the living.
-Mother Jones

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WNF Thomas Baldwin, UMW, Raleigh WV, Nov 13, 1917

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Brother Thomas Baldwin
of the United Mine Workers of America
Murdered by Company Gunthug
November 13, 1917
Raleigh, West Virginia

Brother Thomas Baldwin, union miner, was going about his business in Raleigh, West Virginia on the evening of Tuesday November 13, 1917, when company gunthug, Sam Crews, snuck up behind him and slugged him over the head with a blackjack. He died three hours later. He left a widow and three small children to survive as best they could without a husband and father. Brother Baldwin’s grave can be found marked by a simple stone at Raleigh Cemetery, Glen Morgan, Raleigh County, West Virginia.

“Raleigh Cemetery Watcher” at Topix has posted an article from the Raleigh Register Herald of November 1917 (exact date not given) which describes Brother Baldwin:

Baldwin, say his neighbors at Raleigh, was a good, reliable man, a steady worker, and provided well for his wife and three children. He was a member of the United Mine Worker’s local that had been organized there some time ago, but was not inclined to give trouble. It appears that there was no reason whatever for his assailant’s attack upon him.

He lived with his family about 200 yards from the company store at Raleigh. After supper, on the night of the murder he had gone to the store for some purpose. As he started for his home he noticed that Crews was following him. He stopped and spoke in a friendly manner to the guard, who replied in kind and then suddenly dealt him a heavy blow on the head with some blunt weapon, presumably a blackjack. Badly wounded, Baldwin made his way to his home and dropped upon a bed. Two physicians were called. They found his skull fractured and an artery severed. In about three hours he died.

Continue reading “WE NEVER FORGET: Thomas Baldwin, Union Coal Miner, Murdered at Raleigh, West Virginia, November 13, 1917”

Hellraisers Journal: From the United Mine Workers Journal: Gunthug Murders Miner in Raleigh, West Virginia

Pray for the dead
And fight like hell for living.
-Mother Jones

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Hellraisers Journal, Monday December 3, 1917
Raleigh, West Virginia – Union Miner Murdered by Gunthug

Reported by U. M. W. Executive Board Member, Lawrence Dwyer:

UMWJ, Nov 29, 1917

On last Wednesday night one of our members, Brother W. P. [Thomas] Baldwin, was brutally murdered at Raleigh, W. Va., by one of the professional gunmen of that camp. His name is Sam Crews. He sneaked up behind Brother Caseybolt, who was on his way home, and slugged him with a blackjack. Thirty minutes afterward he sneaked up behind Brother Baldwin and struck him over the head with a blackjack, crushing his skull. He died one hour and thirty minutes afterward. Brother Baldwin leaves a widow and four small children, who were dependent upon him. The thug walked away and has not been arrested.

During last week four of our members were assaulted and beat up by the thugs.

From the United Mine Workers Journal of November of 29, 1917:

FROM WEST VIRGINIA
Agreement Satisfactory—The Thugs Again

[By Lawrence Dwyer,
International Board Member,
District 29 of Beckley, W. Va.]

Beckley, W. Va., November 22. — Doctor Garfield on November 12 O.K.d and approved the penalty clause adopted by the representatives of the operatives and our district officials, and beginning on November 1, 1917, every member will receive the same advance as was granted in the four competitive states. I feel that the penalty clause adopted meets with the approval of the rank and file, as I have not heard of one member criticising it. I wish to advise, from several reports that came into our district office, that there are some operators who are putting a wrong interpretation as to the meaning of the penalty clause, as they are telling the men that in the future should any of them remain from their work one day they will be fined, so I will take this method to inform our members that such statements are wrong. By adopting the penalty clause we promised and assured our government that in the future there would be no stoppage of any mine contrary to the provisions of the present existing contract between the miners and operators of this district; therefore, section 2 of our agreement reads: Should any employe, without the consent of the mine foreman, absent himself from his work for two continuous days, or should an employe, unless due to sickness, persist in working irregularly, it shall be construed as sufficient cause for discharge.

Continue reading “Hellraisers Journal: From the United Mine Workers Journal: Gunthug Murders Miner in Raleigh, West Virginia”

Hellraisers Journal: From the Cook County Jail: the First Prison Poem of Fellow Worker Ralph Chaplin

When our cause is all triumphant
And we claim our Mother Earth,
And the nightmare of the present fades away,
We shall live with love and laughter,
We who now are little worth,
And we’ll not regret the price we have to pay.
-Ralph Chaplin

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Hellraisers Journal, Sunday December 2, 1917
From the Cook County Jail, Chicago – A Prison Poem by Ralph Chaplin

Mourn Not The Dead

Mourn not the dead that in the cool earth lie-
Dust unto dust-
The calm, sweet earth that mothers all who die
As all men must;

Mourn not your captive comrades who must dwell-
Too strong to strive-
Within each steel-bound coffin of a cell,
Buried alive;

But rather mourn the apathetic throng-
The cowed and the meek-
Who see the world’s great anguish and its wrong
And dare not speak!


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Continue reading “Hellraisers Journal: From the Cook County Jail: the First Prison Poem of Fellow Worker Ralph Chaplin”

Hellraisers Journal: Bisbee Deportation Severely Scored by Report of President Wilson’s Mediation Commission

Don’t worry, Fellow Worker,
all we’re going to need
from now on is guts.
-Frank Little

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Hellraisers Journal, Saturday December 1, 1917
Washington, District of Columbia – Bisbee Deportation “Wholly Illegal”

The deportation of the striking miners of Bisbee, Arizona, carried out last July by the sheriff of Cochise county and about 2,000 of his armed “deputies,” was “wholly illegal and without authority in law, either state or federal.” So says the recently released “Report of the Bisbee Deportations Made by the President’s Mediation Commission.” The Commission was chaired by Secretary of Labor William B. Wilson.

William B Wilson, Sec of Labor, LOC ab 1913

From the Duluth Labor World of December 1, 1917:

COMMISSION CRITICIZES BISBEE DEPORTATIONS

WASHINGTON. Nov. 29.—Severe criticism of the persons responsible for the deportation of 1,186 striking copper workers from Bisbee, Ariz., and the Warren mining district July 12, is contained in a report of President Wilson’s special labor commission made public Saturday by the president.

The deportation was carried out by the sheriff of Cochise county and about 2,000 armed men, “presuming to act as deputies under the sheriff’s authority,” the report said, and “was wholly illegal and without authority in law, either state or federal.”

After extensive investigation of the causes and circumstances surrounding the copper mine strike, the commission found that the deportations were planned by a number of Bisbee citizens, including officers of the Phelps-Dodge and Calumet & Arizona mining interests.

Continue reading “Hellraisers Journal: Bisbee Deportation Severely Scored by Report of President Wilson’s Mediation Commission”