Hellraisers Journal: Mesabi Iron Range Is Quiet as Family of John Alar Plans Funeral

Pray for the dead and
fight for the living.
-Mother Jones

Monday June 26, 1916
Virginia, Minnesota – Funeral for John Alar Scheduled for Today

Minnesota Iron Miners Strike, Parade, Duluth Ns-Tb, June 25, 1916

From The Duluth News Tribune of June 25, 1916:

According to following report, the funeral of John Alar was postponed in order for family to arrive from out of state and is scheduled to take place today. The Industrial Workers of the World continues to lead the strike up on the Mesabi Iron Range and will take an active part in the funeral of Fellow Worker John Alar, martyred striking miner.


Quiet Reigns During Day.
Alar Funeral Postponed By Relatives.
(By Staff Correspondent.)

VIRGINIA. June 24.- The tense strike situation of the Mesaba Range was relieved somewhat tonight by the announcement of strike leaders that the parade and funeral, scheduled for tomorrow morning, had been postponed until Monday afternoon so that relatives of John Alar, deceased, could arrive for the funeral. The leaders declare that the parade will be held and that the band has rehearsed the music for the parade, when thousands of miners will march.

M. H. Godfrey, general superintendent of the Oliver Iron Mining company in the Virginia district stated tonight the Shiras, Wanless and Deacon mines at Buhl had been closed down because of the strike situation.

No meetings being held in Virginia tonight and every thing on the eastern end of the range is quiet. The cases of Joe Gruni, Arthur Boose, Charles, Seppanen, Arvis Lathenan and R. B. Calaker, found guilty yesterday of unlawful assemblage, were continued from this afternoon until Monday afternoon. Attorney John A. Keyes of Duluth, appearing for the defendants, declares that Judge Carey’s expressed intention of requiring $1,000 bail for an appeal to the district court is unreasonable, as the offense is only a misdemeanor.

The trouble which occurred between Sheriff John Meining and the Oliver police has all been settled. Sheriff Meining today stated that all deputies including Oliver police, are reporting to him before any action is taken. He has experienced no difficulties and stated that he believes there would have been no violations of the law if the matter had been left in his hands. He said:

Mayor J. S . Saarl ordered the saloons closed this afternoon at Eveleth.


Funeral of John Alar, Killed by Oliver Guards,
Postponed Until Tomorrow by Relatives.

Tells of Alar’s Widow.

In a stirring address to more than 500 strikers this morning. Sam Scarlet [Scarlett], leader of the mine strikers of the range, today painted a word picture of the sorrowing widow and children of John Alar, killed by Oliver police on Thursday, which brought tears to the eyes of every man, woman and child in the audience.

He told of the hardships which the family of the dead man must bear; of how the children will be unable to secure the education that they need; of the great loss which the children will have in not having a father to go to with their little problems, which mean so much to them.

The plans for the funeral Monday are now being made and it is planned to have one of the longest parades ever held in the city, with delegations from Hibbing, Chisholm, Buhl, Aurora, Biwabik, Elba, Gilbert and other places to mourn the loss of “the departed brother.” Complete funeral arrangements had not been made this afternoon, as a brother of the deceased, who lives in Chicago, has not been heard from.

Open air demonstrations of sympathy for the dead strikers will be held in Chisholm and Hibbing in the afternoon, when it is planned to have the strikers march from Chisholm to Hibbing in memory of Alar.

I. W. W. Preamble Given.

Revolutionary, socialistic statements in the preamble to the constitution of the I. W. W.s have created considerable comment in the city. The abolishment of the wage system is advocated by the union. The preamble follows:

The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of working people and the few who making up the employing class, have all of the good things of life.

Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the earth and the machinery of production and abolish the wage system…[etc.]


HIBBING, June 24.-A flank move by I. W. W. strike leaders to combat tactics of their opponents was instituted today at a meeting of miners at Workers’ hall, when the strikers were urged to boycott all trades men who endeavored by any means to force the men back to work. The miners, who filled the hall to overflowing, were given names of various merchants and others who they should refuse to deal with. Clothing stores, grocery firms, a bus line and a saloon were among the individuals assigned to feel the power of the miners’ strength.

George Andreytchine, ISR, Sept 1916

Heads of some firms were cited as having been at one time immigrant laborers, who, by the support to their “brothers” had accumulated a little wealth and were now turning on the ones who aided in their success.

“Do not trade with these men who are hand in hand with the capitalist,” cried George Andreytchine, whose remarks were frequently halted by the plaudits of the miners.

[And Andreytchine continued:]

We will build a big co-operative store here where miners may buy all their supplies and not have to pay cash either. It will cost $10,000 and be the biggest store on the range.

See what they did at Biwabik. The merchants got together and said, “We will will break this strike by refusing the miners credit.” But the miners said, “We will trade at the Finnish co-operative store and let the other merchants go.” Quick away the merchants hurried back and said, “We make big mistake. Come-you may have all credit you wish.”

We will parade again this morning and once more I say be peaceful and make no noise. Walk quietly along one side of the street and if you see a scab don’t look at him-don’t smell of him, for he is like skunk.

With their numbers largely increased the strikers filed from the hall, headed by a 12-piece band and the Stars and Stripes. The procession progressed through the main portion of the city, lasting more than and hour.

Carlo Tresca, 1910, wiki

Carlo Tresca, the firey-tongued Italian orator whose words whip his audiences into wild enthusiasm came here this afternoon from Virginia and in company with Joseph Schmidt and George Andreytchine, considered plans for the big out-of-door mass meeting to be held at the St. Louis county fair grounds Sunday.

It is the idea of the strike leaders to have an immense parade of men, women and children form at the Workers’ hall Sunday morning, composed of all miners’ families residing in the vicinities of Hibbing and Chisholm. It will be led by a band through the city to the fair grounds, about a mile distant.

At the same time another big parade will be taking place at Virginia where the strikers in that locality will be joined by adherents from Buhl.

While the demonstration here will take the form of a joyful celebration of strength and be given over to a holiday the parade at Virginia will be that of a mourners’ procession, bewailing the loss of a “brother.”

[Photographs added.]


The Duluth News Tribune
(Duluth, Minnesota)
-page 1, cont’d on page 6.
-June 25, 1916

Minnesota Iron Miners Strike, Parade, Duluth Ns-Tb, June 25, 1916
George Andreytchine, ISR, Sept 1916
Carlo Tresca, 1910

See also:
Preamble to the IWW Constitution