WE NEVER FORGET Frank Little Who Gave His Life in Freedom’s Cause at Butte, Montana on August 1, 1917

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

WE NEVER FORGET, Frank Little, Butte, MT, Aug 1, 1917

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Fellow Worker Frank Little

Organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World

Frank Little Martyr, Truth Butte Tompkins, 1917

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Frank Little was lynched in Butte, Montana, at 3 A. M. on August 1, 1917, by vigilantes who, many alleged, were in the employ of the Anaconda Copper Company. He came to Butte to support striking metal miners despite having been warned of the dangers involved in that assignment. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn said of him:

He was tall and dark, with black hair and black eyes, a slender, gentle and soft-spoken man…He was dependable in all situations.

FW Little was much admired by the miners of Butte, and his funeral was one of the largest ever held in that city. His coffin was covered by a red silk banner, inscribed:

A MARTYR TO SOLIDARITY

———-

Continue reading “WE NEVER FORGET Frank Little Who Gave His Life in Freedom’s Cause at Butte, Montana on August 1, 1917”

WE NEVER FORGET Frank Thornton Who Gave His Life in Freedom’s Cause at Troy, Montana During July of 1917

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

WE NEVER FORGET, Frank Thornton, Troy MT, July 1917


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Fellow Worker Frank Thornton

Organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World

Fellow Worker James Rowan, in his work entitled “The I. W. W. in the Lumber Industry,” described the death of Frank Thornton:

LWIU, IWW Label, Lumber Rowan, ab 1920

Near the end of July there occurred at Troy, Montana, an incident of shocking barbarity. A man named Frank Thornton was arrested in a saloon after a quarrel with the bartender, and the constable took him to the jail, a small wooden structure. According to the statements of by-standers who witnessed the arrest, two Lumber Trust gunmen followed them, and the sound of blows was heard coming from the jail, as if they were giving Thornton a terrible beating. That night the jail was burned down and Thornton, the only prisoner, was burned in it. It is thought by some that Thornton was beaten to death by the constable and gunmen on the afternoon of his arrest, and that the jail was purposely set on fire to cover up the crime. Others claimed that while the jail was burning, they could see Thornton writhing in agony among the flames. This much is certain: the jail burned and either Thornton or his dead body was burned with it. Thornton was beaten to death or burned alive in the jail, and the authorities who arrested him and put him in that jail are responsible for his death.

Continue reading “WE NEVER FORGET Frank Thornton Who Gave His Life in Freedom’s Cause at Troy, Montana During July of 1917”

WE NEVER FORGET: FW James H. Brew who gave his life in freedom’s cause on July 12 1917 at Bisbee, Arizona

Pray for the dead
and fight like for the living
-Mother Jones
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WE NEVER FORGET James H Brew, Bisbee AZ, July 12, 1917

—–

Fellow Worker James H. Brew
Card-Carrying Member of the Industrial Workers of the World

WNF James H Brew, Tombstone, d. July 12, 1917

Fellow Worker James H. Brew was a card-carrying member of the Industrial Workers of the World. He was a miner and a boilermaker, and a seasoned veteran of the Cripple Creek Strike of 1903-1904.

During the early morning hours of July 12, 1917, he was asleep at his rooming house when a band of Sheriff Wheeler’s army of deputized gunthugs and citizen vigilantes came to grab him as part of their warrantless round-up of the striking miners and strike sympathizers of Bisbee, Arizona.

Leading this band of kidnappers was Orson P. McRae, shift boss at the Copper Queen Mine and a member of the Loyalty League. McRae was accompanied by five deputized gunthugs.

FW Brew warned the would-be kidnappers not to enter, but with McRae in the lead, they were determined to force their way inside.

Continue reading “WE NEVER FORGET: FW James H. Brew who gave his life in freedom’s cause on July 12 1917 at Bisbee, Arizona”

WE NEVER FORGET: Alexander Obremski Who Gave His Life in Freedom’s Cause at Rugby, Colorado on May 18, 1907

Link up in one socialist company;
Evil must perish!
Only together and united!
Long live the Western Federation of Miners!
-Alex Obremski

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WE NEVER FORGET, Alex Obremski, Rugby CO May 18, 1907

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Alexander Obremski
Union Organizer for the Western Federation of Miners

In 1907, Alexander Obremski was a union organizer for the Western Federation of Miners, working in the very dangerous field of the Trinidad area of southern Colorado. The field was considered to be so dangerous that organizers took the precaution of traveling in pairs.

On the evening of May 18, 1907, Brother Obremski was shot down in a saloon in Rugby, Colorado, near Trinidad, by Juan Espinosa, “a Mexican allegedly hired by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I) for this purpose.” [See below.]

A large funeral was held in Trinidad on May 22nd to honor the intrepid union organizer. He was survived by two brothers who lived in Starkville, Colorado.

According to M. E. White who had charge of WFM headquarters in Trinidad:

Much credit is due for the three hundred members initiated here in the last five months, and at Pueblo, to the faithful and diligent work of your organizer, Brother James Peretto, and the late Brother Obremsky who took their lives in their hands in the work of educating the slaves of this district.

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SOURCE I

Essays in Colorado History, Issues 5-10
Colorado Historical Society, 1987
(Search with “alex obremski” reveals signature: “Alex. Obremski.”)
https://books.google.com/books?id=_ngjAQAAIAAJ

Note: not available online except in snippet view. By using various search-words, I was able to bring up some relevant information. I will be attempting to track down this source in a library.

Page 55-

Alexander Obremski (1876-1907)
Correspondence from Trinidad, Colorado
Published as “Korespondencje. Trinidad, Colo.” in Robotnik Polski

Continue reading “WE NEVER FORGET: Alexander Obremski Who Gave His Life in Freedom’s Cause at Rugby, Colorado on May 18, 1907”

WE NEVER FORGET: The Costa Family Who Lost Their Lives in Freedom’s Cause at Ludlow, Colorado, April 20, 1914

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WE NEVER FORGET
The Costa Family, Martyrs of Ludlow

Costa Family

THE TINIEST STRIKER

Cedi and Charlie Costa had three children in 1913, Tony-2, Lucy-4, and Onofrio-6. They lost little Tony that year to the flu. At the time of the Ludlow Massacre, Cedi had carried another baby to term. That tiniest striker is not on the list on the back of the Ludlow Monument, but is mentioned as one of our martyred dead in a few accounts of the massacre.

Jack Reed, who arrived in the Trinidad on about April 30th, gives this account:

Two days after the burning of Ludlow, a reporter, some Red Cross nurses, and the Rev. Randolph Cook of Trinidad, were permitted by the militia to search among the ruins of Ludlow tent colony. The battle was still raging, and the soldiers amused themselves by firing into the ruins as close as they could come to the investigators. Out of the cellar under Mrs. Petrucci’s tent, which Louis Tikas had tried so hard to reach, they took the bodies of eleven children and two women, one of whom gave birth to a posthumous child.

And from Walter H. Fink:

Death Beats Life

Death, represented by the Hamrock-Linderfelt butchers, beat Life in the struggle, and young strikers were the penalty. They were just some of the many cases where the innocent had to suffer.

One particular instance of the results of this butchery was had in the undertaking parlor that night.

The young striker was unarmed.

Its mother lay on a cold, hard slab at the morgue, a victim of the Hamrock-Linderfelt murderers. She was found in the death hole at Ludlow when the Red Cross Society visited the devastated city.

If the murderous thugs in Colorado’s national guard uniform had remained away from Ludlow, had not felt it necessary to massacre the innocents to earn their $3 additional pay from the coal operators, there would have been at least one little striker two days old. But the Hamrock-Linderfelt assassins’ lust for blood could not be denied.

Thursday morning when the woman was buried a little heap lay in her arms against a breast that never had or never would nurse it.

Beshoar identifies the mother as the “wife of Costa:”

The women and children, too, were buried from Holy Trinity church. Huge, horse-drawn drays carried the white coffins to the church and away again. One long box contained the wife of Costa who had died with the union song on his lips. Against her cold breast was a young striker who had never had an opportunity to nurse it.

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SOURCES

The Education of John Reed
Selected Writings
International Pub, 1955

The Ludlow Massacre
-by Walter H Fink
U. M. W. A., 1914

Out of the Depths
-by Barron B Beshoar
(1st edition 1942)
Colorado, 1980

IMAGE
Photo of Costa Family
Mother Jones Lives, Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=Mother%20Jones%20Lives%20costa

See also:

The above photo also appeared in the April 15, 1915 edition
of the United Miner Workers Journal:
https://books.google.com/books/reader?id=PxZQAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&source=gbs_atb&pg=GBS.RA2-PA49

Cedelina Mastro Petuccelli Costa
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=costa&GSiman=1&GScid=199835&GRid=135901823&

Costa Family Memorial, FindaGrave

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Colorado Strike Song – John McCutcheon

The story is told that his fellow miners sang this song to Charlie Costa
after he fell defending the Colony and until he breathed his last.

WE NEVER FORGET: April 20, 1914, The Ludlow Massacre

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WE NEVER FORGET WNF List of Ludlow Martyrs


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Sept 15, 1913
Trinidad, Colorado
Convention of District 15 of the
United Mine Workers of America

The delegates opened their convention by singing The Battle Cry of Union:

We will win the fight today, boys,
We’ll win the fight today,
Shouting the Battle Cry of Union;
We will rally from the coal mines,
We’ll fight them to the end,
Shouting the Battle Cry of Union.

The Union forever, hurrah boys, hurrah!
Down with the gunthugs, and up with the law;
For we’re coming, Colorado, we’re coming all the way,
Shouting the Battle Cry of Union.

Continue reading “WE NEVER FORGET: April 20, 1914, The Ludlow Massacre”

WE NEVER FORGET: The Triangle Fire, March 25, 1911, 4:40 pm: Life So Cheap & Property So Sacred

Rose Schneiderman Quote, Life So Cheap

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Life So Cheap; Property So Sacred

From the Jewish Daily Forward of January 10, 1910:

The Real Triangle by John Sloan, NY Call, Mar 27, 1911

The “Triangle” company…With blood this name will be written in the history of the American workers’ movement, and with feeling will this history recall the names of the strikers of this shop-of the crusaders.

City Hall, New York City,
-December 28, 1910

Testimony before the New York State Senate and Assembly Joint Investigating Committee on Corrupt Practices and Insurance Companies Other Than Life Insurance:

Judge M. Linn Bruce, Counsel
Chief Edward F Croker, NYC Fire Department

Bruce: How high can you successfully combat a fire now?
Croker: Not over eighty-five feet.
Bruce: That would be how many stories of an ordinary building?
Croker: About seven.
Bruce: Is this a serious danger?
Croker: I think if you want to go into the so-called workshops which are along Fifth Avenue and west of Broadway and east of Sixth Avenue, twelve, fourteen or fifteen story buildings they call workshops, you will find it very interesting to see the number of people in one of these buildings with absolutely not one fire protection, with out any means of escape in case of fire.

Continue reading “WE NEVER FORGET: The Triangle Fire, March 25, 1911, 4:40 pm: Life So Cheap & Property So Sacred”

WE NEVER FORGET: Fellow Worker Marciionas Petkus Who Gave His Life in Freedom’s Cause at Philadelphia on February 21, 1917

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WNF, Marciionas Petkus, Philadelphia, Feb 21, 1917

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FW Marciionas Petkus
Martyr of the Philadelphia Sugar Workers’ Strike of 1917

WNF, FaG, M. Petkus, IWW, Philadelphia Feb 21, 1917

By February 21 of 1917 the strike at the Franklin and McCahan sugar refineries had been on for several weeks. At about 5:30 p. m. that afternoon, police were escorting scabs home from the plants when they were met by strikers and their wives, led by Florence Sholde who threw pepper into the faces of the scabs and police.

Wobbly Historian Bob Helms picks up the story:

The crowd grew and the confrontation escalated into a pitched battle of bricks and pistol shots, involving hundreds of union supporters. FW Sholde was arrested for inciting to riot (police agents supposedly had spotted her earlier in the day urging militant action at a meeting), and scores of people were injured on both sides, but Martin Petkus was killed by a single bullet in the chest and fell across a railroad track….

The news reports say that he was one of the striking Franklin workers, that he was “known among them as a giant of strength and courage,” and that the police found an IWW membership card in his pocket. He was recognized by all as a leader, and accordingly his funeral was a formidable event.

Petkus’ body lay in state at the Lithuanian National Hall (still standing), which was the headquarters of MTW IU #510 at that time, and on February 26th he was carried to St. Casimir’s Lithuanian Catholic Church, a dozen or so blocks away, with a crowd of about 10,000 accompanying his casket. Little girls wearing red dresses sold red carnations to union supporters.

Continue reading “WE NEVER FORGET: Fellow Worker Marciionas Petkus Who Gave His Life in Freedom’s Cause at Philadelphia on February 21, 1917”