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

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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

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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

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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

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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”

WE NEVER FORGET: Fellow Worker Roy J Horton, President IWW Local 69 of Salt Lake City, Utah


Don’t Mourn; Organize!
-Joe Hill

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Candle Flame for We Never Forget

WE NEVER FORGET

Fellow Worker Roy J Horton-29
President of IWW Local 69
Salt Lake City, Utah

Roy J Horton tombstone

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Fellow Worker Roy J Horton, 1886-1915

IWW local 69 Salt Lake City logo banner

In Salt Lake City, shortly after midnight on October 31, 1915, Fellow Worker Roy Joseph Horton, President of I. W. W. Local 69, was shot down by “Major” Howell P. Myton, gunthug and lawman.

Fellow Worker Horton, 29, was talking with friends in front of a downtown bar when he asserted, “Any man who would pack a star is a dirty—–.” This remark was overheard by Myton who then confronted Horton, “What do you mean by those insinuations?”

“That is meant for you or any other —– who will wear a star,” Horton replied. Whereupon Myton pulled out his gun, stated “I’ll kill you for that,” and fired three shots at Horton. Two of the shots hit Horton as he staggered away with his back to Myton.

Fellow Worker Roy Horton died there on the sidewalk. Myton was soon thereafter arrested and taken to jail.

On Sunday afternoon, November 7th, Local 69 of the Industrial Workers of the World bid good-bye to their friend and fellow worker, Roy Horton. Ed Rowan and Mrs. Virginia Snow Stephen were among those who gave eulogies for the slain union leader. Continue reading “WE NEVER FORGET: Fellow Worker Roy J Horton, President IWW Local 69 of Salt Lake City, Utah”