Hellraisers Journal: The Duluth Labor World on the Murder of John Alar, Striking Iron Miner

You ought to be out raising hell.
This is the fighting age.
Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones

Saturday June 24, 1916
From The Labor World: Steel Trust Police Commit Murder

Iron Miners of the Mesabi, 1915

From today’s Duluth Labor World:


Is the Steel Trust looking for another Youngstown?

The downright murder of John Alar, a striking miner in the back yard of his home at Virginia yesterday, by Dave Foley and his company of private police is an outrage.

Sheriff Meining should lose no time in revoking the police authority of every steel trust “policeman” on the range.

There is danger of more bloodshed if these men are not removed from the strike zone. They are provokers of trouble. They have learned nothing from the recent strikes in the east. Sheriff Meining seems able to handle the situation. He will protect all life and all property. The Oliver Mining company police are interested only in saving the steel trust’s property. They have no regard for the sacredness of human life.

Coroner Mc Comb should not permit the body of Alar to be interred without holding a searching inquiry. The truth about this murder must be given to the public, given straight, and without corporation color.

It is bad enough when it is read in the daily papers as follows:

In a pitched battle between striking miners and between twenty and thirty Oliver Iron Mining company policemen on the North side of Virginia at 5:30 this morning, John Alar, a striker, was killed. Vincent Elias, grocery proprietor, was shot through the thigh and an unknown miner was shot through the left shoulder. Intense excitement prevails over the city.

Stories of North side residents and police officers of the Oliver Iron Mining company are widely at variance concerning the starting of the trouble.

Falls Dead on vacant Lot.

John Alar, fighting with a Winchester rifle, fell dead on a vacant lot at the rear of his home. He was shot through the wrist, the abdomen and through the left jaw. When Alar fell there was a general cessation of hostilities. Who fired the shot that caused his death is not known. There was a general melee, in which a woman, said to be Mrs. Nick Rosandich, armed with a rifle, Alar, and Oliver policemen participated.

Alar is married and has a family of three children. His body was removed to the undertaking parlors of H. S. Gillespie to be prepared for burial.

Sheriff Meining with a force of deputies arrived at the scene of the battle after the firing had ceased. There were hot words between the sheriff and David F. Foley, chief of police.

“Foley, why didn’t you notify me of this?” said the sheriff. “I couldn’t locate you,” said Foley. “That is not true,” said Meining. “It’s strange to me that you can find this man King and are unable to locate me.”

King is the special agent of President McGonagle of the Duluth, Misabe & Northern railway, and the man yesterday was involved in a fight with strikers while they were parading at Hibbing.

“I am through with you,” was Meining’s parting words to Foley.



The Labor World
(Duluth, Minnesota)
-June 24, 1916

Iron Miners of the Mesabi, 1915