Hellraisers Journal: The Shattering Grief of Monongah Illustrated by Joseph Stella and Described by Paul Kellogg

And it’s what will I tell to my three little children?
And what will I tell his dear mother at home?
And it’s what will I tell to my poor heart that’s dying?
My heart that’s surely dying since my darling is gone.
-Jean Ritchie

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Hellraisers Journal, Friday January 17, 1908
Monongah, West Virginia – A Town of Broken Hearted Women and Girls

New Graves for Half the Town’s Breadwinners

Monongah MnDs, Graves by Stella, Charities and Commons, Jan 4, 1908

Within a recent edition of the “Weekly Journal of Philanthropy and Social Advance,” Charities and the Commons, we find a long article, written by Paul U. Kellogg and illustrated by Joseph Stella, which tells the heartbreaking story of Monongah in the aftermath of great mine disaster of December 6th of last year. Today we offer a brief example of the writing of Mr. Kellogg along with illustrations by Mr. Stella.

From Charities and the Commons of January 4, 1908:

Monongah

Paul U. Kellogg

…..That morning five priests had held mass in St. Stanislaus’s Church and over twenty coffins were ranged in the low-ceilinged room in the basement. They were the first of one hundred and ten whom Father Joseph Letston counted as lost. Many of his people had come early to the church, a-foot, with bowed heads, sorrowing in low voices, sometimes a woman half held up by her companions, to that basement where the coffin lids closed in on blistered, swollen faces and parts of men. Four or five widows wept convulsively. An older woman read from a religious book held to the flickering light of a candle at the head of a closed coffin. A peasant, ugly with her pitted face, but beautiful in her great sorrow, bent often and kissed the lips of her husband.

All of a sudden there was a cry more piercing than the others. It was from an old mother who had lost seven—her husband, a son, two sons-in-law and three nephews. She had come upon one of them, and the people with her could scarcely hold her. She threw her head on the casket, and spoke to the boy fondly, trying to caress the crumpled face with poor, wrinkled hands. She had moaned all the way that morning from her lonely house to the church door, giving infinite sorrow to those who heard, and here her grief had at last found vent.

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Hellraisers Journal: Widows and Orphans of Monongah Crying for Bread; One-Half of Coal Camp’s Breadwinners Are Dead

Quote, Paul U Kellogg, re Monongah, Labor World, Jan 11, 1908
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Hellraisers Journal, Thursday January 16, 1908
Monongah, West Virginia – Hunger Reigns with Breadwinners Dead

Who among us could ever forget the following from journalist Dorothy Dale reporting from the devastated town after the great mine disaster:

Please letta me work, lady; gotta getta money…Please you get something for me, I can do.

A little hand touched my arm. The curl-framed face of a girl of 10 years looked into mine.

[She said pitifully:]

You know mans all dead. Boys all dead. Only girls left to work.

From The Labor World of January 11, 1908:

WIDOWS AND ORPHANS CRYING FOR BREAD
—–
Entire Burden of Every Industrial Disaster Falls
Upon the Poor Wage-earners’ Family.
—–
Bread Winners Killed By Wilful Negligence of
Their Employers, the Union Smashers.
—–

Monongah MnDs, Tots Beg for Work, Ptt Prs, Dec 10, 1907

In the appeal issued by the Monongah Relief Committee it is stated that of the 3,000 inhabitants of Monongah the mine disaster destroyed one-half of the breadwinners. Two hundred and fifty wives, 1,000 children and many unborn children are left without means of support. The company has declared that the families occupying these houses may remain in them until other provision is made for them and in other ways has been generous in its attitude, but it states that operations cannot be resumed at the damaged mines until these houses are available for the new force. $200,000 is asked for by the Relief Committee to meet these needs. Commenting on the situation Paul U. Kellogg, special representative of Charities and The Commons, says:

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Hellraisers Journal: Whereabouts and Doings of Mother Jones for December 1907, Found Attacking Roosevelt in Chicago

I long ago quit praying and took to swearing.
If I pray I will have to wait
Until I am dead to get anything
But when I swear I get things here.
-Mother Jones

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Mother Jones, Tacoma Times, Sept 19, 1904Hellraisers Journal, Saturday January 11, 1908
Mother Jones News Round-Up for December 1907:
-Found Speaking before Chicago Federation of Labor

During the month of December 1907, Mother Jones was first found in the pages of the Appeal to Reason regarding a planned tour of the state of Texas as an organizer for the Socialist Party of America. She was next found speaking at a meeting of Chicago Federation of Labor where, according to The Inter Ocean, she used “a choice selection of profanity” and attacked Roosevelt for sending troops to quell the Goldfield miners’ strike. We also found a trip planned to the city Milwaukee on behalf of George Pettibone who was then facing trial in Boise, Idaho. And lastly, we found the city of Dallas, Texas, looking forward to visit from Mother Jones sometime in the January.

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Hellraisers Journal: Bernal Mine Explosion Closes Out December 1907, Most Deadly Month for Nation’s Miners

“Oh, damn it, dagos are cheaper than props.”
-Mother Jones quoting a mine manager.

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Hellraisers Journal, Wednesday January 1, 1908
Carthage, New Mexico – Year Ends with Explosion at Bernal Mine

If we thought we could end the deadly month of December 1907 without further news of horror from the nation’s coal mines, that hope was tragically crushed today with the news from New Mexico of yet another mine explosion, this latest at the Bernal Coal Mine.

From the Albuquerque Citizen of December 31, 1907:

Bernal Mine Disaster Carthage NM, Abq Ctz p1, Dec 31, 1907

This latest mine explosion at the Bernal Mine brings the death toll in the nations coal mines to well over 600 for the month of December 1907, making December the most deadly month for coal miners in U. S. history:

December 1 – Naomi Mine Explosion at Fayette City, Pennsylvania
December 6 – Monongah 6 and 8 at Monongah, West Virginia
December 16 – Yolande Mine Explosion at Yolande, Alabama
December 19 – Darr Mine Explosion at Jacob’s Creek, Pennsylvania
December 31 – Bernal Mine Explosion at Carthage, New Mexico

Note: the total death toll for each of these mine disasters in not yet known, but the two most deadly, the Darr Mine Explosion and the Explosion at Monongah have, between them, claimed 600 lives, therefore the total death toll for the five mine disasters of December 1907 will very likely be more than 700. Our readers should also remeber that when miners are killed one by one, in pairs, or in small groups of three or four, that is not counted as a “disaster.”

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Hellraisers Journal: Appeal to Reason: Eugene Debs on “Panic Philosophy” & “widespread poverty, misery & despair.”

While there is a lower class, I am in it,
While there is a criminal element, I am of it,
And while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.
-Eugene Victor Debs

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Hellraisers Journal, Monday December 30, 1907
#630 of Appeal to Reason Addresses “A Stupendous Crisis”

From the Appeal of December 28, 1907:
The following is the contribution made by Debs to the “Panic Edition”-

Panic Philosophy by EVD, AtR Dec 28, 1907

HMP, EVD, Eugene OR Guard, May 30, 1907

THE average man understands in a vague way that there is a panic, so-called, and he is more or less concerned about it according as it affects his business or his employment. But he has never studied economics and knows nothing about the laws governing social development. The panic distresses him, it is true, but he is not philosophic enough to inquire into its cause; he simply wants to get rid of the plague.

And so the average man falls easy prey to the political quack in the service of the industrial baron who glibly rings the changes on “financial stringency,” “elastic currency,” “lack of confidence,” “tariff revision,” “trust regulation” and like meaningless twaddle.

It is a fact to be deplored that the average man is a mental child; reads little and that mostly vapid nonsense; thinks less, and reasons not at all.

Continue reading “Hellraisers Journal: Appeal to Reason: Eugene Debs on “Panic Philosophy” & “widespread poverty, misery & despair.””

Hellraisers Journal: Socialist Editor, Ida Crouch-Hazlett, Visits with Mr. & Mrs. George Pettibone in Ada County Jail

To advocate peace with things as they are
is treason to humanity.
This is a class struggle and on class lines
it must be fought out to a finish.
-Ida Crouch-Hazlett

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Hellraisers Journal, Sunday December 29, 1907
Boise, Idaho – With George Pettibone in Ada County Jail

From the Socialist Montana New of December 26, 1907:
Editor Ida Crouch-Hazlett describes visit with Mr. and Mrs. George Pettibone-

In Pettibone’s Cell.

HMP, Pettibone, & wife, Current Lit June 1907

Saturday afternoon [December 14th] after the court session was over I went down to see Pettibone to get his picture for several of the papers I was correspondent for. He was lying on a cot, seemingly wearied after the demands of the day. His wife was sitting by him. The watchfulness of the sheriff’s office has been wonderfully relaxed since the Haywood trial. At that time visitors could hardly gain admission to the accused, and when they were allowed in the cell, a guard was in constant attendance at every conversation. Now, upon a simple request you are shown into the main room. There are no guards, the door is unlocked and the iron door not closed at all. Half a dozen of us were in this large room at the same time with no officials present whatever.

Pettibone, although looking ill and worn and wasted is still full of his quips and gibes. It is wonderful the way these men have stood this awful confinement.

Darker and more strenuous days than these though are before the working class before it comes into its own.

Ida Crouch-Hazlett.

Continue reading “Hellraisers Journal: Socialist Editor, Ida Crouch-Hazlett, Visits with Mr. & Mrs. George Pettibone in Ada County Jail”

Hellraisers Journal: Tragic Story of Loss From Darr Mine Disaster, Mrs. Kroboth Loses Husband & Two Sons

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

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Hellraisers Journal, Friday December 27, 1907
Jacob’s Creek, Pennsylvania – Women Wait and Weep at Darr Mine

From The Pittsburgh Press of December 22, 1907:

Darr MnDs, Ptt Prs p13, Husband and 2 Sons, Dec 22, 1907

—–

A Pathetic Case of Bereavement as Result
of Mine Catastrophe Illustrated
by Mrs. George Kroboth
—–
ONE BOY A SUBSTITUTE ON THE FATAL DAY
—–

BY C. H. GILLESPIE,
Staff Correspondent.

Jacobs Creek, December 21.-In the terrific Darr mine explosion, the husband and two sons of Mrs. George Kroboth were snatched away.

She is not only triply bereaved, but deprived of all support, and her condition is most piteous. Her husband, George Kroboth, by years of thrifty living and constant labor, had provided a comfortable little home, and there today she sits alone with her great grief, mourning for her “man’s” cheery, comforting presence and shedding bitter tears for the two fine young sons so full of solace for her old age.

Her baby, George, was only 16 years old, but large and manly for his age, and Joe, aged 19 years, was a son any mother might well be proud of. But for the transient sickness of a neighbor, Max Sprecht, Joe would likely be alive today, instead of lying, charred and disfigured, in the far recesses of the mine workings.

In Sprecht’s absence, Joe took his place as a machine worker, and gladly availed himself of the chance to get a couple of days’ work. He was doing Sprecht’s work when the fatal explosion occurred.

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Hellraisers Journal: Monongah, West Virginia, “A Picture of Despair” by Dorothy Dale; 35 Boys Pulled from Mine

Mother Jones Quote, Child Labor Man of Six Snuff Sniffer

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Hellraisers Journal, Monday December, 23, 1907
Monongah, West Virginia – Women Weep for Husbands and Sons

From the Kansas Pittsburg Daily Headlight of December 21, 1907:

A PICTURE OF DESPAIR.
—–
Thirty Five Boys Among the
Fairmont Mine Victims.
—–
(By Dorothy Dale.)

Fairmont, W. Va., Dec. 21.-O God! It was the cry of supplication. It was the cry of horror. It was the cry of despair. It was the one, a comprehensive cry of mercy, which could be heard.

There is still some doubt about the exact number of lives snuffed out. But there is no doubt about the windows and orphans, to one who has seen Monongah the scene of the disaster.

“You’ll find it tough,” they said. I found it tough. Monongah at best is a little weather-beaten wooden village straggling in the mud of the West Virginia hills. It lies on two sides of the river, now known as the morgue side and the mine side. On the morgue side an endless chain of women and children pass all day past the coffins.

Monongah MnDs, Morgue, Dec 1907

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Hellraisers Journal: Darr Mine Explodes in Pennsylvania; December 1907 Is Most Deadly Month Ever for Miners of USA

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

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Hellraisers Journal, Friday December 20, 1907
Jacob’s Creek, Pennsylvania – Massive Explosions at Darr Mine

From The Pittsburgh Press of December 19, 1907:

MnDs Darr PA, Ptt Prs, Dec 19, 1907MnDs Darr, Jacob's Creek PA, Ptt Prs, Dec 19, 1907

Grief-Stricken Families Gather

SCENES AT DARR MINE ARE AWFUL
—–

Connellsville, Pa., Dec. 19.-The force of the Darr mine explosion was felt for miles, and within 30 minutes from the times the smoke from the burning coal reached the exits of the mine, the mouths were surrounded by crowds of agonized members of the families of entombed men.

Some stood shuddering in the cold, with stolid faces, hardly seeming to realize that they were about to become widows, orphans or friendless, while others gave way to uncontrolled grief and uttered heart-piercing shrieks of grief, and wild cries of anguish.

No one made an effort to quiet another grief-stricken spectator. All seemed to feel that the bereavement was inconsolable, and each was busy trying to grasp the situation from a personal standpoint. Some of the women fell prostrate in the dust-covered snow when they full realized that the little community was experiencing the visitation of terrible calamity.

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Continue reading “Hellraisers Journal: Darr Mine Explodes in Pennsylvania; December 1907 Is Most Deadly Month Ever for Miners of USA”