WE NEVER FORGET: Oct 1, 1917, Pineville, Kentucky, Gunthugs Shoot Down Unarmed Local Leader of Coal Miners

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


WNF, Pineville KY, Shipman L & F, UMW, Oct 1, 1917


From the United Mine Workers Journal of October 4, 1917:

Gunmen Murder Unarmed Miner

Pineville, Ky., October 1. — On the pretense of serving a warrant on Luther Shipman, a leader among the miners on strike in this district, a posse headed by County Judge Ward of Harlan county called at the home of Mr. Shipman.

They ordered him to dress and accompany them. As he turned to get his hat one of the gang shot him in the back of the head, instantly killing him. They then opened a general fusilade on the other occupants of the miners’ cabin and mortally wounded Frank Shipman, a relative of the other murdered man.

Press dispatches, inspired by the influential men who headed this murder raid, state that there was a battle. There was no battle; the gang of gunmen had made the boast they would shoot down the leaders and drive the other miners back to work on the company’s terms.

Luther Shipman was a quiet, religious man, well liked and trusted by the miners. The men are very bitter, but the leaders hope to prevent reprisals in kind.



The United Mine Workers Journal, Volume 28
(Indianapolis, Indiana)
-May 3, 1917 to Oct 25, 1917
UMWJ Oct 4, 1917
“Gunmen Murder Unarmed Miner”

See also:

Note: Pineville is in Bell County which borders Harlan County in the extreme southeastern region of Kentucky.

Hell in Harlan
-by George J. Titler
BJW Printers, 1972

Hell in Harlan
-by George J Titler
(pdf file, page 9 for 1917)

They Say in Harlan County: An Oral History
-by Alessandro Portelli
Oxford University Press, Nov 4, 2010