William Bauchop Wilson
Strike of 1899 - 1900
The Blossburg Advertiser October 27, 1899, Vol.15, No. 47
A committee of miners asked the Advertiser to prepare a public statement concerning the interview in the Elmira Star last week that the heavy grades on the Tioga branch of the Erie made the cost of the Arnot coal so much more than Central Pennsylvania coal, and also the facts about machine mining. The data is taken from Reports of the Pennsylvania Geological Survey and Mine Inspectors' Reports.
From Arnot to Elmira is 45 miles with the exception of five miles from Tioga Junction to Jackson Summit the coal is carried on a down grade. The coal the Erie "was" getting in some parts of Cambria county was brought over the Bells Gap railroad to its junction with the Beech Creek, and thence by one of three routes - the Beech Creek, the Pennsylvania, or the Bradford branch of the Erie. The highest grade on the Bells Gap road is 180 feet to the mile for several miles. The grade is undulating - that is, first an ascent and then a descent. The highest grade on the Tioga is 100 feet to the mile and that is in favor of the loaded coal cars. The coal carried on the Bradford branch is taken up a grade all the way to Mt. Jewett and thence over the Kinzua bridge. Taking the cost of construction as a factor, the Kinzua bridge alone cost as much as the Tioga road. From Johnsonburg to Elmira via Carrollton is 271 miles. Seven crews handle the trains on this route and but two from Arnot. The trains bringing the Ehrenfield coal on the Pennsylvania road need pushers from Conemaugh to Bennington and from Ralston to Carpenter, a total distance of 31 miles. On the Tioga a pusher is needed for five miles. On the Pennsylvania the crews are changed five times and the distance is 203 miles. On the Pine Creek the crews are changed four times, a pusher is used from Cedar Run to Ansonia, over 20 miles, and the distance is 205 miles.
Interjecting a statement concerning the quality of the two coals. Blossburg "washed fine" coal is the standard by which all blacksmithing coal is gauged. It is taken 800 miles to Chicago and successfully competes with Illinois coal produced at Braidwood, Will county, about 100 miles from Chicago. Blossburg coal is the standard of the United States government. All specifications for coal issued by the government require the coal to be equal in quality to the Blossburg coal. The strange spectacle is presented of a company having an article to sell, saying that that article is of poor quality and buyers taking that article as standard quality.
As to machine mining: The conditions under which machines can be used exist in about 18 per cent of coal mines. The roof must be firm enough to permit of being undermined 360 square feet, the machine needing 12 feet in the clear from the coal to the mine props to be operated. Some machines are operated by electricity and others by compressed air, either of which requires a costly plant and apparatus for distributing the power to the different workings. Electricity can not be used were there is fire-damp as the current ignites the gas. Where the compressed air is used, reservoirs are needed in the mines. Coming to men vs. machines the quality varies so as to make a comparison of no value. With different thicknesses of seams and the ability of the miners the production is in a ratio of 5 to 2, while the cost is about as 3 to 5, five-ninths the engineers employed by the U.M. of A. made it, on this data: The man digs, blasts and loads the coal, lays track, cleans the coal, stands props, builds the goaf, buys his own oil, powder and tools, plus 12 per cent to the company on the cash invested. With the machine the company pays for digging and blasting, loading, setting props, laying track, buys the oil, powder and tools, repairs the machines and tools, plus 10 per cent on the cash invested. With this then a deferential was arrived at that gave pick mining 50 cents to place it on an equality with machine mining at 27 5-9 cents. The machines were abandoned by some companies after a short trial, notably by the great Consolidation coal company of Maryland, the Merchants coal company of West Virginia, and many mines by the Beech Creek operators, and the B. R. & P., the Berwind-White company alone of the great coal producing companies retaining the original number of machines.
The statement of the Arnot correspondent of the Covington Sun "that threats were made" at the meetings last week is emphatically untrue. The only language which could be construed as incendiary was about the pigs ear. As Mrs. Jones was speaking of it, a woman arose in the audience and said the proprietor had sold her 13-year-old boy whiskey and made her 15-year-old boy beastly drunk and after she complained of it, her family was thrown out by the sheriff. Mrs. Jones then said: "If that scoundrel sold my boy whiskey, his first sale would be his last, and you men of Arnot are a set of cowards to permit such a hell hole in town."
Coal has gone up 15 cents in the Buffalo market. It is $2.65 a ton now.
The "special" lies sent out last week that the strike at Arnot was settled, caused men to leave jobs all over the State and come home.
A statement appeared in the Brockwayville Record last week that the Erie was going to abandon Dagus. In Mine Inspector Patterson's Report for 1896, page 395, will be found the following: "Dagus Mines - In Dagus No. 2 they are opening up from the Hyler Hollow side, and when the headings which are being driven are finished, there will be a large field of coal developed which will undoubtedly make it the largest producing mine which the operators own." That "abandoned" will be worked once too often. It is the Erie's trump card, particularly in the anthracite regions, where it operates under various aliases. Supposed the next time it played the card it ran up against a quo warrantto asked for by eminent counsel, you would see the Erie make the fight of its life to prevent that which it now so jauntily says it would be happy to do. In the Dagus "abandonment" case, the Erie without any difficulty can recall how it resisted the heirs of Dr. Earley and the special act of the legislator which would be voided in court. It will do well to quit that abandon card.
The Erie's threat of arrest is lost on those threatened. "Those seeking equity must come into court with clean hands." Six weeks ago the Chancery Court of New Jersey, denied the application for an injunction and refused a redress at law to the glass companies against the flint glass workers because "said companies did not come into court with clean hands." They had violated the New Jersey store order law, the two weeks pay law, the child labor law, etc., and were refused any relief in the courts of their beloved New Jersey against the strikers because of those facts. Can the Erie enter court with "clean hands?" Not by a mile.
A meeting was held in Arnot on Wednesday to hear Supt. Lincoln's reply. Every miner excepting the 39 were there. Lincoln's reply was that the companypositivelyy refused to change its position of June 13. That is, the company refused arbitration and all conciliatory advances made by the miners. Then Wilson read a telegram from Field Marshall Haggerty, stating that a break had been made in the Toby Valley. A motion was then made that a committee be appointed to go to Supt. Lincoln and inform him that the miners withdrew all propositions, but the original - a restoration of the reduction made in 1893. This was carried unanimously and the meeting adjourned. So the lines are precisely where they were in June.
The Blossburg Advertiser November 3, 1899, Vol.15, No. 48
The action of the corporations toward their employees is certainly one of bad faith. Taking the appeals which these same corporations made to their employees in 1896, and compare them with their present actions, and it is hard to find a greater breach of faith. "Vote for prosperity," they said, "and you shall share it." Using the coal operator as a case in hand, and how they "shared it?" They are not one whit better off than under Cleveland, the American Esau. Coal has gone up $1.45 in price since 1895. That is an undeniable fact. How have the operators acted towards their employees? Have they said to them: "Great prosperity is upon the land; coal is reaching high water mark, there is an immense demand and how we will share this good fortune with you." Not at all; but just the reverse. With the single exception of the Beech Creek operators, every coal operator has denied the most palpable facts, resorted to gross falsehoods, employed the most despicable means to prevent their employees from getting higher wages - wages justified by all human testimony. The miners have had to wring by long strikes a paltry share of this prosperity - they have gotten less than one-fourth the amount the price of coal justifies. Nay more, these coal operators have willfully violated agreements, showing a lack of that faith which holds mankind together. They erected bugaboos to frighten the timid - hired Pinkerton thugs in defiance of State - sent broadcast grotesque falsehoods - broken up and scattered happy families - protected pigs ears and used them as allies. They have broken the immigration laws, using as a tool the man who sold the principles of a lifetime for a petty office - T. V. Powderly.
It is not in the power of man to show outside of Antrim, a coal operator who has made a voluntary advance in wages. Instead of dealinghonorablyy with their men, thus causing friendly feeling and harmonious relations, they have embittered the hearts and minds of their employees by their dishonorable warfare and a denial of justice. We arewoefullyy mistaken in our estimate of the miners of Pennsylvania if they do not make the faithless coal operators chew a bitter cud. If they resort to lies or lawlessness, break faith and repudiate agreements, can the operators complain? Have they not setbrilliantt examples in each?
Look at it in another way. The politicians of Pennsylvania expect to ride into power on this prosperity wave. Have they gone to these sorted corporations and said: "Your business has increased three fold under our acts. The men who voted our party into power are, by you, shamelessly denied their share of this good fortune. You have broken the laws of this State to outrage these men - our allies - and unless you settle with them at once on lines of equity, we will see that you get the full penalty of these broken laws. We will harass you by legislation and litigation." Not apoliticiann has opened his mouth. The Tinplate Trust closed the mill at Cumberland, Maryland, throwing 1,000 men out of employment. Congressmen Pearre, of Cumberland, went to President Arms of the Tinplate Trust and bluntly told him that unless that mill was started up, he, as a Repubican Congressman, would introduce a bill putting tin on the free list. The mill starts Monday. Unfortunately there are no Pearres in Pennsylvania.
It is well to remember in all discussions concerning the price of coal, that coal is sold in the market at 2,000 pounds for a ton. The Erie company, in this county, exacts 2,500 pounds for a ton, its miners getting paid for four tons, while the company sells that four tons for five tons to consumers.
What has kept the Erie bankrupted while other roads prospered? When you answer that question you will understand why the company refuses to grant the advance.
If the person can be located, who sent that "special," saying that the advance had been granted and the miners had resumed at Arnot, prosecutions willundoubtedlyy follow under the act of 1893.
Some person set W. B. Wilson's coal schutes on fire and they were totally destroyed. The smell of kerosene oil was very strong.
Mrs. Jones is on a visit to Pittsburg in the interest of the miners.
The Grit contained a fine cut of Mrs. Jones, Field Marshall Haggerty, Col. McTaggart, Capt. McPherson, and Commander McKay. If the Field Marshall does not shed that moustache he's as good as dead. It is looked on as a clear case of miprision of treason without extenuating circumstances.
As we go to press there is no change in the situation as far as this county is concerned. There are rumors of a break in the Toby Valley, but if it were true, Haggerty or McKay would have sent word.
Some malicious pup masquering as a miner, gave the Elmira Star a story teeming with preposterous falsehoods. This is too bad, as the Star is one of the few papers which will publish both sides fairly, and its many friends here would like to know who the "miner" is that lied to the Star.
The Grit said that two Blossburg miners were working with the Dago blackbirds at WestClarionn. "Birds mit one fedder go py demselves," applies to martins and wrens as well as Crows.
At a meeting held yesterday it was decided to institute criminalproceedingss against the Associated Press correspondences at Altoona, DuBois, and the person who furnished the Mansfield Advertiser the false statements about Erie miners, under the act of 1893. These baseless stories caused many men a loss of jobs and a financial outlay they could illy spare.
The Blossburg Advertiser November 10, 1899, Vol.15, No. 49
When the father of "Simon Suggs, the Tallapoosa Ranger," caught his son playing cards he told the lad that all gamblers lost their money. Simon looked up in his father's eyes and said: "Who gets it, Daddy?" The same question is pertinent to the present prosperity - "Who gets it?" There was in round numbers, the following amount of bituminous coal mined in Pennsylvania during eight years:
1892...................... 46,000,000 tons
It will be seen that while the production this year increased nearly 100 per cent over 1894, yet the miners are working for the same price per ton as in 1894. And it will also be seen that the production this year is 50 per cent greater than 1896. Excepting this year which is under rather than over estimated the figures are official.
When the Tyrone convention was held March 23, 1899, a resolution was carried, that the basis for mining coal should be on a basis of 50 cents a ton for pick mining and 27 5-9 for machine mining. This involved an average advance of eight cents a ton, taking the district as a whole. At the Clearfield convention in June, this resolution wascrystallizedd into a demand which the operators refused, and a strike lasting five weeks ensued. Since July 17th the miners have been working at the eight cents advance. Coal has risen in the market $1.05 during the current year. For the first six months the advance was 30 cents. Then it advanced 60 cents, in addition to the 30 cents in the next 3 months, and on the first of October there another raise of 15 cents. Treating the question fairly, saying for the first six months the production was but 40 per cent of the whole, the profits of the coal companies are startling in their size. Thus: Forty per cent of 75,000,000 tons is 30,000,000 tons, which multiplied by the 30 cents equals $9,000,000. For the next three months 30 per cent of the production is 22,500,000 tons, which multiplied by the 90 cents equals $20,250,000. Then the remaining 30 per cent multiplied by the $1.05 equals $23,525,000, and a total for the year of $52,875,000. It may be urged that some operators made yearly contracts and, therefore, did not reap any of this vast harvest. The coal trade journals state that 70 per cent of this business was contracted for since July. All operators should have gotten the 30 cents. Those who did not need guardians. Now what did the miners get? They got on an average of eight cents a ton since July. Thattonnagee, as shown above will be 45,000,000 tons, which multiplied by eight cents, equals $3,600,000, which dividedamongg 44,000 miners equals about $81 apiece, for the six months. Taking the increased cost of living into consideration, what did the miner "get?"
The U.M.W. of A. should notify all operators that they will demand and advance of 30 cents a ton on January 1st. The state of the market and the price of bituminous coal justifies the demand. Some of the Central Pennsylvania operators may urge that when they granted the last advance it was to run for a year, providing all of the operators signed the scale. In case all did not sign, then it was to run until April, 1900. The Erie has been the contract breaker. The other operators aided and abetted it in this nefarious work by furnishing the Erie coal, and a contract which binds only one side is a farce. This contract-breaking by the operators, should be followed by the miners repudiating their contracts. The operators cannot complain - they set the example. Let 30 cents a ton advance be the slogan.
The miners got the advance through their organization, in spite of scabs, sucks, Pinkerton thugs, writs of injunction and pigs ears. You may curse Wilson; damn Haggerty, defame McKay, objurgate Gilbert and slander Mrs. Jones, but they got the advance for you. Suppose each of the 44,000 miners had paid but five cents a week to their organization for the past six months, their officials could secure this 30 cents advance without any trouble, and an united action will secure it any way. Are you ready to act?
On Tuesday it will be five months since the strike at Arnot began.
The news that the miners in the Toby Valley had surrendered and returned to work, did not change the situation at Arnot a particle. "The firmer it roots him the harder it blows."
Small-pox has broken out at Arnot. Thomas Fish has it and others exposed have been quanantined.
P.H. Wall, a coal operator of Frugality, was here looking for miners. He offered to pay their railroad fare and the freight on their household goods. Those who went did not accept Mr. Wall's terms,preferringg to pay their own way. Those who have gone to Frugality have done well.
A committee representing the 39 has been soliciting relief for their families, claiming that the regular mine committee would give them no aid. This the mine committee pronounce false, saying they have shared with everyone alike.
The Blossburg Advertiser November 17, 1899, Vol.15, No. 50
Two things happened in mining circles this week which give joy in all mining regions. The first was the discharge of Gomer Jones, the infamous wretch who caused the Latimer horror in 1897. He goes into the world with the brand of Cain on his brow. The event was celebrated with bon fires and parades. The other was the winning the Old Forge strike. The men won at all points, thanks to their wives and daughters, led by Miss Seal, who ought to be made an honorary member of U.M.W. of A. The company discharged all the scabs, giving them the ha ha. One of them tried to ride in the Supt.'s carriage but the latter did not know him.
Over in Jimtown, Fayette county, the miners went on a strike for ten per cent advance. After being idle a month or so, some of the men went to work, but not enough to break the strike, so they, too stopped. Some of the men who went to work organized themselves into a gang calledGazeboss. After dark theGazeboss would meet at a drug store, get the contents of a keg into them, and then go around and stop people on the streets, threaten to push their face or crack their slats if they did or didn't do this or that. One night theGazeboss started out, but what happened is not clearly known. Doctors who treated theGazeboss were not certain whether the hand of Providence had fallen on them or a runaway bark rig had gone over them, at any rate theGazeboss went out of business without legal notice to the public. It became a saying in Fayette county, when a man got gay, or let out war talk: "Remember what happened to theGazeboss."
The Morris Run miners are loading Erie cars. Nearing has hired several Blossburg miners.
THREE FROM YESTERDAY'S DAILIES
Boston, Nov. 15. - The general activity of all branches of industry is causing a flurry in the New England coal trade and there is a probability of a coal famine. Coal merchants here are striving their utmost to supply the demand but are unable to do so - Press.
Buffalo, Nov. 15 - In the soft coal trade particularly the shortage of the supply is specially noticeable and all of the shippers agree that even at times when the mines were tied up on strike there never was a condition equaling the present. No matter where one turns the same complaint is made, shortage of both cars and coal - Courier.
Columbus, O, Nov. - A secret conference is being held at the national headquarters of the U.M.W. of A. inIndianapoliss. The miners say they are entitled to a share of the prosperity and will ask for an increase in the price of mining - Times.
It means the demand for the 30 cents as sure as you're born. Are you ready?
The coal from the Klondike mines at Fall Brook is being brought out through the Salt Lake mines at Morris Run.
The demand for the 30 cent a ton advance is meeting with favor as far south as Somerset county. Somerset county! When the "Frosty Sons of Thunder" are nervy enough to ask 30 cents a ton, the thing's ago. Col. W. P. Rend, the Pittsburg coal operator, offers to concede 25 per cent advance, which, on their 72 cent basis, is equal to 18 cents advance. Coal has gone up $1.05 this year and the miners are entitled to the 30 cents advance per ton. They will get it if they make a united demand for it.
There is no change in the situation among the Erie miners here.
The winning of the Old Forge strike is the entering of the thin end of the wedge which will break up the grand larceny in the anthracite region called "docking." The Jermyns gave no excuse, except that other operators did it, for docking the men 600 and 800 pounds on each car of coal. It was a glorious victory.
The Blossburg Advertiser November 24, 1899, Vol.15, No. 51
Last Thursday, Supt. Lincoln hired six men, James Brown, Edward McCabe, Jr., John Beveridge, Thomas Harding, Thomas McSarron and Dan Ganey, members of the 39, to go to the north drift and dig some house coal, claiming the supply had run out. On their return in the evening, they were met by some women, who jeered and jibed at them. William B. Smart, another of the 39, who was not at work but idling around the drift, made an unnamable gesture at the women. Mrs. Lindsey was so indignant at his filthy actions that she threw a couple of blocks of wood at him. Smart was hustled away by some of his more discreetconfederatess. Edward McCarthy came to Blossburg and swore out a warrant for Smart. Constable Aylesworth served the paper and Justice Cambers held Smart under $500 bail for court, James Smeetam becoming his bondsman. Then warrants were sworn out for Mrs. Lindsey and Mrs. Sparling charging them with "assaulting Smart." Mrs. Lindsey was roused out of her bed at midnight and arrested. She is an aged and respectable woman and there was no danger of her running away, but the idea was to terrify her from appearing against the unspeakable Smart. In fact he has offered to withdraw his case if Mrs. Sparling will her's, but Smart will smart for that.
That there was not a bloody riot at Arnot on Thursday and Friday evenings is not fault of James Smeetam, a deputy and a foreman for the company. The people knew well that he was posing on the reputation he won as foghorn for the old battleship "Arnot" manned by such gallant scrappers as the Gaynors, the Tormey, the Halls, the Blakes, the Murrays, the Purcells, etal., and they did not mistake the steam of the foghorn for the powder smoke of the 13 inch cannon. He filled himself up on Jackons's best or worst, just as you please, when on the public square, thronged with excited men, proclaimed himself mayor, the king of the A. O. H., and the duke of the A. P. A., brandished a revolver, challenged anybody to fight a duel and used the most incendiary language. His friends tried to take him home and Sheriff Johnson went up and tried to coax him to stop. He ordered the sheriff to keep his hands off, to go away and stay away. The sheriff slunk away and stayed away. When asked why he did not lock Smeetan up, he replied he had no place, yet he found a place for three innocent women - for a tenth part a striker would have been railroaded to the penitentiary. The friends of the sheriff were grieved to see him cowed and humiliated that way.
On Friday the first blow was struck, and by one of the 39. "Jake" Ryan, who was not at work. John Baluta was standing with some of his fellows, when Ben Borden, a deputy, ordered him to move on. Baluta did not move. Then Ryan, without any provocation stepped up to Baluta and struck him a terrific blow. A warrant was issued for Ryan and he thought to evade the consequences of his act by going before Justice Waters and paying a fine of $1.00. Constable Aylesworth arrested him, however, and he gave bail for court.
Saturday, Supt. Lincoln pointed out three women, Miss Annie McCarty, Mrs. Joseph Clarke, and Mrs. Thomas R. Jones, to Sheriff Johnson, who immediately arrested them. These were women, who were neither challenging people to a duel nor inciting to riot, so the bold sheriff was not afraid to lock them up. At the hearing at night, Attorney Hughes appeared for thedefendantss. Justice Cambers assumed that thedefendantss had appeared to give the bail, but thesuavee attorney, disabused his mind of that, by demanding a hearing or discharge, a position he could not be moved from, so they were discharged. From where does an unofficial citizen derive the power to tell an officer to lock up an unoffending person? Is that a due process of law? The Supreme Court of United States, in the case Lamdin P. Milligan, of Indiana, on an appeal from the Circuit Court,decidedd that it was not, and the persons doing it were responsible for heavy damages. The syllabus of the court states, "That such power cannot be exercised in a country claiming to be free." These women are witnesses against the filthy Smart.
Last Friday's Elmira Gazette stated that a soft coal famine is imminent in that city. Last Saturday's Harrisburg Star-Independent stated that several iron-works had closed down for lack of soft coal. Last Friday's Philadelphia's Press said there was a soft coal famine in the Schuylkill Valley and many iron works and manufactories were crippled for lack of coal. Trade papers state there is a scarcity of coal in all markets.
Wednesday, Nov. 29, a district convention of the bituminous miners will be held in Clearfield, Clearfield county, Pa. Had the Erie not have broken the contract, the Central Pennsylvania men were bared by written agreements from asking for an advance until the first of August, 1900. They rejoice at the Erie's action. It will be for thirty cent, yet the Pittsburg operators are offering 15 cents. The price will be paid or else a general suspension will ensue and the the whole industrial situation thrown in a turmoil all because Manager Gardner and Supt. Lincoln, have a scheme to down somebody who won't stay downed, even if it were possible to down him.
There were 6 miners at work on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Monday there were 22, and Tuesday, 23; on Wednesday, 22. The company may get 35 or 40, but no more, as the others who went in October thought a majority were going. Why do these men go to work under the district price? That is not explainable. Coal operator after coal operator has come and offered to pay these men's car fare and give them work at the district price, in from three to six feet of clean coal, with checkweighmen and every advantage they have here. With the single exception of John Kane, of Arnot, every man who has gone away says he has bettered himself. So why these few who remain at Arnot, and tried to break down the district price and make the lot of themselves and their fellows harder is a mystery.
As if to show how insignificant in numbers these 20 were, a parade was organized on Monday, with 381 in line, on Tuesday, 602, and on Wednesday, over 1,000. These parades are beautiful as well as touching sites. When seen from a distance it resembles a Decoration Day procession, with its hundreds of American flags, carried by women and children, the band discoursing patriotic airs, amagnificentt choir chanting hymns, or rendering thy "Star Spangled Banner" in sole-stirring tones. The authorities assume that this is disorderly conduct. If so, then a fourth of July procession is an emeute and a political procession and an anarchy. They are on the public highway, built with their money, singing the hymns of their churches, and the national airs. They are fully one hundred yards from the mine. They and their wives have quietly submitted to insult and abuse, which in less lawabiding places, would have evoked bloodshed. A close inspection of these processions reveals a sad sight - enough to melt the heart of anything but a corporation, which, in a legal fiction, has no soul. Look at those toil-worn, old men, grown gray in the service of the company, with their bent backs, their grim faces. Amid all the singing and cheering these men are silent. So is a fire in a wall. Look at the set faces of those devoted women, prematurely aged fro toiling for their families. They are daughters of the women who nursed the heroes of Bannockburn and the "Maiden City." Their ancestors were at Marston Moor at Aberdare, at Warsaw at Bunker Hill. Tradition and experience taught them that right only succeed by enduring hardship and privation and persecution. Those women waver? So will the hills. A grim humor over spreads it all. Four abreast the column is nearly a half mile long. On a tree, where they marched and counter-marched past, is a dummy, in a suit of mining clothes, with a cabbage for a head, at which they address their remarks, and as the line wends its way down Main street to disband, Fitz Gibbons' parrot screams out the pet names, and causes a general yell of laughter. Tuesday, when they were going to disband, a card with the following was posted in the street:
nO PaUPeR PeTtIcoatT
On the other side was:
The people supposed this to be a ticket for a dish of ice cream.
When the parade had reached the public square on Tuesday, Sheriff Johnson called W.B. Wilson, James Purcell and Ira Williams, who had been made deputies, from the parade, and introduced them to a Mr. Marsh, counsel for the company, and said that he had heard an had been told that the strikers were going to hold a meeting on the hill, and acting upon the company's counsel, he warned them against going there and emphatically warned them against any violations of law. Wilson asked the sheriff why he continually assumed that the strikers were going to violate the law, when all the lawlessness had been on the other side; that there was no thought of holding a meeting, and there had not been and would not be any violations of law by the strikers. Sheriff Johnson replied that after consultation with Supt. Lincoln it was determined to make those at work obey the law, and there would be no more scenes like those of Thursday and Friday.
The Advertiser states to Mr. Marsh, counsel for the company, that within a hundred feet of where he and the sheriff stood, is the thing which has caused all of the disorder in Arnot. If Mr. Marsh, counsel for the company, will make but casual inquirery he will find opposite the company's office, on and in the company's property, a place where liquor is sold without a license, to minors, on Sunday and election day. We ask Mr. Marsh, counsel for the company whether that pig's ear exists by his legal advise? If not, why not hold another consultation with the sheriff and Supt. Lincoln and debate this well-spring of lawlessness?
What is all this turmoil about. The men say the company asked them to vote prosperity promising them a generous share. That prosperity has come is denied only by a few Bourbons, and an occasional corporation. The company has paid the advance elsewhere, so have its competitors. The company alleges that it will carry on its private business to suit itself. It is a "private business?" For the best part of the past 30 years, the public, in the shape of a United States receiver, has managed the Erie's "private business." At every election its officials make a fervid appeal to the people to vote for men who will pass laws to prevent any foreign competition with its "private business," which, incidently, causes a higher price for fuel to everybody. The people of Tioga county are asked and do pay a large share of this company's taxes, so that it can profitably carry on its "private business." This company has appeared before every public official from President to the township assessor, asking for favors to be granted at the expense of the public. "Private business" is rich.
Monday, the sheriff read the riot act and otherwise commanded the peace of the Commonwealth to be maintained.
Large numbers of people come from a distance to witness the parade and listen to the splend singing. All are impressed by the sight and are surprised at the orderly manner in which it conducted.
Wednesday evening, Sheriff Johnson arrested Mrs. Thomas Williams, charging her with assaulting one Drysdale. Near her house three boys were drumming on a boiler. Drysdale was on his way from work, and when passing the boys he thought they were drumming at him, and raised his dinner pail as if to strike them. Mrs. Jones, from her door told the boys not to be afraid, and came out in the yard and tossed a drum stick to one of the boys. That was the assault. She was held for a hearing in the sum of $100, thou her friends wanted her to be placed in their care until the hearing, but the sheriff refused. Mrs. Jones is a very beautiful young woman, with a wealth of golden hair, and is noted for her amiable ways, and no one thinks her capable of assaulting anybody.
What did the parrot say?
The Elmira Star, in big headlines, said the strike was broken. Below, it said 20 men were at work. "There is but one step," etc.
The Blossburg Advertiser December 1, 1899, Vol.15, No. 52
Matters at Arnot during the current week have been very quiet, the company losing ground, there being less miners at work this week than there were last.
Mother Jones came Monday evening and has been a "tower of strength" to the cause. Before the parade breaks up each evening, she has them sing "Old Hundred." She is an extraordinarily able woman and an antagonist worthy of any man's time and trouble.
Tuesday morning James Purcell, Richard Williams and W. B. Wilson left for the Clearfield convention.
Sunday afternoon an open air service was held at Congress Corners, Rev. T. D. Henshaw, of Blossburg, being the principal speaker. About 400 being present. Rev. Henshaw opened the service by having the people sing "I will guide thee," followed by the old favorite "Coronation." The music was very good, the audience singing with great feeling. Rev. Henshaw took for his text, "Man Does Not Live For Himself Alone," and delivered a most timely discourse. He showed the futility of piling up wealth, and how all depended one upon another; the vein effort of selfishness, the evanescent triumphs of conquerors who had ridden into power on the tears, hunger and suffering of humanity, citing Bonaparte at Jena and his desolate at St. Helena as an example. He then told the story of Benedict Arnold, his gallant conduct at Ticonderoga and Quebec, the circumstances which led to his treason and disgrace, how those who profited by his treason dispised the traitor, and closed with a beautiful apologue. He made no reference to the strike issue. Then Richard Merrill of Blossburg was introduced. He went into the strike question and handled it without gloves. During his remarks, Deputy Wilcox called one of the men and said if the speaker did not contain his remarks to religious subjects he would be liable to arrest. Deputy Wilcox is a big, good-looking man who means to mean well, but he will hardly be quoted as authority on Constitutional rights. W. B. Wilson spoke and he, too, discussed the question and talked right at Wilcox. Then after a hymn and the Benediction the meeting dispursed. It seemed ironical to the last degree to hear the audience sing
"My country, 't s of thee,with a deputy sheriff standing around trying to find an excuse to break up a religious gathering on the highway. Wilcox was not taken serious, but in "it's to laugh" spirit, rather.
House coal sells at Arnot for $3.00 a ton, at cost the company says. Last year it was a $1.35. That tells the story better than a volume of the company's failure to break the strike. Break it? Why, the company has not put a dent in it yet.
Smart was indicted. Ryan was not, the prosecutor, John Baluta had the cost to pay. No one appeared against Mrs. Thomas Williams for "assaulting one Drysdale," to his great distress and bodily harm. Smart's bail was fixed at $1,000. Jackson was indicted. No one appeared against Mrs. Sparling. Deputy Lloyd is the only man who's name appears on the Prothonotor's record, and Gov. Stone has appointed none. The mayor again distinguished himself in the presence of the sheriff. He will be arrested to-day.
The mayor has issued an ukase to the effect that those at work can have no visitors. Still, Jock the Fifer lilts out: "We never speak as we pass by."
Up to the time of going to press, no official news from the Clearfield convention had been received. Up to yesterday but 15 gondolas of coal have been shipped during the past two weeks, an average of 20 tons a day. No miner need be told how many coal diggers are at work.
Dana's famous injunction to the Democrats "to get together," applies to the coal company's press agents at Arnot. Figures, except those of some ladies, and an occasional imaginative mathematician are not supposed to lie, but there is such a wide difference between 80 and 20, then it leads one to believe that some liars figure.
Several people have been stopped on the public roads in Arnot after dark. Mr. Marsh, counsel for the company, will undoubtedly advise that that is dangerous business. Get his opinion before doing it again.
The Blossburg Advertiser December 1, 1899, Vol.15, No. 52
WILLIAMSPORT, Dec. 1. -As predicted in the Advertiser, a demand for an advance to take effect January 1st, was made at the Clearfield convention on Wednesday. The demand was for 20 per cent advance and affects 44,000 miners. A joint convention will be held Tuesday, Dec. 12. This is not enough; it should have been for 30 cents straight. This demand could not have been made had the Erie lived up to its contract with the Arnot men. It takes a pretty smart Superintendent to keep the mines idle 6 months out of a year and give the man who's scalp he is after a chance to over throw a burdensome contract.
Researcher's note: This was the last paper in the collection and it leaves us hanging as far as what happened next. So I think it is in every ones best interest that I at least put something in here about how the strike turns out. Until I am able to find the rest of the issues for December 1899, January and February 1900 (when the strike ended), I will quote from the Autobiography of Mother Jones.
The strike lasted a few weeks longer. Meantime President Wilson, when strikers were evicted, cleaned out his barn and took care of the evicted miners until homes could be provided. One by one he killed his chickens and his hogs. Everything that he had he shared. He ate dry bread and drank chicory. He knew every hardship that the rank and file of the organization knew. We do not have such leaders now.