Historic Newspaper Images

Annie from the Greater Hazleton Historical Society turned me on to a really great historic American newspapers database (Early American Newspapers, Series I-III), which turned up some of the articles mentioned and quoted in previous posts.  While many of them leave scenes up to the imagination in a pre-photojournalist age, a few of them included really telling, sometimes powerful images.  I hope you enjoy or are inspired by a few of them here:

(click on an image to enlarge)

Firing on the Miners

Philadelphia Inquirer, 12 September 1897

“Firing on the Miners.  An Accurate View of the Field Where the Tragedy Took Place” by a Philadelphia Inquirer staff person, 12 September 1897, front page.  It looks like the deputies were amassed just north of the massacre monument, across Main St.

Identifying Bodies

Philadelphia Inquirer, 12 September 1897

Again, a staff drawing from the 12 September 1897 Philadelphia Inquirer, this time page 4: “Identifying Bodies in the Stable of Undertaker Boyle”.  I can’t imagine what that must  have been like; although, I gather from talking with people in the region that this is possible more humane than usual.  It used to be that the coal companies would just drop a dead body off at their home when someone died in a mine accident, right on the front porch.

Church Scene

Philadelphia Inquirer, 14 September 1897

“Crowds in Front of St. Stanislaus Church While Funeral Services Were Going On” in the Philadelphia Inquirer, 14 September 1897, front page.

New York Evening Journal, 10 March 1898

From the New  York Evening Journal, 10 March 1898, p. 5 (the signature appears to read “Davenport”).  Granted, the New York Evening Journal’s articles were a little more sensational than other newspapers’ at the time; however, there must have been some sense that money and power came before justice, and public sentiment around the country must have in part been that the deputies were guilty of murder despite their acquittal.   Of course, the other trial, which seemed certain for Sheriff Martin, never happened.

Deputies Carrying Arms

NY Evening Journal, 17 March 1898

The title and date of this are really interesting – “Lattimer Deputies Again Carrying Arms, Ready to Murder More Strikers” in the New York Evening Journal, 17 March 1898 (I think the artist’s signature reads J.A. Williams).  It must have looked like the deputies were still riled up against the miners, and again, that the deputies were in fact guilty of murder.

Lattimersky Sud

Narodny Kalendar, 1899

What a great image!  Two years after the massacre this rendition of a not-so-blind justice appears in Narodny Kalendar, a Slovak publication.  I’m working on trying to find an original copy, but meanwhile the image shows up in the journal Pennsylvania History: 2002 vol. 69 (1), p. 41.  It’s in an article called “A Slovak Perspective on the Lattimer Massacre” by M. Mark Stolarik.

These and still more images are in the gallery, below.

– Kristin

(click on an image to enlarge)

Advertisements

Blair Mountain in WV Needs Your Help

This isn’t about Lattimer, but it is part of the story of the struggle for better working conditions, fair treatment of workers, and all the greed and corruption that surrounds those issues —

There’s a bit about Blair Mountain in the Related Sites section of this blog, which mentions the controversy over listing/de-listing the site on the National Register of Historic Places.  Blair Mountain is the site of a huge rebellion born of horrible working conditions in the southern coalfields, and the murder of a police chief who had befriended the miners.  I received an email yesterday (below) that made me think I should put this information on the front page.  Check out the Friends of Blair Mountain!  Here’s the email:

“The Blair Mountain battlefield in West Virginia is the site of the largest labor insurrection in US history. Currently, the site is threatened by mountain top removal operations, and extremely destructive forms of coal extraction practices, primarily in impoverished regions of Appalachia.

We have been attempting to get the mountain listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which we were successful doing for about a month until opposition from coal operators caused the mountain to be delisted. There were multiple discrepancies in this process.

Working with local citizens, The National Trust of Historic Places, Sierra Club, and Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition have filed a petition asking the National Park Service to reevaluate the listing on the National Register.

More information containing all links to the press release, the petition, video of the disturbance, and a report on the disturbance can be found at our website, www.friendsofblairmountain.org

For us West Virginians, Blair Mountain occupies is an extremely significant place in our history, and we would like to preserve this site for future generations. If you follow the link above, there is information about how you can help us save Blair Mountain.”

Camp Branch mine by the Blair Mountain battlefield

Camp Branch mine by the Blair Mountain battlefield

Lattimer in International News

The Lattimer massacre was not (and arguably is not) just a regional or national issue.  Aside from the strike and shooting reaching all corners of the U.S. (newspapers carried the story in Utah, New Mexico, Louisiana, New York, the Dakotas, Texas, etc.), sentiment was stirred up in Europe as well.

Austria-Hungary in 1911, from U Texas Libraries

The strikers were nearly all from Southern and Eastern Europe.  Those who died were largely from what was then Austria-Hungary (see map, left).  Only one of the victims had applied for citizenship by the strike (Michael Cheslock); none were yet U.S. citizens.  As such, the Austro-Hungarian Empire took issue with the killing of its citizens, and demanded indemnity from the U.S.  Quite a bit of fear revolved around what would happen with international relations.

Following are a few newspaper accounts of Austria-Hungary’s demands, and reactions thereto:

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Source: The Enquirer-Sun, Columbus, GA. 16 September 1897, p.6:

Vienna’s View of Our Riots :Austria Will Demand Indemnity From Us for the Rioters Who Were Killed

London, Sept. 13 — A dispatch to the Daily Telegraph from Vienna says that much excitement has been caused there by the news of the shooting by deputy sheriffs at Lattimer, Pa., of a number of Austrian and Hungarian subjects.  Consular reports of the affair that have been received characterize the conduct of the deputies as unjust and unneccessary.  The foreign office will demand strict compensation from the United States.”

Source: The Sioux City Journal, Sioux City, Iowa. 14 October, 1897, p. 1

PROTEST BY AUSTRIA: Claims Rights of Her Subjects Were Violated in the Lattimer Affair

Harrisburg, Pa., Oct. 13 — Gov.  Hastings has received a letter from Secretary Sherman, stating that the Austrian minister at Washington has filed a communication with the department of state, claiming that there was a violation of the rights of Austrian subjects in the firing on the mob at Lattimer, Pa., when a score of miners were killed.  Secretary Sherman requests the facts and status of affairs in relation to these cases.  Gov. Hastings has referred the communication to Sheriff Martin and Gen. Gobin, with the request that they enlighten Secretary Sherman as early as possible.” (this article was also carried by the Wilkes-Barre Times (Wilkes-Barre, PA) as “The Lattimer Shooting” and The Sun (Baltimore, MD) as “The Shooting at Lattimer”)

Source: The Wilkes-Barre Times, Wilkes-Barre, PA.  21 October, 1897

THE LATTIMER SHOOTING: Sheriff Martin’s Story of the Affair Prepared for Gov. Hastings (by Associated Press)

Harrisburg Oct 21 — Sheriff Martin of Luzerne county was in Harrisburg yesterday with his attorney Geo. S. Ferris, to confer with Governor Hastings, who was unavoidably absent.  The executive wrote to the sheriff recently asking for a statement of the shooting at Lattimer to be used by Secretary of State Sherman in making reply to the Austrian government, which has instructed the minister at Washington to get all the details of the affair.  The sheriff has prepared a statement giving his side of the story which will be submitted to the governor in confidence on his return from Philadelphia.  The statement in brief recites that the sheriff and his deputies were in the discharge of their duty as public officials when the shooting occurred.”

Source: The World-Herald, Omaha, NE. 20 March, 1899

NO QUARREL WITH AMERICA: Austria Will Have No Trouble With Us Over Lattimer Affair

London, March 19 — The Vienna correspondent of the Standard referring to the recent editorial allusions by the Politiasche Correspondez, to the Hazelton shooting and its announcement that the Austrian foreign minister intends to press the ‘just claims advanced in half of Austrian subjects,’ says, ‘I have reason to believe that the Austrian government has not the slightest intention to seek a quarrel with the United States.  The press however, is constantly accusing the government of neglecting its duty in the Hazleton affair, and the government will not let the matter drop until Count Goluchowski (the Austro-Hungarian foreign minister), gets an opportunity to explain to the delegations that the standpoint of the American government indicated by the latter note of February 4 is legally and morally incontrovertible, though the sheriff of Lattimer might have waited longer before giving the order to fire on the excited strikers.” (also carried by The Butte Weekly Miner (Butte, MT) as “The Hazleton Shooting”)

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA. 12 August, 1899, p. 8

There Was nothing to Arbitrate

The refusal of the United States Government to accede to the request of Austria-Hungary to submit to the arbitration of a claim for the payment of an indemnity on account of the killing of Hungarians in the memorable Lattimer riot is entirely justifiable, and it is indeed surprising tha the request should have been made.  The killing in question was the subject of judicial proceedings, the result of which was to vindicate its legality.

It will be recalled that the rioting occurred in connection with a strike of coal-miners.  In the course of that strike, and as a means of intimidating the employers, a number of men, among whom were the Hungarians on account of whose death the claims were made, had assembled and had begun to act in a threatening and disorderly manner.  Called upon by the Sheriff of the county to disperse, they refused to do so and they suffered as a consequence of their refusal.  The verdict of a jury confirmed the rightfulness of the Sheriff’s action and there is not the slightest basis upon which to found a claim against the United States.

There is no parallel between this case and that of the Italians who were taken from a New Orleans jail and lynched, and for whom this country did pay a compensation.  The Lattimer rioters had no one to blame but themselves, and as the facts are undisputed and undisputable, there is absolutely nothing to arbitrate.  The Austro-Hungarian Government could hardly have been serious in its request.”

____________________________________________________________________________________

So – what do you think?  Did the Austro-Hungarian Government have a case?  The “facts” of the case are certainly disputable, although the Sheriff was acquitted.  Should the government have received payment?  Victims’ families?  Anyone?

Lattimer is one of the “Five of the Greatest Strikes in America” in 1901

Going through historic newspapers, I found this in the Grand Forks Daily Herald (Grand Forks, ND), 08 September 1901, p. 3.  It lists five of what it considered the greatest strikes in America.  These are:

Coal Map of PA

PA Coal Map, from http://www.leo.lehigh.edu/

  1. “Irons against Gould In a Famous Struggle” (1886)
  2. “Homestead Bloodshed in Campaign of 1892”
  3. “Railway Strike of 1894 Against Pullman Works”
  4. “Coal Miners’ Strike Ending with Lattimer” (1897)
  5. “Men Won 1900 Strike in Anthracite Mines”

Here’s the section about Lattimer (#4):

“Coal miners in eleven states struck on July 4, 1897, on order of President Ratchford of the United Mine Workers.  Nearly all the bituminous miners went out and a large portion of the men in the anthracite region.  At high tide in the strike 110,000 men were idle.

This strike was successful.  The men went back to work in September at an increase in wages and with an agreement with their employers to arbitrate.  They gained in wages, it was figured by teh World at the time, over $13,000,000.

In September there was a small correlative strike at a colliery at Lattimer, near Hazleton, Pa., in the anthracite district.  This strike held on for several days and gained recruits from other colleries [sic] in the neighborhood.

Following their custom the strikers marched from mine to mine to urge other miners to join them.  On the road near Lattimer, on Friday, Sept. 10, Sheriff Martin of Luzerne county, with 102 deputies specially sworn in, met a body of these miners.

There was a trifling clash and the deputies fired on the marchers, who had no firearms.  Twenty-one miners were killed and forty wounded.  Several others fled.  The marchers were all foreigners.

Troops were called out at once and there was no further trouble.”