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)

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Women and the Lattimer massacre: Mary Septak

A bit more on the interesting but perhaps not unusual women of the Lattimer massacre–this time, “Big” Mary Septak, a Polish immigrant, miner’s wife, mother, and caretaker of several boarders.  Evidently she not only took care of all these people, but the men in the mines, too.  She seemingly had no fear of the National Guard and local police, leading women on marches, and calling men up from the mines to fight for their rights.

I’ll report more in on Mary as I find it – she’s quite the character and is bound to appear again.  This entry comes from The Century Vol. 55(6), April 1898: “A Pennsylvania Colliery Village. An Artist’s Impressions of the Colliery” by Jay Hambidge (available online at the Cornell University Library).  Mr. Hambidge also illustrated an article before this in that edition of The Century. I recommend reading and looking at it to get a feel for the local sentiment at that time.  It’s interesting stuff!  Anyway, here’s a bit about “Big Mary”:

Mary Septak

Mary Septak by Jay Hambidge

“‘Big Mary’ is for the time the object of our search, and we finally find her cleaning a goose for her Sunday dinner.  Mary is by far the most forcible and picturesque character in all the mining region.  In her peculiar way she is a queen, and rules things with a high hand.  During the strike Mary was the most troublesome of all the foreigners.  No professional agitator had half the force for mischief that this woman exerted.  One day she led seventy-five women of the patch in a charge on the troops.  At that time these amazons were armed with clubs and pieces of scarp-iron, and they stopped only when they felt the bayonets of the immovable line of soldiery.  One would not imagine her such a character from the smiling greeting she gave us.  With her husband, she keeps a sort of boarding house for other miners; and in the living-room of the shanty were seven beds and eight trunks.  Probably from twelve to fifteen men occupy the same room with this man, his wife, and daughter, a large-boned girl of fourteen.  …

In a bed at one end of the room two men are sleeping with their clothes on.  They work on the ‘night shift’ in the mines, and sleep during the day.  These men belong to the class which was most active during the strike.  Mary the mother rattles along in conversation with her husband and daughter, her talk being punctuated with profanity.  Suddenly she turns to me with a demand to know if I eat meat on Friday.  I answer in the affirmative.  ‘Jesus kill you some day,’ she says, and laughs.

The amazon loves her husband, she asserts, and the affection is evidently mutual, for as he passes  her from time to time, he says some pleasant words or pats her cheek.  They have been married thirty years, and the daughter Mary is the only living one of ten children.  ‘When I ‘way from my man I cry all time, and when he ‘way from me he cry all time’ is the way the woman puts it.  In all their  years of married life he had never once struck her.

This is the woman who has the reputation of being a veritable tigress.  The men in the mining company’s offices are afraid of her, and give her a wide berth.  The trolley-car conductors tremble when she hails a car, and not one of them has ever been known to collect a fare from her except when she felt disposed to pay.  She has a contempt for American women.  They are not strong, she says, and cannot work in the fields.  The food they eat is too sweet; they would be better off if they ate sour soup and sour cabbage.” – p.826

Hazleton Plain Speaker & Wilkes-Barre Record, 1898

Source: Hazleton Plain Speaker, 02/02/1898, p. 10 (available on microfilm at the Hazleton Public Library)

“While the prosecution will be impaired by a lack of funds, the defense, backed by the coal companies, is prepared to stay here all summer.  The deputies are not hampered in the least, for they stay at a first class hotel, attend the theatre during the evenings and circulate among the Wilkes-Barreans in the saloons and restaurants.”

“District Attorney Martin [for the prosecution/strikers] asked that the witness be allowed to answer through the interpreter when the cross examination began but this was not allowed on the ground that it would be unfair to have the question asked in one language and answered in another language.”

W-B Record 1897

Wilkes-Barre Record, 09/11/1897 (not quoted here)

Source: Wilkes-Barre Record, 3/10/1898, p. 4 (available on microfilm at the Osterhout Free Library, Wilkes-Barre, PA)

“The jury the Lattimer case required very little time to reach a verdict.  That the sheriff and his deputies would be acquitted very few persons doubted….  It can never be truthfully alleged that this trial was not fairly and impartially conducted.  Every particle of evidence presented by the prosecution that could properly be admitted was allowed to go to the jury….  The ignorant foreign elements that have become so numerous in some sections of the State [PA] must be disabused of the false theories, instilled into their minds by both political and labor leader demagogues, that all authority in this land is controlled by corporations and capitalists and is therefore the enemy of labor and of the poorer classes generally.  They must learn that the civil authority recognizes neither class nor condition, creed nor color, and that it compels all alike to be obedient to law.”

Want to be a Guest Blogger?

Do you have an opinion about the Lattimer massacre?  …Or maybe a family story? …An idea about how to better remember the events before, during, and after the massacre?

If you want to share your thoughts, memories or ideas in a blog send your entry, along with pictures or file attachments if you’d like, to LattimerMassacreProject@gmail.com

Thanks!

Altmiller Diaries

Altmiller Diaries (Courtesy of and photo by Joe Michel)

Looking ahead to June: Patch Towns Days weekend

I can’t believe it’s June 01 already! The last few months have flown.  With temperatures here in Maryland approaching 90 most days I am really looking forward to getting up in the cooler mountain air in Pennsylvania for a little bit this month.

I’ll be heading up for Patch Towns Days (Saturday and Sunday, June 19-20, at Eckley Miners’ Village).  Because of trying to visit family in Wilkes-Barre, and see a few things (e.g. the Huber Breaker, where some of my family worked), I’ll likely only make the festival on Sunday.

Anyone else planning on being there Sunday?  Anyone have memories of previous Patch Towns Days, or ideas of things to make sure I (and others) do that weekend?  Leave a note in the comments, below!  I have no idea what to expect – Crafts?  Music?  Demonstrations?  Reenactments?  Food!?!  Looking forward to finding out… .

– Kristin

Inside the Eckley Miners' Village Museum (photo by Kristin Sullivan)

Check out the Community Walk Map

Hey all,
A while back I started putting Lattimer Massacre-related sites on a Community Walk map. CW is basically a do-it-yourself Google map. Anyway, check it out and let me know if something needs to be moved, and/or if you want to add anything: Sites Related to the Lattimer Massacre on Community Walk
CommunityWalk Map – Sites Related to the Lattimer Massacre

If I can figure out a way to imbed the actual map (my HTML isn’t agreeing with me) I’ll do that. For now – when you get to the site try clicking on things. Information should pop up. Also, on the left there are categories and names of places. If you click on one of those it will bring that location up on the map. Let me know what you think!

– Kristin

okay so this map isn't on community walk

Map of Lattimer 1885 (photo by Kristin Sullivan)

April 6 Blog from Ning

So most of this information was previously housed at a Lattimer Massacre site on the Ning network.  Due to changes there, though, we’re moving everything here!  As part of that, here’s an old blog (from April 6, 2010):

Hi all! Nobody’s tried out the blog feature on here yet so I thought I’d give it a shot – and in the process tell a bit about Paul Shackel’s and my visit to Hazleton and its surrounding communities.

We were up to Hazleton, Lattimer, West Hazleton, Harwood, Humbolt, etc. March 18-20, way too short a trip! Paul brought his wife, and National Park Service archaeologist, Barbara Little. On the last day of the trip my husband, Ryan Sullivan, was able to join us as well.

The foci of the trip were threefold: 1.) Meet some of the people we’ve started to connect with in the area through here and otherwise, 2.) Visit the Massacre site and memorial, and 3.) Check out the massive personal museum that is Joe Michel’s storage facility.

Some of Joe's Collection

Mr. Probert and others look through the archives

Starting backwards on this journey with #3, this place is immense!! Words cannot describe Joe’s collection. These pictures are just parts of it – a room filled with maps and other archives from the greater Hazleton area (right), rooms of old bar supplies, of old water treatment and other science-y supplies, of drafting equipment (above left), typewriters, tools, coal mining accoutrement, a couple of old Army Jeeps, and so forth. It is truly amazing. AND! Joe’s looking for a local (Hazleton-area) museum, organization – something – to help house and preserve these treasures! Any takers? If I win the lottery I’m all over it. I have tickets for tomorrow’s Powerball 🙂

We did make it to the memorial site, which was great. The last time I went there was a bit of snow on the ground and it was incredibly cold so I pretty much ran out, took a bunch of pictures, and ran back into my car. In March we were lucky enough to hit a gorgeous weekend and were able to walk around the grounds, and the woods to the left of the memorial (if you’re looking at it). Part of this time was spent with two of Michael Cheslock’s great-granddaughters (one of whom I met through the previous LMP site on ning).  Getting their insights then, and during lunch afterward, was especially moving.

Is this the gum tree?

Part of the time we spent at the memorial we were looking for the gum tree, which makes its appearance in many accounts of the massacre (notably Pinkowski’s The Lattimer Massacre and Michael Novak’s Guns fo Lattimer). The idea is that if we can find the location of the gum tree, then we can figure approximately where Sheriff Martin and the deputies were located, and where the shooting started. I’ve heard people say that the tree was shot full of bullets, but I can’t imagine a tree that would’ve been fairly small then would have been shot much – any thoughts? In any event, we found this part of a trunk, which we think may be a gum tree. Anyone know anything about trees based on bark? This (right) was found in a pile of stuff (salt, dirt, etc.) dumped on the land by Hazle Township trucks, so it could’ve been moved from anywhere along the roads, I suppose – so we’re not so sure it’s even helpful in locating the original gum tree spot; but it is exciting.

Harwood Mule Stable Location

In any event, meeting the people we met was easily the best part of this visit. I got a ride around Harwood and the communities surrounding it by one of this site’s members and her cousin, which was hilarious (there are some entertaining people around the area!) and enlightening. I really hadn’t realized just how many individual towns existed in the area, which seems to be really important. They also showed me where the mule stables likely were (above), where miners met before the marches leading up to the massacre. Behind this area are the strippings left over from the Harwood mines – a reminder that the cultural and environmental implications of the mining industry are still alive and well in Northeastern PA, despite the mining companies having left many of the old mines and the many towns associated with them.

We got a chance, too, to meet Bobby Maso, who wrote the Standard-Speaker article through which many of this site’s members found us. Bobby’s one of most ambitious and put-together 22 year olds I’ve ever met, and he genuinely cares about the history of his hometown and region (he’s a Freeland native). He’s super anxious to do anything to help this project, it seems, which I really appreciate. Also, as a shout out, he’s one of the Eckley Players – so go see him this summer at one of their events!

Mr. Probert in the Vine St. Cemetery

I want to give particular attention to John Probert (in the “archives” portion of Joe Michel’s vault/museum above), who has been an incredibly helpful go-between, local guide, etc. He introduced us to Joe, as well as to Hazleton’s poet laureate and local artist, Sal, whose insights into the massacre were inspiring. Mr. Probert was also kind enough to give us a private tour of the Vine Street Cemetery, where he is president of the Cemetery Association (right). Check it out sometime if you haven’t been there. Many of the players in the massacre story are there – Pardees, deputies, Michael Cheslock, etc.

Anyway, Mr. Probert and Joe have been cooking up scenarios for what really happened leading up to, during, and immediately following the massacre. I’m incredibly impressed, and grateful, for their help, resources and imaginations!!

So, now what? I’m hoping to come up for Patch Town Days, which I think are June 19 and 20 (anyone have details?). If anyone wants to meet up there, or around that time, let me know! Meanwhile, I’ll blog or send a message about any other related goings-on here! ‘Til then… .

– Kristin

Update: I have not yet won Powerball (5/7/10)