RE: [Slovak-World] Lattimer Massacre was 110 years ago
- This has been ordered/requested by the owners of the mine. Is it known, who
From: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com] On
Behalf Of Sinbad Schwartz
Sent: Monday, September 03, 2007 1:25 AM
Subject: [Slovak-World] Lattimer Massacre was 110 years ago
http://tinyurl. <http://tinyurl.com/yos997> com/yos997
Lattimer Massacre was 110 years ago
Sunday, 02 September 2007
By ED CONRAD
One of the most violent events in the history of American labor will
be recalled next Sunday at the Anthracite Heritage Museum in McDade
An illustrated presentation by Richard G. Healey, a professor at the
University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom and an expert on
anthracite history, will mark the 110th anniversary of the Lattimer
Massacre, which occurred Sept. 10, 1897.
Nineteen miners were shot to death and 36 more wounded during a
confrontation with the Luzerne County sheriff and his deputies while
marching to protest working conditions and wages.
The strikers, all dressed in their Sunday best, were unarmed and the
miner in front of the line of march was carrying a large American
They were on strike from a colliery near Humboldt and were headed to
the A.D. Pardee & Co. colliery near Lattimer to ask other miners to
join their cause and go out on strike as well.
The miners - mostly Slovak, Lithuanian and Polish - had been warned
earlier by Luzerne County Sheriff James Martin that their march was
considered an act of civil disorder. That enabled Martin to deputize
a posse of 87 men who were armed with Winchester repeating rifles or
The miners were still quite a distance from Lattimer when Martin
forced them to stop, then read a proclamation banning such
demonstrators in the county. He then pointed his pistol at the head
of one of the strikers closest to him.
Meanwhile, some of his deputies began roughing up a few strikers,
breaking one man's arm with a rifle butt. But the striking miners
resumed their march, and the sheriff and his deputies left on trolley
When the marchers approached Lattimer a short time later, however,
Martin and about 60 armed deputies again showed up and the miners
were ordered to disband immediately and go home - or else. But the
strikers stood their ground.
It was then that Martin or one of the posse members yelled "Fire!"
and suddenly a single shot rang out. It set off a volley of gunfire
and a bloodbath.
The first striker to be killed reportedly was Stege Urich, a Slovak
immigrant, who had been carrying the flag.
Cornelieus "Connie " Burke, who was 11 at the time, witnessed part of
the massacre and discussed it in 1972 while a very old man.
"I was too far back to see what actually happened," he recalled. "But
I could hear the sound of gunfire.
"When I got up there. Oh, my God! The poor fellows were lying across
the trolley tracks on the hillside. Some had died and some were
dying. Some were crying for water.
"I picked up a little can and carried some water to one of the dying
miners," he continued. "It was a terrible sight and so much confusion
existed. Everyone was running in all directions.
"They searched some of the men who were shot and found they were
carrying no weapons." It was later determined that one of the
marchers was armed with a pistol.
Of the 19 men killed at the site, 14 were Polish, four Slovak and one
Six of the wounded later died, bringing the final death count to 25.
Martin and many members of his posse were charged in the bloodshed
but were acquitted by a county jury.
The program next Sunday at the Scranton museum, beginning at 2 p.m.,
will provide the background and context of the period in which the
Lattimer Massacre occurred.
Healey began his research on anthracite history in 1978 for his
doctoral dissertation and has continued his studies to the present
In remembrance of the event, Healey will present a program
titled "Railroads, Cartels and Corporate Control: Aspects of Change
in the Late 19th Century Anthracite Coal Industry."
He also will be releasing a new book, "The Pennsylvania Anthracite
Coal Industry 1850-1902: Economic Cycles, Business Decision-Making
and Regional Dynamics," which is expected to be available for
purchase at the museum's bookstore.
The program also coincides with the 138th anniversary of the Avondale
On the morning of Sept. 6, 1869, a fire broke out inside the Avondale
Colliery, about a mile outside Plymouth, engulfing the mine shaft and
trapping miners inside. Several other structures, including the
breaker and engine house, were also set ablaze.
By the time rescue crews were able to enter what remained of the mine
shaft, 109 miners had died, many from suffocation. Two rescue workers
also lost their lives trying to reach the trapped miners.
Although the disaster eventually led to an increase and improvement
in mine safety, it also convinced miners to form a labor union that
eventually became the United Mine Workers of America
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