Mon, Feb. 17

Verde Heritage 1919: WOBBLY TROUBLE; 42 ARRESTED


"At the present time underground mine operations at Jerome are at a standstill due to the activities of two hundred I.W.W. and Sinn Fein agitators, 95 per cent of whom are single men without ties of any kind. As outlined by the management in the notice posted February 8th, with the present situation of the copper market, it is to the financial advantage of the copper companies to shut down completely until such time in the summer or fall as the copper market shows improvement. This the companies are loath to do, as such course will necessarily entail hardship and suffering to the people of Jerome, Clarkdale and Verde, as well as adding to the present number of unemployed. It has been the policy of these companies to place at work any soldier who presents an honorable discharge, whether or not a previous employee of the companies. Shutting down the plants will throw out of employment the employed soldiers and prevent the employment of such as return later."

"However, if the Jerome workmen do not return to work by THURSDAY MORNING, FEBRUARY 13th, in sufficient numbers to supply the smelters with ore, the United Verde Copper Company and the United Verde Extension Mining Company will be forced to close down indefinitely and completely, both in Jerome, Clarkdale and Verde. The companies trust that the good judgment of the union and non-union men of Jerome and Clarkdale will forestall the efforts of this group of irresponsible I.W.W. to close down an industry without which both employees and townspeople will be brought face to face with a long period of complete unemployment and hardship; and from which the towns will be slow to recover."


"Denver, Feb. 11. --- President Charles F. Moyer of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, when informed that 4,000 miners in the Jerome district are striking as a result of the 75 cent cut in wages, said this afternoon: 'These men are members of the Industrial Workers of the World and are in no manner connected with the mine workers' union. The men in Jerome are satisfied with their contract and expected a wage reduction.'"


"Although there is no use denying that the I.W.W. strike has proceeded to the point where it has practically closed down every mine in the district. There are signs this afternoon that the strikers are going to pieces."

"The Wobblies are milling around town without any head, any definite purpose or plan. Their leader, James Chapman, is in hiding and 42 of the bolder spirits are in the city jail, charged with trespass and obstructing the streets."

"The noon meeting, at which the strike committee was to be reorganized, was broken up when Deputy Sheriff Fred Hawkins and Marshal J. G. Crowley coolly took 5 leaders right out of the middle of the crowd and hauled them to jail. Another attempt will be made to hold a meeting at 6 o'clock this afternoon."

"ULTIMATUM ISSUED: In the meantime handbills bearing the ultimatum of the 2 big-copper companies, which between them employ over 3,000 mine and smelter workers, have been distributed in Jerome, Clarkdale and Verde. These companies announce flatly that if the majority allow themselves to be intimidated by the insignificant minority of Wobblies, that if enough miners are not at work by Thursday morning to supply the smelters with ore both companies will shut down entirely for an indefinite period."

"There are no I.W.W. pickets out. Yet there are less than 25 miners underground at the United Verde Extension, out of a normal day shift of 150. At the United Verde, where the day shift is even larger the number of miners who reported for work this morning was smaller than at the Extension. Both the smelters are working full blast, 100% of the employees having gone to work this morning. The surface men are working at both properties."

"AT OTHER MINES: Most of the employees of the Jerome Verde, Dundee, Gadsden, Verde Combination, Green Monster, Grand Island and Shea companies have drawn their time. Those properties are all closed down. Only the pumps are working. None of the managers experienced any difficulty in getting pumpmen."

"EXODUS OF WORKERS: Several hundred peace-loving workmen left Jerome on the noon train. Most of them are bound for the coast. Many declared that they had Liberty bonds and war savings stamps enough to keep them for a time so they had decided to go away on a vacation until the end of the trouble in the Verde district."

"There was 1 among the departing throng, however, who could not be described as a 'peace-loving workman.' He was the Wobbly organizer said to be mainly responsible for the present trouble. Ten days or 2 weeks ago he came to Jerome, distributed a miscellaneous quantity of I.W.W. literature and sought recruits for the 'cause.' Constantly he preached strike. This morning he left, having accomplished his purpose and got everything out of Jerome that he could hope to get."

"FIRST ARRESTS: The first arrests were made yesterday afternoon. By 6 o'clock 29 alleged Wobblies were in jail, charged with obstructing the streets. Most of these were picked up by Deputy Sheriff Fred Hawkins, Marshal J. G. Crowley and other peace officers on the road that leads from the Miller Building to the United Verde. In the course of the night the 29 were increased to 37 and the 5 arrests made at the noon meeting swelled the grand total to 42."

"Late in the afternoon the executive committee waited upon Lieutenant John Sellers, commanding the Twenty-fifth Third U. S. Infantry men stationed here, and notified him of the intention of the I.W.W. to break down the city jail and liberate their brothers. Sellers warned the committeemen that he would not stand for any such high-handed procedure and the plan was apparently dropped."

"SECOND MEETING: A second meeting was held at 6 p.m., at the same point where the first meeting of the strikers has held at noon yesterday. This place is 200 yards from the Mountain View House down the old gulch road and on ground belonging to the Hull Copper Company. The road is not a public thoroughfare."

"Nothing was done at the evening meeting except to decide to meet again at noon today. James Chapman, generally recognized as the big chief of the Wobblies in Jerome, presided. He has not been seen since and is supposed to be sticking tight to his home in the gulch."

"URGES PICKETING: In dismissing the gathering Chapman urged that all I.W.W. be on the picket lines this morning. His advice was not followed as no attempt has been made today to picket any of the mines."

"MORNING HOURS QUIET: This morning passed quietly. Handbills printed in Spanish and English were distributed announcing that Jerome Local No.79, International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, stood squarely behind the action of the Central Labor Union in deciding to remain at work under protest pending the arrival of Federal Administrator Hywel Davies. A motion to approve that action was passed with practically no opposition at the regular weekly meeting of the union last night. It was generally known that this was the attitude of the miners' union, a majority of whose members are American citizens."


"In order to acquaint the public with new developments in the strike situation, the Jerome Central Labor Union has called a mass meeting for 7:30 o'clock this evening, to be held in the Opera House. The public, including workingmen, business men, professional men and all others interested in the welfare of Jerome, are urged to attend."


"New York, Feb. 11. --- Fifty-four radicals, alien-born, anarchists, Industrial Workers of the World and others arrived this morning at Hoboken, coming from the west in prison cars and en route to Ellis Island from where they will be deported. Three cheers for the bolsheviki and for the Industrial Workers of the World were given as the men were being led from the train to the boat. When the police ordered the I.W.W. members to separate themselves from their fellow criminals, one of the I.W.W. struck a policeman on the nose. Another joined him and the police rescued the officer attacked after being compelled to use their clubs to subdue the attacker. The prisoners joined in chanting 'To Hell With America.'"

(Verde Copper News; Tuesday, February 11, 1919; page 1.)

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