Verde Heritage 1919: CLOSURE OF MINES AND SMELTERS.
Only 182 of the required 250 miners reported for work at the United Verde Copper Company, and only 65 of the required 100 miners reported for work at the United Verde Extension Mining Company on February 13, 1919. The mines closed, and with no ore available, the smelters at Clarkdale and Verde were forced to close.
"Jerome, February 13. --- With its two greatest producing mines shut down, the Verde district passed out as a factor in copper mining shortly after 8 o'clock this morning. Within a few minutes after the number of men reporting for the morning shift had been ascertained, the United Verde was paying off its miners, muckers, trammers, and, in fact, all underground and surface workers. Not less than 3, nor, if it can be helped, more than 8 months of idleness are the prospect of Jerome's leading mines."
"The United Verde Copper Company had required that the miners send a minimum of 250 men to go underground on the morning shift. When the men had assembled, a count was made, and it was found that but 182 men, with miners in the minority, had reported for duty. The announcement was then made that the needs of the company had not been complied with, and in a few minutes, the process of closing down the works was under way."
"At the United Verde Extension Mining Company where 100 men were required to report this morning, a total of about 65 showed up. As a matter of fact, the company needed 150 men to go below, but asked for only 100."
"At Verde and Clarkdale, the smelter fires were drawn for the first time in years. Those huge furnaces that had burned out millions of pounds of copper for the United States during the war period, were cold. Wheels ceased turning, and only enough men remained on duty to act as watchmen, while at the mines, the pumps are the only scenes of activity."
"DISTRICT IS PARALYZED: The district is paralyzed. About 4,000 men are added to the total unemployed. Indirectly affected by the shut down are approximately 25,000 persons. The will to work or be worked for among this huge number of people was not sufficiently strong to force the malcontents to capitulate, when the mining companies put out their offer."
"EXODUS HAS BEGUN: An exodus of miners and other workers and their families from the stricken district had already begun, but after today's decision the tide increased beyond the capacity of the railroad to carry the passengers. The trains left here packed to the car doors with the departing. It is said that among the first to leave were a number of the I.W.W. agitators, whose work was done, and who departed for other fields, perfectly satisfied with the results of their activities. The pleas of the soldier element had failed to stay their hands."
"As a matter of fact, hundreds of families are facing a desperate future. The breadwinners either would not, or could not, and now, cannot work. The necessity for measures of relief is expected to develop very shortly."
"Semi-officially it is stated that the mines will not try to reopen, even for curtailed production, with a short force, before May. The shut down, it is said, is for not less than 3 nor more than 8 months."
"Four arrests were made by the Department of Justice following the closing down of the United Verde and United Verde Extension ... as a result of the refusal of the striking miners to return to work. Soldiers are on guard."
(Weekly Journal-Miner; Prescott; February 19, 1919; page 2.)
"JEROME STRIKE IS CALLED OFF BUT MINES WILL NOT REOPEN TILL REDS LEAVE."
"Jerome, February 24. --- The strike which closed the United Verde Copper Company and United Verde Extension Mining Company mines was today declared off. This decision means the mines will remain closed for 3 to 6 months from February 13th. The management says this action cannot be taken seriously. The operators state they are firm in their decision to remain closed until the radicals leave the district."
"No encouragement was given by H. DeWitt Smith, Superintendent of the United Verde mine, to the committee of 15 Mexicans, Spaniards and Italians that called upon him to ascertain if there was any possibility of an early resumption of operations by the two big copper companies. The committee had been appointed at the mass meeting held the previous evening under the auspices of Alianza Hispana Americana."
"Superintendent Smith told the committeemen that even if the United Verde desired to reopen its mine it could not do so in less than 6 weeks owing to the fact that No. 3, the main hoisting shaft, is being repaired. Much machinery has been brought to the surface for overhauling and that much other general rehabilitation work is in progress. Furthermore, the reverberatory furnaces at the smelter are being relined and that work could not be finished in under 6 weeks, even with the best of luck."
"He again went into the position of the United Verde Copper Company, which was thoroughly explained prior to the shut-down, and explained that as long as a radical minority can rule Jerome the company has no intention of attempting to operate."
(Weekly Journal-Miner; Prescott; February 26, 1919; page 5.)