The Labor Uprising

This article from the July 27, 1877 issue of the Pittsburgh Daily Post notes the state of the strike around the country. There are reports of violence in some areas while in others order is being maintained and things are well under control.

Difficulties Adjusted on a Number of Roads.
Freight Traffic to Be Resumed To-Day on These Roads.
The Chicago Mob and Police Come in Conflict.
Fifteen Killed and Many Wounded.
The Police Masters of the Situation.
The St. Louis Police Disperse a Mob Preparing Trouble.
Quiet Prevails at Nearly All Points.



PHILADELPHIA, July 26.-Six more rioters were arraigned before the police magistrate this morning, and in default of $5,000 bail each held to answer.


OIL CITY, July 26.-At a meeting of the Trainmen's Union, held this evening at their rooms in this city, a committee was appointed to confer with Superintendent Hepburn, which waited upon him at his office, when a satisfactory adjustment add settlement of the difficulties recently existing upon the Pittsburgh, Titusville & Buffalo railway and the Buffalo, Cotty & Pittsburgh railroad was made. The men will resume work in the morning and all the trains will then [?] as usual.

ALLENTOWN, July 26.-The brakemen and firemen on the Lehigh Valley road from Easton to [?] this evening.

WILKESBARRE, July 26.-The Lehigh Valley railroad employees have all struck in this vicinity, and trains stopped after nine o'clock tonight.

HARRISBURG, July 26.-The city has been very quiet all day.


SCRANTION, July 26.-The strike has extended to every branch of industry in the Lackawanna Valley. Miners met to-day in the woods to the number of 10,000 and the answer of the President stating that the company could not grant the demand of twenty-five per cent. advance was read amid profound silence, and resolutions were adopted to the effect that the men would die before returning to work at what they call starvation wages. The mine engineers and pump hands struck tonight. At six o'clock they drew the fires and the mines are now flooding. If allowed to become flooded it will take a year to prepare them for work again. A meeting of prominent citizens was held to-night at the call of the Mayor, and will meet twice daily till further notice. The citizens are mobilizing for protection. All quiet.


CHICAGO, July 26.-The mob of last night gathered in force on the South Side this morning and renewed its depredations and acts of violence. They began with some two thousand and swelled to a multitude. However, when some three hundred police, under officer Rainey, charged them they broke up after a hot encounter.

But four men are reliably reported killed as yet. Many are wounded. The entire force of United States troops expected are now here. There are six companies of the Ninth regiment of infantry.

Societies for protection have been formed in almost every ward to-day, and preparations for a lively campaign to-night are complete. It is reported that a gang from the stock yards are coming, declaring they will clean out every policeman on Halstead street. They are armed with butcher knives, gambriel [sic] sticks and every conceivable weapon.


5 P.M.-At this hour the precise situation is learned by dispatches and by reports of the press reporter on the grounds to be this: The rioters have been busy all day in various parts of the city, but chiefly between Canal and Green streets and between Twelfth and Twenty-second streets. Fighting has been carried on in these limits almost exclusively and has been continuous and bloody if not as fatal as might be expected. The police have rarely been the aggressors but whenever they have attempted to break up a mob they have in the long run succeeded. The mob is insulting and ready for trouble at any moment but has a wholesome fear of the regiments and mounted police and of United States troops, who are either on the ground or in close proximity to the trouble the entire time. They have arms of the most effective sort and whenever they appear the mob scatters. The police do not command so great respect because the impression prevails that they will generally fire too high to hit or shoot blank. The arrests are numerous and hardly a man has been taken to the station house without an attempt at rescue and a consequent interchange of shots. The last attempt reported the arrest of a great many rioters, several wagon loads in number, was successful only after a hard fight.

At Halstead street viaduct, which seems to be the rallying point of the strikers and mob, the police began to complain that they are being shot and stoned down in that vicinity, as the rioters, whenever the military disappear, attack them in that locality with stones and pistols.

A Times reporter was attacked by the crowd on Halstead street a few minutes ago and responded by shooting one man. One of the police has just been dangerously wounded. The foreman of the Illinois Packing Company, just in from the stock years, says their men attempted to work this morning, but were driven off by the mob. He says $125,000 worth of meat will be spoiled to-day in this establishment.


Late this afterdoon [sic] an attempt was made by plug uglies to fire freight cars on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad track by burning some combustibles in one car. Some employees of a firm in the vicinity put out the fire. This is the first attempt at incendiarism. The fire department is confident of being able to subdue all attempts at burning. Citizens are guarding every street and store to-night, and incendiaries, if caught, will be summarily dealt with. A company of cavalry has just left for the stockyards. The stockyard mob have not been heard from of late, and it is believed they have changed their destination or their minds.


11:15 A.M.-The firing at the viaduct was less deadly than expected. Two volleys were sent into the mob which had the effect of dispersing it, probably for the night. No casualties reported. The Second Regiment are quartered on the viaduct for the night. The special police, several hundred strong, and all the mounted patrol are quartered at the armory. Three cavalymen [sic] came into the station a little while ago, considerably hurt, but not dangerously, by stones and other missiles.

Wild rumors are afloat, and the same has been telegraphed hence, of fearful carnage which has not yet occurred. The total number of those known to be killed cannot exceed fifteen. Of these three bodies are at the morgue and others been taken in change by their friends doubtless have been mortally or fatally wounded, and the fact concealed by the mob. A rumor is current to-night that a band of depredators are on Milwaukee avenue in Northern Chicago but this is unconfirmed and probably untrue. The names of the killed are so differently reported that they can't be given with any degree of certainty to-night. They are generally unpronounceable Polish, [Boliere] and other foreign names. None of the police have received dangerous wounds. They have behaved gallantry as have the Second regiment.


Midnight-The situation at his hour is briefly thus: The police have retired to well earned rest. The Second regiment is encamped on viaduct where they intend to stay all night. The mob appear to be dispersed and few are in sight, but it is not unlikely that they will appear before morning and renew their fight. Some members of the Second expect this and all are prepared for it. The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy freight depot is guarded by two companies of United States troops. The armories are garrisoned and all is quiet now. All reports of riot in other parts of the city are false. No trouble has occurred tonight except at the viaduct. The two volleys [?] were fired by the Second Regiment, and resulted in no deaths as far as known.


CHICAGO, July 26.-The following explains itself:

WASHINGTON, July 26.-To Col. R.G. Drum The President directs that you use the Enlisted State troops [?] of an emergency in suppressing of that Chicago, under the order of the Governor of the State. [Signed] E.D. [?] Adjutant General.

To Hon. S. M. Cullom, Governor of [unclear]


[Sgd] R.C. Drum Assistant Adjutant General

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. July 26.-To Col. R.G. Drum [unclear]. You will please report to the Mayor of Chicago and act to [?] with him, in parades, [?] and riots, and in keeping the peace and protecting the property of the people. [Signed] [?] Governor

Immediately on the receipt of the Governor's order, the National forces in this city, and those to arrive to-day, were placed at Gen. Drum's disposal.


St. Louis, July 26.-The citizens enrolled as militia at an early hour this morning at the Police station in the Four Courts building, and men [?] loading muskets and [cartridge] boxes.

Between ten and eleven o'clock, a crowd of several thousand gathered about the Workingmen's stand. [?] and were called to order. The following was read and endorsed:

[?]. That we the authorized Executive Committee of the Workingmen's party of the United States, do not hold entirely as responsible for any act of violence which may be part of [?] the present excitement but that we [?] keeping after and preventing acts of violence, and will do our [?] to attract[?] and bring punishment all 'guilty' parties.

The chairman of the meeting then said that the proclamation of the Mayor, closing saloons, was being largely disregarded, and announced that the workingmen would take the matter in hand and have the [?] of a committee who were in [?] notify the saloon keepers or shut up at once.

About half past ten o'clock, the crowd formed in [?] [and accommpanied a] vast body of spectators, numbering several thousand, marched down Twelfth street to Clark avenue, and halted in front of the Four Courts building [?] is the headquarters of the citizens [?] and police.


The crowd surged upon the pavement and pressed hard on guards, who were doing guard duty on the sidewalk. The latter were immediately reinforced by details from [within], and the compatriots prepared to march on the police, headed by Captain W. [?] dashed into the crowd, and drawing their pistols pressed them back and arrested two of the leaders. A few stones were thrown and then the crowd fell back a little. For an hour or more the mob pressed up close to the sidewalks, and jeered and taunted the militia in every conceivable manner, daring them to fire and commence a fight.

At 1 P.M. Chief of Police McDonough was directed to take a force of metropolitans out of the Four Courts and clear the street for the space of a block. The object was to see how the crowd would get. The police marched but, headed by the chief in his shirt sleeves. They carried neither arms nor clubs. A line was formed across the street and the crowd quested to fall back. It did so slowly and nearly a block was cleared. Several militia companies then marched out of the Four Courts and occupied the vacant space and are now drilling, the crowd quietly watching their movements.


Matters in Past St. Louis have been quiet to-day, and our little has been done by the strikers. Their executive committee issued an order this evening that no more passenger trains would be permitted to leave for the East.

Since the little disturbance at Four Courts matters beyond that landing have been comparatively quiet. Governor Phelps and Lieut. Governor [Brockinger] have been at headquarters most of the day in [communication] with General Smith and Mayor [Overstolz]. It is understood that General Jef. C. Davis has orders from Washington to answer a call from the Governor or Mayor to quiet the riot. General Davis there, with later arrivals, amounts to about six hundred infantry and a battery of Gatling guns.


A large mass meeting of merchants was held this evening for the purpose of raising one or more battalions for the protection of business interests of the city. $1,200 was subscribed in a few minutes to purchase arms, and a committee was appointed to solicit further subscriptions and another committee to purchase the best approved rifles and Colt's army revolvers. The railroad strike has almost entirely passed out of sight in this city, in view of the magnitude of the movement inaugurated by the workingmen's party and the high hand with which they have conducted it in closing mills, factories &c., and compelling mechanics and laborers to cease work. The water works in the northern part of the city and distributing reservoirs are under guard by soldiers. The levee laborers who compelled an [?] advance of wages and all the steamboat employees, yesterday, boarded every boat that arrived to-day, and exacted accession to their terms.


Three large crowds of strikers, roughs and bummers, started out this afternoon to finish the work of yesterday, closing manufacturing establishments. The three mobs subsequently subdivided into thirty and forty squads and spread all over the northern and eastern parts of the city and closed all the mills, factories, machine shops, brickyards and other places where men are employed that they found in operation. It is estimated that three-quarters of the manufacturing establishments in the city are now closed. Some have closed on account of the high prices of coal, that article now commanding fifty cents per bushel. The city will be able to put from five to six thousand well armed men into active service to-morrow. The building known as Page's factory, corner of Main and Jefferson streets, was burned this afternoon; loss about $8,000. It is supposed to have been the work of the strikers, but they deny it.

The Governor has issued the usual proclamation.



TOLEDO, July 26.-The organization of citizens for public defense progressed rapidly last night, and to-day about twenty ringleaders of yesterday's men have been arrested and lodged in jail. No further trouble is anticipated.

COLUMBUS, July 26.-The city is exceedingly quiet to-day, and there are no apprehensions of violence for the present, as the citizens and authorities have taken measures to have the city thoroughly patrolled day and night by a well armed guard. Business is stagnant and growing worse hourly. No freight trains are moving. The passenger traffic has been resumed, so far as the day trains are concerned. Thore [sic] are fears that unless freight traffic is soon allowed to proceed the situation will be rendered more desperate by bread riots.

CINCINNATI, July 26.-Everything is quiet. All passenger trains are running except on the Ohio & Mississippi, and they propose to start their St. Louis Express this evening.


TOLEDO, July 26.-8 P.M.-The city has been quiet throughout the day. The saloons remain closed in accordance with the order issued by the Mayor yesterday. The police this morning arrested James Turner, the acknowledged leader of yesterday's movement and lodged him in the county jail. Other arrests followed rapidly and by noon most of the ringleaders of the riot had been secured.

About 500 prominent citizens met at the court house this morning and were supplied with arms and ammunition. Business was generally suspended during the [?]. The members of [?] firms the [?] the city reported for duty at the court house this morning. Mayor Jones issued a proclamation ordering the rioters to disperse. It is expected that trains will run through on the Lake Shore road to-morrow.


Manager Hopkins of the Wabash road received the following to-day from the Chairman of the Committee of employees who were in consultation with him yesterday:

LAYFAYETTE, IND., July 26.- To A.L. Hopkins, General Manager, and A. Anderson, General Superintendent of the Wabash Railway: GENTLEMEN: I have the honor of notifying you that the employees in the several departments at Lafayette have in open convention unanimously agreed to resume their several [?] of the road, as soon as you see proper [?] through straight from terminal points and that all passenger trains run without interruption. All trainmen have voluntarily placed themselves at the disposal of [trainmasters] for the protection of the company [?] property, until you see fit to open the road. The issue of pay still remains in the hearts of the several committees for further consideration, after the road has commenced operations or before as you may desire.

[Signed,] S.R. Mudge, Chairman

Manager Hopkins replied, thanking the employees for the position taken, and stating that full service of roads will be resumed as soon as terminal stations can be opened for the receipt and dispatch of traffic.

The former statement that all elevators were closed is erroneous: those connected with the Dayton, Michigan & Wabash Railroads have not been closed, and the shipment of grain from them continues. Business is about as usual, and later shipments by [lake] have been made from them. Advances have been made by banks on outgoing grain, incoming [?] only having been stopped on account of the risk and opportunity attending shipments [?] to this point.


COLUMBUS, July 26.-It is reported that Rocking Valley miners who quit work and demanded ten cents advance per item for mining coal have been granted their demands and returned to work to-day. Matters continue very quiet tonight. Travel has fallen off until traffic scarcely more than pays expenses. In certain localities people want certain trains run but the managers refuse to run any unless they can run all. The [Sciota] Valley Railroad has commenced to ship freight to and from this city. Railroad men are still firm in their determination to resist any reduction to pay or suffer railroads to [?] unless their demands are complied with. Three companies of citizen bands organized at Newark, all [?] Strikers have also forced themselves into an organization for the purpose of suppressing any outbreak. [Ten] employees of the McCaney Salt Works, located near Shawnee, [?] struck this morning for an increase in the per cent. in their wages.



CUMBERLAND, July 26.-The number of strikers is estimated at between six and eight thousand, representing a population of twenty thousand. To feed this large number it is believed there are not are not twenty barrels of flour in this district. In Frostburg, a district of 6,000 people, there are less than ten barrels of flour, actual count in first hands. Something must speedily be done, for the consequences threaten to be serious. The miners have been thrown out of work completely by the strike, which has blockaded coal trains. A citizens' Relief Committee is asking action to alleviate the sufferings of the starving people of this city. Mayor [Wilbers] to-night submitted a request to Major Douglass, which the latter presented to Colonel Sharp, asking that something be done towards shipping provisions. It is likely a provision car will be run from Baltimore without interference. This will keep the miners at Summit Hill, and other men at work.


BALTIMORE, July 26.-The session of the Criminal Court, this morning, was occupied in hearing applications for bail by parties arrested for rioting, about two hundred of whom are still in prison. The Grand Jury made twenty-one presentments for rioting in the case of four parties charged with being the originators of the riot and assault on the Sixth Regiment on Friday night last. Bail was fixed at $6,000. Neither party gave bond. Of sixty-three parties held for the action of the Grand Jury, twenty gave bail in $3,000. Seventy of the parties are held for a further hearing, and twenty have given [?] $6,000[?].



LOUISVILLE, July 26.-But little fear of further trouble is entertained. The display of citizens has had its effect, and indications point to the resumption of the usual quietude and business. The following proclamation explains itself:

To the People of Kentucky:

At this time, when tumult and riot in some of the States, have resulted in bloodshed, destruction of property, a suspension of travel and business, I, with pleasure [?] you that comparative peace and quietude exist throughout our Commonwealth. The only disturbances that have been reported to me occurred in the city of Louisville, and I am informed it was not participated in by railway employees or workingmen, but by turbulent persons who, unwilling to work themselves, sought to drive others from honest labor, and it was easily controlled by the prompt efforts of the citizens of Louisville [asking] for civil authorities. In the crisis through which we are passing, true patriotism and proper respect for law and order demand not only prudence and forbearance but firmness and resolution. Lawless men should be taught that peace and order shall prevail, and that honest, law-abiding men are at the front. Violence and lawlessness will not benefit any class, and usually proves most disastrous to poorer classes. Having been asked to send troops to localities where no unusual excitement or turbulence exists, I feel it is my duty to state that I believe the civil power of the Commonwealth is at present, sufficient to protect all classes, and quiet any disturbance that is apprehended and it should be invoked and exhausted before the aid of the State Guard is asked, and troops should only be used to support the civil authorities in preserving peace. I therefore call to all mayors, sheriffs, and peace officers of Kentucky to be [?] in the discharge of their duties. I earnestly ask all good citizens by precept and example to use every effort to avert violence and [?] and I pledge whatever peace or authority is vested in me to aid in preserving the peace and enforcing the law.

[Signed] [?] B. McCREARY, Governor.



NEW YORK, July 26.-The Pennsylvania Central railway company reports that everything along the line looks encouraging and as though a speedy termination of the difficulties will be speedily arranged.

The Erie railway company commenced to receive local and through western freights at all stations in the city to-day, being the first to raise the blockade. A general order has been issued by the company [?] agents resuming the sale of tickets to [?] points on the main line and branch, also to western cities over such of its connecting lines as are at present running passenger trains. The employees along the line have gone to work again with alacrity at the reduced rates.

BUFFALO, July 26,-There was no movement of live stock to-day. Shipments on the Erie and Central roads will probably be made to-morrow. Only a few soles of cattle were made to city butchers to-day but not sufficient for quotations.


SYRACUSE, July 26.-Eighty trains of loaded freight cars were sent out of Syracuse to-day. The strike is all over. All train hands and machinists are at work. The visiting militia regiment amused the people with a dress parade.


ALBANY, July 26.-The Governor received a dispatch at a late hour stating that the Sheriff and deputies had taken possession of the Northern Central road near Elmira and dispersed the mob. The road was placed under the guard of soldiers and armed citizens, and the Sheriff started the trains.

At a meeting of the strikers in Capitol Park this afternoon, the speakers counseled peace and no lawless acts. It was stated that Mayor Banks has agreed to present a position of the citizens of Albany, asking the New York Central Railroad authorities to restore wages paid before the late reduction, and ask the railroad folks to give it favorable consideration. This plan met with general approval and the meeting adjourned until Friday.



SAN FRANCISCO, July 26.-The fire alarm from the corner of Stewart and Missouri streets, proved unfounded. As far as can at present be gathered, the fire near the mad dock was of incendiary origin, the evident intention being to involve the company's property in its spread. On the arrival of the first detachment of citizens, a crowd of about ten thousand had gathered. The wharves, lumber and coal yard, in which the fire was raging, were surrounded on the land side by a fence running near the bottom of a steep hill, leading us to St. Mary's hospital. On the top of this hill a crowd had assembled, while a portion of them attempted to set fire to the fence. The police and citizens attempted to drive them off and were met by showers of scenes from the hill.


In the face of a hot fusillade of stones, and the mob began firing pistols. The force answered with a volley, and getting to close quarters, used clubs with telling effect. As far as can be ascertained, the casualties of last night are as follows: A.H. Gridwall, assistant note teller in the London and San Francisco bank, shot in the charge of the Vigilants, of which he was a member. A member of the mob posted on the hill near Mail Dock, died soon after. Officers Smith, Wilson and [Morehouse] wounded, not dangerously. Officers Parsons and Pomeroy pistol shots in the head and leg respectively, but not serious. J.K. Connolly, drives No. 1 hose cart, shot in the leg by a rioter. Samuel Scrousse, on a cart with Connolly, is reported to be shot dead by the mob, but was not verified at the coroner's inquest. The foreman of No. 3 hose was struck by a stone and severely hurt. James Dentworth was fatally injured, his leg was broken. Henry Warber was killed by the hose card on Pacific street, near [Stocton]. Thomas Paxton, boilermaker, was shot in the chest, near the mall dock, and is probably fatally injured. Charles Miller was shot in the head while [?] a riot. Two hoodlums, Reilly and Thompson, were shot on [Riocon] Hill, result not known. A rioter named Cart was dangerously wounded. Hayes, another of the mob, was shot in the knee. A great number of the committee and police were more or less hurt by stones thrown, and many rioters severely clubbed, and, it is believed quite a number were wounded by pistol shots, where names and extent of injuries could not be ascertained.



JERSEY CITY, July 26.-The Brotherhood of Engineers on the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad held a protracted meeting this afternoon, considering their ultimatum in favor of the firemen and sent a committee to Superintendent [Reasoner] to announce their determination to not continue the strike. Superintendent [Reasoner] then went to the firemen's meeting and promised to use his influence with other officers of the company to have their wages returned to the figure paid before the ten per cent. reduction. The firemen appointed a committee to go to the office at Scranton and decided to run a train as usual until an answer is received.


NEWARK, July 26.-The resumption of work on the Morris & Essex railroad gives great joy to the people. Trains run regularly. The military went through the exercise of dress parade to-day.



MEMPHIS, July 26.-Last evening, men on the Memphis and Charleston railroad, appointed a committee to wait on the officers and ask that their wages be advanced to the same rate as was paid by other roads here, which Col. McGhee, general manager, this evening agreed to do. No [?] on any of the roads and none is probable. Passengers for New York, are coming here from St. Louis to avoid strikers.



DETROIT, July 26.-Advices from Jackson state the strike on the Michigan Central and its branches ended at six o'clock. Division Superintendent Brown and a committee of strikers had a consultation, and go to work with the assurance that their grievances shall be settled by arbitration, and justice will be done to all. Trains started moving to-night, and no further trouble is anticipated on this road.



INDIANAPOLIS, July 26.-Gov. Williams issued his proclamation to-day, commanding the enforcement of law, and calling on the Sheriffs of the various counties and the Judiciary to use the utmost endeavor to prevent violence, and preserve the peace. Judge Greshan; of the United States Court, has issued orders to Marshals to protect property in charge of the court.


DETROIT, July 26.-A meeting of the Canada Southern strikers was held at Grease Isle this morning, every department and grade being represented and Superintendent Woodford being present. After a full discussion of the situation, a motion was made that the resolutions passed on Monday evening to strike should be rescinded, and that work will be resumed at once. This was carried without a dissenting voice. These men here conducted themselves in a commendable manner throughout the strike. Upon mature restriction they, becoming satisfied that their interests would be 'better' served if on the side of loyalty and good order, had the courage to place themselves right. The local trains upon the American division are fully resumed and there will be no further interruption. It is confidently expected that the employees; of the Canadian division will speedily follow the example of their American brethren and the operation of the line be fully restored.

About this Document

  • Source: The Daily Post
  • Date: July 27, 1877