Thomas E. Calvert 1888 strike remarks

Following the strike of 1888, railroad officials were careful to avoid hiring union members and employees who had "behaved badly" during the 45-day strike. Thomas Calvert, as General Superintendent in Lincoln, worked with railroad officials to help in the process of regulating re-employment.

Mr. G.W. Holdrege, G.M., Omaha, Nebr.

Dear Sir:-

I have again carefully gone over this question of Engineers and Firemen with all our Master Mechanics, Superintendents and Train Masters together, and the list they would take back is not changed very much from the list which I sent you based on- information previously received from our Supts. and Master Mechanics.

I send you herewith list which shows all the men we would care to take back without any marks opposite their names.

Those marked with a "#" are the worst men we have. I find that the list as made up after talking with Master Mechanics and Superintendents make a total of 259 Engine men who have made application.

Of this 208 were considered to have behaved themselves in such a manner that we could take them back into the service was it absolutely necessary.

51 are represented as being being bad and undesirable men. This makes about 20 per cent. In order to raise the percentage I have marked certain names with an "O", ten in all. These men while very objectionable, could be used to bring up the percentage; and I give you below reasons why we would not want to take these men back, though Mr. Stone may think it is all right to return them as among the list that we would take back in order to bring up the percentage:-

J.C. Anderson,- On the morning of the strike, after one of our Conductors had gone out with a train as an Engineer, this man Anderson went to the Wife of the Conductor, Burnett by name, and told her, her husband would probably not come back alive, and scared the woman very much. He was quite mean around McCook, and has made himself an enemy of the new men.

Ed Bogue,- This man is morally bad, not a desirable man as an Engineer, and was very bitter against our men in Omaha, and did everything he could to make it unpleasant for them.

T.M. Clark,- He is rather an old man' too old for good service. While he did not physically assault any of our new men in Hastings, he called them all sorts of names, and is considered the worst man we had at Hastings, was very abusive, he is raelh [sic] superanuated.

T. Carmody,- We are satisfied, though we cannot legally prove it, that he was one of the party who assaulted and very nearly killed Engineer Brown at Nebraska City.

I put his name in because the proof is not positive, and I therefore give him the benefit of the doubt, but otherwise he is a pretty good man.

D.M. Cook was also with the same crowd at Nebraska City who assaulted Brown, and he is in the same boot as Carmody.

E.L. Fuller was very troublesome, is believed to be one of the men who doped Switch Engines in Lincoln yard; was generally abusive. I put his name in because there was some doubt of his actually damaging Company property, as we could not prove this definitely against him.

E.S. Gore let his Engine freeze up and burst pipes at Concordia. He abused Engr. Duval at Concordia, assaulting him, but doing no damage.

Simon Lewis,- Lewis is getting old and cranky, and while he has not assaulted anyone, he was such a nuisance and abused our men so we had to detail a special policeman to prevent his interfering with our men. To one man running between Lincoln and Columbus he was especially troublesome and annoyed him to such an extent that he complained of him. It was at his instigation that the special policeman was put on.

Ed. Manchester was genearally abusive; abused his own brothers who were working for the Company, and made himself generally obnoxious.

Joe McKain abused Engr. Willis and threatened to kill him and his fireman, stayed around the depot at Kearney for the express purpose of making it unpleasant for the new men as possible.

This will reduce the number of men rejected to less than 20 per cent, and the rest of the men have been so abusive, I do not think we ought to consider their cases at all.

Yours truly,

T. E. Calvert

About this Document

  • Source: T. E. Calvert
  • Source: T. E. Calvert
  • Source: G. W. Holdredge
  • Source: G. W. Holdredge
  • Collector:
  • Collector:
  • Citation: Newberry Library, CBQ Archives 33 1880 9.5-9.51 1888 Strike Lists, ,
  • Date: April 27, 1889