The Mighty Strike. Mad Anarchy Here

This article from the July 21, 1877 edition of the Daily Alleganian and Times gives an account of the strikers halting trains and notes the arrest of the ringleaders.

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Trains halted.

Arrest of Ringleaders.

Yesterday was a day of wild excitement in Cumberland. It seemed as if all the excited spirit of the city and country around were thronging about the depot all day.

About noon and during the early afternoon three freight trains arrived from Martinsburg. The one containing a detachment of troops was allowed to pass through, but the other two were stopped, the strikers boarding the trains and compelling the firemen to step down and out. All this was done in the best of humor, the trainmen not seeming very unwilling to abandon their posts.

The strikers were led by a large man, whose name it is unnecessary to mention. He seemed to have a remarkable power of persuasion in operating with trainmen. These three freight trains were the only ones that arrived yesterday from Martinsburg, though some seven or eight engines without trains came up. One of these was boarded by the strikers at the Shantytown crossing, and stopped engines and firemen abandoning her at the command of the strikers.

About ten o'clock four strikers, Wm. Gross, Izer and Lowry, together with Wm. Wrench, the acknowledged leader of the strikers, were arrested by the police and taken to the station house.

The police were followed by a crowd of some three or four hundred, who demanded the release of the prisoners. The surged around the station house, and were scarcely held at bay by the three or four policemen who were on guard.

After finding that the men could not be released without bloodshed, the angry throng dashed up Bedford street to the Mayor's residence. That gentleman had already retired, but came down at the request of the crowd, who asked the release of Wrench. The Mayor, after being assured by the prisoner's friends that he would not interfere with trains any further, granted his release upon the giving of proper security for his appearance to-day.

The Mayor addressed the crowd from the front steps of his residence and urging them to disperse to their homes as law-abiding citizens. He would tolerate no interference with the police. If that was done he would be compelled to strengthen in. An episode of this affair was the appearance of two women on the scene, who dashed through the crowd and up the steps, one of them demanding peremptorily the release of Gross, whose wife, she said, was lying very ill at home. She was loudly cheered by the crowd.

The men returned to the station house, and upon the release of Wrench escorted him away with cheers.

During the afternoon a special train with a detachment of some fifty or sixty troops arrived, and after a delay of several hours proceeded on its way to Keyser. Col. Sharpe, Master of Transportation, accompanied it.

During the day the passenger trains East and West were forcibly traveled by squads of tramps and railroad men.

About this Document

  • Source: Daily Alleganian and Times
  • Date: July 21, 1877