The Strike at Home

This article from the July 20, 1877 issue of the Pittsburgh Daily Post describes the blockade of the by railroad workers on strike and describes the strike's impact on the entire region.

The Blockaded.
Brakemen Unanimously Abandon Their Posts.
All freight Traffic of the Trunk Line Suspended
The Main Tracks in Possession of the Strikers.
The Assistant Superintendent Assulted.
Intense Excitement Among Railroaders and Citizens.
The Trainmen's Union Will Stand by the Discontents.
Interviews With Employes [sic] and Officials.

The strike of the railroad employes [sic] has finally extended to this city, and yesterday the freight traffic of the Pennsylvania Central road—the greatest trunk line of the country—was wholly suspended. In the morning the brakemen and flagmen of the Western Division abandoned their posts and thus far the company has not been able to run through the heavy freight traffic which has accumulated from the west. The strikers not only persistently refused themselves to aid in taking out the trains, but also positively refused to allow any other employes [sic] to make the runs. At first some few were found who were willing to attempt this feat in spite of the men, but all such attempts were fruitless, and out of them grew a little riot, in which Mr. David Watt, Assistant Superintendent of the Western Division, was struck in the face by one of the rioters. The strikers and their sympathizers assembled in vast multitudes about the Outer Depot, and the excitement in this vicinity and in the city too became intense. Frequent threats were made by the discontents, but no other disorder followed. The trouble yesterday was confined to the freight brakemen and flagmen of the Western Division of the Pennsylvania road. The engineers, firemen, and many of the conductors of the freight trains and passenger trains took no part in the strike. The employes [sic] on the other roads centering in this city remained at their posts all day, but the sympathies of these, as well as of the feelings of the Pennsylvania Central men, are generally with the brakemen, and the strike may yet become general. At a meeeting of the Train Men's Union last night resolutions were adopted, calling upon the reinstatement of all employes [sic] who were recently discharged, and demanding the same wages given before the ten per cent. reduction. This would seem to indicate a general strike of all employes [sic] on all roads centering at this point, though the measures taken by the officials to prevent such a catastrophe may be successful. Thus far the greatest harm resulting form the trouble, is found in the detention of the live stock at East Liberty. Following are the details of the strike:


The first intimation of the strike had by the officials was received yesterday morning about eight o'clock. Several through freight trains were made up ready to start, when Conductor Bryan's crew sent word to the dispatcher that they would not take out the train under the double leader order. The dispatcher then asked two yard crews to take it out, and they, it is said, refused and were discharged. Subsequently Conductor Gordon ordered two men to take out an engine, but the strikers cut it loose from the trian. Gordon then made another attempt, but the men on the train were stowed away, and compelled to desert the engine. By this time a large crowd of strikers and spectators had collected and the strike began to assume a serious aspect. The condition of the affairs was immediately reported at the headquarters of the division. Superintendent Pitcairn had left in the morning for the East on a pleasure trip, and his chief clerk, Mr. David Watt, was left to shoulder the responsibility. Mr. Watt went into the yard to find that all brakemen of this end of the line were united, not only to themselves resist the new order, but also in a determination to prevent all active employes [sic] of the road from working under the new plan. While the frieght brakemen refused to work, the engineers and firemen of the freight trains were remaining steadfastly at their posts awaiting orders, and all the employes [sic] of the passenger trains were running as usual. No attempt was made either to disturb the passenger trains, or to induce the employes [sic] thereto to desert their posts.


Towards noon men were secured who were willing to make the run, and an attempt was made to get off a train consisting of about thirty cars. A call had been made on the Mayor for police to disperse the crowd, and a few of the officers discharged a few that days ago were found last evening about City Hall in waiting for their pay. These were sent to the grounds, and with their aid it was expected that the train could be sent through. While Mr. Watt was instructing the police, and at the same time getting things in readiness to start the train, one of the strikers—alleged to be Thomas McCall—jumped out from the crowd and struck Watt a severe blow over the eye, almost felling him. Officer John Fox, interfered, and McCall immediately attacked him, striking him in the face. This was the signal for a demonstration from the crowd, and in a moment the wildest disorder prevailed, and the affair assumed the proportions of a riot. Stones were hurled through the air. Shrieks and curses resounded, and in a moment the police were actively engaged.


After striking Fox, McCall made an effort to escape. Several times he was in the clutches of a policeman, but each time by the interference of the other strikers, he escaped. Dodging around the tracks he was pursued by several of the policemen, while the others endeavored to hold the crowd in check. Finally he was captured, and then ensued a terrible struggle. It required the united strength of four or five policemen to hold him, while he incessantly yelled to his comrades to come to his assitance. Beyond throwing stones, however, they did not respond, and McCall was borne struggling to the Twelfth ward station house, seeing which, and perceiving that the policemen would use their revolvers if necessary, the crow became quiescent, but continued to lounge around the tracks.

Mr. Watt afterwards went in person to the Mayor's office to secure more policemen and an additional force of about twenty men were sent to the place, most of the officers having been on duty during the night previous were still sleeping, and it was not possible to obtain their services.


When the excitement has somewhat subsided at the Outer Depot, the road officials issued orders to have all the stock trains at East Liberty sent out, as they anticipated trouble there also. When the officials reached East Liberty to execute these orders, they were surprised to find that the strikers had preceeded them, and had succeeded in getting many of the trainmen to join in the strike, and they immediately took possession of the trains. Resistance on the part of the engineers was useless and they sat at their posts and ran their trains on the sidings. The next move of the strikers was to take possession of the main track, and stop all frieght trains coming east or west. After the situation had been explained to the trainmen, these coming in from the east were allowed to proceed so as to let them run into the outer depot, and prevent the main track from being blockaded. About eleven o'clock one train was taken out to be sent east, but was stopped before it had proceeded far. It was necessary that some of the stock trains should be pulled up to the sidings to be unloaded, and this was done by the Pan Handle engineers, none of those belonging to the Pennsylvania road being allowed to go out. In consequence of this state of affairs at the East End business at the Central Live Stock yards has been necessarily suspended for the present. Dealers in live stock could not have it transported and therefore did not invest. At twelve o'clock crowds began to collect, many of those strikers who held the fort at the Outer depot came up and matters began to assume a serious aspect. Attempts were again made to move one of the trains but it did not get out. Word was then sent to the Mayor's office for a detail of police. In response to this request the Mayor sent officer William J. White and six of the recently discharged patrolmen, who left the Union depot shortly after twelve o'clock on an express train, which stopped at the Outer Depot, where, although a large crowd had assembled, the excitement had abated. The officers then proceeded to the East End where another crowd even larger than that at the Outer Depot was anxiously waiting for the next move on the part of the officials. Not a word was uttered as the official stepped off the train and compelled the strikers and others who had assembled to get off the track, but all quietly acquiesced. The engines of the Pan Handle then began moving about and one train loaded with cattle and horses was taken out, and another containing hogs for the East End market was moved in. At this the strikers gathered in groups and entered into an animated discussion. As one of the conductors who had been among the strikers, but was induced by the officials to take a train, boarded one of two engines which had started eastward, he was threatened with severe punishment by the strikers if he brought back an empty train.

A large number of brakemen came in on the road on the afternoon trains to go out again, but upon learning the situation, many of them joined the strikers and refused to take out their trains. At a quarter past two all the strikers left and proceeded to their hall on Penn avenue to hold a meeting.


Shortly after three o'clock another attempt was made to send from the Outer Depot a through freight train under then Double Header arrangement. Engine No. 473, James Woodward engineer, and engine No. 773, Edward McConnell engineer, were selected to haul the train. About thirty cars were got, in readiness, and the latter engine was attached to the train, while No. 473 pushed out the yard on to the main track. The strikers, however, had learned of the official's intentions, and by the time the latter engine had arrived into place, had assembled about the spot in vast numbers. The coupling was made without trouble, and at the request of the officials half a dozen policemen mounted either eingine to protect the men of the cab, while still other knights of the mace took positions on the train to see that no harm came to the brakemen who were willing to risk their necks. Everything being in readiness, the signal to start was given, the engines were started. The strikers, however, assembled about Woodward's engine until the tracks in front was crowded with men as thick as flies, and fully as many more gathered about the tender. The remonstrated with the engineer, who in answer to their demands, whistled down brakes, shut of the steam and dismounted from his engine before the train had proceeded fifty yards. As his feet touched the ground the striking brakemen set up lusty cheers, and many of them rushed about the knight of the throttle to extend their congratulations. "Bully boy, Jim," "Stand by us, Jim, that's right," "Take care of yourself, Jim," and many similar expressions of approval were showered down on the engineer from all sides.


The reporters too gathered about Engineer Woodward. He declared that he had been waiting about the yards since early morning awaiting orders. It was his turn to go out first and for that reason he had been called upon to make the hazardous trip. No extra inducement had been offered him by the company, and while he was not one of the strikers he did not feel like risking his own neck as well as the lives of those on his train. Some of the men had threatened him and he believed they were in earnest. He was not disposed to join in any strike, and was anxious to avoid any course that would incur the displeasure of the officials, yet he believed that the brakemen were not altogether at fault. That, however, was none of his business, he declared, and he did not propose to meddle. Mr. Woodward said he had served as an engineer for fourteen years.

The policemen, too, dismounted from the train and mingled with the crowd, but no attempt was made to molest them. It was stated that the officers of the company had sent for another engineer, but the train lay on the track for some minutes, after which the engines were backed into the round house, and no further attempt was made to start a train from this point until about nine o'clock in the evening. The crew which had been selected to run through the Double Header had been brought from the other end of the line. They were not molested in any way.


About half-past nine o'clock last evening, the crowd at the Outer Depot numbered fully five hundred people, strikers and others who had been attracted to the spot through curiosity. The strikers, however, were there on other business,—to fight for their rights, as they claim them to be. Knots of men were seen on different parts of the track in animated discussion over the situation. As they heard the iron horse thundering along at a distance, they quickly formed a line on each side of the track and each struck an attitude ready to board the train, and compel the engineer to stop. As the train approached, and they saw that it was an accomodation or an express, they all disappointedly stepped back and allowed it to pass. About ten o'clock the noise of an approaching train was heard on the track upon which the Pan Handle trains run onto the main track. Again the strikers got into position, ready to over-power the engineer. Upon seeing that it was a freight train a deafening yell went up from the crowd, which fairly startled the engineer, who blew the whistle and made all manner of noises to frighten the crowd off, but they wouldn't frighten worth a cent, and a moment latter he was powerless. About fifty of the strikers boarded the train, and compelled him to stop, which he did not hesitate in doing, as he saw it was useless to proceed. He then stated to the crowd that he knew nothing of the strike. In the meantime the coupling was loosened between the locomotive and the train. He was obliged to back some fifty yards, when it was decided by the strikers to allow him to move his train, which ws loaded with cattle into a siding. To make sure that he would not escape them those who were on the train accompanied him to the siding. Although excited and determined to stop the train the strikers did not abuse him in any way. There is no telling, however, what would have been the result had he shown any resistance.


All day long trains laden with cattle and merchandise had been arriving, and as they approached the strikers headquarters, they were compelled to move on the sidings, where they were still standing at the time we go to press. From the Union depot to [Torrens] station there was almost one continued line of cars. This delay will cause a great loss both to the company and shippers. Among the heaviest losers are the live stock dealers, who were unable to take the cattle out of the cars and feed them. If the blockade continues to-day and to-night, the loss will be still greater.


The engineers and firemen of some of the roads held a meeting last evening, and passed resolutions expressing their sympathy for the strikers. Many of those present were enthusiastic over the strike, and the probabilities are that they will fall in line.


The following order, issued a few days ago by Superintendent Pitcairn, is the cause of the difficulty.

Pennsylvania Railroad,
PITTSBURGH, July 16, 1877.

On and after July 19, 1877, two trains are to be run on Union and two trains on National line through between Pittsburgh and Altoona, thirty-six cars to a train, a pusher from Pittsburgh to Derry, and a pusher from Conemaugh to Altoona. No passenger engines to be run on freight. Balance of trains to divide at Derry, first in and first out. Derry to be the headquarters eastward where engines will be turned. Between Derry and Pittsburgh all double headers, thirty-six cars to a train or as many as they can haul, to be increased or decreased in the judgement of dispatcher, according to lading in cars.

ROBERT PITCAIRN, Superintendent.


The strikers claim that this order is an imposition. The claim that the effect will be to dispense with the twenty-four men between here Derry, and that all the company is waiting for is a settlement of the difficulties on the B. & O. R. R. to discharge one-half the freight train employes [sic] . They claim that the double headers two ordinary trains are taken to Altoona, a distance of 116 miles, instead of to Derry, 48 miles, and by one crew. Formerly the trip between here and Derry was considered a day's work. Now the trip between here and Altoona is considered a day's work, for which the brakemen are only paid fifteen cents additional. This cuts down their wages as well as their numbers they claim, and when the reduction of ten per cent is taken into consideration in connection therewith, they are being subjected to no small aggravation. Men in the open air, on shaking trains must have plenty to eat. It brings them to their appetites to ride fifty miles on a freight train. They could eat their whole wage up and not half try. The brakemen and flagmen are the men who are out. Over two hundred of these men are employed when the road is running full time. In addition to the diminished wages, and increased work, the men do not even get steady work at that.


These are the complaints of the strikers given to the reporters in general terms. One of the brakemen who was interviewed at length, admitted, however, that the ten per cent. reduction was a grievance that would also receive consideration now that they are into it. Mr. John Davis, one of the leaders of the men, made this statement, but most of the others declare their willingness to resume work as soon as the "double header" order was annulled. Said one of the brakemen:

You see, since the ten per cent. reduction, we were getting $1 65 per trip. Then we ran to Derby [sic] , and from there we returned in time to take most of our meals at home. Now, however, the trip extends to Altoona a day or two, and will have to pay boarding at the rate of twenty-five cents per meal. The reduction in pay and reductions in time taken together will leave us not much over eight dollars or ten dollars per week at the best, and after paying our boarding we will scarecely have left sufficient to keep our families from starving. And then while we and our families are suffering the officials are raking in their fat salaries for little work and are enjoying themselves in plenty. I don't believe in the principal of strikes but this is more than I can stand and I am for fighting it out to the bitter end.


Shortly after nine o'clock the reporter found himself in the midst of a number of officials in the Superitendent's office at the outer depot. They were discussing the situation pro and con, and while the appearance of each indicated that they fully realized the gravity of the situation, they all seemed to be taking the troubles cooly and philosophically. Civil Engineeer Phillips and Dispatcher Garrett were selected to undergo the interviewing process. In answer to the question of the reporter the latter official made the following statement of the troubles:

"You see many crews have been kept in the employ of the company in anticipation of better business. About three months ago the freight business got very low and we were compelled to discharge ten crews of four men each. This left twenty-six crews, or about one hundred and twenty-four men, in the employ of the company on this division. During the past two weeks there has been another heavy decrease in the freight traffic. The business indeed would not give employment to more than fifteen or eighteen of the twenty-six crews which were left remaining. Then where there was a good run for the men, we made it a point to take off the young and single men, and put in their place old, faithful and experienced men, who had large families to support. As, for instance, the run between this point and the Southwest branch was considered a good job, and we removed some of the single men from this run to make room for married men. We could do this, because after the discharge we still had eight crews more than we needed. Now when the order for double headers went into effect the number of surplus crews would be increased to sixteen. Provisions were in progress, however, at the time of the strike to transfer these extra men to the run between Derry and Altoona. The men claim that the Double Header arrangements is the primary cause of the strike, but this is shown to be incorrect by the fact that we have been sending from four to six double crews heretofore. Ths strike was gotten up because a large number of men expected to be thrown out by the new order of running trains. The conductors and engineers do not sympathize with the strikers. The brakemen alone are engaged in it with the exception of four or five conductors. The trouble is also local, and does not extend beyond this division. The strikers have prevented any trains from leaving the yard, and at present (between nine and ten o'clock) the situation remains unchanged from to-day. What the next few hours will bring forth we cannot say."

The officer had scarcely finished his speech until one of the trainmen arrived to tell that the strikers had just prevented another train from leaving the yard, as is related elsewhere.


While circulating among the strikers at the Outer Depot the reporter found a few of the men willing enough to tell of their grievances, though the vast majority persistently and sullenly refused to have any communication with a newspaper man. These few, however, spoke their convicitons plainly and to the point.

"When Vice President Cassatt and General Manager Frank Thomson were at the Altoona shops," said one of the men, "Cassatt remonstrated with Thomson against any further reduction."

"'Why,' said Cassatt, 'the men can not buy butter for their bread.'"

"'Butter,' said Thomson, 'what do they want with butter? Let them make dip.'"

"The reduction was made," continued the complaining striker, "and whether the men have been living on "dip" or not it is very evident from the beligerent feelings displayed here to-day that they can fight on dip.

"Yes," continued the man in a cold, bitter tone, which showed plainly how deeply he felt the cold-hearted insult, "and Mr. Frank Thomson drives his tandem team and draws his big salary, whilst we must do double work at half pay."


Another instance of the bitter feeling entertained against the official by many of the strikers was strikingly manifested at the corner of Forty-eighth street and Penn avenue. Here a large crowd had collected to condone with one another. The reporter approached the crowd to listen to the conversation, when he was abruptly confronted by an employe [sic] , who was yet begrimmed with the soot and dirt of the road.

"What do you want?" said the striker. "I have a notion to ride you on a rail."

"I belong to the THE POST and came to hear your own story of your grievances," replied the reporter, in an easy manner, never dreaming that he would be taken for a railway magnate, and, therefore, not realizing the gravity of his position.

"No, you're not," said the striker. "You're a railroad officer come among us as a spy, and I've a notion to hit you. We wouldn't trust you with any information, but would rather tell our story at the office of THE POST."

"Well that's exactly the point I desire to gain," replied the scribe, who noticed a street car approaching and in the fact discovered a chance of escape. Jump on the car when it arrives and accompany me to the office; I'll pay your fare there and back."

By this time the crowd had all assembled about the reporter and he was hemmed in by strikers, who stood in rank ten or twelve men deep. Most of the men accepted his story as truth, but a few of them were still disposed to "bounce" the unluckey [sic] reporter. While waiting for a reply from his disputant the reporter heard other members of the crowd make threats of lynching him, but to each of these a reply was made by others of the strikers, depreciating any such measure. By this time the railroader who first approached had concluded to accept his story as truth, and as the car had now arrived nearly opposite, the crowd made room for him to pass through. He gained the car in safety. Most of the men seemed to take it as a matter of course that the newspapers would not and dare not give their side of the question, and generally they left the newspaper men to grope around and guess up their side or take the account given by the railroad officials. Any person who may think the men are not in earnest can thoroughly dispossess themselves of all such views by attempting an interview with the strikers.


Mr. Wm. Thaw, First Vice President of the Pennsylvania Railroad, was found at his office, busy with routine work. His fears were that the strike would extend to the Pan Handle and its connections, and might last a month. "We do not," said he, "anticipate the outrages that have been committed on the Southern lines. The men along the line of Baltimore & Ohio are a different kind of people from those along the line of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Our citizens are not the desperate class who have been wronged in the war—who have lost their relations. Disappointed and ruined, they don't care much for anything, and rather welcome confusion than avoid it."

What is your remedy for this, Mr. Thaw?

"It is a mere question of wages and additional help. The men have not been oppressed in any way except in that."

What will you do in case violence is resorted to?

"We shall call, of course, upon the Sheriffs of the various counties along the line. The Government has got to protect us. I do not pretend to say whether the men, looking at it from their standpoint, have cause for their strike or not. They do not permanently help things by knocking men down, but injure their cause with the people."

Who has been knocked down?

"Mr. Davy Watt, the Assistant Superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and Mr. John Fox, the venerable policeman at the Union depot."

"Just what way we will meet it I cannot say," continued Mr. Thaw, "it looks to me like very ugly trouble."


At the Outer Depot we found Davy Watt and his black eye closely together. He had gone out this morning to start the train, the dispatcher, Mr. Davy Garrett, having reported the hostiles thick around the engine. They had the switch turned off and the old frieght locomotive stood with noisy scape pipe ready for a pull, but the party of men determined that she should not go, and the leader, named McCall, stepped up to Mr. Watt when he turned the switch right, telling the engineer to "come on," and dealt him (Watt) a blow in the eye. The blood flew—Watt retired to Davy Garrett's office, got into his buggy and came immediately down to the Mayor's office, but Mayor McCarthy said he was sick, he could not go out and Watt returned disappointed, the hostiles having full control of the yard. The day force was been reduced and the railroad men know it and are not afraid of the police. Besides, Watt says the police sympathize with the men.

Mr. Pitcairn had not reached the outer depot at five o'clock, but was expected. Mr. Watt and his able assistant, Mr. John Aldrich, seemed to think they were in for an all night session. Several smart Alecks of clerks, who desired to answer questions before they were put, were standing around the living illustration of the general confusion which reigned, and was visible on all sides, notwithstanding their asservations that "Nothing was the matter," and that there was no strike. Capt. Batchelor put in an appearance in Manager Watt's office to see how things were working, and thought the Mayor should have responded promptly in person, backed by a large force.


McCall, the alleged assailant, was kept in the Twelfth ward station house until shortly before eight o'clock. A number of the strikers assembled about that place and although no effort was made to release him it was deemed expedient to remove him to the Central Station so that a stronge [sic] force of officers could be summoned in case of emergency. Two officers were detailed to bring the railroader to the central portion of the city and when they stepped upon the pavement with their man, several of the strikers realizing the situation gathered about the trio making threats that they would release him. In a twinkling the small handful of strikers was increased to a large crowd, but before those who had last assembled could fully understand this situation, the officers had placed their man on a street car and were flying down Penn avenue at a very lively gait. A few of the mob following yelling and hooting, and a scene of great excitement and confusion followed. The officers dismounted in safety, however, and condneted McCall to the Central Station without further trouble, although there was an immense crowd following. In this connection, it is proper to state that no formal charge has yet been preferred against Mr. McCall, though such will doubtless by made this morning. It was claimed by half a score of the strikers that he is not the man who struck Mr. Watt, and one reporter last evening heard several brakemen announce their determination of making oath that he is not guilty. They claim that another man struck over McCall's shoulder at Watt. The same assertion was made that the meeting held last night and mentioned, of course, there was an intensely bitter feeling among the brakemen at the arrest and imprisonment of McCall, and there were numerous threats last night of an organized attempt to forcibly release him. At the corner of Twenty-eighth street and the railroad was assembled until a late hour in the night a vast crowd of railroaders and curiosity seekers together, and among the former there was much bitter denunciation at the course of the officers who arrested McCall. McCall is a man of about thirty years, of light, though wiry frame, and withal presents a rather prepossessing appearance.


No trouble has occurred on this line nor is any anticipated by the officials. Trains arrived and departed regularly and business moved along as usual. There was more or less agitation among the train men over the reports of troubles on the Pennsylvania Railroad, but so far as indications pointed up to a late hour last night, no strike would be inaugurated. Here and there could be found some workmen yesterday who freely expressed themselves that they would gladly join in a strike were one commenced, but they did not care to agitate one nor take their initiative. There is a restlessness among the employees noticeable and judging from the feelings expressed by many, it would not be a difficult matter to inagurate a strike here. Much sympathy is expressed for their fellow employees on other roads and all the employees interrogated in the matter wished them success. The officials, as already stated, apprehend no trouble whatever.


What has been said above relative to the Pan Handle Company will also apply to the Allegheny Valley Railroad. There was no interruption of the traffic of the road and no movement was noticeable looking toward a strike. None is apprehended by the officials, and they believe their road will not be materially affected by the troubles of others.


The Trainmen's Union, an old organization, which includes among its members employes [sic] from all departments of the roads, held two meetings last evening, one in a hall at the corner of Penn avenue and Twenty-sixth street, and the other on Eleventh street, between Liberty and Penn avenue. The former meeting was secret, but it was ascertained at the close that the expressions of those present were in favor of continuing the strike until the company conceded to their demands. At the latter meeting reporters could not gain access at first, but towards the close they were allowed admittance. Throughout the evening the meeting was quiet and orderly, and the sentiments of those present was decidedly against any demonstration of any kind.

The situation was thoroughly discused. Almost each one present was called upon to state his views, which were almost in every instance favorable to holding out until their demands were acceded to. Among those present were representatives from other tradesmen's unions, who were called upon for remarks. Of these several stated that they had been instructed by their respective associations to state that they were ready at any time to extend aid if called upon. A committee appointed at the fore part of the evening to draft resolutions, reported the following, which were unanimously adopted:

Resolved, First—That we, the undersigned committee, appointed by the employes [sic] of the Western division of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, do hereby demand from said company, through the proper officers, the wages as per department of engineers, firemen, conductors and brakemen, received prior to June 1, 1877.

Resolved, Second—That each and every employe [sic] that has been dismissed for taking part in said strike or meetings held prior or during said strike, be restored to their positions held previous to the strike.

Resolved, Third—That the classification of each of said departments be abolished now and forever hereafter. That engineers and conductors receive the wages received by said engineers and conductors of the highest class prior to June 1, 1877.

Resolved, Fourth—That the running of double trains, except'ng coal trains, be abolished.

Resolved, Fifth—That each and every engine whether road or shipping engine, shall have its [?] own firemen.

Upon the adoption of these resolution, it was decided to adjourn, to meet again at nine o'clock this morning. It was also agreed to call a meeting of all the working men in the county for this evening at 7:30 o'clock, at Railroaders Hall, on Eleventh street, between Liberty and Penn avenue. This call includes men of all trades. The meeting then adjourned.


The news of the strike spread rapidly throughout the city, and of course occasioned intense excitement everywhere. The street cars on Penn avenue did a large business last evening in carrying people to the vicinity of the outer depot. The crowd of strikers was augmented by vast numbers of idle men, mill hands and not a few loafers and thieves ready for any soft snap that might be presented to relieve a spectator or railroader of his watch or purse. Many men who were formerly in the employ of the Pennsylvania Central Company, but had previously been discharged, also rushed to the scene of the strike and added to the imprecations of the strikers. At Twenty-eighth street an immense crowd was collected, but there was no disorder at Twenty-sixth street another large crowd discussed the situation until a late hour and about the place of meeting for the Trainmen's Union on Eleventh street many of the strikers and sympathizing friends assembled. The strike was the general topic of conversation everywhere among the pedestrians on the streets, and so far as could be learned the general sympathy was with the strikers. A number of our best citizens last night expressed the hope to the reporter that the brakemen would finally be successful.


At two o'clock this morning a representative of the THE POST visited the Outer Depot and Torrens Station, and found everything quiet along the line. In the telegraph office of the outer depot the click of the instruments was heard, and the reporter found Superintendent Pictairn, Mr. David Watt and other officials of the road busily engaged communicating with headquarters at Philadelphia Mr. Pitcairn, in answer to a question propounded by the reporter as to how the strike originated, stated that he was at a loss to know; that he had gleaned his information from the papers. He further stated that the "double headers" to which the strikers seem to object, have been running on the road for the past five years.

Have you a sufficient number of men to take out the trains? suggested the reporter.

"Yes, sir," replied the Superintendent. "We have more men than are required, but we cannot put them to work. We have no protection from the strikers."

It having been stated at the meeting of the Trainmen's Union that McCall did not make the assult on Mr. Watt, that gentleman was asked about the matter, and stated that he could not tell who struck him. McCall was still in the lock-up at two o'clock.

At Twenty-eighth street the strikers were distributed along the track for a distance of a thousand yards, and also on the hill side. No demonstrations were made. Passenger trains were running frequently. One of the party made a short address, in which he asked the men to join in checking the progress of passenger trians, but up to the time our reporter left no attempt had been made in this direction and it was believed by all that everything would remain quiet until daylight at least, when another effort will be made to send out freight trains. The aspect of things to-day is anxiously looked for all over the country.


Mr Watt last evening called at the residence of Sheriff Fife to obtain, if possible, a posse to protect the road, so that trains can pass through. He, however, was not at home. It was stated that Superintendent Pitcairn telegraphed to the Government, asking that the militia be called into service.

About this Document

  • Source: The Daily Post
  • Date: July 20, 1877