The Backbone Broken

This article from the July 28, 1877 issue of the Pittsburgh Daily Post notes a major break in deliberations, as the Fort Wayne, Indiana strikers agree to allow freight trains to run.

Strikers on the Fort Wayne Road
Concede a Point.
They Will Allow All
Freight Trains to Run.
The Situation Unchanged on the Pennsyl-
vania Road. A Novel Proposition by Columbus
Strikers. The Military to be Centered at
This Point. Alleged Law Breakers Ar-
The Coroner's Investigation Con-

An unexpected feature in the strike was developed yesterday afternoon. It was the determination of the Fort Wayne strikers to make no forcible resistance to any attempt of the officials to raise the blockade. Announcement of this determination spread quickly through both cities, and many rejoiced at what they considered the virtual termination of the strike. While the strikers thus conceded one of the main principles for which the railroad companies have been contending—the possession and absolute control of their property—they have by no means abandoned their position. They declare they will make no resistance to any attempt to move trains but they also declare that no skilled railroaders can be secured to move these trains. The passenger train employes [sic] of the Fort Wayne road also took up the cause of the freight trainmen yesterday and last night no passenger trains were sent out. This is a new and ugly feature in the troubles.

The military forces of the State have been ordered to this point, and probably an attempt to run the trains on all the roads will be made to-day—if men can be secured to do it. The military officers are determined in their course, and the strikers have acted wisely in deciding to make no further resistance. The streets were pretty well crowded by people anxious to witness military movements, but good order was generally proserved [sic] . At a late hour last night there was the usual amount of drunkenness in the central portion of the city, though most excellent order was had in the rural districts. Among the men who were staggering about the principal streets, were a few who wore the militiaman's uniform.

The Coroner's inquest was concluded yesterday on the bodies of the victims to the riot. Following are the full developments of yesterday.


Since the bloody riot on Twenty-eighth street, the interest in the strike directly has centered in the Ft. Wayne road. Daily a large concourse of the strikers have been in assemblage at the Outer depot, Allegheny, and, as has been set forth in our columns from time to time, the road has been operated by the strikers themselves, as far as the operations extended. Yesterday, however, this interest took an additional importance. During the afternoon the announcement came that the strikers had virtually conceded the point for which the railroad companies have been contesting, and out of which grew massacre of Saturday night, viz., the possession and absolute control of their property. From this announcement it was generally believed that the bottom had been knocked out of the strike, and there was naturally a lively interest manifested to learn how the much desired result was accomplished. It was in this wise:


During the morning General Joe Browne, commander of the Sixth division called at the Duter [sic] depot to have a consultation with the strikers. He there met half a dozen or more of their numbers and it was decided that a general meeting of the disconted [sic] and idle railroaders should be held at half-past two in the afternoon. Thereupon the General retired. At the appointed hour he returned to the depot to find about two hundred men assembled, most of whom were railroaders. He was personally acquainted with only about three or four of the number. These had served as members of his regiment, the One Hundred and Second, during the late unpleasant. A meeting was organized and though each of the strikers manifested a disposition to shrink from prominence or leadership, one of the men introduced the military gentleman.


General Browne opened his remarks with the statement that though commander of the local military forces, he had come amongst the men there as a citizen, in citizen's dress. He had come to reason the matter with them. Then he read the proclamation of the Sheriff, calling on the men to surrender the property into the hands of the railroad company and to disperse to their homes as becomes law-abiding citizens. "This," said General Browne, "is all we as citizens can ask of you. We have no desire to dictate to you whether you shall work one dollar or two dollars a day. That is a matter which rests with yourselves. We have the right, however, to ask that you shall not violate the law—to ask that you shall obey the Sheriff's call."

A voice—The Sheriff didn't give us a fair warning.

General Browne took advantage of this interruption to declare that they had "fair warning now," and followed with another exhortation that they surrender the property to the company and to return to their homes. Here he was again interrupted by a striker, who declared that the legislation of the country was to blame for the low wages paid to workingmen and for the general stagnation of business. "When we send a man to Congress, he makes laws to oppress us," continued the railroader.

"Why," good humoredly replied the General, "if one of your number were sent to Congress he would come home sporting a big diamond pin."

This was greeted with hearty laughter, which drowned the General's voice, and the rest of his reply was not audible. Already in a good humor, the crowd was put in still better spirits by the General's sally, and he was allowed to continue.


"I want to talk to you as sensible and reasonable men. You are such, and well know that while you have a right to suspend work if you desire you do not have the right to prevent others from working, and this you are doing by your assemblages. I would advise and request you then to turn over the property of the company into their possession. This action would certainly remove from you the censure of the public, might beget you their sympathy, and possibly might result in securing you the increase you desire. Of the latter, mind you, I cannot assure you. I only speak from surmise, but this I do know. You are far more likely to succeed finally by such a course than by resisting the efforts of the company to run their road. I do not believe in calling out the military in a trouble of this kind until the last extremity, and I am anxious to avoid any necessity for such movement."

Here again the speaker was interrupted by some of the more turbulent of the strikers. Others, however, demanded that he be further heard and some confusion arose. Then it was suggested that a committee be appointed to consult with General Browne, but the latter urged the importance of deciding the question at once. "There is no need of a conference," said he, "but decide now, whether you will relinquish all control of the road." This suggestion was favorably received by several of the strikers, and it was decided to take a vote on the proposition to call on the company to raise the blockade and move the trains. One of the strikers put the question, asking those in favor of so doing to hold up their right hands. Three hands were raised. Then further parleying followed, when the question was put a second time.


"Up, boys, up with your hands," cried Gen. Browne, and in response many hands were shot into the air.

"We're all sound on the strike," cried several in the crowd, "but will let them run their trains if they can get the men to do it."

This seemed to be the general sentiment of the men, but it was as much as General Browne asked and perhaps more than he expected. Having thanked the men for their intention and decision, Gen. Browne at once proceeded to the office of General Manager Layng, on Penn avenue, to apprise him of the action. On his way he sent a dispatch to Governor Hartranft, giving that official, too, the intelligence.


These facts, developed during the afternoon, at once directed public attention again to the lawful management of the road. Every person was eager for news, and for a time there followed a stampede on General Manager Layng by the reporters and others. A reporter of The Post sent on this mission found Mr. Layng at his office, on the corner of Penn and Tenth street, surrounded by officials and with another scribe eagerly peering into his face, expecting an answer. "I have no news to tell you. If I had I should give it to you gladly," said the yffical [sic] to his brother quill driver, as The Post reporter drew within hearing distance. With this remark Mr. Layng turned to learn the business of another gentleman who had approached in the meantime. While on his way to attend to this business The Post reporter put a question, but the same answer came. The official was pressed with business and there was no possibility of learning his views or his intentions.

From another source, however, it was learned that Mr. Layng did not receive so favorably the action of the strikers. Probably he foresaw the difficulty in obtaining railroaders to move the trains, probably he doubted the sincerity of the men. But however that may be we were informed that the General Manager refused to take possession of the property, or rather refused to assume absolute control. The Sheriff was notified some days ago of the blockade and since that time the management have considered the county responsible for any damage that may result to the property. If the company were to assume charge then the county would be relieved of all responsibility, and should there follow a destruction of property the railroad company would be called on themselves to sustain the loss.


Interviews held with a number of strikers last night, show that they consider the present condition of affairs in a worse shape than ever. They hold that it is impossible for the company to secure a sufficient force of new men to run their trains, and that they will yet be compelled to accede to their demands for the restoration of the old wages. The passenger trains, it will be remembered, have been run by the strikers, but since the interview with Gen. Browne they refuse any longer to run them, and will now be passive spectators of the situation. No more resistance will be made to the moving of trains, passenger or freight, and the company is thus in possession of their road, as far as the running of the trains is concerned. All the strikers spoken to state that the victory will eventually be theirs, as they are unanimously determined not to take charge of any trains, and that the suspension of passenger travel will lead to so much additional inconvenience to what the public have already experienced, that the day of a settlement of their differences is not far distant.

A former employe [sic] of the company, who has not been connected with the road for two years, stated he would gladly accept a position on one of the passenger trains, or even a freight train, were the company able to guarantee him absolute safety; were a position tendered him he would refuse only on this account, as he believed his life would be in danger. He knew too much of railroad men to incur this risk. Times were now too exciting, and workingmen of all trades too exasperated for any person to take the place of a striker. He believed that most of the strikers were not sincere in their professions that they would not interfere with the business of the railway company. They would allow all trains to move, but he would not like to be one of the men moving them. This feeling appears to be general among all, and strikers being aware of this fact, are already congratulating themselves on the turn affairs have taken, and the perplexities of the railway officials. In justice to the strikers it might be here added, that all spoken to on the matter say they will do no personal violence to any one the company may employ, but that all employes [sic] can attend to their duties without the least fear of being interfered with.

"We will have a repetition of West Penn accident," said another striker, "if new men are entrusted with the running of trains. It will be a costly experiment for the company. They will lose more with new men at reduced wages than the old employes [sic] with the restoration of their old wages. I would not have any of my friends travel on trains run by new men." These and many other expression, of a similar character, could be heard by any person moving among the crowds of strikers at the Outer depot. They deny emphatically that they are weakening, but hold they are as determined to a man as they were when the strike originated. They feel relieved at the new situation of affairs. They did not wish to assume the responsibility of having passenger travel interrupted, and thus seriously incommode the general public, and for this reason had done all they could in moving passenger trains. But now they say their responsibility is ended, since the agreement made with General Browne that they would not any longer interfere with the company in the transaction of their business. All they had decided to do was to remain as firm and resolute as ever in the strike, and see what progress the company made in employing men to fill their placed.


The crowds gathered at the Federal street depot, the Mayor's office and elsewhere, discussed freely the new condition of affairs. The result is difficult to foresee. The officials say they can easily supply the places of the strikers, but the latter, on the other hand, aver they cannot, at least with competent men. The first result of the agreement of the strikers no longer to interfere with the business of the company was the stoppage of all passenger trains last night. Anxious inquiries were made early in the evening at the ticket office by parties desiring to go West, but the answer invariably was, no trains to-night. "Will there be any trains leave to-morrow," was then asked, but no definite answer was given. Railway officials are very reticent in the matter, but so far as learned, it is probable that a few passenger trains will be run to-day, including one or two through trains. No effort, it is believed, will be made to move freight trains.


Mayor Phillips had several conferences during the day with the strikers, with a view of coming to some agreement relative to the removal of the blockade. He commended them for their action in distributing the freight trains along the track as a measure of precaution against having them destroyed. He also informed them that the company had declined to take possession of the road, not being satisfied that it was perfectly safe. If they did take possession and their property was destroyed they would have to sustain the loss, whereas now they held the county responsible. The company, however, had agreed to take possession in the following terms: All the freight cars now lying along the tracks to be taken to their destination, unloaded and returned to the Outer depot. The company would then accept the property from the city, which would end all further trouble. The Mayor then made the proposition that he would, individually, not as Mayor, reimburse them if they would remove the trains. No definite conclusion has yet been arrived at. At half-past nine o'clock the strikers held a meeting in Dietrich Hall, for the purpase [sic] of considering the matter, but the result of their deliberations has not been ascertained. The trainmen were still in session discussing the proposition at the time our last edition was put to press.

The engineers have decided not to take out trains to-day, which further increases the troubles.

Yesterday morning a number of Chicago business men arrived in the city to look after the interests of a quantity of perishable freight which they have in cars along the road below Allegheny. There are, in all, about fifty cars of perishable freight scattered along between Verner and Loetsdale, consisting of summer salted meat, butter, cheese, &c. The Chicago men were furnished with an engine and a car and employing some men they took a car load of ice down for the purpose of preserving their freight. A few days continuance of this weather must destroy a great deal of this class of freight, despite any efforts which can be made to keep it fresh with ice.

The Mayor is not slackening his efforts to preserve the peace and quiet of the city. The special police and veteran corps are doing valuable service and can suppress any outbreak that may arise. The bridges are well guarded and nothing is left undone that will add to the preservation of peace.


A meeting of the engineers, brakemen and other employes [sic] of the Fort Wayne road was held in a hall at the corner of Pennsylvania avenue and Bidwell street last evening with closed doors. The session continued until an early hour this morning. As the meeting was secret nothing is known as to what action was taken by the men.


Much curiosity was felt yesterday in the movements of the military. Reports were circulated about the streets to the effect that General W. S. Hancock, with between six hundred and one thousand U. S. troops, and General Hartranft with a force of several thousand militiamen, would arrive at the West Pennsylvania depot, Allegheny, during the afternoon. A large crowd of persons was collected about the depot and stood in waiting for several hours, but the troops did not put in an appearance. It is known, however, that they passed Altoona and they are by this time probably quartered at Blairsville Intersection. Rumors were ciruclated last night, however, that three trains conveying the troops had passed Greensburg and that they were lying between Brinton and Braddock on the Pennsylvania Central road. While there is not much reliance to be placed on the rumors, it is known surely that Governor Hartranft is accompanied by some of the militia from the eastern portion of the State. His staff consisting of Adjutant General Latta, Surgeon General Reed, General Smith, Colonel Greene, General Hartshorne, Assistant Adjutant General Hessinger and orderlies, occupied a special car in the trian which brought them over the mountain. The troops of the Pittsburgh division were yesterday ordered to hold themselves in readiness to march and from the general movements of the military it is inferred that most of the troops of the State are to be centered at this point. Doubtless those which passed Altoona will be or have been joined by General Brinton's Philadelphia division and the divisions of General Gallegher of Greensburg, General Harry White, of Indiana and General Huidekope, of Erie. These forces will probably be brought here and under their protection an attempt will be made to raise the blockade. It is not probable any resistance will be offered by strikers, for the military officials "mean business," and will have no mercy on the mob. The main difficulty will be had in getting experienced railroaders to move the trains. A dispatch from Philadelphia yesterday conveys intelligence that Col. Tom Scott is still firm in his determination to make no compromise with the strikers. In this connection we may state that each militiaman now in service will be paid by the State at the rate of thirteen dollars per month and rations. They will receive a full month's pay even though not in service for that space of time.


Late last evening a reporter of The Post went to Twenty-eighth street to discover, if possible, the temper of the strikers of the Pennsylvania road, relative to the new complications on the Fort Wayne. Sheriff deputies patrolled the track the entire length, between the Union Depot and Lawrenceville, and here and there were found groups of policemen, speaking and chatting about "the situation." None were allowed to pass up or down after dark Workmen were still repairing the track; relic hunters were still employing the waning hours of daylight picking up everything that had been twisted into a queer shape by the erratic deviltry of the flames; laborers were digging out lead which had melted from the cars and run between the ties and into the ditches; but


were ty [sic] be seen. At Twenty-eighth street was a crowd of the curious, but a striker was sought for in vain. Down about the corners, however, of Twenty-sixth and Twenty-eighth and Penn, a number were found idling and, like the police, smoking and discussing "the situation." The reporter was received somewhat bluffly. The men had not heard of the concession, or conniving, rather, of the strikers on the Fort Wayne, and remarked very forcibly that no reporter could put up a job of that kind upon them. When assured again and again, however, that the Fort Wayne men turned over the road to the company, and promised not to interfere with men taking out any trains, freight or passenger, one exclaimed:


"There can't be enough men got that understand the business to take out even a passenger train, and the road will be more completely blockaded than before." "That's so," chimed in the others. "Why, the boys will now rule the roads entirely. If the property is burned they won't be to blame—and it will be burned—for the company's men will never watch it as carefully as the trainmen did. The tramps will be at it before morning." "And the military will be kept away too," broke in another, "for if the men don't interfere with any who want to run the trains there'll be no excuse for bring on soldiers." "That's so, its a pretty nice game of the boys," said the others.

"Will you do the same thing here?" asked the reporter.

"We can't tell how that'll be," was the reply. "This is a new dodge, and we don't know what to say about it. You may be sure of one thing, though, that no freight trains will be allowed to come in on this road till we get our rights. That's just as sure as you're alive." And the men swore to this effect in a very determined way.

A deputy informed a reporter that six trains of freights guarded by soldiers, would arrive during the night, but the reporter received no corroboration. The road is so thoroughly guarded that it seems as though a train might any time be brought safely in.


Among the most interesting and important news to the justice-loving public, is the work of the police force. Up to yesterday morning four persons had been arrested for arson, for riot and some six or eight for larceny. Those charged with riot are John Harris, Wm. Phillips, Harry Groff and J. D. McChesney. Those charged with arson are John Johnston, James Carter, Gottleib Fruaninger, and Thomas Burns. Wm. Duncan, charged with malicious mischief in spiking a cannon belonging to Hutchinson's battery and Edward Glenner charged with raiding Cohen's pawn shop, make up the list of principal arrests until yesterday.


The police were active all day long yesterday, too, and several additional arrests of great importance were made. P. B. Carpenter was gathered in by Detective White, on a charge of being the leading party who captured the two guns from the armory of Hutchinson's battery. The information leading to Carpenter's arrest was received from Major Howard Morton, who obtained the guns from the rioters on Monday. It is said that Carpenter admits his participation in the capture of the guns. He gave bail yesterday for a hearing.


John Boyd, a resident of Mansfield, was arrested at that place yesterday by Officers Moran and Coulson. He is charged with having fired the Union depot. Several citizens allege that they saw him at the time, and thinking the day of retribution would come took the precaution to spot him. It was feared he would resist arrest and a couple of other officers were sent to accopmany Coulson and Moran. No attempt was made to release Boyd, however, and he himself made no resistance, so that he was safely lodged in the Central station house yesterday afternoon without trouble. Boyd formerly kept the Grand Central saloon, opposite the Union depot. He is a single man and his father keeps a hotel at Mansfield.


David W. Davis was captured yesterday morning by Officers Robert Graham and Lyons. The evidence against Davis is strong. It is said he was one of the leaders of the strike, and subsequently took an active part in the riot. It is also charged against Davis that he was not only active and prominent in inciting the riot on Saturday afternoon, but that he was one of the ring leaders of the gang that broke into the gun stores and seized the arms for the purpose of massacreing the Philadelphia soldiers. Davis was formerly a brakeman on the Pan Handle road, but was discharged some time before the beginning of the present troubles. He is a married man, and lives in an alley off Penn street, near the Twelfth ward police station. It is stated that Davis was ready to give himself up to the proper authorities previous to his capture, but although his house was surrounded by policemen Thursday night, he did not put in an appearance until yesterday morning.


The capture of Joseph Manks, a mulatto well-known in police circles, was another important capture yesterday. Manks was before Deputy Mayor Butler in the evening, but there was no evidence to warrant his retention, and the official fined him a dollar for being drunk. Before the hearing in other cases had been concluded fresh testimony was secured against Manks and he was therefore held. He is charged with arson and riot too. Manks is one of the proprietors of a colored ranche on Fulton street.


L. D. Clark, charged with stealing guns from Bown's establishment, on Wood street, during the raid on Saturday night, was also pulled in yesterday. He was before the Deputy Mayor at the evening hearing, and was committed for trail at court.


At the regular morning hearing yesterday Deputy Mayor Butler sent four parties to the Workhouse. None of these, however, were charged with being connected with riots. Three tramps named Geo. B. Smith, W. P. Brown, and John O'Connor, arrested in an untenanted building, were retired for thirty days. Peter Albright, for disorderly conduct on the South Side, and Bridget Lavelle, for vagrancy, were each sentenced to thirty days.


The work of clearing the tracks of the Pennsylvania road is being pushed forward with all possible speed. A large force of laborers were engaged at the work all day yesterday and last night. Two tracks were open from Thirty-third street to the Union depot early this morning. The work is being done under the supervision of Mr. P.F. Smith. Superintendent Pitcairn, who has established a General Agent's and Superintendent's office in the building at the corner of Eleventh street and Penn avenue, formerly occupied by the freight agent's department of the Cleveland & Pittsburgh railroad, says that through trains from the west will be put through to-day, and all the way passenger trains will also arrive at and depart from the Union depot as heretofore. The Saturday afternoon special to Ebensburg and Cresson will be abandoned to-day, however, as passengers can be accommodated by the regular trains. Assistant Superintendent Watt has established an office at the Blairsville Intersection. The office of the Excelsior Omnibus Company has been opened on Liberty street, opposite the Union depot. The office of the Keystone Hotel Company has been temporarily placed in the rear of a wall paper store on the corner of Seventh avenue and Smithfield street.


Laborers are also engaged in removing he [sic] debris on this road, and it is expected that in a few days the track will be in condition for running trains. Mr. S.W. Felton, General Superintendent of the road, has established an office in Shoenberger's building, on Penn avenue, opposite the Fort Wayne office. All the offices will be in this building for the present, except the freight office, which has been established in the Cleveland freight building. Local and express trains are still arriving and departing from Birmingham station, South Side.


As mentioned yesterday but two trains are running on this road-the Buffalo express and the Titusville mail. No other trains will be sent out until the company is assured protection. Those running are in charge of the strikers. The main depot is on Pike street; and will remain there until the tracks of the Pennsylvania Central are in running condition. The two tracks which have been opened on the latter road will only be used by it as the traffic of the Pennsylvania is too heavy to allow the Valley trains to run to the Union depot at present.


On the Connellsville, West Penn and Pittsburgh, Virginia & Charleston roads the regular local and express trains are running as near as possible on schedule time. On one or two of these roads some trains are an hour and a half hour late, but this far all have arrived at their destination safely. The situation on the Fort Wayne road is elsewhere given in detail.


Another meeting of the strikers was held at McKeesport yesterday afternoon, to consider their grievances. Having been disappointed on the day previous the miners of the surrounding country did not put in an appearance, and the meeting was not as large as was expected. Everything passed off orderly and quietly.

A conference was had between a committee of the strikers and the officers of the National Tube works, with a view of effecting a compromise. The strikers asked an increase of fifty cents per day each, and the company offered an increase of ten cents a day to each. Telegraphic communication was had between the officers located at McKeesport and those located at New York. The latter positively refused to allow a greater increase than fifteen cents a day and as the strikers just as firmly refused to accept this, orders were given to shut down the tube works entirely and close the commission store. Conferences were held between a committee of the strikers and managers of the tin and other idle mills too, but all attempts at compromise were fruitless.


The citizens' force, over which General James S. Negley has command, now numbers six hundred men, counting the different parts of the city. The General still has his headquarters at Lafayette Hall, where everything wears a militay [sic] appearance. Here he has a guard whose members are under pay. The men put in their entire time either here or as patroling [sic] the city. Yesterday an organization of one hundred offered their services to General Negley, and last evening a committee of Posts 3 and 117, of the Grand Army, made a similar offer. Last evening the Jefferson Cavalry band serenaded the boys at the hall, and speeches by General Negley and General Fitzhugh followed. At a late hour last night Gen. Negley himself took a stroll through the streets, and he was astonished to observe the remarkably good order. The General's forces will not participate in any movement of the military. They will be held in readiness for any thieves or incendiaries who may take advantage of any disorder to carry out their devilish purposes. Gen. Negley, however, thinks there is no need of fear.


At a meeting of the boilers, rollers, heaters and other employes of Lewis, Oliver & Phillips' lower mills, Ninth ward, Allegheny, held yesterday afternoon, to consider the situation, and to take measures to protect the property, the following gentlemen were appointed a committee to draft resolutions: Messrs. Christopher Burns, Thomas Caslitt, Jr., James Loughran, Patrick Sanders, Wm. R. Reese, John Brennan, John Goull, Patrick McGann and Andrew Leit. Shortly afterwards the committee reported the following resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:

Resolved, That we, the employes of Lewis, Oliver & Phillips, do hold ourselves in readiness during the present trouble, to protect the property of our employers and their property in the neighborhood.

Resolved, That we tender fifty men each night for guard duty until the present troubles are ended.


The miners employed at the works of John Carlin & Co., and of Messrs. Wettengel & Gormley, in Chartiers, numbering in all about one hundred men, yesterday went out on a strike, demanding four cents per bushel of seventy-six pounds, as their fellow strikers have demanded. The operators immediately told their men to resume work, informing them that they would pay the price demanded as long as they are able. They have on hand different contracts, a failure to fill which would entail a more serious loss upon them, they say, than they will meet by giving the price asked. These firms have also increased the price of coal from five to seven cents per bushel at the platform. The increase in coal delivered is from seven cents per bushel to ten cents.

The striking miners at Mansfield, Castle Shannon and along the Monongahela valley were quiet and orderly yesterday. The coal diggers at Sandy creek, Plum creek and other mines along the Allegheny Valley railroad are also out.


The Bankers and Bank Clerks' Association held a meeting yesterday afternoon to take action on the death of Lieut. J. Dorsey Ash, the Philadelphia banker who was killed in the riot. Wm. N. Riddle, of the Penn Bank, presided, and Samuel C. Appelgate, of the Odd Fellows' Saving Bank, served as Secretary. In calling the meeting to order President Riddle said of Lieut. Ash: This young man, engaged in pursuits similar to our own, came to our city with his brave comrades, and lost his life in assisting to preserve the peace, and aiding in the protection of our property. That these men were shamefully treated none can deny. But as it does not come within the province of our association to place the blame of this disgraceful treatment where it properly belongs, it only becomes us, then, to confine our actions to such resolutions as will be worthy on this occasion, and we hope these may be of the same character as though this departed one had been one of our own number.

On motion the following gentlemen were appointed a Committee on Resolutions: Messrs. George I. Whitney, Fifth National Bank; Chas. G. Milnor, Pittsburgh Bank for Savings; Wm. R. Thompson, Mechanics' National Bank, and Cyrus Clarke, Jr, Tradesmen's National Bank. The committee shortly afterwards reported the following, which were unanimously adopted:

WHEREAS, The hand of violence has stained the fair fame of our city with shameful spots of blood, and brought sorrow into many a stricken household and [riven] brotherhood; therefore.

Resolved, That in the death of our friend and brother, J. Dorsey Ash, we who have known him but socially or fraternally weep over the remembrance of his shining virtues and bitterly mourn his loss. How much more, then, will they to whom he bore a closer and dearer relation. We give them our sympathy; may God give them comfort. We hold him a bright exemplar-a sun gone down at noon day-and the memory of his bravery and untimely end shall verdantly live in our hearts.

Resolved, That while we bow to this dispensation of the Almighty, we recognize the lesson taught, which done, our brother hath not died in vain.

Resolved, That copies of these resolutions be furnished the family of the deceased, and published in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia papers.


An Associated Press telegram from Columbus, Ohio, says the Dispatch of that city published the following proposition which is being circulated for signatures among striking railroaders in this city and it is said will be very generally signed:

COLOMBUS, O., July 27.-To the Editor of the Dispatch-If we should succeed in getting our demands, we would like to know if our fellow railroaders throughout the country will go in with us and agree to deprive themselves of a small sum, say thirty-five to fifty cents per month, to pay the citizens of Pittsburgh for their losses in the late fire, caused by the hotheadedness of parties not directly interested in the strike, the whole to be placed in the hands of the United States Treasurer, with the privilege of using the same at a small rate of interest, and all over and above the sum sufficient to pay the loss of said citizens to be divided among the railway reading rooms throughout the country Hoping you will cause this to be circulated throughout the country, we have the honor to be your most obedient servants.



General Manager Caldwell, of the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railway, issued an order at Columbus yesterday to employes there, promising pay for time lost on account of the strike, to all who would report for duty. All employes on the Little Miami, and twenty-five brakemen and firemen on the St. Louis & Chicago divisions, responded and announced themselves ready to go to work. Manager Caldwell says he will not attempt to resume freight traffic until the citizens show a disposition to take hold of the matter in their own interest. The same statement was made by the managers of this line, who made their headquarters at this city.


All day yesterday the coroner's jury, consisting of Robert D. King, Patrick O'Brien, Thomas Welch, Wm. Snyder, Wm. Scott and Wm. Gunt, appointed to hold an inquest on the bodies of the victims of the recent riots, were occupied in hearing the testimony of a large number of witnesses. A partial inquest was held on Wednesday last, which was adjourned until yesterday for the hearing of important witnesses. From the testimony, which is given in full below, it will be seen that an unknown individual killed two of the Philadelphia soldiers, and although several witnesses saw him fire, none could identify him. The testimony also shows that General Pearson was in the round house at the time of the massacre. Following is a detailed account of the testimony taken:


Samuel Kerr, sworn-Reside at 3804 Butler street; saw man shoot at troops; wouldn't know him again; he had a straw hat on; saw Lieut. Ash; he was shot right in front of my door; only saw two or three of the mob fire; couldn't say what the mob shot with; soldiers fired about three volleys; saw no one but Ash fall; saw two soldiers come back and take Ash; a half a square further on they put Ash on a gun; saw several soldiers limping; couldn't recognize the man with a straw hat.


Robert Scott, sworn-Reside on the corner of Penn avenue and Thirty-fourth street; I was in bed asleep as the troops passed along Sunday morning; I heard firing and got up; saw one dead soldier lying between Thirty-third and Thirty-fourth steeet [sic] ; saw no citizens firing on troops; they were past when I got down stairs; the soldier was dead when I reached the spot; didn't see him removed.


Robert Ray, sworn-Reside on Liberty street, corner of Forty-fourth street; came out of the house and went up the street; saw a boy lying on his face shot; saw a man who was shot; his face was clean shaven; I wasn't there when that man was taken away; didn't see any firing at all; when I came down the soldiers were going out Penn street, and the citizens were following them up; saw no guns in the hands of citizens.


D.K. Boyd, sworn-Reside at the forks of the road; was in third story, window front, on Sunday morning; saw Philadelphia troops with Gattling guns and skirmish lines out pass up street; as rear file passed up a citizen with white straw hat came out of an alley, and with a Springfield rifle deliberately took aim at the troops and fires; there was no effect of the shot; he loaded again and went further up the street and fired again; didn't see any one fall, but heard crowd cheer and say "there goes one," soldiers then turned and returned the fire, probably thirty shots a minute; a citizen named Jones was shot; Jones took no part in the mob; he came out of the house when the firing commenced; feel sure they fired the Gattling gun; did not see what was done with the soldier; I judge he was wounded; troops were probably not so far up as the Catholic church; I could not identify the man who fired at the soldier; he wore a white straw hat, alpaca coat, and smooth face; troops didn't fire until this man had fired twice in rapid succession; when the troops first passed there was not much of a mob following; it increased afterward; saw no one shoot but this one man.


Capt. J.M. McClung, sworn-I went out with the Sheriff on Saturday; when we got up there the crowd was cheering and hooting, saw Sheriff Fife behind soldiers; they first charged baynets [sic] ; then heard shot fired; one soldier dropped; then went up the hill; bullets were pretty thick; soldiers seemed to be shooting up so as not to hit anyone, some shot down; as the crowd ran down Twenty-eighth street soldiers shot over them; saw Pearson ten minutes before the firing; I am positive there was no order given to fire; the stones were flying when the firing commenced; if I had been in command I would first have ordered them to disperse, and then fired on them; can't blame the Philadelphians for firing; couldn't recognize any of those who threw stones.


Sheriff Fife, sworn-He testified that he went out to Twenty-eighth street on Saturday night with a party of men to assist Constable James Richardson who had a warrant for the arrest of eleven of the ringleaders of the rioters. The Sheriff continued: Took all my deputies with the exception of one who was left in the office; we went out in front of the military after the troops halted at Twenty-eighth street, I passed through the crowd and then turning round came back to where the Gatling guns were; I attempted to address the crowd and disperse them, but there was so much noise and confusion could not make myself heard. After the military halted I noticed a man talking very loud and gesturing to the crowd. He called upon General Pearson to "bring out his double header." Shortly afterwards this man crossed over the where I was standing and said, "What have you and Pearson got against me?" I replied, "Nothing, as long as you behave yourself." One of the soldiers then took him by the shoulder, and pushed him through the ranks into the crowd again. Saw him shortly afterwards brandishing a pistol, and one of my deputies remonstrating with him and trying to get the pistol away; could not hear what they said. The soldiers were trying to move the crowd back with their guns.


Saw this man raise his pistol and heard the report, and saw one of the soldiers drop as if dead; about a minute after this the soldiers commencey [sic] firing; several shots were fired by the crowd, and stones and missiles were flying in every direction; do not know that the soldier was killed by the pistol shot, but that is my impression; was out there on Thursday and again on Friday morning; the rabble jeered and hooted at me and used very rough language. The railroad-men, as near as I could learn, treated me respectfully, but they seemed determined not to allow any trains to run. I sent out a force of deputies Friday afternoon, with the expectation of taking out a train, but they returned, saying that the railroad officials had decided not to make the attempt. I had a two-fold duty, one to protect Richardson, the other to arrest on sight all guilty of creating disturbance; was told by the railroad officials that I would be backed by a division of Philadelphia soldiers and soldiers of Allegheny county; no arrests were made; Mr. Pitcairn went out with railroad men to point out the parties to be arrested; when arrived the men had left; have not seen Pitcairn since; do not know the names of the men named in the warrant; did not hear any order given to fire; was within ten feet of General Brinton when it commenced; heard Brinton and his officers give orders to cease firing; do not know where General Pearson was when firing commenced; five minutes before Pearson was there have not seen him since; saw a Nineteenth regiment man lying on the side hill; did not see any Philadelphia soldiers that I was sure had been shot gave no command to fire; have carried a small revolver for twelve years until that day; I left it in my desk; did not consider that I had anything to do with the soldiers.


James Potts, sworn-Reside on Liberty street, Sixteenth ward; on Sunday morning walked down to Thirty-fourth street; then went to Penn; the Philadelphia troops hadn't come up yet-the soldiers were dragging their Gatling guns; before they arrived at Thirty-fourth street I heard a shot fired; saw a man behind the troops holding a gun, which shined in the sunlight; at the same time saw some of the soldiers pick up something; after the troops passed Thirty-fourth street I saw a man with a rifle; he went into the middle of the street; took aim and fired; the soldiers passed on quietly; I remained on the corner until the soldiers had all passed up the street; I heard the third shot, and heard the crowd say "there, he has fell;" the main body of the soldiers were in the middle of the street; I remained until the soldiers were clear past; I don't think I could recognize the man who did the firing; he was a stout, square-shouldered man, with dark duster coat; had a light straw hat on; he appeared to be a young man about five feet eight or nine inches; I didn't see any of the men who were shot there; didn't see the Philadelphia soldiers fire while they were in my sight.


Dr. James Robinson, sworn-On Sunday morning I heard the firing of the military right at my office; went to the door; a man said, "There's a man shot down there;" Dr. Evans went up and dressed the man's wounds; Shaw, who is at the hospital, was the man; Ash was shot by a man with a musket; the ball smashed the bone all to pieces; he was shot corner Thirty-eighth and Butler streets; It was a large ball, probably from a musket; there was a man living in a room above my office; he was no soldier, nor railroad man; he was a very inoffensive man; he was shot with a musket ball, Saturday about five o'clock; one of the men showed me a ball that was so far spent that it didn't go through his hand when it hit it.


Ralph White, sworn-I am one of the sheriff's deputies; saw the man who fired the first shot; when the soldiers were charging bayonets a tall slim man was cut with a bayonet; the man said, "I will shoot one of you, " and with that he shot and one of the Philadelphia soldiers fell; they took a blanket out and laid the soldier on the blanket; the soldiers fired almost immediately; the whole command didn't fire at first; one or two fired first; heard no command given to fire; the first shot was fired straight after the pistol was fired; the stones came from some boys back behind the soldiers by the hill; some men threw stones from toward Penn street; didn't see Gen. Pearson at all; did not see the officers trying to stop the soldiers from firing, because I went up the hill.


B.K. Waughter, sworn-I am a sheriff's deputy; I was ten feet in front of the soldiers on Saturday; I heard the crack of the revolver and saw the soldier fall; Mr. White came to me a few minutes afterward and he said, "Did you see that man shot?" I said I did not; he then said it was the man who was talking to me shortly before; I know the man; don't know his name; I can find him though; Sheriff Fife and I shortly after the firing talked together, and I then went to the depot; I saw Pearson, the deputies' posse was halted for twenty minutes after we got there before we attempted to clear a way; the men in front of the soldiers didn't appear to be railroad men; not many of them were railroad men; the stones and bricks came from a little watch-house on the hill.


Benton K. Walker, sworn-Am one of Sheriff Fife's deputies; I noticed the soldiers pushing the crowd back with their bayonets before the firing; we were on the ground about ten minutes before the firing; the firing commenced almost instantly after the soldiers tried to push them back with the bayonet; there was a good deal of talk to the crowd; didn't see General Pearson after the firing; I helped to carry a dead soldier of the Fourteenth regiment down the hill; I didn't see the dead Philadelphia soldiers after the firing.


H.N. Kirkpatrick, sworn-Was with the Sheriff's posse; when we got to the crowd Sheriff Fife placed us a little beyond the troops; the crowds attempted to take the guns out of the soldiers' hands; saw one man step out of the crowd; he then pulled a revolver and shot and a Philadelphia soldier fell; I didn't see the Philadelphia soldier after he fell; he looked to me as though he was dead; I didn't examine closely; Mr. Pitcairn went up with us to the place; General Pearson was there; I heard no command to fire given; I would probably know the man who fired the shot if I should meet him; I saw stones coming from the hill side; the bricks and stones fell among the soldiers; there was no attempt by the posse to arrest the man who fired the pistol; he went into Twenty-eighth street, and the soldiers were firing at the people; don't know whether the soldiers fired low or high, as I was looking for a place of safety.


James H. Fife, sworn-Am a brother of the Sheriff; was a deputy Saturday; walked with the Sheriff a part of the way; were in advance of the military; the first man hurt there was struck with a piece of coal; he was wiping off the blood; it was just at the time the front rank of soldiers were charging bayonets; about a minute afterwards saw a man in the crowd fire, and a Philadelphia soldier fell; saw Mr. White trying to catch the man's arm as he fired; the soldier who fell was not an officer, I think; I saw Gen. Pearson for the last time about three minutes before the soldiers charged bayonets; I heard no command to fire; it was hard to hear on account of the noise in the crowds; women and children cheered the mob on against the soldiers; I stayed about twenty-five minutes after the firing was done; saw two wounded Philadelphia solders; the other Philadelphia soldier was laid in a blanket; could not say whether he was dead or not; the two were only wounded.


H.Y. Boyce, sworn-Am a Deputy Sheriff; I was on Twenty-eighth street at the time of the gring [sic] Saturday afternoon; I heard no command to fire; I saw none of the mob fire pistals [sic] ; saw Gen. Pearson; was talking with him about a minute and a half before the firing commenced; know John Jonston saw him there; he was a short distance from me; I couldn't be certain whether he could hear a conversation between Gen. Pearson and myself; I didn't see the officers trying to stop the troops from firing; was there five or six minutes after the firing.


Thos. Stewart, sworn-Acted as deputy on Saturday; part of the posse got separated from the soldiers; I was with the Philadelphia soldiers; saw a soldier lying under a car; he was a private; his gun was lying across the track; I saw him before the firing; don't know whether he was wounded or not; I went up over the hill when the firing occurred; the man under the car had blood on his forehead.


Henry Hoffman, sworn-Reside in Allegheny; am brother of John F. Hoffman; I didn't know my brother was shot until ee [sic] was brought home; met the undertaker's wagon as I was coming to the city; he was shot on Liberty street, between Eleventh and Twelfth streets; his wounds were dressed between three and four o'clock on Sunday morning, by Dr. Green, he was wounded in the arm; appeared to have been inflicted by a bayonet; he was shot through the body; the ball went in at his side and came out at the back; my brother was a painter; he left home on Saturday night after being brought home dead Sunday morning in the undertaker's wagon; he died while being carried in the wagon from the livery stable to his home.


Henry C. Evans, sworn-Am a member of General Pearson's staff; we went to Twenty-eighth street at first; Gen. Pearson said we hadn't enough troops; he told Gen. Brinton that he was going down to telegraph to Latta for more troops; he turned to me and said to come along; we went to the telegraph office below Robert Pitcairn's office; he commenced to write orders there, when suddenly he exclaimed, "My God! Major, I believe they're shooting;" we went to the window and saw a boy who appeared to have been struck; he sent me down to see what was the matter; General Pearson was not at Twenty-eighth street at the time of the firing; he did not give the command to fire; Gen. Brinton was in command when Pearson was away; the telegraph office was about two squares away; I suppose we had been there between three and five minutes when he spoke of the firing first; Major Steen came in in the meanwhile; Gen. Pearson had two orders for Gen. Brinton and one for Col. Moore; he gave them to Steen to deliver them; I went with him; we went over and met Gen. Brinton on the way with some of his staff officers; Steen gave two of the envelopes to Brinton; then we went on over to Col. Moore and Steen gave him the other envelope; we then returned and reported to General Pearson at his office; we left there about quarter past nine in the evening; the only time I was out besides this was when I went to Mrs. Pearson's house to tell her that she had better take her family and go to some of her relatives; Have supper there and returned about half past seven; I was away when the troops were brought into the round house; I know that they were to be brought in there; Gen. Pearson ordered this at Gen. Brinton's suggestion, the officers of the road being anxious to protect their property; I saw nobody killed; I saw a man who thought he was wounded in the leg, but on examination there appeared to be none; a bullet had grazed him; I saw a little fellow in the carpenter shop, holding his arm, and heard him say that he wanted to get his arm dressed; saw no dead Philadelphia soldiers on the track; Gen. Pearson from the time he left Twenty-eighth street, before the firing, didn't to my knowledge, leave the round house till he left it with me, Major Steen, Col. House and his brother Edward; I was away about one hour and a half.


Arthur Carr, sworn-Live in the Tenth ward, Penn street; I was at Twenty-eighth street at the time of the firing; I was coming up the railroad track, and when within one hundred and fifty yards of the Philadelphia soldiers I saw General Pearson and another officer going in the direction of the round house; this was about five minutes before the firing.

Mr. Evans here stated that he would like to say a few words more about the shooting. He proceeded to state that he had heard several shots fired from the mob before any firing from the soldiers.

William Thompson, sworn-Live in the Fifteenth ward, on Thirty-eighth street; saw Gen. Pearson talking to some persons down the line of the Philadelphia troops; saw him standing there for some time before the firing; saw the troops try to clear the crowd with their bayonets; there was a kind of a scuffle then; all around me the people, whom I didn't know, but the majority of them were boys, picked up stones and hurled them at the soldiers; I then got away, and had just time to do it when the shooting commenced; I took Charles Bear, who as wounded, to the hospital; I heard no command to fire; I was pretty near, too; I heard other orders before; there may have been such a command, but I didn't hear it.

Sunday morning I heard some shooting; I was a square from Butler street; when the soldiers came to Thirty-eighth street every man was turning back and


Which followed; I didn't wait to see who were following; I went to my home at once as my wife was very anxious about me.

Francis Jeffrey, sworn-The witness lives on Butler street, between Forty-eighth and Forty-ninth street. In the morning he heard that the soldiers were marching up and killing everybody on the street; he went into the house and closed the door; after the troops had passed he opened the door; saw a crowd then, and among them a man with a light straw hat, blouse coat and white belt, with a gun in his hand; some one remonstrated with him, when he waved his hand, then knelt down, aimed at the soldiers and fired; the witness closed the door again and heard two or three shots in succession; when he came out he saw two of the soldiers lying dead on the street. They were right together, and both shot through the head; some of their comrades came back, carried them on the pavement, took their guns, and then returned to the ranks.


S.M. Cherry, sworn-Reside out Penn avenue; Sunday morning last I was on Butler street, arriving before breakfast, saw men, women and children running about the street, and crying that the soldiers were coming; just then three of the soldiers came running up the street; one held his hand on his breast, and said, "My God, take me somewhere, I am shot;" the wounded man then fell and I stood by him, when a man approached us with a revolver in his hand; he was about to shoot the wounded soldier when I persuaded him at my own peril not to do so; the soldier begged for God's sake, not to kill him; the would-be assassin then ran away, when others came up and were about to search the soldier; I again interfered, and said if there was any searching to be done I would do it; at this juncture the regiment came marching up and I, after considerable difficulty, succeeded in conveying the wounded man to a confectionary store, where his injuries were dressed and he was given a suit of clothes; after waiting here for a short time he started for home; while I had the soldier in charge I saw a man with dark eyes and a light goatee, wearing a light hat and I believe he was in his shirt sleeves following the troops and shooting deliberately into their ranks with a gun; never saw the man before but think I would know him if I saw him again.

[Here the Coroner adjourned the inquest for half an hour and the witness accompanied by the Coroner and several of the jurymen proceeded to the jail, where William Phillips and John Harris are confined on charges of murder with having shot into the ranks of the Philadelphians. Both these prisoners were produced by Warden Smith, but the witness could not identify either of them as having done the shooting]

This concluded the inquest and the jury retired for deliberation. Following is


The jury returned a verdict in each case to the effect that the deceased came to their deaths by wounds received at the hands of unknown parties. A special verdict was rendered in the case of Stoffel, which is a counterpart of the others except the substitution of names, places, &c., as follows: "Nicholas Stoffel, of Smallman street, near Thirtieth, came to his death on July 21st, 1877, by a musket ball, while sitting on the hill-side, at the head of Twenty-eighth street, by some person or persons unknown to the jury."

About this Document

  • Source: The Daily Post
  • Date: July 28, 1877