Collapse of the Strike

This selection of articles from the July 30, 1877 issue of the Pittsburgh Daily Post notes the events of the railroad strike around the country and describes the situation regarding current railroad operations.

Strikers Resume Work at Several Points.
St. Louis Rioters Summarily Dealt With.
Much Excitement in Columbus but no Violence.
Trains Running Regularly on the B. & O. Road.



PHILADELPHIA, July 28.-The workingmen's meeting, which was broken up by the police this evening at Third and Wood streets, afterwards reassemled [sic] , and sent a committee to the Mayor to protest against the action of the police. The Mayor refused to allow them to meet at present, and requested them as good citizens to postpone their meeting until the excitement is over.

WILKESBARRE, July 28.-Postmaster General Key, in answer to a telegram, says the department does not expect and cannot compel railroad companies to carry mails on any but regular trains, and whoever interferes with the running of these is responsible for the delay of the mails.

MAUCH CHUNK, July 29.-The citizens have organized two companies for the protection of life and property. No trains are running.



PHILLIPSBURG, July 28.-Trains are running on all lines as before the strike.



COLUMBUS, July 28.-A second freight train on the Little Miami was made up on the west side of the river and sent out, soldiers accompanying it a few miles out. At Alton station the train was stopped by strikers from here after the military had returned to the city. Soldiers were immediately sent to Alton and the train was started again and continued unmolested.


An attempt was made at about 3:30 P.M. to send out a train on the Indianapolis division of the Pan Handle. The strikers coaxed the engineer and fireman off and ran the engine into the round house and put out the fires. The military were guarding the train; in the meantime the engine was again fired up, and another attempt was made to get the train out. Train-switcher Gondoles placed obstructions on the track between the engine and the cars while the train was backing down. The obstructions were removed under a guard of soldiers, and the train finally got out. Several shots ware [sic] fired at random between the soldiers and the crowd, but no harm resulted. The alarm bell was sounded and the citizen guards were called out, but soon returned to their headquarters again. There is much excitement but no violence. To-night the citizen companies, well-armed, are guarding the depots, railroad bridges, round-houses and other buildings.


BALTIMORE, July 28.-Freight trains commenced running on the B. & O.R.R. this morning between this city and Cumberland. A train of sixteen loaded freight cars left Riverside station near Locust Point this morning. There is no disturbance. A large force of troops, regulars, State militia, and police were present. A small guard accompanied the train. Up to noon twelve freight trains had left Cumberland for Baltimore. There was no interference. A company of regulars were with the freight train. Cumberland freight trains, on the Pittsburgh division, are moving to-day.

BALTIMORE, July 29.-The strikers in West Virginia having declared that the Baltimore & Ohio road should not be opened, regulars have been sent to Grafton and Mt. Keyser, upon a requisition of Gov. Matthews. The company announces that passenger and freight trains will be resumed to all points to-morrow.



DETROIT, Mich., July 29.-The striking men on the Canada Southern Railroad have resumed work on the Canada division and all trains from Buffalo and from Detroit left on their usual time this evening. General Manager Muir telegraphed to General Passenger Agent Snow that the strikers abandoned all claims and have gone to work unconditionally.

ST. THOMAS, Ont., July 29.-Train service on all Canada Southern lines was resumed. The men returned to work as before the strike. Grievances are to be adjusted when the road is in full operation.



CHICAGO, July 28.-The following is sent at the request of Mayor Heath and is dictated by him:

Many of the dispatches from this city have greatly exaggerated the disturbance during the last few days. At no time have the lives or property of law-abiding citizens been seriously endangered, and but a small portion of railroad employees or other workingmen of Chicago have been engaged in riot. By the collision between the rioters and the authorities Thursday and Thursday night, nine persons, all rioters, have been killed, and perhaps thirty, more or less, seriously wounded. No damage to property has been done at any time, and but slight interference with business has occurred. The city is now entirely free from rioters, and the strikers are rapidly returning to their various employments.


CHICAGO, July 29.-Scarcely a vestige of the late troubles has been visible to-day. A few dissatisfied tailors assembled at Lake View, a suburban town, but they scattered in all directions on learning that a small detachment of cavalry was in the vicinity looking for them. Generals Sheridan and crook arrived this morning from St. Paul, and General Pope from St. Louis. The latter will still have immediate control of the United States troops here and in this vicinity by virtue of his position in the army. General Crook will go west to Omaha, where he will look after some of the reported Indian troubles in the eastern Territories. Troops in Chicago are distributed at the gas and water works and at few other places of importance. There are four hundred within half an hour's march of Burlington crossing and near the scene of the fighting of Wednesday and Thursday. The usual Sunday passenger business has been done by all lines except the Vandaba, though few freight cars have moved in any direction.



SAN FRANCISCO, July 28,-A fire was set in a Chinese house, San Pablo, near Oakland, this morning and nine houses were destroyed before the flames were subdued. Prominent citizens of Oakland and suburban towns are daily in receipt of threatening letters, and it is rumoured that an outbreak is planned for to-night. The citizens are organized for any emergency.

The landing of Chinese passengers from the steamer City of Tokio [sic] took place this afternoon. A strong force of police and the Safety Committee received them shortly before four o'clock. The immigrants were placed in a wagon and escorted by guards moved along Second, Montgomery and Sacramento street, to the Chinese quarter. There was not at any time the slightest disturbance created at the main dock. No larger than the ordinary and hoodlum element failed to announce its presence there by a single hoot. Crowds filled the side walk on the line of march attracted by its curiosity. Last night the safety men were fired on by hoodlums near Laurel Hill Cemetery. The company replied with a volley and the assailants took to the bush.


This afternoon five boys between the ages of twelve and fifteen years, detected separating combustibles in a lumber yard on Bryant street, between Fremont and Beal streets, near the scene of the fire on Wednesday night, were arrested.


SAN FRANCISCO, Cal., July 29. -This has been the quietest Saturday night ever experienced in San Francisco, not a single alarm of fire no rowdyism, scarcely half a dozen drunks have called forth the servics [sic] of the police. The Hoodlum element seems thoroughly cowed by the recent exhibition of the intent and power of the authorities and citizens to crush all riotous demonstrations. During the evening members of the National Guard have relieved a portion of the Safety Committee who have been on guard duty for three previous nights, but no occasion has arisen requiring them to leave the various ward headquarters. During the evening the police discovered and arrested a man named Barney McLaughlin who was caught attempting to kindle a fire under the Pacific dock, but by a clerical error at the station house he had been booked as drunk and released with a fine. The authorities are of the opinion that no further trouble need be anticipated, but the precautions of the past week will be observed a few days more until all excitement is over.



INDIANAPOLIS, July 28.-A special telegram to the Journal to-night from Fort Wayne says: The mayor and Sheriff, with Superintendents Gorham and O'Rourke made two fruitless attempts to raise the blockade at that point to-day. The strikers, numbering five or six hundred, drove them back. The strikers sent a delegation to Adams, a station six miles east of Fort Wayne and took possession of the telegraph office and telegraphed to the strikers to send a large force. Governor William has been applied to for assistance.


William N. Sayres, Secretary and Treasurer of the Firemen's League of the United States and Canada, and John Buckley, one of the leading strikers, was arrested to-night by the United States Marshal and were taken to the United States arsenal. It is reported that all the engineers on the Vandalia road struck at six o'clock to-night.


TERRE HAUTE, July 29.-Passenger traffic was resumed on three railroads here. All quiet.


EVANSVILLE, July 29th.-The strike appears to have just struck this city. Strikers have organized, and to morrow morning intend to parade the streets. It is feared a general strike in all branches of the road will be attempted to be inaugurated, and trouble is anticipated.


INDIANAPOLIS, July 28.-The engineers of the Vandalia road struck at twelve o'clock to-night and attempted to prevent trains passing through Terre Haute to-day by tampering with the engine and intimidation. Two trains went through, one run by Master Mechanic Peddie and the other by a foreign engineer, but at a meeting held at Terre Haute to-night the strikers resolved to go to work to-morrow and have so notified the engineers at Indianapolis, Effingham and St. Louis.

TERRE HAUTE, July 29.-At a meeting of the Vandalia employees to-night it was resolved to go to work in the morning at the old wages, subject to modification hereafter. During the afternoon a non-union fireman who attempted to go out was beaten by the strikers.



DES MOINES, July 28.-Gov. Newbold has issued a proclamation in view of the lawlessness of the strikers and others in certain cities of Iowa, ordering them to disperse and refrain from interference with property, and to represent their grievances in lawful and orderly manner. He says the whole power of the State will necessarily be invoked by the said authorities in executing the laws.



St. Louis, July 28.-Gov. Cullom arrived in East St. Louis this morning, and has been looking over the situation. He says the blockade must be raised if it takes ten thousand soldiers to accomplish it. A freight has left for the East on the Toledo and Wabash under a guard of United States troops.


The afternoon has passed quietly in this city, no disturbance having occurred anywhere, but there is an undercurrent of wrath still existing among certain classes, and both police and military, and other authorities are exercising the utmost vigilance. There are numerous arrests being made of men who have taken part in the recent troubles. Among these are Albert Curtin, the Secretary of the International Society, A.M. Fischer, Jas. E. Cope, and two or three others, who are believed to be members of the executive committee of the workingmen's party. These men are in jail, and will probably be brought to trial.


The real condition of things in East St. Louis, regarding the presence there of U.S. troops, is about as follows: The Ohio & Mississippi and St. Louis & South Eastern roads are in the hands of receivers, and of course subject to orders and processes of the United States Court. These orders have been disregarded and disobeyed and a call was made upon the authorities at Washington for the use of Government troops. A favorable response was received, and Gen. Pope, commander of this military department, directed Gen. Daws to send a force there to compel obedience of orders. Of course this does not apply to any other roads than those mentioned above, but so long as United States soldiers are stationed in East St. Louis all railroad property will be pretty safe, and if riotous proceedings are indulged in they will be quelled at once. Bluford Wilson, who has been appointed Special Deputy Unites States Marshal for the occasion, has charge of the whole matter, and will see that the orders of court affecting the two roads in question are carried out. All roads that wanted to send out passenger trains have done so, and some freight trrins [sic] have been moved. Respecting roads other than the Ohio & Mississippi and South Eastern Gov. Cullom is on the spot, and is determined to break the blockade. Seven companies of State militia from Springfield, Quincy, Peoria and other points have arrived at East St. Louis, and will be called out if necessary, so that by Monday at farthest it is believed there will be absolutely nothing left of the strike and business will be fully resumed.


At five o'clock this morning a detachment of the Sixteenth, Nineteenth and Twenty-third United States Infantry, numbering 350 men, under Gen. Jeff. C. Davis, embarked at the Arsenal, on board the harbor boat E.G. Smith and steamed to the eastern approach of the bridge, whence they marched to the Relay depot, East St. Louis, and took possession of all the surrounding yards, tracks and property of all kinds. The strikers, about two hundred strong, who were at or near the depot scattered in all directions on the approach of the troops, and only three of them and two muskets were captured.


ST. LOUIS, July 29.-To-day passed very quietly and matters are beginning to assume their usual aspect. A number of the compainies [sic] of the citizens have been disbanded and it is probable that all will be relieved to-morrow, when general business will be resumed and the Merchants Exchange reopened. There does not seem to be any doubt, but the regular police force will be fully able to take care of the city from this time on. James McCarty, a prominent Internationalist, and one of the most incendiary speakers of that order, together with Peter Safgreen; who is believed to be Chairman of the Executive Committee which worked so much mischief during the past week, are under arrest and in jail. C.G. Leder, a negro, who led the levee and a number of others who engaged in closing the mills, factories, &c., are also under arrest. Twenty-six ringleaders of the strikers in Carondolet were also captured. John Morgan, an ex-President of the Miners' Association of Southern Illinois, who was arrested yesterday, was released, he having clearly shown that he had nothing to do with the strikers. All the men captured at Schuler's Hall on Friday afternoon, except five, have been released, so that expedition proves to have been a water hand. Governor Cullom left for Springfield last night.


ST. LOUIS, July 29.-The Republican's Sedalia, Mo., special says that the strike on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas road terminated this morning by the company acceding to the demands of the employees, excepting in some minor details. All the men returned to work and the trains are running again.


East St. Louis has looked like a camp ground to-day, and everything has been bustle and activity. The State militia commenced pouring into town about four o'clock and by ten o'clock about eight hundred had arrived. Since then a number of other companies have come, and it is thought there are from eleven to twelve hundred soldiers in town besides the United States troops. Some of the latter have been withdrawn, but there remain enough to guard the property of the Ohio & Mississippi and the Southeastern road, as also the bridge. The State troops comprise the Fifth and Eighth regiments of Illinois National Guards.

Governor Bates issued an order that all citizens appearing in arms will be regarded as rioters and treated accordingly. In accordance with this order the trains will begin moving to-day. All roads except the Toledo & Wabash have sent out both passenger and freight trains. A good deal of objection was made to this by the strikers and about noon quite a crowd of them gathered about a passenger train, swore it should not go out; and became quite demonstrative.


General Bates sent a company of militia to the train who surrounded the strikers, took sixty-four of them prisoners and put them in confinement. This quieted things materially, but guards were put on all the trains which left subsequently and no more trouble occurred. About one hundred strikers or their sympathizers, who indulged in loud talk, were arrested during the day and by night it was hardly possible to see a striker about the depot or any of the yards.


An engineer on the Vandalia Road struck at 12 o'clock last night. Notwithstanding this a passenger train on that road went past this evening, the engine being driven by a non-brotherhood engineer. When the train on the Vandalia road which was to leave Terre Haute at 11:25 last, was ready to start the engineer deserted it. In two minutes another engineer was found in the person of Mr. Frank Myers, teller in the Bank of McKerr & Tuell, who mounted the cab and brought the train through. On his arrival here this morning Mr. Meyers ran the locomotive to the round house, when he was assailed by thirty or forty strikers and badly beaten, but he escaped from them.

All is quiet in East St. Louis to-night and the outlook is promising. Gen. Bates says he was sent there to re-establish law and order and see that the embargo on commerce is raised, and that he is going to do it. He will refrain from using positive force as long as possible, but if he is compelled to use it he will use it rigorously. He says if the strikers or rioters collide with his troops they will get hurt, as he has no blank cartridges and a great many of his boys being war veterans, they know how to fire low.

Five companies of United States troops left East St. Louis for Belleville at five o'clock this evening, with sealed orders. The prisoners captured by the soldiers to-day were examined this evening by John W. Oberly, State Railroad Commissioner, and all of them except three or four were released, with a warning to go home and keep away from the depot hereafter.



CHICAGO, July 29.-The Tribune's Braidwood, Ill., special says: The First Regiment, Gen. Ducats commanding, arrived there this afternoon. They were reinforced along the line of the Chicago & Alton Railroad until the whole force of troops amounted to about eleven hundred with artillery and small arms. Their mission is to reinstate some four hundred colored miners who, when the regular coal miners struck some months ago, were got hard up in Kentucky and Southern Illinois and took the places of the strikers and they were unable, though armed, to maintain themselves against the hundreds of determined white miners and were driven out of the town lately to Wilmington, where they are now. The Mayor was summoned and ordered to disperse the crowd within twenty-five minutes which he did easily and the military then stacked arms and encamped for the night.



ALBANY, July 28.-A meeting was held this morning and a committee appointed to induce the men in the locomotive shops to stop work. The committee was driven off. At a meeting in the afternoon, the chairman who was appointed by the committee, spoke of rumors circulated by outsiders in regard to tearing up tracks and taking possession of the shops. It would be well to get rid of these obnoxious individuals. Outsiders yelled out they should go to the locomotive departments and drive the men away. This was hooted down and the disturbing element cleared off. The men then decided they should go to work and allow the citizens and Mr. Vanderbilt to settle the difficulty. Employees are notified that if they are not at work on Monday morning and have not a good excuse for their absence, it will be considered that they have abandoned employment.


NEW YORK, July 28.-J.D. Donohue, arrested at Hornersville under an attachtachment [sic] issued by Judge Donohue, of the Supreme Court of this city, was taken to court this morning. The order of arrest was granted on affidavits charging that the prisoner was the ring-leader of the strikers who prevented the running of trains on the Erie railway, which is in the hands of a receiver, appointed by Judge Donohue, such interference being in contempt of the Court. The prisoner being without counsel a hearing was deferred.


NEW YORK, July 29.-The Gordon Printing Press factory, at Raliway [sic] , and the Domestic Sewing Machine factory, at Patterson, N.J., has been closed, being unable to ship manufactures, owing to the derangement of railroad traffic. A large number of hands are thus thrown out of employment. Samuel Carpenter, General Freight Agent of the Pennsylvania Railroad, announces the entire line open for freight and passengers as before the strike.

BOSTON, July 29.-Twenty car loads of cattle from Chicago were received at the Watertown stock yards to-day. Runners have been sent through New England and Canada to purchase cattle for this and other markets.

ST PAUL, Mo., July 29-Gen. Sheridan passed through here enroute for Chicago this noon.

SIOUX CITY, IA., July 28.-Two companies of the first infantry, in command of Major R.H. Offley, left here for Chicago this morning.

About this Document

  • Source: The Daily Post
  • Source: The Daily Post
  • Date: July 30, 1877