Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
- Colorado History -
Cripple Creek District Labor Strikes
The 1893 - 1894 Strike
Placer miners equipped with pans and sluices at gold-laced
Cripple Creek, Colorado in 1892.
Governor Davis H. Waite
The strikers' ace-in-the-hole was the strong sympathy of Davis H.
Waite. Waite had a wild, flowing white mane and beard that made him
look like an Old Testament prophet who had survived a strike by lightning.
Waite favored an income tax, the eight-hour work day, the secret ballot
and the direct popular election of U.S. Senators. In 1892 he became
the only Populist in America to be elected governor.
During 1892 Waite achieved notoriety by stating in public,
"It is infinitely better that
blood should flow to our horses' bridles than our national liberties
should be destroyed."
Cripple Creek - January 5, 1893
After unleashing that gem, he was known across the state as "Old
Bloody Bridles Waite." Following the Silver Crash of 1893, Waite
proposed that Colorado should buy up the surplus silver at the old
price to be sent to Mexico, where cheap labor would mint it into "Fandango
Dollars." Then it could be circulated in the state. It is not
hard to see why Waite was not re-elected to a second term as governor.
Armed against saboteurs with bayonet and pistol, a
Colorado miltiaman guards a
Leadville mine in an 1896 lockout of union miners.
Waite sent the State Militia to the district, in part, because of
his friendship with Calderwood and also a request from El Paso County
Sheriff Frank Bowers. The Militia was under the inept command of General
Thomas Tarsney. Ex-policemen and firemen from Denver hated Waite for
firing them during the City Hall War. One-hundred and twenty-five
of them were hired and deputized to attack Bull Hill and embarrass
Battle of Bull Hill
The Militia was there to play the role of spoiler; keeping the sheriffs
department raiding parties from tangling with the unionists who were
entrenched in a jerry-riged fort upon Bull Cliff. The fort was equipped
with fake log cannons which were pointed at the town of Victor below.
A crude bow gun propelled beer bottles filled with dynamite down the
hill toward the hired mercenaries.
Victor never fully recovered from its disastrous fire
Meanwhile, up at Altman, the miners loaded a flatcar with explosives
and rolled it downhill toward the deputies from Denver. It jumped
the track on a curve, exploded and killed two cows. Finally, the Denver
deputies captured five strikers. The whole event, worthy of a Gilbert
and Sullivan operetta, has been called the "Battle of Bull Hill."
Governor Waite arbitrated for the union and on June 10, 1894, an agreement
was signed. The union had won the three dollars pay for an eight-hour
An operator in a mining shaft house works the controls
of the steam-driven hoist
that raises and lowers cages carrying men and ore. Hoistmen in the
1890s earned four dollars a day -
a dollar more than their colleagues down below.
The unionists' hatred for General Tarsney was confirmed later that
month. He was seized in Colorado Springs and taken out of town, where
tar and feathers were applied all over his body. Tarsney was abandoned
beside the northbound railroad tracks and told to walk.
After the strike, non-union miners were driven from town and the deputy
sheriffs were arrested by the union. For self-protection, mining company
officials brought in outsiders, financing much of the county's law
enforcement activities themselves.
Mine owner Eben Smith later recalled in a note to another employer
"During the late war in Cripple
Creek, you and I brought 100 rifles and ten thousand rounds of ammunition..."
Pinkerton detectives were also brought in by company men. Nursing
his wounds at the end of the troubles, Smith confided to a friend,
"The only consolation we have
is the hope to elect a decent man as our next governor..."
Pressured by Governor Waite to accept the unions demands, Cripple
Creek mine owners began to prepare for the next conflict.
Cripple Creek District Labor Strikes:
| The Western Federation of Miners / State
| The 1893 - 1894 Strike | The
Strike of 1903 - 1904 |
| The Mine Owners Association |
| Crimes and Military Rule in the Cripple
Creek District |
| Marshall Law in Cripple Creek District
/ End of the Strike |
Early Cripple Creek District
| Photos, Fire, and Life in Cripple Creek
| Other Colorful Towns in the Cripple Creek
Gillett - Colorado's Only Bullfight, Victor, Independence |
| A Guide to the Miners' Gritty Lingo
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- Colorado History In Depth
Lecture Notes, Reading, and Information:
| The Cheyenne Migration
to Colorado |
| The Gratlan Affair, Massacre, Fort Laramie
The Cheyenne Social Club
| A Cheyenne War Story: Wolf Road, the Runner
| Cheyenne Traditions and Beliefs, Sacred
| Horses, Warriors, War Pipe, Sweatlodge
| Cheyenne War Parties and Battle Tactics
| The Scalp Dance and Other Cheyenne Dances
| The Sante Fe Trail and Fort Union |
| Sumner - Ninth Military Department / The
First Fort Union |
| Early Arrivals to Fort Union, Daily Life
at Fort Union |
| Captain Grover - The New Fort Union, the
Confederate Threat |
| Fort Union Arsenal, William Shoemaker,
End of Fort Union |
Americans from the East
| Thomas Jefferson, the Louisiana Purchase
| The Expedition of Zebulon Pike |
| Pikes Peak or Bust / Colorado Gold Rush
Colorado's Role in the US Civil
| The Civil War, Fort Wise / Fort Lyon
| Mace's Hole, Colonel Canby, F.C.V.R.
| Fort Weld |
| The Pet Lambs, John Chivington |
| General Henry Sibly, Battle of Valverde,
Fort Union |
More Colorado History
| Bent's Fort Photos, Personalities, Plans,
and More |
| What Was Easter Like at Bent's Fort?
| Colorado Trivia,
Miscellaneous Old Photos,
Western Personalities, Forts, and More |
| Lullabies for Jittery Cows - Cowboy Ballads
| Heraldry of the Branding Iron |
Aims to Clear Infamous Cannibal, Alferd Packer |
| Lead Gives Alferd
Packer's Story More Weight |
Colorado Love Stories: Baby Doe Tabor & More
| Colorado Pioneer Women: Elizabeth Byers
| Early Denver Jokes / The History of April
Fools' Day |
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