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Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Colorado History

- Colorado History -
Cripple Creek District Labor Strikes


Military Rule in the Cripple Creek District

Harry Orchard
Worse crimes were yet to come. Enter B. F. Horsley, alias Harry Orchard, a union radical with a fondness for explosives. Orchard worked in the Independence mine in Victor. He called high-grading "something good for the pockets." Haywood, offered Orchard $500 if Orchard would blow up the Vindicator Mine at Victor; where non-union men were working.

But Harry must not have done very well in grade school because he did not count correctly and mistook the 6th level for the 7th. The 7th level was where the men were working. On November, 21, two supervisors, McCormack and Beck, descended the the shaft; at the 6th level they opened the door and hit trip wires which blew them to bits.

Anger in the District
The public opinion in the district was that of anger. Anger over the murders but also over the verdict of the coroners jury; they "were unable to determine the exact cause of the explosion." The jury was composed of union men and union sympathizers; which convinced people that the W.F.M was indirectly responsible and that it was attempting to escape public condemnation through a negative verdict.

Miners in Colorado
Colorado Miners

Military Rule Declared
As a result of this Governor Peabody declared military rule in the Cripple Creek District. Before this the militia was there to keep order. Now, it assumed absolute control of the government and superceded the civil authorities. General Bell was put in command. Bell began disarming union members, arrested many union men, and also banned street meetings. McKinney, who wrecked two trains confessed that he had acted on orders from W.F.M. officers. Public opinion was now against the union.

More and more mines were running without union labor. The strike was still on but the union looked stymied. On February 2, 1904, Martial Law was over and the militia was withdrawn. However, the violence would not end here. The militia would again return to Cripple Creek.


Dynamite at Independence Station
The two events that really brought down the wrath of Governor Peabody on the union were the severe beating of a justice of the peace from Anaconda and Harry Orchard's dynamiting of the railroad depot at the Independence Station. On June 5, with another miner named Steve Adams, Orchard planted two boxes of dynamite under the depots loading platform. They would be detonated by acid vials when a wire was pulled. At 2:15 A.M. the Florence & Cripple Creek train was carrying the night shift from the Findley Mine.

Cripple Creek District's Independence Depot
The Independence Depot in Independence, Colorado

As the train pulled into the Independence Station; Orchard pulled the wire too early, missing the train but wiping out the station. Body parts rained down as the explosion illuminated the night. Thirteen men were killed instantly, twenty others were badly injured. One body was found 150 feet away. A gruesome sight on all accounts.

Bloodhounds were brought in to track the killers, but Adams and Orchard had soaked their shoes in turpentine and scattered pepper in their tracks. The terrorists got away. Orchard made his way to Denver to get paid and then headed for Wyoming.

Shots Fired
The same day as the Independence explosion, a mass meeting was held in a vacant lot in Victor. Secretary Hamilin of the Mine Owners Association was addressing the crowd when shots were fired from the union headquarters across the street. Two non-union men were killed, a few were wounded. Then, a company of local militia surrounded Union Hall and volleys were exchanged between the two sides. It didn't take long for the union members to hang out a white flag of truce.

"There probably would have been lynchings on the spot but for a touch of the ridiculous. After they had surrendered the union men marched out of the hall, their faces white, their hands held high above their heads, and some of them begging not to be shot. They presented such a comical spectacle that the anger of the crowd turned for the moment to laughters and jeers."


The End for Sheriff Robertson
Sheriff Robertson was met on Victor Avenue, at noon, by a committee who requested him to go to the headquarters of the Citizens Alliance where he was met by a group of men who demanded his resignation. Robertson refused to surrender his authority. He was advised in strong language that unless he consented to resign without further delay he would soon be dangling at the end of a rope.

"You will have to show me the rope boys."

From behind his back one of the spokesmen produced a rope, with a noose already tied.

"We mean business sheriff."

With that, Robertson signed the resignation that had previously been prepared for him. A few minutes later, the Board of County Commissioners appointed Ed Bell Sheriff, pro term.


Cripple Creek District Labor Strikes:
| The Western Federation of Miners / State Militia |
| 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 District:
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 Treaty |

The Cheyenne Social Club
| A Cheyenne War Story: Wolf Road, the Runner |
| Cheyenne Traditions and Beliefs, Sacred Stories |
| Horses, Warriors, War Pipe, Sweatlodge Ceremony |
| Cheyenne War Parties and Battle Tactics |
| The Scalp Dance and Other Cheyenne Dances |

Fort Union
| 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 War
| 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 Information
| 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 |
| Project Aims to Clear Infamous Cannibal, Alferd Packer |
|
Lead Gives Alferd Packer's Story More Weight |
| Legendary 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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Highlands Ranch High School 9375 South Cresthill Lane Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80126 303-471-7000

Mr. Sedivy's History Classes
| Colorado History | American Government | Advanced Placement Modern European History | Rise of Nation State England | World History |
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