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

Colorado History

- Colorado History -
Cripple Creek District Labor Strikes

The Wrath of Governor Peabody

Marshall Law in the Cripple Creek District
On June 7, Peabody responded by declaring martial law, with General Sherman Bell in command. The troops were stationed at known "hot spots" around the district. Infantry, cavalry, and artillery troops were quartered at Goldfield. General Bell defiled the courts, and threatened to jail judges.

General Sherman Bell
Adj. General Sherman Bell

The pro-union newspaper, The Victor Record, was closed down, and editor George Hyner, was arrested. The newspaper office was vandalized with sledge hammers and put out of business. Bell shut down transportation routes, both roads and railroads were barricaded. Union stores and meeting places were destroyed and a mass hanging was suggested by citizens. Only cool heads and the militia presence kept vigilantes from stringing up union bodies on the power poles of the district.

Instead of mass lynchings by the "Local Uplift Society," mass arrests of known union members and sympathizers took place. Bull pens, with armed guards were established to contain the "trouble makers."

By the end of July, Bell's commission had questioned 1569 men. Of these it was recommended that 238 be banished. Military personnel carried out the expulsions, shipping the prisoners by train to Denver, and points close to the Kansas and New Mexico state lines. It was also recommended that charges be filed against forty-two persons and that 1289 be released.

I (Mr. Sedivy) will let General Bell speak for himself:

"...So we arrested the worst men in camp; gave them a fair hearing; picked the sheep out from the goats, loaded the latter into a special train, put aboard guards, canned beef, hardtack, buckets for drinking water; ran ‘em down to within two miles of the Kansas line; unloaded ‘em and marched ‘em to the state line. We gave each man a can of beef, a dozen hard tack, and a half a can of beans. They disappeared over the prairie. And that was the end of the Western Federation of Miners and the reign of terror in Cripple Creek. If I had to do it again, I'd do it just the same way, only I'd do it a damned sight quicker."

Tacked up on a telephone pole within a stones throw of the ruined station at Independence read as follows:

"Hence take notice, that on and after Sept. 16, 1901, anyone working in and around the mines, mills or power plants of the Cripple Creek District who cannot show a card of membership in good standing of some local union of the Western Federation of Miners will be considered a 'scab' and an enemy to us, himself and the community at large and will be treated as such. By the order of the Cripple Creek executive board of the W.F.M. ... John Curry President."

The blood-splattered railway station nearby stood as evidence of what was meant by "will be treated as such."

The Strike Is Over
By midsummer of 1904, it was all over; the strike had ended. All the mines were open and operating with non-union employees. As a result, 33 men were dead, martial law was imposed and the Western Federation of Miners would never recover in Colorado.

Mining Stock Exchange, Cripple Creek, Colorado in 1905
The Mining Stock Exchange Building in Cripple Creek in 1905

Cause of the 1903 - 1904 Labor War
You cannot know history without studying the people who have shaped it. At the word of Haywood, more than 3500 men quit work literally without cause, other than to shut down the Standard Mill forty miles away. At the Standard mill the only issue, apart from the desire of political power and union recognition, was whether forty-five men should be employed at $2.00 a day, or at $2.25 a day. As incredible as it may seem, this was the cause of the great 1903-04 labor war in the Cripple Creek District.

Mollie Kathleen gold mine
The hoist at the Mollie Kathleen gold mine

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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