Tag Archives: labor unions

A Radical Journalist Such as We Need Now!

Mary Heaton Vorse O’Brien (1874–1966) was an American journalist, labor activist, social critic, and novelist. She was outspoken and active in peace and social justice causes, such as women’s suffrage, civil rights, pacifism (such as opposition to World War I), socialism, child labor, infant mortality, labor disputes, and affordable housing.

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Mary Heaton was born October 11, 1874, in New York City to Ellen Marvin Heaton and Hiram Heaton. She was raised in prosperity in Amherst, Massachusetts, in a 24-room house with half-siblings from her mother’s previous marriage. The money in the family came from her mother’s side. In 1852, Vorse’s mother married Captain Charles Bernard Marvin, a wealthy shipping magnate and liquor merchant, more than 20 years her senior, when she was a young woman of 18. Ellen Marvin was widowed at age 37 with five children. In 1873, she married Mary’s father, who, with his family, operated the Stockbridge Inn. The family traveled widely, spending over a year in Europe, where Mary attended kindergarten in Hanover and the first year of grade school in Dresden, learning the German language in the process. Later, the family had an apartment in Paris, where Mary learned French, followed later by a winter in Austria.

In her 1935 memoir, she dated her interest in the problems of politics and economics to the years of her youth, when her mother read to her aloud from a book by ethnographer George Kennan on the brutal Siberian penal system of Russia. An interest in classic Russian literature followed, complemented by directed reading with her father on topics of American history. She found her intellect stimulated by life in the college town of Amherst and discussions held in the family home between her father and several prominent friends from academia, including the president of Massachusetts Agricultural College, Henry Hill Goodell, and anthropology professor John Tyler.

She was allowed to leave the formal school system at a young age and subsequently spent several winters in Paris studying art. In 1896, Heaton began to study at the Art Students’ League, on West 57th Street in New York City. The League was established 20 years earlier by strong-minded young men in rebellion from the conservative nature of the instruction at the National Academy of Design. By the time that Mary entered, the school was booming, with over 1100 pupils studying in sex-segregated day and evening classes, studying sketch art, sculpture, and painting. While Mary found participation in the artistic avant-garde exhilarating, she unfortunately had rather mediocre talent. She wrote in her diary: “When I come into my room and see my work lying around, my sense of my own futility overwhelms me. After so much work, that is all I can do.”

She was young, intelligent, and athletic and was deeply influenced by the ideas of feminism that had begun to emerge as the 19th century came to a close. Many upper-class women such as Mary were in the forefront of the movement for women’s rights to economic independence, education, voting rights, and birth control.

Her first husband was Albert White “Bert” Vorse, a widely traveled journalist who had worked for a year in a Boston settlement house, run by Edward Everett Hale. They were married on October 26, 1898 after a brief courtship and had two children: a boy, Heaton, born in 1901 and a girl, Mary, born in 1907.

The couple began to take an increased interest in social problems of the day, spurred by the muckraking reformist politics of the day and a personal friendship with radical journalist Lincoln Steffens. The Vorses would frequently go sailing with Steffens and his wife on the Vorses’ boat, where they would be regaled with Steffens’s “epic stories” of “gigantic lootings and skullduggeries” by wealthy bankers and industrialists.

Bert was soon assigned to Paris as the correspondent of the Philadelphia Ledger. It was in France that Mary, encouraged and instructed by her husband, began to try her own hand at professional writing. She began to create and sell romantic fiction to women’s magazines. Her stories often featured the motif of a rugged and energetic heroine who managed to win the affection of a coveted male over a more constrained and conventionally feminine rival. In 1904, the Vorses moved to Venice, where Mary was first introduced into the world of the working class and their labor struggles. Bert died on June 14, 1910, of a cerebral hemorrhage.

In 1912, she married the journalist Joe O’Brien, a socialist from Virginia whom she met at the 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike.

sept 1912_Lawrence_Textile_Strike_2Poster of the Lawrence, Massachusetts, strike

The couple had one child, a boy born in 1914 Joe O’Brien died in 1915.

Vorse was active in the fight against militarism and American entry into World War I and was a founding member, along with Jane Addams, of the Woman’s Peace Party in January 1915. She was chosen as the delegate of the New York Woman Suffrage Party to an International Women’s Peace Congress held in The Hague at the end of April 1915, traveling aboard the MS Noordam through mine-strewn waters to attend.

She wrote for the New York Post, New York World, McCall’s, Harper’s Weekly, Atlantic Monthly, The Masses, New Masses, New Republic, and McClure’s Magazine as well as various news services.

She participated in and reported on the Lawrence Textile Strike, the miners’ strike in Minnesota in 1916, the steel strike of 1919, the textile workers strike of 1934, autoworkers in Michigan in 1937,  and coal strikes in Harlan County, Kentucky. She was wounded by police gunfire while reporting on a strike in Youngstown, Ohio. She researched and wrote about Indian affairs in the mid-1930s and reported on post-war Europe from 1945 to 1947 for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration

Four years before her death in 1966, the 88-year-old Vorse entered the silver jubilee banquet of the United Auto Workers, accompanied by union leader Walter Reuther. There, she received the first UAW Social Justice Award, with former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and novelist Upton Sinclair looking on to share her honor. Vorse  was feted for her work as one of the most important labor journalists of the 1920s and 1930s.

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Vorse died of a heart attack on June 14, 1966, at her home in Provincetown, Massachusetts, on the extreme tip of Cape Cod, where she was buried.[28] She was 92 years old.

In addition to her memoir written in 1935, Vorse participated in an oral history project at Columbia University in 1957, an interview that was transcribed and microfilmed by the university.

Vorse also wrote several ghost stories, including “The Second Wife” (1912). The stories were later collected in the Ash-Tree Press volume “Sinister Romance : Collected Ghost Stories.” Her friend Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker, said Vorse  continued writing in order to aid her children and their children.

 

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May~Election Year 1876

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President Ulysses Grant would like to serve another term but his administration is wracked with scandal and the economy still suffers from the depression of 1873. Politicians debate about changes to the currency while workers look for help in emerging labor unions and third party movements. Neither major party seems to have a “big name” candidate in contention and critics find little differences between the two parties. The country begins the national celebration of one hundred years of independence as the Centennial Exposition opens in Philadelphia. The U S 7th Cavalry sets out upon a meeting with destiny

May 6– Saturday– New York City– “The schemers of the Republican Party take small heed of innoxious and ineffectual reformers in whose bosoms a deep-rooted prejudice against the Democratic opposition is stronger than the hatred of Republican corruption. The attitude in which these Republican protestants have placed themselves is of commanding significance only as a sign of the evil times upon which we have fallen. Whether they shall have strength and wisdom enough to rise to the height of the political emergencies thrust upon the country, will remain to be seen in the results of their deliberations.” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly

May 6– Saturday– Batak, Bulgaria– Irregular Ottoman soldiers complete several days of pillaging, burning and massacring local Christians, killing about 4100 or more people.

May 7– Sunday– Flushing, New York– Reverend William Buell Sprague, Presbyterian clergyman and author of the 9 volume Annals of the American Pulpit, dies at 80 years of age.

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Caroline Chapman

 

May 8– Monday– San Francisco, California– Caroline Chapman, a prominent stage actress during the 1840’s and 1850’s, dies at 58 years of age.

May 9– Tuesday– Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania– An editorial in today’s Pittsburgh Press declares that “The Molly McGuires [sic] represented the spirit of French Communism . . . [they desired] to dictate the operation of labor.” [The Molly Maguires functioned as a secret or semi-secret fraternal organization and labor union among Irish coal miners in eastern Pennsylvania. The extent of their violence against mine owners, mine management and local authorities remains in dispute as Pinkerton detectives hired by the mine owners infiltrated the group and most likely fabricated some evidence against them. The last trial of the alleged ring leaders concluded a month ago (April, 1876) and next spring six of these men will hang. On the debated history, see: The Molly Maguires (1932) by Anthony Bimba; Labor Disturbances in Pennsylvania, 1850-1880 (1936) by J Walter Coleman; From the Molly Maguires to the United Mine Workers; the Social Ecology of an Industrial Union, 1869-1897 (1971) by Harold W Aurand; The Labor Wars: from the Molly Maguires to the Sitdowns (1973) by Sidney Lens; Making Sense of the Molly Maguires (1998) by Kevin Kenny; A Molly Maguire on Trial– the Thomas Munley Story (2002) by H T Crown; The Sons of Molly Maguire: the Irish Roots of America’s First Labor War (2015) by Mark Bulik.

May 10– Wednesday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The Centennial Exposition, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the United States, opens today. [It will run until November 10, 1876 and draw 9,910,966 visitors.] [For more information, see, Philadelphia’s 1876 Centennial Exhibition (2005) by Linda P Gross and Theresa R Snyder and Culture as Curriculum: Education and the International Expositions– 1876-1904 (2012) by Eugene F Provenzo, Jr.]

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Opening Day of the Centennial Exposition

 

May 13– Saturday– New York City– “The scheme now before Congress to drive out the gold coins and replace them with silver dollars proposes a more important change in the money of the country than has been made since the issue of the legal-tender notes. There are so many conclusive objections to this rapacious and dishonest project, that we cannot even enumerate them here. It may be said, in the first place, that there is no good reason for any legislation at all on the subject of silver at this time. It is true that the inflationists on one side and the impracticable hard-money men on the other are clamoring for something to be done with the currency, but it is impossible to find any half-dozen men of either faction who agree as to the precise things they would do if they could have things their own way. The conclusion at which we arrived long ago was, that in the present state of business and of popular intelligence on the currency question the only safety consisted in letting things alone. Not that a statesmanlike measure could not be devised for assisting the nation out of its troubles, but that with Congress constituted as it is, such a measure was not to be hoped for. We think this silver-dollar scheme, which is not at all unlikely to become a law, fully justifies us in having advocated a policy of inaction.” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly

May 16– Tuesday– Indianapolis, Indiana– The National Convention of the Greenback Party opens with 239 delegates from 17 states in attendance.

May 16–Tuesday– Matamoros, Mexico–American sailors and marines land to protect American interests.

May 17– Wednesday– Indianapolis, Indiana– The National Convention of the Greenback Party concludes. The party’s platform declares “It is the paramount duty of the government, in all its legislation, to keep in view the full development of all legitimate business– agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and commercial. . . . We most earnestly protest against any further issue of gold bonds for sale in foreign markets, by which we would be made for a long period ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water’ to foreigners, especially as the American people would gladly and promptly take at par all bonds the government may need to sell, providing they are made payable at the option of the holder, and bearing interest at 3.65 per cent per annum, or even a lower rate. . . . We further protest against the sale of government bonds for the purpose of purchasing silver to be used as a substitute for our more convenient and less fractional currency, which, although well calculated to enrich owners of silver mines, yet in operation it will still further oppress, in taxation, an already overburdened people.”

May 17– Wednesday– Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dakota Territory [now North Dakota]– Elements of the 7th U S Cavalry leave the fort headed for General Alfred Terry’s command along the Powder River with the aim of forcing the Lakota and Cheyenne people back onto reservations.

soldiers of 7th cavalry

soldiers of the 7th Cavalry

 

May 20– Saturday– New York City– “The event to which the whole nation has been looking forward with eager expectation passed off with all the éclat and splendor that the most ardent lover of his country could desire. For the last few days the busy hum of preparation has been heard from early morning until late at night, and so much remained to be done, that only by dint of superhuman exertion could the buildings be put in any suitable order for the inaugural ceremonies. The exhibitors, aided by the Commissioners, showed themselves equal to the occasion, and by nine o’clock on the 10th of May everything was in as great a state of forwardness as was witnessed on the first day in Paris or Vienna. Long before the hour appointed for the opening the entrances were besieged by a crowd of people who were prepared to pay the exact charge required for admission, and who were anxious to secure good positions for witnessing the ceremonies, and for gazing at the distinguished guests who were to occupy the seats of honor on the platform. The multitude was free to march through the Park, but the buildings were closed to them until the Exhibition had been declared open by the President of the United States.” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly

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Main Building of the Exposition

 

May 20– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– President Grant orders that “the several Departments of the Government will be closed on Tuesday, the 30th instant, to enable the employees to participate in the decoration of the graves of the soldiers who fell during the rebellion.”

May 27– Saturday– New York City– “Happily, the Centennial Exhibition comes just in the right time to mitigate the ferocity of our Presidential contest this year, as there is no knowing what might happen if there were no sideshow to divide the exasperation and energies of journalistic writers and political spouters. The Centennial serves as a tub for the whale. There is no lack of good, strong political objurgations, it must be confessed, but it must also be admitted that, in the general skirmishing preliminary to the great work of making the nominations for the Presidency, there is less bitterness of feeling exhibited than has ever been known before. This is not wholly owing to the diversion of popular sympathies and attention by the Centennial, but a good deal is owing to this cause beyond a question, and this is an additional reason for entertaining a jubilant feeling in this year of our great jubilee. The chief cause, however, of the moderate tone of the contest between the two great contending parties is that there is really so little difference between them, so far as any essential principle is involved, the contest being narrowed down to a choice of men rather than to an assertion of principles. And even in the choice of men there is so little to contend for that there is a widespread opinion entertained that the two leaders under whose banners the fight is to be conducted are both Great Unknowns; and there will hardly be time, after the nominations shall have been made, to get up much enthusiasm on either side. Certainly neither of the distinguished citizens whose names are now publicly discussed in connection with the nominations to be made are men calculated to create much popular enthusiasm.” ~ Frank Leslies Weekly

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Machinery Hall at the Exposition

 

May 28– Sunday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Birth of Katharine Blunt, educator, home economist, nutritionist and author who will serve as president of Connecticut College from 1929 to 1943. [Dies July 29, 1954.]

May 29– Monday– Somerville, Massachusetts– Birth of Helen Woodard, home economist, researcher, author, and journal editor who will serve in the U S Department of Agriculture from 1909 to 1923 as well as on a number of committees relating to food, health, children and women. [Dies June 26, 1947.]

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Helen Woodard

 

May 30– Tuesday– Constantinople, Turkey– Sultan Abdulaziz, age 46, ruler of the Ottoman Empire since June, 1861, is deposed by a group of his ministers.

Election Year 1892 ~ April

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There exist some tensions and rivalries in both the Republican and Democratic parties. Corporations increase in number and wealth. Women battling for their civil rights see little progress in the fight for the vote. Striking miners provide a foretaste of the labor struggles yet coming this year. Black people and Native Americans continue to be exploited. Germany is selling arms in Africa. Anarchists stir the pot as they can. And the incumbent president will replace a deceased Supreme Court justice in an election year without blind resistance from the opposition party.

April 1–Friday– Idaho–Mine owners across the state begin a lockout against 3,000 striking miners.

April 5–Tuesday– Lithonia, Georgia–A white mob lynches five black men.

April 7– Thursday– New York City– “Not all the men who were brought to the front in politics by the popular revolution of 1890 have justified the expectations of their supporters; some, indeed, who were elevated to important positions have proved miserable failures, and will very speedily be relegated to the obscurity out of which they were lifted. But there are some among the new men who were projected into Congress by that upheaval who have demonstrated genuine capacity, and are likely to impress themselves upon the legislation and policy of their time. Among these is Hon. William J. Bryan [1860–1925], of Nebraska, who was elected to Congress on the platform of tariff reform by a phenomenal majority in a strong Republican district, and has since attained, by a single speech, a commanding position in the House. Mr. Bryan, who is thirty-two years of age, is a man of fine appearance, of indomitable purpose and solid intellectual qualities, which make him a dangerous antagonist. He is a lawyer by profession, and is assisted in the preparation of cases by his young wife, who studied law and was admitted to the Bar in order that she might make herself more truly his helpmeet.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly [Mary Elizabeth Baird Bryan is a year younger than her husband whom she married in 1884. Encouraged by her husband, she studied law at the Union College of Law in Chicago, Illinois, and was admitted to practice in November, 1888. Dies January 21, 1930.]

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Mary Pickford

 

April 8– Friday– Toronto, Ontario, Canada– Birth of Gladys Louise Smith a/k/a Mary Pickford who will appear in more than 175 films and become one of the co-founders of United Artists. [Dies May 29, 1979.]

April11– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “Now, therefore, I, Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States, do hereby declare and make known that all of the lands embraced in said reservation, saving and excepting the lands reserved for and allotted to said Indians and the lands reserved for other purposes in pursuance of the provisions of said agreement and the said act of Congress ratifying the same and other the laws relating thereto, will, at and after the hour of 12 o’clock noon (central standard time)on the 15th day of April, A. D. 1892, and not before, be opened to settlement under the terms of and subject to all the terms and conditions, limitations, reservations, and restrictions contained in said agreements, the statutes above specified, and the laws of the United States applicable thereto.” ~ Presidential proclamation opening lands taken by treaty from the Sioux to settlers.

April 11– Monday– Florence Italy– Birth of Francesca Bertini [born Elena Seracini Vitiello] who will become the premiere actress in Italian silent films. [Dies October 13, 1985.]

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President Benjamin Harrison

 

April 12– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Now, therefore, I, Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested by the statutes hereinbefore mentioned, also an act of Congress entitled ‘An act making appropriations for the current and contingent expenses of the Indian Department and for fulfilling treaty stipulations with various Indian tribes for the year ending June 30, 1892, and for other purposes,’ approved March 3, 1891, and by other of the laws of the United States, and by said agreement, do hereby declare and make known that all of said lands hereinbefore described acquired from the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians by the agreement aforesaid, saving and excepting the lands allotted to the Indians as in said agreement provided, excepting also the lands hereinbefore described as occupied and claimed by the Wichita and affiliated bands of Indians, or otherwise reserved in pursuance of the provisions of said agreement and the said act of Congress ratifying the same, and other the laws relating thereto, will at the hour of 12 o’clock noon (central standard time), Tuesday, the 19th day of the present month of April, and not before, be opened to settlement under the terms of and subject to all the conditions, limitations, reservations, and restrictions contained in said agreement, the statutes above specified, and the laws of the United States applicable thereto.” ~ Presidential proclamation opening other Indian lands to settlers.

April 14– Thursday– New York City– “There can be no doubt at all that Senator Hill has injured his Presidential chances by his recent Southern tour. All the influential newspapers of that section agree in saying that his speeches were disappointing to the people, revealing the low and artful partisan rather than the enlightened statesman, and that very many Democrats who were at first disposed to give him their support are now convinced that success under his leadership would be impossible. They had expected to hear an intelligent discussion of principles and policies, but were treated to the drivel of the pot-house politician. They had expected to meet a man with strong and positive convictions, but their visitor evaded every important issue, and if he had convictions, obscured or concealed them by artifices of speech. . . . . No one who has been at all familiar with Senator Hill’s methods and has closely studied the man will be surprised at this result. The truth is that David B. Hill does not possess a single quality of genuine statesmanship. He has never, as to any question or measure, displayed that breadth and loftiness of spirit which characterizes the true publicist. He is a machine politician, pure and simple. He has made his way so far by what a contemporary aptly describes as a ‘comprehending sympathy with the heeler, ballot-box stuffer, the manipulator of returns, the vote-buyer, and all who are adepts in the dodges of the criminal side of politics.’ It is the cold truth that ‘every potency and agency for good, political, religious, and moral, in his State, abhors him as a man without principle or conscience.’ . . . . Thoughtful Democrats . . . are unwilling that the party standard should be committed to a man who has nothing to recommend him but the fact that he is an expert in political crime. So overwhelming is this growing sentiment that even in this State, if the question of his candidacy could be submitted to the Democratic voters for an expression of the real wishes of the party, without pressure or intimidation of any sort, he would, as we believe, be beaten two to one.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly [Hill (1843– 1910) was a lawyer and career politician who served as governor of New York State from 1885 to 1891 and in the U S Senate from 1892 to 1897. At this point he has been vigorously seeking the Democratic nomination.]

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Senator David B Hill

 

April 15– Friday– Schenectady, New York– The General Electric Company is established through the merger of the Thomson-Houston Company and the Edison General Electric Company.

April 15– Friday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Reliable sources indicate that Republican delegates to the national convention from this city will go to the convention as uncommitted.

April 15– Friday– Indianapolis, Indiana– It appears that all of the delegates from Indiana to the Democratic convention will support Grover Cleveland rather than Isaac P Gray, the former governor of the state. [Gray, 1828–1895, served in the Union Army during the Civil War. In 1876, upset by corruption in the administration of President Ulysses S Grant, Gray switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party.]

April 16– Saturday– Rochester, New York– A reporter asks Susan B Anthony what she thinks about the woman suffrage bill slowly making its way through the state legislature in Albany. She replies, “I am highly pleased, and I hope it will fare well . . . but I am not very enthusiastic. The cup has been brought to my lips so often and then dashed away that I have learned no to be too confident.” [Women will not gain the vote in New York until 1917.]

April 17– Sunday– Washington, D.C.– Dr Gardner, the physician taking care of First Lady Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison, reports that she is feeling a little better, despite her hard cough and her fever. [She will struggle with illness throughout the coming months and will die on October 25th, 24 days after her 60th birthday.]

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First Lady Caroline Harrison

 

April 17– Sunday– Paris, France– Britain and France are discussing ways to prevent arms sales to Africans, noting that partisans in Upper Niger and in Dahomey are armed with modern German-made rifles.

April 19– Tuesday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– In a move which speculators and dealers will describe as “a coal war”, the Pennsylvania Railroad announces a drastic cut in the rate it charges to haul coal, an effort to lure business away from other railroads.

April 20–Wednesday– Denmark–In national elections for the Folketing (literally, “the people’s thing”), the parliament, 63.8% of eligible voters cast ballots. The conservatives win 34.8% of the vote, taking 31 of 102 available seats. The center-right party captures 30 seats, the moderates 39 seats and the socialists only 2 seats.

April 21– Thursday– New York City– “The expressions of the newspaper press and of all the [state] political conventions which have recently been held go to show that there is practically no opposition to the renomination of President Harrison. There are a few political leaders who, out of disappointment at their failure to use the President for their own purposes, would be very glad to rally a more or less formidable opposition to him, but so far they have not succeeded in finding any candidate who is likely to commend himself at all to the national convention. Senator Cullom, who was at one time named as a candidate, has formally withdrawn from the field. Senator Allison will probably be presented by Iowa, but he has explicitly stated that he does not desire the nomination. . . . Taking the field as a whole, all the conditions are favorable to the practically unanimous renomination of the present executive. In proof of this statement we could fill our columns with extracts from the leading independent and Republican papers of the country.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly

April 22– Friday– Washington, D.C.– Democratic leaders here assert that Indiana supporters of former governor Isaac P Gray are “indulging in . . . the sheerest nonsense” and the overwhelming majority of Democrats favor Grover Cleveland.

April 22– Friday– Louisville, Kentucky– At a meeting local Democrats express support for Grover Cleveland. “We believe him to possess the confidence of the masses to a greater extent than any other living American and that his nomination will carry the country by storm.”

April 23– Saturday– Buffalo, New York– Many prominent Republicans in the western part of the state favor Chauncey M Depew, age 58, a lawyer and president of the New York Central Railroad, instead of President Benjamin Harrison.

April 23– Saturday– London, England– The funeral of Mary Mowbray, wife of the labor organizer and anarchist Charles W Mowbray, takes place. The ceremony, with no religious component, provides an opportunity for anarchists and socialists to demonstrate. Some carry signs saying “Remember Chicago”, referring to the Haymarket bombing incident of 1886 after which 8 anarchist were arrested, put through a show trial in front of a biased judge and sentenced to death. Four were hanged and one committed suicide. Three remain in prison, two serving life sentences, one a sentence of 15 years. [Next year Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld will pardon those three and release them from prison. On the Haymarket affair, see: The Haymarket Tragedy (1984) by Paul Avrich; The History of the Haymarket Affair; a Study in the American Social-revolutionary and Labor Movements (1936) by Henry David; and on Governor Altgeld, see: Eagle Forgotten: the Life of John Peter Altgeld (1938) by Harry Barnard.]

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Memorial to the Haymarket Martyrs

 

April 27– Wednesday– Bangor, Maine– Republicans select delegates committed to James G Blaine to represent the state at the Republican national convention.

April 27– Wednesday– London, England– In Parliament, the House of Commons defeats a woman suffrage bill with 175 votes against it and 152 in favor. Suffrage leaders are pleased that the vote is that close.

April 28– Thursday– New York City– “There is an indication that the President is finding some difficulty in securing a successor to Justice [Joseph] Bradley, of the Supreme Court, owing to the meager salary paid these officials. One gentleman who is alleged to be eminently equipped for the Supreme Court bench is said to have declined the appointment on the ground that he cannot afford to accept it, being now in receipt of an income from his practice some ten times greater than the salary paid to judges. Of course the consideration of salary does not as a rule enter into the question of acceptance of this high position, but it would not diminish the dignity of the office if that salary should be more in proportion to the responsibility and excellent character of the services required of its incumbent.” ~ Frank Leslie’s Weekly [Bradley was a Republican from New York who died January 22, 1892 at age 78. President Harrison will nominate George Shiras, a Republican from Pennsylvania, age 60, to take his place. The Senate will confirm Shiras on July 26th– there will be no debate about whether or not the incumbent president could or should fill the vacancy on the court.]

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the late Justice Bradley

 

April 29– Friday– Washington, D.C.– From the states of New York, Maine and Colorado there seems to be increasing opposition among some Republicans to the renomination of President Harrison.

April 30– Saturday– London, England– Rumors declare that the recent visit by U S warships to Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a veiled attempt to forge an anti-British alliance between the United States and Argentina. American officials strongly deny the allegations.

Strike! Lawrence, Massachusetts~January, 1912

The years opens with what will become one of the most famous strikes in American labor history– textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Political and social change take place in China, South Africa, Great Britain, Germany, eastern Europe, Ecuador, as well as the cities of Toronto, Canada, Lisbon, Portugal, and Brisbane, Australia.

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January 1–Monday– Nanjing, China– Following three months of fighting and turmoil, leaders of fifteen of the country’s twenty-four provinces elect Sun Yat-sen, 45 years old, as provisional president of the new Republic of China. This marks the beginning of the end of over 2,000 years of imperial rule and the end of the power of the Quing dynasty which has ruled since 1644. Although Sun’s supporters control most of southern China, Yuan Shih-kai retains power in the north as the chief of the Imperial army in Beijing.

January 1–Monday– Toronto, Canada–In municipal elections, Mayor George R Geary, age 38,facing no opponents, wins reelection by acclamation. Two incumbent members of the Board of Control are defeated. Noted Liberal Frank Spence loses his seat but is replaced by fellow Liberal Jesse McCarthy. J. J. Ward, considered a representative of labor also loses his seat. [George Geary dies April 30, 1954.]

January 1–Monday– New York City– The NAACP, founded three years ago, issues its second annual report. The report lists active chapters in Boston and Chicago as well as here and receipts of $10,317.43 for the eight months ending in December, 1911. [That equals approximately $265,000 in current dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

January 2– Tuesday– Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada– Birth of Barbara Pentland, composer, musician and educator. [Dies February 5, 2000.]

January 2–Tuesday– Tabriz, Persia– With 4,000 Russian troops occupying the city to protect Russian interests, the Russian authorities execute eight Persian leaders who had supported the Constitutional Revolution between 1905 and 1907. Other such leaders had fled the city.

January 3– Wednesday– Disraeli, Quebec, Canada– Birth of Louise Marguerite Renaude Lapointe, one of the first Canadian women to build a career in journalism and who will serve as a senator from 1971 to 1987. [Dies May 11,2002.]

January 5– Friday– Prague, Austro-Hungarian Empire–At the International Party Conference, Vladimir Ilich Lenin, age 41, and the Bolshevik Party break away from the rest of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party.

January 5– Friday– Nanjing, China– Dr. Sun Yat-sen issues the “Manifesto from the Republic of China to All Friendly Nations,” signaling a major change in Chinese foreign policy with a promise to end the isolationism of the Manchu Emperors and “to rejoin China with the international community.” On the same day, he meets with woman’s suffrage activist Lin Zongsu and pledges to allow women the right to vote in the new republic.

January 5–Friday– Melbourne, Victoria, Australia– Birth of Doris Jessie Carter, athlete who in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin will become the first Australian woman to make it into the Olympic finals. [Dies July 28, 1999.]

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January 6– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– New Mexico is admitted as the 47th state in the Union.

January 6–Saturday– Bordeaux, France–Birth of Jacques Ellul, philosopher, sociologist, law professor and Christian anarchist. [Dies May 19, 1994.]

January 7–Sunday– The Red Sea outside of Kunfida (now Al Qunfudhah in Saudi Arabia)– Seven Turkish gunboats are sunk by three Italian warships as the hostilities begun last September continue.

January 7– Sunday– Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England– Dr. Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake, an English physician, teacher and feminist, dies two weeks away from her 72nd birthday. She was one of the first women to practice medicine in the United Kingdom, a leading campaigner for medical education for women and involved in founding two medical schools for women, one in London and the other in Edinburgh, where she also started a women’s hospital.

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January 8– Monday– Bloemfontein, South Africa–John Dube, Pixley ka Isaka Seme and Sol Plaatie along with a number of the chiefs of indigenous peoples, people’s representatives, and church representatives form the African National Congress [the ANC] to bring all Africans together to work for liberation and freedom. From its inception the ANC represents both traditional and modern elements, from tribal chiefs to church and community bodies and educated black professionals, though women will only be admitted as affiliate members and only after 1930.

January 8–Monday– Port Maitland, Nova Scotia, Canada– Birth of Lawrence Walsh, U.S. federal prosecutor who will gain notoriety during his investigation the Iran-Contra affair.[Dies March 19, 2014].

January 8–Monday– Washington, D. C.– The United States Monetary Commission presents its plan to Congress to establish what will become the Federal Reserve System.

January 9– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– The Democratic National Committee announces that this year’s presidential nominating convention will be held in Baltimore beginning on June 25.

Preparing for the 4th of July parade held by the textile mill committees.

Preparing for the 4th of July parade held by the textile mill committees.

January 11–Thursday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Women weavers, mostly immigrants, at Everett Cotton Mills realize that the company has reduced their pay by 32 cents and they stop their looms and leave the mill, shouting “short pay, short pay!” and thereby begin what will become know as “the Bread and Roses strike.” [The women earn a little less than $9.00 a week for nearly 60 hours of work. This equals about $231 in current dollars, using the Consumer Price Index.]

January 12– Friday– Berlin, Germany– The first round of the German parliamentary election is held today with 208 seats in the Reichstag at stake.

January 12– Friday– London, England– The General Post Office of the British government takes complete control of the national telephone system, leaving only the United States as the sole major industrialized nation in which the network is privately owned.

January 12–Friday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Almost 10,00 workers in area textile plants walk out on strike as thousands more join the 1750 who walked out yesterday. At the Washington Mills, the workers turn off the power, cut belts on machines and break light bulbs as they walk out. Half of the strikers are women.

January 13–Saturday– New York City– Speaking at Bryant Hall, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, age 21, and has worked as an I.W.W. organizer for five years, encourages striking waiters to refuse tip-taking and instead to demand a living wage from the hotel and restaurant proprietors. The idea provokes considerable debate among the strikers, many of whom are immigrants, and the final vote is unanimous against accepting gratuities.

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Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

 

January 13– Saturday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– The Evening Tribune reports that “It is felt that the worst uprising in the city has reached its climax and that the trouble will now gradually simmer down to normal conditions.”

January 14–Sunday– Wahoo, Nebraska– Birth of Tillie Lerner Olsen, author and feminist. [Dies January 1, 2007.]

January 15–Monday– Ecuador–The battleship USS Maryland arrives to protect American interests during the violence of the civil war.

January 15–Monday– Paris, France– Birth of Michel Jean-Pierre Debre who will serve in the French Resistance during the Second World War and as the first Prime Minister of the Fifth French Republic from 1959 to 1962. [Dies August 2, 1996.]

January 15– Monday– Washington, D.C.– The Senate votes 58-8 to discuss arbitration treaties publicly rather than in closed sessions. Peace advocates see this as a step forward.

January 15–Monday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Authorities arrest 36 strikers for throwing snowballs at police officers and militiamen. Organizers of the IWW establish twenty-four hours a day picketing of the mills. The Evening Tribune reports that “Authorities have the situation well in hand.”

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cavalry troopers in Lawrence

 

January 15– Monday– Boston, Massachusetts– The governor orders five companies of state militia to Lowell “to suppress the rioting, to preserve order and to protect property.”

January 16–Tuesday– Ankara, Turkey– The Sultan Abdul Hamid II on his own initiative dissolves the Turkish Chamber of Deputies. Engaged in an expensive and bloody war with Italy since the end of September, 1911, attempting to repel the Italian invasion of Libya, an Ottoman province, the Sultan appears angry and frustrated with the Chamber.

January 17– Wednesday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– At the train station about 3000 strikers and supporters cheer the arrival of “Smiling Joe” Ettor, 26 years old and well known labor organizer and IWW activist. [Ettor dies in California sometime in 1948.]

IWW-picture-20

January 18– Thursday– Brisbane, Queensland, Australia– Members of the Australian Tramway Employees Association are dismissed from their jobs when they wear union badges to work. Although the Brisbane tramways are owned by the General Electric Company of the United Kingdom, they are managed by Joseph Stillman Badger, an American, who is responsible for the firing of these workers. Later he will refuse to negotiate with the Queensland main union body, the Australian Labour Federation. The terminated workers and supporters march to Brisbane Trades Hall where a meeting is held. In the evening 10,000 people gather in Market Square to protest the company’s action.

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Brisbane tram

 

 

January 18– Thursday– Yaguachi, Ecuador– Over 1,000 people are killed in fighting between troops from the Quito national government and the Guayaquil rebel government.

January 18– Thursday– Roanne, France– Birth of David Rousset, writer and political activist who will survive the Buchenwald concentration camp during the Second World War.

January 18–Thursday– Tientsin, China– American troops occupy the city to protect American interests. The United States is concerned about political instability in China.

January 18– Thursday– London, England– The British Miners’ Federation releases the final tally on a strike vote with 445,801 in favor and 115,921 opposed. The strike, aimed at securing a minimum wage for coal miners, is scheduled begin on March 1.

January 20– Saturday– Berlin, Germany– The second round of Reichstag elections begins with 77 seats at stake.

January 20–Saturday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– Police detectives find a stash of dynamite in an empty room in back of Marad Dye Works and arrest seven people, two of them women.

January 22– Monday– Hamilton, Georgia–A white mob lynches three black men and one black woman.

January 22–Monday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Almost 22,000 workers are now on strike. Business in town is at a standstill.

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January 22– Monday– Nanjing, China– Sun Yat-sen and Yuan Shih-kai complete negotiations on the unification of the Republic of China, with Dr. Sun agreeing to yield the presidency to Yuan upon the abdication of the emperor.

January 23–Monday– The Hague, The Netherlands– For the first time ever, a number of countries sign a treaty to control drug trade. The International Opium Convention, signed by China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Persia, Portugal, Russia, Siam, the United States and the United Kingdom, provides that the signatories “shall use their best endeavors to control, or to cause to be controlled, all persons manufacturing, importing, selling, distributing, and exporting morphine, cocaine, and their respective salts, as well as the buildings in which these persons carry such an industry or trade.” Other countries are invited to agree to the terms later.

January 24– Tuesday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– At the train station thousands of strikers, their families and supporters cheer the arrival of “Big Bill” Haywood, age 42 and well known labor organizer and IWW activist. In a speech before Haywood’s arrival Joseph Ettor warns the strikers to beware of Pinkerton detectives who may act as agent provocateurs to discredit the workers.

January 25– Thursday– Guayaquil, Ecuador– General Pedro Montero, who had been proclaimed President of Ecuador on December 29, 1911, by rebelling Ecuadorian troops, is sentenced to 16 years in prison. When the sentence is announced, the crowd outside the courthouse nosily protests that the sentence is too light. A number of people rush in, shoot Montero to death, and carry his corpse outside, where others behead and then burn the body.

January 25–Thursday– Berlin, Germany– Voting in elections for the Reichstag concludes today with the Socialists having the largest number of seats, winning 100, and the Radical and National Liberal parties having won 44 and 47, respectively, and the (Catholic) Centre Party taking 91 seats. The results make possible a majority coalition of groups hostile to or ambivalent about the ruling elites of the German Empire; however, distrust and in-fighting among liberals and progressives will, for the most part, leave the government of Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg free to do as it wishes.

January 26–Friday– Beijing, China– A group of 47 generals and commanders of the Imperial Army, all of whom had pledged their allegiance to the monarchy earlier in this month, sign a petition to the Emperor and the regent, asking that the dynasty give way to a republic under Yuan Shih-kai.

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factory in Lawrence

 

January 27– Saturday– Lawrence, Massachusetts– Benoit Clothing Company, a local store, runs advertisements pledging 10% of each days sales to be given to relief of the strikers.

January 28– Sunday– Newark, New Jersey– Birth of Sidney Lens, author, labor organizer and socialist political activist. [Dies June 18,1986.]

January 28– Sunday– Quito, Ecuador– A mob storms the prison where former President Eloy Alfaro and his brothers Flavio and Medardo are being held as prisoners of war since their capture six days ago, and lynches them.

January 29–Monday– Chicago, Illinois– At a meeting of the “No Vote, No Tax League”–a women’s tax resistance group–an intense debate begins when Miss Belle Squire and Dr Cornelia De Bey urge the group to endorse Teddy Roosevelt for President of the United States. Dr De Bay declares that “When he sees that votes for women is a winning issue he will embrace it.” However, the proposal is defeated by a 2-to1 margin.

January 29– Monday– Pierce City, Missouri– Birth of Martha Wright Griffiths, lawyer and judge. She will become the first woman elected to the United States Congress from Michigan as a member of the Democratic Party and the first woman to serve on the powerful House Committee on Ways and Means. She will also be the person most responsible for including the prohibition of sex discrimination under Title VII in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and will finish her distinguished career becoming the first woman elected as Lieutenant Governor of Michigan. [Dies April 22, 2003.]

January 29–Monday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Police and strikers clash. Annie Lo Pizza, a striker, is shot and killed. The Evening Tribune opines that while strikers appear more confident than ever, “the chaos which prevailed at the early stages of the strike has returned and it seems as if drastic efforts would be necessary to once again restore order. It is possible that the city will be placed under martial law.” In response to the threats of the mayor and business owners, Joseph Ettor declares, “Fine! We will win the strike even if they erect scaffolds on the streets.”

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January 29–Monday– Lisbon, Portugal– A general strike cripples the city as newspapers, stores and theaters are closed and no streetcars run. The government blames strikers for several bombings.

January 30–Tuesday– New York City–Birth of Barbara Tuchman, historian. [Dies February 6, 1989.]

January 30–Tuesday– Chicago, Illinois– In an interview with the Evening Post, former President Theodore Roosevelt goes on record as saying that he would accept nomination for the presidency, though he is not actively seek a return to the White House. The 53 year old Roosevelt has been hunting big game in Africa and lecturing in Europe since leaving office in March of 1909 but is beginning to drift apart from his old friend President Taft.

January 30–Tuesday– Lawrence, Massachusetts–Soldiers bayonet and kill a 16 year old boy who is not a striker. Also, Joseph Ettor and Arturo Giovannitti, IWW labor organizers, are arrested and charged as “accessories” in the murder of Annie Lo Pizza.

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Giovannitti & Ettor

 

January 30–Tuesday– Washington, D. C.– Mrs Lillian M N Stevens, National President of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and Mrs Mary Harris Armour, of the Georgia WCTU, testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and encourage the passage of a prohibition amendment to the federal constitution.

January 31– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– A bill introduced today in the House of Representatives authorizes $1,557,583 in payment for Civil War claims– $458,386 to churches and organizations for use of their buildings and property during the war; $1035,560 to individuals fror unpaid invoices for army stores and supplies; and $59,576 to various Union officers whose pay had been withheld for an assortment of reasons.

To Resist the Present Rebellion~March 1864~16th to 21st

To Resist the Present Rebellion ~ President Lincoln

Lincoln finds support among Northern workingmen. Women do their part on both sides of the struggle. Alcohol can be problematic for soldiers on leave. The failed Union cavalry raid from the start of the month remains an issue. Inflation and food shortages bother many in the South. The prison camp at Andersonville, Georgia is off to a bad start. Grant re-organizes the Federal command structure. The Danes win a naval battle against the Germans. Darwin finds a strong defender.

March 16– Wednesday– Baltimore, Maryland– Birth of Carrie Bamberger Frank Fuld [dies July 18, 1944], the fifth of the six children of Elkan and Theresa Hutzler Bamberger. Both her parents are Jewish immigrants from Bavaria. [Through her first husband, Louis Meyer Frank, she will have access to a substantial fortune, becoming a well-known philanthropist to benefit Princeton University, Hadassah, the New York Philharmonic, the Newark (New Jersey) Community Chest and various charitable and social service organizations.]

Carrie Bamberger Fuld

Carrie Bamberger Fuld

March 16– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– At the close of the Sanitary Commission Fair here, President Lincoln says, “In this extraordinary war, extraordinary developments have manifested themselves, such as have not been seen in former wars; and among these manifestations nothing has been more remarkable than these fairs for the relief of suffering soldiers and their families. And the chief agents of these fairs are the women of America. I am not accustomed to the use of language of eulogy: I have never studied the art of paying compliments to women; but I must say, that if all that has been said by orators and poets since the creation of the world in praise of women were applied to the women of America, it would not do them justice for their conduct during this war. I will close by saying, God bless the women of America.”

March 16– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln asks General Butler to see about obtaining the return of the body of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren from the Confederates.

March 16– Wednesday– Army of Northern Virginia winter quarters, Virginia– “The pictures came to hand which done me almost as much good as if I had seen you all except you. Some of the pictures are good some not so good but they all suit me. . . . . And as to yourself you look well in the face but form much more delicate than I expected to see. Come up & see us and get some of our good eatings & I think you will improve.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier John Nadenbousch to his wife Hester.

March 16– Wednesday– Andersonville, Georgia– In an attempt to avoid fraternization, guard troops at the prison camp near Andersonville are ordered not to speak with prisoners except on official business.

Andersonville Prison

Andersonville Prison

March 16– Wednesday– Annandale, Virginia; Tullahoma, Tennessee; Palatka, Florida; Santa Rosa, Texas; Bristoe, Station, Virginia– Encounters, affrays and tough scraps.

March 17– Thursday– Wheeling, West Virginia– “On Monday a couple of soldiers, being somewhat intoxicated, were making profane remarks in the presence of ladies on a steamboat that was about leaving the wharf, when the captain of the boat being unable otherwise to preserve order and decorum started towards the Atheneum after a guard. The soldiers anticipating his purpose, are said to have caught hold of the captain and refused to allow him to go and he was compelled to leave with his boat without enjoying the satisfaction of seeing the men arrested. We have lately heard of similar instances of disorder on other steamers running to and from this point.” ~Wheeling Daily Intelligencer

March 17–Thursday– Nashville, Tennessee–In a face-to-face meeting, General Grant promotes William Tecumseh Sherman to head the Military Division of the Mississippi commanding the Department of the Ohio, Department of the Tennessee, Department of the Cumberland and the Department of the Arkansas. Major General James McPherson is promoted to Sherman’s old position as commander of the Army of the Tennessee.

March 17– Thursday– near the Island of Rugen, Baltic Sea– In a brief battle known as the Battle of Jasmund, the Danish navy scores a tactical victory over the German navy. Casualties on both sides are very few in number; however, the Danes force the Germans to pull back.

Battle of Jasmund

Battle of Jasmund

March 18– Friday– New York City– “Bad news for the household of Hamilton Fish. His beautiful daughter, Bessy, who married young d’Hauteville within the year, has died at Marseilles of puerperal convulsion in a premature confinement. God help those who suffer the catastrophe . . . . General Grant seems for the present in command of the Army of the Potomac as General-in-Chief without displacing General Meade. . . . . A terrible ordeal for Grant. His path is whitened by the bones of popular reputations that perished because their defunct owners did not know how to march through Virginia to Richmond. I hope grant may possess the talisman, ‘the seal of Solomon’ that raises its possessor to capacity for his place, however large.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

March 18–Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln praises the efforts of northern women to aid the Union cause. Mere words, he says, “would not do them justice for their conduct during this war.”

March 18– Friday– Dalton, Georgia– “All remain quiet beyond Tunnel Hill, and appearances are unfavorable for an engagement at an early day. Division drills are still the order of the day. An interesting revival is going on in the various Methodist churches here.” ~ Brief news update by a reporter for Richmond Times Dispatch.

March 19– Saturday– St Louis, Missouri– Birth of Charles Marian Russell. [He will become a painter and sculptor, doing over 2,000 paintings of the American West. He will die October 24, 1926.]

March 19– Saturday– Eel River, California; Laredo, Texas; Beersheba Springs, Tennessee; along the Cumberland River, Kentucky; Black Bay, Arkansas– Struggles, strife and skirmishes. Federal troops are also on the move at Lexington, Missouri and Rolling Prairie, Arkansas.

March 19–Saturday– London, England–Thomas Henry Huxley, noted British biologist and nicknamed “Darwin’s bulldog,” publishes a brilliant rebuttal to a Mr Hunt who had published a paper claiming that black people were biologically inferior. Huxley proves Hunt is unscientific and affirms the rightness of the Union drive to end slavery.

Thomas Henry Huxley

Thomas Henry Huxley

March 19– Saturday– Bombay, India– Birth of Joseph Baptista, who will become an advocate of Indian home rule. [He will die in 1930.]

Joseph Baptista

Joseph Baptista

March 20– Sunday– Elk River, Tennessee– “The Colonel has been absent some days attending the court-martial in which those guerrillas that were taken at Boone’s Hill are being tried. I understand that some have been convicted of murder and are to be hung. Those men are not soldiers but a band of robbers and murderers. They don’t mind whether a man is a Union man or a Confederate,– if he has money they will take it. They commit crime on the Confederate people and then the Union soldiers are charged with it. I do not intend ever to fall into their hands.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Robert Cruikshank to his wife Mary.

March 20– Sunday– St Louis, Missouri– “A deputation of the citizens presented each soldier with a badge of welcome. We were then marched to a capacious hall where a bountiful feast had been prepared for us. After dinner, we all adjourned to the saloon where all who chose were treated to beer.” ~ Diary of Union soldier Lucius Barber, describing being on furlough.

March 20– Sunday– Camden County, Georgia– “No one but Franky came in to Sunday School. We have been out of meat some days. Live on corn and rice. Yesterday Kate sent us a potato pie, and radishes, such a treat! And one day in the week Mrs. Linn gave us a piece of venison. We have kind and thoughtful neighbors. . . . Gussy has just come with a loaded mule. Goods sent by Julia in exchange for some cast off clothing. For mine she has received $217.00 Confederate money– worth about 5cents on the dollar. Having no opportunity for spending the money I concluded to invest it in land thinking it might become profitable. Sybil has received some . . . cloth for the boys. Once worth from ten to twelve cents a yard– now from six to twelve dollars bringing a calico dress to $100.00, a calico shirt to $40.00. The bubble must burst before long. . . . We want Northern comforts. It is tedious to spend half the time catching fleas and the other half in sleeping and eating hominy and rice. The thought of milk, potatoes and good bread makes us mourn for a return of good times.” ~ Diary of Julia Johnson Fisher.

March 20– Sunday– Andersonville, Georgia– At the prisoner of war camp the 15 foot high rectangular log stockade is finally completed. It includes guardposts called “pigeon roosts” along the top, and a low railing 15 feet inside the walls called “the deadline” which no prisoner may cross under penalty of being shot by a guard.

March 21–Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln signs legislation allowing Nevada and Colorado to become states even though they do not meet the population requirements.

March 21– Monday– Washington, D.C.– “The honorary membership in your association, as generously tendered, is gratefully accepted. . . . . None are so deeply interested to resist the present rebellion as the working people. Let them beware of prejudices, working division and hostility among themselves. The most notable feature of a disturbance in your city last summer was the hanging of some working people by other working people. It should never be so. The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds. Nor should this lead to a war upon property, or the owners of property. Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and, hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.”~ President Lincoln’s reply to a committee from the Workingmen’s Association of New York.

March 21– Monday– Augusta County, Virginia– “I saw more men the other day than I ever saw before at one place in my life & I only seen a handful to what you all have seen. I always thought I was intended to be an old Maid but I don’t know the other girls is always quarreling with me about the boys & I tell them that I was intended to be an old maid but I think I will wait till some of them that is older than me gets married first as I’m never in a hurry. . . . Jim, if you want a wife I have been corresponding with a young lady for some time & she wants to marry. If it is your request I will Court her for you & you Can Marry as soon as the war is over. Give my love to Monroe & receive a due portion for yourself.” ~ Letter from Mollie Houser to her cousin James Houser.

March 21– Monday– Richmond, Virginia– “The papers found in Dahlgren’s pockets, which the Yankee papers pronounce forgeries, have been carefully filed at the War Department.” ~ Richmond Whig.

Ulric Dahlgren

Ulric Dahlgren

March 21– Monday– Greenbrier County, Virginia– “I think if our rations get much less, General Starvation will be here also or General ‘Skidaddle’ to a quarter where there is more to eat. . . . . I’m getting awfully tired of this camp, I despise this inactivity. I am tired of the war – I want to fight it out, the sooner we begin this spring the better. We had a grand sight here last night. The mountains around us were literally mountains of fire. It burned all round our cabins– what do you think we did – we just let it burn. I have to reduce myself to half a sheet as paper is scarce just at this time. We can buy nothing here now – nor can we, I suppose until the new money is issued – give my best love to all & write soon, assured that I will do the same.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier James R McCutchan to Rachel Ann McCutchan.

March 21– Monday– Orange County, Virginia– “Like you, I often think of the happy times we had there in our young days, and the scene enacted while riding along the road not far from there, when I asked a blushing girl of fifteen summers to be mine, and she would not consent. . . . we have had many trials since then and a hard road to travel, but that was the last quarrel we had. I often wonder how you ever managed to love me. I was so much older and uglier than you but I suppose a woman can do anything she sets her head to. I was 29 the 18th of this month but the day passed off without my thinking about it– I think and highly hope that this war will end this year, and Oh then what a happy time we will have. No need of writing then but we can talk and talk again, and my boy can talk to me and I will never tire listening to him and he will want to go with me everywhere I go– So, hoping for these good times, let us cheer up and go forth with renewed vigor and energy. Pray for me.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda. [Marion and Amanda married February 26, 1860. She was 16. Marion will die of wounds next year on April 6, 1865. Amanda will remarry in 1873 and live until 1907.]

All Exhibited Great Determination & Courage~July 1863~the 26th to the 29th

All Exhibited Great Determination and Courage ~General James Longstreet

As the month moves to a close, the consequences of Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Fort Wagner and the New York riots touch the lives and hearts of many. Death takes two prominent figures from the American political stage. Gideon Welles expresses his distrust of France and of Great Britain. A Confederate newspaper hopes for the total desolation of the North. Russia anticipates a European war. Queen Victoria insists on British neutrality in the American war.

July 26– Sunday– Frankfurt, Kentucky– Senator John J Crittenden, who tried to avert the start of war in 1860 and ‘61 by some sort of compromise, dies at age 75. One of his sons serves in the Union Army, another in that of the Confederacy.

Senator Crittenden, 1855

Senator Crittenden, 1855

July 26– Sunday– Huntsville, Texas– Sam Houston, founding father and first President of the Republic of Texas, dies of pneumonia at age 70, his wife Margaret by his bedside. His last words are, “Texas! Texas, Margaret!”

Sam Houston

Sam Houston

July 26– Sunday– St Petersburg, Russia–The Russian government directs elements of its Atlantic and Pacific fleets to make courtesy calls at American ports. This tactic insures that Russian ships will be free of ice-bound harbors in the event of war with Britain and France in coming fall and winter months.

July 27– Monday– Gettysburg, Pennsylvania– Dr Joseph Hiester describes for his wife the care of a wounded soldier whom they know. “I have been nursing Freedley for two days and he appears to be doing well. The pain has been less I think since I have been here. . . . This wound is from a sound bullet . . . just below the knee joint. It may stiffen the joint partly, for a while, but I think finally he will have the use of it. It will take a long time however for him to have a tolerable use of his leg. He desires to be kindly remembered. . . . I have not yet had a scrape of a Pen from home. This goes to Chambersburg this afternoon and if you have not do so at once. but don’t try to telegraph as the charge is simply an Extortion which no one should countenance. That is unless something occurs to make it an imperative necessity.”

July 27– Monday– Washington, D.C.– Navy Secretary Gideon Welles does some analysis of international relations. “The Mexican Republic has been extinguished and an empire has risen on its ruins. But for this wicked rebellion in our country this calamity would not have occurred. Torn by factions, down-trodden by a scheming and designing priesthood, . . . the Mexicans are . . . unable to enjoy rational freedom. . . . I don’t expect an improvement of their condition under the sway of a ruler imposed upon them by Louis Napoleon. The last arrivals bring us some inklings of the reception of the news that has begun to get across the Atlantic of our military operations. John Bull is unwilling to relinquish the hope of our national dismemberment. There is, on the part of the aristocracy of Great Britain, malignant and disgraceful hatred of our government and people. In every way that they could, and dare, they have sneakingly aided the Rebels. The tone of their journals shows a reluctance to believe that we have overcome the Rebels, or that we are secure in preserving the Union. The Battle of Gettysburg they will not admit to have been disastrous to Lee, and they represent it as of little importance compared with Vicksburg and Port Hudson, which they do not believe can be taken. Palmerston and Louis Napoleon are as much our enemies as Jeff Davis.”

July 27– Monday– Centreville, Virginia– Colonel Charles Russell Lowell writes to his sweetheart Effie Shaw about his friend and her brother Robert Gould Shaw, killed in battle on July 16. “Will and I have been talking over the good fellows who have gone before in this war, fellows whom Rob loved so much, many of them; there is none who has been so widely and so dearly loved as he. What comfort it is to think of this, if ‘life is but a sum of love,’ Rob had had his share, and had done his share. When I think how Rob’s usefulness had latterly been increasing, how the beauty of his character had been becoming a power, widely felt, how his life had become something more than a promise, I feel as if his father’s loss were the heaviest; sometime perhaps we can make him feel that he has other sons, but now remember that in a man’s grief for a son whose manhood had just opened, as Rob’s had, there is something different from what any woman’s grief can be. That is the time to die when one is happiest, or rather I mean that is the time when we wish those we love to die; Rob was very happy too at the head of his regiment where he died.”

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July 27– Monday– near Culpeper Court House, Virginia– Confederate General James Longstreet submits a report to Richmond about the Battle of Gettysburg. Near the conclusion, he says, “The troops all exhibited great determination and courage on the battle-field, which, together with the fortitude and endurance subsequently shown by them under circumstances of great trial, justly entitles them to our hearty thanks and highest praise. Major General Pickett’s division merits especial credit for the determined manner in which it assaulted the enemy’s strong position upon the Cemetery Hill.”

July 27– Monday– Cassville, Missouri; Rogersville, Kentucky; Bridgeport, Alabama; Bayou Teche, Louisiana– Skirmishes, ambushes and fire-fights.

July 28– Tuesday– Baltimore, Maryland– Union soldier Samuel Potter writes to his wife Cynthia. “There are a great many sick & wounded soldiers here in Baltimore & the hospitals are conducted in the best manner. Everything must be clean about them. The sick and wounded have the best kind of diet. Those who are not sick have to live on a very plain diet and they growl a good deal about it although they get plenty to eat. There are about 400 in this hospital none of them very sick, most of them like me, waiting to be sent to their regiments. We have no special war news here at this time & I have nothing to relate of interest as taking place here. It is very monotonous here. We have a fine view of the city & bay but that is all the good it does us now.”

July 28– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– Walt Whitman describes to his mother the slow dying of a young soldier whom Whiman is nursing. “As I sit here writing to you, Mother, I wish you could see the whole scene. This young man lies within reach of me, flat on his back, his hands clasp’d across his breast, his thick hair cut close; he is dozing, breathing hard, every breath a spasm– it looks so cruel. He is a noble youngster. I consider him past all hope. Often there is no one with him for a long while. I am here as much as possible.”

July 28– Tuesday– in the vicinity of Warrenton, Virginia– Union General George Meade sends a report to Washington. “No reliable intelligence of the position of the enemy has been obtained. He pickets the Rappahannock from Fredericksburg to Rappahannock Station. These pickets, however, seem to be mere ‘lookouts’ to warn him of my approach. Some camps can be seen at Pony Mountain, near Culpeper, and in the vicinity of Cedar Mountain. Contradictory reports from citizens and scouts place the main body, some at Gordonsville, others say at Staunton and Charlottesville, and some assert the retreat has been extended to Richmond. My own expectation is that he will be found behind the line of the Rapidan, which, from all I can learn, presents a favorable line of defense, most of the fords being commanded by the southern bank, where his artillery can be used to advantage. If I can hold the railroad without too great a weakening of my force, and it proves to have the capacity to afford all the supplies needed, I shall advance until the enemy is encountered or definite information obtained of his movements.”

July 28– Tuesday– 18 miles east of Vicksburg, Mississippi– General William Tecumseh Sherman writes to his brother Senator John Sherman, encouraging the Senator to visit. “Vicksburg is worth seeing, and a glance will tell you more than reams of paper why it took us six months to take the place. I am camped near Big Black, four and one-half miles northeast of where the railroad crosses it. My depot of supplies is at the crossing. . . . . I have four divisions here much reduced, but still a good stock. In the riots of New York I recognize the second stage of this war, but I trust our Government will deal with them summarily. The war has progressed as fast and as successfully as should be.

July 29– Wednesday– New York City– Anti-black sentiment lingers in the city. Samuel Gompers, 13 at the time, English-born, arrives with his immigrant parents. Later he remembered the day. “We were all seasick except father, mother the longest of all. Father had to do all the cooking in the meanwhile and take care of the sick. There was a Negro man employed on the boat who was very kind in many ways to help father. Father did not know much about cooking. When we reached New York we landed at the old Castle Garden of lower Manhattan, now the Aquarium, where we were met by relatives and friends. As we were standing in a little group, the Negro who had befriended father on the trip, came off the boat. Father was grateful and as a matter of courtesy, shook hands with him and gave him his blessing. . . . . The onlookers, not understanding, grew very much excited over father’s shaking hands with this Negro. A crowd gathered round and threatened to hang both father and the Negro to the lamp-post.” [In a few years Gompers will become a leader of labor unions.]

Samuel Gompers

Samuel Gompers

July 29– Wednesday– Gettysburg, Pennsylvania– Wounded Union soldier H. W. Freedley to his sweetheart Maria Hiester: “This is the first letter I have written for I thought that it would be strange to dictate to your father a letter for him to write to his daughter. I am glad to hear that you are all so well. Your father never looked so well Maria I am seriously wounded. I will not be able to be moved from here with in a month, I will not write to you again. You little know the pain much exertion cost. You shall hear promptly of every change in the state of my wound through your father.”

July 29– Richmond, Virginia– The Daily Dispatch offers an analysis of international relations. “Why, it would be the delight of nearly every soul in the Southern Confederacy to see all Yankeedom turned into a howling wilderness, to see every mother’s son of them massacred, or sold into slavery, to see Boston and New York (like Tyre of old) turned into little villages, where the fishermen dried their nets. . . . . we deem it certain that England and France will never allow the Union to be reconstructed.– In that event England cannot fail to foresee the downfall of her maritime supremacy, and France the extinction of all hope of ever obtaining a permanent foothold in Mexico. As long as we fought on equal terms England was anxious to see the strife continue; but she is not anxious to see us overwhelmed, as she will be induced by the enormous lies of the Yankee newspapers to believe we are about to be. Napoleon has long been desirous to recognize the Confederacy, and now that he has planted the tricolor in Mexico, he will no longer be withheld by England. These considerations . . . induce us to believe that we shall shortly be recognized, at least by France.”

Queen Victoria, 1860

Queen Victoria, 1860

July 29– Wednesday– London, England– In a message to Parliament Queen Victoria declares that she sees “no reason to depart from the strict neutrality which Her Majesty has observed from the beginning of the contest” in the United States.