down to the southern coal fields of the Colorado Fuel and Iron
I went through the various coal camps, eating in the homes of
the miners, staying all night with their families.
I found the
conditions under which they lived deplorable.
in practical slavery to the
company, who owned their houses, owned all the land, so that if a miner did
own a house he must vacate whenever it pleased
the land owners.
They were paid in scrip instead of money so that they could not go away
They must buy at company
stores and at company prices.
The coal they mined was weighed by an
agent of the company and the miners could not have a check weighman to see that
full credit was given them.
The schools, the churches, the roads
belonged to the company.
I felt, after listening to their stories, after
witnessing their long patience
that the time was ripe for revolt against such brutal conditions.
of the fighting took place around Cripple Creek.
The miners were
evicted from their company owned houses.
They went out on the bleak
mountain sides, lived in tents through a terrible winter with the temperature
below zero, with eighteen inches of snow on the ground.
They tied their
feet in gunny sacks and lived lean and lank and
hungry as timber wolves.
All civil law had broken down in the Cripple Creek strike.
militia under Colonel Verdeckberg said, "We are under orders only from God and
Judge Advocate McClelland when accused of violating
the constitution said, "To hell with the constitution!"
There was a
complete breakdown of all civil law.
Habeas corpus proceedings were
Free speech and assembly were forbidden.
People spoke in whispers as in
the days of the
Strikers were arrested for vagrancy and worked in chain
gangs on the street under brutal soldiers.
Men, women and tiny children
were packed in the Bullpen at Cripple Creek.
Miners were shot dead as
They were ridden from the country, their families knowing
not where they had gone, or whether they lived.
When the strike started
in Cripple Creek, the civil law was operating, but the governor, a banker, and
in complete sympathy with
the Rockefeller interests,
sent the militia.
They threw the officers out of office.
Sheriff Robinson had a rope thrown at his feet and told that if he did
not resign, the rope would be about his neck.
Shop keepers were forbidden to sell
Priests and ministers were intimidated, fearing to give
The miners opened their own stores to feed the women
The soldiers and hoodlums broke
into the stores, looted them, broke open the safes, destroyed the scales,
ripped open the sacks of flour and
sugar, dumped them on
the floor and poured kerosene
oil over everything.
The beef and meat was poisoned by the militia.
Goods were stolen.
The miners were without redress, for the
militia was immune.
Men beaten and left for dead in the road.
Organizers were thrown into jail and held without trial for months.
They were deported.
were landed in the desert, thirty miles from food or water.
others were deported, taken away without being allowed to communicate with
wives and children.
On the 19th of April, 1914, machine guns, used on
the strikers in the Paint Creek strike, were placed in position above the tent
colony of Ludlow.
Major Pat Hamrock and Lieutenant K. E. Linderfelt
were in charge of the militia, the majority of whom were, company gun-men sworn
in as soldiers.
Early in the morning soldiers approached the colony
with a demand from headquarters that Louis Tikas, leader of the
Greeks, surrender two
Tikas demanded a warrant for their arrest.
Tikas refused to surrender them.
The soldiers returned to
A signal bomb was fired. Then another.
the machine guns began spraying the flimsy tent colony, the only home the
wretched families of the miners had, riddling it with bullets.
iron rain, bullets' upon men, women and children.
The women and
children fled to the hills.
The men defended
their home with their guns.
All day long the firing continued.
Men fell dead, their faces to the ground.
The little Snyder boy was shot through the head, trying to save his
A child carrying water to his dying mother was killed.
By five o'clock in the afternoon, the miners had no more food, nor
water, nor ammunition.
They had to retreat with their wives and little
ones into the hills.
Louis Tikas was riddled with shots while he tried
to lead women and children to safety.
They perished with him.
A raw wind blew down the canyons where men, women
and children shivered and wept.
Then a blaze lighted the sky.
The soldiers, drunk with blood and with the liquor they had looted from
the saloon, set fire to the tents of Ludlow with oil-soaked torches.
The tents, all the poor furnishings, the clothes and bedding of the
miners' families burned.
Coils of barbed wire were stuffed into the
well, the miners' only water supply.
After it was over, the wretched
people crept back to bury their dead.
In a dugout under a burned tent,
the charred bodies of eleven little children and two women were
Everything lay in ruins.
The wires of bed
springs writhed on the ground as if they, too, had tried to flee the
Oil and fire and
guns had robbed men and women and children of their homes and slaughtered tiny
babies and defenseless women.
Done by order of Lieutenant Linderfelt, a
savage, brutal executor of the will of the Colorado Fuel and Iron company.
Writers were hired to write pamphlets which were sent for
broadcast to every editor in the country, bulletins.
In these leaflets,
it was shown how perfectly happy was the life of the miner until the agitators
came; how joyous he was with the company's saloon, the company's pig-stys for
homes, the company's teachers and preachers and coroners.
How the miners hated the state law of an eight-hour
working day, begging to be allowed to work ten, twelve.
How they hated
the state law that they should have their own check weighman to see that they
were not cheated at the tipple.
And all the while the mothers of the
children who died in Ludlow were mourning their dead.
And so I could go on
and on." - Mary "Mother" Jones
Ivy Ledbetter Lee was
retained by John D. Rockefeller
Jr to represent his family and
Standard Oil, ("to
burnish the family image"), after the
coal mining rebellion in
Colorado known as the "Ludlow Massacre".
Ivy Ledbetter Lee was the
first to use modern
public relations propaganda for
The term "public relations" first appeared in the 1897 Yearbook of Railway
A number of Company B troopers- as instructed by superiors-
locate themselves atop Water Tank Hill, just south of Ludlow.
miners spotted the militiamen, and being quite concerned, armed themselves and
moved to key points where they could closely watch activities.
the sound of riffle fire echoed through the nearby hills.
militia nor the miners knew who fired these shots.
Despite this, an
exchange of gunfire began, as both confused miners and militiamen believed they
were coming under attack.
The militia were outnumbered but had a choice
location and a machine gun.
The spray from the gun drove armed strikers
back toward the tents, and provided excellent coverage for guardsmen advancing
toward the tents.
Company A reinforcements arrived with another machine
gun offer support.
The miners now faced two automatic weapons and about
Machine gun and rifle fire forced women and children to
take refuge in storage cellars beneath the tents.
The bodies of two
women and 11 children - victims of asphyxiation - were found huddled within a
Five strikers, 2 other youngsters, and at least 4 men
associated with the militia joined them in death.
The Ludlow Massacre
spawned the Colorado Coalfield War.
During the ten days of fighting at
least fifty civilians lost their lives, including twenty-one killed at Ludlow.
From 700 to 1,000 armed strikers gained control of large areas of
territory, and waged open warfare against mine guards, militia and mine
Ivy Ledbetter Lee was retained by John D. Rockefeller Jr to
represent Standard Oil ("to burnish the family image"), after the coal mining
Upton Sinclair dubbed him "Poison Ivy" after Lee tried to
send bulletins saying those that died were victims of an overturned stove, when
in fact they were shot by the Colorado National Guard.
Lee was an inaugural member of the Council on Foreign Relations in the U.S.
when it was established in New York City in 1921.
Shortly before his
death in 1934, Congress was investigating his work in Nazi Germany on behalf of
the company IG Farben.
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