Ancient Israelites_ An Overview

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					Herrin Massacre
     Mr. Weaver
    Local History
    Southern Illinois Coal Miners
n   By the 1920s half of the 60,000 miners in Illinois
    lived in Franklin and Williamson County.
n   These miners belonged to The United Miner Workers
    of America.
    n   Over a period of 20+ years the average day pay of a miner
        went from $1.25 a day to as high as $15.00 a day.
    n   The jump in pay was due to the workers uniting and
        demanding both higher wages and better working
        conditions.
    n   When miners and mine owners couldn’t come to an
        agreement the miners would go on strike crippling the mine
        owners ability to mine and sell their coal.
    n   Most Southern Illinois citizens were loyal to the union and
        sympathetic to the miners demands.
Franklin County Coal Miners
         Circa 1920
West Mine Circa 1920
Hand Loading Coal Cars
      Circa 1920
Coal Shovel
Southern Illinois Strip Mine
Abandon Southern Illinois Strip
           Mine
Southern Illinois Coal Company
n   The Southern Illinois Coal Company was owned by
    William Lester of Cleveland, OH
    n   In September of 1921 the company opened a strip mine
        half way between Herrin and Marion.
    n   Due to start up cost and the cost of equipment the company
        had a large debt and was desprite to mine coal .
    n   It is probably fair to say that Lester didn’t understand the
        culture of a Southern Illinois Coal Miner.
              Prelude to Massacre
n   April 1, 1922 UMWA Coal Miners go on strike.
n   June 13, 1922 The Southern Illinois Coal Company
    fires its union miners.
n   June 15, 1922 the Company brings in workers from
    the Chicago area to work and protect the mine.
n   June 16, 1922 the Burlington Railroad is notified that
    16 coal cars are ready for transport from the mine.
    n   Despite warnings the company had decided to mine coal
        and break the strike and the Union.
               Prelude to Massacre
n   June 17, 1922 The Chicago Tribune reports that the
    Southern Illinois Coal Company had started shipping
    coal.
    n   Illinois officials begin to express concern that violence
        would erupt due to the company’s decision to mine and
        ship coal.
n   June 18 & 19, 1922 meetings are held in Marion by
    local and state officials to try and resolve the situation
    peacefully.
    n   Williamson County Sherriff Melvin Thaxton was
        uncommitted or mysteriously absent from meeting.
             Prelude to Massacre
n   June 20, 1922 hundreds of union miners hold a mass
    meeting at the Sunnyside Mine near Herrin with State
    Senator William Sneed.
    n   Sneed was also the president of the UMWA sub district
        that included Williamson County
n   June 21, 1922 several hundred miners gather in the
    Herrin Cemetery
    n   Mobs were looting hardware stores in Herrin taking guns
        and ammunition
    n   By 3:30 that afternoon the mine was surrounded by union
        miners and over 500 shots had already been fired by the
        two sides. The Southern Illinois Coal Company was under
        siege.
Sunny Side Mine
                 The Massacre
n   The Massacre occurred over a two day period June 21
    and 22, 1922
n   On June 21st striking miners surround the mine and a
    shoot out between the striking miners and “scabs”
    breaks out.
n   During the night a series of explosions occurred
    blowing up the water plant and coal shovel.
n   At dawn on the 22nd the men trapped at the mine try
    to call for help but the phone line was dead.
 Lester Mine Coal Shovel
destroyed during the siege
                  The Massacre
n   After a discussion with the trapped men C.K.
    McDowell the mine superintendent agreed to
    surrender.
n   The strikebreakers agreed to surrender in the striking
    miners would give them safe passage out of the
    county. The striking miners agreed to the terms.
n   The strikebreakers were lined up and marched along
    the railroad toward Herrin 5 miles to the Northwest.
n   At the Crenshaw crossing a half mile from the mine
    several miners waited for the procession.
                 The Massacre
n   A discussion took place about what should happen to
    the strikebreakers. During this time strikebreakers
    were being beaten with the butts of guns. After some
    time the procession moved forward.
n   At Moake crossing a half mile further down the track
    the first murder occurred when McDowell couldn’t
    go any further. He was led off of the track and a few
    minutes later shot.
n   A mile further down the track at the powerhouse the
    procession came to a stop.
                  The Massacre
n   At the power plant striking miners planned to take
    four strike breakers at a time down the road and kill
    them.
n   At this point a man named Hugh Willis drove up and
    instructed the miners to stop. He said there were to
    many women and children around and to take the
    “scabs into the woods and kill as many as you can”.
n   The strikebreakers were marched into Harrison
    Woods until they reached a barbed wire fence. At
    this point they were told to run.
                  The Massacre
n   At this point the striking miners opened fire. By the
    time it was over 26 of the strikebreakers were dead or
    dying.
n   At Herrin Cemetery the Massacre came to an end
    with word that the sheriff was on his way. Wounded
    men still breathing had their throats slit, while one by
    standard urinated in the faces of the victims. When a
    reporter tried to give water to a dying man he was
    threatened and told to back away.
n   The sheriff arrived about mid-morning when it was
    determined that is was safe
Herrin Massacre
Painted in 1941
                The Aftermath
n   News of the massacre not only spread quickly
    throughout Southern Illinois but made headlines
    around the nation. Newspapers from New York City
    to San Francisco reported what had occurred in
    Williamson County.
n   On both the floor of the U.S. Senate and the U.S.
    House of Representatives members condemned the
    violence that had occurred in Williamson County.
n   The nation was demanding justice for the dead strike
    breakers.
National Newspapers report the
       Herrin Massacre
Funeral Procession
                 The Aftermath
n   A coroner’s jury of six men of which three were
    union miners found that all the strikebreakers killed
    on June 21 and 22 were killed by unknown parties.
    The also found that the deaths were due to the “direct
    and indirect acts by the officials of the Southern
    Illinois Coal Company” and recommended that an
    investigation be undertaken to fix blame on those
    officials.
n   Once again the outrage of the nation was voiced in
    newspapers and in Congress.
                The Aftermath
n   On August 18, 1922 Judge D. T. Hartwell summoned
    a special grand jury to convene at Marion on August
    28 to investigate the Herrin Killings.
n   The first to be indictment for the killings was Otis
    Clark farmer and miner. Hearing of the charges
    Clark turned himself in to the sheriff. By September
    23 the Grand Jury had indicted 44 men for murder
    associated with the Herrin Massacre.

				
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