Friday, August 18, 2017

August 1, 1917: Frank Little

Our lynching today stems from labor issues going on in Montana. Our first paper is The Wichita Beacon (Wichita, Kansas) dated August 1, 1917:





He Had Been Prominent in Labor Troubles in Arizona— Incendiary Speech Cause of Lynching.

Butte, Mont., Aug. 1—Frank Little, member of the executive board of the Industrial Workers of the World, and prominent in labor troubles in Arizona, was taken from a lodging house early today by masked men and hanged to a railroad trestle on the outskirts of a city.

Body is Identified.

The body was cut down at 8 a. m. by the chief of police, Jerry Murphy, who identified it. Little, in a recent speech here, referred to United States troops as "Uncle Sam's scabs in uniform.

Had Talked Much.

Since his arrival in Butte recently from Globe, Ariz., Little had made a number of speeches to strikers in all of which he had attacked the government and urged the men to shut down the mines of the Butte district. He was bitter in his denunciation of the government. His record was under investigation by the Federal authorities whose attention had been called to his activities. On the other hand, the report was current that Little was in the employ of a prominent detective agency and one theory was that he was the victim of the radical element of whom he appeared to be a member.

Wrote to a Governor.

Little took a very prominent part in recent labor troubles in Arizona. He addressed a wire to Governor Campbell of Arizona, protesting against the deportation of I. W. W. members from Bisbee. This letter was written from Salt Lake. Governor Campbell replied, telling Little he resented his interference and his threats. Little was understood to have the confidence of William D. Haywood, secretary of the I. W. W. national organization, and was regarded as one Haywood's confidential agents.

Hanged Him Naked.

Little was a cripple but very active and a forceful speaker. On Little's body was a card bearing the words "First and Last Warning, Others Take Notice. Vigilantes." Little, when taken out of the building in which he roomed, was not given time to dress.

By the Old Sign.

The card found on Little's body when he was cut down was pinned to the underclothing on his right thigh. It bore in red crayon letters the inscription:

"Others Take Notice. First and Last Warning. 3-7-77. L. D. C. S. S. W. T."

A circle was about the letter "L." The letters were inscribed with a lead pencil.

The figures "3-7-77" are the old sign of the vigilantes in Montana. The custom of the vigilantes was to send three warnings to a marked man, the last being written in red.

Only Six in Party.

Six masked men in an automobile drove up to the front of Little's hotel at five minutes after three. One stood upon the sidewalk in front of the rooming house. The others entered the house. Everything worked by seeming pre-arrangement.

Without speaking, the men quickly broke into room No. 30 on the ground floor. Light from an electric torch showed them the room was unoccupied.

Mrs. Nora Byrne, landlady of the hotel awoke when the door to room No. 30 was broken in. She occupied an adjoining room at the front of the building.

"Some mistake here," she heard a voice say. Then she heard the men move to the door of her room which they pushed slightly open. Mrs. Byrne sprang to the door and held it. "Wait until I get my clothes on," she said. Then she asked who they were and what they wanted. "We are officers and we want Frank Little," one of the men told her.

Landlady Directs Them.

"Mrs. Byrne got into a bathrobe, again went to the door and opened it. The leader of the masked men poked a revolver into the opening. "Where is Frank Little?" he asked.

"He is in room No. 32," answered Mrs. Byrne. The men ran down the hall and tried the door to that room. Then one of their number gave it a kick that broke the lock and they entered.

Mrs. Byrne said she heard them coming from the room.

She Saw Him Last.

"I saw them half lead and half carry Little across the sidewalk and push him into the waiting motor car."

Little began to make speeches on the day of his arrival in Butte three weeks ago. In all of them he attacked the government. On July 19, before a mass meeting of miners, Little referred to the United States soldiers as "Uncle Sam's scabs in uniform." In the same speech he said:

"If the mines are taken under federal control we will make it so damned hot for the government that it will not be able to send any troops to France."

Referring in another address to his interview recently with Governor Campbell of Arizona, Little said that he used these words: "Governor, I don't give a d—— what your country is fighting for; I am fighting for the solidarity of labor."

His Latest Tirade.

Last Friday night, before the Metal Mine Workers' Union, Little said:

"A city ordinance is simply a piece of paper which can be torn up. The same can be said of the Constitution of the United States."

Following the identification of Little's body, local members of the I. W. W. telegraphed appeals for aid. A message was sent to William D. Haywood at Chicago. It was said that a message was received from Haywood saying the resources of the organization would be employed to bring the lynchers of Little to justice.

Early in the day men gathered at Finn Hall, headquarters of the Metal Mine Workers' Union, and threats were made against "gunmen" said to be employed here.

This afternoon steps probably will be taken by the local I. W. W. to protect other leaders here. At Union Hall threats were made by individuals against local newspapers.

Haywood Hears It.

Chicago, Aug. 1.—Frank Little had been identified with the Industrial Workers of the World since 1906. His home was Fresno, Cal. He was 38 years old and single.

Word of his death was received with emotion by W. D. Haywood, secretary of the national organization of the I. W. W.

His Threat to Governor.

Salt Lake, Utah, Aug. 1.—Little, the I. W. W. organizer lynched today at Butte, telegraphed Governor Campell of Arizona, from here July 17 as follows regarding the deportation from that sate of members of the I. W. W.:

"Understand that the mine owners' mob will take same action at Globe and Miami, as was taken at Bisbee. The membership of the I. W. W. is getting tired of the lawlessness of the capitalistic class and will no longer stand for such action. If you, as governor, can not uphold the law, we will take same into our own hands. Will you act or must we?"

Our next article is from Argus-Leader (Sioux Falls, South Dakota dated on August 2, 1917:


Government Plans Drastic Action to Meet Disturbances Throughout the West


Nothing Will Be Left Undone to Prevent Tie Up of Nation's War Industries

Chicago, Aug. 2.—William D. Haywood, secretary of the national organization of the Industrial Workers of the World, received a telegram today saying that the funeral of Frank Little, member of the executive committee of the I. W. W., who was hanged by a mob in Butte, Mont., would be either in Fresno, Cal., his old home, or in Chicago. The funeral the message said, would be marked by a demonstration of protest by the Industrial Workers of the World.

Washington, Aug. 2.—Drastic action by the government to meet the labor disturbances in the west and southwest which officials are sure have been stirred up by German propaganda will be taken if the situation shows any growth.

Intimations of an attempt to call out the United Mine Workers should the government intervene on behalf of the Industrial Workers of the World in labor disputes in certain sections of the west have resulted in the department of justice undertaking a broad general inquiry.

The inquiry has not yet reached the stage where definite action has been formulated by officials assert that nothing possible will be left undone to prevent the tie up of industries deemed vital in the conduct of the war.

Study Butte Lynching.
Butte, Mont., Aug. 2.—Attorney General Ford and County Attorney Jackson conferred today with a view to determining upon a course of action in respect to the lynching of Frank H. Little, chairman of the general executive board of the I. W. W. national organization, who was hanged by masked men on the outskirts of Butte early yesterday morning.The police and sheriff say they are without clews[sic] thus far as to the identity of the lynchers. Despite the fact that William Sullivan, counsel for the Metal Mine Workers' Union, declares he knows the identity of five of the men, the authorities do not credit his declaration.

Guardsmen on Hand.
Two companies of the national guardsmen were in Butte this morning, one having arrived last night from Bozeman. The other has been here for some time.

Among Little's personal effects was found an envelope containing ashes. Upon the envelope was the title "Ashes of Joe Hill." It is supposed that the ashes were those from the cremated body of Frank Hillstrom an I. W. W., executed at the Utah state prison for murder.

Identify the Lynchers.
In a bulletin issued by the Metal Mine Workers' union today the statement is made that the name of five of the lynching party are known.

"Two of these men and one is connected with law enforcement in the city."

The bulletin adds:

"Threats have already been made that if we succeed in convicting those who committed this crime we will never live to tell it. We want to inform them that three copies of every bit of information we have are deposited in three different places to be used in case they succeed in getting any of us. We know already that alibis were prepared in advance for every one of the murderers yet we have evidence that will break every alibi completely and when we finish some very prominent murderers will be headed for the gallows or Deer Lodge penitentiary."

William G. Sullivan, lawyer, retained by the union, would not disclose their names today. Sheriff O'Rourke interviewed Sullivan but said he obtained no information from him.

Not Planning Strike.
Indianapolis, Ind., Aug. 2.—The idea of intimations of attempts to call out the United Mine Workers of America should the government not intervene in behalf of Industrial Workers of the World in labor disputes in certain sections of the west, was ridiculed and branded as misleading and incorrect today by William Green, secretary-treasurer of the United Mine Workers.

Mr. Green last night made public telegrams he sent to President Wilson and others protesting against the deportation of members of the United Mine Workers. At the same time he specifically stated his protest was not because of any action taken regarding the Industrial Workers but because of an alleged deportation of United Mine Workers from a tent colony at Gallup, N. M.

"Statements that there were intimations of an attempt to call out the United Mine Workers should the government not intervene in behalf of the I. W. W. are incorrect and misleading," he said.

Our next article is from Pittston Gazette (Pittston, Pennsylvania) August 6, 1917:


Butte, Mont., Aug. 6.—Butte today was facing several additional strikes which threatened to tie up all industries of the city, as a direct result of the lynching of Frank Little, the 1.[sic] W. W. leader last week.

All mine engineers are the latest craftsmen to declare their intention of striking, according to leaders of the Metal Workers' union. This would completely shut down the mining industries.

No attempt was being made by the street car company to break the strike of carmen and no cars had moved since the strike was called Saturday morning.

Union leaders declared that 12,000 miners miners are still out as a result of the original miners' strike and that less than three per cent. of the miners have deserted the union. The mining officials, on the other hand, claimed that many union men have deserted the union and operating conditions are becoming normal.

Our final article is from the San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California) dated August 27, 1917:


I W. W. Man Held in Connection With Little Lynching

BUTTE (Mont.), August 26.—Butte's streets today were crowded with thousands of miners, idle because of the shutdown of all the copper mines of the district, made necessary by the closing Friday of the Washoe smelting plant of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company at Anaconda, when of 3000 men employed on the day shift only 110 reported for work. It is expected that the company's plant in Great Falls will be closed down within a day or two, as soon as the ore in transit has been sent through the smelter.

C. A. McCarthy, alias Albright, is held in the City Jail in connection with the lynching of Frank H. Little, national exectuvie board member of the Industrial Workers of the World. McCarthy, local executive member of the I. W. W., was arrested several days ago. He denies any knowledge of the Little affair.

Indications are that the independent mines of the district, which did not shut down Friday, will be compelled to cease operations in the near future. These include the zinc- producing properties, among them the Butte and Superior, Elm Orlu and others. Miners gradually are failing to report for work at the Independent properties.

There is a belief here that the machinsts' union will declare a strike soon. The machinists have formulated new demands, which they declare they will insist upon.

Several weeks ago they accepted the agreement reached between the operating companies and State Metal Trades Council.

Thank you for joining us, and as always, we hope we leave you with something to ponder.

Friday, August 11, 2017

June 20, 1917: Ben Harper

Our lynching today comes from The Times (Shreveport, Louisiana) dated June 24, 1917:

Courtney, Texas, Is Quiet After Lynching Of Negro Wednesday

Courtney, Texas, June 23.—The populace of this little town resumed normal activities Saturday following excitement due to the lynching Wednesday of Ben Harper, negro chauffeur, who while celebrating emancipation day with a party of negroes, drove his automobile into a horse on which Iola Goodrum, 12 years, of Navasota, was riding. A moment later she was killed when an oncoming automobile carrying another party of negroes ran over her.

Seven other negroes are held in the Grimes county jail at Anderson in connection with the case, but authorities say they do not fear further violence.

Harper, with seven companions, was arrested after the inquest into the death of the Goodrum girl, but escaped while being taken to Anderson. His body was found Thursday morning hanging from a tree near the spot where the girl was killed.

Thank you for joining us, and as always, we hope we leave you with something to ponder.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

December 12, 1917: Wade Hampton

Today we'll be looking at the lynching of Wade Hamilton in Rock Springs, Wyoming. It's unknown whether this was actually the man's name because only one article lynches it and it's facts differ from two other articles. Our first article is from the Ogden Standard (Ogden, Utah) dated December 12, 1917:


According to advices received in Ogden today, twenty- five infuriated and determined men appeared at the city jail in Rock Springs, Wyo., early today, overpowered the jailer, took an unidentified negro from his cell and hanged to a railroad bridge north of town. The negro had been molesting wihte[sic] women in the vicinity of Blairstown, a suburb of Rock Springs.

Details accompanying the abrupt execution of the negro are lacking. It is known, however, that the victim of the mob had been terrorizing the women residing near the mining camp for some time and that murmurings of a lynching had been in circulation. The men were unmasked when they appeared at the jail and demanded the culprit. Upon being refused they used such force as was necessary to obtain the keys and take the prisoner.

The body was left dangling to the bridge stringer. It was found there this afternoon by passersby. No snots[sic]were fired. The mob was well organized and orderly.

Our next little blurb is from the Gastonia Gazette (Gastonia, North Carolina) dated December 14, 1917:

Lynching in Wyoming

Rock Springs, Wyo., Dec. 12.—An unidentified negro charged with molesting women residents of Blairtown, a suburb, was taken from the city jail today and hanged to a railroad bridge. Twenty-five citizens overpowered the jailer at the city prison to secure the negro.

Our last article has a different take on the number of people involved in the lynching. It is from the Greeley Daily Tribune (Greeley, Colorado) and is dated December 20, 1917:


Cheyenne, Dec. 20—That the negro lynching at Rock Springs on the night of Dec. 11 was participated in by only three men in the surprising feature of the report of the affair received by Governor Houx. The prosecuting attorney states that if the "mob" had more than three members the others were invisible.

Wade Hamilton, the victim of the lynching, was arrested the day previous to his' death on the charge of assaulting three white women. The district attorney stated that the discovery of the identity of the three lynchers will be a matter of pure luck as they carefully safeguarded themselves the night of the lynching.

Thank you for joining us and, as always, we hope we leave you with something to ponder.