Page images
PDF
EPUB

Senator GOODING. Where did you say you were living before going to work, or I mean before you came over here in this bunk house?

Mr. SUPINSKI. I lived in one of the houses across the street for eight years, owned by the company. I worked elsewhere before that.

STATEMENT OF ANOTHER STRIKING MINER

Senator WAGNER. How many children have you?
The STRIKING MINER. Five.
Senator WAGNER. Do you live on what the union gives you?
The STRIKING Miner. Yes, sir; as best we can.

Senator WAGNER. Where do your children get the most of their clothes?

The STRIKING MINER. From the union and through their help.

(The committee stopped at another quarters in one of the union barracks after wading through mud 3 or 4 inches deep a distance of 100 feet to the door.)

STATEMENT OF MRS. LOUIS KARPY

Senator Gooding. How long have you lived here in this mining camp?

Mrs. Karpy. Seven years in September.

Senator GOODING. Will you tell the subcommittee what you saw at the time they were shooting at your home, and the barracks, in your own way?

Mrs. KARPY. I can't just remember all that has happened around here lately. But on the first, when they started to do this work here, it was a Wednesday afternoon, around 3 o'clock. I stood in this doorway, like this, and saw a colored fellow was up the railroad, where you can see through there (indicating), and one aimed a gun on me from that side, and another one from this side. When I jumped in they shot, whether with a rifle or not I don't

know, but they didn't get me. It was a Wednesday afternoon. That night they started it down at Bruceton, and then on Thursday afternoon they started it up here again at 3 o'clock.

Senator Gooding. Did you see the man or men?
Mrs. KARPY. Yes, sir.
Senator Gooding. Were they colored men?

Mrs. Karpy. Yes, sir. Two of them aimed guns on me on Wednesday at first, but I don't know how many, but a bunch of them it was

a on Thursday, and I couldn't tell you how many it was because they was scattered all over. And later on there were some more but I don't know how much.

Senator Gooding. How many shots did they fire, do you know?

Mrs. Karpy. I was excited and I couldn't tell you exactly but it was not so many. But it passed through this lady's place, where she was. And they shot the baker's window out there. We very seldom have a good sleep any more since then. We can't have any rest, because this shack don't protect us. And I know this much, that when they pass around the barracks they are never sober.

Senator Pine. And you are all frightened?
Mrs. KARPY. They are always fighting all the time.

Senator GOODING. How many times did they shoot at the building? Did you say twice or on any more than two occasions?

Mrs. KARPY. There was twice that they shot here, but I don't know about the number of times at other places, because I never go any place but right in my barracks.

Senator GOODING. Any questions?
Mr. McCRORY. That was the shooting that took place on
Wednesday.

Senator GOODING. How much of a family have you?
Mrs. KARPY. Three children, one married and two unmarried.
Senator GOODING. Do you get along on what the union gives you?

Mr. KARPY. I don't get anything from the union now. I don't get anything at this time. They did give me three months' time in the 11 months of the strike but they cut me off a few months because I have two girls working. And you know how much a girl makes in these days.

Mrs. Karpy. Oh, well, father, they have to help somebody else who needs it more than we do. I wouldn't complain of that. We can get by some way. Senator GOODING. Now, that is the spirit for you.

(The committee then went to the next barracks and took another statement, as follows:)

ago

STATEMENT OF MRS. ANNE HOLMACK

Senator GOODING. This is an investigation by a subcommittee of the Committee on Interstate Commerce of the United States Senate. We understand that you were here the day some men shot at the buildings.

Mrs. HOLMACK. Yes, sir. Senator GOODING. Will you be kind enough to tell the committee what you saw and what you heard at your home?

Mrs. HOLMACK. Well, it was about 3 o'clock. I happened to be between these two barracks and a bullet passed my head because I heard it. I went in, and I have two sons, and I says “That bullet struck some place and I don't know where but I could hear it." After a while they came running through on the railroad cut there,

& and we could not see them then, but they ran on down and the shots went poom-poom-poom, and I couldn't count the number of times.

Senator GOODING. You saw the men?
Mrs. HOLMACK. Yes, sir.
Senator GOODING. Were they colored?

Mrs. HOLMACK. I went in, and I said, "There's a lot of shooting going on.” Well, they ran, and people gathered on the streets and the barracks, and they followed them, and when they came there later they shot at the schoolhouse. There was lots of people around every place. Of course I couldn't see who they were.

There are others here no doubt who saw who they were, but they were trying to shoot or seemed to aim at that lady next door.

Senator GOODING. Were they colored men?

Mrs. HOLMACK. Oh, yes; they were colored. I could see that they were colored; no white people walk on the railroad track.

Senator GOODING. Any questions by the members of the committee?

Mrs. HOLMACK. We have been having a lot of trouble with them.
Senator GOODING. How long have you lived there?
Mrs. HOLMACK. I have been living here two years.
Senator GOODING. Where did you live before?

Mrs. HOLMACK. I have a son that was born here and my husband was buried from that house right across the street. I lived in No. 8 house.

Senator GOODING. For how long?
Mrs. HOLMACK. Twenty-two years.

Senator GOODING. You lived in that red row of houses, in house No. 22, or I mean for 22 years?

Mrs. HOLMACK. Yes, sir; for 22 years next month since we moved in there. I have been a coal miner's wife since I came to this country

Senator GOODING. Where did you come from?

Mrs. HOLMACK. From Finland. I am a Swedish woman, but I was born in Finland of Swedish parents. I am 63 years old at the end of next month. I have 3 sons and 1 daughter that is married I have had 11 children altogether but I have just 4 now living.

Senator GOODING. At home?

Mrs. HOLMACK. No; two at home. My youngest son was born in the red row of houses across the street and is staying with me, and the other ones are scattered all around.

Senator GOODING. I thank you very much. That is a very clear statement.

(Thereupon the committee drove from the union barracks and went to the home of Rev. C. F. Fehrenbach, pastor of the Nativity Catholic Church, Broughton, where there happened to be present at the time Rev. Edward A. Glennon, pastor of St. Francis' Catholic Church, Finleyville, the latter conducting also a mission at Library.)

STATEMENT OF REV. C. F. FEHRENBACH, PASTOR OF THE

NATIVITY CATHOLIC CHURCH, BROUGHTON, PA.

Senator GOODING. If you will be good enough to make a statement here as to conditions in this camp, so that we can have something to report back to the Senate committee when we get through with our work, we will appreciate it very much. How long have you lived here?

Reverend FEHRENBACH. Six years.
Senator GOODING. You knew the situation then before the strike?
Reverend FEHRENBACH. Yes, sir.
Senator GOODING. Will you detail the conditions?

Reverend FEHRENBACH. The conditions have certainly been very distressing in the last few months, since the strike has been on. The people here have been very peaceable, I must say. I have been very much surprised, with the cause that it might be considered they have had really for violence, with these coal and iron police here, and with the new people going up and down the road as they have done, that conditions have been so good. The people have been very peaceable and have behaved themselves exceedingly well. I think there has been a little bit of-well, you might say, of the operators trying to incite them, for it looks so. For instance, as one case, take these people moving out of their old homes here, and these houses are boarded up and these people going up and down the road. I would think if those people had been put there they would not have had to march them up and down through town. That is a thing that would naturally excite the people. They claim that it is a free country, and that is true, but they could just as well have been living down there; they are not using those houses, and other things like that. For the months that they have been here the people have been very peaceable.

Senator GOODING. Whom do you mean? Reverend FEHRENBACH. The town people, the union miners. Reverend GLENNON. Pardon me, if I may break in right there, I will say that I am in the next parish, and I have a mission at Library, and I know something of the conditions around here, too.

Senator GOODING. You were here at the time of the shooting?

Reverend FEHRENBACH. I was here but did not know anything about it except by hearsay.

Senator GOODING. They have created a reign of terror.

Reverend FEARENBACH. Yes; there has been a great deal of that, although I will say that I think that has been exaggerated somewhat.

Senator Gooding. From the shooting we saw down the road, at the schoolhouse in this town, and at the store down at Bruceton, it would seem to have been severe enough.

Reverend FEHRENBACH. Oh, yes; although I know nothing of that matter except by hearsay.

Senator WAGNER. Father Glennon, were you able to look at the conditions under which these miners, the strikers, are living now in these temporary barracks that have been put up by the United Mine Workers of America, for the families of the miners that were evicted from the company houses?

Reverend GLENNON. Yes.
Senator WAGNER. Have you been able to look at the conditions?
Reverend GLENNON. Oh, yes. I have been through the barracks

.
frequently and have visited the people.

Senator WAGNER. Don't you think it is a very serious condition?

Reverend GLENNON. Yes; to have a condition like this to live in it certainly is. Like here are the barracks and right across the road are the company houses that the people formerly occupied and yet they are all boarded up.

Senator WAGNER. Father Fehrenbach, do you remember before the strike the families that lived in those houses?

Reverend FEHRENBACH. I know everyone of them.
Senator WAGNER. They had a very fine family life I understand.

Reverend FEHREHBACH, Yes; and some of them had been living there for 25 years. In fact I will say that around here the people had not been floaters.

Senator WAGNER. They had lived there for a long time?

Reverend FEHRENBACH. Yes; and they were indeed a very good class of people. They have been around here for many years and are citizens.

Senator WHEELER. How has the strike affected the economic life of the community?

9221428PT 2

4

Reverend FEHRENBACH. I made a survey beginning in December, among five of the largest stores, and I found that they were keeping our people, and that they had about $80,000 of accounts on their books. That is a tremendous amount, and that shows their confidence in these people. These storekeepers would not be carrying them to the extent of $80,000 unless they have every confidence in them.

Senator GOODING. Father, this condition can not exist without demoralizing the citizenship, can it?

Reverend FEHRENBACH. No, sir. You can not expect anything but a whole lot of bitterness in a thing like this.

Senator WAGNER. Won't there be of necessity a moral breakdown if this continues?

Reverend FEHRENBACH. We would expect that eventually, without doubt.

Reverend GLENNON. And that opens the door to your I. W. W's and your radicals.

Reverend FEHRENBACH. Yes; they have been trying to come into this town.

Senator WAGNER. It is a fertile field for all that kind of thing.
Reverend FEHRENBACH. Yes, sir.

Senator GOODING. I suppose if these I. W. W's should get a foothold here, it would mean the breaking down of everything in life worth living for and fighting for.

Reverend FEHRENBACH. We have here what we call the Polish Falcons' Hall, and those people met there, and they invited the striking miners to come over to their headquarters in the Lyceum Building, and told them they would give them clothing and food, and did send several trucks of clothing and food. I did not know who was furnishing these things and I actually myself paid for one truck load, that is, for the use of the truck. But when I heard who was doing it, and they did ask for the privilege of speaking to those men in the hall, I broke that all up with Mr. Robertson of the organizers here. We came to the conclusion that it was necessary for something to be done, and notice was given that anybody who would favor the I. W. W's would lose their union relief. That stopped them. And I spoke to the officers of the society, and they passed a resolution not to lease them the hall. So that is one way that they tried to get in.

Senator GOODING. Is there anything more along that line that you could give us?

Reverend FEHRENBACH. I do not know of anything particularly, but there is a natural undercurrent of bitterness after all these months and nearly a year, and these men not able to get work any. where, although we are quite close to the city. There is no work of any kind that they can get.

Senator WHEELER. What have you to say with reference to the difference in class between the strike breakers and the strikers?

Reverend FEHRENBACH. Well, I can say that an official of one of the coal companies told me at the beginning that they were going to bring the hoi polloi in here, and, he says, “You know what that means.

Senator WHEELER. And what have they brought in?

а

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »