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´╗┐Title: The Centralia Conspiracy
Author: Chaplin, Ralph, 1887-1961
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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The Centralia Conspiracy

By Ralph Chaplin

[Illustration: cover]

  A Tongue of Flame

  The martyr cannot be dishonored. Every lash inflicted is a tongue of
  flame; every prison a more illustrious abode; every burned book or house
  enlightens the world; every suppressed or expunged word reverberates
  through the earth from side to side. The minds of men are at last
  aroused; reason looks out and justifies her own, and malice finds all
  her work is ruin. It is the whipper who is whipped and the tyrant who is

Murder or Self-Defense?

This booklet is not an apology for murder. It is an honest effort to
unravel the tangled mesh of circumstances that led up to the Armistice Day
tragedy in Centralia, Washington. The writer is one of those who believe
that the taking of human life is justifiable only in self-defense. Even
then the act is a horrible reversion to the brute--to the low plane of
savagery. Civilization, to be worthy of the name, must afford other
methods of settling human differences than those of blood letting.

The nation was shocked on November 11, 1919, to read of the killing of
four American Legion men by members of the Industrial Workers of the World
in Centralia. The capitalist newspapers announced to the world that these
unoffending paraders were killed in cold blood--that they were murdered
from ambush without provocation of any kind. If the author were convinced
that there was even a slight possibility of this being true, he would not
raise his voice to defend the perpetrators of such a cowardly crime.

But there are two sides to every question and perhaps the newspapers
presented only one of these. Dr. Frank Bickford, an ex-service man who
participated in the affair, testified at the coroner's inquest that the
Legion men were attempting to raid the union hall when they were killed.
Sworn testimony of various eyewitnesses has revealed the fact that some of
the "unoffending paraders" carried coils of rope and that others were
armed with such weapons as would work the demolition of the hall and
bodily injury to its occupants. These things throw an entirely different
light on the subject. If this is true it means that the union loggers
fired only in self-defense and not with the intention of committing wanton
and malicious murder as has been stated. Now, as at least two of the union
men who did the shooting were ex-soldiers, it appears that the tragedy
must have resulted from something more than a mere quarrel between loggers
and soldiers. There must be something back of it all that the public
generally doesn't know about.

There is only one body of men in the Northwest who would hate a union hall
enough to have it raided--the lumber "interests." And now we get at the
kernel of the matter, which is the fact that the affair was the outgrowth
of a struggle between the lumber trust and its employees--between
Organized Capital and Organized Labor.

A Labor Case

And so, after all, the famous trial at Montesano was not a murder trial
but a labor trial in the strict sense of the word. Under the law, it must
be remembered, a man is not committing murder in defending his life and
property from the felonious assault of a mob bent on killing and
destruction. There is no doubt whatever but what the lumber trust had
plotted to "make an example" of the loggers and destroy their hall on this
occasion. And this was not the first time that such atrocities had been
attempted and actually committed. Isn't it peculiar that, out of many
similar raids, you only heard of the one where the men defended
themselves? Self-preservation is the first law of nature, but the
preservation of its holy profits is the first law of the lumber trust. The
organized lumber workers were considered a menace to the super-prosperity
of a few profiteers--hence the attempted raid and the subsequent killing.

What is more significant is the fact the raid had been carefully planned
weeks in advance. There is a great deal of evidence to prove this point.

There is no question that the whole affair was the outcome of a
struggle--a class struggle, if you please--between the union loggers and
the lumber interests; the former seeking to organize the workers in the
woods and the latter fighting this movement with all the means at its

In this light the Centralia affair does not appear as an isolated incident
but rather an incident in an eventful industrial conflict, little known
and less understood, between the lumber barons and loggers of the Pacific
Northwest. This viewpoint will place Centralia in its proper perspective
and enable one to trace the tragedy back to the circumstances and
conditions that gave it birth.

But was there a conspiracy on the part of the lumber interests to commit
murder and violence in an effort to drive organized labor from its domain?
Weeks of patient investigating in and around the scene or the occurrence
has convinced the present writer that such a conspiracy has existed. A
considerable amount of startling evidence has been unearthed that has
hitherto been suppressed. If you care to consider Labor's version of this
unfortunate incident you are urged to read the following truthful account
of this almost unbelievable piece of mediaeval intrigue and brutality.

The facts will speak for themselves. Credit them or not, but read!

The Forests of the Northwest

The Pacific Northwest is world famed for its timber. The first white
explorers to set foot upon its fertile soil were awed by the magnitude and
grandeur of its boundless stretches of virgin forests. Nature has never
endowed any section of our fair world with such an immensity of kingly
trees. Towering into the sky to unthinkable heights, they stand as living
monuments to the fecundity of natural life. Imagine, if you can, the vast
wide region of the West coast, hills, slopes and valleys, covered with
millions of fir, spruce and cedar trees, raising their verdant crests a
hundred, two hundred or two hundred and fifty feet into the air.

When Columbus first landed on the uncharted continent these trees were
already ancient. There they stood, straight and majestic with green and
foam-flecked streams purling here and there at their feet, crowning the
rugged landscape with superlative beauty, overtopped only by the
snow-capped mountains--waiting for the hand of man to put them to the
multitudinous uses of modern civilization. Imagine, if you can, the first
explorer, gazing awe-stricken down those "calm cathedral isles," wondering
at the lavish bounty of our Mother Earth in supplying her children with
such inexhaustible resources.

But little could the first explorer know that the criminal clutch of Greed
was soon to seize these mighty forests, guard them from the human race
with bayonets, hangman's ropes and legal statutes; and use them,
robber-baron like, to exact unimaginable tribute from the men and women of
the world who need them. Little did the first explorer dream that the day
would come when individuals would claim private ownership of that which
prolific nature had travailed through centuries to bestow upon mankind.

But that day has come and with it the struggle between master and man that
was to result in Centralia--or possibly many Centralias.

Lumber--A Basic Industry

It seems the most logical thing in the world to believe that the natural
resources of the Earth, upon which the race depends for food, clothing and
shelter, should be owned collectively by the race instead of being the
private property of a few social parasites. It seems that reason would
preclude the possibility of any other arrangement, and that it would be
considered as absurd for individuals to lay claim to forests, mines,
railroads and factories as it would be for individuals to lay claim to the
ownership of the sunlight that warms us or to the air we breathe. But the
poor human race, in its bungling efforts to learn how to live in our
beautiful world, appears destined to find out by bitter experience that
the private ownership of the means of life is both criminal and

Lumber is one of the basic industries--one of the industries mankind never
could have done without. The whole structure of what we call civilization
is built upon wooden timbers, ax-hewn or machine finished as the case may
be. Without the product of the forests humanity would never have learned
the use of fire, the primitive bow and arrow or the bulging galleys of
ancient commerce. Without the firm and fibrous flesh of the mighty
monarchs of the forest men might never have had barges for fishing or
weapons for the chase; they would not have had carts for their oxen or
kilns for the fashioning of pottery; they would not have had dwellings,
temples or cities; they would not have had furniture nor fittings nor
roofs above their heads. Wood is one of the most primitive and
indispensable of human necessities. Without its use we would still be
groping in the gloom and misery of early savagery, suffering from the cold
of outer space and defenseless in the midst of a harsh and hostile

From Pioneer to Parasite

So it happened that the first pioneers in the northern were forced to bare
their arms and match their strength with the wooded wilderness. At first
the subjugation of the forests was a social effort. The lives and future
prosperity of the settlers must be made secure from the raids of the
Indians and the inclemency of the elements. Manfully did these men labor
until their work was done. But this period did not last long, for the tide
of emigration was sweeping westward over the sun-baked prairies to the
promised land in the golden West.

[Illustration: Fir and Spruce Trees

The wood of the West coast abound with tall fir trees. Practically all
high grade spruce comes from this district also. Spruce was a war
necessity and the lumber trust profiteered unmercifully on the government.
U.S. prisons are full of loggers who struck for the 8 hour day in 1917.]

Towns sprang up like magic, new trees were felled, sawmills erected and
huge logs in ever increasing numbers were driven down the foaming torrents
each year at spring time. The country was new, the market for lumber
constantly growing and expanding. But the monopolist was unknown and the
lynch-mobs of the lumber trust still sleeping in the womb of the Future.
So passed the not unhappy period when opportunity was open to everyone,
when freedom was dear to the hearts of all. It was at this time that the
spirit of real Americanism was born, when the clean, sturdy name "America"
spelled freedom, justice and independence. Patriotism in these days was
not a mask for profiteers and murderers were not permitted to hide their
bloody hands in the folds of their nation's flag.

But modern capitalism was creeping like a black curse upon the land.
Stealing, coercing, cajoling, defrauding, it spread from its plague-center
in Wall St., leaving misery, class antagonism and resentment in its trial.
The old free America of our fathers was undergoing a profound change.
Equality of opportunity was doomed. A new social alignment was being
created. Monopoly was loosed upon the land. Fabulous fortunes were being
made as wealth was becoming centered into fewer and fewer hands. Modern
capitalism was entrenching itself for the final and inevitable struggle
for world domination. In due time the social parasites of the East,
foreseeing that the forests of Maine, Michigan and Wisconsin could not
last forever, began to look to the woods of the Northwest with covetous

[Illustration: Cedar Trees of the Northwest

With these giants the logger daily matches his strength and skill. The
profit-greedy lumber trust has wasted enough trees of smaller size to
supply the world with wood for years to come.]

Stealing the People's Forest Land

The history of the acquisition of the forests of Washington, Montana,
Idaho, Oregon and California is a long, sordid story of thinly veiled
robbery and intrigue. The methods of the lumber barons in invading and
seizing its "holdings" did not differ greatly, however, from those of the
steel and oil kings, the railroad magnates or any of the other industrial
potentates who acquired great wealth by pilfering America and peonizing
its people. The whole sorry proceeding was disgraceful, high-handed and
treacherous, and only made possible by reason of the blindness of the
generous American people, drugged with the vanishing hope of "success" and
too confident of the continued possession of its blood-bought liberties.
And do the lumber barons were unhindered in their infamous work of
debauchery, bribery, murder and brazen fraud.

As a result the monopoly of the Northwestern woods became an established
fact. The lumber trust came into "its own." The new social alignment was
complete, with the idle, absentee landlord at one end and the migratory
and possessionless lumber jack at the other. The parasites had
appropriated to themselves the standing timber of the Northwest; but the
brawny logger whose labor had made possible the development of the
industry was given, as his share of the spoils, a crumby "bindle" and a
rebellious heart. The masters had gained undisputed control of the timber
of the country, three quarters of which is located in the Northwest; but
the workers who felled the trees, drove the logs, dressed, finished and
loaded the lumber were left in the state of helpless dependency from which
they could only extricate themselves by means of organization. And it is
this effort to form a union and establish union headquarters that led to
the tragedy at Centralia.

The lumber barons had not only achieved a monopoly of the woods but a
perfect feudal domination of the woods as well. Within their domain banks,
ships, railways and mills bore their private insignia-and politicians,
Employers' Associations, preachers, newspapers, fraternal orders and
judges and gun-men were always at their beck and call. The power they
wield is tremendous and their profits would ransom a kingdom. Naturally
they did not intend to permit either power or profits to be menaced by a
mass of weather-beaten slaves in stag shirts and overalls. And so the
struggle waxed fiercer just as the lumberjack learned to contend
successfully for living conditions and adequate remuneration. It was the
old, old conflict of human rights against property rights. Let us see how
they compared in strength.

The Triumph of Monopoly

The following extract from a document entitled "The Lumber Industry," by
the Honorable Herbert Knox Smith and published by the U.S. Department of
Commerce (Bureau of Corporations) will give some idea of the holdings and
influence of the lumber trust:

"Ten monopoly groups, aggregating only one thousand, eight hundred and two
holders, monopolized one thousand, two hundred and eight billion eight
hundred million (1,208,800,000,000) board feet of standing timber--each a
foot square and an inch thick. These figures are so stupendous that they
are meaningless without a hackneyed device to bring their meaning home.
These one thousand, eight hundred and two timber business monopolists held
enough standing timber; an indispensable natural resource, to yield the
planks necessary (over and above manufacturing wastage) to make a floating
bridge more than two feet thick and more than five miles wide from New
York to Liverpool. It would supply one inch planks for a roof over France,
Germany and Italy. It would build a fence eleven miles high along our
entire coast line. All monopolized by one thousand, eight hundred and two
holders, or interests more or less interlocked. One of those interests--a
grant of only three holders--monopolized at one time two hundred and
thirty-seven billion, five hundred million (237,500,000,000) feet which
would make a column one foot square and three million miles high. Although
controlled by only three holders, that interest comprised over eight
percent of all the standing timber in the United States at that time."

The above illuminating figures, quoted from "The I.W.A. in the Lumber
Industry," by James Rowan, will give some idea of the magnitude and power
of the lumber trust.

[Illustration: "Topping a Tree"

After one of these huge trees is "topped" it is called a "spar tree"--very
necessary in a certain kind of logging operations. As soon as the
chopped-off portion falls, the trunk vibrates rapidly from side to side
sometimes shaking the logger to certain death below.]

Opposing this colossal aggregation of wealth and cussedness were the
thousands of hard-driven and exploited lumberworkers in the woods and
sawmills. These had neither wealth nor influence--nothing but their hard,
bare hands and a growing sense of solidarity. And the masters of the
forests were more afraid of this solidarity than anything else in the
world--and they fought it more bitterly, as events will show. Centralia is
only one of the incidents of this struggle between owner and worker. But
let us see what this hated and indispensable logger-the productive and
human basis of the lumber industry, the man who made all these things
possible, is like.

The Human Element--"The Timber Beast"

Lumber workers are, by nature of their employment, divided into two
categories--the saw-mill hand and the logger. The former, like his
brothers in the Eastern factories, is an indoor type while the latter is
essentially a man of the open air. Both types are necessary to the
production of finished lumber, and to both union organization is an
imperative necessity.

Sawmill work is machine work--rapid, tedious and often dangerous. There is
the uninteresting repetition of the same act of motions day in and day
out. The sights, sounds and smells of the mill are never varied. The fact
that the mill is permanently located tends to keep mill workers grouped
about the place of their employment. Many of them, especially in the
shingle mills, have lost fingers or hands in feeding the lumber to the
screaming saws. It has been estimated that fully a half of these men are
married and remain settled in the mill communities. The other half,
however, are not nearly so migratory as the lumberjack. Sawmill workers
are not the "rough-necks" of the industry. They are of the more
conservative "home-guard" element and characterized by the psychology of
all factory workers.

The logger, on the other hand, (and it is with him our narrative is
chiefly concerned), is accustomed to hard and hazardous work in the open
woods. His occupation makes him of necessity migratory. The camp,
following the uncut timber from place to place, makes it impossible for
him to acquire a family and settle down. Scarcely one out of ten has ever
dared assume the responsibility of matrimony. The necessity of shipping
from a central point in going from one job to another usually forces a
migratory existence upon the lumberjack in spite of his best intentions to
live otherwise.

What Is a Casual Laborer?

The problem of the logger is that of the casual laborer in general.
Broadly speaking, there are three distinct classes of casual laborers:
First, the "harvest stiff" of the middle West who follows the ripening
crops from Kansas to the Dakotas, finding winter employment in the North,
Middle Western woods, in construction camps or on the ice fields. Then
there is the harvest worker of "the Coast" who garners the fruit, hops and
grain, and does the canning of California, Washington and Oregon, finding
out-of-season employment wherever possible. Finally there is the
Northwestern logger, whose work, unlike that of the Middle Western "jack"
is not seasonal, but who is compelled nevertheless to remain migratory. As
a rule, however, his habitat is confined, according to preference or force
of circumstances, to either the "long log" country of Western Washington
and Oregon as well as California, or to the "short log" country of Eastern
Washington and Oregon, Northern Idaho and Western Montana. Minnesota,
Michigan, and Wisconsin are in what is called the "short log" region.

[Illustration: A Logger of the Pacific Northwest

This is a type of the men who work in the "long log" region of the West
coast. His is a man's sized job, and his efforts to organize and better
the working conditions in the lumber industry have been manly efforts--and
bitterly opposed.]

As a rule the logger of the Northwest follows the woods to the exclusion
of all other employment. He is militantly a lumberjack and is inclined to
be a trifle "patriotic" and disputatious as to the relative importance of
his own particular branch of the industry. "Long loggers," for instance,
view with a suspicion of disdain the work of "short loggers" and vice

"Lumber-Jack" The Giant Killer

But the lumber-jack is a casual worker and he is the finished product of
modern capitalism. He is the perfect proletarian type--possessionless,
homeless, and rebellious. He is the reverse side of the gilded medal of
present day society. On the one side is the third generation idle
rich--arrogant and parasitical, and on the other, the actual producer,
economically helpless and denied access to the means of production unless
he "beg his lordly fellow worm to give him leave to toil," as Robert Burns
has it.

The logger of the Northwest has his faults. He is not any more perfect
than the rest of us. The years of degradation and struggle he has endured
in the woods have not failed to leave their mark upon him. But, as the
wage workers go, he is not the common but the uncommon type both as
regards physical strength and cleanliness and mental alertness. He is
generous to a fault and has all the qualities Lincoln and Whitman loved in

In the first place, whether as faller, rigging man or on the "drive," his
work is muscular and out of doors. He must at all times conquer the forest
and battle with the elements. There is a tang and adventure to his labor
in the impressive solitude of the woods that gives him a steady eye, a
strong arm and a clear brain. Being constantly close to the great green
heart of Nature, he acquires the dignity and independence of the savage
rather than the passive and unresisting submission of the factory worker.
The fact that he is free from family ties also tends to make him ready for
an industrial frolic or fight at any time. In daily matching his prowess
and skill with the products of the earth he feels in a way, that the woods
"belong" to him and develops a contempt for the unseen and unknown
employers who kindly permit him to enrich them with his labor. He is
constantly reminded of the glaring absurdity of the private ownership of
natural resources. Instinctively he becomes a rebel against the injustice
and contradictions of capitalist society.

Dwarfed to ant-like insignificance by the verdant immensity around him,
the logger toils daily with ax, saw and cable. One after another forest
giants of dizzy height crash to the earth with a sound like thunder. In a
short time they are loaded on flat cars and hurried across the
stump-dotted clearing to the river, whence they are dispatched to the
noisy, ever-waiting saws at the mill. And always the logger knows in his
heart that this is not done that people may have lumber for their needs,
but rather that some overfed parasite may first add to his holy dividends.
Production for profit always strikes the logger with the full force of
objective observation. And is it any wonder, with the process of
exploitation thus naked always before his eyes, that he should have been
among the very first workers to challenge the flimsy title of the lumber
barons to the private ownership of the woods?

The Factory Worker and the Lumber-Jack

Without wishing to disparage the ultimate worth of either; it might be
well to contrast for a moment the factory worker of the East with the
lumber-jack of the Pacific Northwest. To the factory hand the master's
claim to the exclusive title of the means of production is not so
evidently absurd. Around him are huge, smoking buildings filled with
roaring machinery--all man-made. As a rule he simply takes for granted
that his employers--whoever they are--own these just as he himself owns,
for instance, his pipe or his furniture. Only when he learns, from
thoughtful observation or study, that such things are the appropriated
products of the labor of himself and his kind, does the truth dawn upon
him that labor produces all and is entitled to its own.

[Illustration: Logging Operations

Look around you at the present moment and you will see wood used for many
different purposes. Have you ever stopped to think where the raw material
comes from or what the workers are like who produce it? Here is a scene
from a lumber camp showing the loggers at their daily tasks. The lumber
trust is willing that these men should work-but not organize.]

It must be admitted that factory life tends to dispirit and cow the
workers who spend their lives in the gloomy confines of the modern mill or
shop. Obedient to the shrill whistle they pour out of their clustered grey
dwellings in the early morning. Out of the labor ghettos they swarm and
into their dismal slave-pens. Then the long monotonous, daily "grind," and
home again to repeat the identical proceeding on the following day. Almost
always, tired, trained to harsh discipline or content with low comfort;
they are all too liable to feel that capitalism is invincibly colossal and
that the possibility of a better day is hopelessly remote. Most of them
are unacquainted with their neighbors. They live in small family or
boarding house units and, having no common meeting place, realize only
with difficulty the mighty potency of their vast numbers. To them
organization appears desirable at times but unattainable. The dickering
conservatism of craft unionism appeals to their cautious natures. They act
only en masse, under awful compulsion and then their release of repressed
slave emotion is sudden and terrible.

Not so with the weather-tanned husky of the Northwestern woods. His job
life is a group life. He walks to his daily task with his fellow workers.
He is seldom employed for long away from them. At a common table he eats
with them, and they all sleep in common bunk houses. The trees themselves
teach him to scorn his master's adventitious claim to exclusive ownership.
The circumstances of his daily occupation show him the need of class
solidarity. His strong body clamours constantly for the sweetness and
comforts of life that are denied him, his alert brain urges him to
organize and his independent spirit gives him the courage and tenacity to
achieve his aims. The union hall is often his only home and the One Big
Union his best-beloved. He is fond of reading and discussion. He resents
industrial slavery as an insult. He resented filth, overwork and poverty,
he resented being made to carry his own bundle of blankets from job to
job; he gritted his teeth together and fought until he had ground these
obnoxious things under his iron-caulked heel. The lumber trust hated him
just in proportion as he gained and used his industrial power; but neither
curses, promises nor blows could make him budge. He knew what he wanted
and he knew how to get what he wanted. And his boss didn't like it very

The lumber-jack is secretive and not given to expressed emotion--excepting
in his union songs. The bosses don't like his songs either. But the logger
isn't worried a bit. Working away in the woods every day, or in his bunk
at night, he dreams his dream of the world as he thinks it should be--that
"wild wobbly dream" that every passing day brings closer to
realization--and he wants all who work around him to share his vision and
his determination to win so that all will be ready and worthy to live in
the New Day that is dawning.

In a word the Northwestern lumber-jack was too human and too stubborn ever
to repudiate his red-blooded manhood at the behest of his masters and
become a serf. His union meant to him all that he possessed or hoped to
gain. Is it any wonder that he endured the tortures of hell during the
period of the war rather than yield his Red Card--or that he is still
determined and still undefeated? Is it any wonder the lumber barons hated
him, and sought to break his spirit with brute force and legal cunning--or
that they conspired to murder it at Centralia with mob violence--and

Why the Loggers Organized

The condition of the logger previous to the period of organization beggars
description. Modern industrial autocracy seemed with him to develop its
most inhuman characteristics. The evil plant of wage slavery appeared to
bear its most noxious blossoms in the woods.

The hours of labor were unendurably long, ten hours being the general
rule--with the exception of the Grays Harbor district, where the eleven or
even twelve hour day prevailed. In addition to this men were compelled to
walk considerable distances to and from their work and meals through the
wet brush.

Not infrequently the noon lunch was made almost impossible because of the
order to be back on the job when work commenced. A ten hour stretch of
arduous labor, in a climate where incessant rain is the rule for at least
six months of the year, was enough to try the strength and patience of
even the strongest. The wages too were pitiably inadequate.

The camps themselves, always more or less temporary affairs, were inferior
to the cow-shed accommodations of a cattle ranch. The bunk house were
over-crowded, ill-smelling and unsanitary. In these ramshackle affairs the
loggers were packed like sardines. The bunks were arranged tier over tier
and nearly always without mattresses. They were uniformly vermin-infested
and sometimes of the "muzzle-loading" variety. No blankets were furnished,
each logger being compelled to supply his own. There were no facilities
for bathing or the washing and drying of sweaty clothing. Lighting and
ventilation were of course, always poor.

In addition to these discomforts the unorganized logger was charged a
monthly hospital fee for imaginary medical service. Also it was nearly
always necessary to pay for the opportunity of enjoying these privileges
by purchasing employment from a "job shark" or securing the good graces of
a "man catcher." The former often had "business agreements" with the camp
foreman and, in many cases, a man could not get a job unless he had a
ticket from a labor agent in some shipping point.

It may be said that the conditions just described were more prevalent in
some parts of the lumber country than in others. Nevertheless, these
prevailed pretty generally in all sections of the industry before the
workers attempted to better them by organizing. At all events such were
the conditions the lumber barons sought with all their power to preserve
and the loggers to change.

Organization and the Opening Struggle

A few years before the birth of the Industrial workers of the World the
lumber workers had started to organize. By 1905, when the above mentioned
union was launched, lumber-workers were already united in considerable
numbers in the old Western afterwards the American Labor Union. This
organization took steps to affiliate with the Industrial Workers of the
World and was thus among the very first to seek a larger share of life in
the ranks of that militant and maligned organization. Strike followed
strike with varying success and the conditions of the loggers began
perceptibly to improve.

Scattered here and there in the cities of the Northwest were many locals
of the Industrial Workers of the World. Not until 1912, however, were
these consolidated into a real industrial unit. For the first time a
sufficient number of loggers and saw mill men were organized to be grouped
into an integral part of the One Big Union. This was done with reasonable
success. In the following year the American Federation of Labor attempted
a similar task but without lasting results, the loggers preferring the
industrial to the craft form of organization. Besides this, they were
predisposed to sympathize with the ideal of solidarity and Industrial
Democracy for which their own union had stood from the beginning.

The "timber beast" was starting to reap the benefits of his organized
power. Also he was about to feel the force and hatred of the "interests"
arrayed against him. He was soon to learn that the path of labor unionism
is strewn with more rocks than roses. He was making an earnest effort to
emerge from the squalor and misery of peonage and was soon to see that his
overlords were satisfied to keep him right where he had always been.

Strange to say, almost the first really important clash occurred in the
very heart of the lumber trust's domain, in the little city of Aberdeen,
Grays Harbor County--only a short distance from Centralia, of mob fame!

[Illustration: Eugene Barnett

(After the man-hunt)

Coal miner. Born in North Carolina. Member of U.M.W.A. and I.W.W. Went to
work underground at the age of eight. Self educated, a student and
philosopher. Upon reaching home Barnett, fearful of the mob, took to the
woods with his rifle. He surrendered to the posse only after he had
convinced himself that their purpose was not to lynch him.]

This was in 1912. A strike had started in the saw mills over demands of a
$2.50 daily wage. Some of the saw mill workers were members of the
Industrial Workers of the World. They were supported by the union loggers
of Western Washington. The struggle was bitterly contested and lasted for
several weeks. The lumber trust bared its fangs and struck viciously at
the workers in a manner that has since characterized its tactics in all
labor disputes.

The jails of Aberdeen and adjoining towns were filled with strikers.
Picket lines were broken up and the pickets arrested. When the wives of
the strikers with babies in their arms, took the places of their
imprisoned husbands, the fire hose was turned on them with great force, in
many instances knocking them to the ground. Loggers and sawmill men alike
were unmercifully beaten. Many were slugged by mobs with pick handles,
taken to the outskirts of the city and told that their return would be the
occasion of a lynching. At one time an armed mob of business men dragged
nearly four hundred strikers from their homes or boarding houses, herded
them into waiting boxcars, sealed up the doors and were about to deport
them en masse. The sheriff, getting wind of this unheard-of proceeding,
stopped it at the last moment. Many men were badly scarred by beatings
they received. One logger was crippled for life by the brutal treatment
accorded him.

But the strikers won their demands and conditions were materially
improved. The Industrial Workers of the World continued to grow in numbers
and prestige. This event may be considered the beginning of the labor
movement on Grays Harbor that the lumber trust sought finally to crush
with mob violence on a certain memorable day in Centralia seven years

Following the Aberdeen strike one or two minor clashes occurred. The
lumber workers were usually successful. During this period they were
quietly but effectually spreading One Big Union propaganda throughout the
camps and mills in the district. Also they were organizing their fellow
workers in increasing numbers into their union. The lumber trust, smarting
under its last defeat, was alarmed and alert.

[Illustration: Bert Faulkner

American. Logger. 21 years of age. Member of the Industrial Workers of the
World since 1917. Was in the hall when raid occurred. Faulkner personally
knew Grimm, McElfresh and a number of others who marched in the parade. He
is an ex-soldier himself. The prosecution used a great deal of pressure to
make this boy turn state's evidence. He refused stating that he would tell
nothing but the truth. At the last moment he was discharged from the case
after being held in jail four months.]

A Massacre and a New Law

But no really important event occurred until 1916. At this time the union
loggers, organized in the Industrial Workers of the World, had started a
drive for membership around Puget Sound. Loggers and mill hands were eager
for the message of Industrial Unionism. Meetings were well attended and
the sentiment in favor of the organization was steadily growing. The A.F.
of L. shingle weavers and longshoremen were on strike and had asked the
I.W.W. to help them secure free speech in Everett. The ever-watchful
lumber interests decided the time to strike had again arrived. The events
of "Bloody Sunday" are too well known to need repeating here. Suffice to
say that after a summer replete with illegal beatings and jailings five
men were killed in cold blood and forty wounded in a final desperate
effort to drive the union out of the city of Everett, Washington. These
unarmed loggers were slaughtered and wounded by the gunfire of a gang of
business men and plug-uglies of the lumber interests. True to form, the
lumber trust had every union man in sight arrested and seventy-four
charged with the murder of a gunman who had been killed by the cross-fire
of his own comrades. None of the desperadoes who had done the actual
murdering was ever prosecuted or even reprimanded. The charge against the
members of the Industrial Workers of the World was pressed. The case was
tried in court and the Industrialists declared "not guilty." George
Vanderveer was attorney for the defense.

The lumber interests were infuriated at their defeat, and from this time
on the struggle raged in deadly earnest. Almost everything from mob law to
open assassination had been tried without avail. The execrated One Big
Union idea was gaining members and power every day. The situation was
truly alarming. Their heretofore trustworthy "wage plugs" were showing
unmistakable symptoms of intelligence. Workingmen were waking up. They
were, in appalling numbers, demanding the right to live like men.
Something must be done something new and drastic--to split asunder this
on-coming phalanx of industrial power.

But the gun-man-and-mob method was discarded, temporarily at least, in
favor of the machinations of lumber trust tools in the law making bodies.
Big Business can make laws as easily as it can break them--and with as
little impunity. So the notorious Washington "Criminal Syndicalism" law
was devised. This law, however, struck a snag. The honest-minded governor
of the state, recognizing its transparent character and far-reaching
effects, promptly vetoed the measure. After the death of Governor Lister
the criminal syndicalism law was passed, however, by the next State
Legislature. Since that time it has been used against the American
Federation of Labor, the Industrial Workers of the World, the Socialist
Party and even common citizens not affiliated with any of these
organizations. The criminal syndicalism law registers the high water mark
of reaction. It infringes more on the liberties of the people than any of
the labor-crushing laws that blackened Russia during the dynasty of the
Romanoffs. It would disgrace the anti-Celestial legislation of Hell.

The Eight Hour Day and "Treason"

Nineteen hundred and seventeen was an eventful year. It was then the
greatest strike in the history of the lumber industry occurred-the strike
for the eight hour day. For years the logger and mill hand had fought
against the unrestrained greed of the lumber interests. Step by step, in
the face of fiercest opposition, they had fought for the right to live
like men; and step by step they had been gaining. Each failure or success
had shown them the weakness or the strength of their union. They had been
consolidating their forces as well as learning how to use them. The lumber
trust had been making huge profits the while, but the lumber workers were
still working ten hours or more and the logger was still packing his dirty
blankets from job to job. Dissatisfaction with conditions was wider and
more prevalent then ever before. Then came the war.

As soon as this country had taken its stand with the allied imperialists
the price of lumber, needed for war purposes, was boosted to sky high
figures. From $16.00 to $116.00 per thousand feet is quite a jump; but
recent disclosures show that the Government paid as high as $1200.00 per
thousand for spruce that private concerns were purchasing for less than
one tenth of that sum. Gay parties with plenty of wild women and hard
drink are alleged to have been instrumental in enabling the "patriotic"
lumber trust to put these little deals across. Due to the duplicity of
this same bunch of predatory gentlemen the airplane and ship building
program of the United States turned out to be a scandal instead of a
success. Out of 21,000 feet of spruce delivered to a Massachusetts
factory, inspectors could only pass 400 feet as fit for use. Keep these
facts and figures in mind when you read about what happened to the
"disloyal" lumber workers during the war-and afterwards.

[Illustration: Mrs. Elmer Smith and Baby Girl

Mrs. Elmer Smith is the cultured daughter of a Washington judge. Since
Elmer Smith got into trouble many efforts have been made to induce his
wife to leave him. Mrs. Smith prefers, however, to stick with her rebel
lawyer whom she loves and admires.]

Discontent had been smouldering in the woods for a long time. It was soon
fanned to a flame by the brazen profiteering of the lumber trust. The
loggers had been biding their time--rather sullenly it is true--for the
day when the wrongs they had endured so patiently and so long might be
rectified. Their quarrel with the lumber interests was an old one. The
time was becoming propitious.

In the early summer of 1917 the strike started. Sweeping through the short
log country it spread like wild-fire over nearly all the Northwestern
lumber districts. The tie-up was practically complete. The industry was
paralyzed. The lumber trust, its mouth drooling in anticipation of the
many millions it was about to make in profits, shattered high heaven with
its cries of rage. Immediately its loyal henchmen in the Wilson
administration rushed to the rescue. Profiteering might be condoned,
moralized over or winked at, but militant labor unionism was a menace to
the government and the prosecution of the war. It must be crushed. For was
it not treacherous and treasonable for loggers to strike for living
conditions when Uncle Sam needed the wood and the lumber interests the
money? So Woodrow Wilson and his coterie of political troglodytes from the
slave-owning districts of the old South, started out to teach militant
labor a lesson. Corporation lawyers were assembled. Indictments were made
to order. The bloodhounds of the Department of "Justice" were unleashed.
Grand Juries of "patriotic" business men were impaneled and did their
expected work not wisely but too well. All the gun-men and stool-pigeons
of Big Business got busy. And the opera bouffe of "saving our form of
government" was staged.

Industrial Heretics and the White Terror

For a time it seemed as though the strikers would surely be defeated. The
onslaught was terrific, but the loggers held out bravely. Workers were
beaten and jailed by the hundreds. Men were herded like cattle in
blistering "bull-pens," to be freed after months of misery, looking more
like skeletons than human beings. Ellensburg and Yakima will never be
forgotten in Washington. One logger was even burned to death while locked
in a small iron-barred shack that had been dignified with the title of
"jail." In the Northwest even the military were used and the bayonet of
the soldier could be seen glistening beside the cold steel of the hired
thug. Union halls were raided in all parts of the land. Thousands of
workers were deported. Dozens were tarred and feathered and mobbed. Some
were even taken out in the dead of night and hanged to railway bridges.
Hundreds were convicted of imaginary offenses and sent to prison for terms
from one to twenty years. Scores were held in filthy jails for as long as
twenty-six months awaiting trial. The Espionage Law, which never convicted
a spy, and the Criminal Syndicalism Laws, which never convicted a
criminal, were used savagely and with full force against the workers in
their struggle for better conditions. By means of newspaper-made war
hysteria the profiteers of Big Business entrenched themselves in public
opinion. By posing as "100% Americans" (how stale and trite the phrase has
become from their long misuse of it!) these social parasites sought to
convince the nation that they, and not the truly American unionists whose
backs they were trying to break, were working for the best interests of
the American people. Our form of government, forsooth, must be saved. Our
institutions must be rescued from the clutch of the "reds." Thus was the
war-frenzy of their dupes lashed to madness and the guarantees of the
constitution suspended as far as the working class was concerned.

So all the good, wise and noisy men of the nation were induced by diverse
means to cry out against the strikers and their union. The worst passions
of the respectable people were appealed to. The hoarse blood-cry of the
mob was raised. It was echoed and re-echoed from press and pulpit. The
very air quivered from its reverberations. Lynching parties became
"respectable." Indictments were flourished. Hand-cuffs flashed. The
clinking feet of workers going to prison rivaled the sound of the soldiers
marching to war. And while all this was happening, a certain paunchy
little English Jew with moth-eaten hair and blotchy jowls the accredited
head of a great labor union glared through his thick spectacles and nodded
his perverse approval. But the lumber trust licked its fat lips and leered
at its swollen dividends. All was well and the world was being made "safe
for democracy!"

[Illustration: Britt Smith

American. Logger. 35 years old. Had followed the woods for twenty years.
Smith made his home in the hall that was raided and was secretary of the
Union. When the mob broke into the jail and seized Wesley Everest to
torture and lynch him they cried, "We've got Britt Smith!" Smith was the
man they wanted and it was to break his neck that ropes were carried in
the "parade." Not until Everest's body was brought back to the city jail
was it discovered that the mob had lynched the wrong man.]

Autocracy vs. Unionism

This unprecedented struggle was really a test of strength between
industrial autocracy and militant unionism. The former was determined to
restore the palmy days of peonage for all time to come, the latter to
fight to the last ditch in spite of hell and high water. The lumber trust
sought to break the strike of the loggers and destroy their organization.
In the ensuing fracas the lumber barons came out only second best--and
they were bad losers. After the war-fever had died down--one year after
the signing of the Armistice--they were still trying in Centralia to
attain their ignoble ends by means of mob violence.

But at this time the ranks of the strikers were unbroken. The heads of the
loggers were "bloody but unbowed." Even at last, when compelled to yield
to privation and brute force and return to work, they turned defeat to
victory by "carrying the strike onto the job." As a body they refused to
work more than eight hours. Secretary of War Baker and President Wilson
had both vainly urged the lumber interests to grant the eight hour day.
The determined industrialists gained this demand, after all else had
failed, by simply blowing a whistle when the time was up. Most of their
other demands were won as well. In spite of even the Disque despotism,
mattresses, clean linen and shower baths were reluctantly granted as the
fruits of victory.

But even as these lines are written the jails and prisons of America are
filled to overflowing with men and women whose only crime is loyalty to
the working class. The war profiteers are still wallowing in luxury. None
has ever been placed behind the bars. Before he was lynched in Butte,
Frank Little had said, "I stand for the solidarity of labor." That was
enough. The vials of wrath were poured on his head for no other reason.
And for no other reason was the hatred of the employing class directed at
the valiant hundreds who now rot in prison for longer terms than those
meted out to felons. William Haywood and Eugene Debs are behind steel bars
today for the same cause. The boys at Centralia were conspired against
because they too stood "for the solidarity of labor." It is simply lying
and camouflage to attempt to trace such persecutions to any other source.
These are things America will be ashamed of when she comes to her senses.
Such gruesome events are paralleled in no country save the Germany of
Kaiser Wilhelm or the Russia of the Czar.

This picture of labor persecution in free America--terrible but true--will
serve as a background for the dramatic history of the events leading up to
the climactic tragedy at Centralia on Armistice Day, 1919.

While in Washington...

All over the state of Washington the mobbing, jailing and tar and
feathering of workers continued the order of the day until long after the
cessation of hostilities in Europe. The organization had always urged and
disciplined its members to avoid violence as an unworthy weapon. Usually
the loggers have left their halls to the mercy of the mobs when they knew
a raid was contemplated. Centralia is the one exception. Here the outrages
heaped upon them could be no longer endured.

In Yakima and Sedro Woolley, among other places in 1918, union men were
stripped of their clothing, beaten with rope ends and hot tar applied to
the bleeding flesh. They were then driven half naked into the woods. A man
was hanged at night in South Montesano about this time and another had
been tarred and feathered. As a rule the men were taken unaware before
being treated in this manner. In one instance a stationary delegate of the
Industrial Workers of the World received word that he was to be
"decorated" and rode out of town on a rail. He slit a pillow open and
placed it in the window with a note attached stating that he knew of the
plan; would be ready for them, and would gladly supply his own feathers.
He did not leave town either on a rail or otherwise.

In Seattle, Tacoma and many other towns, union halls and print shops were
raided and their contents destroyed or burned. In the former city in 1919,
men, women and children were knocked insensible by policemen and
detectives riding up and down the sidewalks in automobiles, striking to
right and left with "billy" and night stick as they went. These were
accompanied by auto trucks filled with hidden riflemen and an armored tank
bristling with machine guns. A peaceable meeting of union men was being

[Illustration: Loren Roberts

American. Logger. 19 years old. Loren's mother said of him at the trial:
"Loren was a good boy, he brought his money home regularly for three
years. After his father took sick he was the only support for his father
and me and the three younger ones." The father was a sawyer in a mill and
died of tuberculosis after an accident had broken his strength. This boy,
the weakest of the men on trial, was driven insane by the unspeakable
"third degree" administered in the city jail. One of the lumber trust
lawyers was in the jail at the time Roberts signed his so-called
"confession." "Tell him to quit stalling," said a prosecutor to
Vanderveer, when Roberts left the witness stand. "You cur!" replied the
defense attorney in a low voice, "you know who is responsible for this
boy's condition." Roberts was one of the loggers on Seminary Hill.]

In Centralia, Aberdeen and Montesano, in Grays Harbor County, the struggle
was more local but not less intense. No fewer than twenty-five loggers on
different occasions were taken from their beds at night and treated to tar
and feathers. A great number were jailed for indefinite periods on
indefinite charges. As an additional punishment these were frequently
locked in their cells and the fire hose played on their drenched and
shivering bodies. "Breech of jail discipline" was the reason given for
this "cruel and unusual" form of lumber trust punishment.

In Aberdeen and Montesano there were several raids and many deportations
of the tar and feather variety. In Aberdeen in the fall of 1917 during a
"patriotic" parade, the battered hall of the union loggers was again
forcibly entered in the absence of its owners. Furniture, office fixtures,
Victrola and books were dumped into the street and destroyed. In the town
of Centralia, about a year before the tragedy, the Union Secretary was
kidnapped and taken into the woods by a mob of well dressed business men.
He was made to "run the gauntlet" and severely beaten. There was a strong
sentiment in favor of lynching him on the spot, but one of the mob
objected saying it would be "too raw." The victim was then escorted to the
outskirts of the city and warned not to return under pain of usual
penalty. On more than one occasion loggers who had expressed themselves in
favor of the Industrial Workers of the World, were found in the morning
dangling from trees in the neighborhood. No explanation but that of
"suicide" was ever offered. The whole story of the atrocities perpetrated
during these days of the White Terror, in all probability, will never be
published. The criminals are all well known but their influence is too
powerful to ever make it expedient to expose their crimes. Besides, who
would care to get a gentleman in trouble for killing a mere "Wobbly"? The
few instances noted above will, however, give the reader some slight idea
of the gruesome events that were leading inevitably to that grim day in
Centralia in November, 1919.

Weathering the Storm

Through it all the industrialists clung to their Red Cards and to the One
Big Union for which they had sacrificed so much. Time after time, with
incomparable patience, they would refurnish and reopen their beleaguered
halls, heal up the wounds of rope, tar or "billy" and proceed with the
work of organization as though nothing had happened. With union cards or
credentials hidden in their heavy shoes they would meet secretly in the
woods at night. Here they would consult about members who had been mobbed,
jailed or killed, about caring for their families--if they had any--about
carrying on the work of propaganda and laying plans for the future
progress of their union. Perhaps they would take time to chant a rebel
song or two in low voices. Then, back on the job again to "line up the
slaves for the New Society!"

Through a veritable inferno of torment and persecution these men had
refused to be driven from the woods or to give up their union--the
Industrial Workers of the World. Between the two dreadful alternatives of
peonage or persecution they chose the latter--and the lesser. Can you
imagine what their peonage must have been like?

Sinister Centralia

But Centralia was destined to be the scene of the most dramatic portion of
the struggle between the entrenched interests and the union loggers. Here
the long persecuted industrialists made a stand for their lives and fought
to defend their own, thus giving the glib-tongued lawyers of the
prosecution the opportunity of accusing them of "wantonly murdering
unoffending paraders" on Armistice Day.

Centralia in appearance is a creditable small American city--the kind of
city smug people show their friends with pride from the rose-scented
tranquility of a super-six in passage. The streets are wide and clean, the
buildings comfortable, the lawns and shade trees attractive. Centralia is
somewhat of a coquette but she is as sinister and cowardly as she is
pretty. There is a shudder lurking in every corner and a nameless fear
sucks the sweetness out of every breeze. Song birds warble at the
outskirts of the town but one is always haunted by the cries of the human
beings who have been tortured and killed within her confines.

A red-faced business man motors leisurely down the wet street. He shouts a
laughing greeting to a well dressed group at the curb who respond in kind.
But the roughly dressed lumberworkers drop their glances in passing one
another. The Fear is always upon them. As these lines are written several
hundred discontented shingle-weavers are threatened with deportation if
they dare to strike. They will not strike, for they know too well the
consequences. The man-hunt of a few months ago is not forgotten and the
terror of it grips their hearts whenever they think of opposing the will
of the Moloch that dominates their every move.

Around Centralia are wooded hills; men have been beaten beneath them and
lynched from their limbs. The beautiful Chehalis River flows near by;
Wesley Everest was left dangling from one of its bridges. But Centralia is
provokingly pretty for all that. It is small wonder that the lumber trust
and its henchmen wish to keep it all for themselves.

Well tended roads lead in every direction, bordered with clearings of
worked out camps and studded with occasional tree stumps of great age and
truly prodigious size. At intervals are busy saw mills with thousands of
feet of odorous lumber piled up in orderly rows. In all directions
stretches the pillared immensity of the forests. The vistas through the
trees seen enchanted rather than real--unbelievable green and of form and
depth that remind one of painted settings for a Maeterlinck fable rather
than matter-of-fact timber land.

The High Priests of Labor Hatred

Practically all of this land is controlled by the trusts; much of it by
the Eastern Railway and Lumber Company, of which F.B. Hubbard is the head.
The strike of 1917 almost ruined this worthy gentleman. He has always been
a strong advocate of the open shop, but during the last few years he has
permitted his rabid labor-hatred to reach the point of fanaticism. This
Hubbard figures prominently in Centralia's business, social and mob
circles. He is one of the moving spirits in the Centralia conspiracy. The
Eastern Railway and Lumber Company, besides large tracts of land, owns
saw-mills, coal mines and a railway. The Centralia newspapers are its
mouthpieces while the Chamber of Commerce and the Elks' Club are its
general headquarters. The Farmers' & Merchants' Bank is its local
citadel of power. In charge of this bank is a sinister character, one
Uhlman, a German of the old school and a typical Prussian junker. At one
time he was an officer in the German army but at present is a "100%
American"--an easy metamorphosis for a Prussian in these days. His native
born "brother-at-arms" is George Dysart whose son led the posses in the
man-hunt that followed the shooting. In Centralia this bank and its Hun
dictator dominates the financial, political and social activities of the
community. Business men, lawyers, editors, doctors and local authorities
all kow-tow to the institution and its Prussian president. And woe be to
any who dare do otherwise! The power of the "interests" is a vengeful
power and will have no other power before it. Even the mighty arm of the
law becomes palsied in its presence.

[Illustration: Lumberworkers Union Hall, Raided in 1918

The first of the two halls to be wrecked by Centralia's terrorists. This
picture was not permitted to be introduced as evidence of the conspiracy
to raid the new hall. Judge Wilson didn't want the jury to know anything
about this event.]

The Farmers' & Merchants' Bank is the local instrumentality of the
invisible government that holds the nation in its clutch. Kaiser Uhlman
has more influence than the city mayor and more power than the police
force. The law has always been a little thing to him and his clique. The
inscription on the shield of this bank is said to read "To hell with the
Constitution; this is Lewis County." As events will show, this inspiring
maxim has been faithfully adhered to. One of the mandates of this
delectable nest of highbinders is that no headquarters of the Union of the
lumber workers shall ever be permitted within the sacred precincts of the
city of Centralia.

The Loved and Hated Union Hall

Now the loggers, being denied the luxury of home and family life, have but
three places they can call "home." The bunkhouse in the camp, the cheap
rooming house in town and the Union Hall. This latter is by far the best
loved of all. It is here the men can gather around a crackling wood fire,
smoke their pipes and warm their souls with the glow of comradeship. Here
they can, between jobs or after work, discuss the vicissitudes of their
daily lives, read their books and magazines and sing their songs of
solidarity, or merely listen to the "tinned" humor or harmony of the
much-prized Victrola. Also they here attend to affairs of their
Union--line up members, hold business and educational meetings and a
weekly "open forum." Once in awhile a rough and wholesome "smoker" is
given. The features of this great event are planned for weeks in advance
and sometimes talked about for months afterwards.

[Illustration: The Scene of the Armistice Day Tragedy

This is what was left of the Union hall the loggers tried to defend on
November 11th. Three of the raiders, Grimm, McElfresh and Cassagranda,
were killed in the immediate vicinity of the doorway. Several others were
wounded while attempting to rush the doors.]

These halls are at all times open to the public and inducements are made
to get workers to come in and read a thoughtful treatise on Industrial
questions. The latch-string is always out for people who care to listen to
a lecture on economics or similar subjects. Inside the hall there is
usually a long reading-table littered with books, magazines or papers. In
a rack or case at the wall are to be found copies of the "Seattle Union
Record," "The Butte Daily Bulletin," "The New Solidarity," "The Industrial
Worker," "The Liberator," "The New Republic" and "The Nation." Always
there is a shelf of thumb-worn books on history, science, economics and
socialism. On the walls are lithographs or engravings of noted champions
of the cause of Labor, a few photographs of local interest and the monthly
Bulletins and Statements of the Union. Invariably there is a blackboard
with jobs, wages and hours written in chalk for the benefit of men seeking
employment. There are always a number of chairs in the room and a roll top
desk for the secretary. Sometimes at the end of the hall is a plank
rostrum--a modest altar to the Goddess of Free Speech and open discussion.
This is what the loved and hated I.W.W. Halls are like--the halls that
have been raided and destroyed by the hundreds during the last three

Remember, too, that in each of these raids the union men were not the
aggressors and that there was never any attempt at reprisal. In spite of
the fact that the lumber workers were within their legal right to keep
open their halls and to defend them from felonious attack, it had never
happened until November 11, that active resistance was offered the
marauders. This fact alone speaks volumes for the long-suffering patience
of the logger and for his desire to settle his problems by peaceable means
wherever possible. But the Centralia raid was the straw that broke the
camel's back. The lumber trust went a little too far on this occasion and
it got the surprise of its life. Four of its misguided dupes paid for
their lawlessness with their lives, and a number of others were wounded.
There has not since been a raid on a union hall in the Northwestern

It is well that workingmen and women throughout the country should
understand the truth about the Armistice Day tragedy in Centralia and the
circumstances that led up to it. But in order to know why the hall was
raided it is necessary first to understand why this, and all similar
halls, are hated by the oligarchies of the woods.

The issue contested is whether the loggers have the right to organize
themselves into a union, or whether they must remain chattels--mere hewers
of wood and helpless in the face of the rapacity of their industrial
overlords--or whether they have the right to keep open their halls and
peacefully to conduct the affairs of their union. The lumber workers
contend that they are entitled by law to do these things and the employers
assert that, law or no law, they shall not do so. In other words, it is a
question of whether labor organization shall retain its foothold in the
lumber industry or be "driven from the woods."

Pioneers of Unionism

It is hard for workers in most of the other industries--especially in the
East--to understand the problems, struggles and aspirations of the husky
and unconquerable lumber workers of the Northwest. The reason is that the
average union man takes his union for granted. He goes to his union
meetings, discusses the affairs of his craft, industry or class, and he
carries his card--all as a matter of course. It seldom enters his mind
that the privileges and benefits that surround him and the protection he
enjoys are the result of the efforts and sacrifices of the nameless
thousands of pioneers that cleared the way. But these unknown heroes of
the great struggle of the classes did precede him with their loyal hearts
and strong hands; otherwise workers now organized would have to start the
long hard battle at the beginning and count their gains a step at a time,
just as did the early champions of industrial organization, or as the
loggers of the West Coast are now doing.

The working class owes all honor and respect to the first men who planted
the standard of labor solidarity on the hostile frontier of unorganized
industry. They were the men who made possible all things that came after
and all things that are still to come. They were the trail blazers. It is
easier to follow them than to have gone before them--or with them. They
established the outposts of unionism in the wilderness of Industrial
autocracy. Their voices were the first to proclaim the burning message of
Labor's power, of Labor's mission and of Labor's ultimate emancipation.
Their breasts were the first to receive the blows of the enemy; their
unprotected bodies were shielding the countless thousands to follow. They
were the forerunners of the solidarity of Toil. They fought in a good and
great cause; for without solidarity, Labor would have attained nothing
yesterday, gained nothing today nor dare to hope for anything tomorrow.

[Illustration: Seminary Hall

The Union hall looks out on this hill, with Tower avenue and an alley
between. It is claimed that loggers, among others Loren Roberts, Bert
Bland and the missing Ole Hanson, fired at the attacking mob from this

The Block House and the Union Hall

In the Northwest today the rebel lumberjack is a pioneer. Just as our
fathers had to face the enmity of the Indians, so are these men called
upon to face the fury of the predatory interests that have usurped the
richest timber resources of the richest nation in the world. Just outside
Centralia stands a weatherbeaten landmark. It is an old, brown dilapidated
block house of early days. In many ways it reminds one of the battered and
wrecked union halls to be found in the heart of the city.

The evolution of industry has replaced the block house with the union hall
as the embattled center of assault and defense. The weapons are no longer
the rifle and the tomahawk but the boycott and the strike. The frontier is
no longer territorial but industrial. The new struggle is as portentous as
the old. The stakes are larger and the warfare even more bitter.

The painted and be-feathered scalp-hunter of the Sioux or Iroquois were
not more heartless in maiming, mutilating and killing their victims than
the "respectable" profit-hunters of today--the type of men who conceived
the raid on the Union Hall in Centralia on Armistice Day--and who
fiendishly tortured and hanged Wesley Everest for the crime of defending
himself from their inhuman rage. It seems incredible that such deeds could
be possible in the twentieth century. It is incredible to those who have
not followed in the bloody trail of the lumber trust and who are not
familiar with its ruthlessness, its greed and its lust for power.

As might be expected the I.W.W. Halls in Washington were hated by the
lumber barons with a deep and undying hatred. Union halls were a standing
challenge to their hitherto undisputed right to the complete domination of
the forests. Like the blockhouses of early days, these humble meeting
places were the outposts of a new and better order planted in the
stronghold of the old. And they were hated accordingly. The thieves who
had invaded the resources of the nation had long ago seized the woods and
still held them in a grip of steel. They were not going to tolerate the
encroachments of the One Big Union of the lumber workers. Events will
prove that they did not hesitate at anything to achieve their purposes.

The First Centralia Hall

In the year 1918 a union hall stood on one of the side streets in
Centralia. It was similar to the halls that have just been described. This
was not, however, the hall in which the Armistice Day tragedy took place.
You must always remember that there were two halls raided in Centralia;
one in 1918 and another in 1919. The loggers did not defend the first hall
and many of them were manhandled by the mob that wrecked it. The loggers
did defend the second and were given as reward a hanging, a speedy, fair
and impartial conviction and sentences of from 25 to 40 years. No member
of the mob has ever been punished or even taken to task for this misdeed.
Their names are known to everybody. They kiss their wives and babies at
night and go to church on Sundays. People tip their hats to them on the
street. Yet they are a greater menace to the institutions of this country
than all the "reds" in the land. In a world where Mammon is king the king
can do no wrong. But the question of "right" or "wrong" did not concern
the lumber interests when they raided the Union hall in 1918. "Yes, we
raided the hall, what are you going to do about it," is the position they
take in the matter.

During the 1917 strike the two lumber trust papers in Centralia, the "Hub"
and the "Chronicle" were bitter in their denunciation of the strikers.
Repeatedly they urged that most drastic and violent measures be taken by
the authorities and "citizens" to break the strike, smash the union and
punish the strikers. The war-frenzy was at its height and these miserable
sheets went about their work like Czarist papers inciting a pogrom. The
lumber workers were accused of "disloyalty," "treason,"
"anarchy"--anything that would tend to make their cause unpopular. The
Abolitionists were spoken about in identical terms before the civil war.
As soon as the right atmosphere for their crime had been created the
employers struck and struck hard.

It was in April, 1918. Like many other cities in the land Centralia was
conducting a Red Cross drive. Among the features of this event were a
bazaar and a parade.

The profits of the lumber trust were soaring to dizzy heights at this time
and their patriotism was proportionately exalted.

There was the usual brand of hypocritical and fervid speechmaking. The
flag was waved, the Government was lauded and the Constitution praised.
Then, after the war-like proclivities of the stay-at-home heroes had been
sufficiently worked upon; flag, Government and Constitution were forgotten
long enough for the gang to go down the street and raid the "wobbly" hall.

Dominating the festivities was the figure of F.B. Hubbard, at that time
President of the Employers' Association of the State of Washington. This
is neither Hubbard's first nor last appearance as a terrorist and
mob-leader--usually behind the scenes, however, or putting in a last
minute appearance.

[Illustration: Avalon Hotel, Centralia

From this point Elsie Hornbeck claimed she identified Eugene Barnett in
the open window with a rifle. Afterwards she admitted that her
identification was based only on a photograph shown her by the
prosecution. This young lady nearly fainted on the witness stand while
trying to patch her absurd story together.]

The 1918 Raid

It had been rumored about town that the Union Hall was to be wrecked on
this day but the loggers at the hall were of the opinion that the business
men, having driven their Secretary out of town a short time previously,
would not dare to perpetrate another atrocity so soon afterwards. In this
they were sadly mistaken.

Down the street marched the parade, at first presenting no unusual
appearance. The Chief of Police, the Mayor and the Governor of the State
were given places of honor at the head of the procession. Company G of the
National Guard and a gang of broad-cloth hoodlums disguised as "Elks" made
up the main body of the marchers. But the crafty and unscrupulous Hubbard
had laid his plans in advance with characteristic cunning. The parade,
like a scorpion, carried its sting in the rear.

Along the main avenue went the guardsmen and the gentlemen of the Elks
Club. So far nothing extraordinary had happened. Then the procession
swerved to a side street. This must be the right thing for the line of
march had been arranged by the Chamber of Commerce itself. A couple of
blocks more and the parade had reached the intersection of First Street
and Tower Avenue. What happened then the Mayor and Chief of Police
probably could not have stopped even had the Governor himself ordered them
to do so. From somewhere in the line of march a voice cried out, "Let's
raid the I.W.W. Hall!" And the crowd at the tail end of the procession
broke ranks and leaped to their work with a will.

In a short time the intervening block that separated them from the Union
Hall was covered. The building was stormed with clubs and stones. Every
window was shattered and every door was smashed, the very sides of the
building were torn off by the mob in its blind fury. Inside the rioters
tore down the partitions and broke up chairs and pictures. The union men
were surrounded, beaten and driven to the street where they were forced to
watch furniture, records, typewriter and literature demolished and burned
before their eyes. An American flag hanging in the hall, was torn down and
destroyed. A Victrola and a desk were carried to the street with
considerable care. The former was auctioned off on the spot for the
benefit of the Red Cross. James Churchill, owner of a glove factory, won
the machine. He still boasts of its possession. The desk was appropriated
by F.B. Hubbard himself. This was turned over to an expressman and carted
to the Chamber of Commerce. A small boy picked up the typewriter case and
started to take it to a nearby hotel office. One of the terrorists
detected the act and gave warning. The mob seized the lad, took him to a
nearby light pole and threatened to lynch him if he did not tell them
where books and papers were secreted which somebody said had been carried
away by him. The boy denied having done this, but the hoodlums went into
the hotel, ransacked and overturned everything. Not finding what they
wanted, they left a notice that the proprietor would have to take the sign
down from his building in just twenty-four hours. Then the mob surged
around the unfortunate men who had been found in the Union hall. With
cuffs and blows these were dragged to waiting trucks where they were
lifted by the ears to the body of the machine and knocked prostrate one at
a time. Sometimes a man would be dropped to the ground just after he had
been lifted from his feet. Here he would lay with ear drums bursting and
writhing from the kicks and blows that had been freely given. Like all
similar mobs this one carried ropes, which were placed about the necks of
the loggers. "Here's and I.W.W." yelled someone. "What shall we do with
him?" A cry was given to "lynch him!" Some were taken to the city jail and
the rest were dumped unceremoniously on the other side of the county line.

Since that time the wrecked hall has remained tenantless and unrepaired.
Grey and gaunt like a house in battle-scarred Belgium, it stands a mute
testimony of the labor-hating ferocity of the lumber trust. Repeated
efforts have since been made to destroy the remains with fire. The defense
had tried without avail to introduce a photograph of the ruin as evidence
to prove that the second hall was raided in a similar manner on Armistice
Day, 1919. Judge Wilson refused to permit the jury to see either the
photographs or the hall. But in case of another trial...?

Evidently the lumber trust thought it better to have all traces of its
previous crime obliterated.

The raid of 1918 did not weaken the lumber workers' Union in Centralia. On
the contrary it served to strengthen it. But not until more than a year
had passed were the loggers able to establish a new headquarters. This
hall was located next door to the Roderick Hotel on Tower Avenue, between
Second and Third Streets. Hardly was this hall opened when threats were
circulated by the Chamber of Commerce that it, like the previous one, was
marked for destruction. The business element was lined up solid in
denunciation of and opposition to the Union Hall and all that it stood
for. But other anti-labor matters took up their attention and it was some
time before the second raid was actually accomplished.

There was one rift in the lute of lumber trust solidarity in Centralia.
Business and professional men had long been groveling in sycophantic
servility at the feet of "the clique." There was only one notable

A Lawyer--and a Man

A young lawyer had settled in the city a few years previous to the
Armistice Day tragedy. Together with his parents and four brothers he had
left his home in Minnesota to seek fame and fortune in the woods of
Washington. He had worked his way through McAlester College and the Law
School of the University of Minnesota. He was young, ambitious, red-headed
and husky, a loving husband and the proud father of a beautiful baby girl.
Nature had endowed him with a dangerous combination of gifts,--a brilliant
mind and a kind heart. His name was just plain Smith--Elmer Smith--and he
came from the old rugged American stock.

Smith started to practice law in Centralia, but unlike his brother
attorneys, he held to the assumption that all men are equal under the
law--even the hated I.W.W. In a short time his brilliant mind and kind
heart had won him as much hatred from the lumber barons as love from the
down-trodden,--which is saying a good deal. The "interests" studied the
young lawyer carefully for awhile and soon decided that he could be
neither bullied or bought. So they determined to either break his spirit
or to break his neck. Smith is at present in prison charged with murder.
This is how it happened:

Smith established his office in the First Guarantee Bank Building which
was quite the proper thing to do. Then he began to handle law suits for
wage-earners, which was altogether the reverse. Caste rules in Centralia,
and Elmer Smith was violating its most sacred mandataries by giving the
"working trash" the benefit of his talents instead of people really worth

Warren O. Grimm, who was afterwards shot while trying to break into the
Union Hall with the mob, once cautioned Smith of the folly and danger of
such a course. "You'll get along all right," said he, "if you will come in
with us." Then he continued:

"How would you feel if one of your clients would come up to you in public,
slap you on the back and say 'Hello, Elmer?'"

"Very proud," answered the young lawyer.

[Illustration: Elmer Smith

Attorney at law. Old American stock--born on a homestead in North Dakota.
By championing the cause of the "under-dog" in Centralia Smith brought
down on himself the wrath of the lumber trust. He defended many union men
in the courts, and at one time sought to prosecute the kidnappers of Tom
Lassiter. Smith is the man Warren O. Grimm told would get along all right,
"if you come in with us." He bucked the lumber trust instead and landed in
prison on a trumped-up murder charge. Smith was found "not guilty" by the
jury, but immediately re-arrested on practically the same charge. He is
not related to Britt Smith.]

[Illustration: Wesley Everest

Logger. American (old Washington pioneer stock). Joined the Industrial
Workers of the World in 1917. A returned soldier. Earnest, sincere, quiet,
he was the "Jimmy Higgins" of the Centralia branch of the Lumberworkers
Union. Everest was mistaken for Britt Smith, the Union secretary, whom the
mob had started out to lynch. He was pursued by a gang of terrorists and
unmercifully manhandled. Later--at night--he was taken from the city jail
and hanged to a bridge. In the automobile, on the way to the lynching, he
was unsexed by a human fiend--a well known Centralia business man--who
used a razor on his helpless victim. Even the lynchers were forced to
admit that Everest was the most "dead game" man they had ever seen.]

Some months previous Smith had taken a case for an I.W.W. logger. He won
it. Other cases in which workers needed legal advice came to him. He took
them. A young girl was working at the Centralia "Chronicle." She was
receiving a weekly wage of three dollars which is in defiance of the
minimum wage law of the state for women. Smith won the case. Also he
collected hundreds of dollars in back wages for workers whom the companies
had sought to defraud. Workers in the clutches of loan sharks were
extricated by means of the bankruptcy laws, hitherto only used by their
masters. An automobile firm was making a practice of replacing Ford
engines with old ones when a machine was brought in for repairs. One of
the victims brought his case to Smith. and a lawsuit followed. This was an
unheard-of proceeding, for heretofore such little business tricks had been
kept out of court by common understanding.

A worker, formerly employed by a subsidiary of the Eastern Lumber &
Railway Company, had been deprived of his wages on a technicality of the
law by the corporation attorneys. This man had a large family and hard
circumstances were forced upon them by this misfortune. One of his little
girls died from what the doctor called malnutrition--plain starvation.
Smith filed suit and openly stated that the lawyers of the corporation
were responsible for the death of the child. The indignation of the
business and professional element blazed to white heat. A suit for libel
and disbarment proceedings were started against him. Nothing could be done
in this direction as Smith had not only justice but the law on his side.
His enemies were waiting with great impatience for a more favorable
opportunity to strike him down. Open threats were beginning to be heard
against him.

A Union lecturer came to town. The meeting was well attended. A vigilance
committee of provocateurs and business men was in the audience. At the
close of the lecture those gentlemen started to pass the signal for
action. Elmer Smith sauntered down the aisle, shook hands with the speaker
and told him he would walk to the train with him.

The following morning the door to Smith's office was ornamented with a
cardboard sign. It read: "Are you an American? You had better say so.
Citizens' Committee." This was lettered in lead pencil. Across the bottom
were scrawled these words: "No more I.W.W. meetings for you."

In 1918 an event occurred which served further to tighten the noose about
the stubborn neck of the young lawyer. On this occasion the terrorists of
the city perpetrated another shameful crime against the working class--and
the law.

Blind Tom--A Blemish on America

Tom Lassiter made his living by selling newspapers at a little stand on a
street corner. Tom is blind, a good soul and well liked by the loggers.
But Tom has vision enough to see that there is something wrong with the
hideous capitalist system we live under; and so he kept papers on sale
that would help enlighten the workers. Among these were the "Seattle Union
Record," "The Industrial Worker" and "Solidarity." To put it plainly, Tom
was a thorn in the side of the local respectability because of his modest
efforts to make people thing. And his doom had also been sealed.

Early in June the newsstand was broken into and all his clothing,
literature and little personal belongings were taken to a vacant lot and
burned. A warning sign was left on a short pole stuck in the ashes. The
message, "You leave town in 24 hours, U.S. Soldiers, Sailors and Marines,"
was left on the table in his room.

With true Wobbly determination, Lassiter secured a new stock of papers and
immediately re-opened his little stand. About this time a Centralia
business man, J.H. Roberts by name, was heard to say "This man (Lassiter)
is within his legal rights and if we can't do anything by law we'll take
the law into our own hands." This is precisely what happened.

On the afternoon of June 30th, Blind Tom was crossing Tower Avenue with
hesitating steps when, without warning, two business men seized his
groping arms and yelled in his ear, "We'll get you out of town this time!"
Lassiter called for help. The good Samaritan came along in the form of a
brute-faced creature known as W.R. Patton, a rich property owner of the
city. This Christian gentleman sneaked up behind the blind man and lunged
him forcibly into a waiting Oakland automobile. The machine is owned by
Cornelius McIntyre who is said to have been one of the kidnapping party.

"Shut up or I'll smash your mouth so you can't yell," said one of his
assailants as Lassiter was forced, still screaming for help, into the car.
Turning to the driver one of the party said, "Step on her and let's get
out of here." About this time Constable Luther Patton appeared on the
scene. W.R. Patton walked over to where the constable stood and shouted to
the bystanders, "We'll arrest the first person that objects, interferes or
gets too loud."

"A good smash on the jaw would do more good," suggested the kind-hearted

"Well, we got that one pretty slick and now there are two more we have to
get," stated W.R. Patton, a short time afterwards.

Blind Tom was dropped helpless in a ditch just over the county line. He
was picked up by a passing car and eventually made his way to Olympia,
capital of the state. In about a week he was back in Centralia. But before
he could again resume his paper selling he was arrested on a charge of
"criminal syndicalism." He is now awaiting conviction at Chehalis.

Before his arrest, however, Lassiter engaged Elmer Smith as his attorney.
Smith appealed to County Attorney Herman Allen for protection for his
client. After a half-hearted effort to locate the kidnappers--who were
known to everybody--this official gave up the task saying he was "Too busy
to bother with the affair, and, besides, the offense was only 'third
degree assault' which is punishable with a fine of but one dollar and
costs." The young lawyer did not waste any more time with the County
authorities. Instead he secured sworn statements of the facts in the case
and submitted them to the Governor. These were duly acknowledged and
placed on file in Olympia. But up to date no action has been taken by the
executive to prosecute the criminals who committed the crime.

"Handle these I.W.W. cases if you want to," said a local attorney to Elmer
Smith, counsel for one of the banks, "but sooner or later they're all
going to be hanged or deported anyway."

[Illustration: Where Barnett's Rifle Was Supposed to Have Been Found

Eugene Barnett was said to have left his rifle under this sign-board as he
fled from the scene of the shooting. It would have been much easier to
hide a gun in the tall brush in the foreground. In reality Barnett did not
have a rifle on November 11th and was never within a mile of this place.
Prosecutor Cunningham said he had "been looking all over for that rifle"
when it was turned over to him by a stool pigeon. Strangely enough
Cunningham knew the number of the gun before he placed hands on it.]

Smith was feathering a nest for himself--feathering it with steel and
stone and a possible coil of hempen rope. The shadow of the prison bars
was falling blacker on his red head with every passing moment. His
fearless championing of the cause of the "under dog" had won him the
implacable hatred of his own class. To them his acts of kindness and
humanity were nothing less than treason. Smith had been ungrateful to the
clique that had offered him every inducement to "come in with us". A
lawyer with a heart is as dangerous as a working man with his brains.
Elmer Smith would be punished all right; it would just be a matter of

The indifference of the County and State authorities regarding the
kidnapping of blind Tom gave the terrorists renewed confidence in the
efficacy and "legality" of their methods. Also it gave them a hint as to
the form their future depredations were to take. And so, with the implied
approval of everyone worth considering, they went about their plotting
with still greater determination and a soothing sense of security.

The Conspiracy Develops

The cessation of hostilities in Europe deprived the gangsters of the cloak
of "patriotism" as a cover for their crimes. But this cloak was too
convenient to be discarded so easily. "Let the man in uniform do it" was
an axiom that had been proved both profitable and safe. Then came the
organization of the local post of the American Legion and the now famous
Citizen's Protective League--of which more afterwards.

With the signing of the Armistice, and the consequent almost imperceptible
lifting of the White Terror that dominated the country, the organization
of the loggers began daily to gather strength. The Chamber of Commerce
began to growl menacingly, the Employers' Association to threaten and the
lumber trust papers to incite open violence. And the American Legion began
to function as a "cats paw" for the men behind the scenes.

Why should the beautiful city of Centralia tolerate the hated Union hall
any longer? Other halls had been raided, men had been tarred and feathered
and deported--no one had ever been punished! Why should the good citizens
of Centralia endure a lumberworkers headquarters and their despised union
itself right in the midst of their peaceful community? Why indeed! The
matter appeared simple enough from any angle. So then and there the
conspiracy was hatched that resulted in the tragedy on Armistice Day. But
the forces at work to bring about this unhappy conclusion were far from
local. Let us see what these were like before the actual details of the
conspiracy are recounted.

There were three distinct phases of this campaign to "rid the woods of the
agitators." These three phases dovetail together perfectly. Each one is a
perfect part of a shrewdly calculated and mercilessly executed conspiracy
to commit constructive murder and unlawful entry. The diabolical plan
itself was designed to brush aside the laws of the land, trample the
Constitution underfoot and bring about an unparalleled orgy of unbridled
labor hatred and labor repression that would settle the question of
unionism for a long time.

The Conspiracy--And a Snag

First of all comes the propaganda stage with the full force of the
editorial virulence of the trust-controlled newspapers directed against
labor in favor of "law and order," i.e., the lumber interests. All the
machinery of newspaper publicity was used to vilify the lumber worker and
to discredit his Union. Nothing was left unsaid that would tend to produce
intolerance and hatred or to incite mob violence. This is not only true of
Centralia, but of all the cities and towns located in the lumber district.
Centralia happened to be the place where the tree of anti-labor propaganda
first bore its ghastly fruit. Space does not permit us to quote the
countless horrible things the I.W.W. was supposed to stand for and to be
constantly planning to do. Statements from the lips of General Wood and
young Roosevelt to the effect that citizens should not argue with
Bolshevists but meet them "head on" were very conspicuously displayed on
all occasions. Any addle-headed mediocrity, in or out of uniform, who had
anything particularly atrocious to say against the labor movement in
general or the "radicals" in particular, was afforded every opportunity to
do so. The papers were vying with one another in devising effectual, if
somewhat informal, means of dealing with the "red menace."

Supported by, and partly the result of this barrage of lies,
misrepresentation and incitation, came the period of attempted repression
by "law". This was probably the easiest thing of all because the grip of
Big Business upon the law-making and law-enforcing machinery of the nation
is incredible. At all events a state's "criminal syndicalism law" had been
conveniently passed and was being applied vigorously against union men,
A.F. of L. and I.W.W. alike, but chiefly against the Lumber Workers'
Industrial Union, No. 500, of the Industrial Workers of the World, the
basic lumber industry being the largest in the Northwest and the growing
power of the organized lumberjack being therefore more to be feared.

[Illustration: His Uncle Planned It

Dale Hubbard, killed in self-defense by Wesley Everest, Armistice Day,
1919. F. Hubbard, a lumber baron and uncle of the dead man, is held to
have been the instigator of the plot in which his nephew was shot. Hubbard
was martyrized by the lumber trust's determination "to let the men in
uniform do it."]

No doubt the lumber interests had great hope that the execution of these
made-to-order laws would clear up the atmosphere so far as the lumber
situation was concerned. But they were doomed to a cruel and surprising

A number of arrests were made in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and
even Nevada. Fifty or sixty men all told were arrested and their trials
rushed as test cases. During this period from April 25th to October 28th,
1919, the lumber trust saw with chagrin and dismay each of the state cases
in turn either won outright by the defendants or else dismissed in the
realization that it would be impossible to win them. By October 28th
George F. Vanderveer, chief attorney for the defense, declared there were
not a single member of the I.W.W. in custody in Washington, Idaho or
Montana under this charge. In Seattle, Washington, an injunction was
obtained restraining the mayor from closing down the new Union hall in
that city under the new law. Thus it appeared that the nefarious plan of
the employers and their subservient lawmaking adjuncts, to outlaw the
lumber workers Union and to penalize the activities of its members, was to
be doomed to an ignominious failure.

Renewed Efforts--Legal and Otherwise

Furious at the realization of their own impotency the "interests" launched
forth upon a new campaign. This truly machiavellian scheme was devised to
make it impossible for accused men to secure legal defense of any kind.
All labor cases were to be tried simultaneously, thus making it impossible
for the defendants to secure adequate counsel. George F. Russell,
Secretary-Manager of the Washington Employers' Association, addressed
meetings over the state urging all Washington Prosecuting Attorneys to
organize that this end might be achieved. It is reported that Governor
Hart, of Washington, looked upon the scheme with favor when it was brought
to his personal attention by Mr. Russell.

However, the fact remains that the lumber trust was losing and that it
would have to devise even more drastic measures if it were to hope to
escape the prospect of a very humiliating defeat. And, all the while the
organization of the lumber workers continued to grow.

In Washington the situation was becoming more tense, momentarily. Many
towns in the heart of the lumber district had passed absurd criminal
syndicalism ordinances. These prohibited membership in the I.W.W.; made it
unlawful to rent premises to the organization or to circulate its
literature. The Employers' Association had boasted that it was due to its
efforts that these ordinances had been passed. But still they were faced
with the provocative and unforgettable fact, that the I.W.W. was no more
dead than the cat with the proverbial nine lives. Where halls had been
closed or raided the lumber workers were transacting their union affairs
right on the job or in the bunkhouses, just as though nothing had
happened. What was more deplorable a few Union halls were still open and
doing business at the same old stand. Centralia was one of these; drastic
measures must be applied at once or loggers in other localities might be
encouraged to open halls also. As events prove these measures were
taken--and they were drastic.

The Employers Show Their Fangs

That the Employers' Association was assiduously preparing its members for
action suitable for the situation is evidenced by the following quotations
from the official bulletin addressed privately "to Members of the
Employers' Association of Washington". Note them carefully; they are
published as "suggestions to members" over the written signature of George
F. Russell Secretary-Manager:

June 25th, 1918.--"Provide a penalty for idleness ... Common labor now
works a few days and then loafs to spend the money earned ... Active
prosecution of the I.W.W. and other radicals."

April 30th, 1919.--"Keep business out of the control of radicals and
I.W.W.... Overcome agitation ... Closer co-operation between employers and
employees ... Suppress the agitators ... Hang the Bolshevists."

May 31st, 1919.--"If the agitators were taken care of we would have very
little trouble ... Propaganda to counteract radicals and overcome
agitation ... Put the I.W.W. in jail."

June 30th, 1919.--"Make some of the Seattle papers print the truth ... Get
rid of the I.W.W.'s."

July 2nd, 1919.--"Educate along the line of the three R's and the golden
rule, economy and self denial ... Import Japanese labor ... Import Chinese

July 31st, 1919.--"Deport about ten Russians in this community."

August 31st, 1919.--"Personal contact between employer and employee,
stringent treatment of the I.W.W."

October 15th, 1919. "There are many I.W.W.s--mostly in the
logging camps...."

October 31st, 1919.--(A little over a week before the Centralia raid.)
"Run your business or quit ... Business men and tax payers of Vancouver,
Washington, have organized the Loyal Citizen's Protective League; opposed
to Bolsheviki and the Soviet form of government and in favor of the open
shop ... Jail the radicals and deport them ... Since the armistice these
radicals have started in again. ONLY TWO COMMUNITIES IN WASHINGTON ALLOW

[Illustration: Arthur McElfresh

A Centralia druggist. His wife warned him not to march to the union
headquarters because "she knew he'd get hurt." McElfresh is the man said
to have been shot inside the hall when the mob burst through the door.]

December 31st, 1919. "Get rid of all the I.W.W. and all other un-American
organizations ... Deport the radicals or use the rope as at Centralia.
Until we get rid of the I.W.W. and radicals we don't expect to do much in
this country ... Keep cleaning up on the I.W.W.... Don't let it die down
... Keep up public sentiment..."

These few choice significant morsels of one hundred percent (on the
dollar) Americanism are quoted almost at random from the private bulletins
of the officials of the Iron Heel in the state of Washington. Here you can
read their sentiments in their own words; you can see how dupes and
hirelings were coached to perpetrate the crime of Centralia, and as many
other similar crimes as they could get away with. Needless to say these
illuminating lines were not intended for the perusal of the working class.
But now that we have obtained them and placed them before your eyes you
can draw your own conclusion. There are many, many more records germane to
this case that we would like to place before you, but the Oligarchy has
closed its steel jaws upon them and they are at present inaccessible. Men
are still afraid to tell the truth in Centralia. Some day the workers may
learn the whole truth about the inside workings of the Centralia
conspiracy. Be that as it may the business interests of the Northwest
lumber country stand bloody handed and doubly damned, black with guilt and
foul with crime; convicted before the bar of public opinion, by their own
statements and their own acts.

Failure and Desperation

Let us see for a moment how the conspiracy of the lumber barons operated
to achieve the unlawful ends for which it was designed. Let us see how
they were driven by their own failure at intrigue to adopt methods so
brutal that they would have disgraced the head-hunter; how they tried to
gain with murder-lust what they had failed to gain lawfully and with
public approval.

The campaign of lies and slander inaugurated by their private newspapers
failed to convince the workers of the undesirability of labor
organization. In spite of the armies of editors and news-whelps assembled
to its aid, it served only to lash to a murderous frenzy the low instincts
of the anti-labor elements in the community. The campaign of legal
repression, admittedly instituted by the Employers' Association, failed
also in spite of the fact that all the machinery of the state from
dog-catcher down to Governor was at its beck and call on all occasions and
for all purposes.

Having made a mess of things with these methods the lumber barons threw
all scruples to the winds--if they ever had any--threw aside all
pretension of living within the law. They started out, mad-dog like, to
rent, wreck and destroy the last vestige of labor organization from the
woods of the Northwest, and furthermore, to hunt down union men and
martyrize them with the club, the gun, the rope and the courthouse.

It was to cover up their own crimes that the heartless beasts of Big
Business beat the tom-toms of the press in order to lash the "patriotism"
of their dupes and hirelings into hysteria. It was to hide their own
infamy that the loathsome war dance was started that developed perceptibly
from uncomprehending belligerency into the lawless tumult of mobs, raids
and lynching! And it will be an everlasting blot upon the fair name of
America that they were permitted to do so.

The Centralia tragedy was the culmination of a long series of unpunished
atrocities against labor. What is expected of men who have been treated as
these men were treated and who were denied redress or protection under the
law? Every worker in the Northwest knows about the wrongs lumberworkers
have endured--they are matters of common knowledge. It was common
knowledge in Centralia and adjoining towns that the I.W.W. hall was to be
raided on Armistice Day. Yet eight loggers have been sentenced from
twenty-five to forty years in prison for the crime of defending themselves
from the mob that set out to murder them! But let us see how the
conspiracy was operating in Centralia to make the Armistice Day tragedy

The Maelstrom--And Four Men

Centralia was fast becoming the vortex of the conspiracy that was rushing
to its inevitable conclusion. Event followed event in rapid succession,
straws indicating the main current of the flood tide of labor-hatred. The
Commercial Club was seething with intrigue like the court of old France
under Catherine de Medici; only this time it was Industrial Unionism
instead of Huguenots who were being Marked for a new night of St.
Bartholomew. The heresy to be uprooted was belief in industrial instead of
religious freedom; but the stake and the gibbet were awaiting the New Idea
just as they had the old.

The actions of the lumber interests were now but thinly veiled and their
evil purpose all too manifest. The connection between the Employers'
Association of the state and its local representatives in Centralia had
become unmistakably evident. And behind these loomed the gigantic
silhouette of the Employers' Association of the nation--the colossal
"invisible government"--more powerful at times than the Government itself.
More and more stood out the naked brutal fact that the purpose of all this
plotting was to drive the union loggers from the city and to destroy their
hall. The names of the men actively interested in this movement came to
light in spite of strenuous efforts to keep them obscured. Four of these
stand out prominently in the light of the tragedy that followed: George F.
Russell, F.B. Hubbard, William Scales and last, but not least, Warren O.

[Illustration: Warren O. Grimm

Warren O. Grimm, killed at the beginning of the rush on the I.W.W. hall.
At another raid on an I.W.W. hall in 1918 Grimm was said by witnesses to
have been leading the mob, "holding two American flags and dancing like a
whirling dervish." His life-long friend, Frank Van Gilder, testified: "I
stood less than two feet from Grimm when he was shot. He doubled up, put
his hands to his stomach and said to me: 'My God, I'm shot.'" "What did you
do then?" "I turned and left him."]

The first named, George F. Russell, is a hired Manager for the Washington
Employers' Association, whose membership employs between 75,000 and 80,000
workers in the state. Russell is known to be a reactionary of the most
pronounced type. He is an avowed union smasher and a staunch upholder of
the open shop principle, which is widely advertised as the "American plan"
in Washington. Incidentally he is an advocate of the scheme to import
Chinese and Japanese cooley labor as a solution of the "high wage and
arrogant unionism" problem.

F. B. Hubbard, is a small-bore Russell, differing from his chief only in
that his labor hatred is more fanatical and less discreet. Hubbard was
hard hit by the strike in 1917 which fact has evidently won him the
significant title of "a vicious little anti-labor reptile." He is the man
who helped to raid the 1918 Union Hall in Centralia and who appropriated
for himself the stolen desk of the Union Secretary. His nephew Dale
Hubbard was shot while trying to lynch Wesley Everest.

William Scales is a Centralia business man and a virulent sycophant. He is
a parochial replica of the two persons mentioned above. Scales was in the
Quartermaster's Department down on the border during the trouble with
Mexico. Because he was making too much money out of Uncle Sam's groceries,
he was relieved of his duties quite suddenly and discharged from the
service. He was fortunate in making France instead of Fort Leavenworth,
however, and upon his return, became an ardent proselyte of Russell and
Hubbard and their worthy cause. Also he continued in the grocery business.

[Illustration: Hizzoner, The Jedge

In his black robe, like a bird of prey, he perched above the courtroom and
ruled always adversely to the cause of labor. Appointed to try men accused
of killing other men whom he had previously eulogized Judge John M. Wilson
did not disappoint those who appointed him. In open court Vanderveer told
him. In open court Vanderveer told this man: "There was a time when I
thought your rulings were due to ignorance of the law. That will no longer
explain them."]

Warren O. Grimm came from a good family and was a small town aristocrat.
His brother is city attorney at Centralia. Grimm was a lawyer, a college
athlete and a social lion. He had been with the American forces in Siberia
and his chief bid for distinction was a noisy dislike for the Worker's
& Peasants' Republic of Russia, and the I.W.W. which he termed the
"American Bolsheviki". During the 1918 raid on the Centralia hall Grimm is
said to have been dancing around "like a whirling dervish" and waving the
American flag while the work of destruction was going on. Afterwards he
became prominent in the American Legion and was the chief "cat's paw" for
the lumber interests who were capitalizing the uniform to gain their own
unholy ends. Personally he was a clean-cut modern young man.

Shadows Cast Before

On June 26th, the following notice appeared conspicuously on the first
page of the Centralia Hub:

Meeting of Business Men Called for Friday Evening

"Business men and property owners of Centralia are urged to attend a
meeting tomorrow in the Chamber of Commerce rooms to meet the officers of
the Employers' Association of the state to discuss ways and means of
bettering the conditions which now confront the business and property
interests of the state. George F. Russell, Secretary-Manager, says in his
note to business men: 'We need your advice and your co-operation in
support of the movement for the defense of property and property rights.
It is the most important question before the public today.'"

At this meeting Mr. Russell dwelt on the statement that the "radicals"
were better organized than the property interests. Also he pointed out the
need of a special organization to protect "rights of property" from the
encroachments of all "foes of the government". The Non-Partisan League,
the Triple Alliance and the A.F. of L. were duly condemned. The speaker
then launched out into a long tirade against the Industrial Workers of the
World which was characterized as the most dangerous organization in
America and the one most necessary for "good citizens" to crush. Needless
to state the address was chock full of 100% Americanism. It amply made up
in forcefulness anything it lacked in logic.

So the "Citizens' Protective League" of Centralia was born. From the first
it was a law unto itself--murder lust wearing the smirk of
respectability--Judge Lynch dressed in a business suit. The advent of this
infamous league marks the final ascendancy of terrorism over the
Constitution in the city of Centralia. The only things still needed were a
secret committee, a coil of rope and an opportunity.

F.B. Hubbard was the man selected to pull off the "rough stuff" and at the
same time keep the odium of crime from smirching the fair names of the
conspirators. He was told to "perfect his own organization". Hubbard was
eminently fitted for his position by reason of his intense labor-hatred
and his aptitude for intrigue.

The following day the Centralia Daily Chronicle carried the following
significant news item:


Representatives From Many Communities Attend Meeting in
Chamber of Commerce, Presided Over Secretary of Employers' Association.

"The labor situation was thoroughly discussed this afternoon at a meeting
held in the local Chamber of Commerce which was attended by representative
business men from various parts of Lewis County.

"George F. Russell, Secretary of the Employers' Association, of
Washington, presided at the meeting.

"A temporary organization was effected with F. B. Hubbard, President of
the Eastern Railway & Lumber Company, as chairman. He was empowered to
perfect his own organization. A similar meeting will be held in Chehalis
in connection with the noon luncheon of the Citizens' Club on that day."

[Illustration: "Special Prosecutor"

C.D. Cunningham, attorney for F.B. Hubbard and various lumber interests,
took charge of the prosecution immediately. He was the father of much of
the "third degree" methods used on witnesses. Vanderveer offered to prove
at the trial that Cunningham was at the jail when Wesley Everest was
dragged out, brutally mutilated and then lynched.]

The city of Centralia became alive with gossip and speculation about this
new move on the part of the employers. Everybody knew that the whole thing
centered around the detested hall of the Union loggers. Curiosity seekers
began to come In from all parts of the county to have a peep at this hall
before it was wrecked. Business men were known to drive their friends from
the new to the old hall in order to show what the former would look like
in a short time. People in Centralia generally knew for a certainty that
the present hall would go the way of its predecessor. It was just a
question now as to the time and circumstances of the event.

Warren O. Grimm had done his bit to work up sentiment against the union
loggers and their hall. Only a month previously--on Labor Day, 1919,--he
had delivered a "labor" speech that was received with great enthusiasm by
a local clique of business men. Posing as an authority on Bolshevism on
account of his Siberian service Grimm had elaborated on the dangers of
this pernicious doctrine. With a great deal of dramatic emphasis he had
urged his audience to beware of the sinister influence of "the American
Bolsheviki--the Industrial Workers of the World."

A few days before the hall was raided Elmer Smith called at Grimm's office
on legal business. Grimm asked him, by the way, what he thought of his
Labor Day speech. Smith replied that he thought it was "rotten" and that
he couldn't agree with Grimm's anti-labor conception of Americanism. Smith
pointed to the deportation of Tom Lassiter as an example of the
"Americanism" he considered disgraceful. He said also that he thought free
speech was one of the fundamental rights of all citizens.

"I can't agree with you," replied Grimm. "That's the proper way to treat
such a fellow."

The New Black Hundred

On October 19th the Centralia Hub published an item headed "Employers
Called to Discuss Handling of 'Wobbly' Problem." This article urges all
employers to attend, states that the meeting will be held in the Elk's
Club and mentioned the wrecking of the Union Hall in 1918. On the
following day, October 20th, three weeks before the shooting, this meeting
was held at the hall of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks--the
now famous Elks' Club of Centralia. The avowed purpose of this meeting was
to "deal with the I.W.W. problem." The chairman was William Scales, at
that time Commander of the Centralia Post of the American Legion. The
I.W.W. Hall was the chief topic of discussion. F.B. Hubbard opened up by
saying that the I.W.W. was a menace and should be driven out of town.
Chief of Police Hughes, however, cautioned them against such a course. He
is reported to have said that "the I.W.W. is doing nothing wrong in
Centralia--is not violating any law--and you have no right to drive them
out of town in this manner." The Chief of Police then proceeded to tell
the audience that he had taken up the matter of legally evicting the
industrialists with City Attorney C.E. Grimm, a brother of Warren O.
Grimm, who is said to have told them, "Gentlemen, there is no law by which
you can drive the I.W.W. out of town." City Commissioner Saunders and
County Attorney Allen had spoken to the same effect. The latter, Allen,
had gone over the literature of the organization with regard to violence
and destruction and had voluntarily dismissed a "criminal syndicalist"
case without trial for want of evidence.

[Illustration: Lewis County's Legal Prostitute

Herman Allen, prosecuting attorney of Lewis County. He stood at the corner
during the raid and received papers stolen from the hall. There is no
record of his having protested against any illegal action. He turned over
his office to the special Prosecutors and acted as their tool throughout.
During the entire trial he never appeared as an active participant.]

Hubbard was furious at this turn of affairs and shouted to Chief of Police
Hughes: "It's a damned outrage that these men should be permitted to
remain in town! Law or no law, if I were Chief of Police they wouldn't
stay here twenty-four hours."

"I'm not in favor of raiding the hall myself," said Scales. "But I'm
certain that if anybody else wants to raid the I.W.W. Hall there is no
jury in the land will ever convict them."

After considerable discussion the meeting started to elect a committee to
deal with the situation. First of all an effort was made to get a
workingman elected as a member to help camouflage its very evident
character and make people believe that "honest labor" was also desirous of
ridding the town of the hated I.W.W. Hall. A switchman named Henry, a
member of the Railway Brotherhood, was nominated. When he indignantly
declined, Hubbard, red in the face with rage, called him a "damned skunk."

The Inner Circle

Scales then proceeded to tell the audience in general and the city
officials in particular that he would himself appoint a committee "whose
inner workings were secret," and see if he could not get around the matter
that way. The officers of the League were then elected. The President was
County Coroner David Livingstone, who afterwards helped to lynch Wesley
Everest. Dr. Livingstone made his money from union miners. William Scales
was vice president and Hubbard was treasurer. The secret committee was
then appointed by Hubbard. As its name implies it was an underground
affair, similar to the Black Hundreds of Old Russia. No record of any of
its proceedings has ever come to light, but according to best available
knowledge, Warren O. Grimm, Arthur McElfresh, B.S. Cromier and one or two
others who figured prominently in the raid, were members. At all events on
November 6th, five days before the shooting, Grimm was elected Commander
of the Centralia Post of the American Legion, taking the place of Scales,
who resigned in his favor. Scales evidently was of the opinion that a
Siberian veteran and athlete was better fitted to lead the "shock troops"
than a mere counter-jumper like himself. There is no doubt but the secret
committee had its members well placed in positions of strategic importance
for the coming event.

The following day the Tacoma News Tribune carried a significant editorial
on the subject of the new organization:

"At Centralia a committee of citizens has been formed that takes the mind
back to the old days of vigilance committees of the West, which did so
much to force law-abiding citizenship upon certain lawless elements. It is
called the Centralia Protective Association, and its object is to combat
I.W.W. activities in that city and the surrounding country. It invites to
membership all citizens who favor the enforcement of law and order ... It
is high time for the people who do believe in the lawful and orderly
conduct of affairs to take the upper hand ... Every city and town might,
with profit, follow Centralia's example."

The reference to "law and orderly conduct of affairs" has taken a somewhat
ironical twist, now that Centralia has shown the world what she considers
such processes to be.

No less significant was an editorial appearing on the same Date in the
Centralia Hub:

"If the city is left open to this menace, we will soon find ourselves at
the mercy of an organized band of outlaws bent on destruction. What are we
going to do about it?" And, referring to the organization of the "secret
committee," the editorial stated: "It was decided that the inner workings
of the organization were to be kept secret, to more effectively combat a
body using similar tactics." The editorial reeks with lies; but it was
necessary that the mob spirit should be kept at white heat at all times.
Newspaper incitation has never been punished by law, yet it is directly
responsible for more murders, lynching and raids than any other one force
in America.

[Illustration: The Stool Pigeon

Tom Morgan, who turned state's evidence. There is an historical precedent
for Morgan. Judas acted similarly, but Judas later had the manhood to go
out and hang himself. Morgan left for "parts unknown."]

The Plot Leaks Out

By degrees the story of the infamous secret committee and its diabolical
plan leaked out, adding positive confirmation to the many already credited
rumors in circulation. Some of the newspapers quite openly hinted that the
I.W.W. Hall was to be the object of the brewing storm. Chief of Police
Hughes told a member of the Lewis County Trades Council, William T.
Merriman by name, that the business men were organizing to raid the hall
and drive its members out of town. Merriman, in turn carried the statement
to many of his friends and brother unionists. Soon the prospective raid
was the subject of open discussion,--over the breakfast toast, on the
street corners, in the camps and mills--every place.

So common was the knowledge in fact that many of the craft organizations
in Centralia began to discuss openly what they should do about it. They
realized that the matter was one which concerned labor and many members
wanted to protest and were urging their unions to try to do something. At
the Lewis County Trades Council the subject was brought up for discussion
by its president, L. F. Dickson. No way of helping the loggers was found,
however, if they would so stubbornly try to keep open their headquarters
in the face of such opposition. Harry Smith, a brother of Elmer Smith, the
attorney, was a delegate at this meeting and reported to his brother the
discussion that took place.

Secretary Britt Smith and the loggers at the Union hall were not by any
means ignorant of the conspiracy being hatched against them. Day by day
they had followed the development of the plot with breathless interest and
not a little anxiety. They knew from bitter experience how union men were
handled when they were trapped in their halls. But they would not
entertain the idea of abandoning their principles and seeking personal
safety. Every logging camp for miles around knew of the danger also. The
loggers there had gone through the hell of the organization period and had
felt the wrath of the lumber barons. Some of them felt that the statement
of Secretary of Labor Wilson as to the attitude of the Industrial Workers
of the World towards "overthrowing the government," and "violence and
destruction" would discourage the terrorists from attempting such a
flagrant and brutal injustice as the one contemplated.

[Illustration: "Oily" Abel

Suave and slimy as a snake; without any of the kindlier traits of nature,
W.H. Abel, sounded the gamut of rottenness in his efforts to convict the
accused men without the semblance of a fair trial. Abel is notorious
throughout Washington as the hireling of the lumber interests. In 1917 he
prosecuted "without fee" all laboring men on strike and is attorney for
the Cosmopolis "penitentiary" so called on account of the brutality with
which it treats employes. Located in one of the small towns of the state
Abel has made a fortune prosecuting labor cases for the special

Regarding the deportation of I.W.W.'s for belonging to an organization
which advocates such things, Secretary of Labor Wilson had stated a short
time previously: "An exhaustive study into the by-laws and practices of
the I.W.W. has thus far failed to disclose anything that brings it within
the class of organizations referred to."

Other of the loggers were buoyed up with the many victories won in the
courts on "criminal syndicalism" charges and felt that the raid would be
too "raw" a thing for the lumber interests even to consider. All were
secure in the knowledge and assurance that they were violating no law in
keeping open their hall. And they wanted that hall kept open.

Of course the question of what was to be done was discussed at their
business meetings. When news reached them on November 4th of the
contemplated "parade" they decided to publish a leaflet telling the
Citizens of Centralia about the justice and legality of their position,
the aims of their organization and the real reason for the intense hatred
which the lumber trust harbored against them. Such leaflet was drawn up by
Secretary Britt Smith and approved by the membership. It was an honest,
outspoken appeal for public sympathy and support. This leaflet--word for
word as it was printed and circulated in Centralia--is reprinted below:

To the Citizens of Centralia We Must Appeal

[Illustration: The Chief Fink

Frank P. Christensen, who was the "fixer" for the prosecution. As
Assistant Attorney General he used his office to intimidate witnesses and
in the effort to cover up actions of the mob. He is reported to have been
responsible for the recovery and burial of Everest's body, saying: "We've
got to bring in that body and bury it. If the wobs ever find out what was
done and get it they'll raise hell and make capital of it."]

"To the law abiding citizens of Centralia and to the working class in
general: We beg of you to read and carefully consider the following:

"The profiteering class of Centralia have of late been waving the flag of
our country in an endeavor to incite the lawless element of our city to
raid our hall and club us out of town. For this purpose they have inspired
editorials in the Hub, falsely and viciously attacking the I.W.W., hoping
to gain public approval for such revolting criminality. These profiteers
are holding numerous secret meetings to that end, and covertly inviting
returned service men to do their bidding. In this work they are ably
assisted by the bankrupt lumber barons of southwest Washington who led the
mob that looted and burned the I.W.W. hall a year ago.

"These criminal thugs call us a band of outlaws bent on destruction. This
they do in an attempt to hide their own dastardly work in burning our hall
and destroying our property. They say we are a menace; and we are a menace
to all mobocrats and pilfering thieves. Never did the I.W.W. burn public
or private halls, kidnap their fellow citizens, destroy their property,
club their fellows out of town, bootleg or act in any ways as
law-breakers. These patriotic profiteers throughout the country have
falsely and with out any foundation whatever charged the I.W.W. with every
crime on the statute books. For these alleged crimes thousands of us have
been jailed in foul and filthy cells throughout this country, often
without charge, for months and in some cases, years, and when released
re-arrested and again thrust in jail to await a trial that is never
called. The only convictions of the I.W.W. were those under the espionage
law, where we were forced to trial before jurors, all of whom were at
political and industrial enmity toward us, and in courts hostile to the
working class. This same class of handpicked courts and juries also
convicted many labor leaders, socialists, non-partisans, pacifists, guilty
of no crime save that of loyalty to the working class.

"By such courts Jesus the Carpenter was slaughtered upon the charge that
'he stirreth up the people.' Only last month 25 I.W.W. were indicted in
Seattle as strike leaders, belonging to an unlawful organization,
attempting to overthrow the government and other vile things under the
syndicalist law passed by the last legislature. To exterminate the
'wobbly' both the court and jury have the lie to every charge. The court
held them a lawful organization and their literature was not disloyal nor
inciting to violence, though the government had combed the country from
Chicago to Seattle for witnesses, and used every pamphlet taken from their
hall in government raids.

"In Spokane 13 members were indicted in the Superior Court for wearing the
I.W.W. button and displaying their emblem. The jury unanimously acquitted
them and the court held it no crime.

"In test cases last month both in the Seattle and Everett Superior Courts,
the presiding judge declared the police had no authority in law to close
their halls and the padlocks were ordered off and the halls opened.

"Many I.W.W. in and around Centralia went to France and fought and bled
for the democracy they never secured. They came home to be threatened with
mob violence by the law and order outfit that pilfered every nickel
possible from their mothers and fathers while they were fighting in the
trenches in the thickest of the fray.

"Our only crime is solidarity, loyalty to the working class and justice to
the oppressed."

"Let the Men in Uniform Do It"

On November 6th, the Centralia Post of the American Legion met with a
committee from the Chamber of Commerce to arrange for a parade-another
"patriotic" parade. The first anniversary of the signing of the armistice
was now but a few days distant and Centralia felt it incumbent upon
herself to celebrate. Of course the matter was brought up rather
circumspectly, but knowing smiles greeted the suggestion. One business man
made a motion that the brave boys wear their uniforms. This was agreed

The line of march was also discussed. As the union hall was a little off
the customary parade route, Scales suggested that their course lead past
the hall "in order to show them how strong we are." It was intimated that
a command "eyes right" would be given as the legionaries and business men
passed the union headquarters. This was merely a poor excuse of the secret
committeemen to get the parade where they needed it. But many innocent men
were lured into a "lynching bee" without knowing that they were being led
to death by a hidden gang of broad-cloth conspirators who were plotting at
murder. Lieutenant Cormier, who afterwards blew the whistle that was the
signal for the raid, endorsed the proposal of Scales as did Grimm and
McElfresh--all three of them secret committeemen.

Practically no other subject but the "parade" was discussed at this
meeting. The success of the project was now assured for it had placed into
the hands of the men who alone could arrange to "have the men in uniform
do it." The men in uniform had done it once before and people knew what to

The day following this meeting the Centralia Hub published an announcement
of the coming event stating that the legionaires had "voted to wear
uniforms." The line of march was published for the first time. Any doubts
about the real purpose of the parade vanished when people read that the
precession was to march from the City Park to Third street and Tower
avenue and return. The union hall was on Tower between Second and Third
streets, practically at the end of the line of march and plainly the
objective of the demonstrators.

[Illustration: Bridge from which Everest Was Hanged

From this bridge, over the Chehalis river, Wesley Everest was left
dangling by a mob of business men. Automobile parties visited this spot at
different times during the night and played their headlights on the corpse
in order better to enjoy the spectacle.]

"Decent Labor"--Hands Off!

A short time after the shooting a virulent leaflet was issued by the
Mayor's office stating that the "plot to kill had been laid two or three
weeks before the tragedy," and that "the attack (of the loggers) was
without justification or excuse." Both statements are bare faced lies. The
meeting was held the 6th and the line of march made public of the 7th. The
loggers could not possibly have planned a week and a half previously to
shoot into a parade they knew nothing about and whose line of march had
not yet been disclosed. It was proved in court that the union men armed
themselves at the very last moment, after everything else had failed and
they had been left helpless to face the alternative of being driven out of
town or being lynched.

About this time eyewitnesses declare coils of rope were being purchased in
a local hardware store. This rope is all cut up into little pieces now and
most of it is dirty and stained. But many of Centralia's best families
prize their souvenir highly. They say it brings good luck to a family.

A few days after the meeting just described William Dunning, vice
president of the Lewis County Trades and Labor Assembly, met Warren Grimm
on the street. Having fresh in his mind a recent talk about the raid in
the Labor Council meetings, and being well aware of Grimm's standing and
influence, Dunning broached the subject.

"We've been discussing the threatened raid on the I.W.W. hall," he said.

"Who are you, an I.W.W.?" asked Grimm.

Dunning replied stating that he was vice president of the Labor Assembly
and proceeded to tell Grimm the feeling of his organization on the

"Decent labor ought to keep its hands off," was Grimm's laconic reply.

The Sunday before the raid a public meeting was held in the union hall.
About a hundred and fifty persons were in the audience, mostly working men
and women of Centralia. A number of loggers were present, dressed in the
invariable mackinaw, stagged overalls and caulked shoes. John Foss, an
I.W.W. ship builder from Seattle, was the speaker. Secretary Britt Smith
was chairman. Walking up and down the isle, selling the union's pamphlets
and papers was a muscular and sun-burned young man with a rough, honest
face and a pair of clear hazel eyes in which a smile was always twinkling.
He wore a khaki army coat above stagged overalls of a slightly darker
shade,--Wesley Everest, the ex-soldier who was shortly to be mutilated and
lynched by the mob.

"I Hope to Jesus Nothing Happens"

The atmosphere of the meeting was already tainted with the Terror. Nerves
were on edge. Every time any newcomer would enter the door the audience
would look over their shoulders with apprehensive glances. At the
conclusion of the meeting the loggers gathered around the secretary and
asked him the latest news about the contemplated raid. For reply Britt
Smith handed them copies of the leaflet "We Must Appeal" and told of the
efforts that had been made and were being made to secure legal protection
and to let the public know the real facts in the case.

"If they raid the hall again as they did in 1918 the boys won't stand for
it," said a logger.

"If the law won't protect us we've got a right to protect ourselves,"
ventured another.

"I hope to Jesus nothing happens," replied the secretary.

Wesley Everest laid down his few unsold papers, rolled a brown paper
cigarette and smiled enigmatically over the empty seats in the general
direction of the new One Big Union label on the front window. His closest
friends say he was never afraid of anything in all his life.

None of these men knew that loggers from nearby camps, having heard of the
purchase of the coils of rope, were watching the hall night and day to see
that "nothing happens."

The next day, after talking things over with Britt Smith, Mrs. McAllister,
wife of the proprietor of the Roderick hotel from whom the loggers rented
the hall, went to see Chief of Police Hughes. This is how she told of the

"I got worried and I went to the Chief. I says to him 'Are you going to
protect my property?' Hughes says, 'We'll do the best we can for you, but
as far as the wobblies are concerned they wouldn't last fifteen minutes if
the business men start after them. The business men don't want any
wobblies in this town.'"

The day before the tragedy Elmer Smith dropped in at the Union hall to
warn his clients that nothing could now stop the raid. "Defend it if you
choose to do so," he told them. "The law gives you that right."

It was on the strength of this remark, overheard by the stool-pigeon,
Morgan, and afterwards reported to the prosecution, that Elmer Smith was
hailed to prison charged with murder in the first degree. His enemies had
been certain all along that his incomprehensible delusion about the law
being the same for the poor man as the rich would bring its own
punishment. It did; there can no longer be any doubt on the subject.

[Illustration: Carting Away Wesley Everest's Body for Burial

After the mutilated body had been cut down in laid in the river for two
days. Then it was taken back to the city jail where it remained for two
days more--as an object lesson--in plain view of the comrades of the
murdered boy. Everest was taken from this building to be lynched. During
the first week after the tragedy this jail witnessed scenes of torture and
horror that equaled the worst days of the Spanish inquisition.]

The Scorpion's Sting

November 11th was a raw, gray day; the cold sunlight barely penetrating
the mist that hung over the city and the distant tree-clad hills. The
"parade" assembled at the City Park. Lieutenant Cormier was marshal.
Warren Grimm was commander of the Centralia division. In a very short time
he had the various bodies arranged to his satisfaction. At the head of the
procession was the "two-fisted" Centralia bunch. This was followed by one
from Chehalis, the county seat, and where the parade would logically have
been held had its purpose been an honest one. Then came a few sailors and
marines and a large body of well dressed gentlemen from the Elks. The
school children who were to have marched did not appear. At the very end
were a couple of dozen boy scouts and an automobile carrying pretty girls
dressed in Red Cross uniforms. Evidently this parade, unlike the one of
1918, did not, like a scorpion, carry its sting in the rear. But wait
until you read how cleverly this part of it had been arranged!

The marchers were unduly silent and those who knew nothing of the lawless
plan of the secret committee felt somehow that something must be wrong.
City Postmaster McCleary and a wicked-faced old man named Thompson were
seen carrying coils of rope. Thompson is a veteran of the Civil War and a
minister of God. On the witness stand he afterwards swore he picked up the
rope from the street and was carrying it "as a joke." It turned out that
the "joke" was on Wesley Everest.

"Be ready for the command 'eyes right' or 'eyes left' when we pass the
'reviewing stand'," Grimm told the platoon commanders just as the parade

The procession covered most of the line of march without incident. When
the union hall was reached there was some craning of necks but no outburst
of any kind. A few of the out-of-town paraders looked at the place
curiously and several business men were seen pointing the hall out to
their friends. There were some dark glances and a few long noses but no

"When do we reach the reviewing stand?" asked a parader, named Joe Smith,
of a man marching beside him.

"Hell, there ain't any reviewing stand," was the reply. "We're going to
give the wobbly hall 'eyes right' on the way back."

The head of the columns reached Third avenue and halted. A command of
'about face' was given and the procession again started to march past the
union hall going in the opposite direction. The loggers inside felt
greatly relieved as they saw the crowd once more headed for the city. But
the Centralia and Chehalis contingents, that had headed the parade, was
now in the rear--just where the "scorpion sting" of the 1918 parade had
been located! The danger was not yet over.

"Let's go! At 'em, boys!"

The Chehalis division had marched past the hall and the Centralia division
was just in front of it when a sharp command was given. The latter stopped
squarely in front of the hall but the former continued to march.
Lieutenant Cormier of the secret committee was riding between the two
contingents on a bay horse. Suddenly he placed his fingers to his mouth
and gave a shrill whistle. Immediately there was a hoarse cry of "Let's
go-o-o! At 'em, boys!" About sixty feet separated the two contingents at
this time, the Chehalis men still continuing the march. Cromier spurred
his horse and overtook them. "Aren't you boys in on this?" he shouted.

At the words "Let's go," the paraders from both ends and the middle of the
Centralia contingent broke ranks and started on the run for the union
headquarters. A crowd of soldiers surged against the door. There was a
crashing of glass and a splintering of wood as the door gave way. A few of
the marauders had actually forced their way into the hall. Then there was
a shot, three more shots ... and a small volley. From Seminary hill and
the Avalon hotel rifles began to crack.

[Illustration: Elks Club, Centralia

It was here that the Centralia conspiracy was hatched and the notorious
"secret committee" appointed to do the dirty work.]

The mob stopped suddenly, astounded at the unexpected opposition. Out of
hundreds of halls that had been raided during the past two years this was
the first time the union men had attempted to defend themselves. It had
evidently been planned to stampede the entire contingent into the attack
by having the secret committeemen take the lead from both ends and the
middle. But before this could happen the crowd, frightened at the shots
started to scurry for cover. Two men were seen carrying the limp figure of
a soldier from the door of the hall. When the volley started they dropped
it and ran. The soldier was a handsome young man, named Arthur McElfresh.
He was left lying in front of the hall with his feet on the curb and his
head in the gutter. The whole thing had been a matter of seconds.

"I Had No Business Being There"

Several men had been wounded. A pool of blood was widening in front of the
doorway. A big man in officer's uniform was seen to stagger away bent
almost double and holding his hands over his abdomen. "My God, I'm shot!"
he had cried to the soldier beside him. This was Warren O. Grimm; the
other was his friend, Frank Van Gilder. Grimm walked unassisted to the
rear of a nearby soft drink place from whence he was taken to a hospital.
He died a short time afterwards. Van Gilder swore on the witness stand
that Grimm and himself were standing at the head of the columns of
"unoffending paraders" when his friend was shot. He stated that Grimm had
been his life-long friend but admitted that when his "life-long friend"
received his mortal wound that he (Van Gilder), instead of acting like a
hero in no man's land, had deserted him in precipitate haste. Too many eye
witnesses had seen Grimm stagger wounded from the doorway of the hall to
suit the prosecution. Van Gilder knew at which place Grimm had been shot
but it was necessary that he be placed at a convenient distance from the
hall. It is reported on good authority that Grimm, just before he died in
the hospital, confessed to a person at his bedside: "It served me right, I
had no business being there."

A workingman, John Patterson, had come down town on Armistice Day with his
three small children to watch the parade. He was standing thirty-five feet
from the door of the hall when the raid started. On the witness stand
Patterson told of being pushed out of the way by the rush before the
shooting began. He saw a couple of soldiers shot and saw Grimm stagger
away from the doorway wounded in the abdomen. The testimony of Dr.
Bickford at the corner's inquest under oath was as follows:

"I spoke up and said I would lead if enough would follow, but before I
could take the lead there were many ahead of me. Someone next to me put
his foot against the door and forced it open, after which a shower of
bullets poured through the opening about us." Dr. Bickford is an A.E.F.
man and one of the very few legionaires who dared to tell the truth about
the shooting. The Centralia business element has since tried repeatedly to
ruin him.

In trying to present the plea of self defense to the court, Defense
attorney Vanderveer stated:

"There was a rush, men reached the hall under the command of Grimm, and
yet counsel asks to have shown a specific overt act of Grimm before we can
present the plea of self-defense. Would he have had the men wait with
their lives at stake? The fact is that Grimm was there and in defending
themselves these men shot. Grimm was killed because he was there. They
could not wait. Your honor, self defense isn't much good after a man is

The prosecution sought to make a point of the fact that the loggers had
fired into a street in which there were innocent bystanders as well as
paraders. But the fact remains that the only men hit by bullets were those
who were in the forefront of the mob.

Through the Hall Window

How the raid looked from the inside of the hall can best be described from
the viewpoint of one of the occupants, Bert Faulkner, a union logger and
ex-service man. Faulkner described how he had dropped in at the hall on
Armistice Day and stood watching the parade from the window. In words all
the more startling for their sheer artlessness he told of the events which
followed: First the grimacing faces of the business men, then as the
soldiers returned, a muffled order, the smashing of the window, with the
splinters of glass falling against the curtain, the crashing open of the
door ... and the shots that "made his ears ring," and made him run for
shelter to the rear of the hall, with the shoulder of his overcoat torn
with a bullet. Then how he found himself on the back stairs covered with
rifles and commanded to come down with his hands in the air. Finally how
he was frisked to the city jail in an automobile with a business man
standing over him armed with a piece of gas pipe.

Eugene Barnett gave a graphic description of the raid as he saw it from
the office of the adjoining Roderick hotel. Barnett said he saw the line
go past the hotel. The business men were ahead of the soldiers and as this
detachment passed the hotel returning the soldiers still were going north.
The business men were looking at the hall and pointing it out to the
soldiers. Some of them had their thumbs to their noses and others were
saying various things.

[Illustration: City Park, Centralia

At this place the parade assembled that started out to raid the Union hall
and lynch its secretary.]

"When the soldiers turned and came past I saw a man on horseback ride
past. He was giving orders which were repeated along the line by another.
As the rider passed the hotel he gave a command and the second man said:
'Bunch up, men!'

"When this order came the men all rushed for the hall. I heard glass
break. I heard a door slam. There was another sound and then shooting
came. It started from inside the hall.

"As I saw these soldiers rush the hall I jumped up and threw off my coat.
I thought there would be a fight and I was going to mix in. Then came the
shooting, and I knew I had no business there."

Later Barnett went home and remained there until his arrest the next day.

In the union hall, besides Bert Faulkner, were Wesley Everest, Roy Becker,
Britt Smith, Mike Sheehan, James McInerney and the "stool pigeon," these,
with the exception of Faulkner and Everest, remained in the hall until the
authorities came to place them under arrest. They had after the first
furious rush of their assailants, taken refuge in a big and long disused
ice box in the rear of the hall. Britt Smith was unarmed, his revolver
being found afterwards, fully loaded, in his roll-top desk. After their
arrest the loggers were taken to the city jail which was to be the scene
of an inquisition unparalleled in the history of the United States. After
this, as an additional punishment, they were compelled to face the farce
of a "fair trial" in a capitalistic court.

Wesley Everest

But Destiny had decided to spare one man the bitter irony of judicial
murder. Wesley Everest still had a pocket full of cartridges and a
forty-four automatic that could speak for itself.

This soldier-lumberjack had done most of the shooting in the hall. He held
off the mob until the very last moment, and, instead of seeking refuge in
the refrigerator after the "paraders" had been dispersed, he ran out of
the back door, reloading his pistol as he went. It is believed by many
that Arthur McElfresh was killed inside the hall by a bullet fired by

In the yard at the rear of the hall the mob had already reorganized for an
attack from that direction. Before anyone knew what had happened Everest
had broken through their ranks and scaled the fence. "Don't follow me and
I won't shoot," he called to the crowd and displaying the still smoking
blue steel pistol in his hand.

"There goes the secretary!" yelled someone, as the logger started at top
speed down the alley. The mob surged in pursuit, collapsing the board
fence before them with sheer force of numbers. There was a rope in the
crowd and the union secretary was the man they wanted. The chase that
followed probably saved the life, not only of Britt Smith, but the
remaining loggers in the hall as well.

Running pell-mell down the alley the mob gave a shout of exaltation as
Everest slowed his pace and turned to face them. They stopped cold,
however, as a number of quick shots rang out and bullets whistled and
zipped around them. Everest turned in his tracks and was off again like a
flash, reloading his pistol as he ran. The mob again resumed the pursuit.
The logger ran through an open gateway, paused to turn and again fire at
his pursuers; then he ran between two frame dwellings to the open street.
When the mob again caught the trail they were evidently under the
impression that the logger's ammunition was exhausted. At all events they
took up the chase with redoubled energy. Some men in the mob had rifles
and now and then a pot-shot would be taken at the fleeing figure. The
marksmanship of both sides seems to have been poor for no one appears to
have been injured.

Dale Hubbard

This kind of running fight was kept up until Everest reached the river.
Having kept off his pursuers thus far the boy started boldly for the
comparative security of the opposite shore, splashing the water violently
as he waded out into the stream. The mob was getting closer all the time.
Suddenly Everest seemed to change his mind and began to retrace his steps
to the shore. Here he stood dripping wet in the tangled grasses to await
the arrival of the mob bent on his destruction. Everest had lost his hat
and his wet hair stuck to his forehead. His gun was now so hot he could
hardly hold it and the last of his ammunition was in the magazine. Eye
witnesses declare his face still wore a quizzical, half bantering smile
when the mob overtook him. With the pistol held loosely in his rough hand
Everest stood at bay, ready to make a last stand for his life. Seeing him
thus, and no doubt thinking his last bullet had been expended, the mob
made a rush for its quarry.

"Stand back!" he shouted. "If there are 'bulls' in the crowd, I'll submit
to arrest; otherwise lay off of me."

[Illustration: Blind Tom Lassiter

Tom Lassiter is the blind news dealer who Was kidnapped and deported out
of town in June, 1919, by a gang of business men. His stand was raided and
the contents burned in the street. He had been selling The Seattle Union
Record, The Industrial Worker and Solidarity. County attorney Allen said
he couldn't help to apprehend the criminals and would only charge them
with third degree assault if they were found. The fine would be one dollar
and costs! Lassiter is now in jail in Chehalis charged with "criminal

No attention was paid to his words. Everest shot from the hip four
times,--then his gun stalled. A group of soldiers started to run in his
direction. Everest was tugging at the gun with both hands. Raising it
suddenly he took careful aim and fired. All the soldiers but one wavered
and stopped. Everest fired twice, both bullets taking effect. Two more
shots were fired almost point blank before the logger dropped his
assailant at his feet. Then he tossed away the empty gun and the mob
surged upon him.

The legionaire who had been shot was Dale Hubbard, a nephew of F.B.
Hubbard, the lumber baron. He was a strong, brave and misguided young
man--worthy of a nobler death.

"Let's Finish the Job!"

Everest attempted a fight with his fists but was overpowered and severely
beaten. A number of men clamoured for immediate lynching, but saner
council prevailed for the time and he was dragged through the streets
towards the city jail. When the mob was half a block from this place the
"hot heads" made another attempt to cheat the state executioner. A wave of
fury seemed here to sweep the crowd. Men fought with one another for a
chance to strike, kick or spit in the face of their victim. It was an orgy
of hatred and blood-lust. Everest's arms were pinioned, blows, kicks and
curses rained upon him from every side. One business man clawed strips of
bleeding flesh from his face. A woman slapped his battered cheek with a
well groomed hand. A soldier tried to lunge a hunting rifle at the
helpless logger; the crowd was too thick. He bumped them aside with the
butt of the gun to get room. Then he crashed the muzzle with full force
into Everest's mouth. Teeth were broken and blood flowed profusely.

A rope appeared from somewhere. "Let's finish the job!" cried a voice. The
rope was placed about the neck of the logger. "You haven't got guts enough
to lynch a man in the daytime," was all he said.

At this juncture a woman brushed through the crowd and took the rope from
Everest's neck. Looking into the distorted faces of the mob she cried
indignantly, "You are curs and cowards to treat a man like that!"

There may be human beings in Centralia after all.

Wesley Everest was taken to the city jail and thrown without ceremony upon
the cement floor of the "bull pen." In the surrounding cells were his
comrades who had been arrested in the union hall. Here he lay in a wet
heap, twitching with agony. A tiny bright stream of blood gathered at his
side and trailed slowly along the floor. Only an occasional quivering moan
escaped his torn lips as the hours slowly passed by.

"Here Is Your Man"

Later, at night, when it was quite dark, the lights of the jail were
suddenly snapped off. At the same instant the entire city was plunged in
darkness. A clamour of voices was heard beyond the walls. There was a
hoarse shout as the panel of the outer door was smashed in. "Don't shoot,
men," said the policemen on guard, "Here is your man." It was night now,
and the business men had no further reason for not lynching the supposed
secretary. Everest heard their approaching foot steps in the dark. He
arose drunkenly to meet them. "Tell the boys I died for my class," he
whispered brokenly to the union men in the cells. These were the last
words he uttered in the jail. There were sounds of a short struggle and of
many blows. Then a door slammed and, in a short time the lights were
switched on. The darkened city was again illuminated at the same moment.
Outside three luxurious automobiles were purring them selves out of sight
in the darkness.

The only man who had protested the lynching at the last moment was William
Scales. "Don't kill him, men," he is said to have begged of the mob. But
it was too late. "If you don't go through with this you're an I.W.W. too,"
they told him. Scales could not calm the evil passions he had helped to

But how did it happen that the lights were turned out at such an opportune
time? Could it be that city officials were working hand in glove with the
lynch mob?

Defense Attorney Vanderveer offered to prove to the court that such was
the case. He offered to prove this was a part of the greater conspiracy
against the union loggers and their hall,--offered to prove it point by
point from the very beginning. Incidentally Vanderveer offered to prove
that Earl Craft, electrician in charge of the city lighting plant, had
left the station at seven o'clock on Armistice day after securely locking
the door; and that while Craft was away the lights of the city were turned
off and Wesley Everest taken out and lynched. Furthermore, he offered to
prove that when Craft returned, the lights were again turned on and the
city electrician, his assistant and the Mayor of Centralia were in the
building with the door again locked.

These offers were received by his honor with impassive judicial dignity,
but the faces of the lumber trust attorneys were wreathed with smiles at
the audacity of the suggestion. The corporation lawyers very politely
registered their objections which the judge as politely sustained.

The Night of Horrors

After Everest had been taken away the jail became a nightmare--as full of
horrors as a madman's dream. The mob howled around the walls until late in
the night. Inside, a lumber trust lawyer and his official assistants were
administering the "third degree" to the arrested loggers, to make them
"confess." One at a time the men were taken to the torture chamber, and so
terrible was the ordeal of this American Inquisition that some were almost
broken--body and soul. Loren Roberts had the light in his brain snuffed
out. Today he is a shuffling wreck. He is not interested in things any
more. He is always looking around with horror-wide eyes, talking of
"voices" and "wires" that no one but himself knows anything about. There
is no telling what they did to the boy, but he signed the "confession."
Its most incriminating statement must have contained too much truth for
the prosecution. It was never used in court.

When interviewed by Frank Walklin of the Seattle Union Record the loggers
told the story in their own way:

"I have heard tales of cruelty," said James McInerney, "but I believe what
we boys went through on those nights can never be equaled. I thought it
was my last night on earth and had reconciled myself to an early death of
some kind, perhaps hanging. I was taken out once by the mob, and a rope
was placed around my neck and thrown over a cross-bar or something.

"I waited for them to pull the rope. But they didn't. I heard voices in
the mob say, 'That's not him,' and then I was put back into the jail."

John Hill Lamb, another defendant, related how several times a gun was
poked through his cell window by some one who was aching to get a pot shot
at him. Being ever watchful he hid under his bunk and close to the wall
where the would-be murderer could not see him.

Britt Smith and Roy Becker told with bated breath about Everest as he lay
half-dead in the corridor, in plain sight of the prisoners in the cells on
both sides. The lights went out and Everest, unconscious and dying, was
taken out. The men inside could hear the shouts of the mob diminishing as
Everest was hurried to the Chehalis River bridge.

[Illustration: Bert Bland

Logger. American. (Brother of O.C. Bland.) One of the men who fired from
Seminary Hill. Bland has worked all his life in the woods. He joined the
Industrial Workers of the World during the great strike of 1917. Bert
Bland took to the hills after the shooting and was captured a week later
during the man hunt.]

None of the prisoners was permitted to sleep that night; the fear of death
was kept upon them constantly, the voices outside the cell windows telling
of more lynchings to come. "Every time I heard a footstep or the clanking
of keys," said Britt Smith, "I thought the mob was coming after more of
us. I didn't sleep, couldn't sleep; all I could do was strain my ears for
the mob I felt sure was coming." Ray Becker, listening at Britt's side,
said: "Yes, that was one hell of a night." And the strain of that night
seems to linger in their faces; probably it always will remain--the
expression of a memory that can never be blotted out.

When asked if they felt safer when the soldiers arrived to guard the
Centralia jail, there was a long pause, and finally the answer was "Yes."
"But you must remember," offered one, "that they took 'em out at Tulsa
from a supposedly guarded jail; and we couldn't know from where we were
what was going on outside."

"For ten days we had no blankets," said Mike Sheehan. "It was cold
weather, and we had to sleep uncovered on concrete floors. In those ten
days I had no more than three hours sleep."

"The mob and those who came after the mob wouldn't let us sleep. They
would come outside our windows and hurl curses at us, and tell each of us
it would be our turn next. They brought in Wesley Everest and laid him on
the corridor floor; he was bleeding from his ears and mouth and nose, was
curled in a heap and groaning. And men outside and inside kept up the din.
I tried to sleep; I was nearly mad; my temples kept pounding like
sledge-hammers. I don't know how a man can go through all that and
live--but we did."

All through the night the prisoners could hear the voices of the mob under
their cell windows. "Well, we fixed that guy Everest all right," some one
would say. "Now we'll get Roberts." Then the lights would snap off, there
would be a shuffling, curses, a groan and the clanking of a steel door.
All the while they were being urged to "come clean" with a statement that
would clear the lumber trust of the crime and throw the blame onto its
victims. McInerney's neck was scraped raw by the rope of the mob but he
repeatedly told them to "go to hell!" Morgan, the stool-pigeon, escaped
the torture by immediate acquiescence. Someone has since paid his fare To
parts unknown. His "statement" didn't damage the defense.

[Illustration: Ray Becker

Logger, American born. Twenty-five years of age. Studied four years for
the ministry before going to work in the woods. His father and brother are
both preachers. Becker joined the Industrial Workers of the World in 1917
and has always been a strong believer in the cause of the solidarity of
Labor. He has the zeal of a prophet and the courage of a lion. Defended
himself inside the hall with an Ivor Johnson, 38, until his ammunition was
exhausted. He surrendered to the authorities--not the mob.]

The Human Fiend

But with the young logger who had been taken out into the night things
were different. Wesley Everest was thrown, half unconscious, into the
bottom of an automobile. The hands of the men who had dragged him there
were sticky and red. Their pant legs were sodden from rubbing against the
crumpled figure at their feet. Through the dark streets sped the three
machines. The smooth asphalt became a rough road as the suburbs were
reached. Then came a stretch of open country, with the Chehalis river
bridge only a short distance ahead. The cars lurched over the uneven road
with increasing speed, their headlights playing on each other or on the
darkened highway.

Wesley Everest stirred uneasily. Raising himself slowly on one elbow he
swung weakly with his free arm, striking one of his tormentors full in the
face. The other occupants immediately seized him and bound his hands and
feet with rope. It must have been the glancing blow from the fist of the
logger that gave one of the gentlemen his fiendish inspiration. Reaching
in his pocket he produced a razor. For a moment he fumbled over the now
limp figure in the bottom of the car. His companions looked on with stolid
acquiescence. Suddenly there was a piercing scream of pain. The figure
gave a convulsive shudder of agony. After a moment Wesley Everest said in
a weak voice: "For Christ's sake, men; shoot me--don't let me suffer like

On the way back to Centralia, after the parade rope had done Its deadly
work, the gentlemen of the razor alighted from the car in front of a
certain little building. He asked leave to wash his hands. They were as
red as a butcher's. Great clots of blood were adhering to his sleeves.
"That's about the nastiest job I ever had to do," was his casual remark as
he washed himself in the cool clear water of the Washington hills. The
name of this man is known to nearly everybody in Centralia. He is still at

The headlight of the foremost car was now playing on the slender steel
framework of the Chehalis river bridge. This machine crossed over and
stopped, the second one reached the middle of the bridge and stopped while
the third came to a halt when it had barely touched the plankwork on the
near side. The well-dressed occupants of the first and last cars alighted
and proceeded at once to patrol both approaches to the bridge.

Lynching--An American Institution

Wesley Everest was dragged out of the middle machine. A rope was attached
to a girder with the other end tied in a noose around his neck. His almost
lifeless body was hauled to the side of the bridge. The headlights of two
of the machines threw a white light over the horrible scene. Just as the
lynchers let go of their victim the fingers of the half dead logger clung
convulsively to the planking of the bridge. A business man stamped on them
with a curse until the grip was broken. There was a swishing sound; then a
sudden crunching jerk and the rope tied to the girder began to writhe and
twist like a live thing. This lasted but a short time. The lynchers peered
over the railing into the darkness. Then they slowly pulled up the dead
body, attached a longer rope and repeated the performance. This did not
seem to suit them either, so they again dragged the corpse through the
railings and tied a still longer rope around the horribly broken neck of
the dead logger. The business men were evidently enjoying their work, and
besides, the more rope the more souvenirs for their friends, who would
prize them highly.

This time the knot was tied by a young sailor. He knew how to tie a good
knot and was proud of the fact. He boasted of the stunt afterwards to a
man he thought as beastly as himself. In all probability he never dreamed
he was talking for publication. But he was.

The rope had now been lengthened to about fifteen feet. The broken and
gory body was kicked through the railing for the last time. The knot on
the girder did not move any more. Then the lynchers returned to their
luxurious cars and procured their rifles. A headlight flashed the dangling
figure into ghastly relief. It was riddled with volley after volley. The
man who fired the first shot boasted of the deed afterwards to a brother
lodge member. He didn't know he was talking for publication either.

On the following morning the corpse was cut down by an unknown hand. It
drifted away with the current. A few hours later Frank Christianson, a
tool of the lumber trust from the Attorney General's office, arrived in
Centralia. "We've got to get that body," this worthy official declared,
"or the wobs will find it and raise hell over its condition."

The corpse was located after a search. It was not buried, however, but
carted back to the city jail, there to be used as a terrible object lesson
for the benefit of the incarcerated union men. The unrecognizable form was
placed in a cell between two of the loggers who had loved the lynched boy
as a comrade and a friend. Something must be done to make the union men
admit that they, and not the lumber interests, had conspired to commit
murder. This was the final act of ruthlessness. It was fruitful in
results. One "confession," one Judas and one shattered mind were the
result of their last deed of fiendish terrorism.

[Illustration: The Burial of the Mob's Victim

No undertaker would handle Everest's body. The autopsy was performed by a
man from Portland, who hung the body up by the heels and played a hose on
it. The men lowering the plank casket into the grave are Union loggers who
had been caught in the police drag net and taken from jail for this

No undertaker could be found to bury Everest's body, so after two days it
was dropped into a hole in the ground by four union loggers who had been
arrested on suspicion and were released from jail for this purpose. The
"burial" is supposed to have taken place in the new cemetery; the body
being carried thither in an auto truck. The union loggers who really dug
the grave declare, however, that the interment took place at a desolate
spot "somewhere along a railroad track." Another body was seen, covered
with ashes in a cart, being taken away for burial on the morning of the
twelfth. There are persistent rumors that more than one man was lynched on
the eve of Armistice day. A guard of heavily armed soldiers had charge of
the funeral. The grave has since been obliterated. Rumor has it that the
body has since been removed to Camp Lewis. No one seems to know why or

"As Comical as a Corner"

An informal inquest was held in the city jail. A man from Portland
performed the autopsy, that is, he hung the body up by the heels and
played a water hose on it. Everest was reported by the corner's jury to
have met his death at the hands of parties unknown. It was here that Dr.
Bickford let slip the statement about the hall being raided before the
shooting started. This was the first inkling of truth to reach the public.
Coroner Livingstone, in a jocular mood, reported the inquest to a meeting
of gentlemen at the Elks' Club. In explaining the death of the union
logger, Dr. Livingstone stated that Wesley Everest had broken out of jail,
gone to the Chehalis river bridge and jumped off with a rope around his
neck. Finding the rope too short he climbed back and fastened on a longer
one; jumped off again, broke his neck and then shot himself full of holes.
Livingstone's audience, appreciative of his tact and levity, laughed long
and hearty. Business men still chuckle over the joke in Centralia. "As
funny as a funeral" is no longer the stock saying in this humorous little
town; "as comical as a coroner" is now the approved form.

The Man-Hunt

Acting on the theory that "a strong offensive is the best defense," the
terrorists took immediate steps to conceal all traces of their crime and
to shift the blame onto the shoulders of their victims. The capitalist
press did yeoman service in this cause by deluging the nation with a
veritable avalanche of lies.

For days the district around Centralia and the city itself were at the
mercy of a mob. The homes of all workers suspected of being sympathetic to
Labor were spied upon or surrounded and entered without warrant. Doors
were battered down at times, and women and children abused and insulted.
Heavily armed posses were sent out in all directions in search of "reds."
All roads were patrolled by armed business men in automobiles. A strict
mail and wire censorship was established. It was the open season for
"wobblies" and intimidation was the order of the day. The White Terror was

An Associated Press reporter was compelled to leave town hastily without
bag or baggage because he inadvertently published Dr. Bickford's
indiscreet remark about the starting of the trouble. Men and women did not
dare to think, much less think aloud. Some of them in the district are
still that way.

To Eugene Barnett's little home came a posse armed to the teeth. They
asked for Barnett and were told by his young wife that he had gone up the
hill with his rifle. Placing a bayonet to her breast they demanded
entrance. The brave little woman refused to admit them until they had
shown a warrant. Barnett surrendered when he had made sure he was to be
arrested and not mobbed.

O.C. Bland, Bert Bland, John Lamb and Loren Roberts were also apprehended
in due time. Two loggers, John Doe Davis and Ole Hanson, who were said to
have also fired on the mob, have not yet been arrested. A vigorous search
is still being made for them in all parts of the country. It is believed
by many that one of these men was lynched like Everest on the night of
November 11th.

[Illustration: Court House at Montesano--And a Little "Atmosphere"

The trial was held on the third floor of the building as you look at the
picture. The soldiers were sent for over the head of the judge by one of
the lumber trust attorneys of the prosecution. Their only purpose was to
create the proper "atmosphere" for an unjust conviction.]

Hypocrisy and Terror

The reign of terror was extended to cover the entire West coast. Over a
thousand men and women were arrested in the state of Washington alone.
Union halls were closed and kept that way. Labor papers were suppressed
and many men have been given sentences of from one to fourteen years for
having in their possession copies of periodicals which contained little
else but the truth about the Centralia tragedy. The Seattle Union Record
was temporarily closed down and its stock confiscated for daring to hint
that there were two sides to the story. During all this time the
capitalist press was given full rein to spread its infamous poison. The
general public, denied the true version of the affair, was shuddering over
its morning coffee at the thought of I.W.W. desperadoes shooting down
unoffending paraders from ambush. But the lumber interests were chortling
with glee and winking a suggestive eye at their high priced lawyers who
were making ready for the prosecution. Jurymen were shortly to be drawn
and things were "sitting pretty," as they say in poker.

Adding a characteristic touch to the rotten hypocrisy of the situation
came a letter from Supreme Court Judge McIntosh to George Dysart, whose
son was in command of a posse during the manhunt. This remarkable document
is as follows:

  Kenneth Mackintosh, Judge
  The Supreme Court, State of Washington

  George Dysart, Esq.,
  Centralia, Wash.
  My Dear Dysart:

  November 13, 1919.

  I want to express to you my appreciation of the high character of
  citizenship displayed by the people of Centralia in their agonizing
  calamity. We are all shocked by the manifestation of barbarity on the
  part of the outlaws, and are depressed by the loss of lives of brave
  men, but at the same time are proud of the calm control and loyalty to
  American ideals demonstrated by the returned soldiers and citizens. I am
  proud to be an inhabitant of a state which contains a city with the
  record which has been made for Centralia by its law-abiding citizens.

  (Signed) Kenneth MacKintosh.

"Patriotic" Union Smashing

Not to be outdone by this brazen example of judicial perversion, Attorney
General Thompson, after a secret conference of prosecuting attorneys,
issued a circular of advice to county prosecutors. In this document the
suggestion was made that officers and members of the Industrial Workers of
the World in Washington be arrested by the wholesale under the "criminal
syndicalism" law and brought to trial simultaneously so that they might
not be able to secure legal defense. The astounding recommendation was
also made that, owing to the fact that juries had been "reluctant to
convict," prosecutors and the Bar Association should co-operate in
examining jury panels so that "none but courageous and patriotic
Americans" secure places on the juries.

This effectual if somewhat arbitrary plan was put into operation at once.
Since the tragedy at Centralia dozens of union workers have been convicted
by "courageous and patriotic" juries and sentenced to serve from one to
fourteen years in the state penitentiary. Hundreds more are awaiting
trial. The verdict at Montesano is now known to everyone. Truly the lives
of the four Legion boys which were sacrificed by the lumber interests in
furtherance of their own murderous designs, were well expended. The
investment was a profitable one and the results are no doubt highly

But just the same the despicable plot of the Attorney General is an
obvious effort to defeat the purpose of the courts and obtain unjust
convictions by means of what is termed "jury fixing." There may be honor
among thieves but there is plainly none among the public servants they
have working for them!

[Illustration: Mike Sheenan

Born in Ireland. 64 years old. Has been a union man for over fifty years,
having joined his grandfather's union when he was only eight. Has been
through many strikes and has been repeatedly black-hated, beaten and even
exiled. He was a stoker in the Navy during the Spanish War. Mike Sheehan
was arrested in the Union hall, went through the horrible experience in
the city jail and was found "not guilty" by the jury. Like Elmer Smith, he
was re-arrested on another similar charge and thrown back in jail.]

The only sane note sounded during these dark days, outside of the
startling statement of Dr. Bickford, came from Montana. Edward Bassett,
commander of the Butte Post of the American Legion and an over-seas
veteran, issued a statement to the labor press that was truly remarkable:

"The I.W.W. in Centralia, Wash., who fired upon the men that were
attempting to raid the I.W.W. headquarters, were fully justified in their

"Mob rule in this country must be stopped, and when mobs attack the home
of a millionaire, of a laborer, or of the I.W.W., it is not only the right
but the duty of the occupants to resist with every means in their power.
If the officers of the law can not stop these raids, perhaps the
resistance of the raided may have that effect.

"Whether the I.W.W. is a meritorious organization or not, whether it is
unpopular or otherwise, should have absolutely nothing to do with the
case. The reports of the evidence at the coroner's jury show that the
attack was made before the firing started. If that is true, I commend the
boys inside for the action that they took.

"The fact that there were some American Legion men among the paraders who
everlastingly disgraced themselves by taking part in the raid, does not
affect my judgment in the least. Any one who becomes a party to a mob bent
upon unlawful violence, cannot expect the truly patriotic men of the
American Legion to condone his act."

Vanderveer's Opening Speech

Defense Attorney George Vanderveer hurried across the continent from
Chicago to take up the legal battle for the eleven men who had been
arrested and charged with the murder of Warren O. Grimm. The lumber
interests had already selected six of their most trustworthy tools as
prosecutors. It is not the purpose of the present writer to give a
detailed story of this "trial"--possibly one of the greatest travesties on
justice ever staged. This incident was a very important part of the
Centralia conspiracy but a hasty sketch, such as might be portrayed in
these pages, would be an inadequate presentation at best. It might be
well, therefore, to permit Mr. Vanderveer to tell of the case as he told
it to the jury in his opening and closing arguments. Details of the trial
itself can be found in other booklets by more capable authors.
Vanderveer's opening address appears in part below:

May it please the court and gentlemen of the jury:--As you have already
sensed from our examination of you and from a question which I propounded
to counsel at the close of his statement yesterday, the big question in
this case is, who was the aggressor, who started the battle? Was it on the
one side a deliberately planned murderous attack upon innocent marchers,
or was it on the other side a deliberately planned wicked attack upon the
I.W.W., which they merely resisted? That, I say, is the issue. I asked
counsel what his position would be in order that you might know it, and
that he said was his position, that he would stand and fall and be judged
by it, and I say to you now that is our position, and we will stand or
fall and be judged by that issue.

In order that you may properly understand this situation, and the things
that led up to it, the motives underlying it, the manner in which it was
planned and executed, I want to go just a little way back of the
occurrence on November 11th, and state to you in rough outline the
situation that existed in Centralia, the objects that were involved in
this case, the things each are trying to accomplish and the way each went
about it. There has been some effort on the part of the state to make it
appear it is not an I.W.W. trial. I felt throughout that the I.W.W. issue
must come into this case, and now that they have made their opening
statement, I say unreservedly it is here in this case, not because we want
to drag it in here, but because it can't be left out. To conceal from you
gentlemen that it is an I.W.W. issue would be merely to conceal the truth
from you and we, on our part, don't want to do that now or at any time

The I.W.W. is at the bottom of this. Not as an aggressor, however. It is a
labor organization, organized in Chicago in 1905, and it is because of the
philosophy for which it stands and because of certain tactics which it
evolves that this thing arose.

[Illustration: James McInerney

Logger. Born in County Claire, Ireland. Joined the Industrial Workers of
the World in 1916. Was wounded on the steamer "Verona" when the lumber
trust tried to exterminate the union lumberworkers with bullets at
Everett, Washington. McInerney was one of those trapped in the hall. He
surrendered to officers of the law. While in the city jail his neck was
worn raw with a hangman's rope in an effort to make him "confess" that the
loggers and not the mob had started the trouble. McInerney told them to
"go to hell." He is Irish and an I.W.W. and proud of being both.]

A Labor Movement on Trial

The I.W.W. is the representative in this country of the labor movement of
the rest of the world It is the representative in the United States of the
idea that capitalism is wrong: that no man has a right, moral or
otherwise, to exploit his fellow men, the idea that our industrial efforts
should be conducted not for the profits of any individual but should be
conducted for social service, for social welfare. So the I.W.W. says
first, that the wage system is wrong and that it means to abolish that
wage system. It says that it intends to do this, not by political action,
not by balloting, but by organization on the industrial or economical
field, precisely as employers, precisely as capital is organized on the
basis of the industry, not on the basis of the tool. The I.W.W. says
industrial evolution has progressed to that point there the tool no longer
enforces craftsmanship. In the place of a half dozen or dozen who were
employed, each a skilled artisan, employed to do the work, you have a
machine process to do that work and it resulted in the organization of the
industry on an industrial basis. You have the oil industry, controlled by
the Standard Oil; you have the lumber industry, controlled by the
Lumbermen's Association of the South and West, and you have the steel and
copper industry, all organized on an industrial basis resulting in a
fusing, or corporation, or trust of a lot of former owners. Now the I.W.W.
say if they are to compete with our employers, we must compete with our
employers as an organization, and as they are organized so we must protect
our organization, as they protect themselves. And so they propose to
organize into industrial unions; the steel workers and the coal miners,
and the transportation workers each into its own industrial unit.

This plan of organization is extremely distasteful to the employers
because it is efficient; because it means a new order, a new system in the
labor world in this country. The meaning of this can be gathered, in some
measure, from the recent experiences in the steel strike of this country,
where they acted as an industrial unit; from the recent experiences in the
coal mining industry, where they acted as an industrial unit. Instead of
having two or three dozen other crafts, each working separately, they
acted as an industrial unit. When the strike occurred it paralyzed
industry and forced concessions to the demands of the workers. That is the
first thing the I.W.W. stands for and in some measure and in part explains
the attitude capital has taken all over the country towards it.

In the next place it says that labor should organize on the basis of some
fundamental principle; and labor should organize for something more than a
mere bartering and dickering for fifty cents a day or for some shorter
time, something of that sort. It says that the system is fundamentally
wrong and must be fundamentally changed before you can look for some
improvement. Its philosophy is based upon government statistics which show
that in a few years in this country our important industries have crept
into more than two-thirds of our entire wealth. Seventy-five per cent of
the workers in the basic industry are unable to send their children to
school. Seventy-one per cent of the heads of the families in our basic
industries are unable to provide a decent living for their families
without the assistance of the other members. Twenty-nine per cent of our
laborers are able to live up to the myth that he is the head of the
family. The results of these evils are manifold. Our people are not being
raised in decent vicinities. They are not being raised and educated. Their
health is not being cared for; their morals are not being cared for. I
will show you that in certain of our industries where the wages are low
and the hours are long, that the children of the working people die at the
rate of 300 to 350 per thousand inhabitants under the age of one year
because of their undernourishment, lack of proper housing and lack of
proper medical attention and because the mothers of these children before
they are born and when the children are being carried in the mother's womb
that they are compelled to go into the industries and work and work and
work, and before the child can receive proper nourishment the mother is
compelled to go back into the industry and work again. The I.W.W.'s say
there must be a fundamental change and that fundamental change must be in
the line of reorganization of industry, for public service, so that the
purpose shall be that we will work to live and not merely live to work.
Work for service rather than work for profit.

[Illustration: James McInerney

(After he had undergone the "Third degree".)

McInerney had a rope around his neck nearly all night before this picture
was taken. One end of the rope had been pulled taut over a beam by his
tormentors. McInerney had told them to "go to hell." "It's no use trying
to get anything out of a man like that," was the final decision of the

To Kill an Ideal...

Some time in September, counsel told you, the I.W.W., holding these
beliefs, opened a hall in Centralia. Back of that hall was a living room,
where Britt Smith lived, kept his clothes and belongings and made his
home. From then on the I.W.W. conducted a regular propaganda meeting every
Saturday night. These propaganda meetings were given over to a discussion
of these industrial problems and beliefs. From that district there were
dispatched into nearby lumber camps and wherever there were working people
to whom to carry this message--there were dispatched organizers who went
out, made the talks in the camps briefly and sought to organize them into
this union, at least to teach them the philosophy of this labor movement.

Because that propaganda is fatal to those who live by other people's work,
who live by the profits they wring from labor, it excited intense
opposition on the part of employers and business people of Centralia and
about the time this hall was opened we will show you that people from
Seattle, where they maintain their headquarters for these labor fights,
came into Centralia and held meetings. I don't know what they call this
new thing they were seeking to organize--it is in fact a branch of the
Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association of the United States, a national
organization whose sole purpose is to fight and crush and beat labor. It
was in no sense a local movement because it started in Seattle and it was
organized by people from Seattle, and the purpose was to organize in
Centralia an organization of business men to combat this new labor
philosophy. Whether in the mouths of the I.W.W., or Nonpartisan League, or
the Socialists, it did not make any difference; to brand anybody as a
traitor, un-American, who sought to tell the truth about our industrial

The Two Raids

In the fall of 1918, the I.W.W. had a hall two blocks and a half from this
hall, at the corner of First and B streets. There was a Red Cross parade,
and that hall was wrecked, just as was this hall. These profiteering
gentlemen never overlook an opportunity to capitalize on a patriotic
event, and so they capitalized the Red Cross parade that day just as they
capitalized the Armistice Day parade on November 11, and in exactly the
same way as on November 11.

And that day, when the tail-end of the parade of the Red Cross passed the
main avenue, it broke off and went a block out of its way and attacked the
I.W.W. hall, a good two-story building. And they broke it into splinters.
The furniture, records, the literature that belongs to these boys,
everything was taken out into the street and burned.

[Illustration: O. C. Bland

Logger. American. Resident of Centralia for a number of years. Has worked
in woods and mills practically all his life. Has a wife and seven
children. Bland was in the Arnold hotel at the time of the raid. He was
armed but had cut his hand on broken glass before he had a chance to
shoot. Since his arrest and conviction his family has undergone severe
hardships. The defense is making an effort to raise enough funds to keep
the helpless wives and children of the convicted men in the comforts of

Now, what was contemplated on Armistice Day? The I.W.W. did as you would
do; it judged from experience.

Patience No Longer a Virtue

When the paraders smashed the door in, the I.W.W.'s, as every lover of
free speech and every respecter of his person--they had appealed to the
citizens, they had appealed to the officers, and some of their members had
been tarred and feathered, beaten up and hung--they said in thought:
"Patience has ceased to be a virtue." And if the law will not protect us,
and the people won't protect us, we will protect ourselves. And they did.

And in deciding this case, I want each of you, members of the jury, to ask
yourself what would you have done?

There had been discussions of this character in the I.W.W. hall, and so
have there been discussions everywhere. There had never been a plot laid
to murder anybody, nor to shoot anybody in any parade. I want you to ask
yourself: "Why would anybody want to shoot anybody in a parade," and to
particularly ask yourself why anyone would want to shoot upon soldiers?

He who was a soldier himself, Wesley Everest, the man who did most of the
shooting, and the man whom they beat until he was unconscious and whom
they grabbed from the street and put a rope around his neck, the man whom
they nearly shot to pieces, and the man whom they hung, once dropping him
ten feet, and when what didn't kill him lengthened the rope to 15 feet and
dropped him again--why would one soldier want to kill another soldier, or
soldiers, who had never done him nor his fellows any harm?

I exonerate the American Legion as an organization of the responsibility
of this. For I say they didn't know about it. The day will come when they
will realize that they have been mere catspaws in the hands of the
Centralia commercial interests. That is the story. I don't know what the
verdict will be today, but the verdict ten years hence will be the verdict
in the Lovejoy case; that these men were within their rights and that they
fought for a cause, that these men fought for liberty. They fought for
these things for which we stand and for which all true lovers of liberty
stand, and those who smashed them up are the real enemies of our country.

This is a big case, counsel says, the biggest case that has ever been
tried in this country, but the biggest thing about these big things is
from beginning to end it has been a struggle on the one side for ideals
and on the other side to suppress those ideals. This thing was started
with Hubbard at its head. It is being started today with Hubbard at its
head in this courtroom, and I don't believe you will fall for it.

Vanderveer's Closing Argument

There are only two real issues in this case. One is the question: Who was
the aggressor in the Armistice Day affray? The other is: Was Eugene
Barnett in the Avalon hotel window when that affray occurred?

We have proven by unimpeachable witnesses that there was a raid on the
I.W.W. hall in Centralia on November 11--a raid, in which the business
interests of the city used members of the American Legion as catspaws. We
have shown that Warren O. Grimm, for the killing of whom these defendants
are on trial, actually took park in that raid, and was in the very doorway
of the hall when the attack was made, despite the attempts of the
prosecution to place Grimm 100 feet away when he was shot.

We have proven a complete alibi for Eugene Barnett through unshaken and
undisputable witnesses. He was not in the Avalon hotel during the riot; he
was in the Roderick hotel lobby; he had no gun and he took no part in the

In my opening statement, I said I would stand or fall on the issue of: Who
was the aggressor on Armistice Day? I have stood by that promise, and
stand by it now.

Mr. Abel, specially hired prosecutor in this trial, made the same promise.
So did Herman Allen, the official Lewis county prosecutor, who has been so
ingloriously shoved aside by Mr. Abel and his colleague, Mr. Cunningham,
ever since the beginning here. But a few days ago, when the defense was
piling up evidence showing that there was a raid on the I.W.W. hall by the
paraders, Mr. Abel backed down.

Why Were the Shots Fired?

I was careful in the beginning to put him on record on that point; all
along I knew that he and Mr. Allen would back down on the issue of who was
the aggressor; they could not uphold their contention that the Armistice
Day paraders were fired upon in cold blood while engaged in lawful and
peaceful action.

What possible motive could these boys have had for firing upon innocent
marching soldiers? It is true that the marchers were fired upon; that
shots were fired by some of these defendants; but why were the shots

[Illustration: John Lamb

Logger. American. Joined the Industrial Workers of the World in 1917. Lamb
was in the Arnold Hotel with O.C. Bland during the raid on the hall.
Neither of them did any shooting. John Lamb has lived for years in
Centralia. He is married and has five children who are left dependent
since the conviction.]

There is only one reason why--they were defending their own legal property
against unlawful invasion and attack; they were defending the dwelling
place of Britt Smith, their secretary.

And they had full right to defend their lives and that property and that
home against violence or destruction; they had a right to use force, if
necessary, to effect that defense. The law gives them that right; and it
accrues to them also from all of the wells of elementary justice.

The law says that when a man or group of men have reason to fear attack
from superior numbers, they may provide whatever protection they may deem
necessary to repel such an attack. And it says also that if a man who is
in bad company when such an attack is made happens to be killed by the
defenders, those defenders are not to be considered guilty of that man's

So they had the troops come, to blow bugles and drill in the streets where
the jury could see; their power, however wielded, was great enough to
cause Governor Hart to send the soldiers here without consulting the trial
judge or the sheriff, whose function it was to preserve law and order
here--and you know, I am sure, that law and order were adequately
preserved here before the troops came.

"Fearful of the Truth"

They tried the moth-eaten device of arresting our witnesses for alleged
perjury, hoping to discredit those witnesses thus in your eyes because
they knew they couldn't discredit them in any regular nor legitimate way.

Fearful of the truth, the guilty ones at Centralia deliberately framed up
evidence to save themselves from blame--to throw the responsibility for
the Armistice Day horror onto other men. But they bungled the frame-up
badly. No bolder nor cruder fabrication has ever been attempted than the
ridiculous effort to fasten the killing of Warren Grimm upon Eugene

[Illustration: Court Room in which the Farcical "Trial" Took Place

This garish room in the court house at Montesano was the scene of the
attempted "judicial murder" that followed the lynching. The judge always
entered his chambers through the door under the word "Transgression": the
jury always left through the door over which "Instruction" appears. In
this room the lumber trust attorneys attempted to build a gallows of
perjured testimony on which to break the necks of innocent men.]

These conspirators were clumsy enough in their planning to drive the
I.W.W. out of town; their intent was to stampede the marching soldiers
into raiding the I.W.W. hall. But how much more clumsy was the frame-up
afterward--the elaborate fixing of many witnesses to make it appear that
Grimm was shot at Tower avenue and Second street when he actually was shot
in front of the hall; and to make it appear that Ben Casagranda and Earl
Watts were shot around the corner on Second street, when they were
actually shot on Tower avenue, close to the front of the hall.

These conspirators were clumsy enough in their planning to drive the
I.W.W. out of town; their intent was to stampede the marching soldiers
into raiding the I.W.W. hall. But how much more clumsy was the frame-up
afterward--the elaborate fixing of many witnesses to make it appear that
Grimm was shot at Tower avenue and Second street when he actually was shot
in front of the hall; and to make it appear that Ben Casagranda and Earl
Watts were shot around the corner on Second street, when they were
actually shot on Tower avenue, close to the front of the hall.

Then, you will remember, I compelled Elsie Hornbeck to admit that she had
been shown photographs of Barnett by the prosecution. She would not have
told this fact, had I not trapped her into admitting it; that was obvious
to everybody in this courtroom that day.

You have heard the gentlemen of the prosecution assert that this is a
murder trial, and not a labor trial. But they have been careful to ask all
our witnesses whether they were I.W.W. members, whether they belonged to
any labor union, and whether they were sympathetic towards workers on
trial for their lives. And when the answer to any of these questions was
yes, they tried to brand the witness as one not worthy of belief. Their
policy and thus browbeating working people who were called as witnesses is
in keeping with the tactics of the mob during the days when it held
Centralia in its grasp.

You know, even if the detailed story has been barred from the record, of
the part F.R. Hubbard, lumber baron, played in this horror at Centralia.
You have heard from various witnesses that the lumber mill owned by
Hubbard's corporation, the Eastern Railway and Lumber Company, is a
notorious non-union concern. And you have heard it said that W.A. Abel,
the special prosecutor here, has been an ardent and active labor-baiter
for years.

Hubbard wanted to drive the I.W.W. out of Centralia. Why did he want to
drive them out? He said they were a menace. And it is true that they were
a menace, and are a menace--to those who exploit the workers who produce
the wealth for the few to enjoy.

Why Were Ropes Carried?

Was there a raid on the hall before the shooting? Dr. Frank Bickford, a
reputable physician, appeared here and repeated under oath what he had
sworn to at the coroner's inquest--that when the parade stopped, he
offered to lead a raid on the hall if enough would follow,--but that
others pushed ahead of him, forced open the door, and then the shots came
from inside.

And why did the Rev. H.W. Thompson have a rope? Thompson believes in
hanging men by the neck until they are dead. When the state Employers'
Association and others wanted the hanging law in Washington revived not
long ago, the Reverend Thompson lectured in many cities and towns in
behalf of that law. And he has since lectured widely against the I.W.W.
Did he carry a rope in the parade because he owned a cow and a calf? Or

Why did the prosecution need so many attorneys here, if it had the facts
straight? Why were scores of American Legion members imported here to sit
at the trial at a wage of $4 per day and expenses?

They have told you this was a murder trial, and not a labor trial. But
vastly more than the lives of ten men are the stakes in the big gamble
here; for the right of workers to organize for the bettering of their own
condition is on trial; the right of free assemblage is on trial; democracy
and Americanism are on trial.

In our opening statement, we promised to prove various facts; and we have
proven them, in the main; if there are any contentions about which the
evidence remains vague, this circumstance exists only because His Honor
has seen fit to rule out certain testimony which is vital to the case, and
we believed, and still believe, was entirely material and properly

But is there any doubt in your minds that there was a conspiracy to raid
the I.W.W. hall, and to run the Industrial Workers of the World out of
town? Even if the court will not allow you to read the handbill issued by
the I.W.W., asking protection from the citizens of Centralia have you any
doubt that the I.W.W. had reason to fear an attack from Warren Grimm and
his fellow marchers? And have you any doubt that there was a raid on the

When I came into this case I knew that we were up against tremendous odds.
Terror was loose in Centralia; prejudice and hatred against the I.W.W. was
being systematically and sweepingly spread in Grays Harbor county and
throughout the whole Northwest; and intimidation or influence of some sort
was being employed against every possible witness and talesman.

[Illustration: George Vanderveer

This man single handed opposed six high priced lumber trust prosecutors in
the famous trial at Montesano. Vanderveer is a man of wide experience and
deep social vision. He was at one time prosecuting attorney for King
County, Washington. The lumber trust has made countless threats to "get
him." "A lawyer with a heart is as dangerous as a workingman with

Not only were unlimited money and other resources of the Lewis County
commercial interests banded against us, but practically all the attorneys
up and down the Pacific coast had pledged themselves not to defend any
I.W.W., no matter how great nor how small the charge he faced. Our
investigators were arrested without warrant; solicitors for our defense
fund met with the same fate.

And when the trial date approached, the judge before whom this case is
being heard admitted that a fair trial could not be had here, because of
the surging prejudice existent in this community. Then, five days later,
the court announced that the law would not permit a second change of
venue, and that the trial must go ahead in Montesano.

In the face of these things, and in the face of all the atmosphere of
violence and bloodthirstiness which the prosecution has sought to throw
around these defendants, I am placing our case in your hands; I am
intrusting to you gentlemen to decide upon the fate of ten human
beings--whether they shall live or die or be shut away from their fellows
for months or years.

But I am asking you much more than that--I am asking you to decide the
fate of organized labor in the Northwest; whether its fundamental rights
are to survive or be trampled underfoot.

The Lumber Trust Wins the Jury

On Saturday evening, March 13th, the jury brought in its final verdict of
guilty. In the face of the very evident ability of the lumber interests,
to satisfy its vengeance at will, any other verdict would have been
suicidal--for the jury.

The prosecution was out for blood and nothing less than blood. Day by day
they had built the structure of gallows right there in the courtroom. They
built a scaffolding on which to hang ten loggers--built it of lies and
threats and perjury. Dozens of witnesses from the Chamber of Commerce and
the American Legion took the stand to braid a hangman's rope of untruthful
testimony. Some of these were members of the mob; on their white hands the
blood of Wesley Everest was hardly dry. And they were not satisfied with
sending their victims to prison for terms of from 25 to 40 years, they
wanted the pleasure of seeing their necks broken. But they failed. Two
verdicts were returned; his honor refused to accept the first; no
intelligent man can accept the second.

Here is the way the two verdicts compare with each other: Elmer Smith and
Mike Sheehan were declared not guilty and Loren Roberts insane, in both
the first and second verdicts. Britt Smith, O.C. Bland, James McInerney,
Bert Bland and Ray Becker were found guilty of murder in the second degree
in both instances, but Eugene Barnett and John Lamb were at first declared
guilty of manslaughter, or murder "in the third degree" in the jury's
first findings, and guilty of second degree murder in the second.

The significant point is that the state made its strongest argument
against the four men whom the jury practically exonerated of the charge of
conspiring to murder. More significant is the fact that the whole verdict
completely upsets the charge of conspiracy to murder under which the men
were tried. The difference between first and second degree murder is that
the former, first degree, implies premeditation while the other, second
degree, means murder that is not premeditated. Now, how in the world can
men be found guilty of conspiring to murder without previous
premeditation? The verdict, brutal and stupid as it is, shows the weakness
and falsity of the state's charge more eloquently than anything the
defense has ever said about it.

But Labor Says, "Not Guilty!"

But another jury had been watching the trial. Their verdict came as a
surprise to those who had read the newspaper version of the case. No
sooner had the twelve bewildered and frightened men in the jury box paid
tribute to the power of the Lumber Trust with a ludicrous and tragic
verdict than the six workingmen of the Labor Jury returned their verdict
also. Those six men represented as many labor organizations in the Pacific
Northwest with a combined membership of many thousands of wage earners.

The last echoes of the prolonged legal battle had hardly died away when
these six men sojourned to Tacoma to ballot, deliberate and to reach their
decision about the disputed facts of the case. At the very moment when the
trust-controlled newspapers, frantic with disappointment, were again
raising the blood-cry of their pack, the frank and positive statement of
these six workers came like a thunderclap out of a clear sky,--"Not

The Labor Jury had studied the development of the case with earnest
attention from the beginning. Day by day they had watched with increasing
astonishment the efforts of the defense to present, and of the prosecution
and the judge to exclude, from the consideration of the trial jury, the
things everybody knew to be true about the tragedy at Centralia. Day by
day the sordid drama had been unfolded before their eyes. Day by day the
conviction had grown upon them that the loggers on trial for their lives
were being railroaded to the gallows by the legal hirelings of the Lumber
Trust. The Labor Jury was composed of men with experience in the labor
movement. They had eyes to see through a maze of red tape and legal
mummery to the simple truth that was being hidden or obscured. The Lumber
Trust did not fool these men and it could not intimidate them. They had
the courage to give the truth to the world just as they saw it. They were
convinced in their hearts and minds that the loggers on trial were
innocent. And they would have been just as honest and just as fearless had
their convictions been otherwise.

It cannot be said that the Labor Jury was biased in favor of the
defendants or of the I.W.W. If anything, they were predisposed to believe
the defendants guilty and their union an outlaw organization. It must be
remembered that all the labor jury knew of the case was what it had read
in the capitalist newspapers prior to their arrival at the scene of the
trial. These men were not radicals but representative working men--members
of conservative unions--who had been instructed by their organizations to
observe impartially the progress of the trial and to report back to their
unions the result of their observations. Read their report:

Labor's Verdict

Labor Temple, Tacoma, March 15, 1920, 1:40 p.m.

The Labor Jury met in the rooms of the Labor Temple and organized,
electing P. K. Mohr as foreman.

Present: J.A. Craft, W.J. Beard, Otto Newman, Theodore Mayer, E.W. Thrall
and P.K. Mohr.

1. On motion a secret ballot of guilty or not guilty was taken, the count
resulting in a unanimous "Not Guilty!"

2. Shall we give our report to the press? Verdict, "Yes."

[Illustration: Labor's Silent Jury

W.J. Beard, Central Labor Council, Tacoma: Paul K. Mohr, Central Labor
Council, Seattle: Theodore Meyer, Central Labor Council, Everett: E.W.
Thrall, Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, Centralia: John A. Craft, Metal
Trades Council, Seattle.]

3. Was there a conspiracy to raid the I.W.W. hall on the part of the
business interests of Centralia? Verdict, "Yes."

There was evidence offered by the defense to show that the business
interests held a meeting at the Elk's Club on October 20, 1919, at which
ways and means to deal with the I.W.W. situation were discussed. F.B.
Hubbard, Chief of Police Hughes and William Scales, commander of the
American Legion at Centralia, were present. Prosecuting Attorney Allen was
quoted as having said, "There is no law that would let you run the I.W.W.
out of town." Chief of Police Hughes said, "You cannot run the I.W.W. out
of town; they have violated no law." F.G. Hubbard said, "It's a damn
shame; if I was chief I would have them out of town in 24 hours." William
Scales, presiding at the meeting, said that although he was not in favor
of a raid, there was no American jury that would convict them if they did,
or words to that effect. He then announced that he would appoint a secret
committee to deal with the I.W.W. situation.

4. Was the I.W.W. hall unlawfully raided? Verdict, "Yes." The evidence
introduced convinces us that an attack was made before a shot was fired.

5. Had the defendants a right to defend their hall. Verdict, "yes." On a
former occasion the I.W.W. hall was raided, furniture destroyed and
stolen, ropes placed around their necks and they were otherwise abused and
driven out of town by citizens, armed with pick handles.

6. Was Warren O. Grimm a party to the conspiracy of raiding the I.W.W.
hall? Verdict, "Yes." The evidence introduced convinces us that Warren O.
Grimm participated in the raid of the I.W.W. hall.

7. To our minds the most convincing evidence that Grimm was in front of
and raiding the I.W.W. hall with others, is the evidence of State Witness
Van Gilder who testified that he stood at the side of Grimm at the
intersection of Second street and Tower avenue, when, according to his
testimony, Grimm was shot. This testimony was refuted by five witnesses
who testified that they saw Grimm coming wounded from the direction of the
I.W.W. hall. It is not credible that Van Gilder, who was a personal and
intimate friend of Grimm, would leave him when he was mortally wounded, to
walk half a block alone and unaided.

8. Did the defendants get a fair and impartial trial? Verdict, "No." The
most damaging evidence of a conspiracy by the business men of Centralia,
of a raid on the I.W.W. hall, was ruled out by the court and not permitted
to go to the jury. This was one of the principal issues that the defense
sought to establish.

Also the calling of the federal troops by Prosecuting Attorney Allen was
for no other reason than to create atmosphere. On interviewing the judge,
sheriff and prosecuting attorney, the judge and the sheriff informed us
that in their opinion the troops were not needed and that they were
brought there without their consent or knowledge. In the interview Mr.
Allen promised to furnish the substance of the evidence which in his
opinion necessitated the presence of the troops the next morning, but on
the following day he declined the information. He, however, did say that
he did not fear the I.W.W., but was afraid of violence by the American
Legion. This confession came after he was shown by us the fallacy of the
I.W.W. coming armed to interfere with the verdict. Also the presence of
the American Legion in large numbers in court.

Theodore Meyer, Everett Central Labor Council; John O. Craft, Seattle
Metal Trades Council; E.W. Thrall, Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen,
Centralia; W.J. Beard, Tacoma Central Labor Council; Otto Newman, Portland
Central Labor Council; P.K. Mohr, Seattle Central Labor Council.

The above report speaks for itself. It was received with great enthusiasm
by the organizations of each of the jurymen when the verdict was
submitted. On March 17th, the Seattle Central Labor Council voted
unanimously to send the verdict to all of the Central Labor Assemblies of
the United States and Canada.

Not only are the loggers vindicated in defending their property and lives
from the felonious assault of the Armistice Day mob, but the conspiracy of
the business interests to raid the hall and the raid itself were
established. The participation of Warren O. Grimm is also accepted as
proved beyond doubt. Doubly significant is the statement about the "fair
and impartial trial" that is supposed to be guaranteed all men under our

Nothing could more effectively stamp the seal of infamy upon the whole
sickening rape of justice than the manly outspoken statements of these six
labor jurors. Perhaps the personalities of these men might prove of

E. W. Thrall, of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, Centralia, is an old
time and trusted member of his union. As will be noticed, he comes from
Centralia, the scene of the tragedy.

Otto Newman, of the Central Labor Council, Portland, Oregon, has ably
represented his union in the C.L.C. for some time.

W.J. Beard is organizer for the Central Labor Council in Tacoma,
Washington. He is an old member of the Western Federation of Miners and
remembers the terrible times during the strikes at Tulluride.

John O. Craft is president of Local 40, International Union of Steam
Operating Engineers, of which union he has been a member for the last ten
years. Mr. Craft has been actively connected with unions affiliated with
the A.F. of L. since 1898.

Theodore Meyer was sent by the Longshoremen of Everett, Washington. Since
1903 he has been a member of the A.F. of L.; prior to that time being a
member of the National Sailors and Firemen's Union of Great Britain and
Ireland, and of the Sailors' Union of Australia.

P. K. Mohr represents the Central Labor Council of Seattle and is one of
the oldest active members in the Seattle unions. Mr. Mohr became a charter
member of the first Bakers' Union in 1889 and was its first presiding
officer. He was elected delegate to the old Western Central Labor Council
in 1890. At one time Mr. Mohr was president of the Seattle Labor Council.
At the present time he is president of the Bakers' Union.

Such are the men who have studied the travesty on justice in the great
labor trial at Montesano. "Not Guilty" is their verdict. Does it mean
anything to you?

Wesley Everest

Torn and defiant as a wind-lashed reed,
Wounded, he faced you as he stood at bay;
You dared not lynch him in the light of day,
But on your dungeon stones you let him bleed;
Night came ... and you black vigilants of Greed,...
Like human wolves, seized hand upon your prey,
Tortured and killed ... and, silent, slunk away
Without one qualm of horror at the deed.

Once ... long ago ... do you remember how
You hailed Him king for soldiers to deride--
You placed a scroll above His bleeding brow
And spat upon Him, scourged Him, crucified...?
A rebel unto Caesar--then as now--
Alone, thorn-crowned, a spear wound in His side!

--R.C. in "N.Y. Call."

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