100 Years Ago

Thursday, June 17, 1920

Raleigh county did Pocahontas an honor when it entrusted the trial of one of its citizens to the courts of this county, but while we thank our sister county for the compliment, we beg that she will not do such a thing again. It can be said that this country took up the burden and thoroughly tried out a difficult situation involving as it did the feeling between the union miners and the employees who refused to strike. It appeared on the side that the grievance that caused all this trouble was a demand, made by a local union at Glen White, of the mine owners for a place to meet. The owners of the mine did not care for the establishment of a union at that place and refused to rent or provide a house for the purpose, and the union went out of town about a quarter of a mile and met at a storehouse on a hill.

The impression that we got was that the labor did not lay down their tools in anything like the unanimity that the local union was thinking they ought to and about all the men that could be accommodated were at work in the mine and the coal was being produced in usual quantity.

The local union had not been in existence but for a short time, and there is every evidence that it was not a body of men who had the poise and experience necessary for community affairs. It is clear that they argued from the false premise that men could be ruled and influenced by fear, and they reasoned that if some shots were fired from an ambush, that the “scabs,” as some called them, would submit…

The way the shooting was staged was as clear a case of bushwhacking as could be imagined. A steep hill overlooked the mouth of the mine. It was a shaft mine, 320 feet underground. The elevators brought the men to the surface, ten at a time. The bushwhackers, armed with rifles, were on the hill nine hundred feet away. As soon as the men came out on the surface of the earth, bullets began to drop around them like raindrops, and the noise of the volleys had a most terrifying sound.

An expert rifle man happened to be in a building near the mouth of the mine, and by chance a 30-30 rifle was on the wall at his hand. He fired three shots, but only fired when he saw a man to fire at, and he put the whole ten bushwhackers to flight. They were mostly boys and very new and inexperienced in the art of murder….

It is a good thing that the man Phipps had the presence of mind to return the fire so promptly for it must have soon happened that the fall of hundreds of bullets on that town would have found a mark and a murder been accomplished.

It was soon dark, and the bushwhackers got away and were safe from every one except themselves.

We lay it down as apparent that no ten young men, inexperienced in crime, can join in the commission of an offense and keep it a secret for any considerable length of time. Sooner or later, someone of them will split off and divulge the detail. That one will give the names and the circumstances. The other young men, when picked up, one by one, will be relating the details showing that their guilty secret is known to the law. Then seeking immunity they, in turn, will break down and confess.

That is what happened in the Raleigh case. And convictions have been easy in the cases of those who were actually present and firing.

In the case of Ed Snyder, the effort of the State was to connect him with the offense as a moving spirit who had aided, counselled, abetted and assisted, but who was not actually present. It was that feature of the case which made it take so long…

The man was confronted with witness after witness until the weight became so great that for one man to deny it all was a superhuman task, and the jury took the view that he was guilty beyond all reasonable doubt, and he was convicted… and received the maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment…

To our mind, the saddest part of the whole case was the statement of the defendant that he was thirty-two years old and had a wife and seven children dependent upon him for support.

We will all be glad to see our Raleigh friends again in a social way, but the wearing of pistols has gone out of vogue in this county, and the best families do not adorn their persons with hardware. So it will be agreeable if they leave their guns at home.

HOME NURSING CLASSES

Much interest is being shown in the classes in home nursing, which are to be given under the auspices of the Pocahontas County Chapter.

To further universal health education and protection, the Red Cross is urging the extension of its course of Home Hygiene and Care of the Sick and believes that the instruction should be made available to every woman and girl in the country that it may help them to care for minor illnesses and injuries that occur in every household…

Once people had large families. Now with few exceptions, they have very small ones, therefore it is necessary to conserve the small number.

During the draft, fully one-third of the men were rejected on reason of physical defects, a large proportion of which might have been remedied had their mothers been equipped years ago with the knowledge that this course gives.

Opportunity does not always knock at one’s door, therefore, embrace it when it does…

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