Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Today -100: September 4, 1913: Of coal wars and little coteries of men who follow politics as a dishonest trade

H.T. Davis, President of the Paint Creek Consolidated Coal Company, testifies to the Senate special committee investigating the West Virginia coal wars that coal miners were contented with their ill-paid, brief lives before “outsiders” from the United Mine Workers’ Union came. He defends the use of guards to keep union organizers away from miners and says that the mineowners didn’t bring in machine guns until they heard that the miners were bringing in guns.

Foiling Tammany Hall’s attempt to deny him re-election by giving the Democratic nomination to someone else, NYC Mayor William Jay Gaynor is re-nominated by petitions from independent voters. Gaynor, still unable to speak much after his recent illness caused by being shot in the throat three years ago, has a speech read out attacking Boss Murphy and Tammany, “a little coterie of men who follow politics as a dishonest trade, and have no other visible means of support,” picking the next mayor at a table at Delmonico’s. Gaynor adds that the people of NY “are going to shovel all of these miserable little political grafters into one common dump heap”. He had a shovel with him and play-acted “burying his enemies.” Everyone loves a prop comic.

Ex-prez Taft is elected president of the American Bar Association.

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