Today in the 1913 Copper Strike


MacNaughton Telegram to Shaw, August 2nd, 1913.  The original is part of the Calumet and Hecla Company Collection held at the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections in Houghton, MI.

On August 2, James MacNaughton sent a brief telegram to Quincy Shaw reporting that all is quiet in the Calumet district, but quiet isn’t truly accurate.  While there weren’t any major instances of violence on that day, as opposed to previous days, strikers made major displays throughout the weekend. There was a strike parade from Calumet to Wolverine to Kearsarge and the Western Federation of Miners had a huge demonstration and parade planned for the Calumet district on Saturday, August 3.[1] The Quincy District also saw a lot of activity on August 2nd with a massive strike parade. Women, children, and a striker on horseback paraded from Quincy, to Hancock, to Houghton, and back to Hancock to end the parade at Kansankotl Hall. The Daily Mining Gazette noted that this parade “was the biggest of any day since the strike was called” and it attracted a lot of attention in the community.[2]

Parades were an important method to boost morale and show support for the cause.  Although the copper districts were quiet from lack of violence on August 2 that does not mean there was no strike activity or action by the WFM. Despite news from mining officials and headlines in the local papers proclaiming the mines and their corporate offices would not recognize the union, the strikers and WFM leaders remained optimistic and surged ahead in showing support. Although not all miners supported the strike, with some gathering to talk about returning to work, those who supported the cause were steadfast in their beliefs.

[1] Daily Mining Gazette, Saturday, August 3, 1913.

[2] Daily Mining Gazette, Friday, August 2, 1913.


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