Today in the 1913 Copper Strike

Guardsmen and their tents in front of the Red Jacket Shaft, 1913. (Photo courtesy of the Michigan Tech Archives, Keweenaw Digital Archive)

Guardsmen and their tents in front of the Red Jacket Shaft, 1913. (Photo courtesy of the Michigan Tech Archives, Keweenaw Digital Archive)

The copper district was seeing major transitions on this day in 1913. Despite a news article earlier in the week that said Governor Ferris and the military board believe the strike situation still required a strong presence, the number of troops had decreased greatly on this day 100 years ago. In a board meeting on August 18, the military board met and determined “the withdrawal of troops is not deemed advisory.”[1]  However, the total strength of officers and troops had decreased greatly from the count of August 13. On the 13 there were roughly 2800 officers and men in Calumet but on August 20 the force was reduced to roughly 100 officers and 1200 National Guard troops.[2]

Additionally on this day in the strike the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company saw one of its stamp mills reopen to process the rock coming out of open shafts. On August 18 the C&H Company opened its fifth shaft. During this week in the strike the major companies had been seeing an influx of men returning to work, especially from those who had left the region when the mines initially shut down at the start of the strike. The announcement that the C&H Company and some other mines were resuming some operations encouraged those who wished to return to work and reapply to their jobs.  Although “pickets were unusually numerous” at the working mines this week, especially with the reopening of the fifth shaft and the Calumet stamp mill in Lake Linden, there were no reported instances of violence at these particular picket lines.[3]


[1] The Calumet News, August 18, 1913.

[2] The Wolverine Guard, vol. 8., no. 1, January 1988, p. 11.

[3] The Calumet News, August 18, 1913.

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