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100 years ago in North Idaho: Mine managers ask for troops to get strikers back to work

The miners of the Morning and Gold Hunter mines walked off the job several days before, and the Shoshone County Council of Defense ordered them back to work, as a matter national security, The Spokesman-Review reported on Aug. 7, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)
The miners of the Morning and Gold Hunter mines walked off the job several days before, and the Shoshone County Council of Defense ordered them back to work, as a matter national security, The Spokesman-Review reported on Aug. 7, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The managers of mines in and around Mullan, Idaho, wired the Idaho governor to ask that “troops be held in readiness” to quash labor troubles.

The miners of the Morning and Gold Hunter mines walked off the job several days before. The Shoshone County Council of Defense ordered them back to work, as a matter national security, but the men refused to comply. The strikers appealed to the U.S. secretary of labor to mediate the dispute, saying that they had “justifiable grievances.”

The county defense council responded by threatening to induct all of the strikers of draft age into the military.

“Those of the strikers who are aliens will be investigated and an effort made to deport them,” said The Spokesman-Review. “… Aliens, of whom most are said to be Finns, associated with IWW (Wobbly) agitators, are held responsible for the trouble.”

The newspaper said that there were fears that the troubles would spread to other mines in the Mullan and Wallace district, which furnished 40 percent of the lead produced in the U.S.

From the war beat: The tiny railroad stop of Piedmont, Washington, about 10 miles from Moran Prairie, was to be renamed Foch, in honor of General (Marshal) Ferdinand Foch, commander of the allied armies.

The president of the railroad suggested the name change, partly because there were already three other Piedmont stations in the state.