Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Tuesday, August 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 58° Clear
News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Ellensburg: Wobblies riot at internment camp

Thirty Wobblies “started rioting” at an internment camp in Ellensburg where they were being held, The Spokesman-Review reported on July 29, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Thirty Wobblies “started rioting” at an internment camp in Ellensburg where they were being held, The Spokesman-Review reported on July 29, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Feelings continued to run high against the Wobblies (members of the Industrial Workers of the World).

An Ellensburg correspondent reported that 30 Wobblies “started rioting” at an internment camp where they were being held.

The soldiers guarding them refused to give them their breakfast until they cleaned up their rooms. The Wobblies “started howling and making threats.” Several of them shook their fists in the soldier’s faces. The correspondent said one Wobbly continued to “use vile language and make threats.”

They also threatened to make Kittitas County and the logging companies “pay dearly” for interning them. They said their lawyers would set them free and they would “make this section suffer.”

This incident did not go over well with the Ellensburg residents who witnessed it. They wanted the soldiers to crack down on the unruly Wobblies.

Meanwhile, The Spokesman-Review editorial page also wanted to crack down on Wobblies. An editorial noted that people at a Coeur d’Alene mass meeting had blamed Spokane for being “the breeding place of the north Idaho troubles.”

The editors wrote that “the allegation is true and the indictment is just.” It said that trouble was being brewed in the Wobbly headquarters in Spokane and “carried into all parts of the Inland Empire.”

The paper said its stance was in no way against “good wages, moderate hours and proper sanitary working conditions.” The paper was, however, against “anarchistic utterances” and “open advocacy of sabotage.”

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com