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Wednesday, October 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Coeur d’Alene: Wobbly found guilty of ‘criminal syndicalism’

A jury in Coeur d’Alene deliberated for only an hour and a half before finding W.M. Nelson guilty of “criminal syndicalism.” Nelson was the former secretary of the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies) in St. Maries. He was arrested after police seized Wobbly literature that, the state contended, “advocated sabotage in lumber camps.”

100 years ago in Spokane: Wobblies announce move of Lumberworkers headquarters to Chicago

Washington Gov. Ernest Lister was in Spokane to deal with several important matters, including the “labor situation.” The Spokane Daily Chronicle speculated that he was preparing to deal with volatile Wobbly issues. Lister would not confirm that, but he gave a hint when he told reporters: “I am impressed with the idea that the time has about arrived when every able-bodied man ought to be at work. There is enough work for all to do. The war conditions call for the services of every able-bodied man.”

100 years ago in Yakima: Wobblies accused of planning germ attack

Three Wobblies (members of the Industrial Workers of the World) were arrested in North Yakima on suspicion of a shocking plan to release deadly germs throughout the Yakima Valley. Their alleged plan was to “attack cattle and growing crops” with the germs.

100 years ago in Spokane: Wobblies arrested after rail car fracas on Great Northern train

About 27 Wobblies were arrested by Fort George Wright military authorities after they allegedly fomented a “riot” on the Great Northern passenger train between Troy, Mont., and Spokane. The men had been fighting forest fires near Libby, Mont., and were headed back to Spokane. Authorities suspected the men might cause trouble, so they dispatched a Libby deputy sheriff and a “special agent of the Great Northern,” R.C. Courtright, to ride along on the train.

100 years ago in Pasco: Police detain men in rail yards during strikes

Soldiers raided the Pasco rail yards and detained 30 men, including three described as “slackers” (draft evaders) and three described as “alien enemies.” The others were carrying Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies) cards. The raid came after the Wobblies staged a strike on a high power line under construction between Pasco and Lind, and after another strike in the Northern Pacific Railway icehouse. In the latter strike, “Greek workmen were intimidated into asking for transportation out of the city.”

100 years ago in Butte, Montana: Wobbly lynched by masked mob

The anti-Wobbly sentiment in the Northwest took a murderous turn. Frank Little, an official of the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies), was kidnapped from his Butte boarding house by masked men and lynched from a railroad trestle. The situation in Butte had already been tense because of a mine strike. Little had arrived in Butte to support the strike and to publicly urge miners to shut down all the mines in Butte. He had also made speeches attacking the U.S. government.

100 years ago in Ellensburg: Wobblies riot at internment camp

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.

100 years ago in North Idaho: Bomb under bed sends man through roof of store

Joe Blalock was asleep in his small store in Cornwall, Idaho, near Moscow, when an explosion catapulted him all the way through the roof. Blalock was badly injured and was rushed to the hospital. He was unable to tell police what has happened. However, a detective said that Blalock had enemies in the neighborhood. The detective was tracking several suspects down.

100 years ago in Spokane: Mayor stresses that Wobblies have free speech rights

Mayor C.A. Fleming was not inclined to stir up trouble with the Wobblies in Spokane, despite a widespread fear that the members of the Industrial Workers of the World were undermining the lumber, mining and farming industries with their wartime strikes. “People come to me and complain that the (Wobbly) orators vilify the capitalists and the corporations and argue that the town’s being hurt,” Fleming said. “‘You ought to stop ‘em,’ they say, ‘stop them speaking on the streets.’ That’s all foolishness. There’s no law against swearing at a capitalist, and I am not going out of my way to hunt trouble. If we started stopping street meetings, we’d have 10,000 I.W.W.’s here and in the throes of another free speech fight within a week.”

100 years ago in Otis Orchards: Sheriff called to put down Wobbly riot

The Spokane County sheriff was urgently summoned to put down a “riot” by members of Industrial Workers of the World (the Wobblies) who were laying pipe for the Otis Orchards irrigation district. The trouble began when a “flunkey” in the cook house was fired for allegedly destroying food. More than 100 laborers, all Wobblies, then demanded that the contractor reinstate the flunkey and fire all non-Wobblies.