Skip to main content

Gerald Lippiatt-38
Gerald Lippiatt, center

Gerald Lippiatt did not come into Trinidad looking for fight. He was a striker from the northern field who was in the southern field working as an organizer. But, sadly, he took the bait when George Belcher and Walter Belk, two well-known Baldwin-Felts gunthugs, began to butt him with their elbows as he attempted to walk around them on Commercial Street. Other gunmen joined in, cursing him as they lurked about on the sidewalk, smoking their cigarettes.

Brother Lippiatt headed to the Packer block for his gun. Several of his fellow organizers in the union office tried to stop him to no avail.

"All right, you rat, let's have it out," Lippiatt shouted at Belk. The professional gunthug knew his business, and Lippiatt was soon lying dead in the center of the street.

The Colorado State Federation of Labor met for their yearly convention in Trinidad two days after the killing of Brother Lippiatt. The chair which would have been occupied by Lippiatt was draped in black. Perhaps, Brother Lippiatt was on their minds as they voted their support to District 15 of the United Mine Workers of America for any action deemed necessary with respect to conditions in the southern coalfields. Efforts were underway to avoid a strike against coal operators of southern coalfields, but the likelihood of avoiding that strike was fading with each passing day.

The coffin of Brother Lippiatt left Trinidad accompanied by the delegates from northern Colorado who were returning home from the C. F. of L. Convention. Gerald Lippiatt was brought home to Colorado Springs for burial. As the flag-draped coffin was taken from the baggage car and loaded onto the hearse, the delegates stood silently by, hats in hand, remembering who was responsible for his murder.

It was the sad duty of John McLennan, President of District 15 of the UMWA, to call John Lawson, International Board Member, at his home in Denver to inform him of Lippiatt's death. Lawson related the conversation he had with Lippiatt three days before his death:

"I am leaving for Trinidad tonight, John, and I want to tell you goodbye. I think I am going to be killed"

"Killed? What do you mean?"

"The gunmen have been pressing me pretty hard down there, John, but I am going back. I've got a hunch they are going to get me this time."

"Then you mustn't go. Stay here and we'll send someone else down; someone who isn't so well known to them."

"No, John, I'm going back. It is my job, and I want to go. But this is my last trip. Goodbye."

Gerald Lippiatt was born in England in 1874, and came to America in 1891 with his parents and five siblings. The family settled in Ohio. He was survived by an older brother in Colorado Springs. He was engaged to be married to Edith Green of Rugby. He was likely a father as Martelle mentions a descendant. He had been Secretary of the UMWA local union in Frederick, Colorado, and was active in the northern coalfield strike before being sent to the southern field as an organizer.


Out of the Depths
The Story of John R. Lawson, a Labor Leader

-by Barron B. Beshoar
(1st ed 1942)
CO, 1980

Buried Unsung
Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre

-by Zeese Papanikolas
U of Utah Press, 1982

Blood Passion: The Ludlow Massacre
   and Class War in the American West

-by Scott Martelle
Rutgers University Press, 2008

Photo: from website of Scott Martelle
P.S. Blood Passion looks like a great book, with some new information on the Labor Martyr, Gerald Lippiatt. Copy ordered!

Dig The Devil's Blood

Originally posted to WE NEVER FORGET on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 11:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Anti-Capitalist Chat, and History for Kossacks.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site