Sunday February 22, 1914
News from The Labor World of Duluth, Minnesota:
The following from this weeks edition of The Labor World:
The woman whose baby died was Margaret Cibacca. Her testimony, describing how she was taken into custody along with her children and then dumped out into the cold, is disturbing. The following are excerpts from that testimony:
BERGER TESTIFIES AT STRIKE INQUIRY
Says Socialist Party Had Nothing to Do With Strike
Simply Contributed Money
Victor Berger appeared before the congressional committee at Hancock [Michigan] Tuesday to tell what he knew about the copper strike. Mr. Berger appeared as a committee witness. He was not called by the Western Federation of Miners. He declared the Socialist party had nothing to do with calling the strike and nothing to do with fomenting it. "When the strikers got hard up" he said, "the Socialists gave them financial aid up to $25,000 in money and a greater quantity of clothing." Mr. Berger said the national flag of the Socialists was the Star Spangled Banner, but "the red flag is our international flag-the red flag of brotherhood."
Women Were Assaulted.
The committee listened to a large number of women witnesses during the week. One woman said she was hit in the back by a rock thrown by a gunman. She was afterwards arrested and was taken to jail in an automobile carrying her 4-months-old baby with her. The baby died from exposure from the cold a few days later. She has not been able to find out why she was arrested.
Mrs. MARGARET CIBABBA, a witness, sworn, on examination testiﬁed as follows:SOURCES
(The witness being unable to speak the English language, Thomas Scrizich was sworn to act as interpreter, and the examination proceeded through the interpreter.)
Mr. HILTON [Attorney for the miners]. Where do you live?
The WITNESS. South Range, and before I lived at Baltic.
Mr. HILTON. Were you visited at your house by deputies in December, last year?
The WITNESS. Yes.
Mr. HILTON. What took place at that time?
The WITNESS. Some of the deputies called on my house and asked me to go to the mining office that there is a woman sick.
Mr. HILTON. Did you go?
The WITNESS. Yes.
Mr. HILTON. What took place then?
The Witness. Just as soon as I got in the office they locked the door.
Mr. HILTON. Were you alone at that time?
The Witness. Three of them.
Mr. HILTON. Who was with you, if anybody?
The Witness. Nobody; I was alone. -
Mr. HILTON. How long did you stay there in the room?
The Witness. Five hours.
Mr. HILTON. Where did you go then?
he Witness. They put me out in an automobile and took me to Houghton, and two small children with me, and three of them they left on the street there. -
Mr. HILTON. Then you had ﬁve children with you? -
The Witness. Yes; the youngest was about 3 months old, and the oldest one about 6 years.
Mr. HILTON. Which one was it that they took with you to Houghton?
The Witness. The child.
Mr. HILTON. The youngest? .
The Witness. They took two of them with me and they left three of them on the street. Mr. HILTON. What did the deputies say to you at that time?
The Witness. They told me they were going to take me to Houghton and lock me up for six months.
Mr. HILTON. What did you say to them at that time?
The Witness. I asked them why; that I never did anything, only that they called me in the office there to see that sick woman there, and they just laughed at me.
Mr. HILTON. Did you go to Houghton?
The Witness. Yes.
Mr. HILTON. How far was it?
The Witness. Oh, it takes just a couple of minutes; it did not take long for the automobile.
Mr. HILTON. Were you released?
The Witness. Yes; they released me.
Mr. HILTON. What was the result of that ride?
The Witness. They just released me.
Mr. HILTON. Was it cold that day?
The Witness. Yes; it was chilly.
Mr. HILTON. What was the result on the child, if anything?
The Witness. The child got cold, and after the ride next day got sick. We had two doctors to attend the child, but they could not help anything and the child died two weeks after that.
The CHAIRMAN. Were those deputies that took you over there?
The Witness. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Who were they?
The Witness. It was a deputy, and they struck me.
The CHAIRMAN. Deputy sheriff, was it?
The Witness. The chairman came with the automobile from Houghton.
Mr. HILTON. Did you say the deputies struck you?
The Witness. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you know who the were? T
he Witness. Yes; I could tell who they are if I would see them.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not know their names? The Witness. No; I do not know the names.
[There followed questioning by Mr Rees, Attorney for the copper miners, most of it repetitious and not included here.]
The CHAIRMAN [to Mr. Rees]: She doesn't know whether the sheriff [Cruse] was in this automobile, or whether it was a bunch of deputies.
The Witness. No; but she was told that he is the sheriff.
The CHAIRMAN. Was there anybody there that talked her language? Does she not know who was interpreting for her? These deputies did not talk in her language, did they?
The Witness. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. How did these men talk to her?
The Witness. In my language.
The CHAIRMAN. Who was talking to her in her language? Don’t she know who the man was?
The Witness. I don’t know; one fat fellow; I don’t know who he was.
The CHAIRMAN. He talked her language. What is it, the Slavish language?
The Witness. Yes, sir.
Mr. REES. I didn't understand what she said.
The CHAIRMAN. Some man talked to her—a fat fellow—in her Slavish language—the foreign language...
CHAIRMAN. They kept her there about half an hour?
The Witness. About half an hour.
The CHAIRMAN. Did they make her sign any papers or anything?
The Witness. Nothing; they told me to go home.
The CHAIRMAN. How many children did she have? Did she have this baby there with her?
The Witness. Yes; I got the two youngest ones with me.
The CHAIRMAN. They just turned her out and told her to go home?
The Witness. That is all; yes.
The CHAIRMAN. How far was that from her home?
The Witness. I don’t know; but it is about 8 miles.
The CHAIRMAN. How did you get home?
The Witness. My husband came up for me, and he brought some blankets and wrapped up the children, and we were late for the train, and he hired an automobile to take me back home.
The CHAIRMAN. Did they say what she had done? What they had asked her about? What was the reason they gave for getting her to go to this mine pay office and then taking her over there in that manner?
The Witness. Nothing, nothing. When I asked them they just laughed at me and began to strike me. They struck me.
Congressman HOWELL. What?
The Witness. They began to lick me.
The CHAIRMAN. Struck her?
The Witness. Struck me.
Congressman CASEY. Where were you when they struck you?
The Witness. I was by the steps there, when I was asking them to let me go home so that I feed my children; they began to laugh at me and struck me on the side and on the back with their clubs, and at the same time I had one of the children on my arm.
Congressman CASEY. Was this in the pay office or where?
The Witness. Yes; in office.
Congressman CASEY. How many deputies were in the pay office?
The Witness. There were two around me, and there was some more on the road there.
Mr. REES. Can not you tell me what day of the week that was?
The Witness. I think it was on a Friday....
Mr. REES. Your husband is on strike, is he?
The Witness. Yes, sir.
Congressman CASEY. How old was the child that died?
The Witness. Not yet 4 months.
Congressman Switzer. Ask her if her husband ever made any inquiry of these officials over at Houghton—the sheriff, the justice, or the prosecuting attorney—as to why his wife was brought over there.
The Witness. He inquired once of the prosecuting attorney and he told him he couldn't do nothing. He told him if he could get the names of the police that he is going to call them. We don’t know if they have got them or not. We never had any notice after that.
Congressman SWITZER. As I understand it, she does not know why she was brought over there?
The Witness. I don’t know nothing. I never did anything.
Congressman SWITZER. Ask her if she ever requested her husband or anybody else to inquire of these officials as to why she was taken over there. Did she go to see the prosecuting attorney subsequent to this time that she was taken over; she or her husband, either; it does not matter?
The Witness. No; my husband was up there.
Congressman SWITZER.. She doesn't know the names of these deputies.
The Witness. No, sir.
Congressman SWITZER. But she would know them if she saw them?
The Witness. Yes, sir; I would recognize them.
Congressman SWITZER. Did you attempt to locate them afterwards; point them out to somebody?
The Witness. Yes; I was trying to locate them, but I could not; after that I know one of them left the Baltic, a few days after that, and I don’t know where he went to.
Congressman SWITZER. Did you ever go to a justice of the peace in this county or in that county, wherever you are at, and make an affidavit that deputies, names unknown, had assaulted you or clubbed and beat you?
The Witness. Yes.
Congressman SWITZER. Did she get out a warrant?
The Witness. Yes; they told me that they are going to call me when they need me. But I never had any notice after that.
Congressman SWITZER. That isn't the question. I want to know whether she attempted to have these men arrested. That is what I want to know.
The Witness. Yes; I was trying to, and they asked me what they looked like and everything, and they put down what they looked like and everything.
Congressman SWITZER. Did you see these men after that time around that company’s property and office there?
The Witness. No....
Congressman SWITZER Were you hurt so severely that you thought you needed the services of a physician or anything of that kind?
The Witness. Yes; I was blue on the back, and I felt it two weeks after that—14 days after.
Congressman SWITZER. Where were you struck; was it while you were locked in the office or on the outside of the office—before or after?
The Witness. In the office.
Congressman SWITZER. Can you give any reason why they struck you?
The Witness. I was asking them to let me go home because I had a child on each arm.
Congressman SWITZER. Who were in the office?
The Witness. Two policemen, and on the outside there was more of them.
Congressman SWITZER. Now, as I understood you to say, you informed the deputies or sheriffs that brought you over in the machine, and informed the justice what had taken place?
The Witness. Yes; I told them. And the sheriff, he did not want to listen to me at all.
Congressman SWITZER. It was the sheriff that brought you over ?
The Witness. I thought so; that he was the sheriff.
Congressman SWITZER. And you did not know yourself that you could make an affidavit there charging those men with assault and battery, or assault with intent to kill, or something of that kind?
The Witness. No; nothing.
Mr. REES. How did you talk with the sheriff?
The Witness. well, I was telling him what I could.
Mr. REES. Did you talk to him in your own language?
The Witness. Well, I was talking what I could in English, and I told him in my own language.
Mr. REES. Was there any other woman brought in with you?
The Witness. Yes; one other women; she brought my children to me and then they put her in, too. She brought them to me and they put her in there, too...
The Labor World
-of Feb 21, 1914
Conditions in the Copper Mines of Michigan: Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Mines and Mining, House of Representatives, Sixty-third Congress, Second Session, Pursuant to H. Res. 387, a Resolution Authorizing and Directing the Committee on Mines and Mining to Make an Investigation of the Conditions in the Copper Mines of Michigan.
-United States. Congress. House. Committee on Mines and Mining
U.S. Government Printing Office, 1914
Part II-III, p.521-1327
Testimony of Margaret Cibacca begins on page 648.
Note on Photo:
I spent quite a bit of time searching for a photo that could be used to represent Mrs. Cibacca, and this was the best I could do. This woman is Slovakian, not Slovenian. Now, the testimony only stated that she was "Slavic," and this came not from Mrs. Cibacca but from those questioning her. The language that was being translated was not stated. There were quite a few Slovenians in Calumet (Annie Clemenc, for one), and she may very well have been Slovenian. More research needed, and welcomed on this point!
More on Slavs in America
More on Slovenians in America
Photo: Slovakian Immigrant