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You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones

Wednesday February 25, 1914
From The Anaconda Standard: Testimony of Dr. Beshoar & Postmaster Vigil

Drs Ben and Michael Beshoar, Trinidad Colorado


Trinidad, Col., Feb. 24.-The United Mine Workers of America closed their case today, as far as the Trinidad situation of the Colorado miners' strike is concerned. The closing of the miners' case came at the end of a day of dramatic developments. Testimony relative to alleged political corruption in Las Animas and Huerfano counties was presented and charges of political and personal motives in the presentation of testimony were freely made and hotly denied.

Testimony in support of charges made by miners that elections in Las Animas and Huerfano counties have been influenced by the operators was given by W. A. Garner, Dr. Ben B Beshowar [Beshoar] and J. U. Vigil. Mr. Vigil, recently appointed postmaster at Trinidad, was questioned regarding the non-delivery of mail to "Mother Jones" since the incarceration of the latter as a military prisoner. Vigil explained that he had received registered letters addressed to "Mother" Jones and had dispatched the usual notices to San Rafael hospital, where she is held prisoner.

"The notices were returned," he said, "and finally I called the hospital by telephone and asked the Sister in charge to tell "Mother" Jones that the letters were at the postoffice. The Sister told me she could not carry the message without the permission of the military authorities.

"Later I met General Chase on the street and he told me I would not be permitted to deliver any mail to 'Mother' Jones. Some militia officers later offered to take charge of the letters and receipt for them, but I refused to deliver them to the soldiers."

Western Federation, They Say, Must Be Eliminated Before They'll Treat.

Hancock, Mich., Feb. 24.-O. N. Hilton, attorney for the striking miners, at the opening of the congressional hearing today, said that the copper strikers would be satisfied to return under existing conditions, providing they were not discriminated against because of affiliation with an organization.

A. F. Rees, counsel for the mine owners, replied that it was the position of the mine owners that the Western Federation of Miners must be eliminated from this field, and no member of that organization could be taken back to work unless he surrendered his membership...

The Anaconda Standard
(Anaconda, Montana)
-of Feb 25, 1914

See also:
Conditions in the Coal Mines of Colorado: 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 conditions in the coal mines of Colorado
-United States. Congress. House. Committee on Mines and Mining
U.S. Government Printing Office, 1914

Vol. 1, p.1-1477
p.1283. 9:15 AM, Tuesday February 24, 1914
Trinidad, Colorado
p.1312. 2 PM, Afternoon Session,
p. 1317. Ben Beshoar
p. 1335. J. U. Vigil
(page numbers are for investigation, not for scroll bar)

Photo: Office of Drs. Beshoar
Dr. Ben Beshoar at extreme left, in shadow.
I believe the man in the middle of photo is Dr. Michael Beshoar, father of Ben Beshoar. They maintained a practice together for about 4 years, from 1903-07:


Tuesday February 25, 2014
More on Testimony of Dr Beshoar and Postmaster Vigil:

Both Dr. Beshoar and the Postmaster Vigil testified during the afternoon session on February 24th. They testified at length regarding the interference by the coal operators in the elections held in Las Animas and Huerfano Counties. Testimony was also given regarding the corners' juries which always ruled in favor of the company after any mining accident. Criminal trials were also settled to satisfaction of the the coal operators, especially in Huerfano County where Sheriff Jefferson Farr was called "Czar Farr" for good reason.

Farr was finally forced to accede to the will of the voters by a decision of the Colorado Supreme Court which ruled against him concerning the election of 1914. From chapter 25, "Czar Farr Leave Throne," of Barron B. Beshoar's book, Out of the Depths:

Sheriff Farr, who contended he had won the 1914 election by a majority of 329 votes, was still sitting in the courthouse in Walsenburg in June, 1916, when the Colorado Supreme Court gave the coal companies of Colorado their first major setback in a ruling that threw out the entire vote of a number of closed precincts in which the company had controlled both the polling place and the votes that were cast. The court found that the companies had throttled public opinion, denied to foreign-born electors the right of free choice, stifled public discussion, designated what citizens could or could not enter upon public property, and prostituted the ballot...
The Colorado Supreme Court decision of June 21, 1916 read in part:
There can be no free, open and fair election as contemplated by the constitution, where private industrial corporations so throttle public opinion, deny the free exercise of choice by sovereign electors, dictate and control all election officers, prohibit public discussion of public questions, and imperially command what citizens may and what citizens may not, peacefully and for lawful purposes, enter upon election or public territory...

We have heard much in this state in recent years as to the denial of inherent and constitutional rights of citizens being justified by 'military necessity' but this we believe is the first time in our experience when the violation of the fundamental rights of freemen has been attempted to justified by the plea of 'industrial necessity.' Even if we were to concede that there may be some palliation in the plea of military necessity on the theory that such acts purport to be acts of the government itself, through its military arm and with the purpose of preserving the public peace and safety; yet that a private corporation with its privately armed forces, may violate the most sacred right of citizenship of the state and find lawful excuse in the plea of private 'industrial necessity' savours too much of anarchy to find approval by courts of justice..."

Beshoar continues:
The Supreme Court then annulled the votes cast in the coal company precincts [closed company towns] and ordered Farr to turn the office of Huerfano County sheriff over to E. L. Neelley.

Sheriff Farr and his henchmen had ruled over the Kingdom of Huerfano for 20 years [representing] the power of the coal barons and No. 26 Broadway [Rockefeller's HQ in NYC.] Jeff and his heavily-armed lieutenants held on to the Walsenburg court house for another week while corporation attorneys sought to carry their case to the U. S. Supreme Court. That tribunal would have none of it, and Jeff Farr abdicated.

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

-by Barron B. Beshoar
(son of Dr. Ben Beshoar)
CO, 1980
(1st ed. 1942)

Come All Ye Coal Miners - Sarah Ogan Gunning
A miner can be heard coughing in the background as she sings.

They take your very life blood, they take our children's lives
They take fathers away from children, and husbands away from wives.
Oh miner, won't you organize wherever you may be
And make this a land of freedom for workers like you and me.

                               -Sarah Ogan Gunning

Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 11:00 AM PST.

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

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