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Posts Tagged ‘Knights of Labor’

Originally published in the North Kittitas County Tribune, September 26, 2019

By Sue Litchfield

General Mine Manager John Kangley was a self-made man, an Irish orphan who made his way to the United States In the mid-1800s. At 45 years old, he was appointed general mine manager of the Northern Pacific Coal Company in Roslyn and served from 1888 to 1896. During that same time he also managed the Star Coal Company in Streator, Illinois, and owned the Kangley Mine near Ravensdale, Washington. Photo courtesy of Streator Times Press.

ROSLYN—This marks the fourth in the series of articles about early Roslyn history based on research at Northern Pacific archives in St. Paul, Minnesota. In the early years, Roslyn’s coal mining company was the Northern Pacific Coal Company (NPCC), owned and operated by the railroad. Following a major restructuring of the company in 1896, NPCC became the Northwestern Improvement Company (NWI), a subsidiary of the railroad.

John Kangley, who simultaneously served as general manager of two different coal companies, had two company towns named for him, owned coal mines in Western Washington, and invented one of the first ever coal mining machines.

Mob rule in Roslyn

The Dec. 30, 1888, telegram sent from Tacoma had a note of urgency to it.

“In taking the new drivers to Roslyn this afternoon [No. 3 Mine Superintendent] Ronald and Williamson were surrounded and knocked senseless by strikers…”

Roslyn had been a hotbed of contention since the Knights of Labor had gone on strike August 11, 1888. Ten days later, the Northern Pacific Railroad had brought in African American coal miners to finish development of their No. 3 Mine in Ronald.

Then on Christmas Day, 100 mule drivers went on strike, which effectively shut down their Roslyn operations, In response, Superintendent Ronald brought 10 African American mule drivers from Ronald to Roslyn, and all hell broke loose.

“…several new men badly used up,” continued the telegram addressed to Kangley, “and mob rule reigns in Roslyn tonight.” (more…)

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Originally published in the Washington State Historical Society’s quarterly journal, Columbia, Spring 1994

By John Hanscom

Drawing of Franklin, circa 1887.

Bird’s-eye-view map of Franklin Mine and its environs, c. 1890. (Courtesy of Don Mason and the Black Diamond Historical Society.)

Henry Villard launched the Oregon Improvement Company in October 1880 as part of his grand scheme to dominate the development of the Pacific Northwest. By 1883 he had tied the area to the national economy with the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Expansive development of the Pacific Northwest seemed assured.

To fuel Villard’s steamships and locomotives, a dependable coal supply was a high priority. By February 1881 the Oregon Improvement Company had acquired the Seattle Coal and Transportation Company, including the Newcastle Mine east of Lake Washington, at a cost of one million dollars. The Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad (renamed the Columbia and Puget Sound) was also purchased for over half a million dollars to transport coal from mine to Seattle bunkers. Villard hired John L. Howard under a five-year contract at $10,000 per year as general manager of the coal business. (more…)

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Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 11, 1888

Action of the miners without serious cause, and they are expected to resume work today

Knights of Labor seal

Knights of Labor seal

Three hundred fifty men are idle at Black Diamond, a strike having been ordered at that place by the local Assembly of the Knights of Labor. The trouble, as near as can be learned, is due to alleged injustice against one man. According to one of the miners who came to town yesterday morning, the circumstances were about as follows:

A miner named Finnegan came to Black Diamond some weeks ago and applied for work. The mine being supplied, Finnegan was put to work on the outside and allowed laborers’ wages, $2.50 per day. Afterwards he asked to be put into the mine, and he was put at rock work on Section Twelve. (more…)

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Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 12, 1888

A community where constables and officers of the law are not needed—Remarkable progress and substantial prosperity

Drawing of Franklin, circa 1887.

Drawing of Franklin, circa 1887.

Probably the majority of the readers of the Post-Intelligencer have never inspected a coal mine or visited a town where coal mining was the exclusive industry. They have, therefore, necessarily but an imperfect knowledge of a large and very excellent class of the working population of this territory, and especially of King County.

A representative of this paper visited Franklin, in this county, a day or two ago and made some observations which may be of general interest. (more…)

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Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 22, 1889

Gilman and Cedar Mountain shut down—Black Diamond, Newcastle and Franklin running

Knights of Labor seal

Knights of Labor seal

The trouble among the coal miners in the territory has broken out again, and this time it seems to be general. There is no telling what or when the end will be.

The officers of the various coal companies in this city were greatly surprised to learn from telegrams received from the mines early yesterday morning that the miners had refused to go to work until the difficulties at Newcastle were adjusted to suit the Knights of Labor, and that the refusal was in obedience to an order issued by the district master workman located at Tacoma. (more…)

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If you’d like to learn more about the coal mining town of Franklin during its peak, 1885 until 1919, we’ve got you covered. Here you’ll find a list of web resources (and a couple of books and a thesis, too) that will quickly get you up to speed.

Top works of the Franklin mine.

Top works of the Franklin mine.

The next Franklin tours are March 7 and April 4, 2020. Come to the Black Diamond Museum at noon to sign up and for orientation. We’ll be leaving at 10 a.m. for Franklin (about three miles). A $5 donation per adult is suggested. Seniors, veterans, and children under 12 are free.

Bring boots, an umbrella, and an imagination. (more…)

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