[May 5, 1886]
A Dynamite Bomb Thrown Into a Crowd of Policemen
It explodes and covers the street with dead and mutilated officers –A storm of bullets follows- The police return the fire and wound a number of rioters- Harrowing scenes at the Desplaines Street Station- A night of terror.
A dynamite bomb thrown into a squad of policemen sent to disperse a mob at the corner of Desplaines and Randolph streets last night exploded with terrific force, killing and injuring nearly fifty men. The following is a partial list of the dead and wounded policemen:
JOSEPH DEAGAN, West Lake Street Station; fell dead in front of the Desplaines Street Station, in the arms of Detective John McDonald. He had sufficient vitality to walk from the scene of the shooting to the spot where he expired.
LIEUT. JAMES STANTON, West Lake Street Station, shot in both legs; not badly hurt.
JACOB HANSEN, West Lake Street Station, shot in both legs.
THOMAS SHANNON, Desplaines Street Station, shot in foot, leg, and arms; married and has three children. Lives at No. 24 Mather Street.
JOHN K. MCMAHON, West Chicago Avenue, shot in thigh and calf of right leg. Married, and has three children; lives at No. 118 North Green Street.
JOHN B. DOYLE, Desplaines street, bomb wounds in leg, knee, and back. Married, and as one child; lives at No. 142 ½ Jackson street.
TIMOTHY FLAVIN, Rawson Street Station, shot in leg, resides at station, married.
JOHN H. KING, Desplaines Street Station, bomb wound in neck, feet, and arms.
JAMES PLUNKETT, Desplaines Street Station, shot in the hand.
EDWARD BARRETT, West Chicago Avenue, shot in knee and ankle, has wife and six children, lives at No. 297 West Ohio Street.
J. SIMONS, West Chicago Avenue, shot in side; wife and two children; lives at No. 241 West Huron street.
A. C. KELLER, Desplaines Street Station, shot in side; lives at No. 36 Greenwich Street.
L. J. MURPHY, Desplaines Street, shot in neck and hand; foot hurt by bomb; married; lives at 317 ½ Fulton Street.
T. BUSTERLY, West Lake Street, shot in hand, wife and one child, lives at No. 436 West Twelfth Street.
H. T. SMITH, Desplaines Street, shot in the right ankle, single, lives at No. 36 Keith Street.
ARTHUR CONLEY, Desplaines street, bullet wound in leg and right shoulder, and bomb wound on right leg, maimed; lives at No. 318 West Harrison street.
C. WHITNEY, West Lake Street, wounded in the breast by a bomb, maimed; lives at No. 43 South Robey Street.
J.H. WILSON, Central detail, wounded by bomb in groin, shot in left hand, wife and five children lives at No. 810 Austin Avenue.
J. NORMAN, West Lake street, bullet wound in left hand, has fie and two children, lives at 612 Walnut street.
JOHN BARRETT, Desplaines street, shot in elbow, bomb wound in left side, married, lives at No. 199 Erie street.
MICHAEL HORNE, Desplaines street, shot in leg.
T. HENNESSEY, West Lake street, wound in head and right thing, married, lives at No. 287 Fulton street.
JOHN R. KING, Desplaines street, shot in leg, bomb wound in groin.
H.N. KRUGER, West Chicago Avenue, shot in leg; wife and two children, No. 184 Ramsey Street.
CHARLES FINK, West Lake Street, bomb wound in three places in right leg, married, lives at No. 124 Sangamon Street.
LEWIS JOHNSON, Desplaines street, shot in right leg, wife and four children, No. 40 West Erie street.
A. HELVERSON, West North Avenue, shot in both legs, single.
C. JOHNSON, West Chicago Avenue, bomb wound in leg, married.
S. ELIDZIO, West Chicago Avenue, bullet wound in left hand, married, No. 158 Cornell Street.
T. EBINGER, Central detail, shot in hand, wife and three children, No. 235 Thirty-Seventh Street.
M. O’BRIEN, Central detail, shot in leg, wife and three children, No. 491 Fifth Avenue.
T. BROPHY, West Lake Street, shot in hand, married, No. 35 Nixon Street.
T. B. MCMAHON, West Chicago Avenue, shot in thigh and calf, wife and three children, No. 118 Green Street.
D. HOGAN, Central detail, shot in right leg, wife and two children, no. 526 Austin Avenue.
M. CONDON, Desplaines street, three bomb wounds in legs, wife and one child.
PETER MCCORMICK, West Chicago Avenue Station, shot in arm, lives at No. 473 West Erie Street.
OFFICER ONEILS HANSON of the West North Avenue Station, seven shots. One severe one in right thigh, one in lower part of same limb, one in the back near the lower ribs, one in the left elbow, one in each knee, and one in the left ankle. All of the wounds were ragged and were apparently fired from a shotgun. Drs. J. W. Propeck and A. K. Smith are inclined to think his wounds are serious, but not necessarily fatal.
OFFICER JOSEPH GILSO of the West Chicago Avenue Station, bullet wounds in the right shoulder and one in the right leg, neither of which is serious.
JAMES O’DAY of the Desplaines Street Station shot in the knee seriously. He was removed to his home on Carroll Avenue, near Robey Street.
An Incendiary Speech
The following circular was distributed yesterday afternoon:
Tonight, at 7:30 o’clock
HAYMARKET, RANDOLPH STREET, BETWEEN DESPLAINES AND HALSTED.
Good speakers will be present to denounce the latest atrocious act of the police—the shooting of our fellow-workmen yesterday afternoon.
THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
In response to this about 1,500 people gathered, but a shower dispersed all but 600. Several speeches had been made of a more or less rabid character when Sam Fielden, the Socialist, put in an appearance.
“The Socialists,” he said, “are not going to declare war; but I tell you war has been declared upon us; and I ask you to get hold of anything that will help to resist the onslaught of the enemy and the usurper. The skirmish-lines have met. People have been shot. Men, women, and children have not been spared by the ruthless minions of private capital. It had no mercy. So ought you. You are called upon to defend yourselves, your lies, your future. What matters it whether you kill yourselves with work to get a little relief or die on the battle-field resisting the enemy? [Applause.] What is the difference? Any animal, however loathsome, will resist when stepped upon. Are men less than snails or worms? I have some resistance in me. I know that you have too. You have been robbed. You will be starved into a worse condition.”
At this point those on the outskirts of the crowd whispered “Police,” and many of them hastened to the corner of Randolph Street. Six or eight companies of police, commanded by Inspector Bonfield, marched rapidly past the corner. Fielden saw them coming and stopped talking. When at the edge of the crowd Inspector Bonfield said in a loud voice: “in the name of the law I command you to disperse.” The reply was a bomb, which exploded as soon as it struck. The first company of police answered with a volley right into the crowd, who scattered in all directions.
Hell for a minute
Fielden had just started speaking when part of the crowd, scenting danger, left. Numerous detectives mingled with the mob surrounding the wagon used as a speakers’ stand. A stiff breeze came up from the north and anticipating rain, more of the crowd left, the worst element, however, remaining. In a few minutes the police from the Desplaines Street station, marching abreast the breadth of Desplaines street, approached. A space of about two feet intervened between each line and they marched silently, so that they were upon the mob almost before the latter knew it. The glittering stars were no sooner seen than a large bomb was thrown into the midst of the police. The explosion shook the buildings in the vicinity, and played terrible havoc among the police. It demoralized them, and the Anarchists and rioters poured in a shower of bullets before the first action of the police was taken. Then the air overhead the fighting mass was a blaze of flashing fire. At the discharge of the bomb the bystanders on the sidewalk fled for their lives, and numbers were trampled upon in the mad haste of the crowd to get away. The groans of those hit could be heard above the rattle of the revolvers. In two minutes the ground was strewn with wounded men. Then the shots straggled, and shortly after all was quiet, and the police were masters of the situation.
What Another Reporter Saw.
Fielden was apparently about winding up his address when a dark line was seen to form north of Randolph street and in front of the Desplaines Street Station. For some time no attention was paid to it, but it gradually moved north, and the stars and buttons on the uniforms of a squad of policemen were seen glittering. The officers marched three deep, occupying the whole width of the roadway, but leaving the sidewalks clear. Their forms were plainly visible as they approached, for the electric lights in front of the Lyceum Theatre set them off so as to form a good mark for the rioters. As the line approached a cry arose in the crowd: “the police! The police!” and the south end of the crowd began to divide towards the sidewalk and walk south to Randolph Street. But the wagon in front of the Crane Bros. Manufacturing Company was not vacated by the speaker and the other “leaders.” Fielden continued speaking, raising his voice more and more as the police approached. There was no warning given. The crowd was rapidly dispersing. The police, marching slowly, were in a line with the east and west alley when something like a miniature rocket suddenly rose out of the crowd on the east sidewalk, in a line with the police. It rose about twenty feet in the air, describing a curve, and fell right in the middle of the street and among the marching police. It gave a red glare while in the air. The bomb lay on the ground a few seconds, then a loud explosion occurred, and the crowd took to their heels, scattering in all directions. Immediately after the explosion the police pulled their revolvers and fired on the crowd. An incessant fire was kept up for nearly two minutes, and at least 250 shots were fired. The air was filled with bullets. The crowd ran up the streets and alleys and were fired on by the now thoroughly enraged police. Then a lull followed. Many of the crowd had taken refuge in the halls or entrances of houses and in saloons. As the firing ceased they ventured forth, and a few officers opened fire on them. A dozen more shots were fired and then it cease entirely. The patrol-wagons that had stopped just south of Randolph Street were called up, and the work of looking for the dead and wounded began. The police separated into two columns and scoured the block north to Lake Street and south to Randolph. When the firing had stopped the air was filled with groans and shrieks. “O God! I’m shot, “Please take me home,” “Take me to the hospital, “and similar entreaties were heard all over within a radius of a block of the field of battle. Men were seen limping into drug-stores and saloons or crawling on their hands, their legs being disabled. Others tottered along the street like drunken men, holding their hands to their heads and calling for help to take them home. The open doorways and saloons in the immediate vicinity were crowded with men. Some jumped over tables and chairs, barricading themselves behind them; others crouched behind the walls, counters, doorways, and empty barrels. For a few minutes after the shooting nobody ventured out on the street. The dynamite shell did terrible execution among the police. About one-half of those wounded were picked up in the middle of the street where the explosion had occurred. The first to receive attention after the crowd was effectually dispersed were the wounded officers. They were taken to the Desplaines Street Station.
Reinforcements of Officers Arrive and Disperse the Mob- More Shots Fired.
After the explosion crowds of excited people assembled on Desplaines, Washington, and Randolph streets, and, with bated breath and compressed lips, talked over the wholesale murder committed by the Anarchists. Hardly a man spoke above a whisper, fearing to identify himself either with the Anarchistic fiends or the law-abiding citizens, as an expression either way meant a broken head and perhaps death. The big bell in the police station tower tolled out a riot alarm, while the telegrapher sent dispatches to other stations calling for aid. Ten minutes later, patrol wagons were dashing toward the scene of the riot from all directions bringing stalwart policemen. The mob shouted wildly as the wagons dashed by, and several missiles were thrown, all of which missed the bluecoats on the wagons. The Anarchists slunk back as a large company of policemen on foot marched down Desplaines street, their faces white with determination and their hands on their revolvers ready to shoot to kill at their commanding officer’s order. This company of police marched in front of the station while the dead and dying were being carried in. Several times the mob advanced with wild shouts from the north, but they were kept back as far as Randolph Street. The Anarchists, led by two wiry-whiskered foreigners, grew bolder and made several attempts to renew the attack but the police held their ground. The wind-bag orators who had harangued the fire-eaters earlier in the evening were not the leaders after business began, but they slunk away and were out of danger. At 11:30, the police made a grand drive at the mob, which was growing larger instead of diminishing. Blank cartridges were fired from hundreds of revolvers in two volleys which set the crowd flying in all directions. The police gave chase as far as the Lyceum Theatre, firing again, and the crowd, covering Madison Street from curb to curb, did not stop running until Halsted Street was passed. This fusillade from the officers practically dispersed the mob, and at 11:45 there were but few people on the streets near the station.
After the rioters had been cleared away Desplaines street looked black and deserted, save where the gas-lamps showed blood on the sidewalks and curbstones. The police had the upper hand at midnight.
The only citizen wounded whose name could be ascertained was Michael Hahn of No. 157 Eagle Street, who was shot in the back and leg. He was carried into a hallway at No. 182 West Madison Street were he lay groaning. He was able to walk to the patrol wagon, in which he was carried to the County Hospital. He was probably a rioter, but he claimed to be an unoffending citizen.
This will give an idea of the locality in which the tragedy occurred:
A Harrowing Spectacle.
The squad-room at the Desplai8nes Street Station, after the wounded were carried in, presented a most harrowing spectacle. Half a dozen men from whom the blood literally flowed in streams were stretched upon the floor, others were laid out on tables and benches, and others not so badly wounded were placed in chairs to await with what patience they could the assistance of the surgeons. Mattresses and other bedding were dragged downstairs, and dozens of willing hands did their utmost to assuage the pain of the sufferers. Very soon the doctors were busy with needle, lancet, and probe; priests passed from one wounded man to another, administering brief consolatory words to some and the sacrament of extreme unction to others; officers and volunteer assists went around with stimulants, or helped to bind up wounds or held the patient down while the surgeon was at work, or carried some of the wounded to the other apartments, or in some other way did what could be done to help in easing pain or saving life. Pools of blood formed on the floor, and was trampled about until almost every foot of space was red and slippery. The groans of the dying men arose above the heavy shuffling of feet, and to add to the agony the cries of women—relatives of officers supposed to have been wounded—could be heard from an outer room, beyond which the women were not permitted to enter. Men who had only got a foot or an arm wounded, even though the blood poured from it in streams, sat still, claiming no help in the face of the greater agony. “O, Christ! Let me die!” “O, merciful God!” and similar expressions were continually rung forth as the surgeon’s knife or saw was at work or when attempts were made to move those more badly wounded. The priests in attendance were Fathers Kearns, Moloney, Kinsella, Hickey, and Walsh, all from St. Patrick’s and Father Byrne from St. Jariath’s. The sacrament of extreme unction was administered to eight of the wounded before they were moved from the spot where they had been first laid.
The thirty beds on the upper floor were not sufficient for even the accommodation of the more severely wounded, and several beds had to be made up on the floor. The scene here was as painful as that seen previously on the floor below. The doctors were busy dressing wounds until almost 1 a.m. and it was past midnight before the priests were ready to leave. Basins of blood were seen at nearly every bedside, and great clots and blotches bespattered the floor, the bed-clothing, and the clothing of those at work as well as of the wounded. Every few minutes, it seemed, a new sufferer was helped into the room, leaning on the shoulders of this brother officers, these later-comers being those who had been slightly wounded, comparatively speaking, and who had rested wherever they could until their brothers were attended to. Two officers were observed bandaging up their own wounds—Peter McCormick and Michael Gordon, the former wounded in the arm and the latter writhing with a fractured foot—but never a moan came from either, each doing what he could for himself until somebody volunteered to help. It seems invidious to select names in this manner where so much heroism was displayed—in fact, to obtain the names of the more heroic was impossible in the excitement and where each hero was perhaps in the agonies of death.
Among the doctors who were promptly on the ground and rendered efficient service were the following:
Drs. O.T. Shenick, George W. Reynolds, D. D. Moran, J.C. Bryan, J.M. Fleming, J.J. Davis, C.A. Stewart, Murphy, Kerber, and Lee.
One of the most painful scenes witnessed at the station was the arrival of women relatives of injured officers, who raised a most pitiful wail of anguish as soon as they entered the door. This was not a time for sentiment, however; it would not do for the wounded men to have wailing women around them and consequently the females were firmly and not urgently excluded from the the rooms where the sufferers lay, though the stalwart officers who pushed them back did so with tears in their eyes.
About twenty minutes to 1, Nurses Scott, Sheldon, Bushnell, Lock, and Ricks of the Illinois Training-School for Nurses arrived at the station with Capt. McGarigle. They at once offered their services to dress the wounds. Their services were gratefully accepted by the doctors and their tender nursing deeply appreciated by the sufferers.
The Wounded Rioters and Citizens – A Dead Bohemian
Below stairs at the station was the resting place of the wounded rioters and citizens the police had brought in. In the centre of the room lay the dead body of a Bohemian. A shot had entered his body in the small of the back and had gone clear through him, protruding under the skin. Scattered about just as they were brought in were a dozen men more or less seriously wounded, and waiting for medical attendance. One poor fellow with a flesh-wound in the leg kept up a continuous moaning and screaming, but the remainder were as quiet as the death which was settling down upon not a few of the number. Several were unable to give their names and occupations fully, but the list ran about as follows:
Robert Schultz, No. 88 Harrison Street, waiter at No. 165 Ashland Avenue, just coming from the Lyceum; shot in the leg.
John Sachman, No. 103 South Desplaines street: was lounging along Randolph Street when he was shot in the leg.
Franz Wrosch, residence in the cheap lodging-houses. “I just stopped and listened,” he groaned, “and then the fire came to my shoulder and sides.” He will probably die. Not a Socialist.
Charles Schumaker, No. 19 Fry Street; was with two friends. They ran away and he was shot in the back. It is doubtful if he will recover.
Emil Lotz, keeper of a small shoe shop at No. 25 North Halsted Street; when he got through work he went out to hear the speeches and was shot in the shoulder.
John Edbund, a carriagemaker at NO. 1138 Milwaukee avenue; clubbed in the head.
Peter Ley, No. 536 West Huron street; shot in the back.
Joe Kucker, a hanger-on around West Side “barrel-houses” and boarding at No. 116 Randolph street; shot in the side.’
B. Le Plant, Earl Park, Ind.: “I bought some peanuts and was eating them when the bomb went off,” he said; “the shot broke my leg and I fell. In a second a shot went into my shoulder and a policeman kicked me.” Franz Kaderkit, a member of the Central Labor Union and residing at the corner of Mohawk street and North Avenue, wounded on the head and right shoulder by a policeman’s club. Thomas Haha of No. 157 Eagle Street was shot in the back and leg. He was carried into a hallway at No. 182 West Madison Street, where he lay groaning. He was able to walk to the patrol wagon, in which he was carried to the County Hospital. He was probably a rioter, but he claimed to be an unoffending citizen
In a search of the dead Bohemian, but 12 cents was found upon him. Not a trace of a name could be found. He was apparently about 35 years of age.
Wounded Men Seeking the Drug-Stores.
Every drug-store in the vicinity was crowded immediately with citizens who had received more or less serious injuries. In John Hieland’s drug-store, at the corner of Desplaines and Madison streets, over a dozen men were carried by their friends, their wounds dressed, and then they were taken home. Their names are entirely unknown to any one except their friends.
At Ebert’s drug store, at the corner of Halsted and Madison, a man who said he was in the employ of the Chicago Sand & Gravel Company staggered in, and it was found that he had a bullet in his left breast, just below the nipple, in close vicinity to the heart, and also a bullet in his right leg. He was taken home by a friend. Five other men had bullets extracted from arms and legs at this place by Drs. Shenick, Stewart, and Minte. One man had a serious bullet-wound in his neck.
Three men suffering from bullet-wounds were cared for at Barker’s drug store, NO. 280 West Madison Street and three others who had slighter injuries.
Michael Hahn of No. 257 Eagle Street was found by a physician sitting on a stairway near Halsted and Madison streets faint with loss of blood from two wounds. He was taken home.
It was a common spectacle to see men having their wounds dressed on the sidewalk.
The street-cars going in every direction contained men who had been wounded but were strong enough to help themselves away.
Clearing the Streets
The feeling among the police when they fully realized the extent of the calamity which had befallen their comrades rose to a frenzy, and nothing but the discipline among them and the presence of Inspector Bonfield, who was one of the very few cool men in the station, prevented their rushing out and talking summary vengeance upon the crowds of loiterers on the sidewalks who jeered the flying patrol wagons as they passed filled with officers on the way to the scene of the disaster. The cruel heartlessness of the men who exulted over the fact that more than a score of policemen had fallen victims to the deadly Nihilist bomb surpasses belief, and yet it is a fact that, crowded along the sidewalks on both sides of Desplaines street from Madison street to the station, there were hundreds of Communistic sympathizers who exulted in the fiendish work which had been perpetrated but a few moments before. “served the damned coppers right,” exclaimed a brutal looking hoodlum in front of the Lyceum Theatre, and the next moment he was running for dear life in front of a company of police which came charging down Desplaines street toward Madison brandishing their batons and firing their revolvers in the air. It would have gone hard with any man who should have dared give utterance to such a sentiment as this in the presence of an officer; he would have been killed without a word. As the police by companies swept the streets adjacent to the Desplaines station the mob gave way sullenly and with the worst grace possible, but there was no help for it. Goaded to madness the police were in that condition of mind which permitted of no resistance, and in a measure they were as dangerous as any mob of Communists, for they were blinded by passion and unable to distinguish between the peaceable citizen and the Nihilists assassin. But then at such a time honest men had no business on the streets; their places were at home, and the police took it for granted that no man, unless he had had work on hand, would be hanging around the vicinity. For squares from the Desplaines Station companies and squads of offices cleared the streets and mercilessly clubbed all who demurred at the order to go.
Scenes Before and After the Explosion – Men with Revolvers
The most enthusiastic of the crowd were Germans. There was also a large number of Poles and Bohemians, bedsides some American-looking people who came to look on and detectives who had on old clothes. Groups of Germans were discussing the anticipated trouble. Three of these fellow stood right behind the reporter, and he heard their conversation, which they kept up in a not very low tone, although Parsons was talking. “Our people don’t know anything,” one of them said. “They always shoot in the air when they ought to shoot low. By shooting high they don’t hit anybody and often kill one of their own crowd. I have trained in crowds where they knew a thing or two, and our leaders always advised them to aim low.”
“And then, again,” said the second, “they don’t stick together. Haven’t Parsons, Spies, and all those fellows told us to stick together? There is where our strength lies.”
Several men had their revolvers in their hands under their coats and were prepared for an attack. These drifted around to the northern end of the crowd, where the street was much darker. The windows of the brick building on the northeaster n corner of Randolph and Desplaines streets were filled with the heads and faces of men and women,. One of the wounded officers said he saw the bomb come from one of these windows. Officer Marx said he saw the bomb come from the wagon in which the speakers stood.
When the first shots were fired most of the crowd scattered east and west on Randolph street. The bullets followed the fleeing ones, and many of them dropped on the way before they got out of danger. Quite a number of them ran up towards Halsted Street, and when they had nearly reached it the leader pulled out a huge revolver. He was apparently the same man whom the reporter had heard telling the other two that to stick together was the main thing. “Stick together,” he cried. “Come here and let us go and shoot them.” They started towards Desplaines street on a trot, but had only gone a short distance when several shots were fired on the battleground. They turned around and disappeared towards the street from where they had just come.
A number of women were also seen in the crowd, and several scampered screaming down Randolph Street. Men were seen falling 500 and 600 feet up Randolph Street, west of Desplaines. Hats were lost, and several, stooping to pick up something they had dropped, were trampled on by the mad mob. In the neighboring stores everything was confusion. Men in their haste to get away from the bullets broke open the doors of the stores and entered, hiding in the first convenient place they could find. The proprietors struck at the intruders with clubs and threatened them with pistols, but they pushed past these and entered.
No More Free Speech and Dynamite
Mayor Harrison, in the inner fringe of a crowd which numbered Chief Ebersold, Inspector Bonfield, and Capt. Ward, was leaning on the iron railing leading up to the office of the Desplaines Street Station at midnight. His head was bowed and his face bore a grave and abstracted expression, although he was laconically taking part in the conversation going on. A Tribune reporter with a question aroused him sufficiently to induce him to change his position and move a step or two away. Not wishing to annoy him with any questions that answered themselves, the reporter plumped this:
“Mr. Mayor, in view of the terrible facts of the night is the city prepared to meet any expected or possible emergencies?”
“Yes, we are ready for any probable or possible criminal outbreaks.”
“This murderous move of the Socialists was not anticipated?”
“Not dreamt of. Free speech is a right, but accompanied with murder and dynamite is a crime to be suppressed at all hazards.”
“Can the city keep down this Socialistic element that planned the horrors of a while ago?”
“Yes, and more than that, now that it is plainly and fully warned, it will.”
“What steps have you concluded to take?”
“No new ones are necessary. The laws are sufficient and they must be obeyed.”
“Then you have no intention to call on the State militia?”
“Why should I? This thing is already suppressed.”
No probability of another similar move on the part of the Socialistic crowd?”
“I think not. The Government of the city will and is able to take care of its people.”
From the first the Mayor was restive, and finally and with a chagrined air moved away.
The Detectives After Spies and the Other Communist Leaders
Many oaths were sworn by officers, as they gathered around their writhing comrades in the sound-room of the station and ministered to their wants, that they would give Sam Fielden, Spies, Parsons, and the rest of the Communistic outfit a short shrift if they managed to lay their hands upon them. “These men should have been hanged or driven out of town at the time of the street-car strike,” said one, “and then this thing never would have happened. They have been preaching dynamite for years, and now they have given us a practical application of it. The way to do now is to kill these _____ ______ scoundrels whenever we meet them. We won’t fool with them any more.”
The celerity with which the leaders of the dynamite movement got out of the way as soon as the explosion occurred was little short of marvelous, and this fact led many to believe that they had knowledge of what was to be done, and therefore took occasion to escape the consequences they knew would follow. As soon as the superior police officers could collect their with, orders were at once issued for the arrest of the dynamite orators, and they therefore will be behind the bars as soon as the detectives can get hold of them. Some said that mob violence would be attempted when the Socialists are placed under arrest, and it is also a fact that the police do not at present feel as if they would make any very determined effort to save them from Judge Lynch.
It is not believed that the Communistic leaders will dare trust themselves in the city: they are notorious cowards and always take good care to see that their own skins are safe, no matter how many other lives they may lure to destruction. This crowning outrage will influence public sentiment and cause the people generally to wake to a realizing sense of the true situation. Mayor Harrison was at the Desplaines Street Station for quite awhile last night, but he said nothing as to whether or not Communistic meetings will be allowed in the future. He was very grave, and as he walked around among the wounded, his face wore a pallor not unlike marble. It may be safe to say that from this time forward there will be no Socialistic meetings held Sunday afternoons on the Lake-Front. If the police don’t disperse them, the people will.
Chief Ebersold when interviewed was as suave as usual, but not disposed to talk. He said that his force was ready for any present contingencies that could possibly arise, and that the police needed no help to crush and quiet Socialism and the red flag. He had no intention of calling for or suggesting aid from the State Government or militia. His police force were brave and devoted to the city, and he and they had faith that they could guard it against all criminals and organized unlawful uprisings.
“Do you intend to prosecute the men who by speech incited the terrible work of tonight?”
“Yes, we will pursue them,” and he uttered this with an emphasis not customary with him. There was something like haste as well as purpose in the tone, and he walked away rather to avoid further questions than to give instructions.
Lieut. Bowler’s Statement
Lieut. Bowler, who was in charge of the second company of twenty-four men, said to the reporter:
“Every man in my company is wounded, with but three exceptions. I led the company up to the wagon from which the speeches were being made. Inspector Bonfield and Capt. Ward were immediately in front of me. Capt. Ward told the speakers they would have to stop, as he had orders to disperse the meeting. As he finished speaking a bomb was thrown from the wagon and fell directly in the centre of my company, where it exploded.”
“Are you positive the bomb was thrown from that wagon?”
“Yes, I am. I could make no mistake about it, for I saw it thrown. Officers Reid and Doyle were knocked down by it. Bonfield, Ward, and myself were the only three to escape. Every one behind me was wounded – just mowed down.
Police Inspector Bonfield was next buttonholed, with difficulty. His resolution and thoughtfulness as well as the authority known to be vested in him made him always a centre for his subordinates. The questions asked him had to be few and pertinent.
“Had you an intimation or warning that such a terrible crime was to be committed?”
“Not exactly, though I heard in the afternoon, by means not necessary to mention, that the Communists were bent on mischief. Their plan was to make a diversion by a meeting in the southwest side, at Centre avenue and Eighteenth Street, and while the police were expected to be gathered near there, their real determined body was to attack the Milwaukee & St. Paul freight-houses, where 150 men brought form the outside were under presumed safety.”
“But they did not in that point succeed?”
“No, we foiled them. They held their meeting in the southwest, and a sufficient number of men were sent there to look out for any movements they might make. But anticipating a hellish intent underlying the haymarket meeting we had massed most of our force at the Desplaines Street Station. I also had a number of officers in citizens’ clothes detailed to attend the meeting and report to me regularly of its progress and character. More than one of these men came and said that he manner of the meting and tone of ht speeches were such as to urge immediate action for the dispersal of the gather. I said, “No, let it be beyond all question that the law is broken before we move.” Finally the speakers urged riot and slaughter; they should have, they said, revenge before morning for yesterday’s doings at McCormick’s, and revenge on the aristocrats and capitalists for their oppression of the people. They urged all laboring men to arm themselves and not delay the hour of vengeance. I then thought it was time to act and formed the police held in the station in reserve into four companies and, taking them through the side door, marched them in columns up to Randolph street, to where the speaking was going on. Capt. Ward and myself were in front and as we reached the wagon, where a man was speaking, Capt. Ward stepped to the front and said: ‘In the name of the State of Illinois I command you peaceable to disperse,’ and, turning slightly to each side, he added, ‘and I call upon you, and you, to assist.’ The crowd gave way and took possession of the sidewalks. Immediately I heard a whizzing in the air above and behind me and then a tremendous explosion. Almost instantly a fusillade of pistol-shots from the sidewalks followed. I ordered the men who were commencing to break to form and then we opened fire.” Inspector Bonfield, like the Mayor and the Chief, thinks the police force is able to meet of itself any possible deviltry that the Socialists dare plan or try to execute.
The Meeting – Speeches of Spies, Parsons, and Fielden
Crowds began to gather all over Hay-Market Square as early as 7:30. At the corners of Desplaines, Union, and Halsted streets the men stood together and talked over the situation. Some said they had been told the revolution would be started that night. There were many member s of the Lehr-und-Wehr Verein, the Socialistic Rifle Union, among the crowds, so some who knew them said. There was some uncertainty as to the precise place where the meting was going to be held. An anarchist informed a Tribune reporter that the International Working-People’s Association had nothing to do with the matter. The Arbeiter-Zeitung had not issued the call, but had taken the advertisement from some unknown persons. Nevertheless, their speakers were there in full force. About 8:30 speakers were called for, and August Spies ascended a wagon that was standing on Desplaines street close to the sidewalk in front of the Crane Bros. establishment, just north of the east and west alley. He called the crowd of about 1,500 together and told them that Parsons and Fielden would soon be there to address them. He jumped off the wagon and went round the square, bringing the men together towards the improvised platform, while somebody went after Parsons. A little before 9 o’clock Spies again called the meeting to order and began his address. The majority of the crowd were foreigners. Some had to have the words of the speaker interpreted to them by their friends. Among the well-known Anarchists present were Michael Schwab, B. Rau, and a man named Schnaubelt.
Mayor Harrison was on the ground early, and walked up and down the square. He was asked if he was going to speak, and replied: “No; and no one else either.” He walked over to the stand, and then went to the Desplaines Street Station. About 300 policemen had been quartered there and in the neighborhood to be ready for an emergency. It was stated that there would be no interference so long as the usual labor talk was indulged in, but nothing revolutionary would be tolerated in view of the present excited condition of the strikers.
Spies’ Inflammatory Harangue
August Spies, the first speaker, was remarkably mild. He said the meeting was called to discuss the general situation, not for the purpose of raising a row or disturbance. All violence was the outgrowth of their degraded condition and the oppression to which they were subjected. He addressed a meeting in the neighborhood of McCormick’s Monday. His hearers were good church-going people. They didn’t want to hear him because he was a Socialist, but spoke to them and told them to stick together. Some stones were thrown – a harmless sport. The police came and blood was shed. It was said that he inspired the attack on McCormick’s. That was a lie. The fight was going on. Now was the chance to strike for the existence of an oppressed class. Oppressors wanted them to be content; if not, they would kill them. The thought of liberty which inspired your sires to fight for their freedom ought to animate you today. The day was not far distant when they would resort to hanging these men. [Applause and cries of “Hang them now!”] McCormick was the man who created the row Monday, and he must be held responsible for the murder of their brothers. [Cries of “Hang him!”] “Don’t make any threats,” said Spies; “they are no of no avail. Whenever you get ready to do something do it, and don’t make any threats beforehand.” [Applause.] There were in the city today between 40,000 and 50,000 men locked out because they refused to obey the supreme will or dictation of a small number of men. The families of 25,000 or 30,000 men were starving because their husbands and fathers are not men enough to withstand and resist the dictation of a few thieves on a grand scale. [Applause.] Should it be out of the power of a few men to say whether they should work or not? Would they place their lives, their happiness, everything out of the arbitrary power of a few rascals who had been raised in idleness and luxury upon the fruits of labor? [Applause.] Would they stand that? [Cries of “No.”] The press said they were Bohemians, Poles, Russians, Germans – that there were no Americans among them. That was a lie. Every honest American was with them. [Applause.] Those who were not were unworthy of their traditions and their forefathers. [Applause.]
Parsons Is More Moderate than Usual.
A.R. Parsons was next introduced, and repeated his old, old story, claiming that labor was deprived of its natural right to live, and that the only hope of the workingman was in Socialism. Without it they would soon become Chinamen. [Applause.] It was time to raise a note of warning. There was nothing in the eight-hour movement to excite the capitalist. Did his hearers know that the military were under arms, and the Gatling gun was loaded and ready to mow them down. [Applause.] Was this German, or Russia, or Spain? [A voice, “It looks like it.”] Whenever they made a demand for eight hours or an increase of pay the militia, and the Deputy-Sheriffs and Pinkerton’s men were called out and they were shot, and clubbed, and murdered in the streets. [Applause.] He was not there for the purpose of inciting anybody, but to speak the truth, to tell the facts as they existed, even though it should cost him his life before morning. [Cheers.] He told about the Cincinnati demonstration, which was headed by the Rifle Union, carrying Springfield rifles, “and the red flag of liberty, fraternity, and equality for labor all over the world – the red flag of emancipated labor.” [Applause.] He denounced patriotism as a humbug. “It behooves you,” he said, “as you love your wife and children, if you would not see them perish with hunger, killed or cut down like dogs in the street, American men, in the interest of liberty and your independence, to arm, TO ARM yourselves. [Applause, and cries of “We will do it!” and “We are ready now!”] They were not. As this civilization was founded upon force, only by force could they attain relief. [Applause.]
Sam Fielden Talks to the Crowd
Sam Fielden began by saying that there were premonitions of danger. All knew it. The press said the Anarchists would sneak away. They were not going to. [Applause.] If they continued to be robbed it wouldn’t be long before they would be murdered. There was no security for the working classes under the present social system. A few individuals controlled the means of living, and they held the workingman in a vise. Everybody doesn’t know that. Those who knew it were tired of it, and knew the others would get tired of it too. They were determined to end it, and would end it, and there was no power in the land that could prevent them. [Applause.] Congressman Foran had said the laborer could get nothing from legislation. [Applause.] He also said that the laborers could get some relief from their present condition when the rich man knew it was unsafe for him to live in a community where there were dissatisfied workmen; that that would solve the labor problem. [Applause.] The speaker didn’t know whether they were Democrats or Republicans, but whichever they were they worshiped at the shrine of rebels. John Brown, Jefferson, Washington, Patrick Henry, Hopkins said to the people, the law is your enemy; we are rebels against it. The law is only framed for those that are your enslavers. [“That’s true.”] Men in their blind rage attacked McCormick’s factory, and were shot down in cold blood by the law [applause] of the City of Chicago in the protection of property. Those men were going to do some damage to a certain person’s interest, who was a large property-owner. Therefore the law came to his defense. And when McCormick undertook to do some injury to the interest of those who had no property the law also came to his defense, and not to the workingman’s defense when he (McCormick) attacked him and his living; [Cries of “No.”] There was the difference. The law made no distinctions. A million men own all the property in this country. The law is of no use to the other 54,000,000. [“Right enough.”] You have nothing more to do with the law except to lay hands upon it and throttle it until it makes its last kick. [Applause.] It has turned your brethren out on the wayside and degraded them until they have lost the last vestige of humanity and become mere things and animals. Keep your eye upon it. Throttle it. Kill it. Stop it. Do everything you can to wound it—to impede its progress. If you don’t, it is a life and death struggle between you and it, and it will kill you. Remember, if you ever do anything for yourselves, prepare to do it for yourselves. Don’t turn over you business to anybody else. No man deserves anything unless he is man enough to make an effort to lift himself from oppression.
At this point, as a storm was approaching, Mr. Parsons suggested that they adjourn to the hall on the corner. The crowd had gradually diminished after Parsons concluded, and more went away, leaving perhaps 500 to listen to the continuation of Fielden’s talk.
He went on to ask if it wasn’t a fact that they had no choice as to their existence—that they couldn’t dictate what their labor was worth? He who had to obey the will of another in order to live was a slave. [Applause.] Could they do anything except by the strong arm of resistance? His next sentence was followed by the arrival of the police.
At midnight the situation was such that it was deemed safe to send away the reserves who had arrived to aid the Third Precinct men and the policemen from the First, Fourth, and Fifth Precincts were dispatched in wagons to their respective headquarters. Some men had been sent from the Second Precinct, but they were sent back as soon as the first fight was over, as they have dangerous territory in the lumber districts to guard. The greater portion of the Second Precinct men were held at the Desplaines Street Station, giving Capt. Ward about 150 men with which to police the district for the remainder of the night.
It was reported that both the First and Second Regiments had been ordered to their armories last night after the news of the rioting had become noised abroad. A guard was on duty at either place and declined to answer inquiries as to the strength of the force under arms.
Sergt. Anson Bolte of the First Infantry, I.N.G., Company C, heard the firing, and supposing that his company had been called out, hurried to the scene. He was in citizen’s uniform, and a police officer, supposing him to be one of the mob, took him to the station. After spending two hours in a cell he was identified and released.
The police force engaged in the battle numbered 174 men. These were divided into six companies. On leaving the Desplaines Street Station the battalion headed north, Lieut. Steele, with fifty men, leading. Capt. Ward with Lieut. Bowler, Sergt. Moore, and twenty-four men came next, followed by Lieut. Hubbard with Sergt. Fitzpatrick and twenty-seven men. Next was Lieut. Penzen with twenty-four men, Lieut. Beard with sixteen men bringing up the rear.