The River Ran Red

The River Ran Red

David P. Demarest General Editor
Fannia Weingartner Coordinating Editor
With an Afterword by David Montgomery
Copyright Date: 1992
DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrbcr
Pages: 244
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  • Book Info
    The River Ran Red
    Book Description:

    The violence that erupted at Carnegie Steel's giant Homestead mill near Pittsburgh on July 6. 1892, caused a congressional investigation and trials for treason, motivated a nearly successful assassination attempt on Frick, contributed to the defeat of President Benjamin Harrison for a second term, and changed the course of the American labor movement."The River Ran Red"commemorates the one-hundredth anniversary of the Homestead strike of 1892. Instead of retelling the story of the strike, it recreates the events of that summer in excerpts from contemporary newspapers and magazines, reproductions of pen-and-ink sketches and photographs made on the scene, passages from the congressional investigation that resulted from the strike, first-hand accounts by observers and participants, and poems, songs, and sermons from across the country. Contributions by outstanding scholars provide the context for understanding the social and cultural aspects of the strike, as well as its violence."The River Ran Red"is the collaboration of a team of writers, archivists, and historians, including Joseph Frazier Wall, who writes of the role of Andrew Carnegie at Homestead, and David Montgomery, who considers the significance of the Homestead Strike for the present. The book is both readable and richly illustrated. It recalls public and personal reactions to an event in our history who's reverberations can still be felt today.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-8010-0
    Subjects: History, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrbcr.1
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrbcr.2
    (pp. vi-vi)
    Russell W. Gibbons
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrbcr.3
    (pp. vii-xii)
    David P. Demarest Jr.
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrbcr.4

    An 1890 engraving—a company advertisement—displays the 90-acre Homestead Steel Works, purchased in 1883 by Carnegie Bros. & Co. from Pittsburgh Bessemer Steel. The latter had sold the plant for the cost of its investment when it could not settle with the local unions. In the engraving, the original plant, with its 1881 Bessemer shop, is at left center. Across the middle of the picture, the 119-inch plate mill (1890) and the site’s first open hearth shop (1886)—both built by Carnegie—stretch out toward the Monongahela River. OH2, the site’s newest open hearth complex (1890), is at the near...

    (pp. 1-24)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrbcr.5

    I have said how desirable it was that we should endeavor, by every means in our power, to bring about a feeling of mutuality and partnership between the employer and the employed. Believe me, fellow workmen, the interests of Capital and Labor are one. He is an enemy of Labor who seeks to array Labor against Capital. He is an enemy of Capital who seeks to array Capital against Labor.

    I have given the subject of Labor and Capital careful study for years, and I wish to quote a few paragraphs from an article I published years ago:

    “The greatest...

  6. 2 GATHERING STORM February to June 28, 1892
    (pp. 25-46)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrbcr.6

    The Homestead scale was prepared early in the spring [1892]. In January, the superintendent of the mill, Mr. Potter sent for the joint committee of the local lodges and requested that the men prepare a scale. It was not the policy of the Carnegie firm, Mr. Potter said, to leave the way open for a strike. If there were differences of opinion between employer and employees, the proper method of settlement was by arbitration, and it was, therefore, advisable that the scale should be presented early, so as to leave ample time for an amicable adjustment of disputed points.


  7. 3 LOCKOUT June 29 to July 4, 1892
    (pp. 47-72)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrbcr.7

    At 12 o’clock last night every department of the immense Carnegie steel works at Homestead was shut down, throwing about 3,800 men out of employment. The men received notice of the shut-down quietly, as they had been fully prepared for it by the following notice posted up in many places throughout the great works:

    “All employes of the several departments will report to the office on Saturday next, July 2, when they will receive their full pay.”

    This notice is simply a notice of discharge. It has been the custom of the Carnegies, and all other mills, to discharge their...

  8. 4 THE BATTLE July 5-6, 1892
    (pp. 73-104)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrbcr.8

    A telephone message from Lock No.1 said that 300 Pinkerton detectives passed there at 2:15 A. M. on a model barge, towed by the Steamer Little Bill, for Homestead.

    A telegram from Homestead received at 3 o’clock this morning stated that news of the Pinkerton force passing Lock No. 1 was received at Homestead at 2:30 A. M. Instantly the town was alarmed and thousands of men, women and children lined the river banks. Many of them were armed with clubs and revolvers.

    At 4 A. M. the barges were in sight of Homestead, but had not reached the landing....

  9. 5 MOURNING AND OUTRAGE July 7-11, 1892
    (pp. 105-126)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrbcr.9

    ’Twas in a Pennsylvania town not very long ago

    Men struck against reduction of their pay

    Their millionaire employer with philanthropic show

    Had closed the work till starved they would obey

    They fought for home and right to live where they had toiled so long

    But ere the sun had set some were laid low

    There’re hearts now sadly grieving by that sad and bitter wrong, God help them for it was a cruel blow.

    God help them tonight in their hour of affliction

    Praying for him whom they’ll ne’er see again

    Hear the poor orphans tell their sad story...

  10. 6 BAYONETS RULE July 12-22, 1892
    (pp. 127-162)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrbcr.10

    Homestand, Pa., July 10, 1892. —The Advisory Committee that was formed to conduct the affairs of the locked out men and which dissolved and disavowed all responsibility for what might happen if the Sheriff sent deputies here was reorganized to-night. It formally disbanded and destroyed its books last Tuesday in the presence of the Sheriff, and nominally it has had no existence since, although its members have been in charge of affairs.

    The meeting for reorganization was held in the headquarters building in the old room the committees occupied before. The reason for the reorganization was that a number of...

  11. 7 ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT July 23, 1892
    (pp. 163-180)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrbcr.11

    One afternoon a customer came in for an ice-cream, while I was alone in the store. As I set the dish down before him, I caught the large headlines of his paper: “LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN HOMESTEAD—FAMILIES OF STRIKERS EVICTED FROM THE COMPANY HOUSES—WOMAN IN CONFINEMENT CARRIED OUT INTO STREET BY SHERIFFS.” I read over the man’s shoulder Frick’s dictum to the workers: he would rather see them dead than concede to their demands, and he threatened to import Pinkerton detectives. The brutal bluntness of the account, the inhumanity of Frick towards the evicted mother, inflamed my mind. Indignation...

  12. 8 A CAUSE LOST August 1892 to January 1893
    (pp. 181-202)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrbcr.12

    Homestead, Pa., July 26. —It is quite likely Hugh O’Donnell will resign the chairmanship of the advisory committee if he has not already done so, and the indications are that the committee is now casting about to secure another leader. The breakup was caused by the refusal of the committee to approve of O’Donnell’s sentiments looking toward an “almost unconditional surrender” in the fight at hand. He expressed himself as being anxious to see a settlement even if he had to be sacrificed, and vowed that if the advisory committee did not agree with him he would resign the chairmanship....

  13. 9 LEGACY The Next Hundred Years
    (pp. 203-224)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrbcr.13

    The Pennsylvania legislature, which assembled in January, 1893, was obliged to meet the Pinkerton question squarely. All the members of the lower branch of that body—the House of Representatives—and one-half of the members of the senate came fresh from the people, having been chosen in the November elections, and a large proportion of them stood pledged to their constituents to aid in the passage of an anti-Pinkerton bill. Many measures of this character were introduced, but that upon which support was centered, by common consent, was a bill introduced by Representative John Kearns, of Pittsburgh, a gentleman in...

    (pp. 225-228)
    David Montgomery
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrbcr.14

    The battle against the Pinkertons and the subsequent military occupation of Homestead were not uncommon or isolated events. Commanders of national guard units around the country reported 23 instances in which their troops had been called out during 1892. In addition to patrolling the streets of Homestead for three months, state military forces had suppressed striking iron miners in Soudan, Minnesota, as well as silver and lead miners in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, escorted strikebreakers through crowds of defiant railroad switchmen in Buffalo, New York, occupied Coal Creek and Oliver Springs, Tennessee, where miners had released convict miners from their stockades,...

    (pp. 229-230)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrbcr.15
  16. Credits and Contributors
    (pp. 231-232)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrbcr.16