UA Library

Prescott Journal Miner

July 11, 1917

Jerome and Prescott Send I. W. W. on their Way Unrejoiced

Home Guard Corral I. W. W. at Junction and Move ‘Em

            Called to actual service for the first time, ten squads of Prescott Home Guards raced to Jerome Junction yesterday morning and penned up the band of I. W. W. members, deported yesterday by union miners from the big copper camp. Less than an hour after the emergency, call went out, enough armed men stood about the platform in the junction, to have taken care of five times the number of undesirables.

            A squad of deputy sheriffs, commanded by Under Sheriff John H. Robinson, led the way to the junction. Some of the motor cars made the 20 miles in less than half an hour.

            As the train drew into the station, it was surrounded by men armed with high power rifles. The prisoners were herded into a bunch between two rows of boxcars and held there until the entire contingent, comprising 20 automobiles, had arrived from Prescott.

            The herd was then systematically “worked” and the leading agitators “cut out” and sent under guard to the porch of the eating house.

            On telegraphic orders, the Santa Fe had placed an empty day coach on the freight train, due through the junction about noon. When the train pulled in, 63 of the lesser lights of the red flaggers were herded aboard and sent north under guard of deputy sheriffs and volunteers from among the citizens, who were picked for the purpose by Justice of the Peace C. H. McLane, who went along.

            Nine of the leading agitators, including the notorious “Red” Thompson, of Washington, were entrusted to members of the home guard and brought to Prescott to be locked up in the county jail. No charge was lodged against these men, pending a decision by the citizens whether or not they want to declare martial law and make the constitutional guarantees subservient to the public need.

            The names of the nine leaders, as given at the county jail were: James P. (“Red”) Thompson, James Rossi, Eli Kangus, B. Brown, John E. Rountree, Jack Stanfield, D. Plummer, J. S. Brennan and Jack Gillette.

            There was not a particle of disorder. Knowing themselves to be rather badly outnumbered, the Jerome contingent kept the peace and their moths tightly closed until the train pulled out. Then a number of them pushed their heads out of the windows and expressed a wish to meet some of the citizens soldiers face to face in the trenches. This wish was answered by a long, high yell of derision.

            News that the international union miners at Jerome had grown tired of I. W. W. intimidation, and had decided to rid the camp off the trouble makers came in a long distance telephone call to the sheriff’s office. The authorities did not know what they would have on their hands at the junction, and so, believing a show of force would be salutary, they got Captain Hed Aitken of the home guard on the line and told him about it.

            With no delay, the officers of the guard were set to work summoning the men by telephone. The rendezvous was the sheriff’s office. Boy Scouts were mobilized by City Clerk Frank Whisman to collect the guns of those who could not go. Within a very short time, cars loaded with heavily armed citizens were speeding out on the Jerome Junction road. The first cars of guards arrived along with the deputies and assisted them in corralling the travelers.

            Accompanying the I. W. W. were 25 loyal miners from Jerome, aids to half a dozen peace officers. Some of the officers had rifles, but the majority of the miners carried bright new pick handles and wore white handkerchiefs around their left arms to distinguish them from the rabble. A truck loaded with the suitcases and bed rolls of the agitators was brought along. Some of the miners said that more than half the population of Jerome was going around the streets with axe helves, looking for pickets.

            Many of the I. W. W. were wakened from their sound sleep by union men and officers, who informed them they were now about to travel, that the way might be long and weary, but that fortitude was a recommendation to the mercy of their conductors. Others were snaked off the picket line blocking the road to the United Verde. Little time was given them to settle up their mundane affairs. Some came away with time checks unpaid and still carrying their United Verde number tags.

            They were a picturesque bunch, as they stood in the hot sun, surrounded by grim faced chaps who were in a mood to brook no funny business, but whose innate sympathy for the under-dog led them to send for ice water and hand out packs of cigarettes and matches. The sudden and enforced exodus was evidently a part of the life-experience of some of the men, for they did not seem surprised, nor did they rant. They knew they were up against something that was stronger than their own organized opposition to organization.

            As the train pulled out, the Jerome boys were all called to one side of the street, and the Prescott contingent to the other. Members of the home guard and deputies fell in as though for parade, and then at the order, there was a great unloading of guns. Announcement was made that there would be a meeting of members of the guard in the afternoon and the entire platoon embarked for the ride home, leaving the Jerome force in possession of the junction and prepared to make their own way home.