Midland in the Coal Miners Strike of 1894

March 18, 1894
OCEAN MINERS’ ACCEPTANCE
The Lonaconing Star’s Midland correspondent says that at a meeting of the miners and mine laborers at Ocean Mine Tuesday, Mr. Robert McFarlane, Sr., presided and on mother of Mr. P. F. Monahon, Mr. P. J. Creegan was selected to act as secretary. The chairman at once explained the object of the meeting to be for the purpose of asking the miners of Ocean if they were willing to accept the reduction as the Hoffman and Eckhart miners had already done. On motion it was decided to accept whatever terms the other miners had accepted. On motion of Mr. Wm. Donahue, a committee of five was selected to report to the Superintendent the proceeding of the meeting, and to ask him for the following changes to be made for their benefit.
1st, That the dockage be reduced from ten hundred pounds to five.
2nd, That for smithing they be charged one-half instead of one cent.
3rd, To ask for the retention of the young men at the works if there was any intention of dismissing them, and to make whatever other beneficial arrangements they could for the welfare of the miners.
The committee is composed of the following competent men: David YATES, Wm. F. DONAHUE, P. J. CREEGAN, Lewis KNIPPENBERG, and U. H. STEVENS.The meeting was adjourned leaving all in the hands of the committee.

May 14, 1894
Midland, May 14 (Special)- The joint mass meeting held here yesterday, was well attended the idle men from every village in the region. The crowd started to come about half-past 12 o’clock and kept on coming until about 3 o’clock. They stood about the little town for awhile, when they started up the hill overlooking the village.
With one exception, newspaper men were stopped at the bottom of the hill by MR. Farley, the owner of the hill, who said as injunctions prohibited them from going on the coal company’s property, he would not allow newspaper men on his property to report the meeting. Under these circumstances the Times representative will give the result of the meeting as he could obtain it from those who attended.
The Meeting Called to Order

Mr. O’Malley called the meeting to order at 2 o’clock, and after selecting a president and a secretary, made an address and was applauded by the crowd in attendance, mostly young men, as has been the case at the previous meetings.  After the meeting had been in progress for some time ,Mr. Wilson, whom the strikers said was taken to Cumberland by the authorities, who were afraid to allow him to attend the meeting, appeared upon the scene and also made an address which was followed by applause by the enthusiastic strikers.

The delegates who attended the Cleveland convention were present and explained of the conference. Three delegates from each mine in the region were then appointed to meet the operators in Cumberland on Saturday next and demand the following concessions:

First – That 50 cents per ton be paid for mining coal.

Second -That a checkweighman be placed at each mine in the region.

Third – That no blacklisting be done, and

Lastly – The abolishing of company stores.

These demands are what the United Mine Workers of America say the operators of the George’s Creek Coal region must concede before they will return to work. A resolution was then passed condemning the Mine Inspector of the region.

As the operators of the region would never meet miners representing an organization of any kind, heretofore, a great many people say that the meeting held yesterday was of no consequence as the operators will never meet the delegates appointed by the United Mine Workers of America.

January 24 1895

HARD TIMES FOR MINERS

A few days ago the report reached the Times that there were many miner’s families at Ocean and Midland in need of the common necessaries of life, mention being made that one family was actually starving. The report was published in these columns and as a result great public interest was aroused. In order to ascertain the true state of affairs, with a view of starting a movement for the amelioration of the suffering, a Times representative visited Ocean and Midland yesterday. When the subject was broached to several miners visited by the reporter they indignantly denied the existence of such a state of affairs, but frankly stated there were some families among the idle men who had not the full and plenty they had been accustomed to, but non of them were in actual want, and if there were any such, they had but to make their needs known to their more fortunate fellow miners and they would be supplied.

Leaving these miners, the reporter sought information in another quarter. Here it was learned that Tuesday evening a miner sent a note to Constable LOAR asking him to send his family a soup bone, as they had had nothing to eat since Sunday. Upon further inquiry it was learned that this particular miner had been discharged about a month ago, but up to that time had had his share of what work there was. This was the only case bordering on destitution the reporter could find, and this will be looked after now that it is known.

However reluctant the miners at Ocean and Midland may be to admit the straightened circumstances the recent strike and the present scarcity of work have put them in, the facts are that the the beginning of the strike last summer, which lasted for three monts, there were employed in Ocean Mine between 500 and 600 miners, that is whole and half turns, the average earning per month of each man being about $35, clear of doctor’s bill, rent, etc. today the number of men working in this mine is about 200, the heading men–those who work in rooms, have worked up to this time in January about three days, so that at this rate they would only have coming to them at the end of the month about $2.

The strike lasted three months and not a miner earned a cent during that memorable time. The Times is informed that when the strike was declared off ,all the mines in the region, excepting Ocean, took back their men to work, and that Ocean, out of its 500 or 600 men employed previous to the strike, only took back 200, half of whom live in Frostburg, leaving in the neighborhood of 400 men, (principally young men) and boys to find employment elsewhere. Some of these are now working in other coal regions. Those who did not go away and are not working at Carlos Mine or for the George’s Creek, remain idle, the percentage of whom are unmarried men.

From the above it may naturally be inferred that rigid economy must be practiced among the miners in this particular locality to make ends meet, and this no class of people better know how to do, when necessity so requires, than miners. When they have the means they live well, when they have not they can practice self-denial with as much apparent contentment as any other class of workmen; adding along with this ability to adapt themselves to circumstances, another distinctive feature, Christian charity among themselves.

February 12, 1895

CENTRE STREET SCHOOL – Nobel Response of the Pupils to the Call of charity

Though the pressure of the hard times has been felt very heavily in North Cumberland, the children of Centre Street public school responded nobly to the call for help for the Midland sufferers yesterday. They contributed six barrels of groceries, one of which was composted entirely of canned goods. There was also a large contribution of salt meat, tea, coffee and sugar, besides other dry groceries.

AN ADDITIONAL APPEAL – From Frostburg in Behalf of the Poor in the MIning Districts.

Additional word has just been received from Frostburg saying, “By all means send clothing too, if you can get any; some are nearly naked as well as starving”. Hence we will be glad to receive gifts of old clothing also. Christ Church lecture room will be open tomorrow afternoon and evening to receive donations.

Responses are coming in nicely. The Rev. Clarence BUEL writes, enclosing a liberal check from Emmanuel Parish and himself: “I fully agree with you that this is a case in which there should be neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, but that all should be one in the spirit of Divine charity, of which our blessed Lord is the perfect manifestation. And when, as in this case, the appeal comes from those who are so near our own doors, I do not see how it can be resisted”. Many, many others be of the same mind.  W. Russell COLLINS, Rector