George T. (George Thornton) Fleming.

History of Pittsburgh and environs, from prehistoric days to the beginning of the American revolution .. (Volume 3) online

. (page 30 of 55)
Online LibraryGeorge T. (George Thornton) FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs, from prehistoric days to the beginning of the American revolution .. (Volume 3) → online text (page 30 of 55)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

time, the defensive and exclusive preparations that had been made by
the Carnegie authorities had alarmed the workingmen who had deter-
mined that the mills should not be operated by non-union men. They
had been policing the exterior of the boarded-in works for days and had
some of their men stationed all over Pittsburgh and Eastern Ohio
watching the rivers and railroads for carload or boatload consignments
of either Pinkertons or strike-breakers of any description. The Pinker-
tons arrived by special train at the landing place and at once went aboard
the waiting barges and soon afterwards the boats were steaming up the
Ohio river to the mouth of the Monongahela. When the boats were
nearly under the Smithfield street bridge, a scout in the interests of the
strikers saw them and ran to the telegraph office to wire his suspicions
of the mysterious boats en route up stream. This telegram aroused the
same suspicions in the breasts of those on guard at Homestead and when


the "Little Bill" rounded to at the wharf at the Carnegie Mills, the Captain
of the boat and his associates found themselves confronted by several
thousand strikers ready to treat with them to return or to fight them to
a finish.

The mill men had become infuriated by the coming of the boat, but
before this had torn down the boarded entrance, reinforced by coils
of heavy barb-wire and were in full possession of the only entrance from
the river to the works. Other apprisements of the approach of the boat
had also reached the strikers one of these, a modern Paul Revere on
horseback just before the arrival of the "Little Bill."

At first the strikers were in doubt about the personnel of those in
the barges ; the news that Mr. Frick had asked for many deputies had
also reached them and they had heard of the probable coming of the
Pinkertons. It was not until the uniforms of the Pinkertons had dis-
closed their identity that they knew whom they were to fight, if fight
they must. The destruction of the closed-in entrance to the works was
a surprise to those on the boat who had expected to make a secret en-
trance to the mills, and when they saw the conditions, they were sure
that they were to have a hand-to-hand fight from the boat to the
gates of the mills. When, therefore. Captains Heinde, Cooper and
Norton placed themselves at the head of their men and started to go
ashore the Homestead resistants urged them to go back or "we'll not
answer for your lives." Crowd on the bank above the Pinkertons
was composed of men and women, mothers, wives and sisters of the
strikers, all armed and ready to fight. The men on the boats were
armed with Winchesters and carried plenty of ammunition. They started
up the bank because "Pinkerton men never retreated." A shot was
fired, likely by a striker, and under the order to fire by Captain Norton,
the Pinkerton men shot into the masses of people in their way from the
boat to the mill. Several of the strikers struck by bullets fell sorely
wounded. Then the strikers shot indiscriminately into the ranks of the
Pinkertons and some of these went to the ground. Captain Heinde was
wounded in the leg. J. W. Klein, another detective was mortally wounded,
while other Pinkertons were more or less seriously hurt. Captain
Rodgers detached his boat from the barges and steamed into the river.
After the first volley the workingmen took refuge upon the bank and the
Pinkertons sought the inside of the barges to save themselves. The
strikers afterwards procured a cannon and bombarded the boat all day,
in the meantime others with bullet carrying weapons of whatever de-
scription sniped at those within the barges until late in the evening
when negotiations for a surrender were begun by the Pinkertons and
later in the evening, after hoisting a white flag, they were allowed to leave
the boat and the town. As they left the barges they were forced to pass
through the ranks of the strikers who beat and belabored them with
clubs, sticks and other weapons bruising and hurting them severely.

Thus ended the Homestead Battle. Sheriff McCleary convinced that
no deputy sheriflFs that he could assemble would be sufficient to overcome
the forces of the strikers, wired the news of the day to the Governor


of Pennsylvania who immediately directed the assembling of the entire
National Guard of Pennsylvania at Homestead and under the menace of
this splendid body the strikers decided to abandon their investment of
the mills and dispersed. The guard vv^as on duty for some time and
when it had gone the Carnegie mills thereafter were operated as non-
union mills.

The reactions of the riot to the routine of the day were neither
healthful nor creditable. Immediately upon the heels of the disturbance
came a committee from Congress, made up of politicians who sought to
submit as its report a paper that would make political capital and this
design was disclosed in the nature of the questions asked Mr. Frick,
some of the strikers, and others on the stand declining to reply to most
of them. Two weeks after the riots Mr. Frick was shot in his office in
Pittsburgh by Alexander Berkman, a Russian anarchist who was ar-
rested, tried and sent to serve a long term in the penitentiary. The
trials of a number of the rioters resulted either in acquitals or in mistrials.

The removal of the "Hump" that rises in Fifth avenue from Smith-
field street to a point beyond Sixth avenue eastwardly and from Fourth
avenue to a level near Sixth avenue northwardly was an undertaking
that had three distinct undertakings from 1836 to 1912-13. The first cut
of ten feet was authorized by Councils by an ordinance of March 26,
1836 which provided that "Grant street at the intersection of Fifth
street shall be reduced ten feet below the top of the middle front door
sill of St. Paul's Church ; and from the intersection aforesaid. Grant
street shall, when so reduced, be graded a uniform descent, northwardly,
to the present grade of Seventh street, at the west end of the canal bridge,
and from said intersection shall be graded a uniform descent, south-
wardly, to a point half way between Fourth and King streets ; and
Smithfield street, at its intersection at Fifth street, shall be raised four
feet above the present surface, and from thence shall be graded a uni-
form descent, southwardly to Diamond alley, and northwardly a uniform
grade to Virgin alley; and Fifth street shall be graded a uniform descent,
westwardly from Grant to Smithfield street, and from the intersection
thereof with Smithfield street, the grade shall be a uniform descent to
Wood street ; and the grade of Fifth street shall be continued eastwardly,
175 feet to an elevation four feet above the horizontal line, thence to
Ross street, the grade shall have a uniform descent of i foot 6 inches
perpendicular. Sixth street. Virgin alley, and Diamond alley shall
each of them be graded from Grant street eastwardly i^yYi feet at a
uniform ascent of five inches in every 10 feet, and thence, at a unifrom
descent, 1.8 inches in every ten feet to Ross street.

This was the first reduction of the "Hump" but it was not accom-
plished for several years, the usual drawbacks of remonstrants and other
obstacles intervening. The second cut, one of seven feet, was made in
1848, much of the debris being employed in the filling up and levelling
of Smithfield street.

The third reduction was authorized by city ordinance of 191 1 a coun-
cilmanic bond issue of $270,000 was passed, which was later increased


by one of $495,000, or an aggregate of $765,000 for the reduction of the
hill. Waivers of damages for change of grade were given by property
holders along the line of the cut to a majority extent before the contract
was awarded to Booth & Flinn for the work, April 5, 1912, the contract
to be finished by January i, 1914. The work was completed about two
weeks before the contract limit expired. Summing up the extent of the
cut, the former grade of Fifth avenue was seven and four tenths per
cent between Smithfield & Grant streets, which was reduced to a grade
of 4.8 per cent. The depth of the cut required was fourteen and nine
tenth per cent at Grant and Fifth avenue, the maximum cut being at
Fifth and Wylie avenues, 16.3 feet. Other cuts were of proportional
lower figures. When the cuts were made, however, several streets were
widened, Fifth avenue from Grant to Ross street; Virgin alley was
widened from Grant street to Liberty avenue and its name changed,
in honor of Henry W. Oliver from Virgin alley to Oliver avenue. Cherry
alley was also widened from Fifth avenue to Sixth avenue ; Grant (now
Bigelow boulevard) was extended from Seventh avenue to Webster

In 1920-21 Second avenue was widened to a width of seventy feet
from Grant street to Liberty avenue, while Ferry street has been wid-
ened from Liberty avenue to Water street. A new thoroughfare, to be
known as the Boulevard of the Allies will be constructed from Grant
street by way of the Monongahela blufifs to the Oakland district. The
eastern terminus will likely be Schenley Park.

Two years ago, under joint city-county action it was arranged to
bore twin tubes under Mt. Washington from West Liberty avenue in
the South Hills, to a point above Seventh street above the Monongahela
river. Rapid work has marked the progress of operations and within a
year the intercourse between the city and the South Hills will be rapid
and frequent. The tubes will accommodate electrical cars, vehicles and
foot passengers in specially constructed roads operating in each direction.

Another city facility will be added when the boulevard will have been
started and finished on the city front of Mt. Washington and adjacent
hills, thus giving additional traffic facilities in a rapidly congesting dis-
trict of the section south of the Monongahela river. The project of
subwaying the main city and its North Side is recurred to frequently by
city council but neither the plans nor the means for the execution have
materialized. Within a few years the United States Government has
begun and partially completed a series of liftable dams between the
source and mouth of the Ohio river. These dams, when completed, will
give incomparable facilities for the transportation of all heavy freights
to and from Pittsburgh to all points in the South, the West and North-
west by means of the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri rivers and their
important tributaries.

Pittsburgh's connection with the American wars began in the middle
of the eighteenth century, when its pioneers and earliest settlers were
engaged against the incursive, murderous Indians, followed by individ-
ual contribution in the Braddock and Forbes expeditions, the Pontiac


War, the other Indian forays that intervened before the American Rev-
olution, and a g^enerous participation in that great struggle. Again when
the War of 1812 was forced upon the United States there was a quick
response to requests for both men and munitions, as was the case in the
Mexican War. It was in the War of the Rebellion, however, that the
real resources of the city were tested in their every element. By i860
this city had become the most prominent manufacturing city in the
United States and was rapidly approaching the more pretentious cities
and manufacturing centers of Great Britain in their several specialties
of production. This distinction imposed a responsibility upon Pitts-
burgh that might not be imposed in its fullness upon any other American
city and manufacturing district, that of furnishing the bulk of war mate-
rial for army use. This had been done from the earliest wars, but in the
very nature of things but indifferently well. This responsibility was
accepted and assumed and immediate response made to the requisitions
that came of immediate necessities.

Another, a psychological reason, induced action, hearty action upon
the part of both manufacturer and artisan. This reason was the con-
sciousness that the principle involved in the Civil War was the determi-
nation of the status of American Labor, whether it should have a para-
mountcy of Slavery or an Aristocracy of free and untrammeled labor.
President Lincoln's assertion that a country "half free and half slave"
had awakened those that were free to the menace of slavery and both
their hearts and their hands became immediately active in the struggle
to make the whole Union free. The result of the war testifies to the
ardor and sincerity of the effort that was made in behalf of "free labor."

The Spanish War, in turn, drew upon both the military and muni-
tional resources of Pittsburgh. The Eighteenth Regiment, Colonel Nor-
man Smith, the Fourteenth Regiment, Colonel William M. Glenn
(both infantry), and Battery B, Captain Alfred E. Hunt, of the National
Guard of Pennsylvania, were quickly transferred to the active forces of
the General Government and served throughout the short campaigns of
that war. Besides there were many enlistments of local men. The
tragic death of Friend W. Jenkins in the sinking of the warship "Maine"
in Havana harbor in February, 1897, himself a native Pittsburgher,
served to stir up great local indignation and aroused much hatred towards
Spain. This crime and subsequent events gave Pittsburgh additional
incentive to action.

Pittsburgh's part in the World War may be properly estimated by
the following from the pen of one of our authors, and which has had
previous publication :

Pittsburgh made victory possible in the World War. Pittsburgh was sending her
munitions, missiles and materials to the out-numbered and beleaguered Allies years before
the days of "Watchful Waiting" had waned or America had emerged from her "Pride"
and got into the struggle for universal freedom. Without her materials in the early years
of the war and without our troops in the last year of this war, the Allies would have
been annihilated, the Hun would have triumphed and the nations of the earth would
have been huddled under the victorious wings of the Black Eagle of Germany. Pitts-
burgh, from the outstart, was without the zone of academic address and rhetorical


rhodomontade, but very far within the zone of essential activities and one hundred per
cent production. These were her trenches and within these she remained until the
whistles upon the factories, mills and workshops that had turned out munitions and
materials for the Allies, had shrieked the news of the Armistice, did she abate a jot
or tittle of effort.

Pittsburgh's part in the World War was a principal part, beginning when the Hun
turned his face westward to meet the resistance of civilization. This civilization turned,
in its elements, from the German armory at Essen, the armory of the Autocrat to the
armory of the democratic world, Pittsburgh, and patiently as possible awaited the issue.
That cabled cry was heard by all American ears, but not by the American ear. Belgium
was bleeding at every pore ; France was paralyzed for a moment ; England, despite her
poise, tottered, and humanity held its breath. American manufacturers, Pittsburgh
manufacturers, with no patience with the aphorismic attitude of their President and con-
temptuous of the proposition that a "people sometimes are too proud to fight" took on
more hands and got up more and more steam and got out larger and more important
products which were speeded to the Allies on every vessel and continued to furnish the
sinews until "pride" was smothered and patriotism prompted national action, American
action. It took some time to teach some potentialities that it was not a private fight, but
a mixed fight, a World fight, that invited all classes of nations and people to determine
certain principles out of which must come that democracy so long desired.

The sacrifices of the individual, the firm, the company, the corporation, the family
in the recent struggle ; the concessions made that no delay might ensue, the self-denials,
the self eflfacements, the sufferings, the losses, the deprivations, all were notable and
noble, and all were as nothing in the estimate that this community made of duty and of
devotion to a common cause. It would be interesting and it would be instructive to write
the stories of some of these sufferers into the local history, but there are so many of
them, so many that would suffer by the discrimination that would have to be made in
order to "glorify the few," that not mere casual mention may be made in this resume of
general record.

One of the instances of pure patriotism was the promise of many employers to
those of their employees who went to the front to reemploy them in case they should
return. With few exceptions these promises have been religiously observed, especially
by large employers of labor who remembered with gratitude the sacrifices that some of
their best men made in giving up positions, in which they were immune from the draft,
in order to tempt the supreme sacrifice on the field of battle.

Pittsburgh, besides her contributions of munitions, materials and men, contributed to
the purchase of Liberty Bonds more than a billion dollars, with War Savings Stamps
purchases running high into the million's of dollars, besides the untold millions that were
expended in the various independent "drives" that were made with alarming and expen-
sive frequency and in addition to the other vast sums that dribbled through willing
fingers into even more willing hands for "thises and thats." It is true that Pittsburgh
manufacturers and business men came out of the business side of the war to wander
very far into the jungles of the "income tax," but it is just as true that these same men
should be ranked among the saviours of the country, as well as the world. Because they
received much, they gave much, gave it lovingly, willingly and freely.

The story of Pittsburgh's soldiers who went "over there" is an epic of glory, as is
attested by its constellation of "gold stars" and its legions of wounded, maimed, injured.
In this particular, Pittsburgh is merely in the ranks of sister cities and communities, the
country wide. Her story is their story, her losses their losses, her griefs are their
griefs, her glory their glory.

The history of this World War is yet unwritten ; when it is written, Pittsburgh and
her people will come into their own.

Pittsburgh women made possible the great results attained here in behalf of the war
and their work was incessant and intelligent. It covered as large if not a larger area than
mapped out by the men in their varied activities. This work began with, indeed, before
the call was made for concentration of effort and was the last to cease, indeed, it is
doubtful if effort is not still going on looking to the betterment of many conditions that
the war uncovered. The organization was well-nigh perfect, beginning with the indi-
vidual and rapidly and intelligently spreading to the whole community. These workers


differentiated their activities according to supply and demand, thus taking care of smaller
and larger areas, as occasion required. No school district in the county was too small
for their consideration and the county itself was never too large to tackle when the
order was issued.

It would be unjust, as well as invidious to personify at large within the dimensions
of this volume. Much of the gross work was done through the administrative agencies
of the Young Women's Christian Association, the Red Cross, the Young Men's Christian
Association, Council of National Defense, War Camp Community Service and smaller
organizations, while other accomplishments were made by community bands and coopera-
tive work throughout the city and county.

Red Cross activities were carried on upon the largest scale. The Pittsburgh Chap-
ter, with its 400 sections, branches and auxiliaries and half million of members (which
include 202,000 juniors, many of whom are school pupils), probably made the largest
aggregate showing of all the organizations. The civilian relief department of the Young
Men's Christian Association looked after 4,000 families of soldiers and sailors while the
canteen corps served more than 15,000 service men of all classes at railway stations,
hospitals and the various student training camps. The chapter made and sent out 4,753,-
660 surgical dressings in 1918; hospital sewed garments, 114,694; hospital supplies, bed-
ding, etc., 475,870; knitted articles, 156,222; towels, 126,846; comfort kits, 24,000;
woolen socks, 72,000 pairs.

Practical training of women in first aid work was one of the great objectives of this
chapter with gratifying results. An idea of it may be obtained when it is known that
273 women were graduated in elementary hygiene, 430 in home nursing, and Qoo in sur-
gical dressing. Splints and crutches were also made by members of the Junior Red Cross.
Group work was responsible for much of the aggregate of returns, the chapter con-
ceiving the idea that this method would stimulate a healthy competition and in this
"sign they won." Sewickley, Crafton, East Liberty, Dormont, Carrick, Mt. Lebanon,
in a word, the communities of the county engaged in a great contest which was prolific of
splendid results. Mrs. W. Harry Brown had a large building in the East End in which
her "Preparedness" organization was in motion some time before 1917 in making dress-
ings and other articles for emergent use. McKeesport, in its various wartime enter-
prises also came to the front at all times and upon, and, just as often, without requisi-
tion. Mrs. William R. Evans, Mrs. Annie Duff, Mrs. E. V. Car, others and other Craf-
ton ladies were "on the job," early and late. The Congress of Clubs in its various
branches, was also a factor of usefulness at all times.

Sewickley had almost every woman within its boundaries at work throughout the
war, because no other borough was more spendidly represented in the rank and file of the
army "over there;" this fact being one incentive, the other the concrete patriotism of
that fine town, always in evidence.

The Schenley Farms auxiliary was another strong contributing agency throughout
the many months of local activities and its sum total of contributions is one to be proud
of. The Twentieth Century Club, always in action in behalf of humanity, always patrio-
tic, always intelligent in its efforts to better people and affairs, fairly outdid itself in its
manifold activities day by day. Pittsburgh's churches, of all denominations, assumed
their burdens immediately the United States entered the war. Many members of these
churches were identified with other organizations, but this circumstance only stimulated
them to greater and more assiduous work in their several relations.

Miss Ella G. Maloney, chairman of the parochial schools committee, enrolled more
than 2,000 boys and girls in the work of the war and in selling war savings stamps, dis-
posing of $780,000 in the latter.

The Jewish women were vigorously at work from the beginning. The war had a
sinister meaning to many of these because of the fact that many of their kin in the
countries at war were unwilling participants in the struggle against freedom.

The Council of National Defense, Mrs. Clarence Renshaw chairman, was another
unwearied agency in the activities of city and county as were many other minors, but no
less sincere and industrious organizations.

Food conservation was near the hearts, because it was near the homes of many of
those m¬Ђt active in war work and very gratifying results came of the country-wide


effort made along this line. It is a story that will come of the lore of the war, one day
and it will be full of interest.

The efforts of the women of Allegheny county in behalf of the successes of the five
Liberty Loan issues, were as dramatic as they were industrious. The quintet of suc-
cesses came in very large measure of these feminine forces at work in every district in
Allegheny county. They won where men failed, not merely because of their sex but
rather because of their poignant belief that unless the money was forthcoming, the war
was lost and with it the freedom of the world.

The great parade in May, 1918, through the streets of the Greater Pittsburgh was a
pageant of unexampled beauty as well as of expression, the floats, banners, flags and
other visibilities, showing the feelings of a city that had suffered much and had given
much. This parade was distinctive in everything that the war meant, physically and
psychologically to this city and it will be remembered until its last spectator has joined

Online LibraryGeorge T. (George Thornton) FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs, from prehistoric days to the beginning of the American revolution .. (Volume 3) → online text (page 30 of 55)