[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.
SHANNON, Desplaines Street Station, shot in foot, leg, and arms;
has three children. Lives at
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.
KELLER, Desplaines Street Station, shot in side; lives at
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.
WILSON, Central detail, wounded by bomb in groin, shot in left hand,
five children lives at
T. HENNESSEY, West Lake street, wound in head and right thing, married, lives at No. 287 Fulton street.
Central detail, shot in hand, wife and three children,
Central detail, shot in leg, wife and three children,
Central detail, shot in right leg, wife and two children, no. 526
MCCORMICK, West Chicago Avenue Station, shot in arm, lives at
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.
of the Desplaines Street Station shot in the knee seriously. He was removed to his home on
An Incendiary Speech
The following circular was distributed yesterday afternoon:
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
hastened to the corner of
Hell for a minute
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
What Another Reporter Saw.
apparently about winding up his address when a dark line was seen to
Reinforcements of Officers Arrive and Disperse the Mob- More Shots Fired.
rioters had been cleared away
citizen wounded whose name could be ascertained was Michael Hahn of
This will give an idea of the locality in which the tragedy occurred:
A Harrowing Spectacle.
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 and it was past 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
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.
keeper of a small shoe shop at
Edbund, a carriagemaker at NO.
a hanger-on around
Plant, Earl Park, Ind.: “I bought some
peanuts and was eating them when the bomb went off,” he said; “the shot
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
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.
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.
suffering from bullet-wounds were cared for at Barker’s drug store, NO.
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
Scenes Before and After the Explosion – Men with Revolvers
“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.
first shots were fired most of the crowd scattered east and west on
A number of
women were also seen in the crowd, and several scampered screaming down
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 . 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?”
exactly, though I heard in the afternoon, by means not necessary to
that the Communists were bent on mischief.
Their plan was to make a diversion by a meeting in the southwest
“But they did not in that point succeed?”
foiled them. They held their meeting in
the southwest, and a sufficient number of men were sent there to look
any movements they might make. But
anticipating a hellish intent underlying the haymarket meeting we had
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
progress and character. More than one of
these men came and said that he manner of the meting and tone of ht
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,
said, revenge before morning for yesterday’s doings at McCormick’s, and
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
reserve into four companies and, taking them through the side door,
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
and said: ‘In the name of the State of
The Meeting – Speeches of Spies, Parsons, and Fielden
began to gather all over
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.
Parsons was next introduced, and repeated his old, old story, claiming
labor was deprived of its natural right to live, and that the only hope
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
Sam Fielden Talks to the Crowd
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
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
of it too. They were determined to
it, and would end it, and there was no power in the land that could
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
knew it was unsafe for him to live in a community where there were
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
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 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.