April 16: Coxey Charters Canalboats

Coxey's Army on the canal--Second barge belongs to the Consolidation Coal Company - From the Ray Stannard Baker Collection at the Library of Congress.

From The New York Times, Monday April 17, 1894

CUMBERLAND, Md., April 16. — While the heads of the Commonweal Army have been pushing preparations for the coming exodus from Cumberland, the army has been resting and living luxuriously. The Spring sunshine has been, a tonic to the frost-bitten travelers. Many of the soldiers went into the river, where, stripped to the waist, they bathed in the ice water, to-day, with a liberal allowance of soap from the great stock contributed at Alliance…

…The estrangement of Jesse Coxey, the prodigal son, from his father, consequent on Jesse’s revolt the “Unknown” Smith on Saturday has been arbitrated, and the boy is back in the fold of the Commonweal…

…The army will go by water to Williamsport. The start will be made tomorrow morning, two boats carrying the horses, men, wagons, and camp outfit…

…The Commonweal transports will be followed by another canalboat, carrying the newspaper correspondents and telegraph operators, who will send dispatches en route, giving the public the incidents of the voyage…

April 15: The “Unknown” Set Adrift

Coxey's Army at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal - 1894  http://www.canaltrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/lrg-535-hm-9.jpg

From The New York Times, Sunday, April 16, 1894:

CUMBERLAND, MD., April 15 — The once famous “Unknown” of Coxey’s army was stripped of his veiled glory to-day and likewise of his honors as a Commonwealer. Carl Browne, the deposed leader of yesterday, has entire charge of the body tonight.

Gen. Coxey next took the stump, and spoke at length on the necessity of peace, showing determination only on the statement that the “Unknown” would have to go. He said if the men wished to stick to the “Unknown” they could, but none of the commissary wagons would go with them. That settled the case, and the “Unknown” and Jesse Coxey at once left camp.

Gen. Coxey, the financial backer of the movement, returned to the front at 4 o’clock this morning, and immediately began an investigation of the revolt of last evening. His first conference was with Browne in private, both refusing to make any other statement than that by the power they had as reincarnated beings, gifted with the powers of prophecy and foresight, they had foreseen the schism and were prepared to deal with it as the conditions demanded.

After seeing Browne, Gen. Coxey called in the “unknown” and Jesse Coxey and notified them that they had grossly violated the regulations of the Commonweal and were discharged. An unseemly wrangle followed, in which Browne and the “Unknown” reviled each other as rogues, agitators, fakirs, &c. When the men came from Odd Fellows Hall to the camping place for breakfast, both men climbed on piles of wood and addressed the men.

Browne attempted once to get on the same eminence with the “Unknown,” and was roughly pushed off, falling on his back from the violence of the shove. He attempted no return. Smith called on the men for a vote, and was sustained by 154 to 3, many of the men not voting or being absent.

Gen. Coxey next took the stump, and spoke at length on the necessity of peace, showing determination only on the statement that the “Unknown” would have to go. He said if the men wished to stick to the “Unknown” they could, but none of the commissary wagons would go with them. That settled the case, and the “Unknown” and Jesse Coxey at once left camp.

The army marched from Frostburg here today. Hundreds of the Cumberland people visited Camp Victory – named by Browne in honor of his restoration to command. Ample arrangements had been made for provisioning and protecting the army of peace. Private citizens bought and gave 600 loaves of bread, 400 pounds of meat, coffee, cheese, hay, and corn sufficient to sustain the army a day.

Coxey announced this evening that the army would proceed to Williamsport, Md., direct from Cumberland, by the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. This extravagance, he says is warranted by the receipts at the gate at camp today.

The revelation of the identity of the “Unknown” was made by the man himself. He is E.P. Pizarro of 81 South Peoria Street, Chicago, and is engaged in the patent medicine business. A rumor that he will attempt the organization of a rival army is denied by him, and he says he will instead lecture in favor of the present movement.

It is possible that the army may spend another day in Cumberland, holding a monster mass meeting in the Opera House and starting on Tuesday for Williamsport by canalboat.

Coxey's Army leaves Cumberland for Williamsport, MD via C&O Canal with a crowd of spectators - From CumberlandMD.gov
Coxey’s Army leaves Cumberland for Williamsport, MD., via C&O Canal with a crowd of spectators
From CumberlandMD.gov

Members of the House and Senate Committees have been quietly discussing the situation for some days. The initial steps have been taken looking into the enforcement of the law, and if Mr. Coxey shall attempt to wind up his parade with a demonstration on the steps of the Capitol, he will find he has transgressed a law that appears to have been drawn with especial reference to affairs such as he is now engaged in engineering.

WASHINGTON, April 15. — The entry of Coxey’s gang into the state of Maryland shows that he is sufficiently near the the capital for precaution to be taken against possible disturbance. While the police of the District are charged with the duty of taking care of that territory, the Capitol grounds, which are under the control of the Committee on Rules, are subject to the order of Congress.

Members of the House and Senate Committees have been quietly discussing the situation for some days. The initial steps have been taken looking into the enforcement of the law, and if Mr. Coxey shall attempt to wind up his parade with a demonstration on the steps of the Capitol, he will find he has transgressed a law that appears to have been drawn with especial reference to affairs such as he is now engaged in engineering.

Mr. Edmunds introduced into the Senate in 1882, and it was enacted into law, a measure which a member of the Senate Committee on Rules said this morning reads as if the Senator was endowed with the spirit of prophecy. It is the act approved July 1, 1882, and that act has been under discussion in the committee room for several days past. The members of the committee consider it sufficient for the exigencies of the case that may arise upon the coming of Coxey and his men, and if these men shall in any sense violate that law they will be apprehended, steps having been taken to see that a sufficient force shall be present to maintain the dignity of the statutes of the United States. Section 5 of this act reads as follows:

That it is forbidden to discharge any firearms, firework or explosive, set fire to any combustible, make any harangue or oration, or utter loud, threatening, or abusive language in the Capitol grounds.

Section 6 says:

That it is forbidden to parade, stand, or move in processions or assemblages, or display any flag, banner, or device designed or adapted to bring into public notice any party, organization, or movement in the Capitol grounds.

Quietly, but with the firm determination of enforcing the law, the two Committees on Rules have gone to work, and Mr. Coxey will be the recipient of a surprise if he shall attempt to carry out his programme. The law permits all peaceable citizens to make use of the grounds, but the prohibition against organizations or efforts of any kind to exercise the right of petition by mere force of numbers is sharply drawn.

“If this Congress,” said a member of the Committee on Rules, “permits the law to be violated and the people who may come with Coxey to thus turn the right of petition into the exercise of threats and manifestations of physical force, it is not worthy to represent the people of these United States and is lacking in the wisdom and courage which I ascribe to it.”

April 14: Commonwealers Nigh Unto Riot

Carl Browne, Histories of the National Mall, http://dev.omeka.org/mallhistory/items/show/93.

From The New York Times, Sunday, April 15, 1894:

FROSTBURG, MD., April 14 — Revolt in the ranks of Coxey’s army today leaves the Commonwealers in a state bordering on riot. Chief Marshal Carl Browne of California was deposed as Marshal, and Louis Smith, “The Unknown,” is in full charge.

[pullquote]During one of the halts, Smith ordered the men to march, and Browne called a halt. In a war of words, Browne denounced “The Unknown” as a Pinkerton detective. Smith called for support, and all but the wagonmen responded. Smith ordered a squad of men to remove them, and take the wagons. Browne threatened all manner of dire punishment, but finally leaped into Coxey’s chaise and drove off at a gallop.[/pullquote]

Gen. J.S. Coxey has been absent for several days, and is ignorant of the happening. Browne’s fall was the result of jealousy between him and Smith. Yesterday they disputed over a petty matter, but the quarrel was patched up, to break out again today during the march. Smith, in an address to the men, appealed to them for support, and was loudly called upon to take charge, the army reserving only curses and sneers for Browne.

On leaving Grantsville this morning, the army moved rapidly over the Great Meadow Mountain on to the foot of Big Savage Mountain. According to the men, the march was made very laborious by the repeated calls to halt ordered by Browne, who would at each step address gatherings of mountaineers, who were attracted by curiosity. As the march was a most wearisome one, and the men fagged, they desired to move on to the camp at this town. During one of the halts, Smith ordered the men to march, and Browne called a halt. In a war of words, Browne denounced “The Unknown” as a Pinkerton detective. Smith called for support, and all but the wagonmen responded. Smith ordered a squad of men to remove them, and take the wagons. Browne threatened all manner of dire punishment, but finally leaped into Coxey’s chaise and drove off at a gallop.

The army proceeded, and two miles further on found Browne standing by the roadside and one of the horses lying exhausted. The team is valued at $7,000. Browne, as soon as the army came up, seized a horse and rode ahead, leaving the prostrate animal lying where it had fallen. On reaching town new difficulties beset the reorganized army. Assistant Commissary Childs had been ordered by Browne to not notify the army concerning any local arrangements, and refused to do so. Finally, the citizens’ committee was discovered in Odd Fellows Hall, as arranged. The horses and all the baggage were put under guard, and made subject to the order of either Marshal Smith or Jesse A. Coxey, son of the commander of the Commonweal, who supports Smith in his move. Besides, four men were detailed to guard the stage and throw out of the window anybody who attempted to address the men during the evening.

This evening Browne has been wildly telegraphing to all points to reach Coxey. He refuses to say if an answer has been received, but promises a statement. The men assert that they will not obey Browne again, as he is too officious and bullying.

This town regards the army with apprehension, and has made preparation to get them out as quickly and safely as possible, deeming that the most politic manner of dealing with the organization.

WILMINGTON, Del., April 14 — The Jones branch of the Commonweal army remained in camp at Sellers’s Woods, just north of the city all the morning, but at 2:30 o’clock this afternoon Mayor Shortlidge went to camp and ordered Jones to march on at once. Jones refused, and the police began arresting the soldiers. Half of them deserted, and thus save themselves. The others, including Jones, were loaded into a patrol wagon and driven to the police station. They will be charged in court with vagrancy.

BOSTON, April 14 — Boston’s industrial army has concluded to walk the entire distance to Washington. Although Recruiting Officer Fitzgerald has refused to state the number of men enrolled for the trip, it has been ascertained that he has the names of 500 men who are anxious to start on Tuesday. Manchester (N.H.) will furnish forty members of the army, and Marlborough will send sixty more. Fully 100 from Providence are expected to join the ranks, and large contingents have been promised from Springfield, New-Haven, and Hartford.

It is now believed by Morrison I. Swift and his colaborers that over 1,000 men will be in line when the New-England contingent starts. Major Gen. Fitzgerald states that every man registered is a bona fide workingman, and that not a member of the “tramp” fraternity has enlisted up to date. The leaders will hold mass meetings along the line of march and take up contributions from which to pay railroad fares from Washington to Boston on the return trip.


See also Coxey’s Army Snowbound in a Grove; Most of the Men Look Miserable and Talk of Deserting, The New York Times, Wednesday April 11, 1894

Also, In the Snow On The Mountains; Coxey’s Army Yesterday Had a Hard Tramp Over Laurel Ridge, from The New York Times, Thursday, April 12, 1894.

And, Coxey Men Control a Train; Over a Thousand Coming East on the Union Pacific Road, from The New York Times, Friday, April 13, 1894.

April 9: Army Must Return to the West; Utah Courts Order the Men Back Into the Car – They Must Be Moved.

While much of the media coverage centered on Jacob Coxey’s march from Massillon, Ohio, at least forty other “Industrial Armies” of unemployed workers were organized in 1894 for the purpose of marching to Washington, D.C.  Fry’s Army organized in Los Angeles; the Northwestern Industrial Army gathered in Seattle; Kelly’s Army marched from San Francisco, with Jack London among the marchers.

From The Chicago Tribune, Tuesday, April 10, 1894.

OGDEN, Utah, April 9.-This evening Judges Miner and Merritt signed a mandatory restraining order on the Southern Pacific railroad restraining them from keeping or allowing the industrial army brought by said company “unlawfully into said territory” and ordering them all back into the twenty seven box cars, or from keeping any portion of the army in the cars in this territory any longer than is absolutely necessary to carry them away. This means that the Southern Pacific must at once carry the army back from whence it came. It is said that United States Marshal Burnham will enforce the order compelling the army to return to the boxcars at once. The result of the injunction has caused much excitement, as it is known there will be great danger of trouble in enforcing it. The industrials have repeatedly asserted that they will not go back, and developments of an exciting nature may be looked for. Judge Marchall, attorney for the Southern Pacific, gave notice of appeal to the Supreme Court from the order. He asked for a stay of executing until the appeal could be heard. ‘The request was denied by the court. At.11 o clock Marshal Burnham is swearing in sixty deputies. He had no difficulty in getting aIl the men he wanted. Notice is to be served on Supt. Knapp of the Southern Pacific within an hour.

OMAHA, Neb., April 9.– [Special.]-From reports received at Union Pacific headquarters today the “industrial” army at Ogden is quiet. It is supposed the people of Ogden will hire a special freight train, supply the army with food, and start it East, this apparently being the only way to get the men out of town. An effort will be made to have the train run through Omaha and across the bridge to Council Bluffs and let the people of that town hustle up some means to care for the men. Council Bluffs is the terminus of the Union Pacific, and by doing this Omaha would escape the army if it was in a hurry to get East. The Omaha-Chicago roads will only transport the army at regular party rates.

RENO, Nev., April 9.-Capt. Kelly of the Industrial army, en route to Ogden, orders acceptance of all recruits at Reno and get them to Ogden as soon as possible. He said that he would hold the main division there or at Salt Lake until their arrival.

SAN FRANCISCO, Cal., April 9.-The second division of the American industrial army was organized here yesterday. It expects to leave San Francisco Thursday for Washington with 500 men and to recruit 250 at Oakland.

CARLYLE, Ill., April 9.-[Special.]-The recruits for Coxey, numbering 400, under Gen. Frye, left St. Jacobs today for Highland, six miles east, which was reached this evening. The incessant rain, which has been pouring down all, dampened their ardor and many have deserted.

PUEBLO, Colo., April 9.-Bert Hamilton, Captain of the Colorado division of Coxey’s army, and forty followers were arrested in the railroad yards here and spent the night in jail. They were released today on condition that they leave town immediately.

Primrose Detachment Turned Loose

Washington, D.C. April 9 — Capt. Jack Primrose and his forty associates, comprising the first band of the army of the unemployed to reach Washington, were discharged from Police custody today by Judge Kimball of the police court.  The Judge ruled that they should be given a brief time in which to get work, and that if they failed and became beggars and loafers they could then be arranged as vagrants.

 

April 9: Coxey Puts Up Toll

CoxeyToll-ChicagoTrib1894_0410-356px
Headline from The Chicago Tribune, Tuesday, April 10, 1894

“One dollar eighty-seven cents,” said Mrs. Clabaugh resolutely. Coxey paid the money in nickels and pennies, took a receipt, and the army marched on.

UNIONTOWN, Pa., April 9.-[Special.]– One lone woman met Coxey’s army of the commonweal in combat today and ignominiously defeated it. The woman’s name is Mrs. Annie Clabaugh and she is tollkeeper at the toll-gate two miles east of Brownesville. Mrs. Clabaugh, with no more deadly weapon than a woolen fascinator, hold up Coxey’s army on the high road and forced it to pay toll. Carl Browne delivered along harangue to which the little woman listened with becoming patience. At its close she said:

“I don’t know anything about reincarnation at all, I want you to pay your toll.”

“Commonweal, halt,” shouted Browne. This order appeared somewhat superfluous because the army was comfortably roosting on the wayside fences. “Madam,” continued Browne. “You, no doubt, believe you are doing your duty, but I want to tell you that I shall order the commonweal to camp right here until you decide to let us pass.”

‘You can do all the camping you want to.” replied Mrs. Clabaugh cheerfully, “but you won’t pass this gate until you have paid toll.” The army continued to roost, and the horses cropped grass at the roadside. In ten minutes Coxey got tired of sitting in solitary grandeur In the middle of the turnpike. He called Carl Browne, and the two drove back to town to consult a lawyer. After a little they returned.

“I understand,” said Browne as Mrs. Clabaugh again came for the toll, ” that funerals and church gatherings pas free. That lets us out. This is a funeral procession; it is the funeral of all the existing parties and the birth of a new one.”

“I guess this isn’t a funeral according to my notions,” replied Mrs. Clabaugh quietly.

“Then we go through as a church,” argued Browne, “this is the greatest church on earth -the Church of the Commonweal of Christ.”

“It isn’t what I call a church procession,” said the tollkeeper

“Well, I’ll pay this toll then,” said Coxey in a rage, ” but I pay it under protest; and reserve the right to try this case in the courts. Do you want to take the responsibility?”

“One dollar eighty-seven cents,” said Mrs. Clabaugh resolutely. Coxey paid the money in nickels and pennies, took a receipt, and the army marched on.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/washington_area_spark/21758893389
“Little Bobby” marches with Coxey’s Army – 1894.
“Little Bobby” was the bagpiper who played from Uniontown, Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C.
By Washington Area Spark on Flicker. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Today’s twelve-mile march along the National Turnpike was the best walking the commonweal has yet had. No lunch at all was given the men, and they had to walk from 9 o clock in the morning until 6 o clock at night without either food or water.

Several delegations met Coxey at small villages along the road and got him to deliver speeches. Uniontown is treating the army with unusual hospitality. A big delegation and a band met the army a mile out of town and escorted it to the limits. There twelve motor cars were in waiting to transport the army to its company ground at Mountain View Park, but the men preferred to march through town and take the cars on the other side.

At the camp the army was met by Jasper Johnson, “Weary” Iler, and Astrologer Kirkland. These men have been on exhibition at a Pittsburg dime museum and have been dis- honorably discharged from the army. They want to, probably because they have in their pockets offers from a New York museum if they make the trip. The three men invaded the camp and tried to raise trouble, but were put just beyond the ropes by the Unknown. The astrologer Is much exercised over the matter. He says he will go along anyhow. and will try to raise an army of his own. Tomorrow the army will march to Farrington, which is way up in the mountains and consists of one house. The real hardships of the trip will begin when the army leaves Uniontown in the morning.

From The Chicago Tribune, Tuesday, April 10, 1894.

 

April 8: Jail Yawning for Gen. Coxey

Jail Yawning for Gen. Coxey - NYT 4/9/1894 - http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9802EFDE1630E033A2575AC0A9629C94659ED7CF
Headline from The New York Times, Monday, April 9, 1894

Note the change of tone in the news coverage of (and government response to) the Coxey movement, as compared to that at the beginning of the march: from crackpot, to harmless, to drama. And now, perceived as a threat.

Plans are being put into motion which will ultimately thwart the efforts of citizens to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech. And to provide a distraction from the purpose of the march: to make the case for good roads and for public investment in the nation’s infrastructure, which will result in reduced unemployment.

From The New York Times, Monday, April 9, 1894:

WASHINGTON, April 8 — The burlesque features of the Coxey tramp march on Washington disappeared as more or less trustworthy accounts reach the capital that bodies of men, called into existence by the Coxey manifesto and the publicity given it, are actually likely to arrive here within the next few days, some of them having, in fact, already arrived, and now cumbering the vagrant wards of the respective police stations.

The gross iniquity of the proposition to precipitate a body of probably lawless and irresponsible men on the national Capital without the remotest prospect of any beneficial results to the men themselves, and with the risk of grave disturbances, is fully appreciated. Whether the tramps to be turned loose here number hundreds or thousands, the dangerous feature of the movement is recognized by the authorities, and measures commensurate with the emergency will be taken.

A demonstration of a similar kind was attempted about 15 years ago by an Illinois labor agitator or walking delicate, who then carried on his operations in the capital. There were large bodies of unemployed men in and around the city whom he endeavored to excite into a demonstration like that which Coxey is making.

Gen. John A. Logan suggested, and Gen. Raum, then Commissioner of Internal Revenue, carried out a plan which at that time relieved anxiety as to what was credibly reported to be a plan in contemplation of making a sudden descent upon the open vaults of the Treasury in business hours, overpowering the guard, and “looting” the contents.

All the numerous old army men in the various departments, but especially in the Treasury, were taken into confidence, and were formed into companies with designated telephone and other signals and places of assembly. Army revolvers, quietly issued by the ward apartment, were served to them, each man giving his individual receipt for his weapon, and a number of rifles, issued for Internal Revenue Service against “moonshiners,” were kept in readiness for use in emergency. By one or two trial alarms it was demonstrated that 300 veterans, fully armed, could be concentrated at any given point in the Treasury Building at a few minutes’ notice. A revival of this plan may be suggested if the prospect of disturbance becomes greater then now seems apparent.

The prompt arrest of what is taken to be the advance guard of the Coxey movement last night, and their possible committal to the workhouse farm by the police court tomorrow, may serve to stop the movement, but it is of course admitted to be impossible for the District of Columbia to take charge of and support several thousand tramps, and in case the army shall be so numerous as that, the efforts of the authorities will be directed to securing the leaders, and giving them doses of District law which fully reaches their cases, leaving their misguided followers to be dealt with as leniently as circumstances will allow.

Whether the tramps to be turned loose here number hundreds or thousands, the dangerous feature of the movement is recognized by the authorities, and measures commensurate with the emergency will be taken…

…In addition to the very broad vagrancy law of the District, and another law which will effectually prevent the Commonwealers from holding their proposed meeting on the steps of the Capital Building, Major Moore has found two more statutes which apply to the case…

…The penalty imposed for violations of the law is small, but its imposition would be sufficient to keep the chief Commonwealer and his lieutenants in durance until his soldiers should be disposed of in a manner that would relieve apprehension as to their danger to the city and citizens…

Major W. G. Moore, who fills the position of Chief of Police, and will have control of the operations against the Coxey forces, has been busy looking up laws which will enable him to seize the Commonweal soldiers just as soon as they shall enter the District. In addition to the very broad vagrancy law of the District, and another law which will effectually prevent the Commonwealers from holding their proposed meeting on the steps of the Capital Building, Major Moore has found two more statutes which apply to the case.

Under the provisions of the one of these, Citizen Coxey, despite his alleged affluence, can be arrested, as he undoubtedly will be, and fined or imprisoned. This law makes it an offense for any person or persons to bring into the District of Columbia any person or persons likely to become a charge on the community, and it clearly covers Coxey’s case. The penalty imposed for violations of the law is small, but its imposition would be sufficient to keep the chief Commonwealer and his lieutenants in durance until his soldiers should be disposed of in a manner that would relieve apprehension as to their danger to the city and citizens.

“Capt.” George Primrose, who was arrested at the city limits last night at the head of forty unemployed men from San Antonia, Texas, is locked up on the charge of violating this law, and he will have his trial – the first under the statute – in the police court tomorrow morning.

Primrose’s forty companions are in various police stations, charged with vagrancy. Primrose says that his contingent has no connection whatever with Coxey’s idea, and that he does not believe in Coxey, but the evidence runs the other way.

The other law which Major Moore thinks he may be called on to enforce, provides that no person shall congregate on the public highways, nor around the Executive Mansion, the Capital, nor the other public buildings in Washington.

For several days the police force of the district has been put through the riot and baton drills and these drills will be continued through the month. The district militia has been very active since Coxey started, and has already had an emergency assemblage.

The Chief of Police commands the First Regiment of District Militia, and he appreciates the advantage of the training his soldiers to support his policeman.

Major Moore said tonight that he had not made any definite plans for receiving the Coxeyites.

“I will not make any,” he said, “until Coxey is within four or five days of Washington. Then I shall be able to estimate just what force will be necessary to care for his army. Undoubtedly, the police will have their hands full in any event, and particularly so if the army scatters throughout the city. I cannot say just what will be done, but we are fortunate in having ample authority of the law to arrest every man in the Coxey brigade, and I shall certainly endeavor to carry out my duty.”

Coxey's Army, 1894--school children watching the procession Ray Stannard Baker https://www.loc.gov/item/93508608/
Coxey’s Army, 1894–School children watching the procession
From the Ray Stannard Baker Collection at the Library of Congress.

See also Bad Lookout for Coxey’s Army, The Chicago Post, April 9, 1894:

The same charge may be brought against General Coxey if disaster does not overtake the army of the commonweal before it completes its march. The vagrancy act may be brought into application against his followers, and besides there are two other laws which it is the avowed and advertised purpose of the Coxeyites to break. One is the act of Congress regulating the use of the Capitol grounds, which forbids any gathering, demonstration, or parade, the making of any oration, or use of threatening language, the display of any banner or device to attract attention. The other is a local law which forbids men to congregate on the steps of any public or private building. It rest within the discretion of the Vice-President and Speaker of the House to suspend the Capitol regulations for any proper purpose, and perhaps Coxey’s agents will apply to them for permission to carry out their program…

…The details of the police movement against Coxey are kept a secret. No doubt he will be met at the District limits, and if the numbers of his army are too great for the police to cope with the local militia will be called to their aid. What to do with the army when it arrives and is taken into custody, if it should be, is a difficult question, because the jails and station houses of Washington will not accommodate such a crowd. To merely repulse the men and forbid them to enter the District would be to turn them loose on the suburban residents of Virginia and Maryland, and this is an aspect of the matter which gives rise to much uneasiness here…

In addition, see Coxey’s Rocky Road, from The Chicago Tribune, Monday, April 9, 1894.

April 7: Coxey’s Advance Cohort Arrested

NYT - 4/8/1894  http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9C01E0DE1630E033A2575BC0A9629C94659ED7CF
Headline from The New York Times, Sunday, April 8, 1894

WASHINGTON, April 7. – The advance guard of Coxey’s Army, forty-one in number, got within two miles of Washington this evening, and were taken in charge by the police and locked up.

They came in on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in freight cars, and when they reached Eckington, a suburb of the city, a squad of police took them from the cars and marched them from the cars and marched them to the Ninth Precinct Station House where they will be held until Monday for examination.

Major W.G. Moore, who, in addition to being the commanding officer of the district police, holds the rank of Colonel in the District of Columbia National Guards, received a dispatch this afternoon from the Chief of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Detective Corps, reading:

“A crowd of about sixty men, who claim to be a part of the Coxey Army, have trespassed upon our freight trains from Cincinnati, Ohio, and are now in our yard at Brunswick Station, Maryland, a point fifty miles west of Washington.  They are making their way to our city, and are traveling in a body, and will reach here to-night. I send you this information, and will see you in person this evening.”

Immediately upon receipt of that information Major Moore telephoned to the various police stations of the country through which Coxey’s cohorts would be most likely to pass, directing that policemen be on the lookout for them.

Mounted policemen were especially notified to patrol the country and send to headquarters any information concerning the approach of the advance guard.

From The New York Times, Sunday, April 8, 1894.


See also Stale Bread for the President, The San Francisco Call, April 8, 1894

The Package Was Taken In, But It Was Not At All Relished. Washington, April 7.— The advance guard of Coxey’s army, consisting of sixty soldiers, arrived here to-night. There was delivered at the White House this morning a small loaf of very stale bread bound with strings and addressed, “To D. C., care Grover Cleveland.” The label was stamped, “D. H., Account of Charity,” and showed that the package came from Arkansas. The expressman said he had taken the package to Mr. Redstone as the representative of General Coxey, but that he would not receive it and told him to take it to the President, as it had been sent in his care. A receipt was given for the bread and it was taken into the executive mansion.

April 6: Afraid of His Army

Chicago Tribune 4/7/1894  http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1894/04/07/page/1/article/defends-a-dead-man
Headline from The Chicago Tribune, Saturday, April 7, 1894

Now over 500 strong, the Commonweal is ready to head into the mountains, where the terrain will be rugged, and supplies will be few.  The marchers appear to be able to make it through. But, is Coxey himself up to the task?

From The Chicago Tribune – April 7, 1894:

McKeesport, Pa., April 6 — [Special] Gen. Coxey is growing frightened at the monster he has created and would reduce its size and unwieldiness if he could. He has issued orders that no more recruits be allowed to join and has gone even further. Formerly the penalty for infraction of orders was the loss of a meal. Now the penalty is expulsion from the army. Coxey is doing his best to shake off the superfluity of men, but he cannot do it. There are few of the tramp class in the commonweal now. It’s members are decent, out-of-work men who have been deluded into believing that Coxey would lead them to Washington and feed them all the way. They claim persistently to the army in spite of all discomforts and there are not likely to be many desertions. Coxey’s fear is that he cannot find food for the rapidly increasing horde of capital invaders. He is afraid an insurrection will break out and that he will be deposed from the leadership. This would put an end to his ambition for fame and Browne’s craving for notoriety and would be disastrous indeed. The men possess appetites which cause a wagon load of food to melt like butter on a stove. The worst part of the country is to come and food is scarce.

. . .

Coxey probably weakening.

Probably Coxey is as much concerned about himself and his son as about the welfare of the army in the mountains. When he first started out Coxey looked upon the whole trip as a sort of picnic. The first night he slept in the tent. He did not do it again. Coxey has just begun to understand that there are no comfortable hotels in the mountains; that there are no hotels at all. He has heard that the best accommodations obtained will be a pair of blankets. This prospect is not alluring to Coxey and he will get out of it if he can.

The army numbered 503 men when it marched out of Homestead this morning and there are as many tonight. Everything possible has been done to drive the men away, but they have hung on. The march to McKeesport was begun at 11 o’clock. Nearly the whole distance of fourteen miles seemed to be uphill. The roads were as bad as they could be. The favorite repairing material seeming to be a mixture of tomato cans and big rocks. Every wagon had a breakdown of some kind. Coxey is disgusted at the frequency, for the expense for repairs more than balances the nightly collection at the meetings.

. . .

Read the full article from the The Chicago Tribune archives of April 7, 1894


See also Coxey Men Must Move East from The New York Times, April 7, 1894:

The question of sufficient food is becoming more and more important, as the mountain region will be entered by Sunday, and then long marches and small towns will be the order. Coxey claims enough to carry the army through.

April 4: Lock Up Coxey’s Men.

Photo from Ohio History Central - Coxey's Army

With ten days in, this is not quite the welcome that the army has experienced in earlier cities. The media, previously having ridiculed the group, is now reporting from a slightly different perspective, that of sympathy. But that will change, soon enough…

From The Chicago Tribune – April 5, 1894:

Allegheny City, Pa., April 4 — [Special] Coxey’s Army is imprisoned in Allegheny. Some of its troopers lie behind the bars of the Central Station; the others are behind a twenty-five foot fence in the baseball club grounds. Any member of the commonweal can change his environment but not his imprisonment.

Any excuse has been sufficient today for the arrest of a man wearing the Coxey badge.

The big tent blew down yesterday afternoon and got ripped up the back. T. Hague, one of the marshals, was given money and sent to buy twine and needles to repair the tent. For this offense he was arrested. A negro in some way obtained possession of a badge and, taking off his cap, began collecting alms from spectators. Four of the army marshals saw him and, going to him, took away the badge and put him outside the ropes. The police came up, arrested the negro for begging, and then arrested the four marshals for interfering with the negro.

Any excuse has been sufficient today for the arrest of a man wearing the Coxey badge. A Pittsburgh theater sent an invitation to the army to visit the show tonight at 8 o’clock. Coxey, Browne, and Smith formed the remaining men within the inclosure into line and marched to the gate. There they were met by Chief of Police Muth, Capts. Ford and Thornton, and a large detail of detectives and police. Chief Muth told Coxey that the commonweal would not be allowed to pass, and that any man leaving the inclosure would be arrested. The army went quietly back to its quarters. Every contumely and insult that the Allegheny police could devise has been heaped upon the army today. Tonight the cells of the Central Station are crowded to suffocation with Coxey men, the charge in nearly every instance being vagrancy. The men arrested are almost invariably the pick of Coxey’s army – clean, bright-eyed men whose only offense consists in being out of work and wearing a commonweal badge. The few “hobos” remaining in the army carefully keep within the fence and were not molested. Out of fifty-eight men arrested today there was only one case of disorderly contact. A visit to the cells failed to locate a drunken man.

Read the full article from the The Chicago Tribune archives

April 2: Coxey’s Army Grows

Map of the J.S. Coxey Good Roads Commonweal

By April 2, Coxey’s Army had crossed into Pennsylvania. The Chicago Tribune reported that the group was now numbering nearly 250 men. The media was also picking up on the rivalry between marshal Carl Browne and “The Great Unknown.”

Beaver Falls, PA., Contributes To Commonweal

Provisions Pour Into the Camp and the Leaders Are Sanguine and Happy Again – Coxey Fears for Food in the Mountains and Wants No More Men Until They Are Crossed – Genuineness of the Recruits in Doubt-The “Unknown” Grows In Interest as Browne Declines.

BEAVER FALLS, Pa., April 1.-[Special.]- This has been a great day for Coxey. Fully 10,000 watched the entry of the army into Beaver Falls this morning. Provisions in plenty have been donated and nearly 250 recruits have joined the commonweal or will join in the morning. Just a week ago Coxey made the start from Massillon with a handful of men. The troops have marched seventy-five miles and have experienced privation and hardship enough for a campaign, and have steadily gained in numbers. Carl Browne’s banners will soon be things of the past. Coxey is getting and more opposed to them, and the “Unknown” never lets them be seen if he can help it. The Unknown with Coxey’s tacit consent would have marched the army into Beaver Falls without a sign of any banner but the stars and stripes if Browne had not interfered. As it was, the army got within the town boundaries before the Marshal saw his picture was not displayed. Browne was riding in Coxey’s buggy when he missed his picture. Ho promptly climbed out and scrambled to the top of his cart-horse. Then he shouted: “Commonweal, halt.”

The commonweal ambled over to a fence and sat on it, which is the Commonweal’s method of coming to a halt when the “Unknown” is not around.

“Where’s them banners of mine?” inquired Browne.

Nobody know where the banners were and word was passed for the “Unknown,” Smith. He rode up and Browne repeated his question.

“They’re away in the commissary wagon,” said Smith.

“Well, get them out,” commanded Browne. “I painted them things to be carried and not to be packed away.”

“Do you want those things carried?” asked the Unknown,” addressing Coxey and entirely ignoring Browne.

“Perhaps it would be best not to carry them; it’s Sunday and this is a church town,” suggested Coxey. But Browne insisted and carried his point, as he generally does when he argues with Coxey.

The Marshal has Coxey entirely under his thumb now and were he to order Coxey to stand on his head for the edification of the multitude Coxey would do it.

Coxey Under Browne’s Thumb.

Carl Browne, Histories of the National Mall, http://dev.omeka.org/mallhistory/items/show/93.
Carl Browne, from
Histories of the National Mall

The Marshal has Coxey entirely under his thumb now and were he to order Coxey to stand on his head for the edification of the multitude Coxey would do it. So the dismal daubs were brought out and the army carried them through the town. While there were no active hostilities there was general disgust at the signs, which showed itself in hoots and jeers. Carl Browne’s reputation seems to have traveled ahead of him. Coxey got many cheers and some people raised their hats to him. The only greeting Browne got came in the form of a loud-shouted query as to why he didn’t take a bath.

Last night’s camp was pitched near a lumberyard and after breakfast this morning the army was set to work extemporizing seats from the wood. The seats were arranged in a circle and then Browne, standing on a dry goods box, proceeded to a dispatch a sermon to the men. Coxey then spoke on the subject of good roads. It was noticeable that Coxey made not the slightest reference to the reincarnation schemes propounded by Carl Browne. “Smith,” who followed him, spoke only of the discipline of the army and of socialistic topics.

The “Unknown” is as much of a mystery as ever, but he has improved much on acquaintance. He generally drops into press for a chat now, and when he gets warmed up he makes some astonishing statements. He is a pronounced Socialist and seems to know a great deal about the Anarchist troubles in Chicago in 1880. He declares that a detective threw the haymarket bomb. The “Unknown” is always accompanied by his wife, and a Pittsburg paper has printed a story to the effect that Smith’s wife is none other than Lucy Parsons. The woman who accompanies Smith bears no resemblance to the Chicago woman.

Unknown” Says he Is Well Known.

The “Unknown” declares he has been before the public for fifteen years, and is one of the best known men in the country. He says he has seen the Chicago correspondents who are here a dozen times, but none of them can place him. Elated over the success of the drilling he has given the men he exclaimed: “I could be dictator of this country in a year if I chose. As for arms, I would get them if I had to rob every armory in the country.”

Early morning news was brought that the Village of Darlington had repented and was willing to give provisions to the army. It was two miles out of the way, but the army was promptly marched over the bad roads to get provisions. The contribution consisted of six loaves and a doubtful ham. The army was too much overcome to thoroughly express its gratitude.

The twelve miles which the troops tackled today were bad ones. Beaver Falls is locked on all sides by high hills. Jasper Johnson, the standard-bearer, sets a pace which keeps even the horses walking quickly, though it never seems to tire him. Jasper used to drive stakes for a circus until he struck the Coxey outfit. He led the column from East Palestine to New Galilee, a distance of eleven miles, yesterday. New Galilee was a “dry” town and Jasper wanted a drink. Freight trains not being regular Jasper walked another ten miles to Beaver Falls, got his drink and came back on a freight. His only companion is It nondescript yellow dog, which followed the outfit from Massillon. This he has christened “Bunker Hill,” and he is looked upon as the army’s mascot. “Bunker Hill” got into so much trouble with the farm dogs along the route that Jasper has provided him with a suit of armor. This is made of canvas studded with tacks, aid the clog that now grabs “Bunker Hill” spits him out again with celerity.

Warmly Welcomed at Beaver Falls.

Long before the tip of Jasper’s showed over the crest of the hill, Beaver Falls was ready to receive the army. Local authorities say Beaver Falls has never before seen such a crowd as gathered here today. Off the line of march, but near to this place, lie the Towns of New Brighton, Bridgewater, Beaver, Rochester, and Monaco. Wagon loads of people came in from all these places and added to crowd. Men on horseback, afoot, and in carriages went out in droves to meet the army. There would have been more had the commonweal kept to its planned line of march. It had intended to come into the town over the Homewood read, but Darlington’s loaves and ham caused a change of plan. As it was thirty mounted men riding two abreast escorted the army into town and the lines of buggies which followed were countless. One driver got into trouble. In spite of warnings he persisted in his buggy close to Jesse Coxey’s stallion, Valier. The vicious horse let fly his heels kicked a wheel into matches and then backed off the road with its driver. The hill over which it went was like the side of a house and there was a barb wire fence at the bottom, but horse and rider got out somehow without a scratch.

Beaver Falls is something of a Populist stronghold, and this alone assured Coxey a welcome. Then again the town is always ready to sympathize in anything like a labor trouble. It was right in the middle of the Homestead troubles, and there are few men in the town without practical experience of strikes. The people of Beaver Falls don’t know anything about the reincarnation of Browne, and they don’t know much about Coxey’s bills, but they heard that the Commonweal proposed to raise more money and more work, and they came to take a look at the men who are supposed to do it.

Doubt as to Genuineness of Recruits.

The truth about the recruits is also a little different from that given out by the commonweal. About 100 men have signed their and received badges, but there are not 100 extra men in the tent tonight. Whether they are genuine will not be known until the morning. The 600 men who were to have come from East Liverpool did not come. In. there came one lone man, who said he wanted to register for 220 men who will join the army in the morning. The 220 are striking potters who want to go with Coxey. If these figures are true the army’s strength will be more than doubled in the morning. Coxey thinks the figures are correct for they make him serious.

“I think that is all the men I want,” he said, “until we are over the mountains, There is not much to eat up there.”

This matter of food in the mountains is beginning to be of pressing importance. Coxey is making strenuous efforts to have enough for his men when they strike the mountains, but he will assuredly run short according to present indications. Already the men been put on short rations in order to spare the commissary as much as possible, and although five wagon loads of supplies were received here all the men got for supper tonight was dry bread, potatoes, and a bit of bologna sausage. The supplies received consisted of one beef, sixty dozen eggs, and a quantity of bread, meat, potatoes, vegetables, and canned goods. All the provisions will be loaded into a car in the morning and will be sent into the mountains ahead of the army.

Tonight the army is caped in the north end of town. Its officers are happy. They have been invited to spend the night at a hotel, and $47 was collected at a meeting this afternoon. The camp faces Geneva College, a sectarian institution. Many of these people live round about and they strongly objected to Coxey’s army. Several times they have caused tie arrest of motormen and conductors for violating Sunday, and the way the army has been carrying on today disturbs them greatly. They tried to have the camp located elsewhere, but failed to do so.

On to Economy Today.

Early tomorrow the commonweal will march on Economy. According to Browne’s bulletin tonight the army is to be entertained at lunch, have its wagons filled, and get a lot of clothing. Everyone else thinks that all the army will get will be bread and cheese. After an eighteen-mile march the army will at Sewickley, Pittsburg’s fashionable suburb. Sewickley, it is said, is considerably wrought up over the prospect and is indulging extensively in padlocks and revolvers.

Read the full article from the The Chicago Tribune archives.

Read “Coxey’s Army at Beaver Falls” from The New York Times, Monday, April 2, 1894.