Police of Allegheny Arrest Commonwealers on Sight
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