Labor Problems During the First Year
of Governor Martin's Administration

by Edith Walker

February, 1936 (vol. 5, No. 1), Pages 33 to 53
transcribed by lhn; digitized with permission of
the Kansas State Historical Society.


     ALTHOUGH the force of economic change was not felt with the same degree of intensity in Kansas as in the older sections of the country, still rapid changes in economic conditions were taking place during the eighties. The development in the fields of mining, transportation, and manufacturing increased the number of workers in the state having special need for protective legislation. [1] In 1884 the General Assembly of the Knights of Labor formulated a platform and declaration of principles in which the state legislatures were urged to establish bureaus of labor. [2] The following year such a department was established in Kansas. [3]

     The sponsor of the bill creating a bureau of labor was Sen. W. J. Buchan, of Wyandotte, who had gone to work as a boy in Ohio when he was twelve years old. He served as a clerk in a drug store for several years and enlisted in the Union forces at the age of eighteen. After coming to Kansas in 1867 he worked for a time as a brakeman on the Kansas Pacific Railway before his admission to the bar in 1871. [4]

     He introduced the measure into the senate January 19, 1885, where it was debated vigorously. Sen. R. M. Crane, of Marion, proposed, for the sake of economy, that it be amended and the duties contemplated by the bill be added to the work of the bureau of agriculture. In this endeavor he was supported by Sen. C. H. Kimball, of Parsons, who explained that the duties of the secretary of the board of agriculture were concerned with labor. He cautioned the senators to think carefully before they passed legislation which would increase the expenses of the state. Sen. W. M. Congdon, a farmer from Sedgwick county, who opposed the establishment of a labor bureau, explained that Ohio, which suffered from serious industrial conflicts, had such a bureau which was probably the cause of labor riots there. [5] Moreover, he was satisfied that the measure was useless and simply a move to provide someone with a job.



     Senator Buchan, in defense of his measure, maintained that forty percent of the citizens of Kansas merited more than a mere recognition of their existence by placing the work proposed by the bill in the department of agriculture. The very nature of the work, he insisted, demanded a person especially fitted for the task. [6] Sen. Frank S. Jennings of Winfield claimed that the welfare of the Kansas laborer was entirely neglected. He was convinced that it was to the interest of all Kansas citizens to create an independent department to better the condition of the workingman and that the time had come to establish it. [7] Efforts to amend the bill were unsuccessful, and it passed the senate providing for the creation of a labor bureau coordinate with the bureau of agriculture. [8] After an uneventful course in the house, where it encountered little opposition, it became a law March 5, 1885. [9]

     It provided for the establishment of a bureau of labor and industrial statistics under the direction of a commissioner who was to be appointed by the governor for a term of two years. The duties of the bureau were to collect, assort, and present to the governor, in annual reports, statistics relating to all departments of labor and industry in the state, especially in their relation to the commercial, industrial, social, educational, and sanitary condition of the laboring classes. The commissioner was given the power to take and preserve testimony, examine witnesses under oath, and while discharging his duty to enter any factory, workshop or mine, and compel persons to answer questions. The state, city, county, and township officers were required to furnish him information upon request. [10]

     F. H. Betton, who was indorsed for the position by the Knights of Labor, was appointed in April as the first commissioner of the labor bureau. [11] He had engaged in the lumber and milling business for years, took up the duties of the new office with that knowledge of the labor problem which comes from actual experience. [12]

     A disastrous fire in a mine at Carbondale in 1883 had aroused the Kansas miners to action. The enactment of a law designed to protect their health and safety and to provide for the inspection of the mines was the result. [13] The code was revised March 13, 1885,


and minor changes made. The annual number of visits the mine inspector was required to make to each mine in the state was reduced from four to two. The revised law required all coal operators to make quarterly reports to the inspector of the amount of coal mined and the number of persons employed. An annual report to the governor supplanted monthly reports originally made by the inspector to the secretary of the board of agriculture. To further protect the miners a clause was added limiting the amount of explosives which each miner was allowed to take into the mine at one time, and stating that this material was to be kept in a tight box. [14]

     In June, 1885, John R. Braidwood of Pittsburg [15] was appointed inspector of mines. [16] As a practical miner and civil engineer he was well fitted for the position [17] and was recommended by the Knights of Labor as well as by others interested in Kansas mines and miners. [18] Both Mr. Braidwood and Gov. John A. Martin, who appointed him, were eager to see that the law was obeyed and the health and lives of the miners protected. Moreover, they hoped that the mine inspector, in the course of his duties, might be able to maintain harmonious relations between mine owners and employees, thus eliminating a resort to strikes. [19]

     On January 16, 1885, Sen. John N. Ritter, of Columbus, introduced a bill to secure to the industrial workers of Kansas the payment of their wages every month in lawful money of the United States. [20] It was referred to the committee on mines and mining of which Sen. T. L. Marshall, of Osage City, was chairman. [21] Senator Marshall worked diligently in the senate in favor of the measure, where it was passed by unanimous vote. [22]

     The house, however, was reluctant to enact a law which might discourage the development of Kansas industries. J. R. Burton, of Dickinson county, felt that the lawmakers should do everything in their power to help build the state and not discourage its industrial development. [23] Toward the close of the session the house amended


the bill to the point of destroying its intent. [24] Two conference committees were appointed to work out the differences existing between the two houses, but they proved unsuccessful and the bill failed to become a law. [25]


     Early in March, 1885, a strike occurred on the Missouri Pacific Railway which arrested the operation of the trains upon that company's lines in Kansas, Missouri and Texas, except the passenger trains carrying the United States mails. Thus all freight traffic was entirely suspended and the railway system practically paralyzed for a period of nine days. [26]

     On October 10, 1884, a notice had been posted informing the mechanics and other employees in the shops of a ten percent reduction in their wages. This cut was to take effect from the first of the month. This, together with earlier reductions, brought their wages below the level paid by other railway companies in Kansas, Missouri and Texas. In addition, the hours had also been reduced, with less pay in proportion. [27] In February, 1885, with increase in business and consequent greater demand for rolling stock, full time had been restored. [28] The low wages remained, however, and the indignant workers demanded a restoration of the wage scale of September, 1884. Their action was not impulsive, but taken only after consideration. They maintained that they could not live on less than the former wage, and that sickness or any emergency made it impossible to live on that [29] In March, 1885, fully aware of their opportunity to impair disastrously the services of the company, they walked out. [31]

     Those included in this action were the shopmen employed at Atchison and Parsons in Kansas, at Sedalia and Kansas City in Missouri, and at Fort Worth and Denison in Texas-points that practically commanded the entire railroad system of this company. They refused to work any longer until the matter of which they complained was arranged to their satisfaction [31] On the afternoon of March 7, at the signal of a whistle, 300 men at Parsons dropped


their work and walked out of the shops. That evening, acting upon orders from Sedalia, Mo., between 200 and 300 shopmen struck at Atchison. [32] Two days later the mechanical employees of the Missouri Pacific Railway at West Kansas City joined the ranks of the strikers. [33]

     Members of the Knights of Labor had charge of the strike at Atchison, where they had a strong organization. [34] A meeting was called Saturday evening, March 7, where committees and leaders were chosen, and the details necessary to conduct a successful strike were carefully worked out.

     On March 9 the company tendered the workmen their pay up to the time they quit work and notified them of their discharge. They refused to receive the one or to recognize the other. They would not work nor would they vacate their places.[35]

     From the beginning of the controversy every movement was directed by the executive committee representing the strikers, and a perfect police system was maintained, under which the property of the railroad company and private individuals was fully protected. The yards were closely guarded and two engines kept in readiness for any emergency. The strikers were determined to hold the freight engines. They were equally determined, however, that no violence should occur, and as a pledge of their intention not to destroy any property, offered to detail twenty-five or fifty of their men to be sworn in as special deputy constables. [36]

     Soon after the trouble developed the railway authorities at Atchison filed notices of the controversy with the local officers and called upon them for protection of the company's property from the rioters. [37] There was no violence on the part of the employees, no attempt to destroy property, nor was there any record of any complaint having been filed charging the rioters with the violation of any law or resistance to arrest. The local officers, however, promptly stated that they were powerless to act. [38] Both the mayor of Atchison and the sheriff of Atchison county immediately informed the governor that an organized mob was in possession of the trains and engines of the Missouri Pacific Railway, and the latter called upon the governor to furnish sufficient militia to put down the


riot and disperse the mob. [39] Superintendent Fagan notified Governor Martin that the passenger and freight trains were in the hands of a mob and the passengers driven from the trains. He explained that the city and county officials could do nothing, and he appealed to the governor to take immediate action to furnish military protection for the railroad property [40] H. M. Hoxie of St. Louis, third vice-president of the Missouri Pacific Railway, not only requested but demanded that Governor Martin take steps necessary to protect the company's property in the state of Kansas and thus make it possible for the railroad to continue to serve the public. [41] The following day, March 10, he again wrote to the governor explaining that the local authorities had expressed themselves to be powerless. Consequently, he requested immediate aid in order to avoid loss to the railway and to the shippers. Unless the state authorities stepped in, he insisted the people would soon suffer from lack of coal and other provisions. Gov. J. S. Marmaduke, of Missouri, he pointed out, had ordered out the state militia. In closing, he informed the governor that he had directed the attorneys representing the company at Atchison and Parsons to communicate to him the seriousness of the situation. [42]

     Rumors were rife that the company intended soon to abandon attempts at conciliation and appeal to the federal government for protection. If the state admitted itself powerless then the federal soldiers would be called upon. [43] Although the strikers laughed at the talk of ordering out the state militia, they realized that the use of federal troops was a far more serious matter. The men were determined to win, but it was believed that they would disperse rather than come into conflict with the regular soldiers. [44]

     The situation facing the governor was a grave one. Local authorities and railroad officials alike had insisted that only the use of force could suppress the riot. Governor Martin realized fully that a serious outbreak resulting in the loss of life and destruction of property might occur. Still, the use of force might provoke a conflict with equally disastrous results.

     Determined to ascertain fully his duties and powers before taking


any hasty action in the controversy, [45] Governor Martin submitted to the attorney general eight definite propositions covering the perplexing problems which confronted him. Thus he learned first, that, according to Kansas laws, in case of invasion, insurrection, or breach of the peace, the executive authority of a state was authorized and required to call out the militia. The constable and sheriff had the power to call to their aid all able-bodied citizens of their township and county in enforcing the law. Until they had done so, and thus exhausted every effort, they were not entitled to the aid of the militia. Second, no statute provided that any civil officer had the right to call on the executive for the militia. In the third place, in the case of a call from local officers for military aid, it was the duty of the governor to investigate first, and if he felt the militia unnecessary he might refuse to comply with the call. Fourth, a constable's and sheriff's authority was almost unlimited and only as a last resort might military aid be used. Fifth, military aid was justified when a mob prevented the legal serving of writs and rendered useless lawful court orders. Sixth, the governor must be satisfied on more substantial grounds, however, than rumor or newspaper reports, that the local officers were unable to do their duty. Seventh, like individuals, railway companies must use care in protecting their property. If molested they must first rely upon civil or criminal remedies. If the use of the railway property was interfered with by strikers it was the duty of the railroad authorities to file complaints and swear out warrants for the apprehension of the offenders. If the civil officers were powerless to do their duty, then they might call upon the commanding military officer, and he, in turn, upon the executive. Finally, no officer of a railroad had the legal right to demand of the executive the use of the militia [46]

     To the alarmed sheriff of Atchison county the governor pointed out his duty to preserve peace, and informed him that. he was empowered to call to his aid as many deputies as he felt necessary. He also cited the laws, the provisions of which set forth the sheriff's powers. If these laws were faithfully carried out, and an effort made to cooperate with the city officials, who were given like powers, need for executive action would be rendered unnecessary. [47] The sheriff promptly answered, and still insisted that he was powerless. [48]


     To these insistent demands for help the governor did not respond with troops, but he did investigate the facts. He dispatched Adjutant General Alexander B. Campbell to Parsons, [49] and requested the board of railroad commissioners to proceed to Atchison. In writing to the commissioners he described the situation, and explained that although he was fully aware of the fact that legally they had no power to act in such an emergency, he believed their presence in Atchison would have a salutary effect. Therefore, he urged them to investigate the trouble there and see whether their services as mediators would be accepted by both parties. In this emergency, only one other course was left open, and that was to call out the militia-a move he was very anxious to avoid. [50] He then informed the attorney representing the company at Atchison of his move in the direction of mediation through the agency of the railroad commissioners, and asked him if his company would accept their services as arbiters. [51] In reply, the attorney ignored the governor's proposal and merely stated that the Missouri Pacific Railway Co. refused to yield to the demands of the strikers. [52]

     After seeking information concerning wages paid by other railroads operated in Missouri, Kansas, and Texas, [53] Governor Martin endeavored to get in direct touch with the committee representing the strikers at Atchison. When informed that that committee was reluctant to leave the men without control, [54] he hastened to Atchison. Here he held a long conference with the executive committee, and though according the strikers his sympathy, he informed them that he was unable, as governor, to sympathize with the methods they employed to gain their point. Later, at a conference including representatives of all the parties in the controversy, the governor proposed that the railroad commissioners serve as arbitrators and said that he believed that the matter would be fairly adjusted if submitted to them. After careful consideration the striking employees expressed their willingness to accept the services of the commissioners, but subject to conditions which amounted to dictating


the terms of settlement. On the other hand, the Missouri Pacific Company made no reply whatever to the governor's proposal.

     The plan to arbitrate was abandoned, and the prospects of an immediate settlement seemed, indeed, discouraging. However, the governor made another attempt to adjust the difficulty and bring about an amicable settlement. At his suggestion committees representing the strikers at the various railroad centers were appointed and prepared to go to St. Louis to confer with the railway officials there. While at no time during the deadlock was there any danger to either the property of the public or the company, nevertheless, every hour the strike was prolonged increased the difficulty for both the strikers and the company. [55]

     While the governor was in Atchison awaiting developments he sent a long telegram to Mr. Hoxie describing the situation in Kansas in which he said:

Nothing whatever has been done by the strikers, either here or elsewhere in the state to justify a call for troops, or their use either by the state or the United States. This opinion is confirmed by the railroad commissioners, two of whom, you know, are lawyers.

     Second, I fear you do not comprehend the extent and character of the strike; ostensibly, it is confined to the shopmen. In fact, as I am convinced, it extends to the employees of every branch of your service.

     Third, the strike is, in all its features, phenomenal in the history of strikes. The strikers are sober, intelligent, orderly men, who have always, heretofore, been loyal to their employers. They are such employees as any private citizen would be glad to have. Their character and intelligence deserves respect.

     Fourth, There is not the slightest danger that the men engaged in the strike will destroy any property. The only danger is, that the lawless elements, who always gather where trouble prevails, may do so.

     Fifth, The men believe they have been wronged, and I am impelled to say that I believe the universal sentiment of the state sympathizes with them in this opinion.

     For all of these reasons, I appeal to you to abandon any purpose of provoking a collision, if you entertain it, and to endeavor to arrange terms for amicable settlement with your employees. I believe the men would promptly and gladly accept overtures looking to such a settlement.

     Mr. Hoxie replied that he appreciated fully the situation at Atchison. He wrote, "... if the men who have been in our employ... will permit us to resume business... we will discuss and arrange wages with them... for their future employment...." The company demanded absolute submission to its terms. Feeling that it was fruitless to remain any longer


in Atchison, in view of this position, Governor Martin informed Hoxie of his intentions to return to Topeka.

     The situation at Atchison was characteristic of the condition of things existing at other places where the strike prevailed. Adjutant General Campbell informed the governor that the situation at Parsons, though peculiar, was entirely safe so far as public peace was concerned.5g At Kansas City the engines stood idle and the force in the freight department, though kept on duty, had very little work to do. Meetings were held regularly at Armourdale, and committees appointed to carry on the strike [57]

     The representative appointed by the strikers left Atchison Friday, March 13, for Sedalia, to join similar representatives from Sedalia and Parsons. They planned to go on to St. Louis, providing the railroad officials there would give them an audience. With both parties to the contest demanding surrender to their terms, considerable attention was focused upon the committee on its way to St. Louis. The prospects of an amicable settlement, however, seemed discouraging, and especially so when the representative of the Atchison strikers returned the same night from Sedalia, having accomplished nothing. [58] Mr. Hoxie expressed no willingness to meet the committee and so the men abandoned the plan of going on to St. Louis [59]

     The situation presented a real difficulty. If compliance with the demands of the strikers had been the only problem it would have been an easy matter to end the strike. But other questions of much greater importance had arisen in the progress of the conflict. The striking employees illegally held the property of the company, and refused to permit the owners to gain possession of it [60] The company had tendered them full pay in discharge of its obligations to them. [61] Hence, for the Missouri Pacific company to treat directly with them now would amount to an abdication, on its part, of the management and direction of its own affairs. The company's chief executive officers believed the majority of their employees to be loyal to the company's interests; still it was felt that the strikers had placed themselves under the direction of ambitious and unscrupulous leaders whose growing arrogance in the future would


render impossible the efficient management of the property, and place the master in the position of servant [62]

     On Friday, the day that Governor Martin returned to Topeka, Mr. Fagan, division superintendent at Atchison, wrote him that Mr. Hoxie wished to meet him and the board of railroad commissioners at St. Louis. In reply the Kansas executive explained that he and the commissioners would cheerfully go to St. Louis to meet with Mr. Hoxie if terms for a friendly settlement of the strike were open for discussion. But if the terms announced by Mr. Hoxie in his last dispatch were final, Governor Martin failed to see how he and the commissioners could be of any service. Mr. Fagan replied that the general manager of the Missouri Pacific company had stated that he would be glad to confer with the Kansas authorities in order to bring about an adjustment of the strike.

     The Kansas governor and railroad commissioners were joined in this conference at St. Louis, Sunday morning, March 15, by the following Missouri officials: Gov. J. S. Marmaduke, Attorney General J. C. Jamison, and Oscar Kochtitzky, commissioner of labor statistics. R. S. Hayes, first vice-president of the Missouri Pacific company, served as spokesman for the Gould system. After a long discussion of the situation, during which the facts were presented, the representatives of the two states formulated a proposition which they believed a just settlement. They recommended its acceptance by the company and the striking employees. They proposed that the company restore the wage scale of September, 1884, including one and one half price for extra time worked, and reemploy the men without prejudice on account of the strike. The railway officials immediately accepted this proposition and stated that the wage scale would go into effect March 16 and would not be changed except after thirty days' notice. Thus they yielded every point demanded by the strikers [63]

     The news that the intercession of the representatives of Kansas and Missouri had resulted in their favor reached the employees Sunday evening, March 15. The next morning the shopmen returned to their regular posts, but before work was resumed, the leaders insisted that it was necessary to hear from headquarters at Sedalia. The command from the leaders at that point to return to work was received in the afternoon. The central committee had spoken; the strike was over. [64]


     The strike involved more than the employees and employers, for it reached the people through their business interests. Nevertheless, public sentiment arrayed itself very generally with the strikers, for it was believed that they had a just grievance, and their good conduct throughout the controversy created sympathy for them. Moreover, the actions of Governor Martin won for him the good will of the laboring man [65] as well as the approval of other Kansas citizens [66]

     Although no other strike occurred during the year affecting any railroad operated in Kansas, it was evident that the relations existing between employers and employees continued to be of so strained a character as to excite great uneasiness. Measures of retrenchment and economy adopted by the larger railroad companies produced dissatisfaction among the army of railroad workers [67] Following the strike conflicting reports reflecting the apprehension felt by the railroad workers appeared from time to time in the Parsons newspapers. [68] At one time it was feared that another strike was imminent. [69] In May, Governor Martin instituted careful inquiries concerning a complaint sent him by a committee representing the railroad men at Parsons that certain employees had been discharged for participation in the strike. [70] He urged the board of railroad commissioners to go to that point, giving them definite instructions to make a full and impartial investigation of the alleged violation of the company's agreement. [71] At the same time, he informed Vice-president Hayes of the matter, urging him to give it his careful attention, for he was convinced that a violation of the terms of the agreement made by the company with the Kansas authorities would seriously undermine the confidence of the public in the railway corporation. Moreover, he concluded, such a violation would be an act of bad faith, not only to the employees, but also to the state officers who undertook to negotiate the terms of the settlement at the express request of the company. [72] Mr. Hayes, in his reply, ex-


pressed his doubt concerning the truth of the report, but promised to investigate, and assured Governor Martin that the agreement of March would be complied with by the company. Investigation disclosed the fact that the trouble which the Kansas authorities had been led to believe existed at Parsons, and which caused them no little concern, was actually located in Texas. [73] The railroad commissioners assured the governor that they believed a conference called at St. Louis would adjust the difficulty satisfactorily. [74]

     Rumors in August of a strike on the Wabash line alarmed the public. [75] The road, which was in the hands of a receiver, reduced the force of men in the shops at Moberly, Mo., to a point which meant a lockout of the members of the Knights of Labor. As a result, the executive board of the Knights of Labor issued an order forbidding the members of the organization to repair any stock of that road.[76] At Parsons, where the Missouri Pacific employees watched the movement with interest, a notice was posted forbidding the Knights to handle Wabash cars, [77] while those employed on the Union Pacific Railway were awaiting orders from their labor headquarters at Denver before refusing to do the work. Mr. Betton, commissioner of labor, after a meeting at Wyandotte with a committee representing the Knights of Labor employed on the Union Pacific Railway, expressed his uneasiness concerning the gravity of the situation in a letter to Governor Martin. [78] The order of the executive board if fully carried out would affect over 20,000 miles of railroad, and a strike equal in dimensions to the one of 1877 would be the result.

     Jay Gould was unwilling to risk a general strike. Consequently, he arranged a conference between the executive board of the Knights of Labor and the managers of the Missouri Pacific and Wabash railroads. Here he assured the Knights that he believed in labor organizations. At length, he brought pressure to bear upon the managers of the Wabash and a settlement was effected. An order was issued directing the superintendents in filling vacancies to give the men who had formerly been employed preference over the strangers and to ask no questions concerning membership in the Knights of Labor or any other organization.


     The Knights of Labor had dealt on an equal footing with Jay Gould, a man who in the minds of some people was more powerful than the United States government. The order stood out as a championship of the masses. As a result, with an exaggerated notion of its power, many hastened to join this mighty organization. [79]


     The boycott movement of the years 1884 and 1885 was truly nation wide, and during the latter year reached the epidemic stage.[80] Such a method of coercion had the advantage over the strike of entailing little cost or effort to the laborer who supported it. Moreover, it was frequently used to render strikes more effective.

     In Kansas, during 1885, two boycotts of importance were inaugurated at the instigation of the typographical union and sanctioned and aggressively carried on by the Knights of Labor. One, directed against the Kansas City Daily Journal, originated in Missouri but was actively supported by Kansas Knights. The other, ordered by the Knights of Topeka, was carried on against The Daily Commonwealth of that city.

     Although the Kansas City Daily Journal was published in Missouri it had a large circulation in Kansas, and maintained agents in the principal Kansas cities. The boycott on both its advertising business and its circulation was actively supported by Kansas Knights. The original trouble dated back to 1883, when the union printers employed on the Kansas City Daily Journal, claiming that they were treated unfairly, walked out. The boycott in Kansas, however, was not instituted until the spring of 1885, when the Kansas Knights of Wyandotte county indorsed it. From that point it spread to those cities where the Journal was patronized, until it reached practically every part of the state where assemblies of the Knights were located. Much ill feeling was created by the zeal of the Knights, who forbade the business men to subscribe or advertise in the offending journal under penalty of a withdrawal of patronage. The boycott was rigidly enforced until the spring of 1886, and undoubtedly affected the interests of the paper to a considerable extent. Although it continued into the year 1886 the bitterness diminished.

     The cause of the controversy in which the Topeka paper was involved centered about the employment of a foreman who had


been expelled from the typographical union. The union printers protested against his employment and walked out when they failed to induce the owner of the Commonwealth company to discharge him. This occurred on April 7. Early the next morning the company put a new force of men to work.

     The striking printers, seeing their action fail, appealed to the Knights for assistance. In response, Local Assembly 1800 appointed a committee on April 13 to investigate the grievances of the printers and act as a board of arbitration between the typographical union and the proprietor of The Daily Commonwealth. [81] A few days later, at a special meeting, this assembly accepted the committee's recommendation that the printers be upheld in their action by every trade union, and more particularly by the Knights of Labor [82] As a result, a boycott was declared against The Daily Commonwealth by the local assemblies of the Topeka Knights and championed by the senior Assembly 1800.

     Organized labor in Topeka earnestly set about to wage a successful campaign against the offending firm. Merchants and others who advertised in the offending paper were visited and requested to with draw their patronage from it under penalty of loss of the trade of the Knights of Labor. [83] Early in the controversy the striking printers established an evening paper entitled The Citizen, [84] and the first. issue appeared on April 11. It set forth in its columns the methods of boycotting and urged those who subscribed for The Daily Commonwealth or bought goods from dealers advertising in that paper, to stop doing so at once until the company employed union men. [85] It achieved a wide circulation in Topeka, and by the middle of July claimed the largest circulation of any paper in the city. [86] The Citizen urged the business men to stop dealing with The Daily Commonwealth until the difficulty was settled, and those who refused were warned that they would be remembered in the future. [87] Although The Citizen declared that it did not propose to dictate to the business men of the city it did intend to stand by its friends. [88] The executive committee of the Knights of Labor issued


     a special paper called the Boycotter which was devoted to the task of carrying on the boycott against the Commonwealth.

     A state-wide boycott was entered upon. Circulars were sent out by Topeka Knights to sister assemblies in other parts of the state urging them to take action against the Commonwealth. [89] The Trades-Union, a labor paper published in Atchison, carried notices urging its readers to boycott the Topeka journal.

     As a result of this persistent industrial warfare [90] organized labor claimed that it succeeded in seriously crippling the firm. In June The Citizen stated that the advertising patronage of the Commonwealth was daily growing less, and that merchants who advertised in it were beginning to notice a decrease in their trade. On the other hand, the owners of the paper asserted that it made no noticeable difference in their business.

     The controversy continued throughout 1885. On Sunday, February 7, 1886, C. U. Spencer of Emporia organized the printers of The Daily Commonwealth into a printers' assembly of the Knights of Labor. This action called forth a protest from Local Assembly 1800 which was sent February 10 to the general executive board of the Knights of Labor at Philadelphia. A week later, February 17, representatives from all the labor organizations in Topeka, including the new assembly of printers, met in conference at the office of the commissioner of labor. Here it was agreed to refer the difficulty to the local assemblies, and arbitration as a solution of the problem was recommended. On February 24 the Commonwealth printers answered the protest of Local Assembly 1800 against the organization of Printers' Assembly 5314 in a statement termed "Our Vindication." They, too, appealed to the general executive board at Philadelphia and asked for approval of their organization. The two protesting groups were attached to District Assembly 69. Consequently, the general executive board referred the matter to the officials of this district assembly, who met in Topeka March 2 to March 6 to settle the controversy. Here, March 5, they agreed unanimously that the boycott on The Daily Commonwealth should be lifted. Typographical Union No. 121 of Topeka objected strenuously to this action. The members issued a statement in which they set forth the opinion of T. V. Powderly expressed at Cleveland in May, 1886, concerning the relations of the trade unions to the Order. This statement read that "the only serious trouble between the


Knights of Labor and the trades unions, outside of the trouble with the cigarmakers' union, was the supposed granting of a charter to a number of `rats' at Topeka, Kansas." Consequently, the typographical union felt justified in refusing to accept, as final, the decision of District Assembly 69.

     In his second annual report the commissioner of labor said:

In a general way... the boycott on the Commonwealth by the Knights of Labor extended over a period of time commencing in the latter part of April, 1885, and terminating March 5, 1886, by order of the Executive Board of District Assembly No. 69.... In explanation it may be proper to add that while the boycott... has ended as far as the Knights of Labor are concerned, the original trouble remains unsettled and Typographical Union No. 121 still continues to consider it a "rat" office, although negotiations are now pending that may result in an amicable settlement.... An amnesty has been agreed upon, and far more friendly feelings prevail. [91]


     The public was thoroughly aroused during the course of the railroad strike and convinced of the need of setting up effective machinery for the prevention of industrial conflicts. It was argued that if the public demanded the services of the railway employees then it was the duty of the state to see that those employed received a reasonable compensation for their work [92] Moreover, it was declared that a corporation undertaking to serve the public should submit to such regulations as would secure the safe performance of its work [93] Some even contended that the public interest in strikes was great and important enough to justify the adoption of any measures to prevent their recurrence. [94]

     Many were confident. that the creation of a state tribunal would avert industrial controversies. [95] The establishment of a board to arbitrate these differences would practically abolish strikes throughout the state, it was believed. The part played by the board of railroad commissioners in the actual settlement of the Missouri Pacific strike suggested a solution which seemed practicable to many. It was proposed that the law which provided for the establishment of the board of railroad commissioners be amended so as to empower the commissioners to act as referees in cases of serious difficulty between employer and employees. [96]


     Governor Martin believed that the public interest in uninterrupted commerce was as great, if not greater, than that of the employees and the railway corporation. He felt that the welfare of the people, who were in no way responsible for the strike, should be considered. Consequently, with their welfare as well as that of the employees and employers in mind, he urged some action which would bring about industrial peace, [97] and agreed that the law which provided for the adjustment of differences between shippers and the railway corporations might be extended to arbitrate differences between railway companies and their employees [98] During the course of the strike Governor Martin advanced the proposition to the railroad commissioners that in certain emergencies, due to the relation of the railroads to the public, it might become necessary for the state to take charge of the railroads and operate them. Such a step was not necessary, but it was his opinion that some legal measures should be provided enabling the state to intervene and settle controversies. [99] In a letter to an assembly of Knights of Labor written soon after the strike Governor Martin said that if afforded an opportunity to address another legislature, he would certainly stress the need for legislation providing some method of arbitrating industrial disputes. [100]

     When the legislature convened in special session in January, 1886, the governor, in his message, reviewed the history of the strike and pointed out the difficulty of bridging the gap between the wage earner and the corporation. He said that the strikers were industrious and law-respecting citizens who felt that the only way to gain relief from undesirable conditions was a resort to force, which they deplored, for they realized fully the losses a strike involved. Therefore he earnestly recommended the passage of a law providing regulations to govern the arbitration of disputes between employers and employees. [101]

     A group of Kansas Knights, eager to cooperate with the lawmakers and likewise express their views, met January 25 and 26, 1886, at the office of the commissioner of labor in Topeka. This group recommended the creation of a board of arbitration composed of the commissioner of labor, who should serve as chairman, and two


     others, appointed by the governor, representing labor and capital. It was also agreed to present to the legislature a resolution requesting the appointment of a standing committee on labor.

     On the second day of the meeting a bill providing for arbitration was discussed. After careful deliberation it was agreed that not only was the group too small to assume responsibility for such important legislation, but also the time allowed the delegates was too limited to frame an effective law. Moreover, since the time of the legislators was limited by the special session the delegates opposed immediate action on such important legislation. They feared that a crude bill might result from too hasty action, which would do more harm than good. Consequently, this meeting of the Knights of Labor adopted a resolution which provided, first, that all local assemblies in the state should take steps toward drafting bills of arbitration, and second that a convention representing each local assembly in Kansas should assemble in Topeka September 7, 1886. It seemed to organized labor that the better plan, at that time, would be for the legislature to appoint a committee of labor with the authority to meet and study the problem, and report in 1887. As a result the subject would be better understood and a valuable law enacted. [102]

     However, the legislators, recognizing the need of bringing labor and capital together, and desiring to erase the ill feeling between the two factions, immediately set about to solve the problem. On January 27, 1886, a bill providing for the arbitration of industrial controversies, the first on this subject ever placed before a Kansas legislature, [103] was introduced into the house by Rodolph Hatfield, a young attorney of Wichita. [104] On the following day, in compliance with the resolution passed by Kansas Knights in Topeka January 25, [105] the house adopted the resolution offered by J. J. Cox of Douglas county recommending the appointment of a committee of five to consider the rights and duties of Kansas labor. Mr. Hatfield's bill was referred to this committee and on February 10 the house adopted its recommendation that the measure be passed and that its consideration be made the special order of business for the following afternoon. [106] Mr. Hatfield eloquently upheld his measure, emphasizing the importance of the subject to the people of Kansas.


     He pointed out the fact that the problem of the relation of labor and capital was assuming great proportions, and demanded the attention of legislative bodies. He explained that in spite of the fact that the two factors were vitally related to and dependent upon each other, each was suspicious of and bitter toward the other. He said that he knew what it was to work ten, twelve, and fourteen hours a day. As a disinterested advocate of a measure of paramount importance to Kansas, he hoped the special session would enact a law which would stand as a monument in the march of civilization.

     Mr. David Overmyer of Shawnee county said in defense of that feature of the law which provided for voluntary arbitration that the Kansas constitution prohibited the establishment of a tribunal which would compel Kansas citizens to arbitrate their industrial difficulties. However, he explained that the bill provided that when both parties voluntarily placed their disputes before the tribunal its decision was final. His motion to suspend the rules and read the bill a third time while its provisions were well in mind was adopted. [107] The measure passed without a dissenting vote, February 11, [108] and was sent to the senate.

     By request, Sen. A. J. Harwi of Atchison introduced a bill on the same subject on the day Mr. Hatfield introduced his measure in the house. The senate bill, however, was not reported from committee, and on February 11 the measure framed by the house was read in the senate for the first time. A week later, February 18, on the motion of L. U. Humphrey of Independence, the rules of the senate were suspended in order to advance the bill to its third reading. As in the lower house, the measure was passed, not a single vote being cast against it. [109]

     The governor signed the bill February 19, 1886, and thus machinery was set up which it was hoped would insure industrial peace in Kansas. [110] It embodied the principle of voluntary arbitration and applied to disputes between laborers and employers in manufacturing, mechanical, mining, and other industries. It provided that the district court of each county, when petitioned by parties to a labor dispute, should establish a tribunal of voluntary arbitration and appoint an umpire for that tribunal. It required the signature of at least five employees or two employers to the petition


     praying for a tribunal, the establishment of which might be denied if the court found that the required number of petitioners were not as represented in the petition. It provided that the decision of the tribunal, which was to be composed of two employers and two employees, all residents of the county, should be final. In case the members of the tribunal failed to agree, they might submit the questions in dispute to the umpire, whose award was final only on those matters properly submitted to him by the court of arbitration or the parties to the dispute. It gave the tribunal and the umpire the power to question witnesses under oath, and to examine any documents or material pertaining to the matter before them and belonging to the parties in the dispute. The court of arbitration, when established, remained in existence for one year. [111]

1. Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, First Annual Report (1885), p. 4.
2. ibid., Fourth Annual Report (1888), p. 36.
3. Laws, Kansas, 1886, ch. 188.
4. Kansas state senate, Directory (1889), p. 9.
5. The Daily Commonwealth, Topeka, February 18, 1885.
6. Topeka Daily Capital, February 18, 1885.
7. The Daily Commonwealth, Topeka, February 18, 1885.
8. Topeka Daily Capital, February 18, 1885.
9. House Journal, 1885, pp. 728, 748, 843.
10. Laws, Kansas, 1885, ch. 188.
11. Topeka Daily Capital, April 18, 1885.
12. Editorial in the Atchison Daily Champion, April 19, 1885.
13. Kansas State Inspector of Mines, First Annual Report (1884), pp.3-5.
14. Laws, Kansas, 1885, ch. 143.
15. Editorial in Labor's Tribune, Weir City, June 18, 1885.
16. Letter from Gov. John A. Martin to J. R. Braidwood, June 13, 1885, in "Correspondence of Kansas Governors, Martin" (Letterpress books), v. II, p 151, Archives division, Kansas State Historical Society. Hereafter, the various forms of this correspondence will be cited "C. K. G."
17. Editorial in Parsons Daily Sun, June 27, 1885.
18. Editorial in The Daily Citizen, Topeka, June 13, 1885.
19. Letter of J. R. Braidwood, Pittsburg, June 15 1885, in "C. K. G., Martin" (Personal), v. III. Also letter of Governor Martin to J. R. Braidwood, June 16, 1885, in ibid. (Official), v. LVIII, pp. 436, 437.
20. Senate Journal, 1885, p. 164.
21. ibid., p. 257.
22. ibid., p. 507.
23. Topeka Daily Capital, February 22, 188b.
24. Editorial in The Daily Commonwealth, Topeka, March 8, 1885.
25. Senate Journal, 1885, p. 855.
26. Kansas Board of Railroad Commissioners, Third Annual Report (1885), p. 22.
27. Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, Second Annual Report (1886) p. 21.
28. Parsons Daily Sun, February 12, 1885.
29. Atchison Daily Champion, March 10, 1885.
30. Kansas City (Mo.) Daily Journal, March 9, 1885.
31. Kansas Board of Railroad Commissioners, Third Annual Report (1886), p. 22.
32. Atchison Daily Champion, March 8, 1885.
33. ibid., March 10, 1885.
34. Kansas City (Mo.) Daily Journal, March 9, 1885.
35. Atchison Daily Champion, March 10, 1885.
36. ibid., March 11, 1885.
37. ibid., March 10, 1885.
38. ibid., March 11, 1885.
39. Telegram of Mayor C. C Burns to Governor Martin, March 9, 1885, in "C. K. G., Martin" (Official), 1884-1885. Also telegram of Sheriff L. B. Hargrove to Governor Martin, March 9, 1885, ibid.
40. Telegram of W. W. Fagan, division superintendent of the Missouri Pacific Railway Co., Atchison, to Governor Martin, March 9, 1885, ibid.
41. Telegram and letter of H. M. Hoxie to Governor Martin, March 9, 1885, ibid.
42. Telegram of H. M. Hoxie to Governor Martin, March 10, 1885, ibid.
43. Atchison Daily Champion, March 10, 1885.
44. Kansas City (Mo.) Daily Journal, March 10, 1885.
45. Atchison Daily Champion, March 10, 1885.
46. Attorney General of the State of Kansas, Fifth Biennial Report (1886), pp. 101-104.
47. Letter of Governor Martin to Sheriff L. B. Hargrove, Atchison, March 9, 1885, "C. K. G., Martin" (Letterpress books, Official), v. LVI, p. 432.
48. Telegram of Sheriff L. B. Hargrove to Governor Martin, March 9, 1885, ibid. (Official), 1884-1886.
49. Letter of Governor Martin to Adj. Gen. A. B. Campbell, Fort Scott, March 10, 1885, ibid. (Letterpress books, Official), v. LVI, p. 468.
50. Letter of Governor Martin to the board of railway commissioners, March 10, 1885, ibid., pp. 459-462.
51. Letter of Governor Martin to B. P. Waggener, Atchison, March 10, 1885, ibid., p. 465.
52. Letter of Everest and Waggener, Atchison, to Governor Martin, March 10, 1885, ibid. (Official), 1884-1885.
53. Kansas Board of Railroad Commissioners, Third Annual Report (1885), p. 23.
54. Telegram of N. L. Prentis, Atchison, to Governor Martin, March 10, 1885, "C. K.G., Martin(Official), 1884-1885.
49. Letter of Governor Martin to Adj. Gen. A. B. Campbell, Fort Scott, March 10, 1885, ibid. (Letterpress books, Official), v. LVI, p. 468.
50. Letter of Governor Martin to the board of railway commissioners, March 10, 1885, ibid., pp. 459-462.
51. Letter of Governor Martin to B. P. Waggener, Atchison, March 10, 1885, ibid., p. 465.
52. Letter of Everest and Waggener, Atchison, to Governor Martin, March 10, 1885, ibid. (Official), 1884-1885.
53. Kansas Board of Railroad Commissioners, Third Annual Report (1885), p. 23.
54. Telegram of N. L. Prentis, Atchison, to Governor Martin, March 10, 1885, C.K.G., Martin (Official), 1884-1885.
62. Kansas City (Mo.) Daily Journal, March 17, 1885.
63. Kansas Board of Railroad Commissioners, Third Annual Report (1885), p. 64.
64. Kansas City (Mo.) Daily Journal, March 16, 1885. Also Atchison Daily Champion,
65. Letter of R. H. Semple, secretary of Franklin Assembly 2557 Knights of Labor, to Governor Martin, April 14, 1885, "C. K. G., Martin," v. II. Also letter from Cigarmaer's Union, No. 36, of Cigarmaker's International Union, to Governor Martin, April 21, 1885, ibid.
66. Editorial in Topeka Daily Capital, March 13, 1885.
67. Kansas Board of Railroad Commissioners, Third Annual Report (1885), p. 25.
68. Parsons Daily Sun, March 26, April 29, May 2, 1885. Also Parsons Daily Eclipse, March 30, 31, May 4, 1885.
69. Parsons Daily Sun, April 15, 1885
70. Letter of Governor Martin to w. Quarles, J. McFeely, and others, committee, Parsons, May 13, 1885, "C. K. G., Martin" (Letterpress ooks, Official), v. LVIII, pp. 181-184.
73. Letter of Win. Quarles, S. Gladwin, and others, executive committee, Parsons, to Governor Martin, May 14, 1885, "C. K. G., Martin."
74. Letter of J. Humphrey, A. Gillett, Parsons, to Governor Martin, May 17, 1885, ibid.
75. Parsons Daily Eclipse, August 18, 1885.
76. Commons, History of Labour in the United States.
77. Parsons Daily Sun, August 23, 1885.
78. Letter of F. H. Betton, Wyandotte, to Governor Martin, August 27, 1885, "C. K. G., Martin" (Personal), v. IV.
71. Letter of Governor Martin to board of railroad commissioners, May 13, 1885, ibid., pp. 173-176.
72. Letter of Governor Martin to Capt. R. S. Hayes, first vice-president of Missouri Pacific Railroad Co., May 14, 1885, ibid., I., pp. 177-180.
79. Commons, History of Labour in the United States, pp. 369, 370. 80. ibid., p. 365.
81. Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, Second Annual Report (1886), Pp. 76-94.
82. The Citizen, Topeka, April 20, 1885.
83. ibid., April 11, 1885.
84. Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, Second Annual Report (1886), pp. 81, 89.
85. The Citizen, Topeka, April 11, 1885.
86. ibid., editorial, July 14, 1885.
87. ibid., editorial, April 11, 1885.
88. ibid., editorial, December 31, 188b.
89. Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, Second Annual Report (1888), pp. 81, 89.
90. The Trades-Union, Atchison, December 6, 12, 19, 1885.
91. Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, Second Annual Report (1886), pp. 8390.
92. Editorial in Topeka Daily Capital, March 13, 1885.
93. Editorial in Topeka Daily Journal, March 15, 1885.
94. Editorial in Topeka Daily Capital, March 14, 1885.
95. The Trades-Union, Atchison, December 19, 1885.
98. Editorial in Atchison Daily Champion, March 18, 1885.
97. Letter of Governor Martin to W. S. Smith, Marysville, March 18, 1885, "C. K. G., Martin" (Letterpress books, Official), v. I, pp. 187-189.
98. Letter of Governor Martin to Gen. T. M. Carroll, Paola, March 19, 1885, ibid., p. 203.
99. Letter of Governor Martin to W. S. Smith, Marysville, March 18, 1885, ibid., pp. 187-189.
100. Letter of Governor Martin to R. H. Semple, secretary of the Franklin Assembly 2557, Knights of Labor, Ottawa, April 21, 1885, ibid., pp. 337, 338.
101. Special Message of John A. Martin, Governor, to the Legislature of Kansas (1886).
102. The Trades-Union, Atchison, January 30, 1886.
103. The Daily Commonwealth, Topeka, February 12, 1886.
104. House Journal, 1886, p. 303.
105. The Trades-Union, Atchison, January 30, 1880.
106. House Journal, 1886, pp. 287, 58b.
97. Letter of Governor Martin to W. S. Smith, Marysville, March 18, 1885, "C. K. G., Martin" (Letterpress books, Official), v. I, pp. 187-189.
98. Letter of Governor Martin to Gen. T. M. Carroll, Paola, March 19, 1885, ibid., p. 203.
99. Letter of Governor Martin to W. S. Smith, Marysville, March 18, 1885, ibid., pp. 187-189.
100. Letter of Governor Martin to R. H. Semple, secretary of the Franklin Assembly 2557, Knights of Labor, Ottawa, April 21, 1885, ibid., pp. 337, 338.
101. Special Message of John A. Martin, Governor, to the Legislature of Kansas (1886).
102. The Trades-Union, Atchison, January 30, 1886.
103. The Daily Commonwealth, Topeka, February 12, 1886.
104. House Journal, 1886, p. 303.
105. The Trades-Union, Atchison, January 30, 1886.
106. House Journal, 1886, pp.287, 565.
107. The Daily Commonwealth, Topeka, February 12, 1886.
108. House Journal, 1836, p. 602.
109. Senate Journal, 1886, pp. 263, 522, 627, 703.
110. House Journal, 1886, p. 969. 111. Laws, Kansas, 1886, ch. 2a.

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