It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


How many of you know of the 1921 civil uprising (Miner War) in West Virginia?

page: 1

log in


posted on Dec, 5 2008 @ 02:46 PM
I would wager not many.

I didn't know about it, either, until my uncle gave me a book about it (which I just started reading). It seems all but completely left out of history books, even though it made national headlines at the time. It involved several thousand men on both sides, machine guns, even planes dropping bombs (even though they were extremely ineffective at that time).

There's probably info on it on the internet, and I could post more of what I've read from this book, but what surprises me (but not really) is how there is a total historical blackout on this event. Maybe someones trying to keep certain thoughts from crossing our minds?

The actual stand-off started when the mining companies in West Virginia started abusing thousands of miners. The companies basically owned whole towns, including the houses the miners stayed in, the hospitals, the stores, and they even employed their own police force (albeit illegally in many cases). When the miners tried to organize unions, anyone that would join a union or was known to sympathize with them was fired immediately, kicked out of their houses, etc. Didn't matter whether your wife was pregnant, your child was sick, they would dump you out into the woods anyway. People were beaten, nasty things of that nature, and there wasn't much the miners could do about it.

So a mayor by the name of Testerman appointed a local miner by the name of Sid Hatfield, who was well-liked by all the miners, to be chief of police for the town of Matewan in Mingo County. To make a long story short, the next time the company "detectives" arrived in town to evict miners, gunfire broke out and several of the company detectives were killed, and 2 miners. The book I have actually details this to a good degree, reads like a good novel, but real.

So after this, detectives from the mining company shoot Sid Hatfield down even as he was unarmed. The man that shot him was arrested but released on bond, while at the same time many miners were being held in jail without having been formally charged with any crime (a martial law-type action that had been taken against the increasingly disgruntled miners). So with that, at least 7,000 miners amassed in Charleston and couldn't be handled by the 100 state police employed at that time, so it became an emergency for the state of West Virginia. The miners were all very well armed and just shot any police that were belligerent, but not many were. The miners, collectively enraged at their trampled rights, camped there and talked of marching to Mingo and laying waste to the mining company. And that's about as much as I know so far, besides that more fighting happens at some point.

Anyway I find this all very interesting and am surprised that I hadn't heard of it before. Has anyone else ever heard of any of this?

[edit on 5-12-2008 by bsbray11]

posted on Dec, 5 2008 @ 02:51 PM
I saw a documentary about it on discovery? ? could have been history channel a few years ago, was quite interesting.

posted on Dec, 5 2008 @ 02:57 PM
here's a link to info for a movie about Matewan.

The Union I'm in has a mandatory 8 hour "labor history" class for all apprentices during which that movie is shown. Good movie check it out.

posted on Dec, 5 2008 @ 03:24 PM
Obviously, since you are reading a book about it, it has not been left out of history.

Hate to tell you, but there have been dozens of violent labor situations throughout our history. And the same is true in all of the industrialized countries.

Of course, people could actually read all the books out there about those situations. They just might learn something in the process.

Ever heard of the Pullman Strikes? The General Motors Strikes? the Ford Riots? The Steelworkers strikes, etc., etc., etc.?

Of course, once labor got what it needed, they did just what all powerful movements have done, and went way overboard and slowly killed off their own industries. Look at the UAW as a perfect example.

posted on Dec, 5 2008 @ 04:48 PM

posted on Dec, 5 2008 @ 04:58 PM

Originally posted by OldMedic
Obviously, since you are reading a book about it, it has not been left out of history.

The author is (was) either the son or grandson of someone who actually participated in it. He said the only reason he wrote the book was because the only other things he could find on it were newspaper articles from the time.

Ever heard of the Pullman Strikes? The General Motors Strikes? the Ford Riots? The Steelworkers strikes, etc., etc., etc.?

Yeah but I don't ever reading about the rioters having to have planes called in on them or machine guns, which I guess is what makes the distinction in my mind.

posted on Dec, 5 2008 @ 05:05 PM
I am from West Virginia and most of my family are/were miners so I know that story very well...

I will not elaborate and spoil your book, but if it is Historically accurate, you are in for some more very interesting reading..

Quiz for you OP...

When you finish your book, see if you can tell the the TRUE origin of the word..


If the book is accurate, you should be able to.



posted on Dec, 13 2008 @ 06:37 PM

Originally posted by semperfortis
When you finish your book, see if you can tell the the TRUE origin of the word..


I haven't finished it but I assume it's because of the red union bandanas they wore.

posted on Dec, 13 2008 @ 06:51 PM

Pretty Cool Huh???

So in essence it can be construed as a Badge Of Honor; meaning standing up for ones principles...


posted on Dec, 13 2008 @ 07:17 PM
the family that adopted me, or else 'took-me-in',
came to America in 1918 and settled in West Virginia,

there were no heroic stories related to me... only that this family of immigrant Lithuanians, worked their lives to their death in the W.Va coal mines around Moundsville, WVa.
The grateful new citizens sent their grown son into the US military when he was old enough, and he (John) became my abdoptive Father...

My "Grandmother" , via adoption, known as 'Eve' re-wed a guy named Adam, which i finally met back in the summer of 1953--- (ain't that Special !?) ---

Basically that's all i know of the '21 coal miners incident...
a bunch of obiedient, unsecure, new or immigrant Americans... who towed the line without complaint, so their children might prosper in better environments ...

posted on Dec, 13 2008 @ 07:24 PM
Didn't the U.S. government contemplate sending in soldiers or even bombers to settle things? It was one of those miner uprisings.

posted on Dec, 13 2008 @ 07:34 PM
reply to post by Sonya610

They actually did both. This particular event was the largest civil uprising since the Civil War.

(Not a one-liner. Since I edited, it's actually a 3-liner, 4 if you count the reply thingy.

[edit on 13-12-2008 by bsbray11]

posted on Dec, 13 2008 @ 07:45 PM
Excellent post!

This is exactly the type of story, true historical accounts, of how America rose above the corporate robber barons of the Industrial Age to demand freedom from slave labor, unsafe working conditions, and more humane treatment towards those that were there in support of corporate innovation by those they were there in support of.

Folks today, unfortunately, only see the corrupt side of Unions, but forget that if it wasn't for folks who demanded freedoms and rights - who CONSTITUTIONALLY deserved them - The supposed rights and freedoms they enjoy in the work place today would simply not exist.

And now, these same people want to go back to that. wow!

I'm not too sure how many labor organizations that the AFL - CIO recognizes today, most likely several hundred of them, that have improved the lives and working experiences for literally MILLIONS of Americans nation wide. It was the effort, sweat, blood, and even lives of these people that today literally has given hundreds of millions of Americans a working freedom, both inside and outside of Unions.

I can also assure the American people another thing. With times getting worse and worse, and the closing pressure to destroy unions continues to encroach upon our rights, these same union people will eventually react in the same manner as we have before. We, the union, are here to represent freedom and liberty, IN THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, and will not tolerate corporate encroachment to continue much further.

We've fought gallant battles in the political arena to save our freedoms, but that fight is being driven home. If unions refuse to budge, it will be like the Joker said in the move Batman: the Dark Knight...

"Watch what happens, when an unstoppable force, meets an immoveable object."

We, the Union, are Americans, and will defend our constitutional right to live free and live well even to our life's end. Get the message corporate extortionists... get it soon!

Live better - work union!

star and flag for you!

[edit on 13-12-2008 by DarkspARCS]

new topics

top topics


log in