Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Western Wednesday With Wobbly Joe...!

Sometimes I have to wonder about the nicknames folks had back in the old days.

Some of the names were a mystery and some were self explanatory! This one speaks for itself, I think!

Jul 18, 1914:
Singing Wobbly Joe Hill sentenced to death

Convicted of murder on meager evidence, the singing Wobbly Joe Hill is sentenced to be executed in Utah.

A native of Sweden who immigrated to the U.S. in 1879, Joe Hill joined the International Workers of the World (IWW) in 1910. The IWW was an industrial union that rejected the capitalist system and dreamed one day of leading a national workers' revolution. Members of the IWW--known as Wobblies--were especially active in the western United States, where they enjoyed considerable success in organizing mistreated and exploited workers in the mining, logging, and shipping industries.

Beginning in 1908, the IWW began encouraging its membership to express their beliefs through song. The IWW published its Little Red Song Book, otherwise known as the I.W.W. Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent. A few years later, the witty and handsome Joe Hill became one of the Wobblies' leading singers and songwriters. Hill composed many of the IWW's best-loved anthems, including "The Preacher of the Slave" which introduced the phrase "pie in the sky." By 1915, Hill was one of the most famous Wobblies in the nation.

Public notoriety, however, could prove dangerous for a radical union man. In 1915, Hill was arrested and charged with murdering two Salt Lake City policemen during a grocery store robbery. Although the evidence against Hill was tenuous, a jury of conservative Utahans convicted him on this day in 1914 and he was sentenced to death. He was executed by firing squad the following year.

Ever since, scholars have debated whether Hill was actually guilty or was railroaded because of his radical politics. Regardless of his guilt or innocence, Hill became a powerful martyr for the IWW cause by telegramming his comrades with a famous last-minute message: "Don't waste any time in mourning. Organize."

Guess that being well known didn't pay off back then like it does now days! One thing hasn't changed much...and that is the practice of convicting a person with little or no evidence!

Still raining, so we should have our coffee in the kitchen! I'm thinking some egg and sausage sandwiches should taste pretty good, especially with some hot sauce!


Anonymous said...

I wonder why we've never heard of him over here?
People with those ideas were rather strong here in the early 1900's but most people turned to democratic unions later on, they realized those ideas wouldn't get them anywhere, thankfully :-)

Now I'll have to see if I can find anything about him over here!

Have a great day!

HermitJim said...

Hey Christer... I guess at a certain point in all our histories, there are some people that try and take a direction that doesn't work or isn't very popular.

Lucky for all of us, the right direction was chosen. Too bad that it didn't do much good for Wobbly Joe.

Thank you for coming by today!

Sixbears said...

This nation's union history is almost totally unkown. It's barely taught in the schools, but that's no surprise as schools were designed to produce good employees.

Momlady said...

Appreciate the bit of historical trivia every week. As well as all the other things you come up with.

Phyllis (N/W Jersey) said...

Another winner, Mr. Hermit!
I'll bring fresh eggs from my 'girls' - they are the best!

JOJO said...

IWW was very well known here in AZ. mines. They sure created lots of trouble. They were literaly sent out of the state by rail. Also murders were caused by this so called Union on both sides.

How about some English Muffins to go with those egg sandwiches.

HermitJim said...

Hey Sixbears...
I think we often only think of unions being in the cities, but they were all over the West.

The early 1900's were a turbulent time, I guess. Growing pains, it might be called!

Thanks for coming by, my friend!

Hey Momlady...
I'm just trying to keep it interesting, ya know?

I'm certainly glad you liked it, though.

Have a great day, and thanks for coming over this morning!

Hey Phyllis...
I would LOVE having some fresh eggs! Makes my mouth water just thinking about it!

I really am glad you came by this morning!

Hey JoJo...
So many stories of violence connected to the unions sometimes.

I had no idea that they were in Arizona, but I guess that makes sense what with all the mines there!

Thanks, sweetie, for dropping in today!

Ted Webb said...

Being a union man I can say if your on the outside looking in your not seeing the real picture.We have always been for the good of America.Buy American,Made in America,by Americans.We're not greedy just want a living wage for our services.I'm a 55 year member of The International Brotherhood of the Electrical workers Just a proud American,we helped build this country.An I think we done a damn good job.

Dizzy-Dick said...

I love that guy's nickname. And here I thought you were going to tell about an old western drunk (grin). I guess he didn't wobble enough to avoid the firing squad.

Ted Webb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.