Friday, April 19

United we stand, divided we fall

It's funny how stories can change over time.

As previously mentioned, Momma's great-grandfather was a printer.

A.E. Huls was born in 1866 in Millville (later Rockbridge), Ohio. He became a teacher by the age of 16 and taught at the Millville one-room schoolhouse. It was in Millville that he started his printing shop in 1883 as a second source of income.

He was offered a teaching job in nearby Murray City with better pay - but he'd have to do his own janitorial work.

He took it.

There's where the story gets murky. Family lore said that he was offered the printing job for the formation of the United Mine Workers on Nov. 3, 1894.

However, the United Mine Workers formed in Columbus, Ohio in Jan. 22, 1890.


We're wondering now if the 1894 meeting was for the formation of the UMW in Hocking County, Ohio.

The discovery of immense quantities of coal led to the flourishing mining industry in Hocking County. Towns appeared and vanished as quickly as mines opened and closed. The Panic of 1893 hit the coal mining industry particularly hard. Wage cuts in the industry began immediately, and wages were slashed again in early 1894. 

By the late spring of 1894, the UMW called a general strike in the coal mining industry. The demand was for wages to return to the level they were at on May 1, 1893.

Initially, the strike was a major success. However, as the depression deepened, the miners were unable to hold out. By late June, almost all the miners had returned to work. 

The strike shattered the UMW and it almost ceased to exist. It would be 25 years before it became a successful union again.

It's a good thing the family has me to investigate!

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