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MOTHERS AND BABIES WERE VICTIMS OF THE
WAR IN THE KINGDOM OF WEST VIRGINIA
By Mary Boyle O'Reilly.
Charleston, W. Va., June 17. The laws of war among all civilized na
tions and most savage tribes prescribe the removal of all women and chil
dren from the peril of the firing line.
For a year West Virginia has been in a state of war, the war of the
twentieth century struggle of workers and organized capital.
The U. S. Senate sub-committee on labor, now hearing testimony con
cerning the Paint Creek coal mine war, sits in a long, low banquet room in
the Kanawha Hotel here. Pale blue walls without, decoration, cheap deal
tables for the committee and the various counsel, indicate the grim business-like
atmospage of the place.
The room is crowded to suffocation with blue-shirted miners, standing,
for once, shoulder to shoulder, with burly railway detectives and rat-faced
mine guards whose hunched-up coats indicate the holsters holding loaded
About the tables on either side gather the opposing counsel the sleek,
tame solicitors of great coal corporations summery in pale gray and fawn
colored clothes; the half-dozea alert, coatless young lawyers of the United
Mine Workers of America whose team-work under their chief, Judge Mon
nett, former attorney general of Ohio, is the one bright spot in the pro
ceedings. And at the committee table, facing the room, sit the .three senators i
Martine, the living portrait of a cavalier, whose tongue is a rapier; Swanson,
the senator long on corporation concern, but short on human sympathy,
and Kenyon of Iowa, on whose calm judgment the troubled citizens of
Kanawha county instinctively have their hope.
The packed hearing room was insufferably hot. Long, familiar evi
dence dragged. A witness testifying of outrages perpetrated on unoffend
ing strikers by the coal corporations
mine-guards used the word, "Thugs."
A florid "company counsel" protest
ed. A junior among the miners' law
yers seemed to acquiesce. Then
"Mrs. Parker," he called.
"Mrs. Estep Mrs. Seville."
They came at once three miners'
wives, typical women of the coal val
leys, arid tidy and self-respecting, in
heavy, long-sleeved shirtwaist belted
with pleated alpaca skirts.
There was indescribable pathos in
their work-worn, ungloved hands,
their simple, home-trimmed hats.
Senator Martine leaned forward.
"Madam, you swear to speak the
truth, the whole truth, nothing but
the truth?" .
"Indeed, J do, sir" ZM Mrs,
Georgia Parker took the witness
"I am the wife of C. C. Parker of
Lamont, on Cabin Creek," she said,
diffidently. "My husband is a miner,
We have I mean 'had' a baby. It
"On February 21st, at noon, a
neighbor, Mrs. Nance, and my sister
Hattie Workrnan, started with me tp
Red Warrior cemetery. I wanted to
fix my baby's grave. At Lunwoojl
mine Guard sJackson stopped us,
throwing up his gun and twisting
Mrs. Nance around. We told him
about my baby's grave, but but it
made .no difference." 4
Quietly the witness stepped asjd.e,