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Kansas Historical Quarterly - Labor Problems, 2

in the Second Year of Governor Martin's Administration

by Dorothy Leibengood

May 1936 (vol. 5, no. 2, pages 191 to 207)
Transcribed by lhn; additional HTML by Susan Stafford
digitized with permission of the Kansas Historical Society.

THE year 1886 was a period of great labor unrest in Kansas as well as the United States as a whole. It saw the inauguration of many unsuccessful strikes, boycotts, and agitations by the Knights of Labor, which marked the beginning of the decline of that order. In presenting the labor problems of Kansas for this year the purely local strikes will be reviewed, then the Gould Southwestern strike which affected not only Kansas but Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and Illinois, and finally the effect of this strike in Kansas, particularly in the gubernatorial campaign of that year and upon the legislation of 1887.

Purely local strikes were few and unimportant. The most serious probably was the strike at the Kansas City Smelting and Refining Co. at Argentine. This establishment engaged in the business of refining lead and silver ores, receiving supplies principally from Colorado, and employed in the neighborhood of two hundred men. [1]

On May 15, 1886, the employees struck, demanding a reduction of hours from twelve to eight with no decrease in pay. [2] As the nature of the employment required day and night work this meant the substitution of three shifts for two, or an increase in the working force of thirty-three and one third percent. Among other grievances was the imposition of a hospital tax of one dollar a month.

Sheriff James Ferguson of Wyandotte county went to Argentine early the morning of the fifteenth and placed a strong guard of deputy sheriffs so that every portion of the property was protected. [3] On the night of May 17 twenty men were sent from Kansas City, at the expense of the smelting works, to stand guard over the premises. [4] The next day F. H. Betton, commissioner of labor statistics, went to Argentine in response to a telegram, and held conferences with both parties. [5]

The men claimed that the labor was severe, unhealthy and exhausting, and that twelve hours was longer than men ought or should



be required to work, and longer than they were able to work for any considerable length of time and retain their health. Concerning the hospital tax the men said that the company had no hospital and that in case of sickness it was difficult to secure the company physician, as he resided in Kansas City. In many instances they were forced to employ a physician at their own expense. When a man was "leaded," as they termed a disease often incidental to smelting work, he had no time to send to Kansas City for a doctor, but needed relief at once. On general principles they preferred to select their own doctor, and to pay him themselves. They also claimed that in some instances a double tax, or two dollars, was expected as the hospital fee for one month. [6]

H. A. Meyer, president of the smelting company was in Mexico at the time of the strike. [7] A. F. Snyder, the superintendent, stated that the business was run on a very close margin and would not justify the large increase in wages. He said he would have been willing, had the men continued at work, to substitute three shifts for two, if the men had agreed to scale their wages to eight hours. Since they had abandoned the works and subjected the company to great loss and inconvenience he would refuse to grant any concessions whatever, for he had given the men ample time to return and they had failed to do so. He would not reemploy them at all, but if any of them wanted to go to work they would have to apply individually to the foreman as any other new man would have to do. If the foreman needed more men and saw fit to employ them he might do so. The superintendent admitted that the work was hard and the hours long, and that in some cases it was also unhealthy, but he thought that the men who abstained from liquor were in no great danger from lead poison. Concerning the hospital tax, he said that when the company first established their works at Argentine the nearest physicians were at Kansas City. He did not think the fee was excessive since it was virtually a guarantee to pay a man's medical attendance, or to insure such attendance if needed, for twelve dollars a year. Since there were now plenty of physicians living in Argentine he did not know but that he would favor the abolishment of the hospital tax, but he could promise only to submit the matter to the president of the company. [8]

After a lengthy conference between Mr. Betton and the strikers, the strike was declared off. The strikers returned to work on the


old basis, excepting the ringleaders, whom the company refused to take back. [9] Armed guards, hired by the company to protect its property, continued on duty several days. The wages paid at the time of the strike were generally one dollar and thirty-five cents to one dollar and fifty cents per day, very little skilled labor being required. Labor Commissioner Betton seemed to think that if the workers had understood the arbitration law passed by the legislature in 1886 the strike might have been avoided. [10]

A so-called strike or suspension of work, lasting about three weeks, took place in the coal mines at Osage City, Scranton, Peterton, and Burlingame, in Osage county, starting September 14, 1886, because of the refusal of the operators to pay the usual advance, on September 1, of one cent a bushel.[11] The Osage miners' delegate convention had met at Burlingame, September 10, and while in session decided that the miners of Osage county should ask for the advance, to commence September 15. If the operators refused the miners were to suspend work. [12] The mine operators failed to accede to the demands of the miners, and they left their work September 14.

The operators felt they were unable to give the increase because of the competition of coal companies outside of Osage county. Competition had been great on coal hauled long distances, from Wyoming territory, eastern Iowa, Illinois, and Colorado, on which a very low freight rate was charged by the railroads. Southern Kansas coal, too, was competing with Osage county coal in Topeka and Emporia. Southern Kansas railroads seem to have given their coal men better rates than the mine operators of Osage county could obtain from the Santa Fe. The operators found that the market, which had been taken by foreign coals, would not react in favor of Osage county coal quickly enough to enable them to raise the price sufficiently to comply with the demands of the miners. [13]

The people of Osage county thought the strike was inopportune, since hundreds of miners had not earned enough during the summer to support their families, and also because at that time there was not much demand for coal, and the companies could afford to let the mines lay idle for a time. [14] The Osage City Free Press blamed the railroad companies for the trouble. It thought that a settlement


could be reached between the operators and miners if the railroads were compelled to confine themselves exclusively to the business of hauling freight and passengers. [15]

The several companies posted notices that they would give one half cent more per bushel on October first, and one half cent. more per bushel on November first, so that the price of mining would be six and one half and seven cents per bushel respectively. [16] Many of the miners seemed not to care whether they worked, for they felt that at the prices they were not able to make a living. However, they finally accepted the terms of the company and went to work at the wages stated above. [17]


The Southwestern strike of 1886 was begun at Marshall, Texas, March 1, by the men in the Texas and Pacific shops.[18] The reason given was the discharge of C. A. Hall, foreman of the woodworkers of the Texas and Pacific car shops at Marshall. [19] It is alleged that he had secured a leave of absence from his immediate superior to attend a four-day convention of District Assembly 101 of the Knights of Labor, which met at Marshall February 15. At noon of the last day he returned to work but was discharged that evening for being absent without leave. The local committee demanded his reinstatement and the company refused. The executive board again asked for reinstatement and threatened in case of refusal to call out all the men on the Gould system. [20] Ex-Governor J. C. Brown, one of the receivers of the Texas and Pacific, said that Hall was incompetent, that he had obtained leave from the master mechanic to be absent only three hours, and that he was absent three or four days without further permission. [21] On March 6 the employees of the Missouri Pacific were called out. [22]

Prior to this, as early as January, the executive committee of District Assembly 101, Knights of Labor, had been authorized to order a strike. At that time Martin Irons, district master workman, issued a circular to the locals of that assembly asking if they would sustain the executive board in demanding $1.50 a day minimum for unskilled labor and the recognition of the employees as Knights of


Labor. [23] Ex-Governor Brown said that this refusal of the receivers to sign an agreement recognizing the employees as Knights of Labor was the sole cause of the subsequent strike, and that any other allegation of cause was an afterthought. [24]

On March 16 Vice-President H. M. Hoxie of the Missouri Pacific Railway received a letter from Martin Irons asking him to meet a committee of Knights of Labor to confer in regard to difficulties that existed between the employees and the railroad companies composing the Gould Southwestern system. [25] Hoxie replied that he could not see that a meeting with a committee could adjust the trouble since the cause for the strike was the discharge of C. A. Hall by the Texas and Pacific Railway Co., a road which was not under his control but in the hands of a receiver. He added that the action taken by their late employees had so reduced the traffic that they soon would not require as many men in the shops as before. [26] On March 18 Grand Master Workman T. V. Powderly, of the Knights of Labor, arrived in Kansas City for a conference with delegates from five districts. [27] He telegraphed Mr. Hoxie for a conference but was refused. [28]

Frank H. Betton, commissioner of Labor for Kansas, telegraphed to Martin Irons on March 15 asking if the services of the governors of Missouri and Kansas could not be invoked as mediators to settle the differences between the company and its employees. [29] Irons replied that he would be pleased to have the two governors act as mediators. [30] On March 19 the two governors met at Kansas City and after a conference with strike leaders suggested that the Missouri Pacific continue the agreement made with the management of the road on March 15, 1885. This was to restore to the striking employees in Missouri and Kansas the same wages paid them in September, 1884, including one and one half price for extra time worked, and to restore to all employees their respective employments without prejudice because of the strike. The governors assured Mr. Hoxie that the strike could not have been, and was not based on a violation of the terms of the agreement of March 15, 1885, by the management of the Missouri Pacific Railway Co. in its dealings


with its employees of Missouri and Kansas. [31] Mr. Hoxie accepted the proposition but said that while the company would take back all strikers necessary to do the work it would not discharge men who had been employed meanwhile. [32] The agreement was then presented to the executive committee of District 101 of the Knights of Labor. But though Governors Martin and J. S. Marmaduke called in person on Martin Irons urging him to accept the plan, he refused the terms. [33]

On March 28 Mr. Powderly had an interview with Jay Gould which resulted in the executive board ordering the men back to work with the understanding that arbitration would follow. Mr. Hoxie, however, refused to meet any committee for arbitration except one made up of actual employees. As the general executive board believed this to be a direct violation of the agreement between Gould and Powderly to arbitrate the differences between the Gould Southwestern system and the Knights of Labor, they recalled the order given the men to return to work. [34]

On April 12 Ex-Governor A. G. Curtin of Pennsylvania introduced a resolution in Congress, which was passed, authorizing the appointment of a committee to investigate the labor troubles in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Texas, and Illinois. [35] The Curtin committee was formed and examined many witnesses. [36] On the evening of May 1 correspondence was begun between the executive board of the Knights of Labor and members of the committee, resulting in declaring off the strike on May 4. [37]


The general course of the strike throughout the Southwest and the role of Governor Martin in attempting a settlement has been mentioned. In Kansas the main points of the strike were at Atchison, Kansas City, and Parsons. The strike did not reach Atchison until March 8, but due to the walk-out at Kansas City below and at Hiawatha above only local freight was received at Atchison. [38] Governor Martin was in Atchison March 10 and urged settlement by the arbitration law of the state, but the committee refused to


accept the proposition without orders from the district assembly at Sedalia. [39] On March 12 an attempt was made by the company to send a freight train west but they had to abandon the attempt because of the determined resistance of a force of strikers at the round house. [40] Many people were applying for work but they were deterred by fear of violence. [41] On the night of March 21 masked men drove the engineer and watchmen out of the Central Branch round house and armed men stood guard over them while the gang damaged as many as twenty-three engines .42 The strikers denied any knowledge of the affair. [43] On March 26 F. E. Shaw, sheriff of Atchison county, wrote Governor Martin that he would extend to the Missouri Pacific property in that county all the needed protection if the company would furnish the men to do their work. [44] By March 30 the situation apparently began to improve at Atchison. Two trains were taken out that day without objection. A force of men was employed at the shops all the night before and repaired thirteen engines. But on the night of March 31 a mob of at least one hundred masked men visited the Central Branch machine shops and proceeded to make a total wreck of all the costly machinery in that building. [45] The Knights of Labor of Atchison hastened to pass a resolution condemning these acts of violence. [46] By April 3 the strike was over at Atchison, the Missouri Pacific Co. having reemployed forty or fifty of its former workmen. [47]

The strike on the Missouri Pacific system at Kansas City was inaugurated the morning of March 5. The strikers took possession of the yards at the state line and of Cypress round house, and killed all engines save those needed for passenger service, which were not molested. [48] Attempts were made to get the local assemblies to appeal to the arbitration law of Kansas, but without success. [49] Many deeds of violence were committed during the strike. On the morning of April 26 some unknown parties fired several shots into a


freight train as it was passing near Cypress yards. Later in the morning, between Cypress yards and Wyandotte, a freight train was thrown from the track and the train generally piled up. The fireman and brakeman were killed. [50] The accident was the result of malicious tampering with the rails, [51] and Governor Martin issued a proclamation offering a reward for the arrest and conviction of the guilty parties. [52] The train wreckers were arrested in July. At the preliminary hearing, which started July 29, evidence showed that the scheme was concocted in the lodge of the Knights of Labor. [53]

The strike at Parsons began at ten o'clock the morning of March 6. The strike was inaugurated in conformity with demands made by the officers of the Knights of Labor at Sedalia, and in unison with employees of all the Gould System. [54] On March 7 operators, clerks and men in the freight departments who were not on strike were indefinitely suspended from duty by the company. [55] On March 12 the city of Parsons was notified by officials of the Missouri Pacific Co. that a body of men without authority were in possession of the company's property, and that the officials would hold the city of Parsons strictly accountable at law for all damages.[56] The same day Supt. T. V. Golden, of the Missouri Pacific, asked A. O. Brown, mayor of Parsons, to appoint eighteen special policemen to guard the property of the company. Mayor Brown replied that while by ordinance he and the council had authority to appoint special policemen to guard the property of railway companies, they were authorized to make only such appointments as were recommended by the superintendent of the railway company. Mayor Brown said he would be willing to appoint any fit persons upon Mr. Golden's recommendation. [57] On March 13 C. B. Woodford, sheriff of Labette county, telegraphed Governor Martin asking for military assistance to aid him at Parsons in preserving peace and enforcing the laws. [58] The same day David Kelso, attorney for the Missouri Pacific, telegraphed Governor Martin that the civil authorities were wholly unable to cope with the situation. That day a mob had forcibly taken a freight engine which the sheriff was endeavoring to protect, and


had disabled the engine in the sheriff's presence. Mr. Kelso asked the governor's interference to see that the laws were executed. [59] Governor Martin wired Kelso that the sheriff should exhaust all the civil powers of his office, then, if he were unlawfully resisted in the performance of his duty, he should notify the governor. [60] On March 14 Governor Martin telegraphed Col. A. B. Campbell, adjutant general of Kansas, to go to Parsons to determine whether the civil authorities had exhausted their remedies and if such disturbances justified the use of military power. Mr. Campbell was to order Brig. Gen. J. N. Robert" to accompany him and to effect a peaceable settlement if possible. The governor emphasized the fact that the military forces of the state would not be used unless the processes of law were resisted and the authority of the civil officers was defied. [61] Colonel Campbell went to Parsons March 15, accompanied by Brigadier-General Roberts. They remained in Parsons during the fifteenth and found no necessity for the presence of troops at that time and no prospect of immediate settlement of the labor troubles. They returned home the next day. [62] That night a citizens' meeting was held in Parsons wherein resolutions were passed condemning the strike on the Gould system as being detrimental to the best interests of the city and charging that false statements had been prepared by paid agents of the company to induce Governor Martin to invoke military protection in time of profound peace, regardless of the wishes of business men and citizens generally. The meeting resolved that civil authorities were able to protect the lives and property without the aid of the militia. [63] On March 17 the sheriff served injunctions on the strikers, enjoining them from interfering with the property or business of the Missouri Pacific. The application was filed in the district court of Labette county by Judge Kelso, the attorney for the Missouri Pacific Railway Co. [64]

On March 29 David Kelso again telegraphed the governor that. no train would move out of Parsons for some time unless aided by the military forces, because of the action of the strikers. [65] The same day C. E. Faulkner sent a dispatch to Governor Martin saying that he thought the presence of the military power was the only solution to


the question of moving the trains. [66] Also the mayor of Parsons and the sheriff of Labette county communicated with the governor the same day. They stated that all attempts to move trains had been successfully resisted. They asked him to order five hundred militiamen to Parsons at once. [67]

Governor Martin replied that the strike had ended elsewhere, having been ordered off by Mr. Powderly, and presumed there would be no further trouble.[68] In a telegram to Governor Martin on March 30, however, Mayor Brown renewed his request for troops. He said that the strikers had orders from their committee not to yield. The night before a passenger train approaching Parsons had been ditched.[69] Governor Martin again replied that he expected the trouble would be peaceably and finally settled that day. He thought it better to wait twenty-four hours than to provoke a conflict just as the strike seemed to be approaching an end.[70] David Kelso and C. H. Kimball sent dispatches to the governor telling of the lawlessness of the strikers. [71] The governor again ordered the adjutant general to Parsons to examine the situation and to report to him. This time he found the situation much worse. The proclamation of the governor, the writs of the courts, and the officers of the law had been defied. Many engines had been killed and disabled. [72]

On March 31 the adjutant general had a long conference with the local committee in charge of the strike, in which he urged them to make no further resistance to the movement of trains. The company then attempted to resume operations. The first train was permitted to go, but the second engine was killed. Colonel Campbell then addressed the strikers directly asking them to make no further resistance. They asked for a conference with Mr. Golden, division superintendent, and the adjutant general, that evening, at their committee room. The meeting was held but nothing was accomplished toward settlement of the trouble. [73] On April 1 another unsuccessful attempt was made to move trains, whereupon Colonel Campbell wired the governor, as also did the mayor, sheriff, deputy county


attorney and others. They asked him to send from six hundred to one thousand soldiers to Parsons. [74]

Governor Martin wired Colonel Campbell authority to move Colonel Patrick to Parsons with all the force necessary to sustain the civil officers in the performance of their duties. [75] Colonel Campbell ordered Colonel Patrick to place the entire First regiment under marching orders, and then went to Kansas City to arrange transportation.[76] By nine o'clock on the evening of April 2 the First regiment was in Parsons.[77]

The presence of this militia had the desired effect, for by April 6 traffic on the Missouri Pacific had assumed almost its usual proportions. [78] A Law and Order League, made up of citizens of Parsons, was organized April 5, with arms secured by the adjutant general. This body was to place its entire force at the disposal of the mayor and sheriff to enforce law, preserve order, keep the peace and protect. property. Individually the members agreed to use their names to resist boycotting. [79]

On April 7 one half the First regiment was sent home. It was thought best not to have a sudden withdrawal of all the troops, as the strikers might attempt to stop trains as soon as they left. [80] On April 14 the remaining troops broke camp. [81] Thereafter there was little trouble in Parsons.


While the Missouri Pacific strike was in progress the press was commenting on the effect the labor question would have on Governor Martin's chances for reelection. Some papers claimed that his lack of action in the strike was a bid for the Knights of Labor vote. Others felt that because he was so closely associated with the Typographical union he dared not say a word against the strikers. [82] Many papers expressed the belief that the Knights of Labor were against him because he ordered the militia to Parsons while the


friends of the Missouri Pacific were opposed to him because he did not order the militia out at Atchison. They thought because of the labor question the Democrats might. select the next governor of Kansas. [83]

Governor Martin was afraid of the opposition of the Knights of Labor in the campaign. He wrote to Senators Plumb and Ingalls that many of the leading men of the Knights of Labor were the old leaders of the Greenback and Anti-Monopoly parties, and they would endeavor to shape their forces against the Republican party, perhaps in an alliance with the Democrats. He asked the senators to help him in the campaign by taking an active part in the canvass, if he were nominated. [84] He also wrote to James G. Blaine, asking him to devote one week to the canvass in Kansas, that fall, making speeches at several of the more important centers. He explained to Blaine that the labor question complicated matters; that the leaders of the labor movement, being old Greenbackers, who would use all their influence to alienate the labor vote from the Republican party. [85] Later he wrote Senator Plumb and asked him to get some speakers from out of the state, men like Blaine, Sherman, Logan, Hawley, and others, who, by their presence, could stir up enthusiasm. He felt that the elements of discontent and discord were numerous and that the Republicans would have a hard fight to win the campaign. [86]

Gen. Hugh Cameron, organizer and member of the corporation board of the Knights of Labor, up to the time Governor Martin called out the troops in the Missouri Pacific strike, had felt very kindly toward him, and would have generously supported him; but it was felt that this action had been entirely unnecessary and constituted a menace and insult to the order. But for this fact labor would have been well disposed toward Governor Martin.[87]

Martin was nominated by acclamation at the Republican state convention in July. [88] The platform adopted had several provisions concerning labor. In the resolutions the party pointed to the past record of the Republicans on labor. They asserted that the Republicans had abolished slavery and had ever contended for the protection of American labor and had been against the importation of


foreign pauper competition. In the following resolutions they gave the record of the Republican party of Kansas on the labor question:

The Republican party of Kansas has embodied in the constitution of the state and in various legislative enactments:

First, Protection to the homesteads and wages of the laborer.

Second, A liberal exemption to the small manufacturer and dealer.

Third, A mechanics lien law, broad enough in its provisions to amply secure the payment of any just demand for work and material.

Fourth, The establishment of a bureau of labor statistics, so that a correct knowledge of the educational, moral, and financial condition of the laboring masses can be obtained.

Fifth A general incorporation law under which all associations organized by the workingmen to improve their condition and protect their rights can be perpetuated.

In addition the Republican party stated that it was in favor of all other legislation tending to secure to the laborers their just proportion of the proceeds of their work, to protect them against the encroachments of organized capital, and to provide easy and speedy redress for all wrongs suffered by them, or threatened to them. And while it endorsed and espoused all just demands of the laboring masses, it was unalterably opposed to the doctrines of the communists and the red flag of the anarchists. It acknowledged allegiance to no flag but the red, white and blue of the United States, under whose beneficent folds every American must and should enjoy the blessing of a stable government, with every right enforced and every wrong redressed in peace and good order, each moulding his own life, controlling his own property, enjoying his own liberty, subject only to such legal restrictions as the general welfare demands. [89]

The Democratic state convention was held in August at Leavenworth and Thomas Moonlight of Leavenworth was nominated for governor. The platform adopted by the party had the following resolutions on labor:

Resolved That we recognize labor as the source of all wealth, and demand for the working classes such remuneration for their services as will enable them, with economy and sobriety, to increase their social and financial condition; further, we condemn the policy of the Republican party in building up monopolies and classes by special legislation hostile to the best interests of the masses. Resolved, That difference between labor and capital be settled by a board of arbitration in each state, and general supervising board, appointed by the United States as a final board of appeal, so that the persecutions of corporate powers and the retaliation of labor strikers may cease and justice prevail.


Resolved, That the present railroad law should be so amended, as to prevent the railroad companies from charging the people excessive rates of freight to pay the interest. on watered stock; should provide for reasonable compensation for services rendered and no more; and the commissioners, if there be, should have the power to enforce their decisions in the name of the state. [90]

Resolved, That we are opposed to convict labor or pauper labor and demand the most stringent legislation on the subject.

An Anti-Monopolist convention met at Topeka on August 25. The convention made no nominations for executive offices but delegates were instructed to work for the election of such candidates as would pledge themselves to secure the adoption of all the measures for the relief of labor and the great producing class that were in harmony with the AntiMonopolist, Greenback, and Knights of Labor declaration of principles. [91]

On September 15 Governor Martin delivered his opening speech of the campaign at Crawford's opera house in Topeka. He said that the Democratic party was the enemy of honest labor, as was shown by the fact that the Homestead Law was repeatedly defeated by Democratic congressmen and was never enacted until the Republicans came into power. He stated that every attempt of the Democratic party to legislate on the subject of the tariff was in the interest of foreign capital and low-priced labor, and against home enterprise and American workingmen. He asserted that the Republican party had always been the friend of working men; it had freed the slaves, established a protective tariff and passed the Homestead Law. In this speech he also reviewed the laws of Kansas that had been passed in the interest of the workingmen. [92]

Col. D. R. Anthony, editor of the Leavenworth Tines, repeatedly assailed the Knights of Labor, and assured them that their votes were not wanted by the Republican party. [93] The action of Governor Martin in calling out the militia was commented upon and used to prejudice all members of the Knights of Labor. [94] Some of the Democrats had the Knights of Labor issue a circular bearing the semblance of authority, urging members of the order to support Moonlight for governor. It went out as an official document, but was not made up in such an official manner as to get any of the per petrators into trouble. [95]


The Knights of Labor of Atchison in commenting upon Martin and Moonlight as candidates for governor said that in the strike Governor Martin had refused to place the lives of citizen workingmen in Kansas in danger and had refrained from inciting a spirit of destructiveness by a show of unnecessary power. He had stepped to the front on behalf of the citizens of Kansas and had investigated the Missouri Pacific strike by personal inquiry and had submitted a plan of settlement. They said that Governor Martin's course could be summed up in three sentences.

The employees had exhausted their individual and organized efforts to obtain a settlement of the cause of the strike. Governor Martin's services were called to see if the contract of 1885 had been violated, and he made a personal investigation. He effected an agreed settlement which was honorable to the men.

They called attention to the fact that during Governor Martin's administration five and one half of the eleven demands made in the Knights of Labor platform had become laws in the state of Kansas. They felt that Governor Martin's opponents in the campaign had nothing to offer but promises. [96]

A reporter interviewed W. S. Anderson, state master workman of the Knights of Labor in Kansas. He said that Mr. Martin had made a good, just, perhaps conservative, yet fearless governor, and was entitled to a second term. [97] He believed there was no truth in the statements that the Knights of Labor would vote for Colonel Moonlight.

In many of his speeches Colonel Moonlight, the Democratic candidate, stated that he was in full sympathy with the aims and aspirations of the workingman. He said he believed in elevating the condition of the laboring man so as to benefit him morally, socially, and financially. To prevent strikes between capital and labor he would appoint a board of arbitration composed of one member from each great political party, one from the commercial interests, and one from the laboring interests. [98] The Republicans pointed out that they had an arbitration law quite as good as the one Colonel Moonlight Suggested. [99]

There were reports that the Typographical union was going back on Governor Martin because he was supported by the Kansas City Journal and the Leavenworth Times, two newspapers that employed


nonunion men. [100] However, these organizations supported him, contrary to the expectations and claims of some of the Democratic newspapers.

Governor Martin was elected by a large majority. The legislature met in regular session on January 11, 1887, [101] and in his message Martin recommended the repeal of sections 28, 29, 30 of the militia law of 1885. This was a result of the Missouri Pacific strike of 1886. The governor felt that the law conferred dangerous powers upon officers of the national guard, sheriffs and mayors of cities by authorizing them to use military force at their own discretion. He contended that this was in violation of the state constitution which confers upon the governor the sole power to call out the militia to execute the laws, to supress insurrection, and repel invasion. He mentioned the fact that the statute books of Kansas had an unusually large number of acts designed to secure laboring men against the encroachment of capital, and to provide remedies for injustice done them. This, he said, should continue until the removal of abuses was complete. [102]

There were many bills concerning labor and laboring men introduced in this session. Among those that became laws were: A mechanic's liens act, an act encouraging the formation of cooperative societies, an act securing payment to miners and laborers in lawful money, and an act exempting pension money from garnishment. The first of these, an act to protect mechanics, laborers and persons furnishing material for the construction of public buildings and public improvements, provided that when any public officer contracts for such work in any sum exceeding one hundred dollars he must secure a bond from the contractor guaranteeing the payment of all indebtedness for labor or material furnished. [103] The act encouraging the creation of cooperative societies provided that twenty or more persons might organize for the purpose of more successfully promoting and conducting any industrial pursuit, and that every society when so organized should enjoy all the rights, privileges, and powers conferred by law on other chartered or incorporated companies in the state. [104] The act relating to the payment of wages to laborers provided that laborers in and about coal mines and factories should be paid their wages at regular intervals, and in law


ful money. Wages paid in scrip, checks, etc., might be recovered in money from the person or firm issuing; coercion of employees to purchase goods from particular firms was to be punished by fine or imprisonment or both. [105] The law relating to garnishment and attachments provided that United States pension money received by a debtor within three months before the garnishment process, could not be applied on his debts when it was shown to be necessary for the maintenance of a family, supported wholly or in part by the pension money. [106]

Some of the bills introduced in the legislature of 1887 that failed to pass were: An act establishing eight hours as a legal day's work, an act providing for the safety and health of persons mining coal, and an act to prevent unjust discrimination against employees of corporations, compounds, or individuals. A great many other bills were introduced concerning the welfare of the working classes, not directly connected with the labor problem.


1. Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, Second Annual Report (1886).
2. Kansas City (Mo.) Daily Journal, May 16, 1886. (Notes from Argentine.)
3. ibid.
4. ibid., May 18, 1886.
6. F. H. Betton to John A. Martin, May 20, 1886, in "Correspondence of Kansas Governors, Martin (Official)," Archives division, Kansas Historical Society. Hereafter this reference will be cited as C. K. G., Martin.
6. Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, Second Annual Report (1886).
7. Kansas City (Mo.) Daily Journal, May 18, 1886.
8. Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, Second Annual Report (1886).
9. The Kansas Democrat, Topeka, May 20, 1886.
10. F. H. Betton to John A. Martin, May 19, 1886, in C. K. G., Martin (Official).
11. Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, Second Annual Report (1888).
12. Burlingame Independent, September 16, 1886.
13. Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, Second Annual Report (1886).
14. Osage County Democrat, Burlingame, September 18, 1886.
15. Osage City Free Press, October 7, 1886.
16. ibid.
17. Osage County Democrat, Burlingame, October 2, 1886.
18. Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, Second Annual Report (1886).
19. Topeka Daily Capital, March 7, 1886.
20. Editorial in Parsons Daily Sun, April 4, 1886.
21. The Daily Commonwealth, Topeka, March 10, 1886.
22. Daily Eclipse, Parsons. March 6, 1886.
23. Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, Second Annual Report (1886).
24. The Daily Commonwealth, Topeka, March 10, 1886.
25. Topeka Daily Capital, March 17, 1886.
26. ibid.
27. ibid., March 19, 1886.
28. The Standard, Leavenworth, March 20, 1886.
29. Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, Second Annual Report (1886).
30. Martin Irons to Frank H. Betton, March 15, 1886, in C. K. G.,
Martin (Personal), v. 6, p. 436.
31. H. M. Hoxie's "An Address to the Employees of the Missouri Pacific Railway Co.," March 8, 1886, ibid., p. 17a.
32. The Standard, Leavenworth, March 31, 1886.
33. Topeka Daily Capital, March 23, 1886.
34. ibid., April 6, 1886.
35. "Investigation of Labor Troubles in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Texas, and Illinois," in Reports of Committees of the House of Representatives, No. 4174, v. III, 49 Cong. 2 sess.
36. ibid.
37. ibid.
38. Kansas City (Mo.) Daily Journal, March 7, 1886.
39. The Daily Commonwealth, Topeka, March 11, 1886.
40. Daily Eclipse, Parsons, March 13, 1886.
41. Prentis to John A. Martin, March 12, 1886, C. K. G., Martin (Personal), v. 5, p. 343.
42. Telegram, Prentis to John A. Martin, March 23, 1886, ibid., v. 6, p. 31.
43. J. T. Cougher to John A. Martin, March 26, 1886, C. K. G., Martin (Official).
44. F. E. Shaw to John A. Martin, March 26, 1886, C. K. G., Martin (Personal), v.6, p.160; 458.
45. A. H. Martin to John A. Martin, March 31, 1886, ibid., p. 466.
46. Kansas Daily State Journal, Topeka, April 3, 1886.
47.John A. Martin to Col. A. B. Campbell, April 3, 1888, C. K. G., Martin (Personal), v. 8, p. 495.
48. Kansas City (Mo.) Daily Journal, May 4, 1886.
49. F. H. Betton to John A. Martin, March 25, 1886, C. K. G., Martin (Personal), v. 6, p. 45.
50. Jas. Ferguson to John A. Martin, April 26, 1886, C. K. G., Martin (Official).
51. Topeka Daily Capital, April 27, 1886.
52. The Trades-Union, Atchison, April 30, 1886.
53. Daily Eclipse, Parsons, July 30, 1886.
54. ibid., March 6, 1886.
55. ibid., March 7, 1886.
56. ibid., March 12, 1886.
57. Parsons Daily Sun. March 13, 1886.
58. C. B. Woodford to John A. Martin, March 13, 1886, C. K. G., Martin (Personal), v. 6, p. 433.
59. David Kelso to John A. Martin, :March 13, 1886, ibid., p. 432.
60. John A. Martin to David Kelso, March 13, 1886, ibid., p. 434.
61. John A. Martin to A. B. Campbell, March 14, 1386, ibid., p. 435.
62. Adjutant General of the State of Kansas, Fifth Biennial Report (1885-1886).
63. Parsons Daily Sun, March 17, 1886.
64. Daily Eclipse, Parsons, March 18, 1886.
65. David Kelso to John A. Martin, March 20, 1886, C. K. G., Martin (Personal), v. 6, p.160, 450.
66. C. E. Faulkner to John A. Martin, March 29, 1886, C. K. G., Martin (Official).
67. C. B. Woodford and A. O. Brown to John A. Martin, March 29, 1886, C. K. G. Martin (Personal), v. 6, p. 460.
68. John A. Martin to Mayor of Parsons, March 29, 1886, ibid., p. 462.
69. A. G. Brown to John A. Martin, March 30, 1886, ibid., p. 465.
70. John A. Martin to A. O. Brown, March 30, 1886, ibid., p. 468.
71. C. H. Kimball and David Kelso to John A. Martin, March 30, 1886, ibid., p. 472.
72. Adjutant General of the State of Kansas, Fifth Biennial Report (1885-1886).
73. ibid.
74. Sheriff Woodford, Mayor Brown and others to John A. Martin, April 1, 1886, C. K. G., Martin (Official).
75. John A. Martin to Col. A. H. Campbell, April 1, 1886, C. K. G., Martin (Personal), v. 6, p. 482.
76. Adjutant General of the State of Kansas, Fifth Biennial Report (1885-1886).
77. ibid.
78. Daily Eclipse, Parsons, April 6, 1886.
79. ibid.
80. A. B. Campbell to John A. Martin, April 9, 1886, C. K. G., Martin (Personal), v. 6, p. 503.
81. ibid., April 13, 1886, p. 504.
82. Leavenworth Times, April 24, 1886.
83. The Standard, Leavenworth, May 7, 1886.
84. John A. Martin to P. B. Plumb and John J. Ingalls, June 17, 1886, C. K. G., Martin (Personal), v. 7, pp. 172-180.
85. John A. Martin to Jas. G. Blaine, June 18, 1886, ibid., pp. 187-190.
86. John A. Martin to P. B. Plumb, June 29, 1886, ibid., pp. 239-245.
87. Daily Eclipse, Parsons, June 24, 1886.
88. The Kansas Democrat, Topeka, July 8, 1886.
89. ibid.
90. The Standard, Leavenworth, August 5, 1886.
91. The Trades-Union, Atchison, September 2, 1886.
92. The Daily Commonwealth, Topeka, September 16, 1886.
Governor Martin's speech in full on the editorial page. 93. Leavenworth Times, October S, 1886.
94. Atchison Daily Champion, September 25, 1886.
95. w. P. Hackney to John A. Martin, October 18, 1886, C. K. G., Martin (Personal).
96. Atchison Daily Champion, October 23, 1886.
97. Topeka Daily Capital, October 24, 1886.
98. Osage County Democrat, Burlingame, October 23, 1886.
99. Topeka Daily Capital, October 22, 1886.
100. The Kansas Democrat, Topeka, October 30, 1886.
101. Topeka Daily Capital, January 11, 1887.
102. Biennial Message of John A. Martin, Governor, to the Legislature of Kansas (1887).
103. Laws of Kansas, 1887, Ch. CLXXIX.
104. Topeka Daily Capital, March 19, 1887.
105. Laws of Kansas, 1887, Ch. CLXXI.
106. ibid., Ch. CLXI.