The IWW Versus the KKK in Maine

IWW Versus KKK in Maine

From the Portland Press Herald – Tuesday, February 5, 1924

K.K.K. And I.W.W. Wage Drawn Battle in Greenville

175 Workers Patrol The Street After Clash Saturday Night


Woodsmen Ordered Out But Refuse to Leave – Reinforcements Pouring in By the Hundreds

Greenville, Me., Feb. 4 — With the thermometer hovering around the zero mark, about 175 members of the Industrial Workers of the World walked the streets of the town tonight as a result of a clash with local members of the Ku Klux Klan Saturday night.

About 40 members of the Klan marched to a local boarding house known as the Lake House, in which several leaders of the I.W.W. were stopping and ordered them to leave town at once or they would use force and put them out.

The I.W.W. leaders called to Deputy Sheriff Davis S. Cowan for protection against violence. An officer was placed on guard at the boarding house Saturday night.

Sunday and today the I.W.W. delegates as they termed themselves, sent out a call to the lumber camps and today there has been a steady flow of I.W.W. members into this little Maine town. Tonight it was estimated that there were fully 175 I.W.W. members walking the streets.

Bob Pease of Bangor, leader of the I.W.W. organization in Maine arrived in town tonight and told the PRESS HERALD representative that he would establish headquarters for the I.W.W. in Greenville.

“We are going to stick,” asserted Pease. “and if the Klan starts anything, the I.W.W. will finish it. The slave drivers, the Great Northern Paper Company and Hollingsworth and Whitney people do not want us here, but we are too strong for them.”

“Why are they against you,” asked the PRESS HERALD representative.

“Because we want good wages, eight hours a day in the lumber camps and clean linen on our bunks,” replied Pease. “The day of the old logging camp and the lumberjacks is about over with.”

Pease claims that that the Ku Klux Klan in Greenville has been bought by the merchants and the lumber interests.

Refuse to Leave Town

It was understood tonight that the selectmen of the town ordered the I.W.W. members to leave town, but Pease and his men refused, saying they would walk the streets and would build bonfires to keep from freezing.

The I.W.W. members were denied admission to any of the local boarding houses and the Y.M.C.A. boarding houses according to Pease.

Sheriff Roscoe Macomber from Dover-Foxcroft was here today and placed two of his deputies in charge tonight with instructions to arrest anybody starting trouble.

Klan Organizing

It was said tonight that the Klan members are organizing and the K.K.K.’s leaders have not given up the idea of forcing the I.W.W. men to get out of town. Deputy Sheriff Cowan said late tonight that I.W.W. members from surrounding lumber camps were steadily coming into town and that he expected that several hundred would be here before another twenty-four hours had passed.

Pease, the I.W.W. head, said late tonight that he intended to open a branch of his organization in Kingfield, but that headquarters would be established here for the present. He said many of the men in his organization were French Catholics.

From the Portland Press Herald — March 19, 1924


Parade Streets To Court House And Find Case Continued

DOVER-FOXCROFT — Thirty-seven alleged Industrial Workers of the World, who came here today to attend the trial of four Greenville men said to be connected with the organization and indicted by the grand jury of the Supreme Court on the charge of conspiracy, arrived too soon, as the opening of the trial has been postponed until tomorrow.

The party came by train from Bangor and marched in the middle of the street from the railroad station to the court house, attracting much attention. When they reach the court house they seated themselves and appeared to be somewhat disappointed upon learning that their supposed comrades would not be placed on trial today.

Tonight they were said to be lingering about the village and officials are keeping close watch of them.

One of the men to be tried is Robert Pease, said to be a leader and organizer of the I.W.W. He was arrested in Bangor following the rising of the grand jury. The four are to be defended by Benjamin W. Blanchard and Meyer W. Epstein, Bangor attorneys, while Attorney General Ransford W. Shaw will assist the county attorney in the prosecution.

It was rumored that Fred H. Moore of Boston, chief counsel for the defendents in the celebrated Sacco and Vanzetti case, would be associated with Mr. Blanchard and Mr. Epstein but today it was learned that he will not serve.


I.W.W. Leader Must Serve 1 Up to 2 Years In Prison


“They Can’t Stop Us,” Radical Group Assures The Convicted Men

Dover-Foxcroft — “Good luck, boys, keep the ball rolling,” shouted Robert Pease, an I.W.W. leader, to a group of co-patriots, who were standing on the first floor of the court house, as he was being led back to the county jail by officers after receiving sentence of not less that eighteen months or more than two years of hard labor in the State prison at Thomaston in the Supreme Court this morning, for his part in the recent radical disturbance at Greenville.

The group, numbering about twenty I.W.W. ‘s, who had been interested spectators during the entire court proceedings, did not waste any time in reassuring Pease that the work would be continued, one of the members saying, “You bet we will — they can’t stop us.”

Others in the group breathed encouraging words to Pease, telling him to keep his courage and “Good stuff, Bob. We’re with you.”

With Pease, two other I.W.W.’s also received penitentiary sentences, John Lucell and Willard Parent, each being meted out sentences of not less than one year nor more than fifteen months at hard labor in Thomaston.

Before sentence had been pronounced by Judge Morrill, Benjamin W. Blanchard , counsel for the convicted men, moved for a new trial, and the motion was overruled, and he then announced that he would take an appeal to the Law Court, which will convene in June.

Bail was not fixed, however, and for the time being, the respondents will be held in the County Jail here. None of the three men appeared much disturbed when sentence was passed and smiled as the deputy sheriffs took them from the court room.

Before sentence, Justice Morrill asked the respondents a number of questions. Pease said that he had come to the State of Maine within a year, living in Bangor with his wife. He said that he had worked in the woods for the Barker Lumber Company, and the Enos Sawyer, a week for one, and about two weeks for the other.

Admits Affiliation

He admitted that he had also been working for the I.W.W. organization in this State as organization committee-man, and said that he previously lived in the West. He was born in Washington state, and gave his age as twenty-one years. He said that he had been sent here from headquarters in the West, to take up organization work, in the state of Maine.

Willard Parent gave his age as twenty-four, and said that he was born in St. Isadore, Quebec, Canada and had a father and mother living there. He said he had been in the states since 1918, working in the woods as a lumber jack. He had worked for the Barker Lumber Company and for the Kellogg Lumber Company recently. Had been a member of the I.W.W. for about a year.

John Lucell said that he was twenty-one years old, and was born in Lynn, Mass., where his father still lives. He had been in the State of Maine since last Fall, having previously been in the Western states where he said he had worked for different lumbering concerns. He had worked for the Great Northern Paper Company and Kellogg Lumber Company since coming to Maine.

He said he had been a member of the I.W.W. since January, 1924. Upon a question of the judge as to whether he had ever gone by any other name, he had admitted that John Lucell was not his name, but that he had gone by it for three years. He said that his real name was George Fuzley, and that he had had trouble with his father and left home, there upon changing his name to Lucell.