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Mother Jones Court-Martial: 1913 - Posed As A Miner For Five Months

defendants witnesses judge guns

A surprise prosecution witness, detective Frank Smith of the J. W. Burns agency, testified that he had posed as a miner for five months, holding a union card and noting which defendants were armed. Other witnesses, including National Guardsmen, identified defendants but could not say they saw them firing guns. And, to prove that the 83-year-old Mother Jones had incited the strikers, the prosecutor placed in evidence some 100 pages of speeches she had delivered during the preceding August and September.

The court-martial was suspended for 24 hours while defense attorneys Albert M. Belcher and Harold W. Houston obtained an order from circuit-court judge Samuel D. Littlepage ending the court-martial. They argued that the U.S. Constitution placed civil authority above the military and that the state constitution protected civilians from military trials. Recently elected Governor Henry D. Hatfield intervened, insisting that either the judge withdraw his order or he would withdraw the troops. The judge backed down.

The prosecutor now introduced witnesses who had heard Mother Jones's speeches. They refused to describe them as inflammatory. The strongest testimony, from a company clerk, simply said Jones advised the miners not to hand over their guns to local authorities.

Defense witnesses were few. Two militiamen affirmed the orderliness of defendants they guarded. One witness swore that defendant Cal Newman spent February 10 not fighting but arranging to put a boar to a sow.

Mother Jones Court-Martial: 1913 - Like Roosevelt, Wilson, And Bryan [next] [back] Mother Jones Court-Martial: 1913 - "'i Warn This Little Governor"

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