‘James Sullivan, Second Bloody Sunday Victim Dead’ from The Butte Daily Bulletin (Montana). Vol. 3 No. 95. December 8, 1920.

‘James Sullivan, Second Bloody Sunday Victim Dead’ from The Butte Daily Bulletin (Montana). Vol. 3 No. 95. December 8, 1920.

James Sullivan, known to thousands of miners in the Coeur d’Alenes and Montana mining camps as “Jimmie,” one of the victims of the murder-list of the Anaconda Copper Mining company as exemplified by the actions of the company’s gunmen on Anaconda road, Butte, Bloody Wednesday, April 21, 1920, is dead. Jimmie died yesterday at the home of his parents, Donaghadee, County Down, Ireland, where he had been taken last September, a helpless cripple, to spend the remaining days of his life with his parents and sisters and brothers. 

News of young Sullivan’s death, the second resulting from the wanton brutality consummated by the Anaconda company’s gunmen on Anaconda road during the last miners’ strike, under the direction of Roy S. Alley and D. Gay Stivers of the company’s general staff, and under the personal observation of Sheriff John K. O’Rourke, was received in Butte today by cablegram from Ireland to J. V. Watson of Butte, a close friend of the unfortunate Sullivan.

The message merely stated that Jimmie had succumbed to his wound-a bullet in his spine-fired there by one of the company’s gunmen as Jimmie, with several hundred other unarmed strike pickets fled down Anaconda hill to escape the rain of lead from the riot guns, rifles and revolvers of the company’s gunthugs and city policemen.

The death of Sullivan, added to that of Thomas Manning, who died a week after the murderous attack on the pickets, marks the second actual death resulting from that occasion. Others of the more than a score of unarmed, peaceful pickets who were shot in their backs as they fled, are living deaths, cripples who will go through life without even the consolation of an early death to relieve them of their sufferings.

The story of the Anaconda road massacre on Bloody Wednesday is sufficiently well known to not require extended comment. After isolated groups miners’ pickets had been assaulted by gangs of gunmen who sped from one point of the mining district to the other in high-powered automobiles and after alighting and beating into insensibility the few unarmed pickets found in each group, it was decided by the strike committee, for the safety of the pickets to adopt “mass picketing” at one point. Accordingly on the morning of April 21, 1920, about 300 unarmed men and a few women stationed themselves on the Anaconda road just below the railroad tracks south of the High Ore mine.

After a while Sheriff O’Rourke and a squad of his regularly appointed deputies, and a squad of city police ordered to the hill by Mayor Stodden on orders from the Sixth floor, arrived on the hill and stationed themselves between the pickets and the High Ore mine. Soon after Sheriff O’Rourke had informed the pickets they were within their constitutional rights so long as they used no violence and remained on the county highway, a squad of 50 gunmen under the personal direction of Alley and Stivers issued from the High Ore gate and joined the policemen and deputy sheriffs.

Without previous warning, except a whispered conversation between O’Rourke and Alley, Alley stepped to the front of his gunmen and with an oath, flourished an automatic pistol and fired a shot, ordering his men to “Give the—-of—-h—, boys!” himself led in the attack on the unarmed pickets.

Using the barrels and stocks of their guns, as well as blackjacks and clubs, the gunmen charged into the group of pickets, hitting heads right and left. Then as the pickets fled down the hill volley after volley from the riot guns aid pistols were fired into their backs. 

Wounded men fell by the roadside or in the gullies into which they had fled; but even the fallen were not spared by the murderous gun-thugs, who leaped upon them intent, apparently, upon “finishing them off.”

A week later Thomas Manning died as the result of wounds through his chest and stomach, the bullets which caused them having entered from the back. Sullivan was struck in the spine, also from the rear and was informed by local surgeons that he would not live.

In the belief that more expert treatment could be secured at Mayo Brothers’ hospital, Rochester, Minn. [he was taken there in August, to no avail]. Sullivan was taken to Chicago, and last was placed aboard ship at New York for Ireland.

Letters received from him and from his nurse, Miss Boggs, since his arrival in Ireland, intimated that the care and treatment he was receiving in his humble home amid the green fields of Erin were working wonders in his condition. He was reported as improving. The news of his sudden death came as a shock to those in Butte who had confidently expected to see Sullivan live for years longer, although a helpless cripple.

Sullivan was not an alien. He was born in Spokane, Wash., 27 years ago. When a small child he was taken to Ireland by his parents, but for the last 12 years had been constantly in the United States, alternating between the Coeur d’Alenes and Butte.

The Butte Daily Bulletin began in 1917 in reaction to the labor wars in Montana, the Speculator Mine fire killing 168 miners; IWW organizing, and the murder of IWW organizer Frank Little in Butte. Future Communist leader and IWW organizer William F. Dunne and R. Bruce Smith, president of the Butte Typographical Union published the paper as an outgrowth of a strike bulletin with the masthead reading, “We Preach the Class Struggle in the Interests of the Workers as a Class.” It became daily in August 1918 and in September 1818 officers raided their offices and arrested Dunne and Smith on sedition charges. An extremely combative revolutionary paper, while unaligned, it supported the struggles of the Left Wing in the SP, reflecting the large radical Irish working class of Butte also supported Ireland’s and the Bolshevik revolution, as well as the continued campaigns of the IWW locally and national as well as the issues in Butte. It ran until May 31, 1921.

PDF of full issue: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045085/1920-12-08/ed-1/seq-1/

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