Morbid Fact Du Jour For April 24, 2017

Today’s Anarchic Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

Strikes by industrial workers were increasingly common in the United States in the 1880s, a time when working conditions often were dismal and dangerous, and wages were low. The American labor movement during this time also included a radical faction of socialists, communists and anarchists who believed the capitalist system should be dismantled because it exploited workers. (Ah, those were the days… – DeSpair)  A number of these labor radicals were immigrants, many of them from Germany.

The May 4, 1886, rally at Haymarket Square in Chicago was organized by labor radicals to protest the killing and wounding of several workers by the Chicago police during a strike the day before at the McCormick Reaper Works.

Toward the end of the Haymarket Square rally, a group of policemen arrived to disperse the crowd. As the police advanced, an individual who was never identified threw a bomb at them. The police and possibly some members of the crowd opened fire and chaos ensued. Seven police officers and at least one civilian died as a result of the violence that day, and an untold number of other people were injured.

The riot set off a national wave of xenophobia, as scores of foreign-born radicals and labor organizers were rounded up by the police in Chicago and elsewhere. In August 1886, eight men, labeled as anarchists, were convicted in a sensational and controversial trial in which the jury was considered to be biased and no solid evidence was presented linking the defendants to the bombing. Judge Joseph E. Gary imposed the death sentence on seven of the men, and the eighth was sentenced to 15 years in prison. On November 11, 1887, four of the men were hanged.

Of the additional three who were sentenced to death, one committed suicide on the eve of his execution and the other two had their death sentences commuted to life in prison by Illinois Governor Richard J. Oglesby. The governor was reacting to widespread public questioning of their guilt, which later led his successor, Governor John P. Altgeld, to pardon the three activists still living in 1893.

In the aftermath of the Haymarket Square Riot and subsequent trial and executions, public opinion was divided. For some people, the events led to a heightened anti-labor sentiment, while others (including labor organizers around the world) believed the men had been convicted unfairly and viewed them as martyrs.

Culled from: History.Com

 

And Speaking of the Haymarket Anarchists… 

Before I share today’s Garretdom newspaper clip (below), I figured you needed some background on the Haymarket Riot (above) and one particularly wicked anarchist, Henry Jansen (right here, right now):

In November 1886, Henry Jansen, a member of the anarchist “North Side Group”… was arrested after attacking his wife.  It was the second time he had stabbed her, having slashed her in the stomach years earlier. But this time her wounds were deeper and she lingered near death for four days before succumbing. Weak and struggling for breath, Mrs. Jansen told police that her husband took part in the Haymarket Riot and that he had stood near the man who threw the bomb and had told her the man’s name. She couldn’t remember the name distinctly but thought it sounded like “Shurbeld”. 

Culled from: The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists: Terrorism and Justice in the Gilded Age

 

Garretdom: The Starving Anarchist

Which brings us to today’s Garretdom entry:

December 8, 1886
THE STARVING ANARCHIST.
Jansen Placed in an Asylum for the Insane and Forced to Take Food.


CHICAGO, Dec. 8—Henry Jansen, the wife-murderer, was transferred from the jail proper to the insane ward yesterday and his fast, which had continued for some days, was abruptly broken off. He was very weak from lack of nourishment, and could not have survived his course of abstinence many days longer. Superintendent Kiley determined to compel the man to take food, and to that end he prepared a very palatable concoction of brandy, sugar, milk, and eggs. As was expected, Jansen refused to take it. A muscular attendant pinioned the patient, and his clinched teeth were pried apart with a spoon. A spoonful of the mixture was poured into his mouth, and as he spattered and spat in an effort to eject it, a clasp was put down on his nose and as he gasped for breath, down went the life-giving fluid. In this painful fashion, while he writhed and roared between breaths, Jansen was compelled to swallow a gill of the fluid. Twice, later in the day, his heroically-administered meal was given him. His strength rapidly grew, although this improvement put him in an ugly frame of mind, and he denounced his saviors in the most bitter terms.

From the Collection of The Comtesse DeSpair
The 1886 Morbid Scrapbook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *