Touted as one of the largest civil uprisings in American history, thousands of coal miners in West Virginia rose up against mining owners because of poor wages and poor treatment. In nearby Logan County, police and miners clashed as fighting erupted at Blair Mountain. Miners, unified by their appalling treatment inside these mines, fought bravely for a week. The situation became so dangerous for nearby civilians that President Harding sent federals troops and warplanes to quell the uprising. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
|May 1921||Early fighting begins in Mingo County West Virginia.|
|August 20, 1921||Don Chafin, a W. Va Sheriff, denounces growing mob on the border and claims that they will not enter Logan County.|
|August 25, 1921||Around 5,000 miners have gathered about 2 miles from Logan County; another round of early fighting begins.|
|August 29, 1921||Heavier fighting commences. President Harding demands that the miner “mob” disperse and threatens to send in federal troops.|
|August 30, 1921||Four deputies taken prisoner, presumed dead.|
|September 1, 1921||Three officers killed when 4,000 to 5,000 miners march into town.
President Harding orders use of airplanes to drop bombs on mobs.
|September 3, 1921||Troops march into coal fields. Miners wage all-day battle.|
|September 5, 1921||Miners give up fight.|
|October 15, 1921||Coal owners seek help from the government to destroy the miners unions.|
|October 28, 1921||Mining owners reject proposed peace plan put forth by the labor unions. Mining labor unions subsequently fall out of favor in West Virginia.|