Archive for January 14th, 2009

White Slavery: A Rush for Liberty

January 14, 2009
Norfolk Railway Workers 1896

Norfolk Railway Workers 1896

Horrible Treatment of Foreign Laborers in West Virginia.

To Prevent Escape From Their Prison in the Mountains.

Made by a Few of the Men Results in Frightful Punishment.

POCAHONTAS, W. Va., March 17. — Seventy-five friendless foreigners, bound in virtual slavery in the wild and desolate mountains of West Virginia, are suffering the most shocking privations and hardships. They are sixty miles from the nearest town. The streams are swollen, the mountains are covered with snow and escape seems almost impossible to them. These men were brought here by a New York employment agent. They were engaged in December last to work on the Ohio extension of the Norfolk & Western railroad. They signed contracts which virtually made them prisoners in the hands of the contractors and to-day they are watched by men to see that they do not escape. The man who brought these creatures into this wild region is a Russian named Rosenthal.

Norfolk Railway

Norfolk Railway

Despite the vigilance of the bosses and the guards several made their escape during January and February. No one knows whether they ever got out of the country alive or whether they perished in the mountain gorges and unbroken forests. Two of the men, a Russian and a Bohemian, seized a flat boat one day and made off across the river. They were soon recaptured. Their captors compelled them to wade back across the river, drawing the boat after them. Upon returning to camp their coats were stripped off and they were whipped. The contractors’ bosses remarked that this was the rule when working on railroad construction. Whipping must be the punishment for making off with the boat. This example had a wholesome effect for a time upon those contemplating an attempt to escape.

Norfolk and Western Railway Map

Norfolk and Western Railway Map

A little band of twelve Hungarians, Polanders and Swedes marched into Pocahontas Sunday. They had walked seventy miles through the wild country from camp. These twelve managed to satisfy their taskmasters and were allowed to depart. As they marched out of camp several of their less fortunate comrades who were detained made a desperate break for liberty and dashed off into the mountains. They were immediately pursued by armed men, mounted on mules and accompanied by dogs. What the fate of these poor fellows was can not yet be ascertained.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Mar 25, 1891

To Return Like a Dog to his Vomit

January 14, 2009


We extract the following very excellent article from the Peoria (Illinois) Register.

‘CROWS, VERSUS ALCOHOL. — Col. E. has one of the best farms on the Illinois river. About one hundred acres of  it are now covered with waving corn. When it first came up in the spring, the crows seemed determined on its entire destruction. When one was killed it seemed as though a dozen came to its funeral. And though the sharp crack of the rifle often drove them away, they always returned with its echo.

The Colonel at length became weary of throwing grass, and resolved on trying the virtue of stones. — He sent to the druggist for a gallon of alcohol, in which he soak a few quarts of corn and scattered it over his field. The black legs came and partook with their usual relish; and as usual they were soon pretty well corned; and such a cooing and cackling, — such a strutting and staggering!

The scene was like — but I will make no invidious comparison — yet it was very much like

When the boys attempted to catch them, they were not a little amused at their staggering gait, and their zigzag course through the air. At length they gained the edge of the woods, and there being joined by a new recruit, which happened to be sober, they united at the top of their voices in haw, haw, hawing and shouting either the praises or the curses of alcohol. — It was difficult to tell which, as they rattled away without rhyme or reason, so very much like —
But the Colonel saved his corn. — As soon as they became sober, they set their faces steadfastly against alcohol. Not another kernal would they touch in his field, lest it should contain the accursed thing, while they went and pulled up the corn of his neighbors. — To return like a dog to his vomit — like  a washed sow to the mire — like – not they. — They have too much respect for their character — black as they are — again to be found drunk.’

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Aug 28, 1838