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-   -   Appalachian History On 2 Wheels - Coal Miners Bombed ! (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=409503)

dlrides 11-23-2008 10:44 AM

Appalachian History On 2 Wheels - Coal Miners Bombed !
 
The only time in U.S. history that bombs were ordered dropped on citizens, occurred in West Virginia !

Many events shaped the history of mining and organized labor, but none compare to the "Matewan Massacre" and "The Battle Of Blair Mountain". Follow along, explore the roads, sights, and stories of this history !


West Virginia Bound

Crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains on a cold winter morning always invites the chance for snow flurries. Luckily, the flurries fell the day before the trip, and since I was using gravel roads, dust was not an issue !

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/250557890_9YDWk-M.jpg


The pavement sections were covered in "black ice", so I didn't stop for many pics !

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/250556755_bqsFo-M.jpg

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/250557146_GFXJs-M.jpg


The scenery was excellent with the absence of leaves

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/250559297_39eBd-M.jpg

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/250558296_dT2aW-M.jpg


West Virginia is full of gravel roads, and coal haul roads, that can be explored for days.

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/250571157_LmKNY-M.jpg

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/250565835_fKoRc-M.jpg



To fully understand the Matewan story, the roots of the central figure, Sid Hatfield, must be explored.

Sid Hatfield was the police chief of Matewan. Sid was known as "two gun Sid", a tough descendent of "Devil Anse Hatfield", legendary leader of the "Hatfield clan". The Hatfield McCoy feud had shaped Sid Hatfield into a tough man, and a reputation that could back it up.

The Hatfield cemetery is located on the Kentucky side of the Tug River, and historic in it's own right.

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/250566717_XEpzv-M.jpg

No gate, cable, or fence ? Must mean public access, right ? :wink:

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/250567053_FgCRc-M.jpg


With the right bike ! Very steep up to the cemetery !

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/250568643_jM2Aj-M.jpg

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/250568373_yEimR-M.jpg


The famous Devil Anse Hatfield, then

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/42..._GmK7n-M-1.jpg



and now

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/250567739_agr5u-M.jpg




Roots of the "Matewan Massacre" ran deep in the union labor battle between miners and the mining companies. I will provide complete story links at the end of the Matewan section.

The Baldwin Felts detectives travelled to Matewan on a train from Bluefield, to remove miners from their homes, in retaliation for signing union membership cards. They had forgotten one little detail though, Matewan was incorporated, and they had no jurisdiction within the city limits, enter Sid Hatfield ! Seven agents were killed, and three residents, including the mayor.

The 1987 movie "Matewan" was actually filmed in Thurmond West Virginia, and of course, I've been there too !

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/329387566_Bim54-M.jpg

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/32..._Aof2e-M-1.jpg


View the video before explore the "Matewan Massacre" on 2 wheels, and look for the Thurmond buildings !


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<embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/nn5W6xDBNKc&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></OBJECT>


For the younger crowd


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<embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/R1CCZE9dMB0&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></OBJECT>



Sid Hatfield

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/42..._D2bNz-M-1.jpg


Matewan in 1920

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/422401752_AjNEm-M.jpg


The street where the shootings occurred is still gravel today !

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/250575364_4VpZ7-M.jpg

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/250574689_7S6LF-M.jpg

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/250574023_SMa3a-L.jpg

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/250573700_KjC52-M.jpg

Soon after the "Matewan Massacre", Sid Hatfield and others were indighted on false gun charges. When they walked up the steps to the federal courthouse in Welch, hired "regulators" stepped from behind the courthouse and shot him, even though he was unarmed !

Welch courthouse, and the actual steps of the shooting.

http://dlrides.smugmug.com/photos/422401853_u6UHN-M.jpg


The anger of this shooting, combined with union labor issues, pushed the miners into a rage. This rage led to "The Battle of Blair Mountain", which will be explored next !


Complete Matewan story:

http://www.matewan.com/History/battle2.htm

Cloud9 11-23-2008 10:57 AM

Good stuff! I always like ride reports exploring little known history. Thanks for the ride :thumb

Waiting for "the rest of the story"

mark1305 11-23-2008 11:10 AM

Another great one, Don! Thanks!

GB 11-23-2008 11:32 AM

Thanks for another magical history tour! :thumb

mel brooks 11-23-2008 11:39 AM

Don and DeBandi are THE history ride report kings of ADV!!! :clap


Battle of Blair Mtn., one of my favorite Appalachian events.

You guys bring history to life! Many thanks. Keep it up :D

achesley 11-23-2008 02:33 PM

Great job and a good history lesson. Thanks.

HappyRiding 11-23-2008 02:42 PM

:thumb:lurk

DeBandi 11-23-2008 02:52 PM

GREAT background & write up Don. :clap

I learn something every time I read one of your reports.

Looking forward to the upcoming Battle Of Blair Mountain.

Thanks mel for the kind words. :thumb





Quote:

Originally Posted by mel brooks
Don and DeBandi are THE history ride report kings of ADV!!! :clap


Battle of Blair Mtn., one of my favorite Appalachian events.

You guys bring history to life! Many thanks. Keep it up :D


Tom48 11-23-2008 03:00 PM

Hurry up, This trip is great,I'm in Canada awaiting the snow ro melt,

JustAdam 11-23-2008 03:17 PM

Agreed - the best Ride Reports have history - and I personally am sucker for some really good American History - Keep going!

Fredfredburger 11-23-2008 03:36 PM

Cool! Waiting on the rest of this report...
:lurk

nec 11-23-2008 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dlrides
The only time in U.S. history that bombs were ordered dropped on citizens, occurred in West Virginia !

I think Philadelphia was bombed about 20 years ago: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOVE

DirtyOldMan 11-23-2008 04:23 PM

Cool report , thanks. I've heard that machine gun shell casings from the battle can still be found on Blair Mt.
Just something to think about when considering the "turbulent" times we live in now.

onaXR 11-23-2008 04:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nec
I think Philadelphia was bombed about 20 years ago: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOVE

The difference was Philly state police dropped a bomb from a helicopter on a single house.

West Virginia alone bears the distinction of having been the focus – and potential target –of military aircraft.

http://www.pawv.org/news/blairhist.htm

dlrides 11-23-2008 06:37 PM

:thumb

Thanks for the comments !

Machine guns, warplanes, abandoned railways, creek crossings, and battle trenches are yet to come !


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