Heritage \ Writings \ Industry: Lumbering

Saginaw Valley Lumber Strike of 1885.
10 Hours a Day or No Sawdust!
(Added Nov., 2008)


Eddy Bros. Mill. - Bay City

In 1885 the lumber boom that started nearly two decades earlier came to a screeching halt on July 6, the Monday following the fourth of July celebration. The the nation's largest concentration of lumber mills located on the banks of the Saginaw River were forced force to shut down, as laborers went on strike demanding "10 hours or no sawdust!"

The New York Times, July 11, 1885

THE STRIKING LUMBERMEN.
-------

Bay City, Mich., July 10. -- The strike among the lumber mill employes in this city shows very little change. What there is is in favor of the strikers. Two meetings were held yesterday at Madison Park. At the morning meeting State Representative , of Saginaw, made and address. At the afternoon meeting Mr. Green, of the firm of Green & Stevens, addressed the strikers. He said he would give $500 to aid them, and that he would accede to their demand for 10 hours' work with no reduction in pay. Four other firms are reported as ready to yield to the strikers. Chief of Police Murphy was hanged in effigy yesterday. Most of the saloons remained open yesterday in defiance of the Mayor's proclamation. The Police Commissioners and the mill men held a meeting yesterday. The mill men demanded protection, but nothing definite was decided on. The strikers paraded the principal streets with banners and flags, saying they had succeeded and would get all they demanded. It is generally expected that the meeting to-morrow between the mill owners and the strikers' committee will settle matters amicably. It is now as quiet as Sunday here.

East Saginaw, Mich., July 10. -- An advance guard of striking mill employes, 880 strong, arrived here this morning and paraded the streets, escorted by 200 stevedores and a band. The men are very orderly. All the mills at this end of the river are running, but will shut down as soon as their employes intimate a desire to quit work. The Tittabawabawsee Boom Company will be forced in any event to shut down to-morrow, as the mills at the lower end of the river are stopped and those here will probably close, and the company will be unable to take care of logs. This will throw 500 boom employes out of work. The great majority f the mill employes at this end of the river are opposed to the strikeSaginaw and East Saginaw and the Sheriff of the county have issued an order closing all the saloons and cautioning the strikers against any acts of violence.

The strike that shut down 78 mills may never have happened if a newly passed law had been better understood by the laborers, and if two outside laborer leaders had not incited them into into a walkout of the mills forcing them to shut down. The full story is revealed in an extensive report from the State investigation ordered by the Michigan's Governor Russell Alger. -- Read all about it... {Lumber Strike 1885} (pdf)

Names of People Mentioned
Andrews, E.
Arnold,
Avery,
Backus,
Barker,
Barnard, N.
Batchelor,
Barry, T.B.
Beard,
Benjamin, Chas. L. Mayor
Binder,
Blinn, D.C.
Bliss,
Birdsall
Bradley, F.E.
Brand,
Brennan, Sheriff
Brookmyer
Brucker, F.
Burnham,
Burr
Butman,
Cameron,
Carlisle,
Chapin, D.S.
Chapman
Coman, L.S.
Conderman,
Cooley, E.A.
Cooper,
Cranage,
Culver, H.H.
Diedrich,
Dolson,
Dorr,
Eaton,
Easton,
Esterbrook,
Eyck, Ten
Eddy, C.K.
Esabrook, Mayor
Folsom,
Gates, S.G.M.
Gebhart,
Gould, E.F.
Grand, C.L.
Green,
Gullifer, F.O.
Hall, E.
Hall, S.A.
Hamilton,
Hargrave,
Hartland,
Hay,
Hill,
Hitchcock, J.R.
Hogan,
Hotchkiss, L.L.
Jerome, T.
LaDue
Langford,
Lawrence, Abbot E.
Lederach,
Lewis, C.E.
Malone,
McClure,
McEwan,
McIntyre, A. Sheriff
McLean,
McLeod, D.
Melcher,
Merrill, C.
Merrill, H.P.
Miller,
Mower, T.D.
Murphy, Chief PD
Myers, Go. C.
Nerriter,
Owen, J.G.
Patterson, James
Pearson, J.H.
Peters, Wm.
Pitts
Potter,
Powderly, T.V.
Ratelle,
Ring,
Ronson,
Rouse, W.B.
Rust,
Sage, H.W.
Sanborn,
Smalley,
Stevens,
Still,
Stillman, W.B.
Tousey, W.H.
Trask, Capt.
Tyler, S.W.
Walsh, Capt.
Warner, Wm. L.
Welch, J.
Whittier,
Wiggins,
Williams, Geo. F.
Wright, A.W.
Wylie,

Subject Notes

Related Pages:
Article by V.M. Mobley
{Lumbering Pictorial}
People Referenced
Green, Mr.
Murphy, Mr.
Stevens, Mr.
-- see page listing.
Subjects Referenced
Bay City, MI
Green & Stevens Co.
Strike at mills
East Saginaw, MI
Saginaw, MI
Tittabawasee Boom Co.
Related References
[Lumbering in Mich.]
[Strikes in Mich. 1885
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.