Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mine Wars Interview Online

Thanks go out to David Purcell for sending me a link to an online transcript of a 1972 interview with his grandfather Henson Purcell of West Frankfort.

The Purcell was a retired newspaperman who recalled the violence of not only the gang wars of Charlie Birger and the Shelton Gang in the 1920s, but the more-overshadowed, and actually deadlier clashes between the United Mine Workers of America and the Progressive Mine Workers of America in the 1930s.

I'm not up fully on the UMWA and PMWA fully other than I often heard hushed whispers of events while reporting myself in Harrisburg in the 1990s. The last PMWA-organized mine (Saraha) wrapped up operations during my tenure at the Daily Register.

Purcell's interview starts with an overview of the struggle with a particular focus on the Battle of Mulkeytown in Franklin County.

It's a good read. There's a link to it from the Events page here at IllinoisHistory.com.

1 comment:

Rum said...

Charlie Birger asked my grandmother out on a date, a long time ago. What does this mean? Nothing, other than an interesting story. Good luck.