Phil Johnston and Ray Norton are the winners.
The IWW (Wobblie) Strike of 1936 is the answer for Week 99 of Orofino History Trivia, a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.
According to White Pines and Fires: Cooperative Forestry in Idaho by A.B. Curtis, there was a serious labor strike against the Potlatch Company in 1936 by the International Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies). All roads into the logging areas were quick to become picket locations.
Of particular mention in the book was the road off Grangemont to a logging camp where Frank Fromelt was foreman. Pickets went so far as to beat those who attempted to cross the lines. One incident involved a man who was tied to a tree and whipped with a logging chain. Bones were broken and he was more dead and than alive and spent a long time in the hospital, Curtis believed.
Local law enforcement was unable to control the violence and the governor called in the State Police to bring law and order back to the area. Eleven troopers were assigned the task and soon started patrolling the area with strike problems. It did not take long until there was more gunfire on the road to the Fromelt camp and the officers responded. When they arrived, the gunfire stopped, but three men were taken to the hospital and stayed there a long time. One never got out, Curtis said.
Of note too was one man who worked for Fromelt. Curtis said that Fromelt was a fine contractor who fed his man well and the accommodations were as good as they got in the woods. He tended to attract men who worked better than some other crews. One man, A.B. Brown was a big man around 225 pounds and over six feet tall. He was known as a good worker, but also one who would just as soon have a fight. He had to go through the picket line from time to time. The first time, he was half-heartedly challenged and some of the pickets uttered comments that could hardly be heard. That was enough for Brown who told that that if they felt like to step up and he would take them all on. From then on he passed through the pickets unchallenged, without even a sneer, Curtis said.
Monday: Grangemont Rd.
Wednesday: Frank Fromelt
Thursday: Potlatch Company
Friday: Blocked access road
Monday: State troopers were ordered by the governor.
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