A Short History of the Ely mine, page 4


         On Monday, the miners seized the property, including, according to Child, one-hundred twenty-five kegs of gunpowder, or according to Greenleaf and Youngwood, one-hundred fifty kegs “and other explosives”, and threatened the elderly Mr. Ely, who (again, according to Youngwood) blamed everything on Cazin and supposedly told the miners it was fine with him to “unroof” Cazin’s house.  Child relates that Ely did not speak to the miners (70), but Blaisdell relates that the miners were stopped at gunpoint on Ely’s stairs  (Ely was sick abed) by General Stephen Thomas.  Blaisdell also excerpts a manuscript based on the letters of Dr. John Henry, a physician for the miners, which states that “...two or three women in the house got up the stairs ahead of the crowd and begged the men to stop.” (71)  Collamer Abbott, on the other hand, writes that the miners were initially confronted by the company treasurer, Caleb C. Sargent, and General Thomas when they returned to the house moments later.  (72)  In any case, Mr. Cazin’s house was left intact, but some of the miners, under the direction of Jack Baker, backed an ore wagon up to his house, loaded his possessions and family and two hundred miners escorted them out of town.  At Ely’s, the miners were appeased by the voices of reason and the promise of redress.  Smith Ely left West Fairlee for Bradford under cover of darkness.  The miners waited until the financial agent arrived Wednesday July 4, but he was prepared to pay the workers only twenty per cent. of their back wages.  The miners then threatened to blow the mine up.  Sheriff Luke Parish was powerless; he had called upon the inhabitants of the town for support, but none came.  At the direction of ex-Governor Roswell Farnham, acting as President of the company after Ely’s retreat, he and S.B. Hebard of Chelsea went to seek help troops from Governor John L. Barstow, who was notified on July 6, while the owners wired frantically for money.  Barstow agreed to send troops, but required that the $4000.00 available on hand to the company be distributed to the miners immediately in proportion to what was due them. (73)  As it happened, the payments were made a few days later by mutual consent.  The miners had agreed at a meeting with representatives of the company and the towns to wait until money could be sought from the towns, but Friday was spent in fruitless negotiations; the towns refused, despite reassurances given by several leading citizens.  On Friday evening, four companies of the of the National Guard reported to Col. William L. Greenleaf of the 1st Regiment and left Essex Junction on a special train, arriving at Ely station at 1:30 AM Saturday (74) and were issued twenty rounds of ammunition each (75).  After a “weary mountain ride of several hours” (76) they arrived in West Fairlee with another company arriving by wagon from Bradford, joining them at 5:00 AM.  The captain of the Bradford company was John Henry Watson, later state’s attorney (1886), Senator (1892) (77), and Chief Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court. (78)
 
         A total of 184 men and 18 officers were involved in the action.  Captain Watson’s Company G, unable to procure a guide, marched over an unknown road during the night and crept up to the powder house, surprised and captured the "four armed miners" (79) on guard and seized the mine without a struggle.  At about the same time the main column under Greenleaf moved through West Fairlee, where they were greeted with great relief, the residents having been in constant fear for several days.  They hurried on to Ely, about one and one-half miles distant.  There, the Sheriff and his deputies arrested the twelve they thought most responsible (or sixteen, according to Ruth Henry Hubbard) (80) and transported them to Montpelier, but they were released Monday morning when the authorities were unable to locate anyone who would testify against them.
         Company G was left to guard the powder until the next day; the rest of the troops left after distributing their rations to the destitute miners.  They were in West Fairlee by noon on their way home; having traveled 375 miles by rail, eighteen by wagon and marched between four and five miles in a little over twenty-four hours, they were home by evening.  (81).  Some reparations to the miners were made, but many of the miners moved away before they could collect.  Governor Barstow suggested that legislation be passed giving the miners a first lien on the company's assets.   The mine owed more than $200,000.00 and slid into receivership, and was sold at auction (according to Child) on January 12, 1888 to Mr. Cazin for $36,000.00  p. 33), who sold it, in 1888 (or 1889, according to Stone), to Otto K. Krause, a German dry goods dealer, and then worked briefly for him (82).  Krause installed a one-hundred-ton concentrator at a cost of $53,000.00, resulting in a “heavy output” of copper (83).  Child states it was sold to the Copperfield Mining and Smelting Company, which was working it with thirty-five men in April, 1888 (84).  However, Perkins states that Krause purchased the mine in 1889, for $36,000.00 (85).  Abbott implies Krause is still at the mine in 1891 (86).  According to Jacobs, in 1892, the mine was owned by the Vermont Copper Mining Company, and went into receivership. (87)  Blaisdell, though, states that Cazin owned it until his enterprise collapsed in 1893. [continue...]
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