Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Boston Police Strike

The Boston Police Strike of 1919 made national headlines, and is often said to have led to Massachusetts governor Calvin Coolidge becoming President of the United States. There were riots in Scolley square and in South Boston, and the National Guard was called in to keep the peace. Before the conflict ended, Jamaica Plain had made its was into the headlines.

Boston Daily Globe September 12, 1919

Guardsmen Fire On Crowd, One Killed

Three Others Wounded at Jamaica Plain

Soldier's Order to Halt Ignored - Henry Grote Victim

One man is dead, another is expected to die and two others are seriously wounded as a result of two guardsmen stationed at Porter st, Jamaica Plain, firing two shots into a crowd in the middle of Amory st at 9 last night.

The Dead

Henry Grote, 20, unmarried, of 16 Cable st. Dead on arrival at City Hospital.

The Injured

Arthur English, 16, of 14 Jeff st. Faulkner Hospital. Wound in left thigh.

Carson McWilliams, 18, of 34 Boylston st, City Hospital. Wound to left thigh. Not expected to live.

John Powers, 25, unmarried, of 16 Marmion st, City Hospital. Wound in left thigh.

According to the guardsmen, the men were gathered in a crowd in Amory st.

Order to Halt Ignored

As the guardsmen approached the men began to scatter. The two guardsmen then called "Halt!" they said, and repeated the command several times. When the men refused to obey they levelled their pieces and shot low.

The shot from one of the guardsmen struck Grote, and also hit Arthur English, who fell.

The other shot hit McWilliams, wounding him seriously, and struck Powers.

A passing automobile picked up Grote and rushed him to the City Hospital. He died on the way.

Dr Henry Broughton, in another car, picked up English and hurried him to the Faulkner Hospital, where he was reported only slightly injured.

McWilliams was taken to the City Hospital, where his injury was reported as serious.

The ambulance of Station 13, with Sergt Fetrige and Patrolman Howse took Powers to the City Hospital.

Victim Truck Driver

Grote was the son of Mr and Mrs Carl Grote of 16 Cable st, Jamaica Plain. He was 20 years old and a truck driver for Alfred G. Burkhardt of Jamaica Plain. He graduated from the Sisters' Parochial School of South Boston, where his family lived until five years ago.

He leaves his parents and two younger brothers, Albert and Paul. His mother said that Henry went out after supper last night, for the first time this week. He expressed a desire to see "what was happening."

James Lennon, a neighbor, identified the body.

McWilliams lived with his father, J.C. McWilliams at 84 Boylston st and was employed in the cutting room of the Thomas G. Plant factory. He graduated from the Agassiz school.

Powers boarded at the home of Mrs Winifred Moriarity, 16 Marmion st.

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