Bill Haywood's Book: The Autobiography of William D. Haywood

By William D. Haywood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
"UNDESIRABLE CITIZENS"

HUNDREDS of Cripple Creek miners had left for the new gold camps in Nevada, where strong unions had been organized at Goldfield, Tonopah and other places. The strike at Cripple Creek and Colorado City was dragging itself out, with nothing definite as to the future.

That fall there was a Mountain and Plains Festival in Denver, of which one of the features was a broncho-busting contest. My brother-in-law, Tom Minor, was one of the riders. I met many of the cowboys and invited them to the headquarters of the Federation, and suggested that their wages and conditions could be improved if they were organized. I said:

"It seems to me you fellows take a lot of chances riding in these contests. For this dangerous work you should get at least fifty dollars a day, and much higher wages than you get now while breaking bronchos on the ranch."

As the result of our meeting the Broncho Busters' and Range Riders' Union of the I.W.W. was organized. Harry Brennan, the champion rider, was elected president and Minor, secretary. Wages for riding in contests were fixed at fifty dollars a day, and fifty dollars a month for broncho busting and range riding on the ranch. They asked me to act as secretary until they were better organized or until Minor had a permanent address. The seal of the union was a cowboy on a bucking broncho which was branded on the hip B.B.R.R. I got out letter heads and envelopes with the same design, but with the cowboy throwing a rope around the return address, saying: "If not rounded up in ten days return to-----."The union did not grow or even live very long, and I had but little time to devote to it.

One day I was sitting at my desk when Moyer came in and put down a telegram he had just received. I read it; it was from his wife, who was then in California, saying that she was very sick and asking him to come at once. He had put the telegram down without

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