Monday, October 31, 2011

Amanuensis - Chicago Building and Trades Conflict of 1900

“An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin – some we never met – others we see a time in their life before we knew them.”

This is a letter from William Ward’s cousin, William Waterman, who was living in Chicago at the time of the great Building and Trades Conflict.

653 Turner Ave.
Chicago, May 1/1900

Dear Cousin
            I received your very welcome letter Today with the
20$ enclosed for which I can assure you I feel truly thankful it is more than enough to put me on my feet again  I am feeling like my old self again and shall leave Chicago Tomorrow.  So do not write me till you hear from me again  I was more than astounded when you told me about Fred Ausore being alive and working up their  I suppose Will and Ernest would think he had risen from the dead it would be a pleasant surprise and you surprised me when you gave me the Information about Sam McCall it seems like old time around Negaunee to hear the names again  the ferns. You enclosed in your letter are Harbingers of the summertime and smell of the country.  I have been longing to get away from Chicago as this winter has been one of forced exile to me the weather is very pleaseant just now. Today and Tomorrow is Dewy day in Chicago I suppose they are going to have a procession tomorrow  Their are all kind of labors. Troubles in the City . yet the big strike is still on in the building Trades over two months. now The big stores are beginging to feel it. With a loss of 800000 dollars every week in wages alone  Their is hardly a day but someone is killed in connection with it I suppose Mrs. Griffin will be going to Canada for the summer according to the rummors but as it does not interest me I do not get any particulars I trust this will find you all enjoying good health.  I will never. forget your kindness in sending me the money I will try and repay you as soon as possible

            Yours Very Truly
            W Waterfield
The Chicago Building Trades Conflict of 1900
The historical Building Trades Conflict was a battle between contractors and employees of the building industries of Chicago in 1900.  It began in the fall of 1899 but came to a head on 5 February 1900, when the contractors posted a statement on new buildings under construction.  The posting outlined new restrictive rules to govern the workmen, and was effective immediately.
In response, the workmen, twenty to twenty-five thousand, and representing twenty-five to thirty trades, ceased work.  They maintained that existing agreements regulating the conditions of labor and having still two or three months, and in some cases more than a year to run, had been violated by the employers, and that their employers had therefore declared a lockout against their men.
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