Monday, July 31, 2017

On This Date in Minnesota History: July 31

July 31, 1907 – Teofilo Petriella, the active leader of the current Mesabi strike, was placed under arrest in Hibbing shortly after 9 a.m. today on the charge of carrying concealed weapons and was confined in the Hibbing jail.

Teofilo Petriella1 

Petriella was released on $1,000 bail after being bound over for the action of the grand jury in September.

Petriella and Mahoney, the acting president of the Western Federation of Miners, were driving in the federation carriage toward Chisholm. They were crossing the bridge that leads to the Sellers Mine when the guard ordered them to stop. Instead of pulling in his horse, Petriella whipped up and tried to pass. The guard fired several shots into the air and Petriella was instantly surrounded by several deputies. He was arrested and when searched was found to have a revolver and $900 in money on his person. He was held on the charge of carrying concealed weapons. Maloney offered to allow himself to be searched, but he carried no weapons.

The men made no attempt to gather about the jail where Petriella was confined. Mahoney returned to Hibbing after his companion had been arrested.

Aside from Petriella’s arrest everything is quiet on the range. About the same mines are working as were being operated Monday with slightly larger crews. The men are gradually dropping into their old jobs. The Clark Mine has 60 men in its day shift and the Chisholm Mine 40.

“Tired of ethnic discrimination as well as dangerous working conditions, low wages, and long work days, immigrant iron miners on the Mesabi Range in northeastern Minnesota went on strike on July 20, 1907. Their strike lasted only two months before it was suppressed with strikebreakers, but it was notable for being the first organized strike on the state's Iron Range.”2

The Bemidji Daily Pioneer; “Held to Grand Jury. Strike Leader on Iron Range Arrested at Hibbing, Minn. Charge Not a Serious One. Taken Into Custody While Attempting to Enter Mining Property and, When Searched, Found to Be Carrying a Concealed Weapon.”; July 31, 1907; p. 4.


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