Father Was Killed by the Pinkerton Men
DESCRIPTION: "'Twas in a Pennsylvania town not very long ago, Men struck against reduction of their pay." The mill owner intends to starve the union into submission; in the process, "Father was killed by the Pinkerton men." The singer appeals to politicians to help
AUTHOR: William W. Delaney (Willy Wildwave)
EARLIEST DATE: 1892 (sheet music)
KEYWORDS: labor-movement strike hardtimes political orphan
1892 - Homestead Strike
FOUND IN: US(MA)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Spaeth-WeepMore, pp. 235-236, "Father Was Killed by the Pinkerton Men" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cohen-AFS1, p. 157, "Father Was Killed by the Pinkerton Men" (1 text)
Gilbert, p. 200, "Father Was Killed by the Pinkerton Men" (1 text)
Burt, p. 185, "(Father was Killed by the Pinkerton Men)" (1 text)
cf. "The Homestead Strike" (subject)
NOTES [196 words]: For the details of the Homestead Strike, see "The Homestead Strike."
Incidentally, the Pinkertons were not above murder if it met their ends. A famous example was the case of Frank and Jesse James and their mother and stepfather, Dr. Reuben Samuel and Zerelda Cole James Samuel. On January 28, 1875, a gang of Pinkertons firebombed their home in hopes of catching the James brothers. They didn't capture either brother -- but they did kill Archie Peyton Samuel and do such damage to Mrs. Samuel's hand that it had to be amputated (see Ted P. Yeatman, Frank and Jesse James: The Story Behind the Legend, pp. 134-137).
The Pinkertons were eventually charged with murder (Yeatman, p. 143), but the case never came to trial (p. 147).
Later on, the Pinkertons were regarded as whitewashers -- that is, they were called upon by the guilty to try to protect their guilt (see Steve Oney, And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank, 2003 (I use the 2004 Vintage Books edition), p. 62). To be sure, both the Homestead Strike and their reputation for whitewashing came after Allan Pinkerton died in 1884. But the Samuels case was before that. - RBW
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