The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Evening News (Detroit, MI), Oct. 20, 1886

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A Large Majority of Them Accept $35 Apiece and Start Back for Maine - Contractor Soule Very Mad - The Importation a Failure

The Maine shipcarpenters and the members of the Detroit shipcarpenters and caulkers' union had another conference at labor headquarters last evening. There was a good deal of talk, which resulted in a proposition from Judson Grenell, chairman of the district executive board, K of L.* He said that although the Maine men's action in accepting employment in Detroit was legally right it was morally wrong. It had been resolved to offer the newcomers $1,000 to go home.

Elbridge Soule, the contractor, said $1,000 would not be enough; that $2,500 would be about the fair figure. He would have to be reimbursed for the forfeiture of his bonds to the Detroit drydock company.

J. D. Long was opposed to giving the $2,500.

A Maine man said he represented 10 men who would go home if given $35 apiece.

Judson Grenell said that this offer was willingly accepted.

This seemed to turn the tide, and Soule said he would take the $1,000 for the men, but that he and three others would be permitted to stay till the boat was finished.

One of the Detroit men said that Detroit shipcarpenters could do all the work needed. Even three Maine men were not required.

The meeting then took a vote on the question whether the Maine men should remain, which was decided strongly in the negative.

Then Mr. Soule got mad. He said that if the Detroit men were going the whole hog he would take a hand. If the $2,500 was not paid he is men would remain and build as many boats as they pleased.

The was a hubbub and a row over this defi. Several Detroit men said that the Maine men were nothing but "scabs." They had been paid to come here and break up the Detroit assembly. One man denounced the action of the executive board in endorsing the action of the Maine men as legal. In the excitement the meeting was adjourned.

When the Maine contingent went to Clark's dry dock this morning to commence work, they saw a force of about a dozen policemen on the ground. They were placed there by Supt. Pittman, who feared that the local shipcarpenters would attack the imported workman.

The effect on the Maine workmen was precisely contrary to what Mr. Pittman had expected.

"I won't work under the protection of policemen," said one Maine man, indignantly.

"I won't neither."

"Nor I," said the others.

The result was that none of the new men went to work. Nineteen of them came up town to labor headquarters, and said they would take $35 apiece for expenses and go home. This was paid, and some of them left the city for Maine before noon. There are as yet no reports from the nine remaining men.

Media Type:
Item Type:
*Knights of Labor - click HERE for the story
Date of Original:
Oct. 20, 1886
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Dave Swayze
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Detroit Evening News (Detroit, MI), Oct. 20, 1886