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Great Railroad Strike of 1877: July 25th (Series: Part 3)

Mayor McKune’s papers related to the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, begin on July 25, 1877 with a proclamation issued by Mayor McKune and a telegram from Governor John F. Hartranft.

Railway workers and miners continued to strike and make demands for the increase of wages throughout July 25, 1877. Leaders of industry including William R. Storrs of Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad and William Walker Scranton of Lackawanna Iron and Coal refused citing the ongoing economic troubles resulting from the Panic of 1873.

Citizens of Scranton began to worry that family members vacationing elsewhere would not be able to return home due to the strikes. For the local officials, the fact that troops who had been previously protecting the city had been ordered to different parts of Pennsylvania to quiet the strikes happening there. This situation mixed with a lack of communication would lead to the violence and unrest in the coming days.

Fear of unrest resulted in Mayor McKune issuing a proclamation to close any location that sold liquor believing the lack of alcohol would deter the strikers from turning violent.

MAYOR’S OFFICE Scranton, Pa. July 25, 1877 The general public opinion as expressed to me seems not apprehend any violence or danger unless a too free use of liquor shall be indulged in, and the earnest re-quest of the committees from the workingman’s organizations and others who have called upon me this morning requesting me to close all places where liquor is sold, I therefore, in compliance with said re- quest, ask of you to close your bars, and to strictly abstain from selling of all kinds of liquor for the present R. H. McKune, MAYOR

By 4 p.m., Mayor McKune secured support for the City in the form of General Edwin Sylvanus Osborne and the Third Division of the National Guard through communication with Governor John F. Hartranft.

Genl Osborne and troops have been ordered to aid civil authorities. His attention has been called to your dispatch. His is all force now at command, communicate with him.

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