John Mitchell to Mother Jones, 6 March 1902
March 6, 1902.
Mother Mary Jones,
Montgomery, W. Va.
My dear Mother:-
Your favor dated February 27th has just been forwarded to me at Peoria, where I am attending the Illinois joint convention.
I have read with much interest the result of your meetings on the Kanawha, and I am glad to note the success which has crowned your efforts. I sincerely hope that the miners of West Virginia will be governed by the service you give them.
I am very much worried at the outlook in Illinois; the joint convention has been in session for nearly two weeks, and the prospects of a settlement appear remote. I fear very much that we shall have a strike of considerable magnitude upon our hands unless one side or the other gives way. Our own delegates are unreasonably obstinate in some things, and the operators the same in others. I am compelled to leave here Saturday to attend the Iowa convention which is also in a tangle. From there I shall go to Shamokin to take part in the movement to secure recognition for the anthracite field.
I have noted carefully all you say concerning the discharge of the President of the Local Union at Rend?s mines. I do not know if he is the man with whom I have been in correspondence: the man I have in mind is named Duncombe. Please let me know if he is the one to whom you refer. In any event we cannot at this time place
him in the field. I might say, Mother, that nearly every mail brings from one to six applications for positions as organizer from West Virginia miners, and I fear the fact that we have employed some men who were discharged has resulted in more harm than good because it has impressed others with the idea that our organization is financially able to place on salary every one of them who happens to be so unfortunate as to lose his job; and while personally I should be happy to take care of those men, I am forced to the conclusion that the best interests of the West Virginia miners will be conserved by teaching them that they must, to some extent, depend on themselves. However, just as soon as I can dispose of many matters which are pressing at this time and causing us so much worry, I shall again take up the matter of employment of Local men to help our organizers who are stationed there.
I presume that by the time you receive this letter John Walker will have joined you, and possibly another man from Illinois, named Wilson.
I quite agree with you, Mother, that things will move along in the Kanawha and New River districts better without a general manager ; and if anyone is sent there to have charge of the District I shall see that it is someone who is up to date.
I hope that you will try to take care of your health and not
expose yourself unnecessarily or overexert your energies.
With Love and Best wishes, I am,
President of the U.M.W.of A.
P.S. I shall take care of that man Davis.