Raid on The Socialist and Labor Star

Huntington Herald-Dispatch
May 9, 1913

Socialist Paper Confisacted [sic] And Five Men Arrested

Local Authorities Confiscate Edition Of Local Socialist Paper, Following A Series Of Vitrolic Attacks On Governor, Growing Out Of Kanawha Strike Troubles

Leaders In Socialist Movement Here Are Taken Into Custody On Charge Of Inciting Riot - Arrest Were Made At Early Hour This Morning

F. M. Sturm, who was the last of the quartette for whom warrants were issued was arrested at four o'clock this morning and lodged in jail.

Acting under the orders issued from the executive offices of Governor Hatfield, the military and civil authorities of Huntington at two o'clock this morning confiscated an edition of the Huntington Socialist and Labor Star, which had been prepared for publication tomorrow and arrested four men alleged to be connected with the Socialist paper.

The men arrested were W. H. Thompson, the editor; R. M. Kephart, George Gillespie and Elmer Rumball. They were taken to the county jail. Thompson and Rumball were locked up while Kephart and Gillespie were allowed to remain in the custody of the jailer. Warrants had been issued for another man named Sturm, alleged to be connected with the Socialist publication, but early this morning he had not yet been apprehended.

Arrests were made by Major T. B. Davis, Lieutenants Templeton and Rice, of Huntington, Lieutenant Rippetoe, of Charleston, and Deputy-sheriff D. W. Frampton.

The charge lodged against the men was inciting to riot in connection with the coal miners strike, and it is believed, is a sequel to publication of articles in the local newspaper which it is alleged, tended to kindle bitterness between the strikers and the operators.

In the last edition of the Socialist and Labor Star a bitter attack was made on Governor Hatfield for the manner in which he had handled the strike situation and the articles were deemed of a nature which would incite the strikers in the Kanawha coal strike district to resume rioting.

Printed proofs of articles intended for publication in the regular Friday edition of the Socialist and Labor Star were seized by the military authorities at the printing plant at Twentieth street and Seventh avenue after the arrests were made.

That business will be paralyzed in Huntington as a result of the confiscation of the paper, was the prediction of W. H. Thompson, the editor, last night. He said labor men would rally to his party's aid, and predicted a general strike.

Kephart, business manager of the newspaper, and George Gillespie, a local leader of the Socialists, who were permitted to remain in the jailer's residence by order of Deputy Sheriff Frampton, declared they were not responsible for what was published in the Socialist and Labor Star. It was stated that despite the confiscation of the Labor Star, and the Labor Argus, also a Socialist paper, of Charleston, their subscription list would be taken care of by other Socialist newspapers. The Labor Argus was confiscated by order of Governor Hatfield, several weeks ago.

The arrests were made quietly, the Socialists being awakened in their homes, and conducted to the county jail. All submitted peacefully to arrest.


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