The Widen Coal Strike of 1952-53

Clay County Free Press
May 7, 1953

Widen Miner Killed, Two Wounded

A Widen miner identified by Sheriff H. L. Coon Jr., of Clay as Charles Frame, 29, was killed Thursday morning about 4:30 near Dille. Death was caused by what the sheriff said appeared to be a rifle shot.

The inquest was held this morning at the residence of Ira Eagle near Dille with justice of the peace, Belle Hamrick of Clay in charge.

About 40 men were brought to Clay by state police and deputy sheriffs for questioning. Three other men were placed in the county jail early this morning in connection with the incident. Officials said that as yet no charges had been placed against them.

Earlier this morning three other men were jailed in connection with Wednesday night shooting which, according to Sheriff Coon took place near the cook shack at Dille. We were told as we go to press that charges had not as yet been made against the three.

Chilton Wilson and James McKinney, both company men were injured in the Wednesday night shooting and were hospitalized at Sutton.

For several weeks no violence had been reported in connection with the Widen strike until Monday afternoon when a group of company men met at the top of Widen hill to chase off the pickets.

In the Monday morning skirmish, Oran Given one of the striking miners was struck over the head with a club by a deputy sheriff he described as Cliff Blankenship. Given received a deep wound in his for[e]head.

On Wednesday night two other pickets, Virgil Nelson and Jack Lanham were both injured during what was described as a free-for-all.

The bulldozer plowed off a section of ground where the pickets had been using and company men strung a wire fence around an area at the top of Widen hill.


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