102nd Anniversary Of Everett Massacre

November 5, 2018


The Port of Everett provides a history lesson today in the form of a flashback 102 years ago on this date.

Everett Massacre

102 years ago in Everett, Washington

Workers in Everett’s shingle mills toiled long hours in dangerous conditions. “Shingle weaving” involved cutting cedar shakes using a series of unguarded saws and shears — causing many men to lose fingers or hands. And wages were unsteady due to the boom or bust nature of the shingle business.

In the spring of 1916, shingle workers weren’t earning the pay promised to them by mill owners; they went on strike. On November 5, at City Dock (today the Port’s Hewitt Terminal), about 200 deputized Everett citizens exchanged gunfire with about 300 Seattle members of the Industrial Workers of the World (also known as “Wobblies”) who had come to Everett to support the striking local shingle workers.

The confrontation happened at City Dock — rather than 14th Street Dock, the hub of mill activity — because the Wobblies were arriving aboard the steamers Verona and Calista intending to speak out downtown, not at the waterfront.

The citizen-deputies refused to let the Wobblies land (but the Verona made it to the dock) and shots rang out — no one knows who shot first. Two deputies and at least five Wobblies were killed, and nearly 50 were wounded between the two sides, in what became known as the Everett Massacre.

When the steamers returned to Seattle, 74 Wobblies were arrested and sent to the Snohomish County jail in Everett. All but one, Thomas Tracy, were later released. Tracy was charged with murdering two deputies, but after a dramatic trial he was acquitted.

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