by Chris Glanister on 27/10/10 at 10:47 am
There had been much unrest in Everett in 1916, and Shingle Weavers were fighting for the right for a restoration in pay that had been cut due to a slide in the price of shingles. On the evening of November 5th, the Steamer Verona slipped into the bay and headed for a dock. On board were 260 young I.W.W workers (commonly known as “Wobblies”) Headed for a free speech rally after a long period of animosity and unrest in the city between the authorities, mill owners and workers. As the steamer drew close to the dock and they put out a line and prepared to put out the gangplank, Sheriff Don McRae and a band of armed deputies met them. “Who is your leader?” asked the Sheriff “we all are” replied the workers. A shot rang out, and mayhem ensued, ending in many Wobbly deaths and that of two deputies. As the fighting ensued, I.W.W. member James Billings forced the engineer at gunpoint to back out of the dock and return to Seattle. It should be noted that there was another steamer that also came up; the Calista, but she was turned back by the fleeing Verona.
Most posts on this subject point out that this was and still maybe a very sore point for all concerned. Well, I’ve just the solution. What if they all had gone down the Anchor Pub and had a beer and maybe worked out a peaceful solution? It was there then as it is now.
While that opportunity has passed, this Friday night at 6pm at the Anchor Pub, The Whateverly Brothers will be marking the anniversary of this event with a fine evening of their own particular brand of musical mayhem, They’ll be singing one of the songs that was reputed to have been sung by those workers on the Verona; “Hold the Fort” and other labor type songs and of course maritime songs galore.
Here’s a clip by The Whateverly Brothers to whet your appetite.
Notables: Inspiration and the Steamer Verona image courtesy of the special images library at the University of Washington and Historylink.org. Anchor Pub image courtesy the Anchor Pub.