97 years since ‘bloody Sunday,’ the Everett Massacre

EVERETT — Ninety-seven years ago today, at least five union members known as Wobblies and two local deputies died in a waterfront gun battle. Those shootings are now known as the Everett Massacre.

What happened Nov. 5, 1916, was a tragic finale to weeks of labor unrest. Shingle weavers had been on strike in Everett. Members of the Industrial Workers of the World — the Wobblies were outsiders — had been coming to town to speak up for workers here.

A week before the shootings, 41 Wobblies had been beaten by citizen deputies at Beverly Park, according to a HistoryLink essay by Everett historian Margaret Riddle.

That Sunday, Nov. 5, the steamer Verona and a second vessel from Seattle, the Calista, brought about 300 Wobblies to Everett. Shots rang out as the Verona approached the City Dock at the end of Hewitt Avenue. Historians don’t know which side fired first, defenders of Everett’s ruling establishment or the Wobblies.

Riddle also wrote an account for the Everett Public Library, which said as many as 12 Wobblies may have died, and their bodies pulled from the water in secret. Jefferson Beard and Charles Curtis were the slain deputies.

In a 2011 Herald interview, Riddle said the killings weren’t spoken about in Everett for decades. It wasn’t until the 1970 publication of Norman Clark’s book “Mill Town: A Social History of Everett” that light was shed on this bloodiest chapter in Northwest labor history.

In the past, the preservation group Historic Everett has held public events commemorating what also became known as Everett’s bloody Sunday. “I don’t know of any major events this year,” said David Dilgard, history specialist at the Everett Public Library.

Everett Massacre events have been held at the Anchor Pub, but the tavern near the massacre site closed in June.

A reading group discussed Clark’s “Mill Town” at the library last week. “It was a good discussion,” Dilgard said. “It’s interesting to get a mix, people who have lived here forever and others from somewhere else sizing it all up.”

Stories from The Herald’s archive:

Peter Jackson, son of the late Sen. Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, an Everett native, wrote about the Kimberly-Clark workers’ pact and the Everett Massacre in his 2011 blog on the Crosscut website.

More in Local News

A Democrat and ex-Republican team up to end two-party politics

Brian Baird and Chris Vance unveil a new organization called Washington Independents.

The beavers weren’t happy, either, about Mill Creek flooding

A tree fell on their dam, sending a rush of water into a neighborhood near Jackson High School.

Aerospace workers adjust to changing industry

The number of Boeing workers dropped almost 10 percent since last year

Lynnwood, Marysville, Sultan consider ban on safe injection sites

If approved, they would join Lake Stevens and Snohomish County, which have temporary bans.

Mill Creek councilman no longer lives in city, panel finds

The Canvassing Board determined Sean Kelly is not eligible to vote there.

A whole life ahead. Five-month-old Felix Shope lies in his stroller ready to go home from the Snohomish County Courthouse with his new mom and dad, Alicia and Josh Shope of Edmonds. A family down the hall tends to a child and are likely awaiting their own adoption proceedings. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
16 youngsters get the gift of home on National Adoption Day

A joyful day at county courthouse tempered with the great need for stable, loving homes.

Single fingerprint on robbery note leads to arrest

The holdup occurred at a U.S. Bank branch in Lynnwood in August.

City Council OKs initial funding for Smith Avenue parking lot

The site of the former Smith Street Mill is being developed in anticipation of light rail.

Stranger offered candy to student walking home from school

The Granite Falls School District is warning families about… Continue reading

Most Read