Huerfano County, Colorado
Oral Interviews

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1913 Strike

Scanned by Dick Chenault
Edited by Dick Chenault


When we got there, we got out of the car. There was about 2,000 people on the street. It was full. At that time, there was 22,000 in the city. It wasn't 6,000 or 7,000 like it is now. About 100 of them came over and talked to us. Yeah, everybody knew us. They say, “How's my mother?” “How's my wife?” “How's my dad?” “How's my brother?” “How's my sister?” “Did you see them?” One is talking from this town. One is talking from the other town. We knew everybody. Gee, they had a bunch around us, about a hundred of them.

Old Shorty Martinez, he was the policeman of the town here. Jeff Farr was the Sheriff. This Shorty Martinez was about seven feet tall. They called him Shorty, but he was pretty tall. He walked down the street. You ought to see him. He had a big' gun on his side with a white handle. I'll never forget that handle. I didn't know what he was talking about. I say, “What does the carabiniere want?” Because that is the way we call them in Italy. We call them 'carabiniere', policeman.

“He told us not to bunch up,” he said “He is scared we are to make something to make trouble.”

My friend said, “No, we aren't making no trouble.” This guy knows how to talk English pretty good. He tells Shorty, “We don't want to bother nobody. We just want to see these people here. They just got in from the old country this morning, and they know my mother. The other one, he knows my brother. And this one knows my wife. We are asking them questions.”

So Shorty said, “All right. I'm going across the street and make my round. I'll be back. If you guys are here, I'll have to do something about it.” By golly, he just goes across the street to a little theatre on the other side, and he come back. And he told us this guy was from a different town from where I came from, but it is right close to our town. “We didn't mean any harm to hurt anybody.” You know that Shorty pulled that gun out and he hit him across here. He made a dent that long on his head. (Demonstrates the length.)

He was down on the floor there. Gee, we don't know what to do. Pick him up? Where we going to bring him? Everybody says, “You can't get no doctor in this town. The CF&I has got them all. They ain't going to help the strikers. They won't come if you are a striker.” That man, we picked him up and brought him to the St. Charles Hotel. In the front room, they had a pool table in there. We laid him on the pool table. Then pretty soon here comes a Mexican. He said, “I know where is a doctor.” We say, “Where?” He say, “Down at the Star Drug Store in the back. They got an Arabian doctor down there.” And by golly, we took him down there. He fixed him up.

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