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Topics in Chronicling America - The Coeur d'Alene Mining Insurrection

Violence erupts between union workers, protesting wage reductions and increased hours, and company guards at a mine in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, on July 11, 1892. These riots resulted in several deaths and the declaration of martial law by the Governor of Idaho. In 1899, escalating violence at a Coeur d'Alene area mine again required military intervention after workers destroyed a valuable piece of machinery. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection ( Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.

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Important Dates:

  • April 1892: Union workers in the Coeur d'Alene mining region of northern Idaho go on strike over reduced wages. Mine owners respond by hiring nonunion workers and armed guards.
  • July 11, 1892: Riots break out between union workers and company guards. Several men are killed, and the nonunion workers surrender. The governor of Idaho institutes martial law, and the National Guard is sent to restore order.
  • July 15, 1893: Union officers, members and sympathizers are arrested. Nonunion workers return to the mines and are provided with military protection.
  • 1893: The Western Federation of Miners is formed.
  • July 3, 1894: John Kneebone, a nonunion miner who had testified against the union miners in a trial following the uprising, is murdered.
  • April 29, 1899: Union workers seize a railroad train and take it to Wardner, Idaho. At the Wardner mine, the workers detonate over 50 boxes of dynamite under one of the world’s largest mining concentrators, destroying the device.
  • May 4, 1899: Federal troops are sent to the Coeur d’Alene region. Several union members are arrested.
  • November 1899: 10 union workers are convicted and three are acquitted on charges of conspiracy and of stopping a U.S. mail train.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Coeur d’Alene, martial law, Western Federation of Miners, Kneebone, Wardner.
  • To narrow search results, search between April 1892 and November 1899. Use the timeline to narrow results further. Ex. Search between April 1892 and July 1892 for articles relating specifically to the 1892 miners’ strike and uprising.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  January 25, 2013
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