During the miners' strike that began in September 1913, when the United Mine Workers of America was trying to unionize the coal mines of Colorado, their most effective public speaker, organizer and morale-booster was nationally famous Mary Harris "Mother" Jones. The 83-year-old white haired spitfire, deported twice from Trinidad for "rabble rousing," returned in January 1914, defying orders from General John Chase, commander of the Colorado Militia trying to maintain order. She was promptly incarcerated
"for her own protection" in Mt. San Rafael Hospital, 15 blocks east of here.
The striking miners were infuriated. About a thousand of them gathered at union headquarters. Warned by General Chase there would be violence if they approached the hospital, they decided the women and children would march in peaceful protest.
Over 400 of them headed for the hospital. At this intersection, they ran into a solid phalanx of militia cavalry with General Chase riding back and forth on a nervous horse which slipped and fell. The general lost his seat, his dignity, and his temper. The cavalry surged forward, sabers drawn and bayonets bared.
Falling back, the women threw rocks curses, and screams. In the melee, arms were slashed, feet crushed, and one woman had an ear severed. The marchers finally scattered.
The strike became more bitter, culminating in the infamous battle at Ludlow, a few miles north of Trinidad, where a miners' tent colony burned and women and children died. Still, the Union was not recognized by mne owners until 1935 and then only because a new Federal law prohibited company-controlled unions such as the so-called "Rickefeller Plan."