What A Coincidence

Sat. 12 Feb 2011. 7:15 pm

The last time we talked about Ethel Evelyn Newport we left off with three questions:

  1. Why was Ethel and her father living in Everett Washington in 1916?
  2. What was Everett, Washington like back then?
  3. What was the Shoreham Hotel?

As I was researching for this post I began to learn about the fight for worker’s rights that occurred in the early part of the 1900’s in general and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or the Wobblies) in particular. Now I didn’t find out very much about why Ethel and her father were living in Everett, Washington back in 1916. I really suspect Everett was Ethel’s place of residence because her family lived there and her husband, Glenn, was assigned to work for PEMA in Angola.

Everett existed primarily due to railroads, mining (silver and lead), lumber and ship-building. But by 1916 Everett was not a happy place to be in.

“In 1916, Everett, Washington was facing severe economic difficulties. There was ongoing confrontation between business, commercial interests, labor, and labor organizers. There had been a number of labor organized rallies and speeches in the street. These were opposed by local law enforcement, which was firmly on the side of business. IWW organizers had gone into Everett [around 5 November 1916] to support a five-month long strike by shingle workers. Once there, vigilantes organized by business had beaten them up with axe handles and run them out of town. The Seattle IWW decided to go to Everett in numbers to hold a rally to show their support for the striking shingle workers.” ~Source

So when Ethel was in Everett on 5 May 1916 things were beginning to get nasty. Lucky for her she was headed to deep dark Africa by way of England while the German U-Boats were blowing the crap out of ships in the Atlantic Ocean huh?

Before Ethel left for Angola, her passport application says she was staying in Washington D.C. I’m wondering if she was in D.C. because she had to get special permission to go overseas seeing as it was a war-zone over there. Just a guess at this point. Then I looked for information about the Shoreham Hotel but there wasn’t too much information I could find though it appears this hotel was probably the “in-place” to be if you were in Washington.

Then I found a pretty interesting picture. It shows a fellow named William “Big Bill” Haywood leaving the Shoreham Hotel sometime around 1915. Well…it turns out ol’ “Big Bill” was one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World. Funny how this socialist worker’s rights kind of guy was staying at the fanciest (and I’d guess most expensive) hotel in Washington D.C.


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