History of Castle Gate, Utah

Oh, there were some grand battles. I can still remember the cars tipped over and fires in the streets to block the roads and listening to the tales of the fights in the mountains with guns and blasting powder. It all started when strikers would be fired and their families and all belongings were thrown out of their homes and into the streets. Scabs would move into their homes and hundreds of gunmen were brought in from Colorado, Idaho and Montana to protect and escort the scabs to work. Seeing their jobs taken would anger the old workers. Fights would soon take place. Eventually a striker would be shot, then scabs would be shot. The State Militia would be called to establish martial law and sharpshooters hiding in the hills would shoot at the strikers. I can still remember the metal tank on rails that protected the Company gunmen while they shot at the strikers. And the intense hatred of the Bingham people who opposed these lawless company gunmen (hoodlums with no one to answer to). Labor agents were sent to Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Mexico and elsewhere to find cheap laborers. The English were preferred because they were skilled miners. Mormons and whites also did well because of the *Church owned mines and **control of government. My family came from Finland and took part in these strikes and suffered during these hard times. Then there were the minorities from Central Europe, who were so abused by the companies, that were the first to join unions. Some even came as scabs and in time became strikers because of injustice. There was no tolerance for race or religion in those days. When their husbands were locked into box-cars, pest houses or jail, the wives and daughters would march in the streets and man the picket lines. The emigrant’s Old World customs, beliefs and religion caused them to be scorned both by the Mormons and the company.

*The Mormon church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
did not own the mines, and in fact it was church policy to eschew and avoid
mining at all costs except for private use.
**The church, likewise did not control the government, although the majority Mormon
population often made it seem like it did.
The only evidence that they did comes from anti-Mormon literature distributed in the
19th century; there are no actual records or reliable accounts to prove it.
Joshua Bernhard vice president, Golden Spike Chapter Railway & Locomotive Historical Society.
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