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Excerpt: A state policeman recalls strike duty

    "For the first year or two I was in the State Police, I didn't think there was any other kind of police work except strike duty.  I was on strike duty in '24 and '25.  That was in the northern part of the state, Morgantown, Clarksburg, and Fairmont, through that area.  You were in the middle, you stayed in the middle, you know.  The idea was to keep the peace and of course the miners broke the peace a lot.  They claimed we favored the companies, which of course I don't think we did.  I didn't particularly favor any company.  A matter of trying to keep down trouble.  They would jump on people, beat them up - people who'd gone back to work.
    "They put two of us to handle 500 strikers.  They'd line up, up and down the road - we'd be up there, they'd beat somebody up down the road.  We'd get back down the road, well, they'd beat somebody up up the road.  Where we'd just left.  So that's the way it was.  Just kept you busy, you know, working almost day and night.  Blowed up tipples, and they did everything.  They blowed down power lines - I remember one power line they blowed down at Kilarm.  That line was whipping around just like a snake.  I think it was 22,000 volts...
    "They had a picket line, and then they ranged around and went to people's houses, even.  Threaten 'em, and all of that.  Some people's houses were burned down, you know.  There was a lot of difficulty at times.  Sometimes you had to hit somebody on the head with a riot stick."

Source: State Police Capt. Charles W. Ray, Goldenseal (1980).


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