Funeral Procession Steel Strikers.jpg

Carnegie Steel Company Strikers

Three of the seven Carnegie Steel Company employees killed during the infamous July 6, 1892 "Battle of Homestead" are interred within the Homestead Cemetery. Of the remaining four employees, Peter Ferris, Henry Striegel, and Thomas Weldon lie across the street in St. Mary's Catholic  Cemetery, and George Rutter in Verona. The funerals for the slain men were attended by most in town, with estimates of attendees reaching into the thousands. Brass marching bands led the otherwise silent processions to the cemeteries, where escorts of honor, comprised of fellow union members of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steelworkers, met the hearses.

1892 "Battle of Homestead"

Old Section I, Lot 7

John%20E_edited.jpg
Morris, John E. MARKER.jpg

John E. Morris, a Welsh immigrant, aged 28, was a well-liked union member and skilled worker within the Blooming Mill. He was the first to perish in the Pinkertons second effort to reach shore. Shortly after 8 AM, he was shot in the forehead after taking position in the Pump House. During a pause in the skirmish, Morris had paused after taking aim and shooting at a barge, peeking his head out from cover.

 

He fell 60 feet into the well of the building, crying out as he plummeted downwards. His remains were returned to his widow, Hannah (née Richards) Morris, whom he had married on January 27, 1886, and children at their Ninth Avenue home after being carried through the streets. It's said that those who witnessed the procession became incensed, crying out for revenge and blood. He was a member of the Magdala Lodge of the  Independent Order of the Odd Fellows, and the Munhall Lodge of the Amalgamated Association. His memorial is located in the center of Old Section I, Lot 7, next to the IOOF Monument.

Morris information and photo sources:

  • “Funeral of Victims.” The Buffalo Enquirer, 8 Jul 1892, pp. 1.

  • “His Last Farewell.” Pittsburgh Dispatch, 9 Jul 1892, pp. 2.

  • Krause, Paul. The Battle for Homestead: Politics, Culture, and Steel. Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1992.

  • “Muffled Drums Sound Dirges.” Pittsburgh Dispatch, 8 Jul 1892, pp. 1.

Singles Section I, Adult Row 5, Grave 2

Joseph Sotak Grave Marker

Shortly after 4:30 AM, Joseph Sotak, a Slovak immigrant, was among the first casualties of the initial Pinkerton engagement. As Captain Frederick H. Heinde, commander of the Pinkerton agents, made ready to cross the gangplank from the barge to rivers edge, fire opened. During the ensuing scuffle, Sotak ran to the aid of Martin Murray, a Welsh employee, who had been wounded by a Pinkerton bullet. As Sotak attempted to drag Murray to safety, he was shot in the mouth and died instantly.


He had been a leader of the East European AAISW lodge of steelworkers, and his death helped to unite many ethnic and occupational groups within Homestead. It's said that his July 8, 1892 funeral, held at the Methodist Episcopal Church, stunned the press; traditionally a silent and stoic event for the East European community, accounts of chanting and teeth-bearing by nearly all present were reported at the mention of the Pinkertons. His memorial is located near the 22nd Avenue border and Anne Ashley United Methodist Church in the Singles Section 1 (formerly Old Section B), adult row 5, grave 2. He was laid to rest next to Silas Wain, a fellow striker.
 

Information and photo sources:​

  • Krause, Paul. The Battle for Homestead: Politics, Culture, and Steel. Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1992.

Singles Section I, Adult Row 5, Grave 1

Silas Wain Grave Marker

Silas Wain, an English immigrant, aged 23, was a common laborer in the Bessemer Mill. He was among the workers who rushed the mill yard to confront the Pinkertons. A cannon, from the Grand Army of the Republic home in Swissvale, had been moved by sympathetic workers to the shore opposite the mill in an attempt to sink the Pinkerton barges. Wain was killed when a missed cannon shot exploded next to him, sending a piece of shrapnel into his head.

 

He was standing next to his brother, William Wain, who remained unharmed. The cannons ceased fire upon learning of his death, and were removed. At the time of his death, he was engaged to Eighth Avenue resident and English immigrant, Mary Jones, who collapsed upon hearing the news. His memorial is located near the 22nd Avenue border and Anne Ashley United Methodist Church in the Singles Section 1 (formerly Old Section B), adult row 5, grave 1. He was laid to rest next to Joseph Sotak, a fellow striker.

Wain information and photo sources:

  • "Funeral of Victins." The Buffalo Enquirer, 8 Jul 1892, pp.1.

  • Krause, Paul. The Battle for Homestead: Politics, Culture, and Steel. Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1992.

  • "Muffled Drums Sound Dirges." Pittsburgh Dispatch, 8 Jul 1892, pp. 1.

Homestead Strike Victims Historical Marker