Matewan massacre remembered 100 years later

Source: WV MetroNews


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Tuesday marks the 100th anniversary of the Matewan massacre, in which Mingo County officials and detectives with Baldwin-Felts Detectives Inc. engaged in a conflict that would lead to the West Virginia Mine War.

Thirteen detectives traveled to Matewan to evict union coal miners out of their homes, which were owned by the Stone Mountain Coal Company. Matewan police chief Sid Hatfield and Mayor Cable Testerman confronted the detectives while armed miners stood away from the scene unknown to the detectives.

Eleven people died in an ensuing gun battle, including 7 detectives and Testerman. Hatfield and 17 miners were charged for murder but later acquitted.

Hatfield was fatally shot in August 1921 during an incident involving Baldwin-Felts detectives. Union members reacted with a march in Logan County, which ended in the Battle of Blair Mountain.

“Without these conflicts, without these miners rising up, we would have never become — by 1935 — the largest union in the United States of America with over 800,000 members,” United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts said in a video released Monday.