The Colver Page

Militia Occupation of Colver -- July 1922

Labor unrest was an important issue as the year 1922 began.  It came to a head when a general strike was called throughout the bituminous region on April 1, 1922.    The miners in the area walked out at various times starting in April.  Revloc miners went out on April 6, but the Ebensburg Coal Company mine in Colver did not shut down until July 10.   Margaret Mulrooney reports that fifty eviction notices were served immediately on the miners in Colver.   They were forced to comply since there were no written leases.

On July 21, 1922, the Johnstown Tribune reported that the  State Milita was mobilized.   Eleven hundred troops from the 104th Calvary and the 52nd Machine gun squadron were assigned duty in the coal fields.

Jencks indicated that on July 25, Colver was full of soldiers.  Troop A, First Squadron, 104th Calvary  was  stationed in Colver  on July 25.  In addition to Colver, detachments were stationed at Vintondale, Jenners, Heilwood, and Woodvale, with the headquarters of the first squadron was located near Ebensburg.

 Click Here for some photographs of the militia occupation.  These troops were Troop B of the 104th Calvary and were stationed at Heilwood at the invitation of  T. J. Johns of the Penn Mary Coal Company

Colver residents who remember the occupation refer to it as "the Soldiers and the Horses."  From what we can gather from the descriptions of the camp site and how it was situated, it appears that the encampment was immediately south of the town, near the town reservoir, where the ball diamonds are now (Year 2002). -- The "top" of 7th Street.  One source who was five years old at the time said that her mother said "it was a frightening time."

The Johnstown Daily Tribune reported on the  activities of the detachment in Colver  on July 27.  Health issues were a concern for the soldiers. The mine was apparently operating on a reduced basis reporting that seven cars were shipped on July 26 and that 60 men were in the mine that date.

Several of the men in the militia detachment were designated correspondents for their home newspapers.  One such report was filed with the New Castle (Pa) Daily News on July 25 and published July 27.   Details of camp life and of relations with the miners in town are discussed.

Jencks indicated that the strike was called off on August 16, however this was the national strike.  The Colver strike was not settled as of them and the Calvary did not leave Colver and return to inactive duty until September 8, 1922.