Anniversaries

A year of anniversaries: helped a friend’s mother celebrate her 100th and will help my sister celebrate her 75th birthday at the end of August. It has been more than 20 years since we first began exploring Mount Pleasant Cemetery, but the ensuing years have given us depth and understanding of many lives whose remains were placed in this cemetery. Some of the founders of Seattle and its neighborhoods, some of the movers and shakers from then until now, and some of the stories of disasters, tragedies and triumphs, all rest within a forty-acre location.

This November 5th marks the centennial of the Everett Massacre of 1916. The mosquito fleet steamers “Verona” and “Calista” left Seattle taking a number of members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) to hold a meeting to help establish a union of logging men, who had no basic human rights, health insurance, or fair wages. The “Verona” warped in to the dock, and several men began to descend the gangplank. Facing them at the landward end of the pier was a group of men armed with guns, rifles, and clubs, who intended that those aboard the ship would not cross onto Everett soil. The Everett sheriff shouted out, “Who are your leaders?” and was given the reply from aboard ship, “We are ALL leaders!” A shot was fired from the hill overlooking the pier, and there was gunfire from the mob ashore and some response with gunfire from the disembarking group. A number of the latter were gunned down, and some slid into the water, from where their bodies were not recovered. The ship, on having bullets pierce the helm, ordered the crew to back out, the few remaining standing on the pier tried to carry their wounded and dead back onto the ship and it sailed for Seattle, catching the “Calista” on its way north. All returned to Seattle, where the IWW members were arrested. Although charged with murders in Everett, all the survivors were acquitted.

Four of the dead, each representing a different nation of immigrants, were interred in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, with the service being held on May Day, 1917. The largest crowd to turn out for a funeral followed the cortege up Queen Anne Hill and to the place of interment in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.