THE STRIKER'S ORPHAN CHILD

Among the many labor ballads by Walter Seacrist, was one about the murder of Cesco Estep, told from the perspective of his fatherless child. The photograph shows Clifford Allan Estep, who was less than two years old when his father was killed.
My father was a striker back in nineteen and thirteen.
He was the sweetest daddy; he never treated us mean. He worked in dark and danger, almost day and night
To earn for us a living, to bring us all up right.

We all were Oh so happy. We were so wondrous blest. The Union issued a strike call. Dad came out with the rest
To better his condition, that he might not be a slave,
That they might have a Union, and get a living wage.

They cared no more for the miner than a cat does for a mouse.
They came on cold and rainy days and throwed them from their house.
Mothers with newborn babies, so innocent and so sweet, Without the least protection were cast out in the street.

And as I look around me and see the same thing near,
I wonder what would happen if Daddy could be here
With some of his old buddies of nineteen and thirteen
For he could not stand to see little children treated mean.

On February the seventh, eleven o'clock at night,
The sky was clear and beautiful, the stars were shining bright. The high sheriff and his gunmen up from Charleston came
And shot up our village from that fatal Bull Moose train.

My Daddy heard the shooting and rushed us from our bed
And a few moments later he was found dead.
While trying to get us to safety and find for us a place
An explosive rifle bullet had torn away his face.
Clifford Estepp


Don't weep for me or Mother, although you might feel bad,
Just try to help keep alive some other boy's dad.
And when we meet in heaven, on that golden strand,
Then you can see my Daddy and clasp his blessed hand.

On Febuary 7, 1913, an armored train, called the Bullmoose Special, built by the coal operators to transport scabs and mine guards, opened fire on a tent colony of miners at Holly Grove on Paint Creek, and Cesco Estep was killed.
Courtesy of Goldenseal Magazine.

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