Friends of DeRidder Army Air Base
Beauregard Regional Airport (KDRI)
1220 1st Ave,  DeRidder, Louisiana 70634
337 463 8250                                                    

July 7,2012

1912 Grabow Riot Centennial Obsevation

 

100 years ago on a Sunday morning, A. L Emerson, the president of the Brotherhood of Timber Workers, continued to recruit sawmill employees into his union. He spoke first at the Bon Ami mill and then at the Carson mill. When Emerson left Carson he had with him an agitated crowd of 200 to 300. Some had been drinking. It was about 3:30 PM when they arrived at the Galloway Lumber Company Sawmill at Grabow. Word of their coming had preceded them. Waiting for them was a group of non-union replacement workers and company guards. As Emerson stood up on a wagon to speak a shot was fired. For the next ten minutes "all hell broke loose". According to one report, Roy Martin, Cate Hall, A. T. Vincent and Phillip Fazeral died in the exchange of bullets. Forty-eight others were wounded. The next morning ten men were arrested. Some 300 witnesses testified at the trial held in Lake Charles, which lasted from October 7 to November 2 of 1912. In the end, the defendants were acquitted.


On November 6.1912, four days after the acquittal, the Grabow Lumber Mill burned to the ground. The official report states the fire  an accident....no arrests were made.


This dramatic event, which occurred on what is now Beauregard Regional Airport property, proved to be a major turning point in the unionized labor movement in the South.  Although the BTW survived as an organization for several more years, it held no political power after this event.  The Southwest Louisiana Timber Wars had ended.


Today,  the mill pond can still be found just southwest of the approach to the north/south runway (36/18) of Beauregard Regional Airport.  During the WWII DeRidder Army Air Base era, the pond was used as a swimming pool in training for water rescue exercises

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A Historic Marker, placed by the Galloway Family and the Brotherhood of the Timber Workers marks the Grabow Lumber Mill location.


More good reading about this very interesting political & economical local event can be found in Dr. Brian Harrell's novel...."Crimson Stained the Bayou Pines: A Novel of Political Struggle in the Deep South"  available at  amazon.com


On July 12,2012  the following program took place at the airport, to honor of those families involved and the impact their livelihood has had on our community.

Program

 

10:00       Welcome table open for those who have material/info they want to share.   

11:00       Welcome Guests                                                                                

                     Beauregard Parish President “Biscuit” Smith  

                 Invocation                                                                                                            

                              Tom Guess, Descendent of Martin Galloway                                                              

                     Introductions of Speakers                                                                                              City of DeRidder, Mayor Ron Roberts                                          

   

11:30       Speakers                                                                                         

Dr. Brian Harrell, author,                                                         

Crimson Stained the Bayou Pines: A Novel of Political Struggle in the Deep South"

                              Mike Jones, columnist, Lake Charles American Press                                                   

           John Galloway, Galloway Family Historian                                               

                                                                                                           

Program followed by Fellowship and Lunch    


The following photos, donated to this site by the Galloway family, show the Grabow Lumber Mill and lumber yard, as well as Galloway family members at home and work.  

The jail scene shown here, courtesy of the Frazier Memorial Library, McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA, depicts the arrested shoot-out suspects being served lunch by local women.  

The photo of the large crowd gathered in front of what was once the Bessie Hotel in downtown DeRidder depicts bebate between John Henry Kirby, leader of the Southern Lumber Operators Association and A.L Emerson, President of the Brotherhood of Timberworkers.

The above photo is courtesy of the Frazier Memorial Library, McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA. Permission to reproduce must be obtained from same.