Part 8: The Funeral and End of the Haymaker Affair

About the funeral of those who were charged in the Haymaker Affair and the pardoning of others involved.

On the Way to the 8-Hour Day--The Haymarket Affair

By David Wallechinsky

The Funeral

On Sunday, November 13, Chicago saw one of the largest funerals in its history. Mayor Roche ordered that no banners, flags, or arms be displayed, no music be played other than dirges, and that there be no demonstration or speeches.

At least 6,000 people marched behind the 5 coffins while 250,000 people lined the route. Only one banner was carried--an American flag proudly held by a Civil War veteran. Over 10,000 persons observed the simple burial at Waldheim Cemetery.

The final chapter in the story of the Haymarket Affair came in 1893 when Illinois' new governor John P. Altgeld severely damaged his career by pardoning Fielden, Neebe, and Schwab. What hurt his career was not that he pardoned the men, but the reason for which he pardoned them. Altgeld, after studying the case carefully, declared that the anarchists should be freed because they were innocent, as were the 5 who lay in their graves at Waldheim. He said that the jury had been packed, and he personally attacked Judge Gary for having been prejudicial.

Altgeld was viciously condemned by most major newspapers and he was even hung in effigy. But he refused to respond to any of the criticism.

"Remember this about any slander," he said to a friend, "Denial only emphasizes, and gives added importance to falsehood. Let it alone and it will die for want of nourishment."

The Author: David Wallechinsky has recently had 2 books published, Chico's Organic Gardening and natural Living and Laughing Gas.

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