Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, Number 2, 1970

Page 1


1 as

•(•jwfltitra IN A NEW LAND The Greek Immigrants in Utah


BOARD O F STATE HISTORY Division of Department of Development Services MILTON c. ABRAMS, L o g a n , 1973

President DELLO G. DAYTON, O g d e n , 1971



C H A R L E S s. P E T E R S O N , Salt L a k e City

Secretary DEAN R. B R I M H A L L , F r u i t a , 1973 M R S . J U A N I T A B R O O K S , St. George, 1973

J A C K GOODMAN, Salt Lake City, 1973 M R S . A. c. J E N S E N , Sandy, 1971 T H E R O N L U K E , Provo, 1971 CLYDE L. MILLER, Secretary of S t a t e



HOWARD c. PRICE, J R . , Price, 1971 MRS. ELIZABETH SKANCHY, M i d v a l e , 1 9 7 3 M R S . NAOMI W O O L L E Y , Salt L a k e City, 1971


M R S . H E L E N z. P A P A N I K O L A S , Salt L a k e City LAMAR P E T E R S E N , Salt L a k e City

M R S . PEARL J A C O B S O N , Richfield

HAROLD S C H I N D L E R , Salt L a k e C i t y

DAVID E . M I L L E R , Salt L a k e City


ADMINISTRATION C H A R L E S s. P E T E R S O N , D i r e c t o r J O H N J A M E S , J R . , Librarian

T h e U t a h State Historical Society is a n organization devoted to the collection, preservation, a n d publication of U t a h a n d related history. I t was organized by publicspirited U t a h n s in 1897 for this purpose. I n fulfillment of its objectives, the Society p u b lishes t h e Utah Historical Quarterly, which is distributed to its members with payment of a $5.00 annual membership fee. T h e Society also maintains a specialized research library of books, pamphlets, photographs, periodicals, microfilms, newspapers, maps, a n d manuscripts. M a n y of these items have come to t h e library as gifts. Donations are encouraged, for only through such means can the U t a h State Historical Society live u p to its responsibility of preserving the record of U t a h ' s past.

MARGERY w . WARD, Associate E d i t o r IRIS S C O T T , Business M a n a g e r

T h e primary purpose of the Quarterly is t h e publication of manuscripts, photographs, a n d documents which relate or give a new interpretation to U t a h ' s unique story. Contributions of writers are solicited for the consideration of t h e editor. However, the editor assumes no responsibility for the return of manscripts unaccompanied by return postage. Manuscripts a n d material for publications should be sent to the editor. T h e U t a h State Historical Society does not assume responsibility for statements of fact or opinions expressed by contributors. T h e Utah Historical Quarterly is entered as second-class postage, paid a t Salt Lake City, U t a h . Copyright 1970, U t a h State Historical Society, 603 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, U t a h 84102.


and Rage in a New Land The Greek Immigrants in Utah By

Helen Zeese Papanikolas

Copyright by Author, 1970

Dedicated to my parents Emily and George Zeese


S P R I N G 1970 / V O L U M E 38 / N U M B E R 2













T H E C A R B O N C O U N T Y S T R I K E O F 1922










Margery W. Ward

T H E C O V E R Scenes of Greek immigrant life and symbols of Christ and Christianity. The Utah State Historical Society gives thanks to Allan W. Smart for preparing the cover and George Theodore for the photography. Special appreciation is accorded Cannon-Papanikolas for financial assistance in- publishing this book.

Greek Land

J L R O M T H E DAYS BEFORE HOMER, the Greeks have been sojourners in foreign lands. As if in exile they lived in large Greek colonies throughout Europe, Australia, North and South America, or alone in isolated outposts of Africa and Asia. The word for foreign places, xenetia comes often in Greek conversation. It evokes loneliness in alien lands and nostalgia for Greek earth. From ancient times to the present, songs of xenetia are part of daily life. The lament of Americans that there are no longer frontiers to conquer may never be known by the Greeks. Greece has always been too poor to sustain her people. The celebrated glories of ancient Greece overlook the hard life of the common people, but one of them, Hesiod in his Works and Days, tells of his peasant love for the land, yet his longing for more food and to be less tired each evening after struggling with the dry, rocky earth. It was this age-old poverty that brought the first young Greeks to Utah seventy years ago. To avoid three-years service in the Greek army and, for those living in Greek lands still held by the Turks, to avoid serving in the hated Turkish army were compelling factors, but escape from poverty was the paramount force for emigration. They came, determined and optimistic. They were a realistic people moulded by a bitter national history, by the natural, living faith of the first Christian nation, by a rich folklore, and by a belief in Fate. The strategic position of Greece in the Mediterranean had made it the battleground for waves of invaders. Grey stone Frankish, Venetian, and Turkish castles still stand and mar hills and mountainsides. The longest occupation was that of the Turks who ruled the Balkans for more than four hundred years. Foreign rule stripped Greece of lands, forests, minerals, and metals. It turned the people into serfs, of whom a great number were killed in wars, reprisals, and the bubonic plague.


Greek Land

In 1453 when Greek lands were conquered by the Turks, the country's scholars fled to other parts of Europe where for centuries they and their descendants kept alive the Greek language, religion, and the fervor to redeem their lands from the Turks. Many others took refuge in monasteries where they were never heard from again. Recently discovered

"The field is poor, the fatted lambs are hungry. It is a waste of seed to sow it." Photograph furnished by Craig N. Wells




Utah Historical


manuscripts attest to the existence of these scholars. Much of what their work contains will never be known; the pages disintegrate at a touch.1 During the centuries the Turks ruled the Balkans, time stood still for these captive peoples. While the Reformation, the Renaissance, and the Age of Enlightenment were changing the world, Greece and the other Balkan countries knew nothing of these great forces.2 As the Ottoman Empire grew weak, its repressions toward subject nations became harsh. The Orthodox church and the teaching of Greek were suppressed. Byzantine churches with their brilliant mosaics, a unique contribution to the world, were converted to mosques. Their mosaics were plastered over. With each generation learning lessened until illiteracy reached into the higher clergy. By the end of the sixteenth century, even archbishops had trouble writing their names correctly.3 Yet schools were held at night in caves and cellars. Children of immigrants who attended Greek schools in America learned a poem from those years. A child asks God to bring out the moon to light the way to caves, to learn, he says, "letters and the things of God." A lullaby from Turkish occupation times is still sung: r ^ "And if they tie you to the *^H cross, my child, endure silently." Mothers raised sons to fight the Turks, handed them precious muskets, and told them to come back with jf'^J their guns or not at all. "*"dl^PT nil Folk songs, dirge-like, lamenting the death of young men; the perfidy of the °%m Turks; and the courage of " ^ . MS, ^O 1 the young deacon, Athanasios Diakos, roasted alive, yet • • . . • • . •

Kf »^AJBN.







(f^ V


1 Dr. Jacob Geerlings, professor of languages and history at the University of U t a h , is one of the few scholars who has been allowed to examine the manuscripts. 2 Philip Sherrard, The Marble Threshing Floor (London, 1956), C h a p . 6, advances the theory that since Greece did not know these forces, she did not experience the cultural break affeCted Western 6 Euro* e ' ^ ^ ^ e ei L S . Stavrianos, The Balkans Since 1453 (New York, 1966), 109-10.

X , ' .,:






|L :i

yfaag^SHI The heritage of the Greeks — the Revolution °f 1821 that freed them from Turkish rule. The painting is of the Victory at Vasilikd.






Greek Land


singing his love of Greek mountains and earth until he died, fed the soul of the people. There were no folk songs about Heaven, unknowable — a luxury to contemplate when each day was a struggle to survive. There were many songs and poems about birds, symbol to the enslaved Greeks of freedom. They had great love for them swooping down to eat scanty grain and soaring above battlefields effortlessly and far removed. Flying off at will wherever they chose, birds were often messengers of truth, sometimes harbingers of evil news — an eagle appearing from a battleground with a severed head in its talons. Proverbs from the days of brilliant antiquity and from enlightened Byzantium were sharpened and honed by the Turkish centuries. They spoke a terse philosophy and held the people together with the bondage of sharing. Many proverbs were of God, Fate, Charon, and the Devil. A few times Heaven was invoked, without sentimentality and fanciful reflections: "Not even in Paradise can man live alone." "Thrashings originated in Paradise." The Greeks responded to reality: "What Fate has written in black ink, the sun can not whiten." 4 The epoch of Turkish rule added words to the pure Greek language or gave old ones a poignancy and emotional content that render them untranslatable: xenetia; filotimo, the self-respect that all of a man's actions attest to; leventia, love of life, gaiety, courage in the face of death; kleftourid, the haunts of the klefts, the guerrillas, ever ready to confront or ambush the Turks. The Greeks survived despite living daily with death, torture, and repressions. Rather than destroy the Greek will, the Turkish vise made the Greek people the most nationalistic of all Balkan peoples. They were not divided by languages and religions into Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, and Moslem as were other Balkan countries. "To be Greek is to be Orthodox," was said for four hundred years and continues to be said. In the early 1800's guerrillas arose whose heroism is the true heritage of the Greek of today. The Golden Age of Pericles was too distant and unapproachable. Only a small number of the educated were acquainted with that greatness. The common people knew at most a few Aesop's fables; the bravery of a Spartan youth who hid a baby fox in his tunic and stood at attention before his general while his flesh was eaten; the heroic stand against the Persians at Thermopylae. 4

B. J. Marketos, A Proverb for It (New York, 1945).


Utah Historical


But the exploits of the Greek guerrillas were known to all. 5 These klefts, meaning thieves because they struck in the secrecy of night, survived through cunning. O n e of the great kleft heroes, Karaiskakis, a leader in the Revolution, said, "Sometimes I play the trumpet and sometimes the touhelekiaP T h e trumpet is a Greek instrument, the toubelekia, Turkish. 6 Kief tic triumphs and defeats are the substance of Greek folk songs. Sung to the deep vibrating of the clarino (clarinet) and the ominous bagpipes, they kept alive Greek identity throughout the centuries of Turkish domination. Historians record the amazing fact that so little Turkization took place as to be negligible. A few Turkish foods and minor social practices are all that point to this long subjugation. 7 W h e n the Balkan peoples won their independence, they looked back to the time before the Turkish occupation as the great days of their history. T h e Greeks looked back to Byzantium at the height of its magnificence. 8 They were several centuries behind the times. They had become a rustic people with no industries, their land denuded. Ancient temples had been destroyed under the orders of the conquerors and crushed for paving roads; the Parthenon had been bombarded by Turkish cannon. T h e great city of Athens had been reduced to a provincial town of five thousand people. T h e economy of Greece became dependent on the export of the currant crop. France imported almost all of this fruit for wine-making; a disease infesting currants had ruined the entire French crop for a generation. By the end of the last century France began to control the currant blight, and Greece's economy became unsteady. In 1907 the currant crop failed, and Greek economy collapsed. T h e poverty of the country became one of acute suffering. There was only one hope: America. The Greek government encouraged the emigration knowing their young men would follow the old pattern of working in a foreign country, sending back large amounts of money, and after a few years returning with a sizable sum — all of which would help the country financially. Earlier emigrants wrote braggadocio letters with photographs enclosed showing themselves in their new American finery. Advertise5 A classic of this period, The Memoirs of General Makriyannis, has recently been translated into English by H. A. Lidderdale (London, 1966). 6 Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco (New York, 1965), 141. 7 Stavrianos, Balkans Since 1453, 107. 8 Steven Runciman, Byzantine Civilization (New York, 1933).

Greek Land


ments of former Greeks, labor agents in America, appeared in all newspapers on the Greek mainland and in Crete; steamship agents traveled from towns to steep mountain villages and astounded their coffeehouse audiences with exaggerated stories of easy money in America. "Work is everywhere. Your two hands are all you need." The young men were impatient to leave for America. They lived in a country of 50,000 square miles, 35,000 square miles less than Early Greek immigrants posing in their the State of Utah. Threenew American finery: George Zaros, Chris Heleotes, and Angelo Heleotes. Photograph fourths of the people lived off furnished by Angelo Heleotes. the land, a land so stony and arid that only one-fifth could be cultivated. A Greek folk poet says: T h e field is poor, the fatted lambs are hungry. I t is a waste of seed to sow it. 9

The dowry system, the only means to distribute what little wealth there was, condemned young men to labor for their sisters' dowries before they could marry. Even at harvest, work was not available for all. Many men and women never married, but grew old working in the fields of others. Men passed their time in coffeehouse indolence; women went from one relative to the other to help in illness and in death. America was the great light for Greece exile.

G. Athanas, Tragoudia Ton Vounon (Songs of the Mountains) (Athens, 1953), 113.


Some immigrants came from Roumeli, the mountains of Central Greece, wearing the foustanella. Evangelis Raikos. Photograph furnished by Mrs. Ted Heleotes.


for steerage space. Some wore the native dress of the mainlanders and islanders, white kilts and pom-pom-tipped curved shoes. Gangs of them from the Island of Crete wore black vrdkes (full breeches), cummerbunds, and black fringed head kerchiefs, often with an amulet of Cretan earth sewn inside their shirts. Few Greek women came to America with their husbands. Money was too scarce. Family clans pooled their resources to send one of their members, and he, in turn, worked to send passage for brothers and cousins. Songs of xenetia filled the clear air of the plains, mountains, and islands. HOUSANDS CLAMORED

M o t h e r , I w a n t to go to foreign lands. T o foreign lands I m u s t go. M o t h e r , make ready a n d knead your son biscuits. Little mother, don't tyrannize my w o m a n . L e t her have partridge for supper a n d rabbit at noon, A n d at the turning of the sun, let her spread her blanket to sleep. 10

Tied to the lapels of the men's jackets were tags. On them were written the men's destination and the name of a fellow countryman or that of a Greek labor agent who had recruited them in the coffeehouses, seaports, and streets of Greece for illegal contract labor in the new country. A small bundle or straw suitcase held their possessions. The majority came, though, without true sponsors, their families' pool of silver coins sewed to their rough goatshair underclothing. They were the sons of peasants; they knew only limited farming and the raising of goats and sheep. The long Turkish occupation that had allowed the country to deteriorate had been followed by the action of England, France, and Russia placing the seventeen-year-old Bavarian Prince Otto (Othon) on the throne of Greece. With him he brought six thousand soldiers to be supported by heavy taxation of the peasants. The guerrilla fighters turned to robbery and kidnapping to exist. For the thirtytwo years of Othon's rule the country further disintegrated. 11 Technical knowledge faded with centuries of disuse. Greek emigrants fell in, then, with the army of unskilled immigrants passing the Statue of Liberty. The young men who came alone, and especially those who emigrated in the year 1907, suffered incredibly.12 The United States was in a state of economic depression, the Panic of 1907. Earlier Greek emigrants, desti10

Soteriou M. Kostopoulou, Nafpaktia (Athens, 1924), 154. Stavrianos, Balkans Since 1453, 481. 12 Theodore Saloutos, The Greeks in the United States (Cambridge, 1964), Chap. 3.


Utah Historical



A family portrait before leaving Crete for the unknown. Mr. and Mrs. Pete Georgelas and daughter. Photograph furnished by Mrs. Pete Georgelas.

tute, were returning to Greece at that country's expense. The Greek government became alarmed at stories of hunger and deprivation in America (their own chronic form never preoccupied them for long) and were concerned that the country's future was in jeopardy with the exodus of their youth. Greek newspapers printed harrowing stories of the plight of emigrants in America; they exhorted the young men to remain in their mother country. Heedlessly the young continued their flight, their only fear that a blemish, a cough, or caprice on the part of an official at Ellis Island would turn them away from the Promised Land. A yearly average of thirtyone thousand boys and men came to America between the years of 1906 and 1914.13 Entire villages were left with only women, children, and a few old men. They left fields to be worked and goats to be pastured by the old and by young girls. A phenomenon occurred. In villages, towns, and the few cities there were no young men to marry the girls. The few men who 13

Stavrianos, Balkans Since 1453, 481.



remained found themselves in an enviable position; families of marriageable girls vied for them with large dowries that left them in penury. The traditional May First celebrations— in which young people reigned laden with blossoms and bells, singing the song of "May First" (a paean to youth and young marriage) and girls displaying their dowries of embroidered and woven linens and house furnishings — became desperate affairs. The few young men looked calculatingly at the displays. A generation of young women in Greece remained spinsters ; a few married old men. When the men who had emigrated to America were ready to marry, they sent for younger, marriageable girls. While the women and girls sang the old songs of their sons, brothers, and beloved in foreign lands, the Many Greeks came from Crete young men left Ellis Island. Some wearing vrakes, an amulet of Cretan came to Utah directly. The 1903 earth pinned to their shirts. Mihali Vasilakis. Photograph strike in the Carbon County mines furnished by Steve Sargetakis. 14 opened the way for them. The Coal Inspector's report of that year included an interview with Superintendent Sharp of the Sunnyside mine. Management, he said, preferred young Mormon farmers to work the mines. If they would come, "the foreign element (Italians and Slavs) would never again be permitted in the mines of the Utah Fuel Company. . . . We have suffered enough from these foreigners." 15 Mormons in sufficient numbers did not come, and the Greeks were brought in. Governor Heber M. Wells sent the Utah National Guard into the coal area. Italians and English-speaking miners were driven from the country. The great labor leader Mother Jones was arrested and held in 14 15

Wyoming Labor Journal (Cheyenne), June 16, 1922. Utah, Public Documents, 1903-1904, Sec. 11, Coal Inspector's Report, 66.


Utah Historical


the Price jail. The young Greeks knew nothing of the issues; they did not understand their position. An employer in Greece could do what he liked with his property. To strike against an employer, no matter how cruel, was a strange idea to the Greeks. Each freight train and sometimes a passenger train brought in more of the young Greeks. In 1900 there were 3 of them in Utah, but by 1910 there were 4,062.16 They continued coming until they were the largest labor force in the state. The rest of the young immigrants who eventually reached Utah left Ellis Island and found there was not work for the Americans, let alone for those whom the newspapers called "undesirable aliens." Eating dried beans the men — called teenagers in later times — walked the streets of big cities with newspapers folded inside their jackets to keep out the wind. Trying to find work and not knowing a word of English, they found hostility and violence and were jailed for vagrancy. When their sentences were over, they were taken to the city limits and told, "Go West." West was where the new country was expanding. Men were laying rails, building roads, constructing bridges, and digging water lines. The young Greeks rode the freights and met other Greeks also going west. In Chicago's Greek section on Halstead Street, they found countrymen who directed them to labor gangs building railroads in North and South Dakota, roads in Nebraska, and sewers as far south as Oklahoma. Often a labor agent took a man's last gold piece and sent him into deserts and prairies where he was turned away from gangs that had no need for him or where there was no gang at all. Sometimes the men found work for fifty to seventy-five cents a day. Sometimes they were fortunate and worked a few weeks or months on labor gangs hundreds of miles from the nearest house. If all could not find work, those who did sustained those who had no jobs. The men were stunned by the life they were living. It was not as they had heard in their village coffeehouses. The loneliness of the prairies and deserts wras hard for them. They had come from a gregarious people who met after the day's labor in coffeehouses or the village square; the women visited neighborhood courtyards; and families promenaded on the dusty streets of provincial towns in the evening. To keep the men from deserting 16 U t a h , Second Report of the State Bureau of Immigration, Labor and Statistics, for the years 1913-1914 (Salt Lake City, 1915), 333. T h e first Greek in U t a h was Nicholas Kastro who arrived in the early 1870's and returned to Greece in 1912.



in the night, employers often provided tent colonies of prostitutes for the larger gangs. Except for those few from the northern Epirus Mountains, the Greeks had never experienced such bitter cold. In their society men had assiduously protected their women, and they in turn had waited on them slavishly. But, in America men had to learn the rudiments of cooking, washing clothing, and nursing illnesses. They tried to remember folk cures used in their villages. They wrote to their families for advice and waited two months for replies. By then it was either too late or unnecessary. On an Oregon extra gang the young men used an effective American medicine. A teaspoonful of the bitter liquid cured an assortment of illnesses. A skull and bones was printed on the label and underneath the English words the men could not read: "For external use. For horses 20-30 drops rubbed on affected parts. For humans 2-3 drops." 17 The three winter months when labor gangs did not work sent the men to the nearest cities and towns where the forced idleness and dwindling of their savings exploded their anxieties into violence among themselves and retaliations against Americans who slandered or took advantage of them. Those in all-Greek labor gangs fared better. They were with countrymen who spoke the same language and had the same customs. They chose one among them to do the cooking, usually the man with the least physical stamina. An oven was a hole scooped out of a dirt bank. A wood fire was made with a piece of metal against the opening to keep in the heat. When the wood burned to ashes, it was scraped out and dough put inside to bake. Meat was thrown onto the ashes. In each gang there were always several great storytellers; for the Greeks are a storytelling people. They have come from a people who had few books and told their history, deeds, battles, triumphs, and defeats with the spoken word. Their stories helped the Greeks endure life.18 Often one of the men brought a musical instrument with him: a clarinet, lyra, laouto, or mandolin.19 After work they sat outside their tents and listened to songs of their country with that homesickness that has no cure. They clasped hands and danced the same dances that the guer17

Maria S. Economou, E Eltines Tis Amerikes Opos Tous Eda (The Greeks of America As I Saw Them) (New York, 1916), 72. 18 Rae Dalven, Modern Greek Poetry (New York, 1949), 23, 24, 25. 19 Until recently the bouzouki was played only in Piraeus and the Pontus region of the Black Sea.


Utah Historical


rilla klefts danced before going out to fight the Turks, the same dance that Achilles danced around the pyre of his friend Patroklus. 20 Around campfires and inside tents or railroad cars, they heard about lynchings of Negroes, whom the Greeks saw for the first time in America and with whom they were now relegated; the lynching of eleven Sicilians in New Orleans in 1891 ;21 and the killing of the Irish Molly Maguires in the Pennsylvania coal fields. (The Irish were now their foremen, but the young Greeks soon learned the unwritten law of the labor gang that any laborer who could whip the foreman became boss.) Some of the men had seen the burning of South Omaha's Greek Town in 1909.22 A policeman, questioning a Greek's right to be seen with a "white" prostitute, was killed during the ensuing argument. A mob formed, rampaged through Greek Town, and set fire to it. Thirtysix Greek merchants were ruined. 23 The Greeks claimed the policeman was drunk and was shot in self-defense. Although there are no official records, Greeks of that time insist that a twelve-year-old Greek boy was killed by a sniper. Some of the men were among the one hundred Greeks who had cleared land of sagebrush near Mountain Home, Idaho. The night before they were to be paid and leave, they were routed from their tents by more than fifty armed and masked men on horseback and herded, halfdressed, down the railroad tracks clutching a few belongings.24 The men were bewildered on being told of the inflammatory reports in the nation's newspapers. The Greeks were called "the scum of Europe," "like oil and water, they don't mix," "undesirable," they possessed "the savage blood lust of this Southern European peasantry," "ignorant, depraved, and brutal foreigners." 25 The 1900 mine disaster that killed two hundred men in Winter Quarters, Utah, was attributed by many to the low intelligence of the foreigners, two of whom may have been Greek. The Los Angeles Herald 20

H . Sakelariou, Elliniki Horie (Greek Dances) (Athens, N . D . ) , Introduction. Andrew F. Rolle, The Immigrant Unpraised (Norman, 1968), 105. 22 Thomas Burgess, Greeks in America (Boston, 1913), 165, 166, 167; Saloutos Greeks in the United States, 6 6 - 6 9 . 21


Two of these merchants were the uncles of Mrs. Alex Rizos, a U t a h resident for fifty-five



years. States,

Another version gave the men twenty-four hours to leave. Saloutos, Greeks in the 62.

25 News Advocate (Price, U t a h ) , November 16, 1922; Saloutos, Greeks in the United States, 6 6 ; Colorado, Ludlow, Report of the Special Board of Officers Appointed by the Governor of Colorado (Denver, 1914), 6; C. W. V a r n u m , Statement of the Strike Situation in Colorado. A report of the special committee appointed to investigate and report to Kensington Council no. 16, Junior Order United American Mechanics (Denver, 1914).



said: "The importation of contract labor and then of the worst offscourings of Europe to take the place of intelligent, civilized labor in the mines has almost driven American labor from the field, more especially in the East." 26 The word "Greek" was used indiscriminately to refer to any Balkan accused of a crime. A crusading Greek editor said, "After all, we Greeks of the United States have plenty of problems of our own without having the Slavs burden us with theirs." 27 A small number of Greeks were attempting to establish themselves in business during this early period and fought against overpowering resistance. The action of a mass meeting in Montana was typical.' GREEKS NOT WANTED IN MONTANA Mass Meeting Held to Consider Ridding Great Falls of Undesirables . . . Greek element being established here. . . . Within past six m o n t h s many Greeks have located in this city and invested money in business blocks, restaurants and other small business enterprises. . . . T h e Resolution provided that a committee be appointed to confer with the Greeks a n d induce them to leave the city.

In the 1909 strike at the Murray smelter, a public mass meeting was called for the purpose of "ridding Murray of the foreigners." Greeks, Italians, and Austrians were discharged. "All white men who were compelled to stay out on acount of the attitude of the strikers" were allowed to return. 29 Conscious of the contempt the Americans had towards them, Greek clannishness, fostered by the Turks for centuries, increased. The Greeks had brought with them the quality of General Karaiskakis who sometimes played the Greek trumpet and sometimes the Turkish toubelekia. The Greek labor agent, the dishonest padrone who got them jobs at the cost of a gold piece and a monthly fee; the native Americans who charged them more at the mine company stores than they did the native and Northern European immigrant groups; and those who forced them to live in firetrap houses and tenements were to the Greek immigrants only a replacement of their old enemies, the Turks. To them the Greeks showed not their true selves, but whatever suited the occasion: obsequiousness, friendliness, anger — whichever trumpet or toubelekia was necessary at the moment. 26

J. W. Dilley, History of the Scofield Mine Disaster (Provo, 1900), 179. Saloutos, Greeks in the United States, 70. 28 Standard (Ogden, Utah), April 9, 1909. 29 Salt Lake Tribune, May 6, 1909. 27


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The Americans were afraid, and for good reason, that the "foreigners would take over." A million immigrants were coming into the country each year,30 a staggering prospect for any nation to face, even one as large and rich as the United States. Americans knew this country needed immigrants to mine, build, and farm, but they wanted Anglo-Saxons and other Northern European immigrant stock to do this. Yet there were not enough of them. Bitter denunciations of the Balkan and Mediterranean people filled the newspapers of the day. The United States was in danger of supporting an outcropping "of insane asylums and almshouses filled with this human flotsam, and the whole tone of American life, social, moral, and political, has been lowered and vulgarized by them." 31 Comparisons between the immigrants and the laboring classes in the United States were unfairly made. "The low cultural level of immigrants was now still more apparent than in the days of the Irish influx because meantime the U.S. masses had greatly advanced." 32 In 1907 the U.S. Immigration Commission was appointed to study the problem and in 1910 presented its conclusions. Later another report was made by Dr. Harry Laughlin of the Carnegie Institute. Both of these commissions advised that immigrants from Russia and Southern Europe be discouraged from entering the United States because of racial and social inferiority.33 The findings were widely publicized. These damaging, unscientific investigations resulted later in the Johnson Act of 1921 that was a great blow to the Greeks. From that year on Greek immigrants were limited to one hundred a year. The methods used by these commissions have been discredited, but the effect of the reports on the Greeks and other South European immigrants was long lasting. Not only was the immigrant generation affected, but their children grew up under immense prejudice. O a l t Lake City was the center for Greek immigrants in Utah. Americans called "Greek Town," located on Second South Second West and Fifth West, were coffeehouses, restaurants, candy stores, two Greek newspapers, and stores selling octopi, tobacco, olive oil, goat cheese, liquors, figs, and dates.

In what between saloons, Turkish

30 Encyclopedia Britannica, 1954 ed., s.v. "Migration." " I n each of the six years, 1905-07, 1910, and 1913-14, the number exceeded 1,000,000. T h e greatest number of immigrants arriving in any one year was 1,285,000 in 1907." 31 Oscar Handlin, Race and Nationality in American Life (New York, 1957), 77. 32 Encyclopedia Britannica, 1954 ed., s.v. "Migration." 33 Ibid.; Handlin, Race and Nationality, 7 7 - 7 8 ; John Higham, Strangers in the Land (New Brunswick, 1955).



Church services for the all-male congregation were held on the third floor of the Utah National Bank Building at the corner of Main Street and First South. Plans were soon made for a church on Fourth South between Third and Fourth West. It was consecrated on October 29, 1905, and served the Greek, Serbian, and Russian people.34 Early priests in America were from impoverished villages and were poorly educated. Better educated priests wanted to remain in large cities, "near civilization." Few came willingly to Utah; fewer still wanted to serve in Carbon County, "the Siberia for Greek Orthodox priests in America." Defrocked priests at times conducted liturgies for congregations that would have had no clergy otherwise. Three enlightened priests of Utah later rose in the church hierarchy. One of them, Father Artemios Stamatiades, is Archbishop of Nablus in Jerusalem. In Greek Town the young immigrants found that all work was dispensed by Leonidas G. Skliris, leading Greek labor agent in the West. He was called the "Czar of the Greeks" and was a figure of power as labor agent for Utah Copper Company, Western Pacific Railroad, Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, and the Carbon County coal mines. With three brothers and other subordinates, he exact34 For the history of the Greek church in Salt Lake City, see the fiftieth anniversary memorial book, Holy Trinity Greek Church office. Officers of the board were Nicholas P. Stathakos, president; Stavros Skliris, vice-president; Ernest Pappas, secretary; and George Chrystophylou, treasurer.

Father Arteminos Stamatiades, an early Greek priest in Price and Salt Lake City, now Archbishop of Nablus in the Holy Land. Photograph furnished by Mrs. Ted Heleotes.


Utah Historical


ed a sum of money from each immigrant seeking work in mines, smelters, mills, "extra" and section gangs, and on road crews. He had contacts with labor agents in Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, and California. With a telegram or telephone call, he could have any number of men traveling wherever he designated. Not until they arrived at the appointed place did the men know what they would be doing, and often they found they were to be used as strikebreakers. The men were desperate for jobs; they waited in coffeehouses for months without work. Only the most menial type of labor was available to them; they neither spoke the language of the country nor had special skills. They had come from a country long accustomed to the Turkish pattern of paying bureaucrats and petty officials for the smallest of services. Skliris's web reached throughout the West, and the immigrants paid not only for their jobs but a monthly sum thereafter. Their need for work was so great that, at first, they did not question the "Czar of the Greeks." The laborers were sent to five areas: the Bingham copper mines, the Magna mill and Garfield smelter, the Murray-Midvale smelter, Carbon County where thirty mines worked three shifts and five hundred dome-shaped coking ovens burned continuously, Ogden at the Oregon Short Line Railyards (later the Union Pacific) and north of it where the narrow-gauge rails of the railroad were being changed to standard gauge. The men lived in shacks and in boardinghouses. The various nationalities, Serbians, Croatians, Italians, Austrians, and Greeks, lived separately as a rule. The Greeks from the Island of Crete lived apart from the other Greeks. The Cretans had left their country but recently freed of the Turks. From long isolation they considered themselves Cretans first and signed the mine and smelter rolls as Cretans, not Greeks. Each nationality had its own foreman, someone who spoke a few more words of English than they. Each group also had one or more interpreters. Almost all of the Greeks had a year or two of grammar school in Greece; some, however, could neither read nor write. The man with four years of grammar school, the extent of grade school education in those days, was considered educated. These men learned English quickly. With their pocket-sized English-Greek dictionaries, they became interpreters for their countrymen. They also interpreted for the men at court. A man could languish in jail a month as one did in Soldier Summit seventy miles south of Salt Lake City. An interpreter came along to explain to him that in America it was a crime to catch fish in a trap as he had done in his village.35 35 Reminiscence of Stylian Staes, Greek vice consul of U t a h , Wyoming, I d a h o , and Nevada, 1921-22, to the author in the 1930's.



A man who could only shrug while a judge castigated him for assault— the young Greeks had become notoriously known for fighting anyone who belittled their nationality — required the services of an interpreter to smooth his way with the law. Most important, as the Greeks took out citizenship papers, they needed an interpreter to teach them the correct answers and, if the judge was venal, the interpreter acted as the intermediary for a bribe. A few interpreters were of high character; the majority were confidence men. Interpreters were indispensible to The outside forces of American fellow Greeks during the first prejudice and rejection were nearly quarter of the century. This is balanced by the nefarious hold over George Anton, an interpreter of integrity in the Carbon County the Greek laborers not only of labor coal camps. Photograph agents, but also of interpreters. With furnished by Mrs. Gus Anton. their better Greek education, from the more sophisticated towns and cities of Greece, and with a distaste for manual labor, the interpreters managed to live well by convincing the illiterate Greeks they needed their services for the most routine matters. For filling out a money order to Greece, the interpreters charged exorbitant prices. They represented minor court matters as serious charges that could lead to expulsion from the country. In addition to his own fee, the interpreter added the bribe of an official who sometimes existed but often did not. Many beatings and killings among early Greeks that baffled the authorities were the revenge of laborers for the cruel acts of interpreters and of labor agents. Not speaking the native language and with little trust in American justice, the Greeks often scoured the West until they found their persecutor. In Winter Quarters, Utah, a Greek miner killed a labor agent working under Leonidas Skliris. Shaving off his mustache to elude the sheriff and with the help of his countrymen, he escaped to Greece, a reversal of the usual vendetta. The men suffered from homesickness. There were fewer than ten Greek women in Utah by 1910. Mothers, grandmothers, and sisters were not there to honor them with feasts on the day of the saints for whom each


Utah Historical Quarterly

was named nor to prepare the fast foods for the forty days before the great church events — Christmas, Easter, and the Dormition of the Virgin on August 15. When one of them was buried, no women sat by the casket and keened the mirologia, the Words of Fate. The comforts that a patriarchal society had provided them in their native land were memories. The coffeehouse was their home and their only social life. After the long hours in the mine or mill, the men washed themselves — in Helper the men used the YMCA showers — and put on their Sunday suits for their visit to the coffeehouse. It was important to them to dress well, a sign of respectability. The coffeehouse was the Greeks' own melting pot. Laborers, small businessmen, labor agents, interpreters, Greek government officials, priests, traveling newspaper reporters, gamblers, and panderers met there. To the men who had spent long desolate months laying track across deserts and over mountains and to herders who had brought sheep to winter grounds, the coffeehouse was their comfort, protection, and reassurance. In the barren room of tables and chairs with basil plants lining the window sills and calendars of pretty women and pictures of grizzled Greek An Ogden coffeehouse in the early 1900's. Religious articles in the background indicate that visiting priests held liturgies. Photograph by Mary Kogianes and Nina Cutrubus.





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patriots on the wall, the men sipped Turkish coffee, read Greek newspapers, smoked the many-tubed nargile, played cards, and talked for hours. Conversation, a great love of the Greeks, expanded from small to larger and larger circles, from the recounting of trivial incidents on their jobs, to extolling their sisters and cousins' virtues for matchmaking purposes, the peculiarity of American customs and events, world happenings, the life they would lead when they returned to Greece, and Greek politics. At long intervals wandering showmen from Greece came with puppet shows, the Karagiozi, where the slyly stupid Greek peasant always got the better of the supposedly crafty Turk. At even longer intervals shabby Greek women sang and danced to the rustle of tambourines, but they were Greek and brought nostalgic memories to dispel the evening's loneliness. To the Americans the coffeehouse was the symbol of all that was offensive about the Greek immigrants. Yet without it the men would have led a life close to that of work animals. Older men assumed the patriarchal authority allotted them by Greek custom. They kept many young men from falling into the life of the gamblers and procurers who made the rounds of mining camps on paydays. Nick Dandolas, Nick the Greek, had a string of such young men whom he staked to card games. In a Carbon County mining town one payday night, a protege lost $50,000. The American expression: "Easy comes, easy goes" became theirs. In each coffeehouse there was at least one better educated man with an altruistic interest in the younger men. Regularly he appeared in court to extricate the men from disturbance-of-the-peace charges and brought them back to the coffeehouse to face its judgment. A recalcitrant could find himself participating in a quickly arranged marriage to solve his impulsiveness. It was an impossible task; there were thousands of exuberant young Greeks. By 1916 there were three thousand of them alone in Carbon County mining camps. Their ages ranged from a few at nine years of age to the majority at seventeen and nineteen. They were without the domination of their parents and family who had always maintained carefully prescribed rules of conduct. The freedom of American women confused and demoralized Greek men; women in America crossed their legs, smoked, and stopped to talk with men acquaintances on the streets. Even after sending monthly sums for their sisters' dowries, the men still had money to spend. In coffeehouses and cigar stores, professional gamblers and procurers were waiting for them. Women were scarce. Tern-


Utah Historical


pers exploded over cards, old-country feuds, and politics. "Wild Greeks" the Americans called them. The youngest ones, the water boys on labor gangs and in mines, are tragic figures in Greek social history. The poor but rhythmic life of their villages had been replaced by disorder and depravity. Shows of sexual perversions were common entertainment. Many who could have married later heeded a taboo of their people and refrained. Venereal disease was rampant. Men who became infected believed they would always have "bad blood" and could never marry and defile women and future children. They left the mainstream of Greek immigrant life and lived by their wits, knowing only coffeehouses and third-rate hotels, lonely and forgotten in old age. Americans looking into coffeehouses at strange dark men reading newspapers in foreign lettering, maiming, even killing each other over oldcountry politics agreed with current editorials: the Greeks could never be assimilated into American life. They were bloodthirsty, the native Americans said. The vendetta, that is still a part of Greek peasant life, was an aspect of Greek immigrant life. Many Greeks whose families' honor had been disgraced, murdered the offenders and fled to America. Even here the murderers were not safe. Male members of their victims' families followed to avenge the crime, to "wipe the stain from the family's name." Of these vendettas, Patrick Leigh Fermor says: Such murders are not in any way comparable to the sinister murders of the Mafia or the C a m o r r a [of Ireland] which are rooted in squalid urban greed and enforced by terrorism . . . . M a n y of these tragedies are, by ageold standards, innocent; they are prompted by feelings of duty and conducted with honour. ! ( i 30

Patrick Leigh Fermor, Roumeli

(New York, 1962), 127.

A vendetta. A stain on a family's honor required avengement. The first Greek church in Salt Lake City, on Fourth South between Third and Fourth West. The priest is Archimandrite Dorotheos Bourazanis. Photograph furnished by Angelo Heleotes.

Bingham, where many Greeks got their start in America. Aerial view from Yampa Mine. Utah State Historical Society photograph.

The Great Bingham Strike of 1912 And Expulsion of the Padrone


1912 T H E GREAT N U M B E R of Greek immigrants were still in the mines. They were still paying Leonidas Skliris for their jobs. A monthly cut of their wages was divided between Skliris and straw bosses. For several years the Greeks had been questioning the right of Skliris and his men to live off their labor. *Y


37 T h e following material on Bingham is primarily taken from Helen Zeese Papanikolas, "Life and Labor Among the Immigrants of Bingham Canyon," Utah Historical Quarterly, 33 (Fall, 1965), 289-315.


Utah Historical


In Bingham the Greeks, living in Copperfield next to the Japanese, their wrestling and card-playing companions, numbered 1,210. Englishspeaking workmen were leaving mining for other opportunities, and South Europeans quickly took their places. Italians were next in number, 639; Austrians, 564; Japanese, 254; Finns, 217; English, 161; Bulgarians, 60; Swedes, 59; Irish, 52; and Germans, 23. 38 Zack Tallas, at the time a young Greek fireman in Copperfield, described Bingham in that year. I t was green then, not as it was later with the d u m p s . T h e r e were springs and wildflowers everywhere. I n the draws of the mountains were three goat ranches r u n by Greeks. N o w they're filled u p with capping. T h e companies had their boardinghouses, but other people ran boardinghouses too. T h e r e were so many men — don't believe the census . . . that they built powder-box houses on company property and went to the barbershops to take a b a t h . Each nationality h a d its own stores a n d bakeries. T h e Greeks h a d four or five bakeries, five candy stores, a n d ten coffeehouses. . . . T h e Greeks, Serbians, Austrians, and Italians feuded with each other and a m o n g themselves. Killings were not unusual. T h e r e was a regular redlight district. . . . I n the mines a person h a d to be on his g u a r d ; there were company spies w h o spoke their language and w h o carried all r u m o r a n d talk of labor troubles to the mine officials. T h e companies were enemies. Miners were killed regularly. My brother was killed and the C o m p a n y sent my parents three h u n d r e d dollars. M a n y of the dead h a d wives a n d young children in the old country. 3 9

On the long, winding street of the town, labor organizers — the "Bolsheviks," the "Wobblies," the "labor agitators"—were active. The Greeks were not interested in their strike talk. They were interested in digging copper only for the money that would take them out of the mines. An exception was Louis Theos (Theodoropoulos) who was known among his fellow Greeks as an officer of the IWW and who had done undercover work for unions in the Carbon County coal mines. The miners' talk of grievances was, however, something they understood. They also had grievances. They bitterly resented their suave, welldressed countryman, Skliris, who lived in the luxury of the newly built Hotel Utah on the money he extracted from them. If they did not trade at the Pan Hellenic Grocery Store, he threatened them with discharge. Also, they were not paid as much as the Japanese who worked as bank men. (With ropes tied around their waists, the men lowered themselves 38 39

Utah, Report of the State Bureau of Immigration, Personal interview, J a n u a r y 17, 1964.

Labor and Statistics

1911—1912, 31.

Bingham Strike of 1912


over the banks and swung their picks into the ore — a dangerous occupation. ) On May 1, 1912, the Western Federation of Labor called a strike at the lead plant of the American Smelting and Refining Company in Murray demanding recognition of the union and an increase in wages from $1.75 per day to $2.00 per day. The strike lasted six weeks, involved between eight to nine hundred men, and closed the smelter for a short time. The strike was broken by Cretans from Bingham and Helper sent under orders of Skliris. The Greeks saw they were still the puppets of the labor agent. During the summer the labor organizers increased their missionary work among the immigrants. They first had to overcome distrust and apathy. The immigrants had all come from cultures where the rich were the powerful and that was the fate of life. The labor organizers lived precariously, attempting to make themselves and their principles known to the miners and at the same time forced to hide their identity from the law. The authorities were alert to the vaguest of rumors on which to base indictments for sedition, and if unsuccessful in this, they brought vagrancy charges against labor organizers and put them in jail. September of 1912 was an auspicious time for a strike. When the officials of the Western Federation of Labor began their talks, they found the Greeks incensed and ready. The anger of the Greeks explains the phenomenal success of the Federation in the summer of 1912. Voler V. Viles's report to the U. S. Department of Commerce showred 250 union members in July, 900 on August 27, and 2,500 in October. 40 At a meeting on the seventeenth of September, attended by a thousand miners, President Charles W. Moyer of the Federation asked that further attempts be made to negotiate with the mine officials before calling a strike. At the time the payscale was $2.00 per day for surface men, $2.50 per day for muckers (diggers), and $3.00 per day for miners.41 The union intended to ask for recognition of the Federation and a 50-cent a day raise for all workers. The men refused Moyer's suggestion and unanimously voted a walkout immediately affecting 4,800 men. The American-born miners had stayed away from the meeting, not wanting to align themselves with the "foreigners." Another 150 steam-shovel men of American nationality were opposed to the strike, but "did not want to go against the wishes of the majority." 42 40

U t a h , Report of State Bureau of Immigration, Ibid., 31. 42 Salt Lake Tribune, September 18, 1912.


Labor, and Statistics,




Utah Historical Quarterly T h e foreigners were jubilant . . . chiefly Greeks a n d Austrians . . . shooting off firearms a n d intimidating American laborers. W h e n deputies attempted to quell the disturbance, the foreigners showed their wildest disorder. O n e Greek after firing several times after being ordered to cease, was shot in the wrist by Deputy Sheriff Schweitzer. T h e shot caused more excitement and a m o b of foreign laborers chased the deputy w h o was rescued by other officers. 43

Fifty National Guard sharpshooters from Fort Douglas and twentyfive deputy sheriffs from Salt Lake City, supplied with several thousand rounds of ammunition, were brought in. Rifles from the munition stores of the Utah National Guard were made ready for delivery to Bingham. Saloons and gambling halls were closed, and railroad crossings and mines were floodlighted. The day after the walkout, President Moyer told eight hundred strikers at the Bingham Theater that the union officials had waited all day for an answrer from the mine managers and had not received one. R. C. Gemmel, of Utah Copper, told the press that "we do not treat with officers of the union regarding matters connected with the mines. We do not recognize the Federation." Gemmel said, "I don't think they [the miners] have any grievance. It is the officials of the miners' union who have stirred up trouble." He stated the following day that "We advanced the men twentyfive cents [to become effective in November]. This was voluntary." If the miners would work through committees, Gemmel claimed, the trouble could be adjusted.44 President Moyer countered, "as for the men meeting with the companies as individuals, I will only say that a great many of them can not speak the English language, and their only opportunity is through their authorized representatives." Moyer denied the raise to the miners was voluntary, insisting it was the result of a similar raise in the mines of Montana the past June. Even a 50-cent increase, he said, would be less than what the Montana miners received for the same work. Moyer stated that "their [the miners] hours are too long and the current high price of copper justifies the raise." 45 The strikers took blankets and guns and settled in advantageous positions on the mountainsides. On the morning of September 19, the strikers were given until noon to leave the mines; and if this ultimatum was defied, Salt Lake County Sheriff Joseph Sharp threatened to send 250 deputies armed with Winchesters. Governor William H. Spry said, "We are going 43

Deseret Evening News (Salt Lake City), September 18, 1912. Ibid., September 17, 18, 1912; Salt Lake Tribune, September 18, 1912. 45 Salt Lake Tribune, September 18, 1912; Deseret Evening News, September 17, 18, 1912. 41

Bingham Strike of 1912


up on the hill and drive them down." The governor was believed to be, according to the Deseret Evening News, "one of the party [who wanted] to attack the foreigners' stronghold." W i t h 800 foreign strikers a r m e d with rifles a n d revolvers strongly entrenched in the precipitious m o u n t a i n ledges across the canyon from the U t a h C o p p e r Mine, raking the mine workings with a hail of lead at every a t t e m p t of railroad employees or d e p u t y sheriffs to enter the grounds, the strike situation has reached its initial crisis. 46

A last attempt was made by President Moyer to convince the strikers to leave the mountainside. He sent Yanco Terzich, a director of the Federation, with his message, but his climb was in vain. While the union spoke of wages, the Greeks, mostly Cretans "famed as men who, when the spirit moves them to fight, are difficult to control," were concerned first with getting Skliris fired. Utah Copper Company posted notices in the Greek language informing the men that they were not required to pay for their jobs, and Vice-President Daniel C. Jackling in San Francisco for business meetings sent a telegram to the same effect. Mr. Gemmel defended Skliris; and Governor William Spry, in response to a letter from one of the Greeks explaining Skliris's extortion practices, sent out a "Greek detective" who predictably found no such practices.47 Jackling, Moyer said, refused to believe the padrone system existed, perhaps because he was too busy. "I believe he does not look to the methods of Skliris and his ilk, but simply asks cheap labor no matter how it comes."48 Governor Spry quickly called a meeting with Sheriff Sharp, Adjutant General E. A. Wedgwood (commander of the National Guard at Fort Douglas), and the mine operators to discuss the calling out of the militia and the proclaiming of martial law. Moyer and Terzich were invited to give testimony as to whether "the striking foreigners [were] amenable to the counsel of the strike leaders." The Salt Lake Tribune continued: "In Bingham the belief is prevalent that the foreign element among the strikers will be a law unto themselves despite the protestations of President Moyer." The union, Moyer admitted, could not handle the Greeks.49 40

Salt Lake Tribune, September 19, 1912; Deseret Evening News, September 19, 1912. Salt Lake Herald Republican. September 19, 20, 1912; Salt Lake Tribune, September 20, 1912; Deseret Evening News, September 20, 1912; State of Utah, Governors' Papers (William H . Spry [1909-1916]), correspondence files in the U t a h State Archives, State Capitol. Signatures of Greek miners and fees they paid Skliris were collected in a notebook by Louis Theos. 47

48 49

Herald Republican, Salt Lake Tribune,

September 20, 1912. September 19, 1912; Deseret Evening

News, September 19, 1912.


Utah Historical


"Foreigners" had bought arms in quantity from Salt Lake City hardware and sporting-goods stores. "The men are known to be from Bingham because they took the 3:15 train back to that camp." Brigham store owners had stocked up on revolvers. They were requiring cash for all merchandise and were not sending out their delivery wagons. Druggists were told not to sell liquor. Deputies were arriving on every train. 50 The Salt Lake Herald Republican reported on the "vile conditions" of the powder-box houses where miners slept in shifts and yet sent $580,000 in money orders to Europe during the past year.51 In Bingham businessmen and native Americans were hostile to the strikers knowing the long economic misery that would come to the town. Rumors and attempts to prove the immigrants ungrateful to America kept the town in an unheaval. All mines now except the Apex, which was working under Moyer's orders, were out on strike. Only Ohio Copper officials would consider a conference with the union. In San Francisco Jackling told the press, "When I fight, I'll fight hard." 52 The strikers remained on the mountainside, and the deputies did not go up and drive them down. The attack was delayed by rumors that strikers had broken into the Utah Construction tunnel and stolen sixty cases of dynamite. While the deputies hesitated, two hundred Austrians descended on the Denver and Rio Grande trestle between lower and upper Bingham and fired on anyone attempting to cross it. Governor Spry had expected the strikers to heed the ultimatum to leave the mines and was waiting in the Bingham Theater to talk with them. His visit seemed fruitless until a bearded priest in black robes with the tall black priest's hat on his head walked up Main Street and up the mountain. T h e i r warlike spirit subdued temporarily by a lone priest of the Greek C h u r c h , F a t h e r Vasilios Lambrides, w h o exhorted t h e m in the n a m e of their religion to refrain from further violence and defiance of the law, the army of strikers encamped on the m o u n t a i n side c o m m a n d i n g the works of the U t a h C o p p e r Company, voluntarily descending from their stronghold yesterday afternoon. T h e little father dressed in flowing clerical robes with a glittering cross of gold upon his breast, went a m o n g the militant strikers like the 50

Deseret Evening News, September 19, 1912. Herald Republican, September 20, 1912. In his report to the D e p a r t m e n t of Commerce, the government immigrant inspector gave information on drafts and money orders sent to foreign countries. According to the bankers of Bingham Canyon, only about thirty per cent of the money paid out by the mining companies remained in Bingham Canyon. U t a h , Report of State Bureau of Immigration, Labor and Statistics, 1911-1912, 31—32. 52 Salt Lake Tribune, September 19, 1912. 51

Bingham Strike of 1912


spirit of peace and brought "the truce of God." Everywhere guns were laid aside for him and hats were doffed in respectful salute. With few exceptions the men left their trenches and trooped down to the meeting place where Governor Spry was waiting to address them.

There, Sheriff Sharp wisely decided not to disarm the strikers although 250 deputies were at his service. The Greek miners "declared with vociferous acclaim" that they would go back to work at the present scale if Utah Copper would refuse to have anything to do with Leonidas G. Skliris, "Czar of the Greeks." A carpenter, John (Scotty) Curie, speaking with a brogue, told the mine officials that the Greeks should not be given the entire responsibility for the strike because Italians and Austrians were also involved. Skliris, he told them, was the strike issue. Chris Kiousios repeated Scotty's speech in Greek to the strikers' "thunderous applause." N. P. Stathakos, a Greek community leader and banker, spoke to the Greeks urging them to be peaceful. A telegram was read from D.C. Jackling, representing Utah Copper, reiterating his previous statement that men did not have to pay to get jobs at Utah Copper. Governor Spry spoke in platitudes, and Robert C. Gemmel defended Skliris. Angrily the strikers left to continue the strike.53 Moyer was asked to take Governor Spry and his party up the mountainside. The barricades were empty but "Cretans with rifles were far up. When Moyer's attention was called to them he said they were probably hunting jackrabbits." The next day about three hundred strikers patrolled the BinghamGarfield Line ready to shoot at strikebreakers who were being brought into town. Rumors that Skliris and his underlings were recruiting Greek strikebreakers and that if the strikers did not capitulate immediately, they would be blacklisted only angered the miners and made them more determined in their fight against the labor agent. To further demoralize and subjugate the men, a freight train of hopper ore cars was slowly driven from Magna to Bingham. Rifles were tied in such a way that their muzzles protruded making it appear that men were crouched below holding them. The disloyalty of their fellow Greeks only added fuel to the Cretans' rage. Taking a large supply of ammunition, they returned to their positions on the mountains. Despite the strikers' vigilance strikebreakers were finding ways of entering Bingham unnoticed. The townspeople were asking why the pa53

Ibid., September 20, 1912.


Utah Historical


trols had not been disarmed, and the sheriff's office assured them that this would be done in the afternoon. People were leaving the canyon by the hundreds on the daily trains. The newspapers reported "White residents leaving camp, . . . The two daily trains carry about 200 of the better element of the camp, . . . the foreign element of Greeks, Italians, Austrians and Cretans are dominant in a situation into which the 'white' element has been forced against its will."54 The steady increase of deputies gave no confidence to the people of Bingham. Moyer said that among them were "irresponsible riff-raff of Salt Lake." Promiscuous shooting, theft, drunkenness, and the accidental killing of one deputy by another bore this out. Moyer asked if Sheriff Sharp and Governor Spry would "deputize a couple-hundred armed men to protect the strikers from the gunmen of Utah Copper . . . the strikers, many of them citizens, who have committed the awful crime of banding together and demanding a better pay of their employers."55 Skliris returned from Colorado and Idaho where he found young unemployed Greeks through the labor agents, Karavellas and Babalis. He defended his fifteen years as a labor agent in the West, insisting that he would pay $5,000 to anyone who could prove the padrone charge, the money to be used as a monument for Governor Stuenenberg or for any other appropriate purpose. The Greek employees of Utah Copper were loyal, he said, but were coerced by an armed mob. 56 Ernest K. Pappas, spokesman for the Greeks, answered Skliris saying, "Where there is so much smoke, there must be some fire." His letter to the Deseret Evening News continued: This p a d r o n e has grown rich on his exploitation of Greek laborers w h o m he h a d induced to come to California, U t a h , N e v a d a and Colorado by advertising in all Greek newspapers in the U n i t e d States. These newspapers are widely circulated in Greece and Crete. O n arrival these immigrants pay Skliris or his underlings $5 to $20 or more. This applies not only to B i n g h a m Canyon, but coal mines at Castle Gate, Kenilworth, Helper, Sunnyside, Scofield, etc. T h e Greeks would not have left the mines h a d the p a d r o n e system not been in effect. As to the grocery store charge, it is well known that Steve G. Skliris, Leon G. Skliris' representative, approves every Greek hired by U t a h Cop54

Deseret Evening News, September 20, 1912. Herald Republican, September 20, 1912; Deseret Evening News, October 11 12 22 26 November 9, 1912; Salt Lake Tribune, September 21, October 18, 1912. 56 Deseret Evening News, September 22, 1912. Frank Stuenenberg, governor of Idaho ( 1 8 9 7 - 1 9 0 1 ) , was killed by a bomb in 1905 during mine labor troubles. T h e court case won renown because of the lawyers—William E. Borah represented the state and Clarence Darrow the accused. 55

Bingham Strike of 1912


per a n d threatens with dismissal those w h o d o not trade at Pan Hellenic. Goes farther by saying, "Your account this m o n t h is too small. You've been buying elsewhere. W e look out for your job, you look out for u s . " . . . If Greeks are loyal, why did they join union head first, 700 in one night took oath to gain freedom from p a d r o n e system. I accept M r . Skliris' offer of $5,000 . . . deposit it in a Salt Lake bank with three judges appointed to decide question, one to be appointed by Governor Spry, one by Western Federation of Labor a n d one by U t a h Copper. 5 7

Two days later Skliris resigned. Nothing more came of his $5,000 offer. The Greeks celebrated in the Copperfield coffeehouses before gathering again on the hills. At this point they were ready to go back to work, but President Moyer convinced them that Skliris's resignation was secondary to the union's demands, and the strikers themselves were wary of Skliris saying he could have "made a deal" with the Utah Copper and would again supply the company with labor as soon as the strike was over.58 The strikers became better organized and formed themselves into sixhour shifts with over a thousand men on picket duty. Skliris's resignation had brought the first sign of optimism to the town. Miners spent their free time repairing their cabins, but, . . . last night coyotes appeared on the moon-licked canyon slope a n d broke the silence with their calls. This recalled an old superstition t h a t the a p p e a r a n c e of these animals in a mining c a m p prefaces either a long tie-up or a catastrophe. 5 9

The Japanese, the better-paid gambling companions of the Greeks, had also gone out with the rest of the men. T h e Greeks, it is said, did not consult t h e m before striking b u t w h e n the walkout occurred the Orientals took it for granted that work was suspended. A m o n g t h e m is Coney Shibota, said to be the c h a m p i o n wrestler of the c a m p . H e is a powerfully constructed m a n for his race a n d has downed m a n y stalwart Greeks. T h e other Japanese have tacitly appointed him leader.ÂŽ0

The union leaders now threatened a general strike if the union was not recognized. Strikebreakers were steadily infiltrating into Bingham, even though strikers were covering all entrances to the town. I t was reported t h a t the strikers, largely Greeks, h a d scattered out along the highways to a n d from Bingham a n d are now holding u p a u t o mobiles a n d vehicles to learn w h e t h e r the occupants a r e strikebreakers. 6 1 57

Deseret Evening News, September 22, 1912. Ibid., September 24, 1912; Herald Republican, September 24, 1912. 58 Deseret Evening News, September 27, 1912. 80 Salt Lake Tribune, September 26, 1912. 61 Ibid., September 28, 1912. 58


Utah Historical


The mine operators continued to ignore the union, and the Federation ordered three thousand miners out at the Ely, Nevada, Consolidated Mine. A Greek striker was killed there. In Bingham the operators were hopeful at activity which they misconstrued as the Greeks leaving Bingham. However, the Greeks had heard rumors that the companies were going to evict them from the powder-box houses they had built on company land and were taking the precaution of moving out before they were forced to leave.62 Strikebreakers were coming into town in growing numbers. Nearly five hundred were already settled in passenger trains made into sleeping cars in Bingham, and in six boxcars with kitchens at the Magna railyards. When a sufficient labor force was brought together, work would be resumed, the mine officials said. Rumors that Utah Copper had three machine guns were denied by its officials; Jackling reiterated that the mines would "have nothing to do with the Western Federation"; and on October 10 strikebreakers, mostly Greek, were brought in by boxcar. 63 Heavily guarded by mine guards and deputies, Highland Boy, owned by Utah Consolidated, began work with fifty strikebreakers on October 9. The next day a skeleton crew of one hundred men, using one steam shovel, resumed work at Utah Copper. Fighting between guards and strikers broke out. In one incident an unarmed Greek, Mike Katrakis, was ordered back by Sam Lewman, a guard, and shot in the leg as he turned. The Greeks became enraged and met at the Acropolis Coffeehouse owned by the Leventis brothers, one of whom, John Leventis, was the acknowledged leader, the Capitdnios, of the Cretan strikers. The strikers would doff their hats to their priest and community leader, but they followed only the orders of John Leventis. The streets were crowded and the miners were in an uproar over the shooting that required amputation of the striker's leg. Deputies said the shooting was accidental, but two Italian women who witnessed the shooting said it was intentional. The Greeks reported their houses had been entered by "several hundred gunmen" and ammunition and money stolen. A thousand Greeks met in the Greek Orthodox church in Salt Lake City and sent a telegram to their consul in Washington, D. C , protesting their treatment and asking for an investigation.64 Hundreds of strikebreakers were still arriving each day; by the middle of October five thousand were expected to be at work. The majority of K

- Ibid., October 2, 5, 1912. Deseret Evening News, October 5, 9, 10, 1912. 04 Ibid., October 11, 12, 1912; Salt Lake Tribune, October 12, 1912. 83

Bingham Strike of 1912


these were miners from Mexico who had been driven out of their country by the revolution and gone to California. Another five hundred had been sent to Utah Copper by a New York labor agency. A later force arrived from Arizona and Mexico, and another 150 arrived the second week in November from Mexico and Wyoming. Utah Copper built housing for them behind the Bingham & Garfield Railway Depot.65 Tooele smeltermen, as the workers at Garfield had done earlier, passed a resolution refusing to handle ore mined by strikebreakers. To bring attention to their claims John Leventis, leader of the Greek strikers in the Bingham Strike of 1912. Photograph that deputies, were commit- furnished by Mrs. Joseph Coucourakis. ting "unlawful acts" under legal sanction, strikers and sympathizers held a rally that filled the Salt Lake Theatre. 66 On October 25 a battle in Galena Gulch, between strikebreakers and deputy sheriffs and strikers, ended with five men wounded. One of them, Harris Spinbon, a Greek, died two weeks later. The next day John and Steve Leventis were taken into custody at their coffeehouse on suspicion of having been involved in the shooting. On November 4, forty Greeks were arrested at the Acropolis Coffeehouse. Yanco Terzich, the Federation director, and E. G. Locke, the local secretary, tried to prevent the arrest of the men and were in turn arrested. A week later at the same coffeehouse, deputies went in to arrest Zaharias Rasiaskis in connection with the shooting at Galena Gulch. In the fight that followed three Greeks were shot. One of them, George Padaladonis (Papandonis), died two days later. J. H. White and another officer, Phil Culleton, of the Bingham Police DepartDeseret Evening News, October 14, 15, November 2, 14, 1912. Ibid., October 7, 14, 1912 ; Salt Lake Tribune, October 18, 1912.


Utah Historical


ment, went to the aid of an unarmed Greek who was being beaten by two guards. White arrested the guards and was discharged for his efforts. Culleton was given a future hearing. 67 On October 31 Mr. Jackling of Utah Copper announced the company was ready to increase wages, as had been planned at the beginning of the strike, by 25-cents per day. This was to go into effect the following month and would include the Ely and McGill mines. This, Mr. Jackling said, was in accordance with a 1909 agreement that specified an automatic increase in wages when copper reached 17-cents a pound. The announcement had no effect on the miners. Six weeks had passed with no sign of capitulation on either side. The miners were in desperate need. The Butte, Montana, members of the Western Federation sent help by voting $7,000 for the relief of the strikers. Single men asking for relief received $3.00 per week and family men $6.00. The strikers hoped that the companies would be willing to make concessions as the November 15 termination date of the strikebreakers' contracts approached. They hoped, too, that the inefficiency of the strikebreakers — caused by their lack of skill, their not being disciplined for regular work, and their being physically unaccustomed to hard labor -— would force the companies to reconsider their position. The companies showed no sign of retreating, and the strikers saw the futility of their cause. The strike gradually died. The Federation remained unrecognized; and the 50-cent raise asked by the miners was denied. A 25-cent raise was granted to the muckers and miners; the surface men were raised 20cents.68 During the duration of the strike, the mining industry suffered badly as did the smelting and milling plants. Normal operations took five months to achieve. Business and transportation wrere seriously affected in the entire county. The killers of the two strikers were never apprehended. The strike had, however, great importance. It broke the power of Leonidas Skliris who went to Mexico and became part owner of a mine there. The padrone system was brought into the open, and officials could no longer pretend it did not exist. The immigrant inspector's report for the year included the following: T h e exploitation of foreign labor in this State by professional agents is an evil t h a t should be eradicated. It was one of the causes that figured in the Bingham mining c a m p strike. W i t h some metalliferous and coal mining companies, a miner or laborer seeking employment can not secure such 67

Deseret Evening News, October 25, 26, November 4, 12, 13, 14, 1912. U t a h , Report of State Bureau of Immigration, Labor and Statistics, 1911-1912, Salt Lake Tribune, October 3 1 , 1912; Deseret Evening News, October 23, 1912. 68


Bingham Strike of 1912


until h e comes with a recommend of a p a d r o n e to w h o m he is obliged to pay from $25.00 to $50.00 for his job a n d a small sum m o n t h l y to hold the j o b after it is obtained. M a n y padrones secure from foreign laborers several thousand dollars each m o n t h a n d presumably "divy" with "higheru p officials" u n d e r w h o m they are working. 6 9

The bringing in of Greek strikebreakers had a disasterous effect on the Greek people. The strikers were Cretans; the strikebreakers were Greeks from other parts of Greece. The Cretan idea of having been moulded into a more courageous people, even a different people, by the long Turkish occupation that they had just overcome, that they had suffered while the mainland Greeks had lived in freedom and not been deeply concerned with Cretan enosis, union with the rest of Greece, intensified and produced a schism. Business partnerships between the two groups were seriously disturbed. Marriages between Cretan women and mainland Greeks caused great feuds. In Carbon County several attempted killings resulted from these marriages. Problems of the twenties were worsened by the bitter memory of the greed of Greek labor agents. 69

U t a h , Report

of State Bureau of Immigration,

Labor and Statistics,



N o w t h a t I leave for foreign lands, a n d we will be p a r t e d for m o n t h s , for years, let m e take something also from you, dearly beloved, azure land. Let m e carry an a m u l e t with me, to w a r d off evil, to w a r d off grief, a c h a r m to w a r d off sadness, death, a handful of earth, Greek e a r t h ! (Georgios Drossinis, Greek Earth, [ N e w York, 1 9 4 9 ] ) .

R a e Dalven, trans., in Modern



A picture of bride of 1915. The weddine crowns symbolize the rule over the new household by the bride and groom. Mr. and Mrs. Angelo Heleotes. Photograph furnished by Angelo Heleotes.

Greek Towns


had left Bingham as the strike progressed ; Mexican strikebreakers took their places in the mine bringing a new minority to Bingham. Others returned to Greece to fight in the Balkan W a r of 1912. T h e Greek government considered anyone b o m on Greek SMALL N U M B E R OF GREEKS

Greek Towns


land a Greek citizen forever. The men who answered the arms call expected to be returning to Greece in the near future and the war merely hastened their repatriation. At least 42,000 Greeks throughout America reported to the Greek army.70 The number is conservative; statistics on Greek immigrants are not complete. Greeks from originally Greek lands, the "unredeemed" lands, considered themselves Greek citizens. The U. S. government determined an immigrant's nationality by his land of origin.71 As the Bingham strike waned, trouble began in the Colorado coal mines owned by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. 72 Again Cretans became leaders of the strikers with Louis Tikas at their head. Altogether seventy-four people were killed throughout the coal camps. Twenty-two of them were killed in the Ludlow Massacre, including eleven women and two children who suffocated in tents that had been set on fire. Tikas, whose bride was on her way from Crete to America, raised a white cloth of truce. When he reached the National Guard soldiers, their commander broke a rifle over his head and forced him into the crossfire of soldiers and strikers. Thirty Cretan miners with high-powered rifles walked over the mountains from Raton, New Mexico, to avenge him. A large contingent with guns and ammunition walked from Colorado Springs.73 Within hours after the tragedy, the news reached every coffeehouse in the West and reinforced the distrust of the immigrants toward the mine owners and the American government. Court martial proceedings revealed that Lieutenant K. E. Linderfelt, through rashness in using force and through unwillingness to understand the immigrant personality, was directly responsible for the battle of Ludlow. His punishment was five files reduction in rank.74 Now the Greek immigrants knew the full extent of the hostility felt for them. They retreated into a fiery nationalism, convinced that it was only a matter of time when they would finish their family obligations and return to their own country. The aim of the immigrants to furnish their sisters with dowries and to return to Greece with enough money to establish themselves in business 70

Theodore Saloutos, They Remember America (Los Angeles, 1956), 40. Ibid., 49. 72 Barron B. Beshoar, Out of the Depths (Denver, N.D.) ; Salt Lake Tribune, April 2 1 , 1914; Denver Post, April 2 1 , 1914; Wyoming Labor Journal, April 24, 1914; Rocky Mountain News (Denver), M a y 1, 1914. 73 Salt Lake Tribune, April 26, 1914. '4 Hugh Davis Graham and Ted Robert Gurr, Violence in America: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (Washington, D . C , 1969), 2 5 4 - 5 6 ; Colorado, Ludlow, Report of the Special Board, 8; Wyoming Labor Journal, June 19, 1914. 71


Louis Tikas, the "Martyr of Ludlow," leader of the Greek strikers in Ludlow, Colorado, 1913—14. Photograph from the Colorado Historical Society.

Utah Historical


was fulfilled by forty per cent of them. 75 The other sixty per cent extended their stay hoping to leave the mines and section gangs as soon as they had saved a sufficient sum of money to enter business. After a few years, with a greater amount of money, they intended to return to Greece. The Greek government became alarmed at their native sons lengthening stay in America. Reports of their terrible living and working conditions were daily items on the front pages of Greek newspapers. Many young Greeks had returned to Greece crippled, blind, and destitute. A stream of newspaper reporters and government officials came to America to see the true situation. Few ventured far from the cities and towns. One held court in a hotel 7D

Stavrianos, Balkans Since 1453, 482.

The funeral of Louis Tikas in Trinidad, Colorado. Hundreds of Greeks walked from Colorado Springs and over the mountains from Raton, New Mexico, to avenge their countryman. Photograph from the Colorado Historical Society.




lobby and lectured the laborers for not having established themselves in commercial ventures as had the Greek immigrants in Egypt. All advised the men to return to Greece as soon as possible.76 One of the most thorough investigators was a young woman, the wife of a publisher. Her education and her husband's advanced views of social equality allowed her an unusual freedom — a Greek woman traveling alone. Visiting briefly in the Greek enclaves of large cities, she sought out labor gangs dotting the Midwest, the West, and Canada. She arrived in Utah in the winter of 1914.77 A letter from the Utah Fuel Company management addressed to mine superintendents asked that they "familiarize her with our Greek employees." She traveled into the Clear Creek, Utah, mine three miles in blackness until coming to shadowed men. Narrow shafts of light shone from the carbide lamps on their caps. 76 77

Economou, Greeks of America, 75-76. Ibid., 42-63.

Coal miners in Castle Gate, Carbon County circa 1903. Photograph from the Fifteenth Anniversary Book of the "Assumption" Greek O r t h o d o x C h u r c h of Price.


Utah Historical


They stood in icy water rhythmically swinging pickaxes against a wall of coal. She called, "Have life, young Cretans! May the God of Crete be with you!" Startled by the unearthly feminine voice speaking their language, they dropped their picks and approached warily. The voice had seemed to come through the roof of coal from the sky. When light from their lamps fell on her face, they were astounded. A six-foot youth wept. Maria Economou visited the young Greeks' drafty shacks where ten to fifteen men lived in each one and took turns cooking. Water was brought from a distance, and outhouses were precariously near streams. The men made gallant attempts to find a chair for her and a piece of cloth to cover a table. They told her of the oppression and complete control over them of the bosses and of their great fear of becoming ill. Although the miners paid a dollar a month for medical aid, the young Greeks were reluctant to ask help of the company doctors. The doctors "treated them like animals." Their lives, the men said, were cheap; thousands more could take their places. Minor injuries worsened under careless medical care and led to amputations. They lived in constant fear of losing an arm or leg which would relegate them to penury for the rest of their lives. There was no compensation law. The "Company" decided what it would pay for an amputation, usually $300.00 to $500.00. Those with serious illnesses could expect to go to the "Kingdom of Pluto." At Bingham the journalist confronted R. C. Gemmel, manager of Utah Copper Company. In regard to housing, he stated that the men "choose their own habitations. Even if we built them new ones, they would not inhabit them." She was further disgusted at the enthusiasm the men showed for a tarnished Greek performer, Madame Sophia. Accompanied by violin and laouto, she danced and sang "with the grace of an elephant and the voice of a wolf." One of the men told her, "If we didn't have even this diversion from time to time, we would become animals completely." Until morning the men waited their turn to dance with "this famous Pavlova of the mines." Those men on isolated labor gangs, she found, fared far worse. Without school, without church, "their souls withered." A Greek proverb had arisen in the new country: "In America even the beasts can learn." But this was not true for the men on the extra gangs and road crews of the deserts and plains.

Greek Towns


With life so lacking in the least of comforts, a few of the men began to take out citizenship papers and to marry. The crowded boardinghouses and their camaraderie were for the very young; the men wanted their own homes. It was taking longer to complete their family responsibilities than they had expected. To postpone marriage until they returned to Greece was unrealistic. Too, even though they were laborers and worked hard, they were financially better off than educated men in Greece. Without their knowing it, their Americanization had begun. A small number of men married German, Jugoslavian, Italian, and native American women. The European women learned to speak Greek fluently and followed Greek customs. American wives and their children were seldom close to Greek culture. "Intermarriage with foreigners was considered as bad as death." Girls did marry Greeks "in spite of their peculiar traits . . . and were despised more than Greek women." 78 American women who married Greeks were usually waitresses and domestic workers, the only women besides prostitutes whom the men encountered. The majority of men brought picture brides from Greece. The brides came from the same village or nearby village as that of their groom. The Lucile Richens, "Social History of Sunnyside" (WPA Collection, U t a h State Historical Society),

A bride and groom from the Peloponnese, Mr. and Mrs. Emmanuel Papanikolas. Photograph furnished by Mrs. Emmanuel Papanikolas.


Utah Historical


m e n asked their families to choose their brides. W o m e n of the same age as the men were ignored for younger women who h a d been children when the men left Greece. I n Carbon County twenty-two families had their roots in the village of Mavrolithari (Black Rock) inRoumeli. All women who emigrated to America were not uneducated. They came because their families could not provide dowries. Greek laborers in America often married women who h a d educational and social backgrounds superior to their own. A great many of these women came in 1922 when a compulsory exchange of populations took place between Greece and Turkey. 7 9 Four-hundred thousand Turks left Greece for Turkey and 1.3 million Greeks were forced to leave Asia Minor where they had lived since the days of Homer. Wealthy Greek families were suddenly impoverished, a n d many of their daughters came to America. O t h e r women who h a d left their villages at the age of seven or eight to work for families in towns and cities also came to America. As servant girls they were not paid. T h e families for whom they worked were bound by honor to provide dowries later. _^^__-pppÂť""""""VH^ Death or changes in the employers' cir.JMH cumstances left many servant girls with w^ igjK Mfc dowry money too meager for marriage but enough for passage to America. Marriages for these women were arranged by relatives. If a woman had no kin, a koumbdros, the best m a n at her parents' wedding or the godfather of a child in the family (a sacred relationship more binding than one of blood), assumed the responsibility. If no one was available, any m a n or woman, from the same province if possible, considered it a duty to find her the most suitable husband. Some unbetrothed women came properly accompanied by brothers or cousins. Jubilant young men rushed to make their bids. T h e inclinations of the women's male relatives, more often From the mountains of Roumeli, Greece, to Helper, Utah. the practical matter of the size of the Mrs. Pete Jouflas. Photograph furnished by Mayor Chris Jouflas, Helper.

Stavrianos, Balkans Since 1453, 590.

Greek Towns


men's savings, determined who would be the grooms. As in their native land, the women had little voice in the matter. Regularly men, whose passage had been paid by a group of fellow villagers, returned to Greece, married, and came back to America with a bevy of young women for the waiting bachelors. Immigration officials became suspicious of these lone men surrounded by women. Newspapers and magazines published reports of girls being "sold" to immigrants. Women detectives were stationed on ships and trains to prevent these crimes. Invariably the waiting bachelors complained that the traveler had chosen "the best one for himself" and had charged too much for expenses. Yet so thankful were they for Greek wives and homes that the resentments were momentary. In America's work-day world of mine and mill shift work, where holidays honoring saints and martyrs were unknown, the marriage customs of Greece had no place. There was not the shrewd Peloponnesian exuberance over dowry haggling. Because Greek women were scarce in America, it was not uncommon for the dowry process to be reversed and for favors to be extended to the bride's family. The Roumeliot groom leading a procession of garlanded horses and mules (his mother left at home; a symbol perhaps of the cutting of the cord) to the bride's house where he lifted his bride on a horse adorned with an elaborately embroidered blanket and his friends loaded her dowry on the decorated animals became a memory. The Cretan week-long celebration to honor the bride and groom with roasted kids and abundant wine for the entire community, which often left families impoverished; the compliance with intricate taboos; and the singing of mantinddes, couplets, were reduced to three days of intense joy. Marriage was one of the seven mysteries (sacraments) and the most important event in a person's life. Wedding ceremonies were performed in backyards of mine company houses and boardinghouses. Pistols were shot into the air; delicacies from Salt Lake City Greek importing stores covered the tables made of planks on sawhorses; one or two overworked Greek women hurried about with bowls and platters; dancing and singing went on for hours, each man determined to prove his leventia. All the while American children and adults gaped into the yards. Many women came alone with tags tied to their clothing. Their future husbands had not enough money to do otherwise for them. One of the first Cretan women to come to Carbon County was left at the side of


Utah Historical


the tracks in a sagebrush flat thirty miles north of Helper, Utah. A stranger approached her speaking the unfamiliar Roumeliot dialect of Central Greece. He took her by wagon to a section gang farther off where the man who was to be her husband was working. Such women suffered not only from the fear of corning alone to a country whose lanWedding of Ellen Bellaros and Fotis Konakis guage they did not know, but at a boardinghouse in Sunnyside, from violating the rigid code Carbon County. The priest is Father Markos Petrakis. Photograph furnished by of their people. In the MediHelen Halimandaris and Mrs. John G. Pappas. terranean countries where a poor man's only possessions were his self-respect and his daughters' virginity, women were chaperoned with paranoid obsession.80 Women traveling alone to America were tragically burdened with the anxiety that they would be suspected forever of having questionable morals. F. G. Friedman, "The World of 'LaMiseria,' " Partisan Review (March-April, 1953), 222.

A wedding party photographed outside of a miners' boardinghouse in Castle Gate, Utah. Only five women were present. Many of these men were killed in the Castle Gate explosion of 1924. Photograph furnished by Steve Sargetakis.

Greek Towns


The wedding spurred more men to bring brides. Newspapers in towns took note of the weddings: "GREEK GIRLS ARRIVE Nearly [a] dozen most handsome maidens have arrived from [their] native land with some of the best young men as husbands . . . make life much more pleasant for young men." 81 Soon nuclei of young families were in every mining camp in Carbon County as well as in Salt Lake City, Ogden, and the mine, mill, and smelter towns of northern Utah. Life now changed drastically for the Greek men. The gaiety of the boardinghouses and coffeehouses gave way to serious concern for their families. In Utah another element was added to being aliens in America. The extremely nationalistic Greeks, a provincial, insular people, were set down among an equally provincial people, the Mormons. Still close to their violent, persecuted past, well along toward accomplishing their goal of "making the desert blossom as a rose," they viewed the Greeks with defensive animosity. Although all South Europeans shared the Mormons' contempt, the Slavic peoples, less conspicuous because of their coloring and less inclined to strike out and "disturb the peace," and the Italians whose common fellowship with the Irish and native Americans in the Roman Catholic church, enemies all, were a shade less repugnant than the Greeks, a large proportion of them darkly handsome Cretans, the result of the Moorish conquest of Crete when male Cretans were murdered and their women subjugated. To the Mormons the Greeks were interlopers among the "white" population; they were clannish, would not marry outsiders, and thought they were an exceptional people with the only true religion on earth. The Greeks on the other hand, thought the Mormons, a high percentage of them of Nordic strains, dull people "without salt." They called them "white headed" and "inhospitable." "They wouldn't give you a glass of water if you were choking to death." Greeks avoided certain restaurants in small towns; they had either been ignored or rudely served. The Mormons were also clannish, would not marry outsiders, and thought they were an exceptional people with the only true religion on earth. America was a paradox. The young mothers were disturbed by their rejection. Yet, they found in America a freedom they could never have known in their own country. They were free from want; they could cook meat regularly, not only on Christmas and Easter; they could dress themselves and their children in Sunday finery. 81

News Advocate, January 25, 1917.

Utah Historical


They were also free from the domination of their elders, particularly their husbands' families, safely back in their native country. The higher status of American women benefited them. Still they lived in nostalgia for the "old country." Each year in their communal reveries, oranges grew bigger, grapes more abundant, and flowers more profuse in their barren homeland. The new families tended to live near each other in what were soon called "Greek Towns" by the natives. In Magna the families settled first in Greek women lived in nostalgia Ragtown, then on the west side of the for the "old country," yet America town. In Helper they lived near the gave them benefits they could not Helper Grade School, in Price on Carhave had in Greece. Mrs. John Leventis and Mrs. Andrew Takis. bon Avenue, in Salt Lake City near the Photograph furnished by railyards in the vicinity of their church. Mrs. Mike Leventis. In Bingham, the more cosmopolitan of the mining camps, the families lived in Copperfield, Carr Fork, and wherever housing was available. In Ogden the great number of Greek railGreek Town mothers in Magna. From left to right, Mrs. William Mrs. Nick Klekas, and Mrs. John Klekas. Photograph furnished by Mrs. John Klekas.


Greek Towns


road workers dispersed after the completion of construction projects. A small group of businessmen remained but lived in various parts of the city. All of the houses had small gardens. The plentiful water from irrigation streams was a great satisfaction to the mothers; in their villages they had had to carry water from the village well and walk miles each day to pasture their goats and work small plots of ground that depended on rainfall. In the mining camps every family had chicken coops, rabbit hutches, a shed for washing clothes, another for coal and wood, and many, especially in Helper, domed mud ovens for baking bread. The Greek Towns were hives of activity. Almost every house had several adults attached to the family. Young men, sometimes relatives, sometimes only from the same family, lived with the young families. Besides raising her children without the help of mothers and grandmothers as was done in her village, the immigrant mother was regularly confronted with her husband's bringing home several bachelors from the mine or sheep camp. Greek hospitality required that she leave the washboard, the bread baking, or the ironing and immediately prepare a banquet for the men who were so unfortunate as to be deprived of daily Greek cooking. The mothers spent much time canning fruits, vegetables, tomato paste, and pickles to last the year. Canning, unknown in Greece because of the expense of bottles and lids and only now being introduced there, was a gift to the women. They also prepared preserved crabapples stuffed with almonds, sugared orange and grapefruit rind, and other fruits and sweets to serve guests. In America there was plenty of fruit and sugar even for the working class. The Greek people could not understand the frugal Mormon attribute of eating as cheaply as possible. Among the Greeks kisses and embraces were perfunctory rituals on greeting people, on leavetakings, namedays, and church celebrations. They were shocked to learn that Mormon children were punished by being sent to bed without food. Love and food were synonymous to the Greeks. To the Greeks a person could be sick; he could be grief stricken; but to be hungry was the worst evil to befall him. There were so many young Greeks living in boardinghouses and so many more than there was room for that many families ran boardinghouses. In accordance with Greek propriety — that no hint of scandal be attached to the women — the families lived in houses separate from the boardinghouses or in quarters apart. In mining camps such as Sunnyside running a boardinghouse was arduous work. Water was hauled in barrels from the river.


Utah Historical


The owners of boardinghouses raised chickens and kept flocks of lambs to provide meat for their roomers. Many Greeks left the laboring ranks at this time to raise lambs for Greek boardinghouses. Greek life was changed by the coming of brides. The great number of marriages resulted in the consecration on August 15, 1916, of a second Greek church in Utah, the Assumption.82 Like the church in Salt Lake City, the Price church was of traditional Byzantine construction in which the dome rests on a square supported by four pillars. The nave of the church is in the form of a cross. The icons, called the "Bible of the unlettered," cover the iconostasis, the altar screen. The lamps burned oil that had been blessed at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. As in the Salt Lake City Greek church, there were few seats, following Greek custom that decreed it disrespectful to sit during the three-hour service. The icons always include Christ on the right, the Virgin and Child on the left, John the Baptist in his animal

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Price Greek Orthodox church. Photograph furnished by William S. Lines.

82 For history of Price Greek church see Fiftieth Anniversary Book of the "Assumption" Greek Orthodox Church of Price. (Price, 1966), Price church office. T h e officers of the board were President Stylian Staes, Vice-President Emmanuel Klapakis, Treasurer Emmanuel Salevourakis, and Secretary Thrasivoulos Assimakopoulos.

Consecration of the Price Greek Orthodox church, August 15,1916. The men wearing caps are members of the Hellenic Society. Photograph the Fiftieth Anniversary Book of the "Assumption" Greek O r t h o d o x C h u r c h of Price.





skin, Saint George on a white horse destroying the dragon, Saint Demetrios on a brown horse spearing the Anti-Christ, the archangels Michael and Gabriel, the Last Supper above the center door (called the Royal G a t e ) , and the life of Christ in a row above these. T h e Evangelists and the Twelve Apostles are depicted about the dome. 8 3 A picture taken during the consecration of the church shows a large number of men standing outside of the church wearing military caps of the Hellenic Society. Such organizations were sanctioned by the Greek government for the purpose of keeping alive among her emigrant sons the idea of returning to Greece. Nostalgic and emotional appeals of country and family were brought to the men by Greek visitors. The first priest of the church was Father Markos Petrakis, bearded with his hair hanging to his shoulders. 84 In noting the arrival of the oldcountry priest wearing black robes, a silver cross, and tall priest's hat, the News Advocate of Price printed the hope that the priest "wrould have a steadyFather Markos Petrakis, first priest in ing influence on the Greek Carbon County. Photograph from the Fiftieth Anniversary Book of the boys." 85 "Assumption" Greek O r t h o d o x C h u r c h Special trains ran from of Price. all of the coal camps bringing the men to Price for the consecration of the church. T h e Sunnyside Italian band met them at the station and escorted the men, shouting and shooting off their guns for good luck, to the church. 83 For the significance of icons see Ernst Benz, The Eastern Orthodox Church: Its Thought and Life (Garden City, 1963), Chap. 2. 84 Unless otherwise noted, material on Carbon County is taken from Helen Zeese Papanikolas, " T h e Greeks of Carbon County," Utah Historical Quarterly, X X I I (April, 1954), 143-64. 83 A son of Father Petrakis, Harry Mark, is the author of many novels and collections of short stories.


Utah Historical


A Magna wedding of the early twenties. Mr. and Mrs. Chris Karpakis. The Greek midwife, Mrs. Nick Mageras, is at the far right, second row from the top. Photograph furnished by Mrs. John Klekas.

In the Price and Salt Lake City churches there was now a sprinkling of women and young babies in the congregations. Feasts on saints' days and national holidays brought several hundred people together. Dancing with hands clasped, the men sang the old songs of the war against the Turks, songs of necessary cruelty: W h e n will the sky clear, when will it be February T o take my rifle, my lovely mistress, T o come down to Amalo, to the road of Mousoure, T o make mothers sonless, and wives widows.

Weddings and baptisms were held on Sundays. Lambs were roasted on spits; goatherders from the mountain draws brought fresh goat cheese; young mothers laid out delicacies made from paper-thin sheets of dough layered with cheese or nuts and honey. Brides and grooms wore flowered wedding crowns (stefana) made of embroidered white cloth that had been ordered, along with white coated almonds, mastiha, and other Greek liquors, from the Atlantic Importing Company in New York. Before a Baptism of Georgia Hemonas in Sunnyside, Carbon County, at the goat ranch of Fotis Konakis. Musical instruments are the Cretan lyras. Photograph furnished by Helen Halimandaris and Mrs. John G. Pappas.

Greek Town, Magna, Utah. The Emmanuel Papanikolas and Nick children with Kost Papanikolas (Nichols) in the early twenties. Photograph furnished by Mrs. John Klekas.


wedding an enterprising Greek jeweler from Salt Lake City made the rounds of Carbon County's mining camps with a supply of rings and bracelets that the miners bought for their countrymen's brides. The women brought the folklore and customs of their country with them. In the Greek Towns, houses were never dark at night. Vigil lights from family icons glowed in each one.86 The women helped each other in times of illness. At first they were reluctant to call in American doctors and attempted to care for their families with folk cures. In each Greek Town there were women adept at curing the Evil Eye. At all hours of the day or night they were called upon to administer secret formulas for children taken ill suddenly, for which there was no explanation except that they had been looked upon with envy by someone who possessed the Evil Eye. Others were known for folk curing. In the Magna-Garfield-Bingham area the leading practitioner was Mrs. Nick Mageras, known as Magerou. She was also a midwife and for decades was in great demand by Greek, Italian, and Slavic women.87 In Carbon County the authority was John Diamanti, called "Uncle John" even as a young man. He not only prescribed folk cures, but was consulted to explain dreams, to predict the sex of an unborn child, and to read the shoulder blade of the Easter lamb. Peering at the bone and 80 An article on Greek folklore by the author is included in a book on U t a h folklore to be published soon by the University of U t a h Press. 87 See Helen Zeese Papanikolas, " M a g e r o u : T h e Greek Midwife," Utah Historical Quarterly, 38 (Winter, 1970), 50-60.

John Diamanti with his family and nephew Chris Jouflas (far right). The first Greek resident of Carbon County, Uncle John prescribed folk cures and explained dreams for Greek Town residents. Photograph furnished by Mrs. James J. Diamanti.

feeling its bumps and demarcations, he foretold, accurately it is said, what the coming year would bring. For special remedies the immigrants went to Alex Rizos, a druggist from the mountainous region of Epirus, Greece. For more than fifty years, first in Bingham then in Salt Lake City, Mr. Rizos mixed manjouni, a tonic made of quinine sulphate, powdered Peruvian bark, honey, nuxvomica, rhubarb herb, cinnamon, and other ingredients. He dispensed contemporary drugs, but also leeches and vizikdnti (powdered Spanish fly), that on application to the skin produced large blisters. These were twisted open, and the "uncleanness" in the body was released.




Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Halles at the left, dispensers of everything needed for Greek ceremonial life. Mrs. Joseph Sargetakis, sister of Mrs. Halles, and a cousin are at the right. Photograph furnished by Steve Sargetakis.

With weddings, baptisms, and a few funerals weekly Sunday events, Gregory Halles, confectionery winner in the Paris Exposition of 1904 and other fairs, became a leading figure in Greek ceremonial life. Mr. Halles and his wife provided wedding crowns, ornamental candles, baptismal medals, cakes, ftlo (the paper-thin sheets of pastry important in Greek cooking), and, most essential of all, memorial wheat. Forty days after a death, commemorating the forty days that Christ walked the earth after His Crucifixion, wheat was boiled until plump; sweetened; and mixed with nuts, pomegranate seeds, parsley, Jordan almonds, and raisins. A thick coating of powdered sugar was spread over the molded wheat and decorated with silver almonds, dragees (small silver candy beads), and green fir trees, symbol of eternal life. Family and friends ate the wheat, called kolivo, as a sign of mutual forgiveness with the dead person. The soul had then finished its wanderings and was ready to meet God.

Memorial wheat for Emmanuel Papanikolas. Photograph furnished by Mrs. Lou Nichols.



Returned soldiers of World War 1 in Bingham. Many ethnic groups are represented here. Charles Dimas stands next to the sailor. Photograph furnished by Mayor Peter C. Dimas, Bingham.


of the Greek immigrants with its perplexing folklore and customs was a curiosity to the natives. Although they regarded all aliens, and especially the newer ones — the Greeks — as far inferior to themselves, they had begun to accept them as part of the new pattern of life. Newspapers in Bingham, Magna, Price, and Helper made note of Greek Christmas and Easter celebrations, referred to the men as "the Greek boys," and did not often make a point in criminal cases of emphasizing their nationality. But with the beginning of World War I and the continuing influx of immigrants, fear of the "foreigners" grew. The words "un-American" and "unpatriotic" took the place of earlier epithets. In the eastern United States, Greeks volunteered in great numbers and some became heroes.88 The Greeks had been in the East longer and had become established. Greek aliens in the West were still laborers and few of them could read American newspapers well. In all of Utah Greeks expressed willingness to serve if they could return to Greece to fight with their own people, also on the side of the Allies.89 To serve with soldiers whose language they did not understand appalled them. Their life was still one of Greek boardinghouses, Greek labor gangs, and Greek coffeehouses. In Salt Lake City, Greek consul G. A. Papailion arrived to "organize the Greek colony in the interests of the war." 90 A month later in Bingham the "Greeks of camp" brought a company of soldiers from Fort Douglas for a "patriotic Greek pageant" that raised $700.00 for the war. 91 In Winter Quarters Greek miners bought $9,000 worth of Liberty Bonds at 92 All through a ra Hy _ four Greeks subscribed to a thousand dollars each. Carbon County, Greek miners held "Get Out The Coal" rallies. The majority though were reluctant to enter the United States Army for three reasons. They believed that as aliens they were not required to serve. (In Bingham the exemption of aliens from army service brought fears that "the camp would be left in the hands of the foreigners." 93 ) They believed that the Greeks were given higher quotas to fill. And, they felt that Greek nationalism was again at stake. In Carbon County this reluctance to join the army was the beginning of years of ill feeling and violence against the Greeks. HE BUSY LIFE

88 Louis Adamic, A Nation of Nations (New York, 1944), 2 8 0 ; Saloutos, Greeks in the United States, C h a p . 8. 89 Bingham Bulletin, M a y 3 1 , 1 9 1 8 ; News Advocate, April 12,1917. 90 Bingham Bulletin, M a y 10, 1918. 91 Ibid., June 7, 1918. 92 News Advocate, July 11, 1918. 93 Standard, August 9, 1917.


Utah Historical


At their March Independence Day celebration in Price, the Greeks followed patriotic speeches relating the Greek struggle against the Turks with expressions of loyalty to the United States. In late July the draft call was sent to 801 men, of whom 221 were Greeks. Only forty of the Greeks were citizens or had taken out first naturalization papers. Rumors began that the Greeks were balking at the size of their quota. The August 9 issue of the News Advocate said, "First indications were that a large number of Greeks were willing to enlist even if they could not be forced to do so. Later indications are that most will claim exemptions." Succeeding issues of the two Price newspapers carried lists of five to ten Greeks who had enlisted, but a far larger one of those who had asked for exemption because of their alien status. On August 16, an article by Tom Avgikos, a young Greek businessman in Helper who later served in France, appeared in the News Advocate. Entitled "Why The Greeks Don't Volunteer," the author extolled Greek bravery throughout history and said Greeks would not commit themselves until they were told what would happen after the war to the Greek provinces "now under the yoke of the Turks, English, and Italians. Will the Greeks take part in war to help big nations steal Greek lands? The allies must make themselves clear first. Greeks hate Kaiser but can't fight him for national reasons." Greek nationalism was incomprehensible to the Americans. They saw no reason for Greeks in America to be concerned with the Greek islands, Macedonia, and Thrace that had not been returned to Greece following the Revolution of 1821 and the Balkan Wars. That Greek immigrants feared the war would again result in powerful nations cutting up portions of Greece under the guise of being her protectors, appeared like subterfuge to the Americans. Immigrants were told often enough in print to leave their love of country, customs, and language at Ellis Island. By winter anger against the Greeks had grown dangerously. Newspapers took part in the denunciations. Fathers and mothers who are sending their American boys to fight in Italy if need be and for the safety of both Greeks and Italians and all other races are getting more and more incensed at the whelps who think nothing of getting American dollars under the American flag but who would not turn a hand over to save that flag from being dragged in the dirt by the Kaiser's bloody cutthroats. Some of the worst specimens of this sort are going to get some early day western treatment if they do not wake up to their duty soon. . . . Feeling against such dirty low-down grafters is running high in many towns in Utah.



As hysteria against Germany mounted, the Greeks began enlisting, but their initial reluctance was not forgotten. Newspapers specifically mentioned a Greek or Italian's nationality when reporting a crime. Coffeehouses drew concentrated suspicion. In Carbon County the cost of their licenses was increased to $200.00 a year. Proprietors threatened to close their businesses; the "Greek boys in camps" complained that the coffeehouses were the only places to pass the evening; Stylian Staes, their advisor, asked the licensing board to define a coffeehouse.94 In Salt Lake City in a fight between four Greeks and four Americans, a Greek killed Bruce Dempsey, brother of Jack Dempsey, the fighter.95 The murderer was described as having reddish hair and as being a Greek. Red hair being uncommon among Greeks, he was easily identified and captured in a Layton farmhouse by a posse headed by a Greek detective, William Cayias. The Salt Lake Telegram reported the crime and the capture of the Greek in inflammatory accounts and added what the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune called an invitation to a lynching: Several committees of citizens mingled through crowds on Main Street early this afternoon and passed the word that a mass meeting would be held in front of the postoffice at 8 o'clock to avenge the brutal murder Monday night of little Bruce Dempsey. When it became known on the street that the alleged murderer of the boy was in custody there was a strong wave of sentiment to lynch the slayer. It is believed this will be the object of the vigilance committee when it meets tomorrow night.

The following evening several hundred men gathered and listened to speakers demand a lynching. The entire force of city police and of prison guards arrived where "Sergeant Pierce's men cleared the sidewalk by honeyed persuasion, tempered with just enough display of determination to convince the crowd that stronger measures might be resorted to if necessary." 96 The Greek version of the killing differs: The fight began over attentions paid by the Greek to Bruce Dempsey's sister. Greek Town residents joined the search for the killer, but when talk of lynching went through the city, they armed themselves and appeared at the gathering with their own form of "honeyed persuasion." Two Greek servicemen at Fort Douglas turned a cannon to face the city and threatened to bombard it if their countryman were lynched. 94

News Advocate, May 10, 1917. Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, and Salt Lake Telegram "Salt Lake Tribune, June 28, 1917. 95

for J u n e 26, 27, 28, 1917.


Utah Historical


In Price just before the Armistice, a Greek was brought to court to face charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He had given a girl, just under age, a ride in his car and neighbors had seen him "flirting" with her. A crowd gathered outside of the Price courthouse where the Greek had been taken by a posse. A clamor began to lynch him. Greeks of Price sent calls to their countrymen in all the coal camps. P.O. Silvagni rallied the Italians saying, "If it's a Greek this time, it'll be an Italian next." The streets of Price swarmed with gun- and knifecarrying Greeks and Italians. A small army of wild-eyed Cretans rushed in from Castle Gate. The crowd quickly dispersed. The traditional antagonism between Greeks and Italians, the roots of which reach back to the sack of the Greek Holy City Constantinople (Istanbul) by the Fourth Crusade in 1204 and to the long Venetian rule of Greece, dissolved in times of danger. They stood united against mutual enemies. During the war Greek men kept Liberty Bonds in their pockets to show in times of danger. A Greek youth from Helper, Utah, passing through a small town in Idaho found himself eyed by the natives. That night as he watched a newsreel in a theater, war scenes flashed on. He was attacked by the audience and taken out to be hung. His Liberty Bonds saved him. The war ended with 350,000 American casualties, 548,000 United States residents dead from the influenza epidemic of 1918, an enormous shortage of food and materials, and "aliens who had not done their part." The four years of war in Europe had delayed return to Greece for many men. The added years in America had begun to dim their goal of repatriation. Life in America no longer had an air of temporary interlude. Greeks now flocked for citizenship papers only to be denied them. For many years those who had claimed exemption because of alien status had their applications rejected for five years. American citizenship had now become important to the Greeks whose native land would never recognize them as citizens of any other country.

Leaving the Labor Ranks

The significant entrance into business by Greeks occurred in the early twenties. The Magna Motor Company was owned by Milt and Harry Stamoulis. Mrs. Pete Lovrich and her husband (right) standing by their new car. Photograph from the M a g n a Times, Edith Ridge, editor.


the American Legion led a campaign against the South Europeans in the country. Returned immigrant soldiers, some .FTER T H E WAR,


Utah Historical Quarterly

naturalized before entering the army and others granted citizenship for their service, found themselves sitting with other Legionnaires, hearing national leaders denounce Greeks and Italians and demand a compulsory education program for all aliens. The Legion singled out the Greeks for their backwardness: clinging to their native language; establishing Greek schools for their children; and reading Greek newspapers in coffeehouses. The money the Greeks, as well as other Balkan and Mediterranean people, sent to their families, was a source of anger to the native Americans. This money was an important propaganda means used against the Greeks in the Bingham Strike of 1912, in the 1914 Ludlow Massacre in Colorado, during the war years, later in the Carbon County Strike of 1922, and the Ku Klux Klan attacks of 1924. The money sent to Greece multiplied as immigration increased, reaching a peak in 1921. In that year the money sent to Greece by her emigrant sons in the United States totaled $121 million. This changed Greece's extremely unfavorable balance of trade, strengthened the Greek drachma, and enabled entire districts of peasants to free themselves from crippling mortgages. The standard of living was raised dramatically. Not only could necessities be bought, but also a few luxuries. Greek history acknowledges this enormous debt to the United States.97 The young Greeks, older now and with money saved, began leaving the mines and smelters to become store owners and sheepmen. Laundries, restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, hayfeed-coal-and-ice businesses were established at a rapid rate. Among the first businessmen in the Salt Lake area were Tom Politz, George Castles, Alex Rizos, Nicholas P. Stathakos, George Money sent to Greece by her emigrant sons and Louis Strike, and Andrew and greatly raised the standard of living there. George Floor. Early businessmen in Mother, brother, niece, and nephews of Mrs. Joseph Sargetakis. Ogden were Gus J. Cutrubus, George Photograph furnished by Steve Sargetakis. Dokas, Sam Vetas, and Andrew BatesStavrianos, Balkans Since 1453, 481.

Greek Land

James Skedros in the Rizos Drug Store, Salt Lake City. furnished by Mrs. James Skedros.



tas. Among the first Greek businessmen in Bingham were Peter Pitchios, Anast Chipian, Charles Demas, James Jimas, John and Steve Leventis, George Adondakis, Christ Pappasoteriou (Soteriou), Tom Praggastis, and Alex Pistolas. In Magna businessmen were Gus and Charles Paulos; Emmanuel, William, and George Papanikolas; Milt, Harry, and John Stamoulis; Chris Tryfon; Pete and Chris Athas; Kost Papanikolas; Con Chlepas; and Ernest Mantes. In Helper early Greek businessmen were James Galanis, the Gegonas brothers, Tony Michelog, Tom Avgikos, John Diamanti, Gust Pappas, Pete Jouflas, James Papacosta, Gus Tsangaris, John Gerendas, George Zeese, Theros Sargetis, and the Lenderis brothers. In Price businessmen were Gus Platis, Stylian Staes, Nick Karras, Nick Michelog, Harry Dragatis, and the Salevourakis and Georgides brothers. In Black Hawk Steve Diumenti, in Spring Canyon George Zoumadakis, and in Logan George Lamb were in business. Throughout the state Greeks were converting their savings into property and buildings. The contract for the water pipeline through Price Canyon and into Helper was awarded to Stylian Staes and George


Utah Historical


Zeese.98 This was the first time in Utah that Greek immigrants were the employers of a large labor gang rather than part of it. Many Greeks became sheepmen and contributed greatly to the economy of the state. They came mostly from Roumeli, the mountainous province in Central Greece. A few were from the Island of Crete. Supplying meat for Greek boardinghouses was their starting point. The butchering of carcasses was known to all immigrants. Every village family raised a few lambs or kids to provide wool, meat on holidays, and milk for cheese making. To supply crowded boardinghouses with meat proved to be hard work, but not an unfamiliar trade. The men raised young lambs and slaughtered them before they became yearlings. In the Bingham area John Condas, John Louras, and John Leventis raised their lambs on the road to Lead Mine above Copperton. The three formed the Condas Slaughterhouse Company and held lucrative contracts with Bingham boardinghouses. In the Scofield-Clear Creek area, George Metos and John Cavalas supplied both meat and bakery goods to boardinghouses for miners working in the Pleasant Valley coal mines. They kept between four to six hundred lambs for this purpose. In Helper, the railroad terminal for the thirty mines in Carbon County, John and Nick Diamanti, Pete, John, and Ted Jouflas, Gust and Angelo Pappas were all involved in the business to provide meat for boardinghouses. They raised small flocks of lambs and were not primarily concerned with breeding ewes. The flocks were kept on nearby farms. On farms beyond Price, Angelo Mahleras, Sam Sampino, James Giannopulos, Nick Malkogiannis, and Angelo Theos raised their lambs. James Koulouris raised lambs in Black Hawk for his own boardinghouse. After three years, he moved to Helper where he and his brotherin-law, John Papoulas, raised lambs on a farm at Blue Cut, between Helper and Price. They also kept goats and made feta cheese from the milk. A few men in Magna principally John Kochonis and Pete Melos, who had reputations as excellent butchers, also raised and provided lambs for boardinghouses and for the Greek population. Flocks in Magna were small; when Greek laborers left the mill and smelter, some butchers added ice, coal, feed, and grocery items to their diminished meat business. Supplying meat to mining town boardinghouses had its dangers. Although some of the men were able to sign contracts with mine com98

Sun (Price), August 1,1919.

Leaving the Labor Ranks


panies and could conduct business unchallenged, others had to confront entrenched mine company store owners. All competition with company stores was discouraged, often through vandalism. The higher prices of the company stores were not questioned by mine and mill officials. Miners were cautioned and often threatened with loss of their jobs if they bought elsewhere. At times scrip was issued to prevent clandestine buying. The demand to abolish scrip was made in every strike. Town officials upheld the unwritten law of company store supremacy. Harry Mahleras was stopped on the outskirts of the coal camp, Hiawatha, by the town marshal who refused him entrance. At gunpoint Mahleras forced the marshal out of the way. He delivered his meat that day and continued to deliver it with his gun on the wagon seat. Many assault charges on court calendars of this period were the outcome of Greeks attempting to deliver meat to "restricted" areas. By the end of the first world war and the beginning of the 1920's, the Greeks became sheepmen in the complete sense of raising, breeding, and marketing their lambs and wool. John Condas bought out his partners and continued to sell lambs to Bingham residents until the abortive strike and labor troubles of 1917 and 1918. This period of labor unrest greatly depleted the Greek mining population, already disillusioned by the long, unsuccessful strike five years earlier. Condas was left with a large flock of lambs, no longer yearlings, but unsaleable breeding ewes — a financial failure. With his market gone, he bought rams and became a full-fledged sheepman. The decline in the number of Greek boardinghouses by the early twenties when the immigrants were rapidly leaving the mines, mills, and smelters to enter business brought less demand for the wholesale buying of meat. Failure in other business enterprises turned many men to sheep, to what they knew best. Ironically they returned to the very life they had left Greece to avoid; yet they were well suited by temperament for it. Some had tried other businesses in conjunction with their meat supply ventures: restaurants, candy stores, grocery stores, and real estate. A Christmas Eve fire destroyed the Ideal Meat Market in Helper owned by John Diamanti, James Koulouris, and Pete Jouflas. To recoup their losses, they concentrated on breeding and marketing sheep. Of the sheepmen only John Condas lived in Bingham. He held a lifetime franchise of grazing rights on the Oquirrh Mountains. From the winter desert grounds in Skull Valley, the sheep were trailed to Copperton and Lead Mine for lambing. In 1921 and 1922 a total of eight


Utah Historical


hundred sheep were killed by the arsenic wastes from Utah Copper operations. In 1924 Condas moved to the Park City junction where he acquired grazing land under the Homestead Act. George Metos, John Cavalas, George and Tom Telonas, Gus Mavroandreas, Gus Nikolodemos (known as Gus Mormon because he had been an interpreter in the Castle Gate mines "among the Mormons"), and the brothers Andreas, John, and Christ Maniotis lived in Scofield. George Metos did not drive his sheep to winter grounds. He raised hay on a farm in Fish Creek and fed his sheep throughout the winter. When the Scofield Dam was built, his farm was condemned and his sheep dwindled in number. Angelos Theos, John Papoulas, and the three Pappathanasiou brothers Nick, Gust, and Pete, drove their sheep to summer pasture in the Uintah Mountains and lived in Vernal. Theros Sargetis lived in Altonah. The sheepmen of Helper and Price kept their sheep in the Scofield country during the summer and moved them to winter grounds in the desert country around Castle Dale, Centerfield near Green River, and as far as Woodside in the vicinity of Grand Junction, Colorado. Greek sheepmen had little trouble with each other. They respected each others' grazing and water rights. The Greeks and the French also had good relations with each other. There was one long feud between a Greek sheepman and a French family; everyone rode the range with high-powered rifles. With native Americans, however, water, grazing rights, and quarrels over stray sheep were a constant source of trouble. Carbon County district court records of the early 1920's list many trespassing cases. The Maniotis brothers of Scofield, who had been involved in many altercations (in one fight, one brother lost an eye), later moved to Craig, Colorado, where American sheepmen drove 150 of their sheep over a cliff. In Scofield a bitter feud between the Telonas brothers and a Scandinavian immigrant family lasted for years. An old-time sheepman said: "Confidentially, we all stole sheep from each other, Greeks, Frenchmen, Americans — a few here, a few there." By the middle 1920's many Greek sheepmen left Utah for Colorado. The size of their flocks was restricted by the lack of land in Utah. The Scofield mountains were mostly forest reserves; little land in this area was privately owned. Around Craig and Grand Junction, Colorado, there was rich grazing land, privately owned and available for leasing. Of the men who left Utah, Angelo Theos and John Papoulas rose to own substantial bands of sheep. Many sheepmen left America during this time and returned to Greece where they married and raised families.

Leaving the Labor



The men who remained in Utah but drove their sheep to the Colorado mountains for summer grazing were reluctant to leave because of the Greek Orthodox church in Price. Neither Craig nor Grand Junction had Greek churches. Price and Helper were the center of Greek life in the sheepv country. There children attended Greek schools, fraternal lodges abounded, and old-country friends were many. In the summer families spent the three months "at sheep." Mothers cooked for crowds of men. Patches of hay were grown and the sons helped with the cutting. They also took supplies to sheep camps, drove to town for food, and, when older, were expected to take their turns as sheepherders. Girls helped their mothers with the monumental task of canning enough fruits and vegetables to last the family and the sheepherders until the next canning season. The youngest daughters bottle fed the "bum" lambs—lambs rejected by their mothers, orphaned, or the weaker of twins. Mothers rolled out great numbers of paper-thin sheets of dough which were spread out to dry on clean sheets covering beds, bunks, tables, and planks on saw horses. These were stacked and stored between newspapers. When the women left with their children for school, the men mixed Greek feta cheese with eggs and butter, spread the mixture between layers of the filo pastry, and baked it — a delicacy called pita. Each sheep camp was the domain of the sheepherder who spent the entire summer there, moving from place to place as the grass was eat•j-,



A Greek

en. .Lvery two or mree weeks,


Gerendas nd


P family of Helper, Utah.

Mr. and Mrs. James Koulouris,

h e w a s brought supplies, his

onlyJ contact with human be-


and Nick> a cousin

(left), Fa


seated> his son



Leona Papoulas, Gus Kaddis, as ilr lo t ever G eek "family?*?'*? JP : f ! . l ! had other adults living with them. Photograph furnished by Penelope Koulouris.


Utah Historical


Almost all of the sheepherders were Greeks. A few were native Americans and Mexicans. Sometimes the owner of the outfit, the "boss," sent tickets to relatives and fellow villagers in Greece in return for a specified amount of work. One Greek sheepherder, who had entered the country illegally, worked ten years without once leaving the sheep camp. The loyalty to the boss was deep and lifelong. A ninety-year-old sheepherder said of his boss: I came to Castle Gate in 1913 and worked in the mines until I hurt my leg. John Papoulas gave me a job as a sheepherder. I worked for him for many years and then I got sick. I could only do the work of an ordinary man. So I hired out to an American and stayed with him for two years. I got better and returned to the boss.

Nick Linardos at the age of ninety, a hero of the Balkan War of 1912, a sheepherder in Utah and Colorado for fifty-five years. Photograph furnished by George Theodore.

The boss knew his men well. He knew there were as many kinds of men as there were sheep camps. Some men seldom lost a sheep; others lost them not only in blizzards, but on fine summer days. Some sheep showed signs of untended injuries; others were cradled as if they were babies. Some sheepherders had superficial concern for their sheep and dogs; some mourned the death of a lamb and grieved a lifetime for a dead sheep dog. The boss refused to eat at certain camps. Sheepherders depended on folk cures they brought with them from Greece. If they became sick, they could not leave the sheep for medical help. For infections they used a bandage made of clean sheep tufts dipped in the film that formed on top of goatcheese liquid. For colds they

Leaving the Labor Ranks


drank hot wine and spices. Garlic was chewed for every ache and pain. Each sheepherder had favorite cures he used for himself and for his sheep. Many sheepherders took part of their wages in sheep and with a modest number went into business for themselves. This took many years of contract labor. Greek men who found work as sheepherders in isolated Mormon communities became sheepmen there, married Mormon women, and lost Greek ties. Their obituaries stir vague memories among their countrymen. Lambing, shearing, and marketing were the times of greatest activity for the sheep families. Shearing was done by traveling bands of Mexican shearers who worked their way from Mexico to Montana. When electric shears took the place of hand scissors, the Greek sheepmen accepted them with trepidation. It was unnatural, a process that nicked the skin and often made deep cuts that led to infections. Greek men formed wool pools and sold to brokers, most often to Warren Snow who represented Boston manufacturers. In the fall the lambs were brought to the Price railyards for marketing. The livestock freights stopped at Craig, Colorado, at Denver, Kansas City, and Chicago. Individual sheepmen who had a great number of lambs traveled with them to market. Those with smaller numbers sold to sheep brokers. Stylian Staes, Gus Boulos, and Gus Mormon (Nikolodemos) were among the Greek sheep brokers of the 1920's. Sheepmen bought their supplies twice a year in great bulk, at lambing and at marketing. They paid their bills after the lambs and wool were sold. After a brief recession, lambs reached a high of $18.00 a head; wool was also selling at profitable prices. Of all Greeks the sheepmen were then the most prosperous.

The Carbon County Strike of 1922

John Tenas (Htenakis), Greek striker killed in Helper. Photograph furnished by the United Mine Workers, Price, and Mayor Chris Jouflas, Helper.


of Greek businessmen was unsettling to native Americans. T h e Greeks, to them, American citizens though they now were, had stepped out of their proper place — labor. Little distinction was m a d e between these frugal, aggressive businessmen and the group of Greeks, despised by their countrymen, the gamblers and panderers. A congressman from Idaho said: "If there is not stringent restriction on Greek immigration to the United States, it is predicted by well-known authorities that in five years the Greeks will have complete monopoly of our lives." 99 T h e hostilities of the war years had not abated. Response to the compulsory education program for aliens was weak. I n the mill, mine, and smelter towns of northern Utah, Americanization classes were poorly attended. T h e Price News Advocate read " A L I E N S L A U G H A T R E G I S T R A T I O N Only 35 registered and agreed to pay $10 fee, mostly HE



'Jap.' " 10° Flaunting of the prohibition law was widespread among all immigrants and natives. In Bingham a bootlegging ring operated for years until a federal grand jury indicted "about 40 of the citizenry including people prominent in local circles." 101 In Carbon County the court records justified the saying "All the Italians bootlegged and half the Greeks." Cars with concealed bootleg liquor made regular trips through the high, dangerously curved Price Canyon to Salt Lake City markets. T h e Greeks and other immigrants could not take the law seriously. Sheriffs were intimidated. "Sheriff Corless warned not to destroy any more booze or may come in contact with T . N . T . " 102 And, "Helper dry agents [Agents Fuller and Gerber who got a percentage for each conviction] become unpopular among foreign element and forced to walk from Helper to Castle Gate [5 miles]." 103 While Greeks in other parts of the state maintained a wary relationship with native Americans, the Greeks in Carbon County were stung repeatedly by American Legion and newspaper attacks. Their asking for army exemption during the war, their refusal to attend Americanization classes, their sending large amounts of money to Greece, and their bootleg and assault charges were all gathered in the word " M E N A C E . " 99

J. Campbell Bruce, The Golden Door (New York, 1954), 46. News Advocate, November 30, 1922. 101 Bingham Bulletin, M a y 3, 1928. 102 Ibid., August 9, 1918. 103 News Advocate, April 27, 1922. 100


Utah Historical


A Bingham raid for bootleg whiskey in the twenties. Photograph from the Magna Times, Edith Ridge, editor.

The attacks made the Greeks even more belligerent, and they retreated deeper into Greek exclusiveness. Stylian Staes, Greek vice consul for Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming, rebuked Greeks gathered in Salt Lake City to hear the president of the University of Athens Alumni Association. Still hopeful that their emigrant sons would return to Greece, Greek visitors continued touring America and pleading that the customs and traditions of the mother country not be forgotten. Staes reminded the gathering that they were living and thriving in America; that it was their country now; and that for their own good they should learn its laws, language, and ways. However, he spoke to an audience that considered themselves forever unacceptable to the Americans and unaccepting of them. To protect themselves the Greeks shored up their Greekness. In the spring of 1922 the Greek miners of Carbon County joined the national coal strike. Their aim was not the usual banner of the unionists — better working conditions and higher pay. Their reason was, as in the Bingham Strike, an emotional one — the insult to their self-respect. They found they were being cheated on the coal-weighing machines. All Greeks, businessmen and strikers, became in the propaganda of the mine operators "un-American" and "alien." The Wyoming Labor Journal, organ for the United Mine Workers, accused the coal operators of inciting prejudice against Greek businessmen to gain the support of

Carbon County Strike of 1922


American businessmen's organizations, who were alarmed at this new competition.104 At the end of April, a crowd of strikers and company guards met a train coming into Scofield; strikebreakers were rumored on board. Although workers were not on the train, the guards and strikers did not disperse, but began firing at each other. A guard, Sam Dorrity, was shot in the leg; a Greek striker was shot in the arm; and another was wounded in the chest. A rumor spread through the county that a Greek, George Manousos, would be charged with Dorrity's assault. Strikers were forced out of company houses and formed tent colonies. Governor Charles Mabey made a hurried trip into the county and promised armed aid against the strikers. Newspapers and the public supported a mine company spokesman who said, "These men [the strikers] will never get back on the payroll of Carbon County." The Scofield incident calmed both sides outwardly although the miners remained on strike. For two weeks tension pervaded the mining camps. Then news burst that John Tenas (Htenakis), a young Greek striker, had been killed in a Helper orchard. Deputy Sheriff R. T. Young, who fired the fatal shot, was treated for a flesh wound. He had narrowly escaped assault by a group of strikers earlier and had been escorted out of town by Sheriff T. F. Kelter. Tenas's companion had run from the orchard crying out that Tenas was unarmed and had been shot in the back. Italian farmers who had witnessed the shooting testified that Tenas was running away from Young when he was fired upon and that the sheriff then turned the gun on himself and inflicted the flesh wound in his leg. A mine company doctor reported, after examining the body, that Tenas had been shot in the front of his body; a Helper doctor said his examination revealed that Tenas was shot in the back.105 The Greeks of the county rose up at the killing. The casket was escorted to the church and graveyard by flag bearers holding the Greek and American flags. The Price band playing a solemn march, and seven hundred black-dressed Greeks holding small blue and white Greek flags followed. The News Advocate reported that the Greek flag was held high and that the American flag was dragged in the dust. The Sun did not mention this, and Greeks who were among the mourners denied it. The 104 105

Wyoming Labor Journal, J u n e 16, 1922. News Advocate, May 25, 1922.

The funeral of John Tenas (Htenakis), Greek striker killed in Helper by Deputy Sheriff R. T. Young, May 14,1922. Photograph furnished by the United Mine Workers, Price, and Mayor Chris Jouflas, Helper.

newspapers spoke of Tenas as "having attempted to murder R. T. Young," whose family was described as "oldtimers of Price." On May 25, the News Advocate reported that a cousin of Tenas had filed a first degree murder charge against Young, and on June 9, that the gun Tenas was alleged to have had could not be found. The Wyoming Labor Journal said: Advices from U t a h are that the . . . gun men are . . . committing criminal acts and charging it to the miners a n d ; if they [the miners] offer to defend themselves they are shot down in cold blood. . . . H o w long, O Lord, how long before the people of this land will rise u p in righteous w r a t h and say to these souless corporations "You shall not do this thing." . . . O h , for another Lincoln to rise u p in w r a t h and free the industrial slave. 106

In the camps throughout the county, Greeks were caught and fined for carrying guns and attempting to intimidate nonstrikers from reaching the mines. The Hiawatha and Sunnyside stages were stopped regularly by strikers and searched for guns. In the hills near Kenilworth a band of 150 men, "mostly foreigners," were accused of firing on mine properties. The United Mine Union officials and Sam A. King, Salt Lake attorney 106

Wyoming Labor Journal, May 19, 1922.

Carbon County Strike of 1922


who represented Greeks in Carbon County in both small and large legal matters and was greatly respected and trusted by them, denied this. William Houston of the United Mine Workers said the shooting was done by mine guards "to frighten the governor into sending the militia into Carbon County." 107 On June 13, the Sunnyside Italian band led a parade of four hundred miners to a lot near the Denver and Rio Grande Western depot in Price. After O. R. Ramsey, a national organizer, opened the meeting, the miners sang the "Battle Cry of Union." Sam King warned the men against violence. "Let the coal companies trample on the laws of the land every minute of the day," he said, "yet all you men must stand strictly within the law or be condemned by the public of this state, and without the support of public opinion, no strike can be won." He then suggested a compromise to present to the mine operators: If the mine guards were removed, and if there would be no discrimination for strike activity, the miners would return to work. The secretary of the Wyoming Miners Union, James Morgan, convinced the men to stay out to help win the, national strike.108 The Federal Council of Religious Bodies asked President Warren Harding to settle the strike.109 The suffering of women and children in tent colonies was given wide publicity. Some strikers in Carbon County moved their families into nearby towns and were chastized by the secretary of the Wyoming Miners Union for deserting "the protesting tent life." 110 On June 14, Governor Mabey announced that National Guard units in Salt Lake City and Ogden were ready to proceed to Carbon County. Machine guns and other equipment had already been sent there. Two days later the troops went in to occupy the coal fields.111 On the same day, strikers trying to stop a train on its way to Spring Canyon killed Deputy Sheriff Arthur P. Webb of Standardville and wounded H. E. Lewis, general manager of the Standard Coal Company. The train was being driven by Superintendent C. I. Vaughn of the Utah Railway Company; the train crew at Castle Gate had refused to handle it. A wounded Greek striker, Andre Vulis (Andreas Zulis), was arrested. Vaughn and Lewis said the shooting was started by the strikers 107

Salt Lake Tribune, June 3, 1922. Ibid., June 13, 1922; Sun, June 16, 1922. 109 Salt Lake Telegram, June 13, 1922. 110 Sun, June 16, 1922. 111 Salt Lake Telegram, June 14, 1922. 108


Utah Historical


who were on either side of the tracks in the narrow canyon. Sam King gave the strikers' version: The pickets insist that when the train left the tunnel portal, near which the shooting occurred, they acted in their usual manner, a number approaching the train on the track and in the open. They say that firing at once started from the train, and that the Greek was shot at that time. Some of the strikers made for cover; some remained in the open, and some returned the fire. . . . They insist that the train carried both guards and strike breakers and that judging by the number of shots fired from the train, the strikebreakers must have been armed. 112

The following day the National Guard commander, Major Elmer Johnson, ordered patrols on Helper's streets, roads, and at the railroad station. All vehicles and persons at the freight depot were ordered searched and "none but American citizens allowed to leave without proper authority." Miners were taken from their tent colony by guards, "lined up in a field where Major Johnson told them the meaning of martial law and that they must give up their arms. The women and children of the miners followed them. The major's speech was interpreted by Peter Karikaris, a leader among foreign miners." 113 Andreas Zulis, the wounded Greek miner, had disappeared while under custody, and the militia rampaged through the town and tent colony in search of him. Greek stores and pool halls were closed. At the Liberty Pool Hall in Spring Canyon fifteen men entered, all but one with masks or blackened faces, and drove nine Greeks at gun point down the canyon, warning them not to return. Fifty other men were waiting outside of the pool hall in support of the masked men. 114 Sam King condemned the mob and said: "Upon my arrival in Price a week ago to try a murder case, a deputy sheriff informed me in the very courthouse that it would not be long before every foreigner on strike would be driven out of the county and there would be no place in the county for their sympathizers, including their attorney." 115

Two days later troops raided all pool halls and coffeehouses in Helper searching for guns. Fourteen Greeks and one Italian were arrested for the murder of Webb on H. E. Lewis's identification. Sam King attempted to have the trials moved to another county because of the intense feeling against the Greeks. His request for change of venue argued that the people of the county were already prejudiced against the men through the 112

Salt Lake Tribune, June 15, 1922. Ibid., June 16, 1922. ™Ibid. ™Ibid. 113

Carbon County Strike of 1922


biased newspaper coverage of the killing. He quoted from The Sun: "Strikers kill Webb. Strikers fire into moving train." Which left, he said, no question in the readers' minds as to the men's guilt. The Sun reported: " . . . feeling high in Spring Canyon with a bunch of red-blooded citizens out to clean up on the disturbers." The Sun argued that the residents of the county were not bloodthirsty, as King implied, but only desirous of justice. County Attorney Dalton produced affidavits from seven hundred citizens, "all disinterested," to repudiate King's accusation of prejudice. The change of venue was denied and the trials began. George Manousos was tried first for the assault on Sam Dorrity and was Sam A. King, attorney for Greek strikers accused of murder in the sentenced to twenty years. After a long, Carbon County Strike of 1922. bitter trial, Pete Kukis, the first dePhotograph from the Utah State Historial Society. fendant in the Webb murder trial, who had a wife and child in Greece, was sentenced to life imprisonment. Next Mike Zulakis was sentenced to ten years. King still sought to move the trials to another district and his request was finally granted. The case was transferred to Castle Dale, an isolated Mormon community farther south in the eastern Utah desert. The trial was a sensation for the inhabitants to whom the Mediterreaneans were a novelty and the streams of cars bringing people from Carbon County an unusual activity. There Pagialakis was sentenced to ten years. Throughout the case, County Attorney Dalton's prosecutions were based on the men being undesirable immigrants who negated American institutions by joining strikes. He castigated the men for not serving in the world war. These two facts made it certain that none of the men would escape imprisonment. "A vicious element," The Sun called the Greeks, "unfit for citizenship . . . must America be a haven for foreign born, criminally inclined persons?" In the same issue Greek consul Stylian Staes' arrest was noted


Utah Historical


for "going to Kenilworth with W. H. Bennet, well known throughout the local coal camps as an agitator. . . . Efforts to secure his release on the ground of the privileges of his position as Greek consul availed Staes little as far as the arresting guardsmen were concerned." 116 In the following weekly issue, The Sun carried the headline: "UTAH'S STRIKING MINERS ARE VICTIMS O F DELUSION IMPOSED BY OTHERS." The miners were called foolish for listening to "transient and designing strikemakers." The excellence of the mining camps, their "nice" living conditions, their "proper wages" were extolled. An editorial in the News Advocate blamed the citizens of the United States for not demanding immigration laws to keep out undesirables, laws that would place the "burden of proof on the alien who is a menace so that he can be deported easily and quickly," and for not demanding Americanization schools where aliens would be compelled to learn the language of the country. Of the 3,000 Greeks in the county, only 100 of t h e m are married. . . . T h e aliens claim they are too tired to go to school in the evening. T h e y should have t h o u g h t of that before coming over. . . . T h e local Greek priest has been in America twelve years a n d can not speak or u n d e r s t a n d a word of English. . . . If he doesn't w a n t to learn the American language so that he can converse with local people, he should go back to w h e r e Greek is the national language. 1 1 7

The trials were moved to Salt Lake City where they dragged on for more than a year with many delays and appeals. Two of the men were given indeterminate sentences, three were acquitted, and the trial news dropped from the newspapers. The first degree murder trial of Sheriff Young had been postponed several times and then dismissed.118 The Greeks bitterly compared the long, difficult trials of their countrymen with the quick exoneration of Young. To them the imprisoned men were condemned because they were Greek. George Zoumadakis who was involved in the strike says : T e n a s was shot in the back. T h e news spread like fire a n d you know us Cretans, h o w easy we b u r n . We gathered from all the camps with guns and knives, Italians a n d Austrians too. O n Tuesday T e n a s was buried. It's true w h a t the papers said. A few hot heads tried to d r a g a n d burn the American flag a n d the rest of us h a d to fight them, not only for the respect of a flag, but we knew we'd be in for great trouble. 116

Sun, June 30, 1922. News Advocate, July 13, 1922. 118 "Criminal Register, Book No. 2" (Price Courthouse), Case No. 515, p. 39 June 8 1922* "Justice Court, Price City Court" (Price Courthouse), pp. 129, 260, 263. ' 117

Carbon County Strike of 1922


The next day we found the whole county banded against us. We had to move about in large groups as we did in the first years in this country. Those of us who had businesses with the least connection with the mines had papers nailed on our doors forbidding any miner to enter on penalty of losing his job and being blacklisted in all the mines of the West. Two patriots and I had a large building in Spring Canyon. We'd built it ourselves at a cost of $7,000 with a 99-year lease from the mine company. We had a coffeehouse, grocery and clothing store there, an inventory of $18,000. The company closed our building. Our food was spoiling, and a condition for the leasing was that there would be no interruption of service. The man from the New Peerless mine offered us $1800 for our inventory. Our backs to the wall, we took it. A few weeks later a train load of scabs, scum picked up on Salt Lake's Second South, were on a train coming up the canyon to the Standard Mine. Our men riddled the train with bullets, and the scabs fired back. One of our boys, Andreas Zulis (Zulakis) had his arm hanging" by a shred. Two patriots took him to a doctor in Helper who sewed him up. He had lost a lot of blood. The doctor wouldn't let Zulis leave. It was against the law, he said. Zulis fainted every time we tried to move him. Sheriff Cook took him to the coffeehouse of John Buzis and left him in his custody while he went for help. Two of us got some money together and went to Spiros Vlamakis who had a car. We told him, "Spiro, Zulis is in danger. Take this money and get him to Mexico." Spiros put him in the car. Zulis was weak and in pain, but Spiros got him to Mexico. From there he went to Greece eventually. He knew he'd rot in jail or maybe be hanged if he ever crossed the border. When Cook came back and found Zulis gone, John Buzis was taken to jail. The militia went wild, ransacking the tents and shacks some miners had moved into. Greeks were lined up in the Helper school yard and H.E. Lewis pointed out the men he said were in the canyon. Some were chosen who hadn't been there; some who were there were not. The men were rotting in prison for the killing of Webb. Sam King tried everything he could, but nothing worked. Only if H.E. Lewis would sign that he was not sure he had the right men picked out that day, could anything be done. We convinced him to sign.119

The strike ended without unionization of the mines. The Greeks were held as the perpetrators of the strike; they would strike again. They would never be satisfied until "they had taken over."

Interview with the author April 21, 1966.

Joseph Sargetakis on the right with a friend coming out of the Castle Gate Mine No. 2 where he lost his life in an explosion March 8,1924. Photograph furnished by Steve Sargetakis.

Tragedy and Hate


HILE THE TRIALS went on, the Castle Gate Mine Number 2 exploded on March 8, 1924. One hundred and seventy-two men were killed leaving 417 dependents. 120 In seven families the father and oldest son were killed. Rescue teams under the direction of Imer Pett, manager of Bingham Mines Company, worked ten days to remove the bodies. Women brought pet canaries for their use in the rescue work. At the faintest sign of gas the canaries died, and the rescue teams waited until canaries survived in the rubble before continuing. Mass burials were held as the bodies were brought up. Fifty Greeks were killed. The Greek church in Price was not large enough to hold services for the men and a public hall was used. The widows' keening of the mirologia, eerie high-pitched dirges recounting extemporaneously the life and hopes of the dead, echoed through Greek Towns. Black-dressed widows, children, and friends followed the caskets to the graveyards. The priest in black robes of mourning chanted final prayers, and the caskets were lowered into rocky excavations. On each casket, the priest sprinkled a few drops of holy oil and threw a handful of dirt. Crowded about, the people picked up a little dirt and tossed it into the open graves. The caskets were covered, rocks clanking on them. Black crosses with the names of the dead in Greek letters were driven into the ground. Greek businessmen of Helper asked donations among the Greeks to provide food and money for the dead men's families. A public subscription raised $131,351.75 for relief;121 a Workmen's Compensation Law was not in effect then. The Industrial Commission ordered Utah Fuel Company to pay approximately $5,000 to widows with children.122 A few widows took their money in one payment and returned to Crete. After a year the Greek orphans discarded their black clothing, but their mothers wore black dresses, stockings, and black Mother Hubbard caps for the rest of their lives. At the same time of the trials a newly revived southern organization, the Ku Klux Klan, took equal space in the newspapers. On the day of Manousos's conviction for assault on Sam Dorrity, an article appeared in the News Advocate entitled "What Ku Klux Klan Stands For." It listed many divergent principles from "protecting American womanhood" to preventing fires. Newspapers gave sanction to the Klan with 120

Historical Records Survey, Inventory of the County Archives of Utah, Carbon County, No. 4 (Ogden, 1940), 15. 121 Ibid. 122 U t a h , Public Documents, 1923-1924, Sec. 12, Report of the Industrial Commission, 191.

Burial of Greek miners killed in the Castle Gate mine explosion. Photograph from the Fiftieth Anniversary Book of the "Assumption" Greek O r t h o d o x C h u r c h of Price.

their continuing campaign against aliens. "Scum of Europe a Menace to the U.S." 1L>3 and "Immigration Worst Menace" 124 were typical news headings that continued into 1923 and 1924. The year 1923 was significant in the number of Greek businesses that were operating successfully in the state. Many native American girls were employed by the Greeks causing increasing tension, particularly in Carbon County. In late summer a young girl was assaulted and Greeks were blamed fork. The News Advocate oi August 2, 1923, reported: A mistaken idea prevailed that the men in the case were Greeks and indignation was centered against the Greek business houses of the city. Handbills were printed and posted carrying a warning that American girls would not be allowed to work in Greek confectionaries and restaurants, that no foreigners would be allowed to employ American girls in any capacity and that foreigners should not speak to American girls on the street on penalty of severe treatment. T h e handbill also stated that only the American language should be spoken on the streets of Price.

The article continued with a report on a fight between Steve Denos, a Greek who was supervising the finishing of his building in Price, and his workmen over one of the handbills nailed on to his building. A disturbance grew that threatened to become violent. It was stopped by 123 124

News Advocate, November 16, 1922. Ibid., July 6, 1922.

Tragedy and Hate


Sheriff Deming who informed the gathering of Denos's rights. Many Price citizens, the paper stated, denounced the mob. The News Advocate continued: I t [the paper] maintains as strongly as ever t h a t there is too large a percentage of undesirables a m o n g the Greek immigrants. T h e r e are however a large n u m b e r of Greeks m a k i n g an earnest effort to be good citizens, to help build u p the communities in which they live a n d they deserve credit for their efforts. T h e r e are lots of people in C a r b o n County of various nationalities w h o are just as undesirable as the most undesirable Greeks.

The paper concluded that if parents of American girls allowed them to work for Greeks, nothing could be done. The Sun joined in condemning the men who invaded the Greek restaurant kitchens and ordered the "American" girls home. A week later the Greek priest, Father Damaskinos Smyrnopoulos, made a public protest that was printed by the News Advocate. The paper also contained a reprint from a San Francisco paper entitled, "Alien Influx Is National Menace: Must Be Stopped." A week later an American Legion convention was given front page space with the caption, "America Must Combat all Radicalism; Immigrant an American Soon or Menace." The IWW should be kept in prison, the speakers said, and as for immigrants there were too many who could not read or write English and their foreign-language newspaper should not be permitted circulation. The complete failure of the compulsory education program, which required immigrants who could not read or write English at the fifthCastle Gate, the entrance to the thirty mines of Carbon County. This landmark has been obliterated by the new highway. Photograph furnished by Mrs. Julian Adams.


Utah Historical


grade level to pay a $10.00 registration fee and to begin classes, was acknowledged. The aliens were either belligerent or made sport of the program. The trouble between natives and aliens was heightening each day. In the summer of 1924, the national pre-election campaigns recognized the existence of the Ku Klux Klan. In Utah the Democratic plank, executed by James H. Waters, state chairman, took a stand against the Klan. But all over the United States the Klan candidates were often winners. In Idaho the Democrats adopted a Klan plank. The activities of the Klan with their burning, flogging, and intimidation were daily news. In Utah the Klan paraded in Salt Lake City125 and in Magna and burned crosses on the Oquirrh foothills and in Helper, Utah. In Magna the Greeks followed the Klan to the park, pulled off their robes, and found what were called "prominent citizens" among the marchers. In Helper and Price the names of Klansmen filtered through to the immigrants. It was not a social stigma to belong to the Klan. Helper, with its thirty-two different nationalities, was the center of the Klan activity. In Price and in the coal camps incidents were minor and were directed against business houses. But in Helper the entire population was inThe climax of the Ku Klux Klan volved in the intensity of the Klan's campaign in Carbon County, the lynching of a Negro in 1925. demonstrations. Photograph furnished by The superior business establishMrs. Pete Pappas. ments of the Greeks were a factor. The Golden Rule Store, Success Market, Grill Cafe, Palace Candy Store, and The Toggery, among others, were leading businesses. When threats were made to the Italians through Italian banker Joseph Barboglio and to the Greeks through George Zeese, the two nationalities and the Slavic people banded together. The Irish-Catholic railroad men set themselves apart from their fellow workmen and joined the immigrants. Press Bulletin (Bingham), February 28, 1925.

Tragedy and Hate


At night the Klan burned crosses on a mountainside and across the narrow valley the Catholics burned circles in answer. Hooded men had been seen in the vicinity of the Mormon church situated at the side of the railroad yards, and the immigrants believed that the Mormons were their robed enemies. The Klan filed papers of incorporation in Salt Lake City asking the right to establish branches throughout the counties of the state. By this time the Klan was falling into disgrace. The resistance of the aliens and the Catholics continued and before the year was out, the Klan was forced underground. The Ku Klux Klan episode was the last overt instance of prejudice against the Greek immigrants in the state, but the frustrated impulse to violence that had grown in Carbon County for years culminated in the lynching of a Negro. The influence of professional people was the important factor in the social climate in mining towns. In Bingham where doctors, teachers, and later mine superintendents were interested in the immigrants, there was less hostility than in places like Carbon County where professional people were apathetical and often antagonistic. A generation of children of Greek parentage was growing up with these events coloring and determining their lives. They took in the mistrust of the "Americans" from their parents. They did not know where their loyalties lay. The older girls of this generation, now in their late fifties, lived a hard life. To protect them from American influences, they were cloistered, their education cut short, and married, younger than they would have been in Greece, to much older men, the once obstreperous "disturbers of the peace." These women were far more Greek than American.

Prosperity and Depression

Prosperity of the twenties. Jim MarMelis of Magna and his American bridk Photograph from the Magita Times, Edith Ridge, editor:


N THE 1920's Greek schools were established in Salt Lake City, Bingham, Price, Helper, Tooele, and Midvale. (The first Ogden classes were begun in 1932.) Children attended classes after regular school, and sometimes on Saturday, in various buildings, private homes, and church basements. The quality of the teachers' educational backgrounds varied greatly. At times the children were taught by teachers who had only a year more schooling than their fathers. Often the Greek priest led the classes. There were a few exceptional teachers. Among the early teachers were: Gus Kambourakis, James Demas, John Klekas, Mrs. Harry Moscho, James Gray (Kyriakos), Mrs. John Praggastis, Mrs. John Demiris, Mrs. James Skedros, assisted by Dorothy Katris, Mrs. Harry Benakis, Miss Helen Haliori, Demetrios Zaharogiannis, Mrs. Gus Cutrubus, Panayioties Yanopoulos, Andonios Voyagis, and Mrs. Louis Frickson. One of the obstacles to learning Greek in these schools was the teaching of the purist language, the katharevousa.126 When Greece won her independence from the Turks, educators with nationalistic zeal and in an attempt to return to the purity of ancient Greek, stripped the language of foreign words left by the various conquerors and of many folk words used by the common people. The result was an artificial language not spoken at home nor anywhere else. Of all aspects of Greek immigrant life, the Greek school emphasized the foreignness of the children's background. With the immense prejudice of Americans and the isolationist policies of the United States government, it was unfashionable to be of another culture. To Americans the presence of Greek schools in their communities was the final evidence that the Greeks would never become Americanized. Mothers had not learned to speak English. Children were constantly admonished to speak Greek in their houses and to keep Greek customs and ideas. Yet Americanization was quietly going on in small ways: the buying and decorating of Christmas trees, installing pews in churches, the increasing use of English. In the 1920's the Panhellenic unions were disbanded. Many organizations took their place, the members representing a common origin in certain areas of Greece. The large Minos Club represented the Greeks from Crete. Athanasios Diakos was composed of men from the Roumeli province of Greece. The Arcadian Brotherhood consisted of men from the Peloponnese. In Salt Lake City an additional society was formed, the 126 Dalven, Modern Greek Poetry, Introduction; Mary Gianos, Modern Greek Literature (New York, 1969).

Top—The Salt Lake City Greek school in the middle twenties. The adults are (left to right), Helen Haliori, teacher; Mike Varanakis, William Souvall, and George Fountas, school committee members; and Mrs. John Demiris, teacher. Photograph furnished by Mrs. Peter Demiris. Middle—The Price Greek school of the middle twenties. Photograph from the Fiftieth Anniversary Book of the "Assumption" Greek O r t h o d o x C h u r c h of Price. Bottom—Mrs. Mary Benakis Alfieris, Greek school teacher in the Carbon County and Salt Lake City areas for many years. Photograph furnished by Mrs. John Leventis.

Magna Greek school. Photograph furnished by Mrs. John Klekas.

Greek school in Bingham. On the left is the teacher Andonios Voyagis; the priest is Father Stephanos Angelopoulos. Photograph furnished by Mayor Peter C. Dimas, Bingham.

The Ogden Greek school in 1932. The teachers are Panayiotis Yanopoulos and Mrs. Gus Cutrubus. Photograph furnished by Nina Cutrubus.


Utah Historical Quarterly

Panahaikos for men from the province of Ahaioelidos. Women's auxiliaries and young people's groups were also established. Whatever their origin in Greece, almost all men belonged to either the Ahepa, the American Hellenic Progressive Association, or the GAPA, the Greek American Progressive Association. The Ahepa was organized primarily to counteract hostility towards Greeks. It was oriented towards assimilation with emphasis on the use of English, the language spoken in meetings. Ahepans emulated American lodges. The men wore white flannel pants and carried canes. Their national conventions were elaborate affairs in expensive hotels with formal balls and reigning queens. The GAPA was interested mainly in preserving the Greek language and traditions. Its members were conservative. They dressed in dark business suits and shunned flamboyance. Their favorite gathering was the mountain picnic with lambs roasting on spits. Americanization begins in small ways. The decorated Christmas tree was unknown in Greece. Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Halles and friends. Photograph furnished by Steve Sargetakis.

Prosperity and Depression


Picnic of the Utah Cretan Club Minos in the late twenties. Match-making was one of the activities at picnics. Photograph furnished by Steve Sargetakis.

The 1920's were the prime of Greek immigrant life. The Greeks were now American citizens. They were still young; their children were small, dutifully following It was rare for a son of Greek immigrant Greek customs. In Greek parents to get through childhood without having his picture taken in the Towns a few sheepmen's fuoustanella. Dr. James Pappas, University of wives still carded wool, not Utah Psychology Department. through necessity, but habit. Photograph furnished by Mrs. Pete Pappas. Bread was still baked in mud ovens and the yeasty scent was in the air; boys, their heads shaved to make their new hair strong, wore kneelength rubber boots and trampled on grapes in galvanized tubs; girls sat on front porches and embroidered pillowcases for trouseaus, the American dowry. Picnics were held regularly on Sundays in nearby canyons. Often Greeks from the Salt Lake area and those from Carbon County met halfway to share the day. Men went to the picnic sites

Picnics were a Sunday habit in the twenties and thirties. A group of Magna residents. Nationalism was so important to the Greeks that they took their flags along on picnics. Photograph furnished by Angelo Heleotes.

A GAPA picnic. Stylian Staes, Greek vice-consul for Utah, Nevada, and Idaho (1922) is at the center left. Photograph furnished by Paul G. Borovilos.


Plays of the thirties were performed on March 25, the date of the Revolution of 1821 that began a long struggle to overthrow the Turkish rulers. A play in Salt Lake City. Photograph furnished by Paul G. Borovilos.

Prosperity and Depression


before daybreak to roast lambs. Mothers made cheese pastries and honey and nut delicacies with an extra supply for the bachelors to take to their hotel rooms. For hours men played lyras, clarinos} and laoutos while the young parents and their children danced. The old laments against Fate, the great feats of the guerrilla klefts against the Turks were sung until the sun went down. Plays were produced on the theme of the Greek-Turkish war and given on March 25, the anniversary of the revolt. In Carbon County the girl stuTwo Cretans, the one on the right dents of the Greek schools took all unaccountably dressed in the parts. In Salt Lake City, the adults foustanella of the mainland Greeks were the actors. with whom they competed and often feuded. Photograph Greek immigrant life in the 1920's furnished by Mrs. Pete Georgelas. was also one of turmoil. Labor troubles and immigrant problems had welded the immigrants together, but a Greek political crisis produced a nationwide schism among the Greeks in the United States.127 With their nationalism as intense in the new country as in their native land, the Greeks followed the events in partisan Greek newspapers, debated, and fought over them in coffeehouses and wherever Greeks gathered. Followers of Premier Eleftherios Venizelos, the Cretan statesman, and those of King Constantine were as avidly loyal in America as in Greece. The formation of a Greek Orthodox archdiocese in America aligned the Liberal followers of Venizelos with Meletios Metaxakis, Metropolitan of Athens, and Bishop Alexander against the Royalist Bishop Germanos Troianos. For the ten years of the 1920's many churches were closed for long periods of time; some offered liturgies intermittently. In Carbon County where Greeks were evenly divided between Cretans and Roumeliots, the feud was incendiary. Many Cretans had come to the coal mines directly from the Bingham Strike of 1912. The harsh memories of mainland Greeks having been used as strikebreakers against them burst out. At the height of the 1922 labor troubles, a Greek was killed over the Royalist-Venizelist issue.128 127

Saloutos, Greeks in the United States, Chap. 14. Sun, February 3, 1922.



Utah Historical


During these years children attended church sporadically. In Ogden, that had too few people to sustain a Greek church, children sometimes attended the Episcopal church with which the Greek Orthodox church holds in common the Nicene Creed and the recognition of each others' sacraments. The Y M C A of Helper gave a foundation in the Bible to many children, sons and daughters of Royalists and Venizelists. Prosperity continued for all Greeks during the 1920's. Mines, mills, and smelters were working at full capacity. The exodus from Greek Towns began. The trickle of laborers who had left labor for business became a great force and continued to be until the stock market crash of 1929. The Greek population remained considerably stable. In Carbon County the closing of the mines forced many Cretan families to move to The YMCA Sunday school in Helper, Utah. Many children of Greek immigrants attended Sunday school here while the Greek churches in America were undergoing a civil war. The Diamanti, Jouflas, Pallios, Zekas, and Zeese children. Photograph furnished by Mrs. Julian Adams.

The consecration of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox church, Salt Lake City, August 2, 1925. The man behind and to the right of the priest holding the Bible is Nick Tsiboukis, maker of the communion wine for many years. Only a person of the highest integrity was allowed^ to make wine for communion. Photograph furnished by Paul G. Borovilos.

California in hopes of finding work with countrymen in the grape region. Rows of boarded-up company houses stood deserted among tumbleweeds. Sheepmen saw the price of lambs fall from $18.00 a head to $3.00. The price of wool was so low it was not worth the money to graze sheep. Greek sheepmen suffered the bitter experience of riding the livestock freights with their sheep, unloading them, watering and feeding them, finding no buyers, loading them again at Grand Junction, Colorado, at Denver, at The first board of trustees of the newly erected Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Salt Lake City, 1925. Photograph fuurnished by Mrs. James Skedros.

A Fourth of July parade in Helper, Utah, 1930. The GAPA led by Chris Jouflas, left, mayor of Helper for many years, and James Diamanti (right), owner of Carbon Fuel Company. Photograph furnished by Mrs. Basil Theodore.


pÂŁ r . ; ; ;;.


First prize in the Covered Wagon Days Parade 1935 won by the Salt Lake Greek church. Photograph furnished by Paul G. Borovilos.

The committee for the Covered Wagon Days 1935 float. Left to right, first row James Latsis, John Kotsovos, Philip Drandos, Peter Athas, Nick Metis, William Cayias. Second row James Lambros, P. S. Marthakis, Nick Jerefos, Gus Captain. The boy is Raymond Cayias. Photograph furnished by Mrs. Nick Jerefos.

Greek Land


Stellios Kotsolios, owner of the Stadium Cafe in Salt Lake City, who cooked for Greek bachelors for more than fifty years. As a young man (center) fighting the Turks in his native Crete. Photograph furnished by Con Skedros.

Omaha, at Kansas City, and abandoning them in the Chicago stockyards. In the jargon of the Depression, the banks "owned" the sheepmen. Many Greek sheepmen turned from the Republican to the Democratic party during the Depression. A remnant of the thousands of Greek miners who had worked in the Carbon County mines, a hundred or less (the companies had stopped listBill Flemetakis of Price. He and his wife have served Greek food to Greek bachelors and others for nearly fifty-five years. Photograph furnished by Mrs. Albert Veltri.

Mrs. Mary Nikas Berbis, who has given a full life of service to the Greek church of Price. Photograph from the Fiftieth Anniversary Book of the "Assumption" Greek O r t h o d o x C h u r c h .

Mrs. Nick F. (Bessie Ditnton) Karras, who established a Sunday School in Price that was taught in English. Photograph from the Fiftieth Anniversary Book of the "Assumption" Greek O r t h o d o x C h u r c h .

Utah Historical



ing miners by nationalities) were involved in the Coal Strike of 1933. A feud between the National Miners Union, rumored to be Communist controlled and guilty of syndicalism, and the United Mine Workers worsened the strike. The National Guard was called in. Use of tear gas, beatings, and the jailing of 260 miners left a pall of hate over the coal towns.129 While American policies of German, Italian, and Slavic organizations in America were influenced by political leaders in their former countries, the opposite was true of Greek organizations. These often exerted pressure on the Greek government to change policies in Greece. The bleakness of the depressed times did not prevent the Greek people from holding picnics in the summer, and performing plays in the winter. The plays cost little and brought the people together. All organizations were involved in helping their members who were without work and those who were ill. Because many families could not afford the $3.00 necessary for the Easter lamb, the two churches provided the Sunday Feast of Agape (Christian Love). The climax of every year for the Orthodox is Holy Week. Forty days before Easter, the people begin to relive the events of Christ's life. The 129

Salt Lake Tribune, August 28, 1933; Deseret News, August 24, 25, 28, 1933.

The most important event of the year for Greeks is Holy Week. Roast lamb is eaten on Easter Sunday in commemoration of Christ's Passion and Resurrection. Members of the Gust Pappas and Nick Galanis families in Price. Photograph furnished by Mrs. L. P. Guy, Jr.

Prosperity and Depression


chandeliers of the churches are dimmed. All meat and meat products are forbidden. On Great Thursday a black cross is carried three times around the church while profound grief is intoned. On Great Friday His flowered tomb is carried three times around the inside of the church to the singing of dirges. In the first days in America, the immigrants followed the custom of Greece. In Price the tomb was taken through Main Street; in Salt Lake City, the procession followed around the church block. On Great Saturday night the church is in black stillness. At midnight a small light appears in the sanctuary. The priest approaches and lights candles held before him. Those holding burning candles give light to their neighbors. The Resurrection song begins softly: "Christ is arisen, Truly arisen." As more candles are lighted the song grows louder, certain, joyous. The Resurrection has come to Christ and all mortals. Fasting is over. The Easter feast rewards the faithful with roast lamb, symbol of Christ, eggs dyed red for His blood, goat cheese pastries, and honey and nut sweets. The first of the young people were of high-school age during the Depression. The Sons of Pericles and the Ahepa Band in Salt Lake City,

The flowered tomb of Christ is carried around the Salt Lake church on Good Friday evening while dirges are sung. The two tombs here represent separate liturgies; the great number of parishioners in the past required a second service in the Memorial Hall. Photograph furnished by John Chipian.

The Ahepa Junior Band. Adults from the left are John Held, band leader; P. S. Marthakis, Nick Floor, Emmanuel Papanikolas, and Gus Paulos. Photograph furnished by Nick Papanikolas.

both supported by the Ahepa, brought boys together from Bingham, Magna, Murray, Midvale, and Salt Lake City. The GAPA girls organizations, the Demetra Club in Salt Lake City, and the Athena Club in Carbon County provided companionship for girls in their growing years. Sons of Greek immigrants in Bingham and Magna were brought into baseball and other community activities by Catholic priests. The GAPA girls' organization, the Demetra Club of Salt Lake City in the early thirties. Photograph furnished by Mrs. Ted Heleotes.

Interior view of the Price Greek Orthodox church, the Assumption. Photograph from the Fiftieth Anniversary Book of the "Assumption' Greek Orthodox Church of Price.


My Country 'tis of Thee



HE ENTRANCE of the United States into the second world war revealed no greater patriots than the naturalized American citizens of Greek birth. They followed the newspapers and radio broadcasts with the same inten-

The Price Greek Orthodox church, the Assumption. Photograph from the FiftieuVAnniversary Book of the "Assumption" Greek O r t h o d o x C h u r c h of Price.

sity that their fathers, sitting in old country coffeehouses, discussed, debated, and fought over Greek crises. These newer American citizens were still vitally interested in Greece and her fate, but now American affairs took precedence. Many of their sons were in the United States forces. Four hundred and forty were from the Salt Lake congregation and 125 from the Carbon County congregation. Twenty did not return.130 A Memorial Hall was erected to honor them adjoining the Holy Trinity Church in Salt Lake City. This church, located on Second West and Third South, had been consecrated on August 25, 1925.131 At the same time American-born men of Greek parentage were taking the vows of the Greek Orthodox priesthood. This had a strong impact on the Greek church. Sunday schools began to be taught in English, a 130

Greek church records of Salt Lake City and Price. , - l T ^ e ^ C O ÂŁ S t r u C . t i o i ^ C o m m i t t e e i n c l u d e d George Zeese, P. E. Athas, P. S. Marthakis, Sam Kounahs, G. C. Captain, Gus Anton, George Cayias, and L. N. Strike.

'My Country 'tis of Thee3


necessity, since Greek was not being used as the principle language in the homes of the immigrants' children. Also many of the children had married people of other faiths. Contrary to the immigrants' efforts, the inevitable was happening. There are not enough Greek priests in America, but the Orthodox church is strong. The Philoptochos (Friend of the Poor), the A memorial service for King George II of Greece. The affairs of Greece have always women's church organiza- been important to Greeks in the United States. tion, performs a vital role in Adults from left are Father Antonios all church affairs. On De- Kalogeropoulos; Pete Tausoulis, honored for a lifetime of service to the Salt Lake Greek cember 21, 1968, a Greek church; Louis Flengas, chanter; and church, The Transfiguration, Paul Borovilos, president of the Salt Lake church for five years. Photograph furnished was consecrated in Ogden,132 by Paul G. Borovilos. and in August 1969, another, Prophet Elias, in Holladay held ground-breaking ceremonies. Children and grandchildren of the first Greeks have built on the sturdy foundations laid by the immigrants. After the war thousands of Greeks, who had come to America in the first days of the century, went back to visit their native land. They built churches and schoolhouses; brought water lines to replace village "Tor a history of the Ogden church see C. Nina Cutrubus album on the Ogden church consecration in the process of being published. Articles of incorporation of the Greek Orthodox church in Ogden were filed in October 1954. The committee officers were Gus J. Cutrubus, chairman; Gus G. Mahas, vice-chairman; Helen Mahlis, secretary; and Alex Papageorge, treasurer. The Salt Lake Holy Trinity by George Theodore.

Greek Orthodox




The Ogden Greek Orthodox church, the Transfiguration. Photograph furnished by George Theodore.

wells; and gave dowries, farm animals, tractors, automobiles, and millions of dollars to help the country recover from the devastation of war. They brought, too, a new generation of Greeks to the United States. The American government allowed great numbers of immigrants entrance to aid in alleviating Greece's destitution. These newer immigrants have shown the same industriousness as that of their predecessors. The Holladay Greek Orthodox church, the Prophet Elias. Photograph furnished by George Theodore.

'My Country 'tis of Thee'


They have come from the same poverty. When the United States in 1921 placed a quota of one hundred Greeks per year, money sent to Greece declined. The Depression brought it to a trickle. By 1939 the average income per person in Greece was $75.00 a year. Indirect taxes on necessities brought the actual figure even lower.133 The Greece the first immigrants left seventy years ago has made advances. The new Greek immigrants have a higher degree of literacy. Education is compulsory. Roads have made villages accessible. Both of these factors have lessened the isolation of provinces from each other. The new immigrants are not eager to join organizations representing the provinces, nor are they joining the large general lodges. They see no need for them. They have not had the experiences of prejudice that turned the first Greeks inward. To them the church is the binding force of ethnic life. Nor do they think it necessary to shorten their names for convenience as the first Greeks were often ordered to do by judges granting them citizenship. Much has happened since those first days of abusive newspaper reporting and real-estate clauses prohibiting Greeks from living in certain areas. The America the new immigrants have come to has vastly changed. It has found that assimilation comes with time and varying degrees for 133

Stavrianos, Balkans Since 1453, 681.

A present-day Greek school in Price. Photograph from the Fiftieth Anniversary Book of the "Assumption" Greek O r t h o d o x C h u r c h of Price.

Archbishop Iakovos, primate of North and South America, at the consecration of the Ogden church, The Transfiguration. Father Demetrios Simeonidis, Ogden priest is at left and Father Elias Stephanopoulos, Salt Lake priest at right. Photograph furnished by Nina Cutrubus.

different cultures. There were no outcries when the immigration doors were opened to the Greeks after the second world war. Greece had amazed the world when Mussolini's mechanized army landed on the western shores of Greece. The Greeks painted the word "Ohi" (No) in great letters on her mountains, and poorly equipped and fed, they drove

"My Country 'tis of Thee"


the Italians back to the sea. Their heroism against the Nazi invaders further won the admiration of the world.134 At the end of the war, America invited Greek immigrants to become its citizens and gave great economic aid to Greece. Karl V. King, son of Sam King (the attorney for early Greeks), lobbied successfully to bring sheepherders from the Pyranees, northern Italy, and Greece. Many young Greeks came to Utah under this enabling legislation. Pictures of Mr. King, sent back to identify him when he traveled into the mountains of Central Greece for the Roumeliot sheepherders, were displayed in coffeehouses and cafes. He was recognized and welcomed everywhere from towns to remote villages.135 The end of seventy years in the new country shows that the initial contribution of the Greeks to the building of roads, railroads, and bridges, and the mining of coal and metals was followed by a significant entrance into business. The importance of education to the immigrants sent a large number of their children to college. The Salt Lake church has a greater number of college graduates in its congregation than any other Greek church in the United States.136 Among Utah Greeks and their children are members of every profession, in all levels of teaching, and, especially, in business. Two companies, the Ajax Company of Salt Lake City and the Carbon Fuel Company of Helper, sell their products throughout the world. The Greek Towns are gone. Greek schools are still held but with diminished enrollment. Few sheepmen's sons have chosen to carry on their fathers' lonely, vigorous life. The coffeehouses have closed; there are not enough old men to support them. Old-country customs of mourning have fallen away; the mirologia have not been sung since before the second world war; memorial wheat is no longer elaborately decorated, but enclosed in small, stapled plastic bags. Icons and vigil lights remain. Children of immigrant Greeks look back on their parents with the maturity of time and respect them for their triumphs. They infused new blood into America and with that of other immigrant groups helped it retain its vitality. America has well repaid them with opportunities found nowhere else in the world. 134

George Psychoundakis, The Cretan


trans, by Patrick Leigh Fermor (London,

1955). 135 Interview with Sam King, grandson of Sam A. King and son of Karl V. King, J a n u a r y 20, 1970. 136 Interview with Reverend Father Steven Katsaris.

HELEN ZEESE PAPANIKOLAS The daughter of a Greek immigrant family, Mrs. Helen Zeese Papanikolas has been prepared by birth and experience to write The Greek Immigrants of Utah. She was born in the little town of Cameron, Carbon C o u n t y — spending her young life and first schooling years there in intimate contact with the first and second generation Greeks of the area. Moving with her parents to Salt Lake City, she took her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Utah. She married Nick Papanikolas of the firm of Cannon-Papanikolas, and with him has raised a son and daughter, both of whom, like their mother, have been interested in writing. Mrs. Papanikolas has been closely involved in church and civic affairs, playing an active role in the Greek Orthodox church. She has worked for the placement and care of unfortunate children in her role as a board member of the Children's Service Society. The Utah State Historical Society has enjoyed a long and pleasant association with Mrs. Papanikolas. She has served on the Utah Historical Quarterly Advisory Board of Editors since its inception where she has rendered varied and valued services. She has done research in the Society's library and called many valuable manuscripts and other research material to the attention of the librarian. She is a past contributor to the Historical Quarterly upon whose pages her writing first appeared in 1954. She has also written for other publications including The Western Humanities Review. She is the author of a section on Greek folklore which will appear in a book on Utah Folklore presently being published by the University of Utah Press. In this issue of the Quarterly, Mrs. Papanikolas's happy facility for lucid and graceful expression, her intimate knowledge of the Greeks, and her valuable photographic collection come together in a most worthy contribution to the social history of the Intermountain West. CHARLES S. PETERSON


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