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Ten Companies Sent To Taylor Springs To Guard Works, Lives, And Property

650 National Guard Troops Arrive In Taylor Springs
650 National Guard Troops Arrive In Taylor Springs

August 14, 1923

Karbine still here but most of plant employees to not recognize union pleas.

Ten companies of troops, of the Illinois National Guard, arrived in Hillsboro Saturday morning, on an order from Sheriff Charles J. Hill, to protect the lives and property in Taylor Springs, from any violence which may result from the organized attempt of union sympathizers to form a union of the employers of the American smelter.

The troops are under the command of L. A. Culbertson, of Delavan, Colonel in the 130th Infantry, I. N. G., who with Dan Dineen, state labor mediator, was sent here by the adjutant general and the governor's secretary to investigate the situation. The outfit includes Troop F, 106th Cavalry, in command of Captain Norman J. Schultz; Troop G, 106th Cavalry, under Captain Bert Bringle; Co. C, 130th Infantry, under Captain William J. Butler; and Headquarters Company of the 130th, under Captain William Cookston; all Springfield troops; a medical detachment from Effingham, under Major Damlin; Co. A, of the 130th, from Decatur, under Capt. R. L. Crisp; Co. B, of the 130th, from Champaign, under Capt. Hennocks; Troop E, 106th Cavalry, from Urbana, under Captain Buchannon; Co. M., of the 130th, from Paris; and Co. D, of the 130th, from Danville, under Captain Coe.

The whistles of the plant blew for work Monday morning and about a hundred of the men reported for work. Others are expected to be back Tuesday. The company refuses to use strike-breakers. Monday morning, several men asked at the gate for work, but were told that the orders from the plant officials were to let none in but the regular employees. Carbine claims more than 200 followers among the smelter men. The smelter officials believe that 80 per cent of their regular men will return to work within a day or so. Some of them decline to work under the military guard.

The troops number 650 men. Machine gun companies were posted outside the stockade early Monday morning, ready to resist any violence. No disturbers put in an appearance. Things all day have been as quiet as could be asked. Carbine addressed a company of his followers Monday morning and asked them peacefully to plead for unionism.

Adjutant General Carlos E. Black arrived in Hillsboro by motor Saturday night and was to stay for several days for a personal investigation of the trouble. He returned to Springfield Sunday night, leaving no hint as to how long the troops would be here.

At the suggestion of several influential residents of the city, Sheriff Hill has begun swearing in a company of deputies to be used after the troops leave. These men will be trained for service and each issued rifles and side arms.

Following a conference at noon Monday, between Carbine and Col. Hunter, the latter left for Springfield, from where he will go to Kankakee, to interview Governor Small. Although no official statement was issued, it is generally believed among those studying the situation, that the Colonel will ask the Governor to recall the troops.

One hundred deputies, Hillsboro businessmen, farmers, representatives of almost every community in the county, held up their right hands and were given the solemn oath as deputies by Sheriff Charles J. Hill at 11 o'clock Monday morning. The number will be increased. Monday afternoon the new officers were divided into three groups, under the direction of Lewey Barringer, Ed Landers, and Ernest Fath. Barringer's company went on guard duty at the smelter at 4 o'clock Monday afternoon. They will be relieved at midnight. Each division will go on duty for an eight-hour shift.


I plan on posting more articles about this 1923 event. The Taylor Springs Illinois coal mine was union. The American Zinc Smelter was located next door to the mine and was not union. The union miners were pressuring the zinc employees to form a union. Management at American Zinc had enough and stopped buying coal from the Taylor Springs mine. The mine immediately closed putting more than 600 men out of work. The mine never reopened. The Taylor Springs Zinc Oxide plant was the largest facility in the world and continued production until 2004.


ASARCO - Illinois E.P.A. superfund site

The ASARCO site is located in Taylor Springs, Illinois, and includes the 533-acre Custodial Trust property. Within that property is a 96-acre area, called the Facility Area, where former zinc smelting operations were conducted and includes the slag yard and Coal Pocket Lake.

The Surrounding Custodial Trust Property Area includes the remaining 437 acres not occupied by the Facility Area. The site also includes several drainage ditches, an adjacent residential area, and an area of shallow groundwater under the property. Elevated concentrations of metals associated with historic smelting operations were found in various areas on the ASARCO site, including the residential area.

American Zinc, Lead, and Smelting Company established a metals plant on the facility area of the site in 1912 and conducted zinc smelting, refining and sulfuric acid production operations from 1912 to 1930. Operations at the site included mining and storage of coal, primary slab zinc production, sulfuric acid production, secondary slab zinc production, American Process zinc oxide production, and French Process zinc oxide production. Waste products from plant operations were transported and dumped within the facility area. Coal ash from the plant’s gas producing operations was also spread on the ground within the facility area. Production waste slag piles were found to contain lead, arsenic, cadmium and other metals. Storage of waste materials resulted in contamination of surface water and soil at the site. This contamination extended onto adjacent residential properties. Additionally, some waste materials were used as fill dirt in the neighborhood near the site.

AZ began zinc oxide production in 1917. ASARCO LLC purchased the property from AZ in 1971 and continued zinc smelting and refining activities. ASARCO LLC leased the facility area to Midwest Zinc-Hillsboro, which continued to produce zinc oxide until all operations at the plant ceased in 2004 and all processing equipment was removed. The property is owned by ASARCO Multi-State Environmental Custodial Trust.

The ASARCO site was added to the National Priorities List of Superfund hazardous waste sites in September 2006.