Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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SPIES, August Vincent Theodore, anarchist, born in Landeck, Germany, 10 December, 1855; died in Chicago, Illinois, 11 November, 1887. In 1871 he came to the United States and learned the upholsterer's trade in Chicago. In 1876 he became interested in the labor movement, and the next year joined the Socialists. He became in 1880 publisher of the "Arbeiter-Zeitung," and in 1884 its editor and business manager. He was a ready writer and speaker, of good moral character, and had great influence with those of socialistic tendencies. He first became well known by his connection with the labor troubles in Chicago in the spring of 1886. His paper advocated anarchy, and his speeches, when referring to the government and the customs of his adopted country, were bitter, denunciatory, and defiant. On 3 May labor strikes and mob violence had closed most of the machine-shops and manufactories in Chicago. A crowd, estimated to contain 12,000 men, carrying the national flag reversed, assembled to wreak vengeance upon those that continued to work. An attack was made upon the latter. They were defended by the police, who shot five rioters, arrested eleven, and dispersed the mob, which an hour before was addressed by Spies from the top of a freight-car. Spies went to his office, indited a " Revenge Circular," which was printed and circulated, summoning the workmen to arms to destroy the police. Another one, calling a meeting for the next day at Haymarket square, urged workmen to come armed and in full force. In the evening a large crowd assembled, and were addressed by Spies and others, when 180 policemen advanced and the crowd was ordered to disperse, whereupon a bomb was thrown into the midst of the police and exploded. Sixty-two policemen were wounded, one was killed on the spot, some others died of their wounds, and many were maimed for life. Great excitement prevailed in the city, and many arrests were made of those that were supposed to be instigators of the Haymarket massacre. All were discharged but seven--Spies; George Engel, a native of Hesse, Germany (b. 15 April, 1836): Oscar Neebe, a tinner (b. 2 July, 1850, and educated in Germany); Adolph Fischer, a printer, and native of Bremen, Germany (b. in 1861); Louis Lingg, a carpenter (b. 9 September, 1864, at Carlsruhe, Germany); Michael Schwab, a journalist (b. in Bavaria, 9 August, 1853); and Samuel Fielden (b. in Throckmorton, England, 25 February, 1847). These were indicted by the grand jury, and arraigned in court for murder on 21 June. Albert R. Parsons, a native of Montgomery, Alabama (b. 24 June, 1848), who had been indicted but had escaped arrest, gave himself up to be tried with his associates. The trial continued till 20 August. All were found guilty and all sentenced to death except Oscar Neebe, who was sent to the state-prison. They remained in Cook county jail till November, 1887. Louis Lingg committed suicide by exploding a dynamite bomb in his mouth on the 9th. The death-sentence of Schwab and Fielden was commuted to imprisonment for life on the 10th, and the remaining four were hanged on 11 November, 1887.
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