A Granite Stone Cutter’s Labor Song

laborday1912

MY LITTLE GRANITE HAMMER

I have a little granite hammer which I carry in my kit,

a little three-pound dandy and I’ve used it quite a bit.

All the way from Maine to ’Frisco and from Georgia to the Pole,

My little granite hammer is a comfort to my soul.

I have laughed at sandstone fellows with a clumsy wooden mall

and a hammer like a coffin, but they get there after all;

and the marble Cutter joins me with his automatic tool

but will all get on together if we share the Golden rule.

It’s a grand old trade we follow if a feller does his part;

though his tools may slightly differ there is no difference in his heart,

and wonder why the Dickens we should carry different cards,

when we might be altogether as we should be, loyal pards.

You can do a bit of my work, I can do a bit of yours,

There should be no wall between us making enemies and boors,

let us join our separate forces; nail our colors to the wall;

and hail each other brother, with one union over all,

We have Duncan! We have Blasey! We have Griggs and Walter price.

We have brains enough to guide us and we ought to cut some ice,

we can cut down our expenses and our troubles quite a few, 

if we only get together in a brotherly G.U.

 – Jo. Evans

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NAMING NAMES- the 1899 Strike

Strike 1899

“On Thursday morning, April 27, between 7 and 8 o’clock,  a crowd of men composed mostly of Finns, started in procession over Rockport Granite Company’s property, through their quarry and drove about 200 of their quarrymen, paving cutters, blacksmiths, etc., from their work, they demonstrated by” hollering” and hooting  and told the men they must quit work or else there would be trouble, they were  repeatedly told get off the Rockport company’s property and let the men alone but would not move until they were perfectly ready.
Among the number recognized as being the leaders were
Matt L. Jacobson, Oscar Isaacson, John Mattson, Frank Hendrickson, Hendri Hendrickson, Matt Mattson 2nd,
Victor Biglink”

(observations recorded by Louis Rogers, Rockport Granite Company)

….

A note by Les Bartlett,
B. Erkilla’s “Hammers on Stone,” pp 143-147 recount the general outline of the 1899 strike, I suspect that she had access/knowledge of the kind of name list I now have, but back in the 1960s and 70s, there might have been stronger feelings about naming the names. I am hoping that from this listing, some people will connect with their ancestors and more sharing might come around this vital, often violent chapter of life on Cape Ann. For much worse was to follow on the heels of  “Strike 1899.”
If Victor Biglink comes to your door, give him a cup of black coffee, he’s been working hard days and hard nights.