With three bullets to the heart, the State of Utah executed Joe Hill on November 19, 1915. In one of the most disputed cases to date, Joe Hill, the most prolific songwriter in the history of the Industrial Workers of the World, was convicted of murdering John Morrison, owner of Morrison Grocery, and his son Arling on the night of January 10, 1914 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Margareta Katarina Haaglund gave birth to the legendary Joel Haaglund in Gavle, Sweden on October 7, 1879. His father, Olaf Haaglund, supported nine children, six of whom lived to maturity, by working as a conductor on the Gavle-Dala Railroad. The Haaglunds were a devoutly religious family who did not discuss politics. Margareta and Olaf led the family in songs and taught each child to play the family organ, which Olaf built. Joe Hill, born Joel Haaglund, also learned to play the violin, guitar, accordion, and piano, as his love for music developed.
In 1902, after the death of his parents, Joe and his brother Paul immigrated to America where they expected to “scrape gold off the ground.” After working various jobs in New York City, Joe moved to Chicago and found work in a machine shop. Shortly thereafter, he was fired from his job and blacklisted for attempting to organize the workers. As a result, Joel Haaglund changed his name to Joe Hill. He traveled extensively around the country before joining the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in San Pedro, California in 1910.
Joe quickly became immersed in the IWW and devoted his life to the “awakening of ‘illiterates’ and ‘scum’ to an original, personal conception of society and the realization of the dignity and rights of their part in it.” He wrote songs like “The Preacher and the Slave” and “Casey Jones – the Union Scab” to inspire solidarity in the ranks of the IWW and to recruit new members. He encouraged a “conscientious withdrawal of efficiency,” which was not a call for violence, but rather a sprinkle of sand in the workings of machinery, and, more specifically, the efforts of non-union friendly employers.
In 1914, on his way from California to Chicago, Hill stopped to earn some money in the Utah mines. There he encountered three friends who he had met while working in San Pedro: Otto Applequist and the Eselius Brothers. Edward and John Eselius allowed Joe to live at their house as a guest. Otto Applequist was one of Joe’s closest friends and may have been involved in the alleged murder of the Morrison’s. Joe Hill was eventually convicted of murdering John and Arling Morrison, and took his last breath in Utah before the firing squad. His trip to Chicago was eventually completed – in a casket.
Acts in Gavle (Sweden) for the centenary of the execution of Joe Hill
They have a way to that everything flows naturally, without anyone stressing about how it will turn out. And because they do not rush about and go running everywhere, plus doing 7 laps of all public debate, it doesn’t mean they’re doing nothing, but almost always the opposite. Of course, being from Mediterranean culture, it is often difficult to understand and assess.
My Last Will
For there is nothing to divide.
My kin don’t need to fuss and moan –
“Moss does not cling to a rolling stone.” My body? — Oh! — If I could choose,
I would to ashes it reduce,
And let the merry breezes blow
My dust to where some flowers grow. Perhaps some fading flower then
Would come to life and bloom again.
This is my last and final will.
Good luck to all of you.
The occasion this time was motivated by the anniversary of the execution of Joe Hill, Utah (USA).Therefore people from many different countries of Europe and varied syndicalist organizations and Wobblies have been for three days discussed issues that affect us directly and deeply in our daily militant activity and we also had poetry, songs and theatrical actions.
It was held in a building of an old church and, for years, the municipal public space of social activities.
Around 20:30 began the commemorative festivities in ‘Joe Hill’s Garden’, with music al colleagues Fred Alpi and David Kristian Svensson (CNT-f). They also made a collective dramatization Besides presenting an excellent book of songs related to the Swedish emigrant founder of the IWW Joe Hill : Paul Robeson : Free Download & Streaming …
Hill was memorialised in a tribute poem written about him c. 1930 by Alfred Hayes titled I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night,