Wesley Everest

Wesley Everest

Wesley Everest was a rank and file member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) who served the the US Army during the First World War.

After the war Everest worked as a lumberjack in Centralia, Washington. The lumber trust became concerned that the activities of the IWW would lead to a strike. It was decided to use the American Legion to force members of the IWW to leave the area.

On 11th November, 1919, the American Legion paraded through the street carrying rubber hoses and gas pipes. They then attacked the IWW Hall. Everest, who was inside, shouted: "I fought for democracy in France and I'm going to fight for it here. The first man that comes in this hall, why, he's joining to get it." Shots were fired by both side and during the fight four men were killed.

Everest was one of the men arrested. That night a mob broke into the jail and as he was dragged out of his cell, Everest shouted: "Tell the boys I died for my class." Wesley Everest was taken to Chehalis River, where he was lynched.

Primary Sources

(1) Ralph Chaplin, Wesley Everest (Industrial Pioneer, July 1921)

Torn and defiant as a wind-lashed reed,

Wounded he faced you as he stood at bay;

You dared not lynch him in the light of day,

But on your dungeon stones you let him bleed;

Night came and you black vigilants of Greed.

Like human wolves, seized hard upon your prey,

Tortured and killed and silently slunk away

Without one qualm of horror at the deed.

Once, long ago do you remember how

You hailed Him king for soldiers to deride -

You placed a scroll above His bleeding brow

And spat upon Him, scrouged Him, crucified

A rebel unto Caesar - then as now

Alone, thorn-crowned, a spear wound in his side!