Ludlow Massacre

Words & Music : Woody Guthrie
©1958 (renewed) by Woody Guthrie Publications Inc
Lyric as sung by Dick Gaughan

It was early springtime that the strike was on
They moved us miners out of doors
Out from the houses that the company owned
We moved into tents up at old Ludlow

I was worried bad about my children
Soldiers guarding the railroad bridge
Every once in a while a bullet would fly
Kick up the gravel under my feet

We were so afraid you would kill our children
We dug us a cave that was seven foot deep
Carried our young ones and a pregnant woman
Down inside the cave to sleep

That very night you soldiers waited
Until us miners were asleep
You snuck around our little tent town
Soaked our tents with your kerosene

You struck a match and the blaze it started
You pulled the triggers of your gatling guns
I made a run for the children but the fire wall stopped me
Thirteen children died from your guns

I carried my blanket to a wire fence corner
Watched the fire till the blaze died down
I helped some people grab their belongings
While your bullets killed us all around

I never will forget the looks on the faces
Of the men and women that awful day
When we stood around to preach their funerals
And lay the corpses of the dead away

We told the Colorado governor to call the President
Tell him to call out his National Guard
But the National Guard belonged to the governor
So he didn't try so very hard

Our women from Trinidad they hauled some potatoes
Up to Walsenburg in a little cart
They sold their potatoes and brought some guns back
And put a gun in every hand

The state soldiers jumped us in a wire fence corner
They did not know that we had these guns
And us redneck miners mowed down them troopers
You should have seen those poor boys run

We took some cement and walled the cave up
Where you killed those thirteen children inside
I said, "God bless the Mineworkers' Union"
And then I hung my head and cried


Song Notes

On the 20th of April 1914, the Colorado National Guard launched an attack against striking miners and their families resulting in 20 deaths, 11 of them children. The miners had set up a tent village after having being evicted from their homes which were owned by the coal company.

The inscription on the memorial monument says :

In memory of
the men, women and children
who lost their lives
in freedom's cause
at Ludlow, Colorado
April 20, 1914
Erected by the
United Mine Workers of America

Memorial monument

The monument lists the names and ages of some of those killed as :

  • John Bartolotti (Aged 45)
  • Charlie Costa (31)
  • Fedelina Costa (27)
  • Lucy Costa (4)
  • Onafrio Costa (6)
  • James Fyler (43)
  • Cloriva Pedregon (4)
  • Rodgerlo Pedregon (6)
  • Frank Petrucci (4)
  • Joe Petrucci (4)
  • Lucy Petrucci (2)
  • Frank Rubino (23)
  • William Snyder Jr. (11)
  • Louis Tikas (30)
  • Eulala Valdez (8)
  • Elvira Valdez (3)
  • Mary Valdez (7)
  • Patria Valdez (37)


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