Wesley Everest

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Wesley Everest
Wesley Everest.jpg
Everest in uniform
Birth nameNathan Wesley Everest
Born(1890-12-29)December 29, 1890
Newberg, Oregon, U.S.
DiedNovember 11, 1919(1919-11-11) (aged 28)
Centralia, Washington
Buried
Greenwood Memorial Park, Centralia, Lewis County, Washington, USA
Allegiance United States
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of serviceSeptember 17, 1917 – January 6, 1919 (active)
Service number869,296
Unit361 Infantry to December 12 1917

403 Aero Squadron to January 26, 1918
442 Aero Squadron to February 14, 1918
72 Spruce Squadron to October 21, 1918

140 Spruce Squadron to Discharge
Battles/warsWorld War I
Grave of Wesley Everest 11-11-2017, Sticklin-Greenwood Memorial Park, 1905 Johnson Rd., Centralia, Washington, US. His gravesite is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Nathan Wesley Everest (December 29, 1890, in Newberg, Oregon — November 11, 1919, in Centralia, Washington) was an American member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and a World War I era veteran. He was lynched during the Centralia Massacre after killing Dale Hubbard in what the union called self-defense, though the American Legion called it murder.[1]

Military service[edit]

Everest was drafted into the army in November 1917 and was a member of the Spruce Production Division in Vancouver, Washington, which supplied timber for building airplanes, railroad cars, and other vital wartime equipment.[2] Everest spent much of his time in the Vancouver stockade for refusing to salute the American flag.[2] When he was out of the stockade and working he spent most of his time trying to organize his fellow soldiers.[2] Contrary to virtually all published accounts, Everest never served in France and was never sent overseas.[3] [2] After serving during World War I, Everest worked in Centralia, Washington as a lumberjack. He also was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World.

The Centralia Affair[edit]

During the celebration of Armistice Day in 1919, members of the American Legion stormed the IWW Union Hall, although it is debated who initiated the incident. The American Legion claimed that they were fired upon before they attacked the hall. The IWW claimed that the Legion attacked before they fired. The result was a fight that resulted in the deaths of six men, while others were wounded. After firing from inside the IWW hall, Everest ran out the back door and was pursued by a mob. He killed Dale Hubbard before he was overpowered, beaten, and dragged to the town's jail. It was said that, during the incident, Everest uttered the words, "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 going to get it."[4]

During the evening of November 11, Everest was turned over to the lynch mob by jail guards, taken to a bridge over the Chehalis River, lynched and then shot. The next day his body was cut down and lay in the river bottom until sunset when his body was returned to the jail. There it lay with the rope still around his neck, in full view of the IWW members rounded up after the shootings. Later his body was buried in the pauper's graveyard. No one was charged with the crime even if those involved in the lynching were well-known to townsfolk in Centralia.

As a result of the shootings, seven IWW members were sentenced to prison terms of 25 to 40 years. The last prisoner was released in 1939.

Castration Controversy[edit]

Many books about the Centralia case state that Everest was castrated while being driven to his lynching. The first published account of castration appeared four months later in Ralph Chaplin's publication, The CENTRALIA CONSPIRACY.[5] The IWW members who saw Everest's body in the jail after the lynching said nothing about mutilation in interviews with the press at the time. The coroner's jury, who met on November 13 without County Coroner Dr. David Livingstone, was likewise silent. The IWW defense lawyers said nothing about castration during the three-month trial. Those who placed his body in the coffin said nothing about castration at the time. A 1930 account of the Centralia case, published by the Council of Churches, concluded that the castration story "has not been clearly established."[citation needed]

After Everest's body was returned to the jail following his lynching, a man (presumably a police officer) examined his body and filed a police report dated November 12. The report includes a set of fingerprints and a description of the body, including the color of his eyes and hair. It estimates Everest's height and weight. Then it notes: "No scars that could be located on the body outside where rope cut neck[.] hole that looked like bullet hole[.] Prints taken in the Jail at Centralia, Wash. room very dark to see any thing on the body in line [of] scars: rope was still around the neck of the man." [6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Chaplin, Ralph (2019). "The Centralia Conspiracy". Michigan State University. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  • Stead, Arnold (2014). Always on Strike: Frank Little and the Western Wobblies. Haymarket Books. ISBN 9781608462209. - Total pages: 196
  • "1919: The murder of Wesley Everest". libcom group (Libertarian Communism), London. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
  • Copeland, Tom (October 1986). "Wesley Everest, IWW Martyr" (PDF). Pacific Northwest Quarterly. University of Washington. vol. 77 (no. 4): 122–129. ISSN 0030-8803. OCLC 2392232. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  • John Dos Passos, "Paul Bunyan", in: U.S.A.: 1919, New York 1932, ed. 1996, pp. 747–750
  • Pietrusza, David (2007). 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents. Carroll & Graf Publishers. ISBN 9780786716227. - Total pages: 533
  • United States Army (1919). "Army Service Card - Form No. 724-1, A.G.O. for Nathan Wesley Everest". Washington State Archives. Retrieved November 11, 2019.

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