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New Straitsville in Perry County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Robinson’s Cave

 
 
Robinson’s Cave Marker, Side One image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, August 22, 2018
1. Robinson’s Cave Marker, Side One
Inscription.  On a forested hillside south of New Straitsville. the spacious 1000 square foot Robinson’s Cave offered a secluded location with great acoustics where large groups of Hocking Valley coal miners could meet in secret. Beginning in about 1870, labor-organizing meetings were held at the cave by various emerging unions including the Knights of Labor. New Straitsville resident Christopher Evans, a well-known union organizer, used Robinson’s Cave to lead miners throughout the long Hocking Valley Coal Strike of 1884-1885. These meetings gave the miners a voice in the formation of a national organization called the National Federation of Miners and Mine Laborers, later renamed the National Progressive Union. The cave was also where non-union miners met to plan to set the Columbus & Hocking Coal & Iron Company mines on fire in a desperate attempt to end the Hocking Valley Strike.

In 1886, the Knights of Labor founded the National District Assembly No. 135, a rival for the National Federation of Miners and Mine Laborers. Oddly, both headquarters were located in New Straitsville. Dissension between the two groups hurt labor negotiations,
Robinson’s Cave Marker, Side two image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, August 22, 2018
2. Robinson’s Cave Marker, Side two
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but Christopher Evans continued to hold meetings to settle differences. In response to a miner’s death in 1889, the feuding miners used Robinson’s Cave to reconcile once and for all. Evans called miners together again in 1890 for the first erganizationai meeting of the United Mine workers of America, the name formally adopted at their next meeting in Columbus. This series of historic meetings is why Robinson’s Cave is referred to as the secret birthplace of the United Mine Workers.
 
Erected 2009 by The New Strightsville History Group and The Ohio Historical Society. (Marker Number 9-64.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceLabor UnionsNatural Resources. In addition, it is included in the Ohio Historical Society / The Ohio History Connection series list.
 
Location. 39° 34.673′ N, 82° 14.325′ W. Marker is in New Straitsville, Ohio, in Perry County. Marker is on Main Street (Ohio Route 93) west of Clark Street (Ohio Route 93), on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New Straitsville OH 43766, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. New Straitsville Mine Fire and Rock Run Reclamation (approx. one mile away); World’s Greatest Mine Fire (approx. one
Robinson’s Cave Museum and Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, August 22, 2018
3. Robinson’s Cave Museum and Marker
The walkway to the cave is on the left.
mile away); Paynes Crossing (approx. 1½ miles away); A Little City in the Forest (approx. 2.3 miles away); Tecumseh Theater (approx. 2.3 miles away); Black Diamonds and Bricks (approx. 2.3 miles away); A Boom Town (approx. 2.3 miles away); Welcome to Shawnee and the Little Cities of Back Diamond Region (approx. 2.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Straitsville.
 
Also see . . .  Replacing a piece of history: New Straitsville group raising funds to replace damaged marker. 2017 article by Beth Lanning in The Perry County Tribune. “‘They fought for fair pay and safety was another issue because of the working conditions. Miners were in dispute with companies so Christopher Evans played a big part in getting the guys united,’ Susan Swelgin Miller, president of the New Straitsville History Group, said. ‘Mining is an extremely dangerous job.’ ‘They would use hand signals or special codes to notify the workers there would be a meeting. They liked using the cave because the acoustics in it,’ she continued. ‘A person could whisper in there and everybody could hear. No microphones were needed or anything like back in those days.’” (Submitted on September 1, 2018.)
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Credits. This page was last revised on September 1, 2018. It was originally submitted on September 1, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 741 times since then and 213 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 1, 2018, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Photos of the cave • Can you help?

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Oct. 6, 2022