Friday, July 27, 2007

Chicago Daily News July 22, 1912

Former Labor Czar of Chicago Succumbs at Lake Villa, Ill., to Long Sickness.
Once Formed New Central Union Organization - Accused by Wife as Conspiracy Head.
Martin B. ("Skinny") Madden is dead.
The former labor leader died at 8:00 a.m. to-day in a little cottage near Lake Villa, Ill. Stomach trouble of a tubercular nature was the agent of death. Madden, never robust physically, had been ill for a long time. For a number of weeks he lay in his room at the Grand Pacific hotel and then last January he was taken to the Presbyterian hospital. There he regained some semblance of health and after a few weeks returned to the hotel, where his careless mode of living again proved his downfall.

As a forlorn hope he sought the cottage on the shore of the inland lake and for a time was reported as progressing toward recovery. Toward the last, however, he realized that his end was near and admitted, stoically, that he would never the place alive.

Spoke Cheerfully of Troubles.
While at the Presbyterian hospital Madden was visited by a reporter for The Daily News. He was found sitting up in bed, smoking cigarettes. He spoke cheerfully of his condition and thought he would be up "before long." Asking whether he was not afraid to smoke, he replied that the cigarettes "wouldn’t hurt him." It was the same disregard of consequences, say his friends, which ruined his health and ultimately brought about his death.

Madden was the recognized czar of the labor world in Chicago for years and figured prominently in may daring strikes. He was indicted and convicted of conspiracy in 1909, with F. A. Pouchot and M. J. Doyle, and fined $500 in Judge McSurely’s court. This was in May. A motion for a new trial was entered and on Feb. 10, 1910, was overruled by Judge McSurely.

Controlled Federation Long.
For years Madden controlled the Chicago Federation of Labor. In 1905, however, E. N. Nockels came to the front as leader of the Madden . An election was imminent and Nockels had arranged a system of voting by delegate cards and tally sheets with the names of all accredited delegates. Madden, however, had a lot of duplicate tickets printed, with one slight change in a word in the union label and voted a lot of his own men. Subsequently his ruse was discovered and the labor autocrat prepared to carry the election by storm, but was prevented by the police.

About two months after the election he was ousted by the Federation of Labor and immediately began to build the powerful labor organization known as the Chicago Building Trades council. He lost control of this body following his conviction for conspiracy.

Madden was a leading figure in the recent strife between the steamfitters and the elevator constructors in which Peter ("Dutch") Gentleman and Vincent Altman were murdered by labor sluggers and for which Maurice ("Moss") Enright was convicted and sentenced to a life term in the penitentiary.

Wife’s Accusation in Court.
Mrs. Florence B. Madden, wife of the labor leader, caused his arrest on a charge of wife abandonment in August, 1911, and at the trial of the case she declared her home had been the meeting place for thugs, sluggers and gun men. In a bill for separate maintenance she charged her husband with cruelty. Judge Walker in the Court of Domestic Relations ordered Madden to pay his wife $8 a week on her abandonment plea.

While at the Presbyterian hospital a rule was entered calling upon Madden to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt of court in failing to pay the alimony granted his wife. His illness saved him a possible prison term at that time.

Reconciled to Wife, Rumor.
The approach of death brought a reconciliation between Madden and his wife, their friends declare, and Mrs. Madden, unaware of the death, went to Lake Villa shortly before 11 a.m. to-day to see him. She had been to visit him yesterday and returned to her home at 2446 Michigan avenue last night.

"He is critically ill," she told friends there and to-day she packed a suitcase ane went to Lake Villa prepared to stay at his bedside several days if necessary.

Madden first came to Chicago from Kansas City, Mo. He worked as a steamfitter’s helper on the Auditorium annex, and in the winter of 1895 he became business agent of the Junior Steamfitters’ union, from which time on be began to make his power felt.

Transfer Field to Gary.
After his dethronement from power in the building trades council he devoted his efforts for a time to union organization in Gary, Ind, but his illness interfered with his chances for success.
"The funeral will be held at an undertaking establishment at West Madison street and Western avenue," said State Representative Frank McNichols, a friend of Madden, "but the date has not been set. Martin - we call him Martin, not "Skinny" - died at 8:30 o’clock this morning, according to the news I hear, but he has been near death for a long time."