The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966 Page: 52
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the county twenty-five cents per day each for holding the pris-
oners. In order to avoid that payment, city prosecutors began
filing charges under a state law in the county court and thereby
had the strikers jailed at the expense of the county.
When five prominent women of the city inspected the jails,
shocking conditions were discovered. Eighteen men were found
in a cell designed for only four; in another instance thirty-three
strikers were packed into a cell designed for six. Men and wom-
en, many of whom were prostitutes, were kept in the same cells.26
A noisy outbreak occurred in one of the cells when ninety men
were added to the 150 already confined in a cell with a capacity
of sixty. Police chief Owen Kilday quieted them by turning a
fire hose into the cell.27
Treatment of the strikers attracted so much attention that
Governor Allred ordered the Industrial Commission of Texas to
investigate the situation with respect to civil liberties, and federal
immigration officers entered the area to check on the legality of
Mexicans in San Antonio. All aliens arrested were investigated
and deported if found to be in the country illegally.28
When Donald Henderson of the UCAPAWA arrived, Chief
Kilday asserted that he was an intruder who did not have more
than 6oo or 7oo followers among the shellers. A representative
of the CIO said that more than 6,ooo of the i 2,00o pecan shellers
applied for membership in the UCAPAWA, and that 3,000 of
those paid dues during the strike. Henderson refused to negotiate
with the city administration, but said that the union would talk
with employers and J. S. Meyers, an impartial counsel and a mem-
ber of the conciliation service of the United States Department of
When J. Austin Beasley, CIO organizer, arrived in San Antonio
early in 1938, he was jailed by Kilday who claimed that the postal
authorities of El Paso were looking for Beasley. The charges
proved to be false, and he was released. Kilday then accused the
union of leading a "Communistic revolution." When a union
"2Shapiro, "The Pecan Shellers of San Antonio, Texas," Southwestern Social
Science Quarterly, XXXII, 236.
2"San Antonio Express, February 26, 1938.
28lbid., February 13, 1938.
9"Ibid., February lo, 1938.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966, periodical, 1966; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/m1/70/: accessed May 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.