The newsboy killed during the 1877 Baltimore railroad strike

William Haurande, a 14-year-old Baltimore Sun newsboy, was an innocent bystander of The Railroad Strike of 1877, and was killed by a minie ball in the melee.


William Haurande, a 14-year-old Baltimore Sun newsboy, was an innocent bystander of The Railroad Strike of 1877, which took place in downtown Baltimore. 

It was America’s first major labor conflict, started when the B&O Railroad cut workers’ pay by ten percent to keep the company operating at a profit.

The strike began that summer at the B&O Martinsburg, West Virginia railroad yard and soon spread to Baltimore and beyond. Maryland's Governor John Carroll, upon learning that a "lawless mob" had formed at the railroad facility in Cumberland Maryland, called up the 5th and 6th Regiment of the Maryland National Guard. The 5th Regiment was ordered to proceed to Cumberland by train to maintain order; the 6th Regiment was held in readiness.     

The 6th Regiment assembled in their armory, located on Front Street across from the Phoenix Shot Tower, and prepared to march to Camden Station. At the same time, a mob began to form outside of the armory and soon pelted the building with bricks and paving stones. 

The crowd quickly grew to several thousand. When a Company of the 6th Regiment troops was ordered to proceed to Camden Station, they were assaulted with bricks and cobblestones as they exited the armory doors. The troops marched with fixed bayonets and fired volleys into the mob for their own protection.

Maryland National Guard's Sixth Regiment fighting its way west along main downtown commercial thoroughfare Baltimore Street through Baltimore, Maryland, 20 July 1877.

Maryland National Guard's Sixth Regiment fighting its way west along main downtown commercial thoroughfare Baltimore Street through Baltimore, Maryland, 20 July 1877.

Eventually, President Rutherford Hayes ordered Federal Troops at Fort McHenry to intercede in Baltimore and the rebellion was brought to an end. A number of the rioters were killed or wounded, including newsboy William Haurande, who was killed instantly by a minie ball through the brain.  

The funeral service for William, who had worked as a paperboy to help support his widowed mother, was held at his grandmother’s home. The July 23, 1877 Baltimore Sun reported: "He was dressed in a neat suit and rested in a handsome casket on which bouquets, wreaths, anchors and flowers were laid."  One of the floral anchors was sent by Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, located next to his grandmother’s home. 

The men were all friends of the “amiable and industrious boy.” During the morning, Reverend J. L. Andreis of St. Vincent's Catholic Church performed the rites of the Church. The pallbearers, all newsboys, wore white bands on their hats, white gloves and crape armbands. About twenty other newsboys and bootblacks with crape armbands walked in front of the hearse. They proceeded to Baltimore Cemetery followed by large crowds for the graveside service.