Notable Citizens: Edward L. Doyle

Circa 1915 photo of Frank J. Hayes, miner and President of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA); Edward L. Doyle who was Secretary Treasurer of District 15 of the UMWA and James Revell Lord, miner and union official. From the Library of Congress.

Edward Lawrence Doyle (1886-1954), Lafayette resident from 1908 to 1912 and United Mine Workers of America Dist. 15 Secretary Treasurer based in Denver from 1912 to 1917, is better known for his involvement in the fateful 1914 Ludlow Massacre, where he played a key role in communicating to national media the union’s perspective of the killings.

As part of that job, he corresponded regularly with labor activist Mother Jones and with author Upton Sinclair, who wrote “King Coal,” an expose on the dangerous conditions Colorado coal miners faced. Doyle was entrusted by Sinclair to proofread “King Coal” for accuracy prior to its release in 1917.

In 1909, Doyle worked as a checkweighman at the Capitol mine east of Lafayette where he advocated for miners’ safety, including dogging the mine’s owner to remove snow and ice that regularly blocked the mine’s escape shaft after snow storms.

Doyle worked his way into leadership of UMWA Lafayette Local 1388 during the first few years of the 1910-1914 Long Strike, where he organized the group’s picketing and civil disobedience efforts. Doyle aggressively rooted out turncoat union members hired by coal operators to spy on the organization. He also planted two of his own union men, hired from out-of-state, who posed as scabs in each local coal mine.