Army of Amazons

A finalist in the 8 Wonders of Kansas/People Contest.

Pittsburg Daily Headlight, Dec. 1921.
Photo Courtesy of Linda Knoll, “Army of Amazons- An Oral History of Southeast Kansas,”  
© White Buffalo Press, 2000.

The original performance play “Army of Amazons - An Oral History of Southeast Kansas"  by Linda Knoll
was presented on June 22nd and 23rd, 2007  in conjunction with the Franklin Centennial Celebration.  

This historic drama and musical performance relating to our coal mining history
and the nationally known Amazon Army March, which began in
Franklin was performed to "standing room only" audience.

Linda directed the performance which included some of our area’s finest talent.   
Site © Linda O'Nelio Knoll  

Dedication and Placement of Historic Plaque

May 22, 2006        Alexander Howat, the Industrial Court Law, and the "Amazon Army."
May 14, 2006         Coal Mining Days
April 4, 2005          NEA Honors Kansas Educator for Advancing Intergroup Understanding
March 26, 2001    'Amazon Army' raid on coal mines remembered at Chicopee lecture
February 6, 2000  Skubitz recalls family's role in early area history

Memories of the Amazon Army March

When the strike was called in December 1921 and the Amazons were active Eva was a little over 10 months old and Blanche wrapped Eva up on blankets and took her along on the march.  One of the state militia men commented that she was certainly a little one to be “marching”.    Memory of Eva Richard submitted by Linda Montee Russell

In an effort to protect their source of income, the wives and daughters of the miners joined together against the strikebreakers hired by the operators.  In the town of Franklin, the Amazon Army was formed.
One of these women was my Grandmother, Bessie Septak. I was surprised when I learned of her involvement in this army of concerned women.  She was a kind and pleasant woman who wasn`t afraid to stand up and be counted on in what she believed necessary for the future of the community of miners.
When a newspaper photographer happened to get her in the photo, her husband Joseph was fired because of her involvement.
Bessie, her American name, was born Bozena Kadlec in Vdavy, a small village in Bohemia on June 15, 1893  Her family later moved to Horni Studenec, in which later became Czechoslovakia.  At the age of 17, she moved to Vienna, Austria to work as a maid-housekeeper.  In 1914, she accompanied her cousin on the trip to America.  She was very thankful of her American citizenship.
She then moved to Franklin,Ks to marry Joseph Septak in 1917. 
Joseph was born Josef Syptak in Moravia on April 27, 1880, and came to America in June of 1907.  After working in Minnesota as a tailor, he came to live in Franklin to work in the coal mines.  After his marriage to Bessie, they lived in Franklin their whole lives.
After working the mines, Joseph went back to his skills as a tailor and like most European immigrants, they gardened, raised chickens and purchased a couple of cows for the meat, milk, and butter.   Memory of Rudy Widmar, Jr.

If you have photos, stories to add or can identify anyone please send me an e-mail. All original photos will be returned. 
 Also if you have any artifacts that relate to the Amazon Army please consider donating them so they will be saved for
future generations and will be displayed in a safe and secure location.

Historic Sites