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The Costa Family and the Ludlow Massacre

Sites & Stories / Stories / The Costa Family

By Rosemary Feurer The Costa Family  gave their lives for the union at Ludlow Massacre. More than a hundred years later, one family member is still seeking answers


Linda Linville, the grand-niece of Charlie Costa writes of Cedi that “she was brave and feisty” and felt that the “fight for union was a woman’s responsibility.” She was full-term pregnant just before the massacre.


Charlie’s mother “begged Cedi to go with her to someone's ranch. . . Cedi refused and told my grandmother that this was a woman's fight too and that the family needed to stay together." The family brought joy to the Ludlow camp and to the fight for union, from all accounts.

Charlie Costa, who was a key union organizer from Aguilar and had worked in the mines of southern Colorado since he was 12, was shot in the head during the April 20 battle. The next morning Cedi was discovered in the pit where they sought cover from the flying bullets over the bodies of her children. She was described as “badly charred” in some accounts. The children were clasped in each other's arms.

Newspapers reported that Onofrio, Charlie's father “created a demonstration at the morgue just as the bodies were being removed by a violent attack on the Colorado militia.” Linda writes that her grandparents saw Cedi’s body and it was bayoneted. While the coroners’ records do not show this, “I do not think my grandparents had any reason to lie about this so I would really like to get to the bottom of it.”

Some say Cedi had given birth and that this was why the women stayed in the pit. Linda writes “I know that this might be considered by some to be a minor matter considering the broad context of Ludlow, but it disturbs me that this baby’s death has been unacknowledged in the historical record.”

Cedi’s parents Antonio and Rafaela Mastro (Petrucella) were alive when they lost Cedi and their grandchildren. Linda would very much like to contact any descendants of the Mastros.

The little baby in the photo died of the flu in 1913, not in the massacre.

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