William E. Trautmann

William Ernest Trautmann was born in New Zealand in 1869 to German-American parents and raised in Europe. He emigrated to the United States from Germany in the late 1890s and settled in Ohio, where he worked for the Brewery Workers Union (BWU) and joined the Socialist Party of America. He left the BWU and helped found the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in 1905. He served as the IWW's secretary-treasurer and a member of its first general executive board. It is not clear when Trautmann died.

After Haywood, Moyer and Pettibone were arrested on February 17, 1906 and held pending trial, sharp differences between Haywood and Moyer began to get worse. Their animosity towards each other was exacerbated later in 1906 when a struggle broke out within the IWW between more moderate members and more radical members. Haywood sided with the radicals referred to as "revolutionists" and Moyer sided with the more moderates referred to as "reformists." Trautmann also sided with the revolutionists.

Around February 21, 1906 Clarence Darrow and William Trautmann met in Chicago. Trautmann informed Darrow that the IWW and organized labor wanted the accused to get the best legal defense they could and he asked Darrow if he would defend them. Darrow did not accept right away. On February 26 Darrow met with James A. Kirwan, a member of the WFM's executive committee, J.C. Williams, vice president of the Western Federation of Miners, and Edmund Richardson in Denver. It was reported after this meeting that Darrow agreed to help defend Haywood, Moyer and Pettibone as an associate counsel.