Mary Harris Jones

Mary Harris Jones

Irish-born American Labor and Community Organizer
Born Aug 1, 1837

Mary Harris "Mother" Jones was a American schoolteacher and dressmaker who became a prominent labor and community organizer, who helped coordinate major strikes and co-founded the Industrial Workers of the World. She worked as a teacher and dressmaker but after her husband and four children all died of yellow fever and her workshop was destroyed in a fire in 1871 she began working as an organizer for the Knights of Labor and the United Mine Workers union.… Read More

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1837 Birth Mary Harris Jones was born on the north side of the city of Cork, Ireland, the daughter of Roman Catholic tenant farmers Richard Harris and Ellen (née Cotter) Harris. Her exact date of birth is uncertain; she was baptized on 1 August 1837. … Read More


1859 22 Years Old She became a teacher in a convent in Monroe, Michigan, on 31 August 1859. … Read More
1861 24 Years Old After tiring of her assumed profession, she moved first to Chicago and then to Memphis, where in 1861 she married George E. Jones, a member and organizer of the National Union of Iron Moulders, which later became the International Molders and Foundry Workers Union of North America, which represented workers specialized in building and repairing steam engines, mills, and other manufactured goods. … Read More


1867 30 Years Old 1 More Event
Jones worked as a teacher and dressmaker, but after her husband and four children all died of yellow fever in 1867 and her dress shop was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, she began working as an organizer for the Knights of Labor and the United Mine Workers union. … Read More
1871 34 Years Old Then, four years later, she lost her home, shop, and possessions in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. … Read More


1877 40 Years Old …  Her political views may have been influenced by the 1877 railroad strike, Chicago's labor movement, and the Haymarket riot and depression of 1886. … Read More


1897 60 Years Old …  The first reference to her in print as Mother Jones was in 1897. … Read More
1903 66 Years Old In 1903, Jones organized children who were working in mills and mines to participate in a "Children's Crusade", a march from Kensington, Philadelphia to Oyster Bay, New York, the hometown of President Theodore Roosevelt with banners demanding "We want to go to school and not the mines!" … Read More
1912 75 Years Old During the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek strike of 1912 in West Virginia, Mary Jones arrived in June 1912, speaking and organizing despite a shooting war between United Mine Workers members and the private army of the mine owners.
1913 76 Years Old Martial law in the area was declared and rescinded twice before Jones was arrested on 13 February 1913 and brought before a military court. … Read More
1924 87 Years Old By 1924, Jones was in court again, this time facing charges of libel, slander, and sedition.
1925 88 Years Old In 1925, Charles A. Albert, publisher of the fledgling Chicago Times, won a $350,000 judgment against Jones. … Read More
1930 93 Years Old 1 More Event
She celebrated her self-proclaimed 100th birthday there on 1 May 1930 and was filmed making a statement for a newsreel.
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