On December 8, , tens of thousands of people travelled to Mt. Olive, Illinois, to join the funeral cortege of Mary Harris. Jones, who was known as “Mother. PDF | On Jan 1, , Mark Dowie and others published Mother Jones. The autobiography of Mary Harris Jones, more commonly known as Mother Jones. The "most dangerous woman in America" and a committed.
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PROGRESS, MOTHER JONES' MISSION IS TO PRODUCE REVELATORY JOURNALISM. 8,, 1,, FOUNDATION FOR NATIONAL PROGRESS. MOTHER JONES. The Bechtel File. How The Master Builders Protect Their Beachheads. By Mark Dowie. Illustrations by Lou Beach. In the course of researching. The Autobiography of Mother Jones by Mother Jones, , Edited by Mary Field Parton, , Introduction by Clarence Darrow,
The leaders in the eight hour day movement were hanged Friday, November the 11th. They took the train one night for Kelly Creek. I pointed out to the captain that the single taxers were allowed to hold meetings in the square. Many of the miners had walked miles. Five deputy marshals went with the men, and a nephew of the United States marshal, a nice lad, took charge of me. Jones was more direct in trying to light a fire under laborers to claim their rights and rewards. Whatever the bosses did not want the miners to do they got out an injunction against doing it.
The workers started an agitation for an eight-hour day. The trades unions and the Knights of Labor endorsed the movement but because many of the leaders of the agitation were foreigners, the movement itself was regarded as "foreign" and as "un-American. From then on the people of Chicago seemed incapable of discussing a purely economic question without getting excited about anarchism.
The employers used the cry of anarchism to kill the movement. A person who believed in an eight-hour working day was, they said, an enemy to his country, a traitor, an anarchist. The foundations of government were being gnawed away by the anarchist rats. Feeling was bitter. The city was divided into two angry camps. The working people on one side — hungry, cold, jobless, fighting gunmen and police clubs with bare hands.
On the other side the employers, knowing neither hunger nor cold, supported by the newspapers, by the police, by all the power of the great state itself. The anarchists took advantage of the widespread discontent to preach their doctrines.
Orators used to address huge crowds on the windy, barren shore of Lake Michigan. Although I never endorsed the philosophy of anarchism, I often attended the meetings on the lake shore, listening to what these teachers of a new order had to say to the workers.
Meanwhile the employers were meeting. They met in the mansion of George M. Pullman on Prairie Avenue or in the residence of Wirt Dexter, an able corporation lawyer. They discussed means of killing the eight-hour movement which was to be ushered in by a general strike. They discussed methods of dispersing the meetings of the anarchists. A bitterly cold winter set in. Long unemployment resulted in terrible suffering. Bread lines increased.
Soup kitchens could not handle the applicants. Thousands knew actual misery. On Christmas day, hundreds of poverty stricken people in rags and tatters, in thin clothes, in wretched shoes paraded on fashionable Prairie Avenue before the mansions of the rich, before their employers, carrying the black flag.
I thought the parade an insane move on the part of the anarchists, as it only served to make feeling more bitter. As a matter of fact, it had no educational value whatever and only served to increase the employers' fear, to make the police more savage, and the public less sympathetic to the real distress of the workers.
The first of May, which was to usher in the eight-hour day uprising, came. The newspapers had done everything to alarm the people. All over the city there were strikes and walkouts. Employers quaked in their boots. They saw revolution. The workers in the McCormick Harvester Works gathered outside the factory.
Those inside who did not join the strikers were called scabs. Bricks were thrown. Windows were broken. The scabs were threatened. Some one turned in a riot call. The police without warning charged down upon the workers, shooting into their midst, clubbing right and left. Many were trampled under horses' feet. Numbers were shot dead. Skulls were broken. Young men and young girls were clubbed to death. The Pinkerton agency formed armed bands of ex-convicts and hoodlums and hired them to capitalists at eight dollars a day, to picket the factories and incite trouble.
On the evening of May 4th, the anarchists held a meeting in the shabby, dirty district known to later history as Haymarket Square.
All about were railway tracks, dingy saloons and the dirty tenements of the poor. A half a block away was the Desplaines Street Police Station presided over by John Bonfield, a man without tact or discretion or sympathy, a most brutal believer in suppression as the method to settle industrial unrest.
Carter Harrison, the mayor of Chicago, attended the meeting of the anarchists and moved in and about the crowds in the square. After leaving, he went to the Chief of Police and instructed him to send no mounted police to the meeting, as it was being peacefully conducted and the presence of mounted police would only add fuel to fires already burning red in the workers' hearts.
But orders perhaps came from other quarters, for disregarding the report of the mayor, the chief of police sent mounted policemen in large numbers to the meeting.
One of the anarchist speakers was addressing the crowd. A bomb was dropped from a window overlooking the square. A number of the police were killed in the explosion that followed. The city went insane and the newspapers did everything to keep it like a madhouse.
The workers' cry for justice was drowned in the shriek for revenge. Bombs were "found" every five minutes. Men went armed and gun stores kept open nights. Hundreds were arrested. Only those who had agitated for an eight-hour day, however, were brought to trial and a few months later hanged. But the man, Schnaubelt, who actually threw the bomb was never brought into the case, nor was his part in the terrible drama ever officially made clear. The leaders in the eight hour day movement were hanged Friday, November the 11th.
That day Chicago's rich had chills and fever. Rope stretched in all directions from the jail. Police men were stationed along the ropes armed with riot rifles. Special patrols watched all approaches to the jail. The roofs about the grim stone building were black with police. The newspapers fed the public imagination with stories of uprisings and jail deliveries. But there were no uprisings, no jail deliveries, except that of Louis Lingg, the only real preacher of violence among all the condemned men.
He outwitted the gallows by biting a percussion cap and blowing off his head. The Sunday following the executions, the funerals were held. Thousands of workers marched behind the black hearses, not because they were anarchists but they felt that these men, whatever their theories, were martyrs to the workers' struggle.
The procession wound through miles and miles of streets densely packed with silent people. In the cemetery of Waldheim, the dead were buried.
But with them was not buried their cause. The struggle for the eight hour day, for more human conditions and relations between man and man lived on, and still lives on.
Seven years later, Governor Altgeld, after reading all the evidence in the case, pardoned the three anarchists who had escaped the gallows and were serving life sentences in jail. He said the verdict was unjustifiable, as had William Dean Howells and William Morris at the time of its execution.
Governor Altgeld committed political suicide by his brave action but he is remembered by all those who love truth and those who have the courage to confess it. It was about when I was down in Virginia. There was a strike in the Dietz mines and the boys had sent for me.
He looked terribly frightened. He said he didn't want to see you 'round these parts. I am coming to see the miners. I have worked for this company all my life and all I have now is this old worn-out frame. We couldn't get a hall to hold a meeting. Every one was afraid to rent to us. Finally the colored people consented to give us their church for our meeting. Just as we were about to start the colored chairman came to me and said: They have sent word that they will take it from us if we let you speak here.
I would not let those poor souls lose their ground so I adjourned the meeting to the four corners of the public roads. When the meeting was over and the people had dispersed, I asked my co-worker, Dud Hado, a fellow from Iowa, if he would go with me up to the post office. He was a kindly soul but easily frightened.
I want you to take that pistol out and expose a couple of inches of it. As he did so about eight or ten gunmen jumped out from behind an old barn beside the road, jumped on him and said, "Now we've got you, you dirty organizer. All those blood-thirsty murderers were there and the general manager came in. Don't you know that God Almighty never comes around to a place like this! They dismissed any charges against me and they fined poor Dud twenty-five dollars and costs.
They seemed surprised when I said I would pay it. I had the money in my petticoat. I went over to a miner's shack and asked his wife for a cup of tea.
Often in these company-owned towns the inn-keepers were afraid to let me have food. The poor soul was so happy to have me there that she excused herself to "dress for company. One of the men who was present at Dud's trial followed me up to the miner's house.
At first the miner's wife would not admit him but he said he wanted to speak privately to Mother Jones. So she let him in. They thought you'd appeal the case. Then they were going to lock you both up and burn you in the coke ovens at night and then say that you had both been turned loose in the morning and they didn't know where you had gone. Whether they really would have carried out their plans I do not know. But I do know that there are no limits to which powers of privilege will not go to keep the workers in slavery.
In , J. Wayland with a number of others decided to demonstrate to the workers the advantage of co-operation over competition. A group of people bought land in Tennessee and founded the Ruskin Colony. They invited me to join them.
You have to have religion to make a colony successful, and labor is not yet a religion with labor. I visited the colony a year later. I could see in that short time disrupting elements in the colony. I was glad I had not joined the colony but had stayed out in the thick of the fight. Labor has a lot of fighting to do before it can demonstrate. Two years later Wayland left for Kansas City. He was despondent. A group of us got together; Wayland, myself, and three men, known as the "Three P's" — Putnam, a freight agent for the Burlington Railway; Palmer, a clerk in the Post Office; Page, an advertising agent for a department store.
We decided that the workers needed education. That they must have a paper devoted to their interests and stating their point of view. We urged Wayland to start such a paper. Palmer suggested the name, "Appeal to Reason. He got out a limited first edition and with it as a sample I went to the Federal Barracks at Omaha and secured a subscription from almost every lad there. Soldiers are the sons of working people and need to know it.
I went down to the City Hall and got a lot of subscriptions. In a short time I had gathered several hundred subscriptions and the paper was launched. It did a wonderful service under Wayland. Later Fred G. Warren came to Girard where the paper was published, as editorial writer.
If any place in America could be called my home, his home was mine. Whenever, after a long, dangerous fight, I was weary and felt the need of rest, I went to the home of Fred Warren. Like all other things, "The Appeal to Reason" had its youth of vigor, its later days of profound wisdom, and then it passed away.
Disrupting influences, quarrels, divergent points of view, theories, finally caused it to go out of business. Before the coal fields of Pennsylvania were not organized. Immigrants poured into the country and they worked cheap.
There was always a surplus of immigrant labor, solicited in Europe by the coal companies, so as to keep wages down to barest living. Hours of work down under ground were cruelly long. Fourteen hours a day was not uncommon, thirteen, twelve. The life or limb of the miner was unprotected by any laws. Families lived in company owned shacks that were not fit for their pigs. Children died by the hundreds due to the ignorance and poverty of their parents.
Often I have helped lay out for burial the babies of the miners, and the mothers could scarce conceal their relief at the little ones' deaths. Another was already on its way, destined, if a boy, for the breakers; if a girl, for the silk mills where the other brothers and sisters already worked.
The United Mine Workers decided to organize these fields and work for human conditions for human beings. Organizers were put to work. Whenever the spirit of the men in the mines grew strong enough a strike was called. In Arnot, Pennsylvania, a strike had been going on four or five months.
The men were becoming discouraged. The coal company sent the doctors, the school teachers, the preachers and their wives to the homes of the miners to get them to sign a document that they would go back to work.
The president of the district, Mr. Wilson, and an organizer, Tom Haggerty, got despondent. The signatures were overwhelmingly in favor of returning on Monday. Haggerty suggested that they send for me. Saturday morning they telephoned to Barnesboro, where I was organizing, for me to come at once or they would lose the strike.
The boys are that despondent! They are going back Monday. I started at daybreak. At Roaring Branch, the nearest train connection with Arnot, the secretary of the Arnot Union, a young boy, William Bouncer, met me with a horse and buggy.
We drove sixteen miles over rough mountain roads. It was biting cold. We got into Arnot Sunday noon and I was placed in the coal company's hotel, the only hotel in town. I made some objections but Bouncer said, "Mother, we have engaged this room for you and if it is not occupied, they will never rent us another. Sunday afternoon I held a meeting. It was not as large a gathering as those we had later but I stirred up the poor wretches that did come.
The men shuffled their feet but the women rose, their babies in their arms, and pledged themselves to see that no one went to work in the morning. I returned to my room at the hotel. I wasn't called down to supper but after the general manager of the mines and all of the other guests had gone to church, the housekeeper stole up to my room and asked me to come down and get a cup of tea.
At eleven o'clock that night the housekeeper again knocked at my door and told me that I had to give up my room; that she was told it belonged to a teacher. I found little Bouncer sitting on guard down in the lobby. He took me up the mountain to a miner's house. A cold wind almost blew the bonnet from my head. At the miner's shack I knocked. He held the oil lamp with the thumb and his little finger and I could see that the others were off. His face was young but his body was bent over.
He insisted on my sleeping in the only bed, with his wife. He slept with his head on his arms on the kitchen table. Early in the morning his wife rose to keep the children quiet, so that I might sleep a little later as I was very tired. The sheriff is here to put us out for keeping you. This house belongs to the Company. The family gathered up all their earthly belongings, which weren't much, took down all the holy pictures, and put them in a wagon, and they with all their neighbors went to the meeting.
The sight of that wagon with the sticks of furniture and the holy pictures and the children, with the father and mother and myself walking along through the streets turned the tide. It made the men so angry that they decided not to go back that morning to the mines.
Instead they came to the meeting where they determined not to give up the strike until they had won the victory. Then the company tried to bring in scabs. I told the men to stay home with the children for a change and let the women attend to the scabs.
I organized an army of women housekeepers. On a given day they were to bring their mops and brooms and "the army" would charge the scabs up at the mines.
The general manager, the sheriff and the corporation hirelings heard of our plans and were on hand. The day came and the women came with the mops and brooms and pails of water. I decided not to go up to the Drip Mouth myself, for I knew they would arrest me and that might rout the army. I selected as leader an Irish woman who had a most picturesque appearance. She had slept late and her husband had told her to hurry up and get into the army. She had grabbed a red petticoat and slipped it over a thick cotton night gown.
She wore a black stocking and a white one. She had tied a little red fringed shawl over her wild red hair. Her face was red and her eyes were mad. I looked at her and felt that she could raise a rumpus.
I said, "You lead the army up to the Drip Mouth. Take that tin dishpan you have with you and your hammer, and when the scabs and the mules come up, begin to hammer and howl. Then all of you hammer and howl and be ready to chase the scabs with your mops and brooms.
Don't be afraid of anyone. Up the mountain side, yelling and hollering, she led the women, and when the mules came up with the scabs and the coal, she began beating on the dishpan and hollering and all the army joined in with her. The sheriff tapped her on the shoulder. She took the old tin pan and she hit him with it and she hollered, "To hell with you and the mules!
He fell over and dropped into the creek. Then the mules began to rebel against scabbing. They bucked and kicked the scab drivers and started off for the barn. The scabs started running down hill, followed by the army of women with their mops and pails and brooms. There was a great big doctor in the crowd, a company lap dog. He had a little satchel in his hand and he said to me, impudent like, "Mrs. Jones, I have a warrant for you. I am going to hold a meeting now.
From that day on the women kept continual watch of the mines to see that the company did not bring in scabs. Every day women with brooms or mops in one hand and babies in the other arm wrapped in little blankets, went to the mines and watched that no one went in. And all night long they kept watch. They were heroic women. In the long years to come the nation will pay them high tribute for they were fighting for the advancement of a great country.
I held meetings throughout the surrounding country. The company was spending money among the farmers, urging them not to do anything for the miners.
I went out with an old wagon and a union mule that had gone on strike, and a miner's little boy for a driver. I held meetings among the farmers and won them to the side of the strikers. Sometimes it was twelve or one o'clock in the morning when I would get home, the little boy asleep on my arm and I driving the mule. Sometimes it was several degrees below zero.
The winds whistled down the mountains and drove the snow and sleet in our faces. My hands and feet were often numb. We were all living on dry bread and black coffee.
I slept in a room that never had a fire in it, and I often woke up in the morning to find snow covering the outside covers of the bed. There was a place near Arnot called Sweedy Town, and the company's agents went there to get the Swedes to break the strike. I was holding a meeting among the farmers when I heard of the company's efforts. I got the young farmers to get on their horses and go over to Sweedy Town and see that no Swede left town. They took clotheslines for lassos and any Swede seen moving in the direction of Arnot was brought back quick enough.
After months of terrible hardships the strike was about won. The mines were not working. The spirit of the men was splendid. President Wilson had come home from the western part of the state.
I was staying at his home. The family had gone to bed. We sat up late talking over matters when there came a knock at the door. A very cautious knock. Three men entered. They looked at me uneasily and Mr. Wilson asked me to step in an adjoining room.
But if you come to bribe me with dollars to betray my manhood and my brothers who trust me, I want you to leave this door and never come here again.
The strike lasted a few weeks longer. Meantime President Wilson, when strikers were evicted, cleaned out his barn and took care of the evicted miners until homes could be provided. One by one he killed his chickens and his hogs. Everything that he had he shared. He ate dry bread and drank chicory. He knew every hardship that the rank and file of the organization knew.
We do not have such leaders now. They got the hall, and when the President, Mr. Wilson, returned from the convention in Cincinnati he shed tears of joy and gratitude. I was going to leave for the central fields, and before I left, the union held a victory meeting in Bloosburg.
The women came for miles in a raging snow storm for that meeting, little children trailing on their skirts, and babies under their shawls.
Many of the miners had walked miles. It was one night of real joy and a great celebration. I bade them all good bye. A little boy called out, "Don't leave us, Mother. Don't leave us! We spent the whole night in Bloosburg rejoicing. The men opened a few of the freight cars out on a siding and helped themselves to boxes of beer. Old and young talked and sang all night long and to the credit of the company no one was interfered with.
Those were the days before the extensive use of gun men, of military, of jails, of police clubs. There had been no bloodshed. There had been no riots. And the victory was due to the army of women with their mops and brooms. A year afterward they celebrated the anniversary of the victory. They presented me with a gold watch but I declined to accept it, for I felt it was the price of the bread of the little children. I have not been in Arnot since but in my travels over the country I often meet the men and boys who carried through the strike so heroically.
One night I went with an organizer named Scott to a mining town in the Fairmont district where the miners had asked me to hold a meeting. When we got off the car I asked Scott where I was to speak and he pointed to a frame building. We walked in. There were lighted candles on an altar. I looked around in the dim light. We were in a church and the benches were filled with miners. Outside the railing of the altar was a table. At one end sat the priest with the money of the union in his hands.
The president of the local union sat at the other end of the table. I marched down the aisle. You should not commercialize it. Get up every one of you and go out in the open fields. They got up and went out and sat around a field while I spoke to them. The sheriff was there and he did not allow any traffic to go along the road while I was speaking. In front of us was a schoolhouse. I pointed to it and I said, "Your ancestors fought for you to have a share in that institution over there.
It's yours. See the school board, and every Friday night hold your meetings there. Have your wives clean it up Saturday morning for the children to enter Monday. Your organization is not a praying institution. It's a fighting institution. It's an educational institution along industrial lines.
Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living!
Tom Haggerty was in charge of the Fairmont field. One Sunday morning, the striking miners of Clarksburg started on a march to Monongha to get out the miners in the camps along the line. We camped in the open fields and held meetings on the road sides and in barns, preaching the gospel of unionism. The Consolidated Coal Company that owns the little town of New England forbade the distribution of the notices of our meeting and arrested any one found with a notice. But we got the news around.
Several of our men went into the camp. They went in twos. One pretended he was deaf and the other kept hollering in his ear as they walked around, "Mother Jones is going to have a meeting Sunday afternoon outside the town on the sawdust pile. So the word got around the entire camp and we had a big crowd. When the meeting adjourned, three miners and myself set out for Fairmont City.
The miners, Jo Battley, Charlie Blakelet and Barney Rice walked but they got a little boy with a horse and buggy to drive me over. I was to wait for the boys just outside the town, across the bridge, just where the interurban car comes along. The little lad and I drove along. It was dark when we came in sight of the bridge which I had to cross. A dark building stood beside the bridge.
It was the Coal Company's store. It was guarded by gunmen. There was no light on the bridge and there was none in the store. Tomorrow I'll have to be hunting a new job for you. I got out of the buggy where the road joins the Interurban tracks, just across the bridge. I sent the lad home. Tell them I'm waiting just across the bridge. There wasn't a house in sight.
The only people near were the gunmen whose dark figures I could now and then see moving on the bridge. It grew very dark. I sat on the ground, waiting. I took out my watch, lighted a match and saw that it was about time for the interurban. Suddenly the sound of "Murder! Then the sound of running and Barney Rice came screaming across the bridge toward me. Blakley followed, running so fast his heels hit the back of his head. At that moment the Interurban car came in sight. It would stop at the bridge.
I thought of a scheme. I ran onto the bridge, shouting, "Jo! The boys are coming.
They're coming! The whole bunch's coming. The car's most here! Those bloodhounds for the coal company thought an army of miners was in the Interurban car. They ran for cover, barricading themselves in the company's store.
They left Jo on the bridge, his head broken and the blood pouring from him. I tore my petticoat into strips, bandaged his head, helped the boys to get him on to the Interurban car, and hurried the car into Fairmont City. We took him to the hotel and sent for a doctor who sewed up the great, open cuts in his head.
I sat up all night and nursed the poor fellow. He was out of his head and thought I was his mother. The next night Tom Haggerty and I addressed the union meeting, telling them just what had happened. The men wanted to go clean up the gunmen but I told them that would only make more trouble. The meeting adjourned in a body to go see Jo. They went to his room, six or eight of them at a time, until they had all seen him.
We tried to get a warrant out for the arrest of the gunmen but we couldn't because the coal company controlled the judges and the courts. Jo was not the only man who was beaten by the gunmen.
There were many and the brutalities of these bloodhounds would fill volumes. In Clarksburg, men were threatened with death if they even billed meetings for me. But the railway men billed a meeting in the dead of night and I went in there alone. The meeting was in the court house. The place was packed.
The mayor and all the city officials were there.
The Fairmont field was finally organized to a man. The scabs and the gunmen were driven out. Subsequently, through inefficient organizers, through the treachery of the unions' own officials, the unions lost strength. The miners of the Fairmont field were finally betrayed by the very men who were employed to protect their interests.
Charlie Battley tried to retrieve the losses but officers had become corrupt and men so discouraged that he could do nothing. It makes me sad indeed to think that the sacrifices men and women made to get out from under the iron heel of the gunmen were so often in vain! That the victories gained are so often destroyed by the treachery of the workers' own officials, men who themselves knew the bitterness and cost of the struggle.
I am old now and I never expect to see the boys in the Fairmont field again, but I like to think that I have had a share in changing conditions for them and for their children.
Burke and Tom Lewis, members of the board of the United Mine Workers, decided to go look the field over for themselves. They took the train one night for Kelly Creek. The train came to a high trestle over a steep canyon. Under some pretext all the passengers except the two union officials were transferred to another coach, the coach uncoupled and pulled across the trestle.
The officials were left on the trestle in the stalled car. They had to crawl on their hands and knees along the tracks. Pitch blackness was below them. The trestle was a one-way track. Just as they got to end of the trestle, a train thundered by. When I heard of the coal company's efforts to kill the union officers, I decided I myself must go to Kelly Creek and rouse those slaves. I took a nineteen-year-old boy, Ben Davis, with me. We walked on the east bank of the Kanawah River on which Kelly Creek is situated.
Before daylight one morning, at a point opposite Kelly Creek, we forded the river. It was just dawn when I knocked at the door of a store run by a man by the name of Marshall. I told him what I had come for. He was friendly. He took me in a little back room where he gave me breakfast. He said if anyone saw him giving food to Mother Jones he would lose his store privilege.
He told me how to get my bills announcing my meeting into the mines by noon. But all the time he was frightened and kept looking out the little window. Late that night a group of miners gathered about a mile from town between the boulders. We could not see one another's faces in the darkness. By the light of an old lantern I gave them the pledge.
The next day, forty men were discharged, blacklisted. There had been spies among the men the night before. The following night we organized another group and they were all discharged. This started the fight. Marshall, the grocery man, got courageous. He rented me his store and I began holding meetings there. The general manager for the mines came over from Columbus and he held a meeting, too.
The following Sunday I held a meeting in the woods. The general manager, Mr. Jack Rowen, came down from Columbus on his special car. I organized a parade of the men that Sunday. We had every miner with us. We stood in front of the company's hotel and yelled for the general manager to come out. He did not appear. Two of the company's lap dogs were on the porch. One of them said, "I'd like to hang that old woman to a tree.
On we marched to our meeting place under the trees. Over a thousand people came and the two lap dogs came sniveling along too. I stood up to speak and I put my back to a big tree and pointing to the curs, I said, "You said that you would like to hang this old woman to a tree!
Well, here's the old woman and here's the tree. Bring along your rope and hang her! And so the union was organized in Kelly Creek. I do not know whether the men have held the gains they wrested from the company.
Taking men into the union is just the kindergarten of their education and every force is against their further education. Men who live up those lonely creeks have only the mine owners' Y. As, the mine owners' preachers and teachers, the mine owners' doctors and newspapers to look to for their ideas. So they don't get many.
I was talking on the strike question, for what else among miners should one be talking of? Nine organizers sat under a tree near by. A United States marshal notified them to tell me that I was under arrest. One of them came up to the platform. I looked over at the United States marshal and I said, "I will be right with you.
Wait till I run down. Then I said, "Goodbye, boys; I'm under arrest. I may have to go to jail. I may not see you for a long time. Keep up this fight! Don't surrender! Pay no attention to the injunction machine at Parkersburg. The Federal judge is a scab anyhow. While you starve he plays golf. While you serve humanity, he serves injunctions for the money powers.
That night several of the organizers and myself were taken to Parkersburg, a distance of eighty-four miles. Five deputy marshals went with the men, and a nephew of the United States marshal, a nice lad, took charge of me. On the train I got the lad very sympathetic to the cause of the miners.
When we got off the train, the boys and the five marshals started off in one direction and we in the other. I quickly followed the boys and went to jail with them.
But the jailer and his wife would not put me in a regular cell. I got a real good rest while I was with them. We were taken to the Federal court for trial We had violated something they called an injunction. Whatever the bosses did not want the miners to do they got out an injunction against doing it.
The company put a woman on the stand. She testified that I had told the miners to go into the mines and throw out the scabs. She was a poor skinny woman with scared eyes and she wore her best dress, as if she were in church. I looked at the miserable slave of the coal company and I felt sorry for her: I was put on the stand and the judge asked me if I gave that advice to the miners, told them to use violence. I am more careful than that.
You've been on the bench forty years, have you not, judge? The prosecuting attorney jumped to his feet and shaking his finger at me, he said "Your honor, there is the most dangerous woman in the country today. She called your honor a scab. But I will recommend mercy of the court if she will consent to leave the state and never return.
And I will not leave this state so long as there is a single little child that asks me to stay and fight his battle for bread. I was thinking of the immortal Lincoln. And it occurred to me that I had read in the papers that when Lincoln made the appointment of Federal judge to this bench, he did not designate senior or junior. You and your father bore the same initials.
Your father was away when the appointment came. You took the appointment. Wasn't that scabbing on your father, judge? A chap came tiptoeing up to me and whispered, "Madam, don't say 'judge' or 'sir' to the court. Say 'Your Honor. Well, I can't call him 'your honor' until I know how honorable he is. You know I took an oath to tell the truth when I took the witness stand.
When the court session closed I was told that the judge wished to see me in his chambers. When I entered the room, the judge reached out his hand and took hold of mine, and he said, "I wish to give you proof that I am not a scab; that I didn't scab on my father. He handed me documents which proved that the reports were wrong and had been circulated by his enemies. And I am glad to be tried by so human a judge who resents being called a scab.
And who would not want to be one. You probably understand how we working people feel about it. He did not sentence me, just let me go, but he gave the men who were arrested with me sixty and ninety days in jail.
I was going to leave Parkersburg the next night for Clarksburg. Murphy, a citizen of Parkersburg, came to express his regrets that I was going away. He said he was glad the judge did not sentence me. I said to him, "If the injunction was violated I was the only one who violated it. The boys did not speak at all. I regret that they had to go to jail for me and that I should go free.
But I am not trying to break into jails. It really does not matter much; they are young and strong and have a long time to carry on. I am old and have much yet to do. Only Barney Rice has a bad heart and a frail, nervous wife. When she hears of his imprisonment, she may have a collapse and perhaps leave her little children without a mother's care. Murphy said to me, "Mother Jones, I believe that if you went up and explained Rice's condition to the judge he would pardon him.
He called the jailer and asked him to bring Rice to the phone. The judge said, "How is your heart, Barney? I was just trailing around with Mother Jones. I told him I did not hear and he repeated to me Barney's answers. I have been out to meetings with him and walking home down the roads or on the railroad tracks, he has had to sit down to get his breath. The judge called the jail doctor and told him to go and examine Barney's heart in the morning.
Meantime I asked my friend, Mr. Murphy, to see the jail doctor. Well, the next day Barney was let out of jail. The strike had been peaceful. The miners had the support of the public. The tie up of the collieries had been complete. Factories and railroads were without coal. Toward fall New York began to suffer. In October, Mr. He called also the officials of the miners' union. They sat at the cabinet table, the coal officials on one side, the miners' officials at the other and the president at the head of the table in between the two groups.
They discussed the matter and the mine owners would not consent to any kind of settlement. Baer said that before he would consent to arbitration with the union he would call out the militia and shoot the miners back into the mines. The meeting adjourned without results. Roosevelt sent for John Mitchell. He patted him on the shoulder, told him that he was the true patriot and loyal citizen and not the mine owners.
After the conference there was a deadlock. Mitchell reported the conference to the miners. They said, "All right. We have money enough to see this thing through. We will fight to a finish. Another source of her transformation into an organizer, according to biographer Elliott Gorn, was her early Roman Catholicism and her relationship to her brother, Father William Richard Harris.
Catharines , Ontario in the Diocese of Toronto, who was "among the best-known clerics in Ontario ", but from whom she was reportedly estranged. Active as an organizer and educator in strikes throughout the country at the time, she was involved particularly with the UMW and the Socialist Party of America. As a union organizer , she gained prominence for organizing the wives and children of striking workers in demonstrations on their behalf.
She was termed "the most dangerous woman in America" by a West Virginian district attorney, Reese Blizzard, in , at her trial for ignoring an injunction banning meetings by striking miners.
Jones was ideologically separated from many female activists of the pre- Nineteenth Amendment days due to her aversion to female suffrage. She was quoted as saying that "you don't need the vote to raise hell! When some suffragettes accused her of being anti-women's rights she clearly articulated herself, "I'm not an anti to anything which brings freedom to my class. Occasionally she would include props, visual aids, and dramatic stunts for effect. It is said Mother Jones spoke in a pleasant-sounding brogue which projected well.
When she grew excited, her voice did not grow shrill. Instead, it dropped in pitch, and her intensity became all but palpable. By age 60, she had assumed the persona of "Mother Jones" by claiming to be older than she was, wearing outdated black dresses and referring to the male workers that she helped as "her boys". The first reference to her in print as Mother Jones was in In , workers in Pennsylvania's silk mills went on strike. Many of them were young women demanding to be paid adult wages.
To do so, she encouraged the wives of the workers to organize into a group that would wield brooms, beat on tin pans, and shout "join the union! She claimed that the young girls working in the mills were being robbed and demoralized. To enforce worker solidarity, she traveled to the silk mills in New Jersey and returned to Pennsylvania to report that the conditions she observed were much better. She stated that "the child labor law is better enforced for one thing and there are more men at work than seen in the mills here.
They claimed that if the workers still insisted on a wage scale, they would not be able to do business while paying adult wages and would be forced to close. Although she agreed to a settlement that sent the young girls back to the mills, she continued to fight child labor for the rest of her life.
In , 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! As Mother Jones noted, many of the children at union headquarters were missing fingers and had other disabilities, and she attempted to get newspaper publicity for the bad conditions experienced by children working in Pennsylvania.
However, the mill owners held stock in most newspapers. When the newspaper men informed her that they could not publish the facts about child labor because of this, she remarked "Well, I've got stock in these little children and I'll arrange a little publicity.
Even though Mother Jones wrote a letter asking for a meeting, she never received an answer. The non-fiction book Kids on Strike! During the Paint Creek—Cabin Creek strike of in West Virginia , Mary Jones arrived in June , speaking and organizing despite a shooting war between United Mine Workers members and the private army of the mine owners.
Martial law in the area was declared and rescinded twice before Jones was arrested on 13 February and brought before a military court.
Accused of conspiring to commit murder among other charges, she refused to recognize the legitimacy of her court-martial. She was sentenced to twenty years in the state penitentiary. During house arrest at Mrs.
Carney's Boarding House , she acquired a dangerous case of pneumonia. After 85 days of confinement, her release coincided with Indiana Senator John W. Kern 's initiation of a Senate investigation into the conditions in the local coal mines.
Several months later, she helped organize coal miners in Colorado. Once again she was arrested, served some time in prison, and was escorted from the state in the months prior to the Ludlow Massacre. After the massacre, she was invited to meet face-to-face with the owner of the Ludlow mine, John D. Rockefeller Jr. The meeting prompted Rockefeller to visit the Colorado mines and introduce long-sought reforms. By , Jones was in court again, this time facing charges of libel , slander , and sedition.
In , Charles A. Jones remained a union organizer for the UMW into the s and continued to speak on union affairs almost until she died. She released her own account of her experiences in the labor movement as The Autobiography of Mother Jones She celebrated her self-proclaimed th birthday there on 1 May and was filmed making a statement for a newsreel.
Mother Jones attempted to stop the miners' from marching into Mingo County in late August Mother Jones also visited the governor and departed assured he would intervene. Jones opposed the armed march, appeared on the line of march and told them to go home. In her hand she claimed to have a telegram from President Warren Harding offering to work to end the private police in West Virginia if they returned home.
Because she refused to show anyone the telegram she was suspected of having fabricated the story. Mother Jones refused to allow anyone to read the document, and the President's secretary denied ever having sent one.
After she fled the camp, she reportedly suffered a nervous breakdown. Although Mother Jones organized for decades on behalf of the UMWA in West Virginia and even denounced the state as 'medieval', the chapter of the same name in her autobiography, she mostly praises Governor Morgan for defending the First Amendment freedom of the labor weekly The Federationist to publish. His refusal to consent to the mine owners request he ban the paper demonstrated to Mother Jones that he 'refused to comply with the requests of the dominant money interests.
To a man of that type I wish to pay my respects'. There was a funeral Mass at St. Gabriel's in Washington, D. Convinced that they had acted in the spirit of Mother Jones, the miners decided to place a proper headstone on her grave. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Mary Harris Jones. Cork City , County Cork , Ireland.
Adelphi, Maryland , U. History of the American Left. Active organizations. Defunct organizations. Related topics. Mother Jones Commemorative committee. Retrieved 30 November This plaque will be erected near the famous Cork Butter Market and will be unveiled on 1st August which is the th Anniversary of her baptism in the North Cathedral [St.
Mary's Cathedral] we have not been able to ascertain her actual date of birth but it would most likely have been a few days before this date. Few details of her life in Cork have been uncovered to date, though it is thought by some that she was born on Blarney Street and may have attended the North Presentation Schools nearby. She and her family emigrated to Canada soon after the Famine, probably in the early s. Populists and progressives. Check date values in: Ballard; Patricia L.
Hudson 18 July Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia. University Press of Kentucky. Retrieved 26 September Explore PA History. Mother Jones leads march of miners' children".
People's World. The March of the Mill Children". In Parton, Mary Field. The Autobiography of Mother Jones. Charles H. Halus 25 November