Mary Harris "Mother" Jones

 

U.S. labor leader born near Cork, Ireland. She emigrated to Canada and then the United States as a child. She was widowed at age 37 when her husband, iron molder George Jones and her four children died in the yellow fever epidemic in 1867. She also lost her home in the great Chicago fire of 1871.

She resumed work as a dressmaker as well as working for the ‘Knight’s of Labor’ as an organizer. She also helped found the ‘wobblies’ (Industrial Workers of the World).

She traveled to areas of labor strife, especially in the coal industry and was imprisoned in West Virginia on a charge of conspiracy to murder in 1912 at the age of 82. West Virginia District Attorney Reese Blizzard termed her "the most dangerous woman in America".

A legend in her own time, known for bold tactics, she fought for the cause of labor until her death on November 30, 1930.