Mother Jones, My Life in Short

  • My Date of "Birth"

    My Date of "Birth"
    This is the day I claim to be born in County Cork, Ireland. I was born into a family of tenant farmers that had avoided eviction from our landowner.
  • Period: to

    Years of My Life

  • Wanted

    My father becomes wnated for being involved in a plot to kill our landowner and is forced to escape Ireland in a small fishing boat.
  • To America

    To America
    Soon the rest of my family would follow my father to America. We went on a ship called The William. It was a cramped journey but we finally made it on October 4th, 1841.
  • To Toronto

    To Toronto
    My family finally settled in Toronto, Canada in 1841, ironically the same day that Charles Dickens visited the growing city.
  • The Teacher School

    The Teacher School
    I wanted to train to become a teacher but was denied because Toronto's "noramal school" did not accept women students. So I learned dressmaking from my mother instead.
  • Toronto Normal School Opens to Women

    Toronto Normal School Opens to Women
    In about 1849, the school finally opened to women. I signed up immediatly and graduated from my first year.
  • To Chicago

    To Chicago
    Even though I was trained as a teacher, I could not teach the way I wanted to, I did not like how teachers were so strict to their students. So when I moved to Chicago, I became a seamstress. However, it did not last long, for I was not earning enough money.
  • In Catfish Bay

    In Catfish Bay
    Soon I moved to Catfish Bay in Memphis in 1860 . Catfish Bay was a slum and actually reeked of fish. But it was the best I could afford and it was also where I met my husband.
  • Marriage

    In late 1860 I married George Jones a tall, thin, iron moulder interested in labor unions. For it was often poorly ventilated where he worked.
  • War

    The Civil War had beganand living in Tennesse at the time, we were cast into a town full of Confederate war fever. However, throughout the war George and I remained pro-Union, and we were glad when Memphis was finally captured. Because then, George could get back to trying to form a local branch of the Iron Moulders Union.
  • Children!

    During the Civil War and afterwards I would have four beautiful children.
  • Union Moulders Union Comes to Memphis

    Union Moulders Union Comes to Memphis
    Finally, George gets what he had been working towards. A local segment of the Iron Moulders Union is created with George as one of its first members.
  • Disaster Strikes

    Disaster Strikes
    In spring of 1867 rains were heavy, much heavier than usual. This meant a breeding ground for mosquitos, and that meant Yellow Fever. The horrid disease could make one erupt with black vomit within two days and soon make them die. Memphis was not spared. My husband and four children were all killed by the fever along with many others.
  • Chicago Again

    Chicago Again
    Soon after the grief of my family's death and after trying to assist others through the Yellow Fever epidemic I traveled to Chicago, now a bustling city with multiple millionaires including Cyrus McCormick. I once again became a seamstress and would sew for the rich, decorate their elegant homes as the poor suffered. After George died I had felt an intense need to help others, and soon I would become interested in "The Knights of Labor". But not before tragedy struck again.
  • Fire!

    A cow kicked a lantern over on its side, and the barn it was in, on the west side of Chicago caught fire. The wooden fence burned, then the wooden sidewalks, and soon one sixth of Chicago was on fire. It was the Great Chicago Fire and my house burned down with all of my possesions in it. Soon I was out in the cold along with about 30,000 others camped at Lake Michigan.
  • The Great Upheaval

    The Great Upheaval
    1,000 railroad workers suddenly refused to let trains pass through Martinsburg. Families of the miners sweelewd the crowd and the local militia could not move the strikers. Rebellion spread throughout Pennsylvania and reached Pittsburgh. There in Pittsburgh was a group of 20,000 strikers, their families, plain people, and me. However, in August federal troops arrest many of the strikers and The Great Upheaval ended.
  • Haymarket

    A number of strikes had occured in Chicago around 1885, but suddenly in Haymarket square, workers and their employers met in a deadly clash. Workers had been pushing for an eight hour work day for some time now and there was a massive strike planned in May first, 400,000 workers would strike on this day. A meeting was to be held in Haymarket as well. 300 hundred people were there listening to a speech about murders of workers by the McCormick Harvester Works. It was nonviolent.....
  • Haymarket (continued)

    Haymarket (continued)
    ...until 200 police officers arrived and asked for the meeting to end. It was in that instant that a bomb was thrown into the line of police. Chicago's working class was raided by the police, and although it looked as if the eight hour movement might succeed, it had suddenly failed.
  • Becoming a Mother Again

    Becoming a Mother Again
    Starting in 1890, I was supporting strikes in the coal fields. For the first time, I was refered to as "Mother Jones" This marked the beginning of my fame as a strike organizer. In 1891 I was assisting a strike in Norton. I wanted to hold a meeting but I was arrested because one of the other organizers had a gun. However, the law was on my side and I was never jailed. Soon I returned to help the strikers. Unfortunately, the strike failed.
  • Pennsylvania Coal Workers

    Pennsylvania Coal Workers
    After being in the south, I came to Pennsylvania along with many other union organizers. The working men of Pennsylvania were encouraged by me and Eugene Debs, John Ratchford, and Samuel Gompers. John Ratchford, president of the American Federation of Labor encouraged me to convince the men of northen Pennsylvania to join the AFL. After much convincing, an army of 100,000 workers went on strike for a 10% wage increase. For once, the strike was won!
  • Textile Workers Union-The Children

    Textile Workers Union-The Children
    In 1903, after failure in West Virginia I sought out to help children in Pennsylvania. In June I marched with 300 children into Independence Square. I held up the hands of children that had lost fingers working in textile mills. While officials turned a blind eye, I was content to find that the march had made the new as far away as New York. I would continue to march with children and the Textile Workers Union until October.
  • Colorado

    I traveled to Trinidad Colorado in October 26, 1903 after hearing word that strikes were taking place there. I wanted to see how bad conditions were. They were horrible. Workers were living in shacks with shattered windows. The children were always starving, always sick. But John D. Rockefeller, and Jay Gould were making massive profits off of the coal fields in Colorado. People were beaten by company officials if they opposed to the unlawful searching of their homes. Also, since miners were...
  • Colorado (continued)

    Colorado (continued)
    Paid in money called "scrip" they could not leave company property and buy goods anywhere other than company stores. But even so, I began the strike in Colorado in November 9th. I would stay in the south of Colorado for most of the time where people were the poorest, and oppositon was strongest. In the north, the companies agreed to shorten the work day to eight hours and give a slight wage increase, but not in the south. I did not want to accept the offer, but the new president of the UMW...
  • Colorado (continued(continued))

    Colorado (continued(continued))
    John Mitchell wanted to accept the terms. A vote was taken, the workers would not accept the settlement. But in a short time there was another vote on November 30th, the settlement was accepted by the northern workers. However, things in the south were grim. In December Colorado was considered "In a state of revolt". Union organizers were arrested, and I was warned that if I continued to make speeches then I would too, but I could not anyway. I became sick with pnemonia at 73 years old....
  • Arrested

    When I finally left the hospital, it was only a few nights before soldiers dragged me from my room to a train headed to La Junta, where I along with three other organizers were told never to come back to Colorado. But I managed to come back to Denver where I challenged to Governer of Colorado to try and do something about it. I was arrested two more times and was forced out of the area but a managed to returen even when the strike failed in October. By then I was quite angry with John Mitchell.
  • "Madre Yones!"

    "Madre Yones!"
    I travel to Mexico to assist a strike for garment workers. As I am traveling on my train I am swarmed by a group of Mexican people. At first I am terrified, but then I hear them yelling my name "Madre Yones! Madre Yones!" I began to smile and wave.
  • My 100th Birthday

    My 100th Birthday
    This was the last public event that I would be in for the rest of my life I would live with the Burgess family, a family of retired miners.
  • Death

    As was my request, I was buried in Virden, Illinois. At the time, it was the only union-owned cemetery in the U. S.