Mother Jones Educated in Monroe Michigan

    Mary Harris was the daughter of Richard and Mary Harris. She was born in Ireland and into turmoil, and descended from a long line of social agitators. It was common in Ireland then to see British soldiers marching through the streets with the heads of Irish freedom fighters stuck on their bayonets. Her paternal grandfather was hanged by the British for being a freedom fighter. Several sources say her father also was one and, shortly after his father was hanged, was forced to flee Ireland with his family. Another source says he left to work on railway construction crews in the U.S. and Canada. At any rate, they did leave Ireland, eventually settling in Toronto, Ontario, in 1841.

EDUCATION: Mary attended public schools in Toronto, and graduated from the normal school in 1854 at the age of 17. The next year, she began working as a private tutor in Maine. She received a teaching certificate in Michigan in 1857, at age 20, and taught at St. Mary's Convent school in Monroe, Michigan.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Mary only taught in Michigan for about eight months, moving to Chicago to work as a dressmaker. From there, she moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1860 to teach school again. It was here, in 1861, that she met and married George E. Jones, a staunch and prominent member of the Iron Molders' Union. At times, Mary traveled with George in his union organizing. Through him, Mary learned about unions and the psychology of working men. Later, she would advise women that "the wife must care for what the husband cares for, if he is to remain resolute."

A LAWLESS GADFLY BY NATURE:  Mary brought lawlessness and incitement to murder to a new low in her involvement in the "Mine Wars" in the Southern West Virginia coal fields.  West Virginians are by nature and disposition independent and always want to be free which included free of a union in the coal fields.  She was doing the bidding of out of state coal operators who together with the union wished to see West Virginia Coal lose a competitive edge in the marketplace.  This outside pressure from out of state coal operators is not taught in the liberal college labor studies courses.  Denying the role of these coal operators insisting on the union organizing West Virginia is true but not found in textbooks.  One can find this information in neutral scholarly historical journals.

WEB SITES: 

Mother Jones: The Miners' Angel - Illinois Labor History Society

Mother Jones - Wikipedia

Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America - Book review on Womenshistory.About.Com

The Haymarket Riot - Wikipedia

The Union Miners' Cemetery - Illinois Labor History Society

She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain - Wikipedia

 


This page is under construction.  It is intended to serve as a resource for students and researchers.


Back To The Historic Monroe Home Page

 Click Here To Send E-Mail To Dave Smith, your web keeper - all comments are welcome

This website is dedicated to the belief that history belongs to everyone and that everyone has a duty to preserve an accurate record of history for future generations.