Mother Jones : An American Union Labor Activist Essay
Mary Harris Jones, also known is “Mother Jones” was an Irish-American union labor activist. Mary “Mother” Jones was born August 1, 1837 in County Cork, Ireland to Helen Cotter and Richard Harris, however, Mary claimed an unconventional birthdate of May 1, 1830. The Harrises were a family of 7. Mary had four siblings, two brothers and two sisters. Her father was forced to flee to North America with her family in 1835 to due to the Irish famine.
Mary lived and grew up in Toronto, Canada. Her father, Richard, worked in railroad construction to support the family. He was working on one of the first Canadian railroads. While living in Canada, Mary trained to become a dressmaker and teacher. She acquired her teaching certificate in Toronto at age 20.
The Harrises moved to the United States in Michigan the 1840s. Mary, having received her certificate, landed a job as a teacher at a school in Monroe, Michigan where she taught for 8 months. Mary then moved to Chicago where she found work as a dressmaker in her early 20s. She later moved to Memphis, Tennessee where she met and married her husband, George E. Jones, in 1861. George E. Jones was an ironworker and a devoted unionist. He was a part of the Iron Molders’ Union in Memphis. Mary Harris Jones and George E. Jones had four children together. Six years later, calamity struck; Memphis had been exposed to yellow fever in 1867 which killed hundreds of people. The yellow fever took the lives of Mary’s family; her…