Mother Jones

Who Was Mother Jones?

Mother Jones (1830-1930) whose real name was Mary Harris Jones, was a union activist and a prominent figure in the labor movement. She played a significant role in establishing the Industrial Workers of the World and founded the Social Democratic Party.

Mother Jones
Photo: Enquirerdemocrat/Celeblifegrphy

Early Life

Union Activist Mother Jones was born in County Cork, Ireland, in 1830. Mother Jones and her family lived in Canada and Michigan before fleeing the Irish Potato Famine and relocating to Chicago. Her home was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire, and she also suffered personal tragedies such as the death of her husband and children from yellow fever.

Activism For Labor Rights

Mother Jones started her career as a labor activist after this loss. She was employed by the Knights of Labor, frequently delivering speeches to motivate workers during work stoppages. She visited many striking locations during this period, providing support to railway workers in 1877 and coal miners in Pennsylvania in 1873.

In 1898, Mary Harris Jones participated in political engagement, co-founding the Social Democratic Party. She also had a significant influence on the Industrial Workers of the World’s founding in 1905. She was regarded as one of the most dangerous women in America because of her commitment to labor activism and social reform.

Women’s Rights

Mother Jones was also an early advocate for women’s rights because she believed that women should play an active role in labor and social reform. Jones never wavered in her dedication to her profession, even as she aged. She was later pardoned after being jailed at the age of 82 in West Virginia for her role in a strike. Up till the time of her passing, she kept organizing workers.


She married George E. Jones in 1861, a skilled iron molder and staunch unionist.


Mother Jones died on November 30, 1930, and special labor celebrations were held around the nation in her honor. She was laid to rest in the Miners Cemetery in Mount Olive, Illinois, as per her desires.

Interesting Facts

  • Title: Mother Jones Biography
  • Full Name: Mary Harris Jones
  • Birth Year: 1830
  • Birth Country: Ireland
  • Gender: Female
  • Best Known For: Mother Jones was known for union activism and founded the Social Democratic Party for Industrial Workers of the World.
  • Nationalities: Irish
  • Death Year: 1930
  • Death Date: November 30, 1930
  • Author: Editors

Quotes Written By Mary Harris Jones

  • Reformation, like education, is a journey, not a destination.
  • In Georgia where children work day and night in the cotton mills they have just passed a bill to protect song birds. What about the little children from whom all song is gone?
  • I am not afraid of the pen, or the scaffold, or the sword. I will tell the truth wherever I please.
  • Some day the workers will take possession of your city hall, and when we do, no child will be sacrificed on the altar of profit!