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Brophy, John (06 November 1883–19 February 1963), coal miner and union organizer, was born in St. Helens, Lancashire, England, the son of Patrick Brophy, a coal miner, and Mary Dagnall. John spent his early childhood in a predominantly Catholic working-class community where union membership was the norm for most coal miners. He attended parochial school until the age of nine when, in December of 1892, his family immigrated to Philipsburg, Pennsylvania....

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Davis, Richard L. (24 December 1864–25 January 1900), African-American coal miner and officer of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), African-American coal miner and officer of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), was born in Roanoke, Virginia. Little is known about his personal life, including the names of his parents and the size of his family. He obtained his early education in the Roanoke schools, which he attended during the winter months. At eight years of age he took a job in a local tobacco factory. After spending nine years in the tobacco industry, Davis became increasingly disgusted with the very low wages and unfavorable conditions on the job. In 1881 he migrated to southern West Virginia and took his first job as a coal miner in the newly opened Kanawha and New River coalfields. The following year he moved to Rendville, Ohio, a small mining town in the Hocking Valley region, southeast of Columbus. In Rendville, Davis married, supported a family, and worked until his death, from lung failure. Upon his death the UMWA paid special tribute to Davis, lamenting that the organization had lost a “staunch advocate” of the rights of workers....

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Siney, John (31 July 1831–16 April 1880), coal miner and labor reformer, was born in Bornos, County Queens, Ireland, the son of Patrick Siney and Catherine (maiden name unknown), tenant farmers. After their potato crop failed in 1835 the family was evicted from their homestead and moved to Wigan, Lancashire, England, when Siney was five years old. Two years later he took a job as bobbin boy in a cotton mill and for the next nine years worked at various mills in the area. At about age sixteen he was apprenticed as a brick maker; he later organized the Brickmakers’ Association of Wigan, serving seven terms as president....