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Mother Jones Court-Martial: 1913

Yellow Fever And Chicago Fire, "mother" Of All American Workers, "'i Warn This Little Governor"

Defendants: Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, W.H. Adkins (alias Bunk Adkins), Charles Batley, Tip Belcher, C.H. Boswell, Clyde E. Bowe, William Brandridge, John W. Brown, Leonard Clark, H.V. Craise, Ernest Creigo, Harrison Ellis, Grady Everett, Charles Gillispie, Ed. Gray, Boyd Holley (alias Boyd Adkins), W.H.H. Huffman, Frazier Jarrett, John Jones, Charles Kenney, Sanford Kirk, Charles Lanham, A.D. Lavender, G.W. Lavender, George W. McCoy, Tom Miskel, Carl Morgan, Cal J. Newman, Bert Nutter, Ernest O'Dell, John O'Dell, Robert Parrish, G.F. Parsons, W.H. Patrick, Paul Paulsen, Will Perdue, W. Lawrence Perry, Oscar Petry, Jim Pike, William Price, Joe Prince, John Seachrist, John Siketo, Emory J. Sowards, Cleve Vickers, E.B. Vickers, Charles Wright, Steve Yager, and J.D. Zeller (alias Dutch Zeller)
Crimes Charged: Conspiracy to inflict bodily injury, murder, conspiracy to destroy personal property, conspiracy to inflict bodily injury, accessory to crime after the fact, unlawfully carrying weapons
Chief Defense Lawyers: Albert M. Belcher, Harold W. Houston, Adam B. Littlepage, M.F. Matheny; court-appointed attorneys: Edward B. Carskadon, Charles R. Morgan
Prosecutor: George Selden Wallace, Judge Advocate
Judges: Clarence F. Jolliffe, Captain Boughner (first name unrecorded), Samuel L. Walker
Place: Pratt, West Virginia
Date of Trial: March 7-14, 1913
Verdicts: Officially unrecorded, but deduced from contemporary newspaper accounts: Mother Jones, Boswell, Brown, Creigo, Kenney, A.D. Lavender, G.W. Lavender, Miskel, Parsons, Seachrist, Cleve Vickers and E.B. Vickers: guilty; all others: not guilty
Sentences: Up to 20 years' imprisonment (commuted to time served)

SIGNIFICANCE: This trial of an 83-year-old labor agitator who had become known as "the Miners' Angel" caused such tumult that the United States Senate investigated labor conditions in the coal fields of West Virginia. Historians of labor relations consider the trial a major event in the movement, from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century, to protect laborers against low wages, long hours, and dangerous working conditions.

Born in 1830 in Ireland, Mary Harris was brought to America at the age of five. She graduated from teacher' school at 17, taught in Michigan, moved on to dress-making in Chicago, and then returned to teaching in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1883 to 1917