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Illinois Coal & Coal Mining
History & Genealogy

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United Mine Workers of America in Illinois
District 12

A Brief History
      The United Mine Workers union was formed on January 25, 1890
Illinois was designated as District 12
More about the United Mine Workers of America

The First Year - 1890
As Related in Newspaper Articles
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Weekly Pantagraph, Bloomington, Illinois
Volume 44, Number 19
Friday May 9, 1890 Page 8
All Quiet, But Stone Curious Actions of Laborers at Chicago
      Peoria, Ill , May 2. -- The striking miners of this vicinity held mass meetings in the various neighborhoods, and all meetings indorsed the Columbus scale and decided to abide by the decision of the conference in Chicago. They have refused to return to work in spite of the fact that the operators of this district are all ready to pay the scale and grant all other demands. There are no signs of discontentment among the men.
      Streator, Ill., May 2 -- All the miners in this vicinity have suspended work for two weeks according to the programme laid out by the United Mine Workers' association. There is no belligerent feeling among the miners here, and all hope for an amicable agreement with the operators, whereby a strike may be avoided. There is a feeling that the southern Illinois operators have not done the fair thing in declining to attend the Chicago convention, and an indisposition to allow them profit by a strike in northern Illinois, as they did last summer.
      Colfax, III., May 2. -- Our miners struck this morning because the company widened the screen to two and one half inches, not in consequences of orders from the union. The misunderstanding will be adjusted upon the return of the president and secretary from Chicago this evening.
      Lincoln, Ill., May 2. -- The coal miners in the Citizens' Coal and Mining company to the number of 100 walked out today in obedience to the orders of the Federation of Trades. The Lincoln Coal and Mining company is still working 140 miners and no probability of their striking exists
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Known Officers of District 12:
1890 - William Scaife, President
1894 - J. A. Crawford, President
1898 - John M. Hunter, President
1903 - W. R. Rssell, President
            T. J. Reynolds, Vice-President
            W. D. Ryan, Secretary-Treasurer
1917, 1918, 1922 - Frank Farrington, President
            Walter Nesbitt, Secretary
William Scaife
William Scaife 1
William Scaife
Born in 1853 in England
President District 12, United Mine Workers in 1890
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Frank Farrington
Born September 19, 1873 in Illinois


United Mine Workers of America
      Founded on on January 25, 1890 at Columbus, Ohio.
John B. Rae & John McBride were the co-founders.
      The joint convention of miners at Columbus, Ohio, yesterday morning considered the report of the Committee on Constitution. The name of the new organization is to be United Mine Workers of N. D. A. 135, Knights of Labor, and the National Protective Union. A per capita tax of 5 cents per member was adopted.
[The Ottawa Free Trader, Ottawa, Illinois, Volume 52, Number 26, Saturday, February 1, 1890, Page 2]
      A branch of the United Mine Workers was organized at Lincoln last week by P. McBride, of Pittsburg, The objects of the organization are to federate the miners of the Springfield district, to ask for a uniform price of 72¼ cents per ton for mining coal instead of the present rate of 60 cents, and to demand the enforcement of the eight-hour system on and after May 1. The organization embraces two-thirds of the active miners of Logan County. The operators are disposed to resist both demands, which positions presages a strike of all the miners in Illinois, 75,000 in number, as the organization is being perfected throughout the State.
[Warren County Democrat, Monmouth, Illinois, Volume 3, Number 27, Thursday, March 27, 1890, Page 3]
      J. B. Rae, president of the United Mine Workers of America, has called a delegate meeting of the miners of Ind., Ill., Western Penn. and W. Va., at Columbus April 15, to consult with a convention of operators.
[Prairie Farmer, Chicago, Illinois, Volume 62 Number 15, April 12, 1890, Page 16]
John B. Rae, President of UMWA January 25, 1890 - 1892
John B. Rae
John B. Rae 1
Born on June 4, 1838
Served as president of the Knights of Labor Assembly 135, (coal miners' union).
Died on May 24, 1922
John McBride, President of UMWA 1892 - 1895
John McBride
John McBride 1
Born in 1854 in Wayne County, Ohio
President of Ohio Miners' Union 1883 - 1889
Died on October 9, 1917 in Globe, Arizona
Phil H. Penna, President of UMWA 1895 - 1896
Phil H. Penna
Phil H. Penna 1
Born in November 1857
Died on January 5, 1939
Michael Ratchford, President of UMWA 1897 - 1898
Michael Ratchford
Michael Ratchford 1
Born in August 1860 in County Clare, Ireland
Died on December 12, 1927 in Massillon, Ohio
John Mitchell, President of UMWA 1898 - 1907
John Mitchell
John Mitchell 1
Born in 1870 in Braidwood, Illinois
Died in 1919
Thomas L. Lewis, President of UMWA 1908 - 1910
Thomas L. Lewis
Thomas L. Lewis 1
Born in 1866 in Locust Gap, Pennsylvania
In 1890 he helped to found the United Mine Workers
John Phillip White, President of UMWA 1911 - 1917
John Phillip White
Born on February 28, 1870 in Coal Valley, Rock Island County, Illinois
Elected District 13 (Iowa) Secretary-Treasurer in 1899
District 13 (Iowa) President from 1904 - 1907 & 1909 - 1912
Died on September 21, 1934
Frank J. Hayes, President of UMWA 1917-1920
Frank J. Hayes
Born on May 4, 1882
Lieutenant Governor of Colorado in 1937 - 1939
Died on June 10, 1948, in Denver, Colorado.
John Llewellyn Lewis, President of UMWA 1920 - 1960
John Llewellyn Lewis
Born on February 12, 1880
In 1909 elected president of the UMW local at Panama, Illinois
Died on June 11, 1969 in Alexandria, Virginia
Buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois.
Thomas "Tom" Kennedy, President of UMWA 1960 - 1963
Thomas "Tom" Kennedy
Born on November 2, 1887 in Lansford, Pennsylvania
Secretary of Local 1738 in 1903
Elected to the District 7 board in 1908
District 7 President in 1910
Died on January 19, 1963, in Hazleton, Pennsylvania
William Anthony "Tough Tony" Boyle, President of UMWA 1963 - 1972
William Anthony "Tony" Boyle
Born on December 1, 1904 in Bald Butte, Montana
Died on May 31, 1985 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Arnold Miller, President of UMWA 1972 - 1979
Arnold Miller
Born on April 25, 1923 in Leewood, West Virginia
Died on July 12, 1985 in Charleston, West Virginia
Samuel Morgan "Sam" Church, Jr., President of UMWA 1979 - 1982
Samuel Morgan "Sam" Church, Jr.
Born on September 20, 1936
Died on July 14, 2009
Richard Louis Trumka, President of UMWA 1982 - December 22, 1995
Richard Louis Trumka
Born on July 24, 1949 in Nemacolin, Pennsylvania
Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO 1995 to 2009
Cecil Roberts, President of UMWA 1995 - present
Cecil Roberts
Born on October 31, 1946 in Kanawha County, West Virginia

1. A History of the Coal Miners of the United States;
      Roy, Andrew; J. L. Trauger Printing Comapny, Columbus, Ohio; 1907

Coal & Coal Mining in Illinois
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