As miners and guards dug in, Keeney sent for Mary Harris Jones, a colorful, eighty-year-old, Irish, labor organizer known as Mother Jones.
After losing her husband and four children to a fever epidemic in Memphis, Mary Harris had opened a dress makers shop in Chicago, where she lost everything in the Great Fire of 1871. She joined the United Mine Workers as an organizer. Normally quiet and shy, in public she became profane and dramatic. I am not a humanitarian, she declared. I’m a hell-raiser.
Jones arrived in Cabin Creek on a warm Sunday morning in June. She was greeted by a line of machine guns manned by mine guards. If you fire one shot here today, she warned them, we will not leave any of your gang alive.
“When the time comes in the history of this struggle that a mine owner or Baldwin guards will intimidate me, I want to die in that hour.” Mother Jones