John B. Rae Information (Person)

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John B. Rae
1st President of the United Mine Workers
In office
Preceded byCeated
Succeeded by John McBride
Personal details
BornJune 4, 1838
Wayne County, Ohio, U.S.
DiedMay 24, 1922 (1922-05-25) (aged 83)
Bowling Green, Wood County, Ohio
OccupationMiner; Labor leader; Physician
Known forPresident, United Mine Workers of America

John B. Rae (June 4, 1838 – May 24, 1922) was an American labor leader. He served as the president of the Knights of Labor Assembly 135, a coal miners' union. He and John McBride co-founded the United Mine Workers of America in 1890, and Rae served as the labor union's first president. Rae led national coal miners' strikes in 1890 and 1891, both of which the union lost. He chose not to run for re-election, and McBride won election as his successor.

On May 8, 1873 in Port of New York City, John B Rae, age 34, occupation miner, born in Scotland, arrived with his wife Ellen and four children on the SS Algeria which had departed Liverpool. [1] In 1880, he was a shoemaker serving the mining community, living with his wife Ellen and six children, two more children were born in Pennsylvania in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. [2] He had been a miner since boyhood, and an admirer of the trades union principle before he emigrated to America. He was a preacher, when the Knights of Labor began to organize, he rose quickly, and soon became prominent in the labor circles. [3] By 1900, he moved to Bowling Green Ohio. There he lived with his wife Helen, and 15-year-old daughter Margaret. He listed his occupation as a physician. His wife Helen was listed as the mother of ten children, nine still living. [4] In September 1906, his wife Helen/Ellen died, John B remarried to Mary C. and as of 1920 still resided in Bowling Green, working as a Janitor. John B Rae died on May 24, 1922, at 114 Liberty Street, Bowling Green, Ohio and was buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery. [5]


  1. ^ Source Citation: Year: 1873; Arrival: New York, United States; Microfilm Serial: M237; Microfilm Roll: M237_374; Line: 10; List Number: 384
  2. ^ Year: 1880; Census Place: Shafton, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1205; Family History Film: 1255205; Page: 318B; Enumeration District: 121;
  3. ^ A history of the coal miners of the United States, from the development of the mines to the close of the anthracite strike of 1902, Pages 262-264, by Andrew Roy, Press of J. L. Trauger printing company, 1907 - Technology & Engineering - 465 pages
  4. ^ Year: 1900; Census Place: Center, Wood, Ohio; Roll: T623_1333; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 139.
  5. ^ Ohio Death Certificates, State of Ohio, 1908–1932, 1938–1944, and 1958-2007.

Further reading

  • Coleman, McAlister. Men and Coal. New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1943.
  • Fink, Gary M., ed. Biographical Dictionary of American Labor. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 1984. ISBN  0-313-22865-5
Preceded by
founding president
President, United Mine Workers of America
1890 - 1892
Succeeded by
John McBride