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 History

From THE FIGHTING MACHINISTS, A CENTURY OF STRUGGLE
by Robert G. Rodden

FIRST GENERAL SECRETARY TREASURER.
WILLIAM L. DAWLEY, 1888 - 1895
. . . .
William L. Dawley, another of the original 19 became Grand Secretary. . . .Following the first meeting on the evening of May 5, Talbot and the others spent much of the next two weeks getting their new "order" properly launched. They drafted an oath or "obligation" of membership--which each of the nineteen founding members took. They formed Lodge 1 of Atlanta and assessed themselves $1.50 each--then almost a days wage--to help pay for printing constitutions, rituals, membership applications, dues cards and charters.

SECOND GENERAL SECRETARY TREASURER.
GEORGE PRESTON, 1895 - 1917
. . . .George Preston, was born in England in 1864 and reared as a militant trade unionist in Nottingham, a breeding ground of the early British trade union movement. When he immigrated to America in 1886, he almost immediately joined the Knights of Labor. He switched to the IAM in 1890 and was barely in his thirties when he was elected to the union's highest financial office. Although his contemporaries, including his friends, describe Preston as having a rather disagreeable and overbearing personality, no one ever questioned his honesty, integrity or efficiency. . . .During the twenty-two years he served as the union's top financial officer, he developed many of the safeguards which are still followed today in handling the accounting for IAM funds.

THIRD GENERAL SECRETARY TREASURER,
EMMET C. DAVISON, 1917 - 1944
Born in Virginia in 1878, Emmet Davison completed his apprenticeship and joined the IAM before enlisting as a cavalryman in the Spanish-American War. After mustering out he returned to the trade but was blacklisted for his highly visible role in the 1901 strike for the nine-hour day. Changing his name, Davison finally landed a job in a shop affiliated with the NMTA. Promoted to foreman, he was given a list of names of "agitators" who were not to be hired.
The first name he saw was his own. Within a few years Davison was elected business representative of Local Lodge 10 in Richmond--Creamer's old home lodge. In 1913 Johnston appointed him General Organizer. Though somewhat short in stature, Davison was robust, verging on plumpness, when he became GST at the age of 39. In later years he grew increasingly frail, almost fragile, in appearance but never lost a sense of merry enthusiasm for life. He liked to chase fire engines and invariably rushed to his office window when a police siren or ambulance was heard on the street below.

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