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Union History 

The following excerpts are from the 
"The Fighting Machinists, A Century of Struggle" 
by Robert G. Rodden.


FIRST GRAND MASTER MACHINIST. 
THOMAS W. TALBOT 1888 - 1890.
 
Born o
n a farm in Chesterfield County, South Carolina on April 37, 1849, Talbot was left fatherless at six months and was working in a shoe factory to support his invalid mother by the time he was ten years old. When young Tom reached the age of sixteen, a few weeks after Lee's surrender at Appomattox, he entered an apprenticeship in the machine shop of the North Carolina Railroad in Florence, South Carolina. Many years later he said he chose this trade, "To make an honorable mechanic of myself, to be a worthy member of society and to . . . give me a good start in life."


SECOND GRAND MASTER MACHINIST. 
JOHN J. CREAMER, 1890 - 1892. 
Talbot's successor, James J. Creamer of Richmond, Virginia, was born in 1861. At seventeen he began his apprenticeship in the machine shop of the Richmond Locomotive Machine Works. A member of the Knights of Labor, he served as secretary of the Richmond Assembly. However, when he heard of Talbot's Order of Machinists and Mechanical Engineers, he became a charter member and helped to organize Lodge 10. 


THIRD GRAND MASTER MACHINIST. 
JOHN O'DAY, 1892 - 1893. 
When Creamer's successor, John O'Day of Indianapolis, took over as Grand Master Machinist in 1892 business and industry were in a deep economic downslide. This inflamed class-ridden relationships between employers and wage earners. Shortly after O'Day took office steelworkers in Homestead, Pennsylvania fought one of the bloodiest pitched battles in American labor history. This classic collision between capital and labor occurred on the banks of the Monongahela River, just outside of Pittsburgh.

UPDATES
12/14/00 James O'Connell, William H. Johnston, A.O. Wharton  
12/21/00
Harvey W. Brown, Albert J. Hayes, P.O. Siemiller  
12/27/00
Floyd E. "Red" Smith, 
William W. "Wimpy" Winpisinger
01/10/01 George J. Kourpias, R. Thomas Buffenbarger

 

Union History 


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