Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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IRONS, Martin, labor-agitator, born in Dundee, Scotland, 7 October, 1832. He emigrated to the United States with his parents when he was fourteen years of age, and was placed as an apprentice in a machine-shop in New York city. Here he volunteered his small means to enable sewing-girls to recover wages that were illegally withheld. He subsequently worked at his trade in Carrollton, Louisiana, then opened a grocery-store, but, failing in this business, again became a mechanic, and headed a strike for ten hours' labor a day in a machine-shop in Lexington, Kentucky he joined the grangers, became master of the largest grange in the state, and established a wagon-factory. He embarked again in business, without success, returned to Kansas City and found work again as a machinist. Removing to Sedalia, Missouri, he became a member of the Knights of labor. As chairman of the executive board of District assembly 101 he sought to adjust grievances against a railroad company, and, failing in that, ordered a strike, which spread to all the railroad employes of the southwest, causing misery in thousands of families and disturbance of business throughout the country.
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