Terence Powderly Biography

Terence Powderly served as union leader of the Knights of Labor from 1879 to 1893. Under his leadership, the union saw both unprecedented growth and sudden decline.


Terence Powderly was born on January 22, 1849, in Carbondale, Pennsylvania. In 1874, he became an organizer for the Industrial Brotherhood labor union and was also accepted into the Knights of Labor. He established and led a local order of the Knight of Labor in Scranton and in 1876 became its master workman. From 1879 to 1893, he served as head of the Knights. He died January 24, 1924, in Washington, D.C.

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