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STAFFORD, John. (Wexford, IA-Dubuque, IA, Oct. 15, 1888). Stafford, only twenty-five years old when he died of "brain fever," was editor of the INDUSTRIAL LEADER, the labor newspaper of Dubuque.
Trained as a blacksmith, Stafford came to Dubuque and worked in the shops of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railway. With the beginning of the labor movement in Dubuque, Stafford accepted leadership roles in the KNIGHTS OF LABOR where he was recognized as a fluent speaker. As Master Workman of Local Assembly No. 4192 he led the organizing drives which resulted by December 1886 in bringing six more locals to the national organization. (1) Locally Stafford served as the city recorder until offered the position of editor of the Leader.
1. Scharnau, Ralph. "Workers and Politics--The Knights of Labor in Dubuque, Iowa 1885-1890, Annals of Iowa. Des Moines: State Historical Society of Iowa, Volume 48, Number 7 (Winter of 1987), p. 358