JHU - Journeymen Horseshoers Union WWI Service Flag


     The International Union of Journeymen Horseshoers of the United States and Canada (JHU) was first organized in Denver, Colorado on September 12, 1873 and was formally chartered on April 22, 1874 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The JHU was originally formed to represent horseshoers employed by large livery companies. Their employers belonged to a group called the Master Horseshoers Association which went defunct in the early 20th century. 

     In the early 1900’s the JHU was closely associated with the Teamsters union. The friendship the JHU enjoyed with the Teamsters was far reaching, so much in fact that no Teamster would drive any horse that did not bear a JHU logo on its shoe. 

When a candidate for union membership successfully completed his examination, he was given a stamp with the union logo to mark his work. This union logo is still registered with the Department of Labor and is to this day the oldest union label in America still in continuous use. Recently, this proud tradition has been rekindled and new union brothers and sisters are again being encouraged to stamp their work with the new union stamps which have become available. Horse numbers gradually dropped due to farm and transportation mechanization in the years after WWI until bottoming out in 1960.  During those years the Teamsters traded their horses for trucks and buses and grew to become the largest union in America.

     This service flag was displayed at the JHU Local 11 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In each issue of the International Horseshoers' Monthly Magazine during WWI, there was an Honor Roll that listed each union member serving in the Armed Forces. For Local 11 in Milwaukee, the following members represent the blue stars sewn on the service flag:

· Roy C. Devlin

· Anton Dudkevich

· E. J. Burke

· F. C. Siermain

     The single Gold star is in honor of Private Oscar A. Kufahl who died on October 14, 1918 at Camp Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky of the flu. The following was published in the November 1918 issue:

Just a few lines from No. 11. We are getting along fairly well now but there was time when it looked very bad. Everybody was sick with the flu and seen by the night papers it is coming back again. In two days we had 300 new cases. We lost one of our best members, Oscar Kufahl, who died from the flu at Camp Taylor.