Uriah Smith Stephens,(1821-82), born near Cape May, N.J., trained for the Baptist ministry, apprenticed as a tailor, and taught school in New Jersey before moving to Philadelphia in 1845.
He worked there as a tailor until 1853 when he embarked on travels through the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, and California.
Returning to Philadelphia in 1858, he became a member of the Garment Cutters' Association in 1863 and, after its dissolution in 1869, joined with several cutters to launch the Knights of Labor
. He became the first master workman of KOL District Assembly 1 in 1873 and the first grand master workman of the KOL in 1878. In 1878 he ran unsuccessfully for Congress on the Greenback ticket. Stephens resigned his KOL post in 1879.