It was founded by Uriah Stephens on December 28, 1869, reached 28,000 members in 1880, then jumped to 100,000 in 1884. By 1886, 20% of all workers were affiliated with the KOL, ballooning to nearly 800,000 members. Its frail organizational structure could not cope as it was battered by charges of failure and violence and calumnies of the association with the Haymarket Square riot. Most members abandoned the movement in 1886–1887, leaving at most 100,000 in 1890. Many of them chose to join groups that helped to identify their specific need, instead of the KOL that addressed many different types of issues. Furthermore, the Panic of 1893 terminated the Knights of Labor's importance. Remnants of the Knights of Labor continued in existence until 1949, when the group's last 50-member local dropped its affiliation.
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