why did the molly maguires form

[49], The union was nearly broken by the imprisonment of its leadership and by attacks conducted by vigilantes against the strikers. When the Civil War broke out and miners were drafted to join what they perceived to be “a rich man’s war,” they began to rebel. The Mollies are believed to have been present in the anthracite coal fields of Pennsylvania in the United States since at least the Panic of 1873 until becoming largely inactive following a series of arrests, trials and executions, between 1876 and 1878. Intimidation, assaults and sometimes murder were employed by the Molly Maguires to rectify the grievances they felt would not be dealt with by a legal and political system that was hostile to immigrants and the working class. Out of 22,500 miners working in Schuylkill country, 5,500 were children and some child labourers as young as five years old were employed by the coal companies. ", Later Liverpool newspaper articles from the same time period refer to assaults by Mollies against other Irish Liverpudlians. It will remain forever to shame the county for hanging an innocent man." "[25], As the bodies of the miners were brought up from the Avondale Mine disaster, John Siney, head of the Workingmen's Benevolent Association (WBA), climbed onto a wagon to speak to the thousands of miners who had arrived from surrounding communities:[26], Men, if you must die with your boots on, die for your families, your homes, your country, but do not longer consent to die, like rats in a trap, for those who have no more interest in you than in the pick you dig with. The Molly Maguires were an Irish 19th-century secret society active in Ireland, Liverpool and parts of the Eastern United States, best known for their activism among Irish-American and Irish immigrant coal miners in Pennsylvania. Many of the Molly Maguires were members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, although not all Hibs approved of the tactics of the Mollies. McParland himself had been asked to supply the hidden killers with food and whiskey, according to the detective. Some of his reports back to the agency ended up in the hands of local vigilantes who murdered several Irish miners and the wife of one Irish union militant. Authors who accept the existence of the Mollies as a violent and destructive group acknowledge a significant scholarship that questions the entire history. In all, 24 mine foremen and supervisors were assassinated. Labor Unions did try to form to work to protect the miners, but they were brutally suppressed, by men like Franklin B. Gowen. [13], Some historians (such as Philip Rosen, former curator of the Holocaust Awareness Museum of the Delaware Valley) believe that Irish immigrants brought a form of the Molly Maguires organization into America in the 19th century, and continued its activities as a clandestine society. In The Pinkerton Story, authors James D. Horan and Howard Swiggett write sympathetically about the detective agency and its mission to bring the Mollies to justice. Linder, Douglas O. Horan, pp. Schuylkill County employed 22,500 miners, which included over 5,000 children as young as […], Your email address will not be published. If the storekeeper failed to provide, the Mollies would enter the store and take what they wanted, warning the owner of dire consequences if the incident was reported. A private corporation initiated the investigation through a private detective agency. He hired a Pinkerton detective, James McParlan as an infiltrator. The Molly Maguires society emerged from this background. Forewarned of the attempt, McParland had sought to arrange protection for the mine boss, but was unsuccessful. It was a dangerous time to be a union member in the anthracite fields as company vigilantes could kill miners or fire into union meetings with little fear of reprisal from the forces of ‘law and order.’. McParland recorded that a Mollie named William Love had killed a Justice of the Peace, surnamed Gwyther, in Girardville. [12] Molly Maguire history is sometimes presented as the prosecution of an underground movement that was motivated by personal vendettas, and sometimes as a struggle between organized labor and powerful industrial forces. In 1873, Franklin B. Gowen, president of the Reading Railroad, hired the Pinkerton Detective Agency to infiltrate and destroy the Molly Maguires, whose union organizing became an impediment to increasing railroad profits. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. Share it with your friends! She stated that she was speaking out voluntarily, and was only interested in telling the truth about the murder. I couldn’t breathe and felt despair beyond my experiences. [35] Molly Maguireism and full-fledged trade unionism represented fundamentally different modes of organization and protest. The main distinction between the two appears to be that the Ribbonmen were regarded as "secular, cosmopolitan, and protonationalist", with the Molly Maguires considered "rural, local, and Gaelic". 1833: A new technology for smelting iron with anthracite coal causes a boom in coal production in Pennsylvania. [59] When the trials of the alleged puppet-masters opened, Gowen had himself appointed as special prosecutor. It is not cowardice that makes me resign but just let them have it now I will no longer interfere as I see that one is the same as the other and I am not going to be an accessory to the murder of women and children. Kelly was being held in a cell for murder, and he was reputedly quoted as saying: "I would squeal on Jesus Christ to get out of here." A new trial was granted two months later. [26] Some miners faced additional burdens of prejudice and persecution. The daily reports were typed by staff, and conveyed to the client for a ten dollar fee. Later, when McParland tried the same methods he used against miners in Pennsylvania against miners in Idaho, defense attorney Clarence Darrow exposed intimidation of the miners leading them into making false confessions. The request for a pardon was made by one of Kehoe's descendants. She testified that she refused to provide her husband with clothing while he was in prison, because he had "picked innocent men to suffer for his crime". The trials of the Molly Maguires began in 1876 with the star witness for the prosecution being James McPartland. The three latter sections were opposed to the 'Molly Maguires' and the belligerents were engaged in hot conflict for about half an hour, when the guardians of the peace interfered.

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