The Molly Maguires Trials: A Chronology

A new technology for smelting iron with anthracite coal causes a boom in coal production in Pennsylvania.
A potato famine in Ireland leads to a mass migration of Irish into America's coal towns.
July 1862
John ("Black Jack") Kehoe moves to Girardville, in western Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.
Fall 1862
Draft resistance leads to riots around Pottsville in Schuykill County, Pennsylavania
Eleven mine bosses involved in labor disputes of one sort or another are killed in Schuykill County.
February 27, 1865
New state legislation allows the mining companies to form private police forces with broad authority to make arrests and enforce the law.
Five more mine managers or bosses are shot and killed in the coal region.
Strikes over a wage cut lead to the formation of The Workingmen's Benevolent Association, which soon becomes a 30,000 member strong organization.
October 1868
Mine superintendent Alexander Rae is shot and beaten to death by four Mollys.  (Later, a confession by Manus Coll ("Kelly the Bum") leads to the convictions and executions of Hester, Dooley, and McHugh for the Rae murder.)
September 1, 1869
An association of mine operators is formed called The Anthracite Board of Trade.
September 6, 1869
111 miners, mostly Welsh, are killed in the Avondale Mine disaster.
October 27, 1873
James McParlan (a/k/a "James McKenna"), a Pinkerton detective hired by the coal companies, arrives in Port Clinton to launch an undercover operation that will eventually lead to numerous arrests and convictions of Mollies.
April 14, 1874
James McParlan is initiated to the Ancient Order of Hiberians, a fraternal cover organization for the Molly Maguires. 
August 13, 1874
Two supporters of a priest opposed to the Mollies are killed by unknown assailants.
December 4, 1874
Beginning of "the Long Strike," involving about 10,000 miners, over a decision by miner operators to reduce wages by 10 to 20%.
December 18, 1874
Mine watchman Frederick Hesser is murdered while working.
March 1875
AOH  and union leader Edward Coyle is killed.
June 1875
Under heavy pressure from mining companies, Governor John Hartranft orders 1,800 members of the state militia to the coal region to help put an end to the Long Strike.
June 28, 1875
In a revenge attack ordered by Jack Kehoe, three Mollys shoot "Bully Bill" Thomas and leave him for dead, though Thomas survives.  McParlan had advance knowledge of the attack, but is unable to warn the victim (for fear of blowing his cover).
July 5, 1875
Police officer Benjamin Yost is shot and killed as he extinguishes a street light in Tamaqua.  (With information provided by McParlan, five Mollies--McGehan, Duffy, Roarity, Carl, and James Doyle--would eventually be tried, convicted and executed for the murder of Yost.)
August 14, 1875
Justice of the peace Thomas Guyther and bartender Gomer James are murdered by Mollys. (The next year, when Thomas Hurley is arrested in Colorado for the murder of James, he commits suicide rather than face trial.)
September 1, 1875
Thomas Sanger, mine foreman, and miner William Uren (a potential witness to the murder of Sanger) are shot as the walked on an empty street.
September 3, 1875
Mine superintendent John P. Jones, accused of blacklisting striking miners, is shot in the back while walking along a pipeline in Carbon County.
September 26, 1875
McParlan is ordered by Molly leaders to go to Tamaqua to intimidate potential witnesses to the Jones murder, but instead warns the witnesses of their potential danger.
December 10, 1875
A group of masked men break into a home in Wiggans Patch and murder Charles O'Donnell (suspected in the murders of Sanger and Uren) and wound Charles McAllister, another suspect.  McAllister's wife is also killed in the attack. News of the murders cause McParlan to tender his resignation, but he later reconsiders and continues his undercover work.
January 18, 1876
The first of the Molly trials, the trial of Michael J. Doyle for the murder of attorney James Jones, opens in Mauch Chunk (now renamed Jim Thorpe). 
February 1, 1876
Michael Doyle is convicted of first-degree murder.
February 5, 1876
Based on a 210-page confession by "Powderkeg" Kerrigan (which identifies members of the Mollys, including the men responsible for the murder of Benjamin Yost) murder warrants are issued for the arrests of 17 Mollys.
February 16, 1876 McParlan first learns that he is suspected by some Mollies of being an informant.
March 7, 1876
Learning that John Kehoe planned to have him killed, McParlan boards a train for Philadelphia.
March 26, 1876
Edward Kelly is tried and convicted for the murder of John P. Jones.
May 6, 1876
James McParlan testifies for the prosecution in the Pottsville trial of James Carroll, Thomas Duffy, James Roarity, Hugh McGehan, and James Boyle for the murder of Benjamin Yost.
August 8, 1876
The trial of Jack Kehoe and eight others for the attempted murder of William Thomas opens.
August 12, 1876
The jury returns guilty verdicts against all nine defendants in the case of Commonwealth v Kehoe and Others.  The verdict is the most important blow against the Mollys.
January 1877
Jack Kehoe is convicted for first-degreee of mine foreman Frank Langdon in 1862.
February 1877
The trial of Patrick Hester, Peter McHugh, and Patrick Tully for the murder of Alexander Rea.  All three defendants are convicted and sentenced to death.
June 21, 1877
On "Black Thursday," ten Mollys are hanged, four (Campbell, Michael Doyle, Donahue, Kelly) in Mauch Chunk for the killing of John Jones and six in Pottsville for the murders of Yost (Boyle, Carroll, Duffy, McGehan, Roarity) and Sanger and Uren (Munley).
March 25, 1878
Mollies Patrick Hester, Peter McHugh and Patrick Tully are hanged in Bloomsburg.
March 28, 1878
Molly Maguire member Thomas Fischer is hanged in Mauch Chunk.
June 13, 1878
Dennis Donnelly is hanged at Pottsville for the murders of Sanger and Uren.
December 17, 1878
The Pardon Board refuses to reopen the case of Jack Kehoe.
December 18, 1878
Jack Kehoe is hanged at Pottsville.
January 14, 1879
Mollies James McDonnell and Charles Sharp are hanged in Mauch Chunk for the murder of George Smith.

January 16, 1879
Martin Bergin, the nineteenth Molly to be executed, is hanged in Pottsville for the murder of Patrick Burns.

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