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 Schuylkill and Carbon County, PA. USA-The Valley of Fear

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herbinedave

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Age : 51
Location : Anthracite Coal Fields of PA
Registration date : 2012-03-14

PostSubject: Schuylkill and Carbon County, PA. USA-The Valley of Fear   Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:18 pm

Most people in my hometown of St. Clair have heard of the Molly Maguires. They where believed to be a splinter group of the AOH (Ancient Order of Hibernia). To cut to the chase I have taken this from Wikipedia:

The Molly Maguires were a secret Irish-American organization that consisted mainly of coal miners. Many historians[who?] believe the "Mollies" were present in the anthracite coal fields of Pennsylvania in the United States between the time of the American Civil War until a series of sensational arrests and trials from 1876−78. The Molly Maguires were accused of kidnapping and other crimes, largely because of the allegations of one powerful industrialist (Franklin B. Gowen), and the testimony of one Pinkerton detective (James McParland). Fellow prisoners testified against the defendants, who were arrested by the Coal and Iron Police, who served Gowen, who acted as prosecutor in some of the trials.[1]

The trusts seem to have focused almost exclusively upon the Molly Maguires for criminal prosecution. Information passed from the Pinkerton detective, intended only for the detective agency and their client the most powerful industrialist of the region was apparently[vague] also provided to vigilantes who ambushed and murdered miners suspected of being Molly Maguires, as well as their families.[2] The industrialist standing to gain financially from the destruction of the striking union acted as prosecutor of some of the alleged Molly Maguires at their trials. 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. Whether membership in the Molly organization overlapped union membership to any appreciable extent remains open to conjecture.[3]

In 1915 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the Valley of Fear, loosely based on the Molly Maguires and the famous Pinkerton Agent James McParland. Many of the towns in the book are based on actual town in both counties. My Hometown of St. Clair is where McParland met the Body Master of the AOH, it has been a barrom for over 170 years and still is operating as the Wooden Keg. The Irish Valley (Heschshersville), Girardville and lastly Pottsville and Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe). Over 20 coalminers branded Molly Maguires where hung in those last 2 towns in 1878.

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herbinedave

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Age : 51
Location : Anthracite Coal Fields of PA
Registration date : 2012-03-14

PostSubject: Re: Schuylkill and Carbon County, PA. USA-The Valley of Fear   Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:06 pm

Just another fact about my hometown, the first union The Workingmens Benevolent Association was formed by disgruntled mineworkers in 1868. John Siney was forefront in this organization and many other labor groups. The building where they met still stands to this day. Walker Hall is home to a Barroom, The Coal Mine TapRoom. His Great Grandon currently serves in congress representing the 17th Congressional district for the last 22 years. John Mitchell, "The Boy President", of the UMWA said without JOhn Siney and many others miners rights would never have become what they are; safer conditions, a normal work week. So I can actually say modern day workers rights started a block away from my house. Here is what spartacus.school.net has to say:



John Siney was born in Ireland. After working as a miner in Lancashire he emigrated to America. He settled in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania where he found work in one of the local anthracite coal-mines. Most of the miners were immigrants from Wales, England, Germany and Ireland.

In 1868 Siney formed the Workingmen's Benevolent Association (WBA) with the objective of trying to improve pay and working conditions. The conditions in the mines were horrendous and the men had to endure accidents, floods, fires and explosions. In one seven year period in Schuylkill County, 566 miners were killed and a further 1,665 were seriously injured.

One of the worst disasters took place at Avondale colliery in 1869 when a fire killed 179 miners. This resulted in Schuylkill County passing legislation that stated that all mines had to have more than one opening and that it was the responsibility of the mine-owners to provide effective ventilation. State mine inspectors were employed but because of the power of the mine-owners this legislation was rarely enforced.

Siney was a moderate trade unionist who believed in negotiating with the employers and strictly forbade the use of violence by his members. However, the mine owners were extremely hostile to the Workingmen's Benevolent Association, complained that it was under the control of the Molly Maguires, a group they believed was responsible for the murder of several coal-mine managers in the area.

The Workingmen's Benevolent Association threated strike action and after a short dispute the coal-mine owners agreed a small wage increase. Part of the deal involved Siney promising that he would not allow miners who used or advocated violence to remain a member of the union.

Franklin B. Gowen, president of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, was unhappy about the increasing power of the WBA. Gowen had considerable investments in the coal-mines of Schuylkill County and feared that the activities of the WBA would result in lower profits. In 1873 Gowen approached Allan Pinkerton of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, about the best way of destroying the union.

In 1873 Allan Pinkerton employed the Irish immigrant, James McParland to infiltrate the Molly Maguires. Over a two year period he collected evidence of their activities. In 1876 and 1877 McParland was the star witness for the prosecution of these men. Twenty members were found guilty of murder and were executed. Most of the convicted men were either members or former members of the Workingmen's Benevolent Association. As a result of these investigations the WBA came to an end.

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Buckshot

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Location : Southeast Michigan
Registration date : 2011-07-17

PostSubject: Re: Schuylkill and Carbon County, PA. USA-The Valley of Fear   Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:25 pm

There is an excellent movie based on the Molly Macguires, starring Richard Harris and Sean Connery. It is from the early 70's and is aptly named "The Molly Macguires". I stumbled onto it on a television movie channel a few months ago. Excellent film.
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herbinedave

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Age : 51
Location : Anthracite Coal Fields of PA
Registration date : 2012-03-14

PostSubject: Re: Schuylkill and Carbon County, PA. USA-The Valley of Fear   Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:55 pm

.Thanks for the heads up, I forgot about the movie. The movie did location shots in a place 15 miles north of me called Eckley Miners Village.
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