Molly Maguires Trials (1876-77)

In 1875, a writer of the time observed, there came from coal-mining district of Pennsylvania "an appalling series of tales of murder, of arson, and of every description of violent crime." Mine company superintendents and bosses "could all rest assured that their days would not be long in the land." As John Morse reports in his account of the Molly Maguires Trials, mining officials "everywhere and at all times were attacked, beaten, and shot down, by day and by night,...on the public highways and in their own homes, in solitary places and in the neighborhood of crowds." Largely through the efforts of one man, James McParlan, working undercover and gaining the trust of the secretive organization's leaders, the fearful grip over the anthracite region was broken, and one Molly after another led to his date with the gallows....