Saturday, September 24, 2016

Essay Collection

eaders are invited to browse the collection of essays posted here.

Who Was John Kehoe? documents finds from my travels to libraries and archives in five states. My family's long-held belief in John Kehoe's innocence and in the political nature of the Molly Maguire conflict guided this search.

“Jug-Handled Justice” describes railroad president Franklin Gowens usurpation of Pennsylvania's criminal justice system for the duration of the “Molly” trials. At this essay's conclusion John Elliott, the attorney who helped secure John Kehoe's 1979 posthumous pardon, gives a summation of Gowens actions. 

“The ‘Mollies’ Were Also School Directors” gives the background of five Hibernians prosecuted as “Mollies” who served in office as school directors. This piece also documents a resurgent tide of nativist feeling that manifested in the northeastern United States in the early 1870s.

“Pennsylvania’s ‘Molly Maguires’: The Surprising Western Caseload,” describes the “Molly” caseload in three western Pennsylvania counties. This effort from 1878 to 1882 involved dozens of defendants, but yielded few convictions and no executions.

“The ‘Molly Maguires’ and the National Labor Union” describes the relationship between alleged “Molly” Patrick Hester and Richard Trevellick, president during the early 1870s of the National Labor Union, a countrywide coalition of tradesmen.

“The ‘Molly Kings’ and Greenback Labor Reform” describes the role of Hibernians charged as “Mollies” in a progressive nineteenth-century financial reform effort. In particular, this essay discusses the relationship between Kehoe and U.S. Congressman John Killinger, a vocal proponent of Greenback Labor Reform efforts in the early 1870s.

The tab labeled “JOHN KEHOE,” located above, offers a bio for Schuylkill County’s AOH delegate.

Newspapers archived through the Library of Congress “Chronicling America” website helped inform this body of work.

A. Flaherty

This post was revised on September 1, 2017.