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    Molly Maguires: Remarkable Artifact from One of the Darkest Episodes in the History of the American Labor Movement. A pass dated "Bloomsburg March 25, 1878" to "Doctor C. L. Frey a Deputy Sheriff appointed by me to be present at the execution of Patrick Hester, Patrick Tully and Peter McHugh" and signed by "John W. Hoffman" as "Sheriff" of Columbia county, Pennsylvania. 2.35" x 3.9", in fine sound condition. It was Doctor Frey's duty that day to pronounce the prisoners dead after the hanging. A total of 150 of these passes were issued to observe the hanging, with but a handful of examples known to exist today.

    While the history of the Molly Maguires is shrouded in mystery, it is generally accepted that this secret Irish organization existed in the anthracite coal fields of Pennsylvania as early as the Civil War. There is little question the "Mollies" conspired to resist the exploitative labor conditions in the mines, and their activities culminated in a series of sensational arrests and trials from 1876 - 1878.

    Hester, Tully, and McHugh were accused of robbing and murdering Alexander Rea of Centralia, Pennsylvania, a prominent mine official, on October 17, 1868. After a series of trials, beginning in 1869, the three were finally convicted of the murder of Rea in 1878 and sentenced to hang. It is generally accepted that the investigations and trials were more the result of attempts by the mine owners to break the "Mollies", than what could be construed as sound physical evidence, and their conviction was essentially based on the questionable testimony of a mine official as well as second hand testimony from a Pinkerton agent, hired by the mining companies. Whatever the true story of the conviction and hanging of Hester, Tully, and McHugh, the incident is generally credited with setting back the unionization of the coal mining industry, as well as the reform of intolerable working conditions, by at least twenty years.

    A remarkable touchstone to one of the most sensational and tragic occurrences in the history of the American labor movement, and a controversy that is still hotly debated to this day.


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    Auction Dates
    May, 2010
    22nd Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 704

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