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    Pass To The 1878 Execution Of Three Molly Maguires. One page, 3.75" x 2.5", printed on cardstock, "Bloomsburg, March 25, 1878." The Molly Maguires were members of a secret Irish organization, present in the anthracite coal fields of Pennsylvania from the time of the Civil War until a series of sensational arrests and trials in the years 1876-1878. Evidence that the Molly Maguires were responsible for coalfield crimes and kidnapping rests largely upon allegations of one powerful industrialist, and the testimony of one Pinkerton detective. This pass to the hanging reads in full: "Pass Mr. Aug. Bachinger, a Deputy Sheriff appointed by me to be present at the execution of Patrick Hester, Patrick Tully and Peter McHugh, this day. John W. Hoffman, Sheriff."

    On October 17, 1868, Alexander Rea (Superintendent of the Locust Mountain Coal and Iron Co. and the Coal Ridge Improvement Co.) was ambushed and murdered. The murder remained a mystery until 1876, when Patrick Hester, Patrick Tully, and Peter McHugh were implicated for the crime. The trial was quickly labeled a Molly Maguire trial and the public was enthralled. The three men were convicted of the murder of Rea and sentenced to death by hanging. More than a year later Hester, Tully, and McHugh met their fate on the gallows. National papers from Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York covered the trial and were present in Bloomsburg to witness the hanging, making this a nationally publicized event.

    Molly 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. Much remains uncertain, for the Molly Maguires left virtually no evidence of their existence, and nearly everything that we know about them was written by biased contemporary observers. Minor soiling and toning; slightly worn at corners; mounting traces on verso.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    8th-9th Tuesday-Wednesday
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