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The Molly Maguires

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The Molly Maguires

Post by Karen on Mon 29 Apr 2013 - 6:14


Considerable doubt seems to exist in the minds of many people as to the real meaning of the expression "Molly Maguires." In the first place, it might be stated that the term is not one of recent origin, for in a book of Americanisms published as long ago as 1877 a description of "Molly Maguires" is given. The name (assumed from Molly, a familiar form of Mary, and Maguire, a common Irish surname) was adopted by the members of secret organisations, in allusion to the woman's dress they wore as a disguise.
The most notorious of these organisations was that which existed years ago in Pennsylvania, when the "Molly Maguires" of the coal regions, composed almost entirely of Irishmen, kept up the forms and practices of the secret societies of the Old Country. They combined against mine-owners and overseers as they had combined against landlords and agents, and from their combination came assassinations. In committing the murders the society took the course common in Ireland, and had it done by persons unknown in the section where the victims lived, and returns of courtesies were arranged by which murders were exchanged. The also pursued the same course in regard to terrorism of witnesses and to subornation of perjury, and consequently for a long time made trials a farce.
Murders were committed and great quantities of coal and other property destroyed by incendiarism. In 1875 the "Molly Maguires" terrorised over the whole country, threatened entire towns, and compelled the ordering out of the militia. On the withdrawal of the troops a series of the most cruel murders was committed, until at length, by strategy, ten of the members of the society were arrested for the crime. Notwithstanding the efforts made by the members, who appeared to swear to an alibi, all were convicted of murder, and, on June 20, 1877, executed.

Source: The Auckland Star, Saturday June 22, 1912, Page 17

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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