Molly McGuires – Where Did They Come From? Irish & US Historical Information Part 2

The second and next Molly McGuires was an Irish- American secret society, with many branches in the coal mine districts of Pennsylvania, U. S. A.

This society took the name of the Irish society, but these societies had no other connection whatsoever with each other, only in name.

The first qualification required by the American society was that its members
should be Irishmen by birth, or descent, and also Catholics. This society took an active part in politics, and had its secret signs and passwords conveyed to them from England, through a Board of Erin. For being a secret organization, the Catholic Church declared against its members. From amongst the local branches of the society in the anthracite coal mines of Northeastern Pennsylvania another notorious secret criminal inner ring of Molly McGuires was formed They converted the local branches of the Molly McGuires, for their own protection, against the encroachments of English miners, (Cousin Jacks and Cousin Germans included), on their jobs.

Many of these Irish miners, previous to their coming to America, worked in the coal mines in England. In the latter country they received very poor treatment. They left that country carrying with them a deep hatred for anything that was English. Through secret societies, churches and lodges, to which bosses and superintendents belonged. English miners were making their way in amongst the Irish miners and Irishmen discharged.

This was the start of the trouble. Soon the Molly McGuires by violence, conducted secretly, started at getting rid of superintendents, bosses and police hostile to them. In face of their condemnation by their church, they went forward, the most religious dropping away from the society. In the war between the North and South, there was an increased demand for coal. English, Welsh and German miners were sent into the mines to work, and Irishmen of American birth or who were American citizens, taken away to fight. Replacing Irishmen that were fighting for America, with their most hated foes, the English, also with Welsh and Germans, caused trouble, with the result that they began to oppose conscription, and some army officers were roughly handled. From this onward, rough handling, burning, faction fights and murder went on in the coal mines. The Molly McGuires were blamed for nearly all crimes, no matter who committed them.

On or about the year 1865, they killed a colliery superintendent, which attracted widespread attention. James McParlan, an Irish Catholic detective, joined society and became one of its leaders. After three years a member he secured damaging evidence which led to the execution of the ringleaders and imprisonment of a large number of the Molly McGuires.

Did you have any Molly McGuires in your family history? If so tell us below in the comments box:


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One Response to Molly McGuires – Where Did They Come From? Irish & US Historical Information Part 2

  1. Margaret McGuire says:

    I am going to go through some old papers to find out my grandparents names, who came over from Ireland and my father was born here after that. His name was Arthur Donelley McGuire, His mother was also Margaret McGuire but I forget my grandfathers name as I never met them…I am curious as to my ancestry now, as my uncle on my mothers side has been studying our family history but only from my mothers side and he discovered that we are descendants of the “Bruce” king of Scotland in 1329. So now, needless to say, I am very intrigued. would love info on more if you have it and as soon as I find my grandfathers name maybe you can assist me.
    further…another coincidence is that I was born in Pittsburgh Pa and that is where they settled…

    Thank you,
    Margaret McGuire

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