Decoding the Myths of Asa Packer, 1805?-1879Main MenuJay Donise3730bdd730a531bff1449a9459a4f235d7640ebNia Bakerbfbd673076192dd34157c4ce1739d70597f57b3bLindsey Sokolcbf758074f558f9b7b5b022fbe5baac5afcf7a5aMathew Anthonyb50f1fd9eb29f008269dd3bc236d7760bc234cf4
Hand Print in the old jail
12016-08-10T09:23:46-04:00Jay Donise3730bdd730a531bff1449a9459a4f235d7640eb521The hand print left behind by a self-proclaimed innocent Molly Maguire in the old jail.plain2016-08-10T09:23:46-04:00Jay Donise3730bdd730a531bff1449a9459a4f235d7640eb
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1media/jim thorpe old prison.jpg2016-08-10T09:27:57-04:00Packer and the Molly Maguires2gallery2016-08-10T14:44:31-04:00Much has been made of the Molly Maguires and their violent tactics in the Pennsylvania anthracite region during the 1860s and 1870s. As a result, this pages focuses on Asa Packer’s small, but important connections with the trials of suspected Molly Maguire members. While it is doubtful that the Molly Maguires existed as an organized, widespread group of in coal mining areas of Pennsylvania, Irish and Irish-American laborers certainly knew of and used violent means to redress perceived social injustices. Though the first alleged killing by the Molly Maguire’s occurred on June 14, 1862, the first trial took place after the final murder ascribed to the group. John P. Jones, a superintendent, was murdered on September 3, 1875 in Carbon County. Three men faced trials, but one of them turned evidence and never faced a trial. The other two, Michael J. Doyle and Edward Kelly, faced separate trials. The Carbon County district attorney, E. R. Siewers, played a minor role in the trial. Instead, Asa Packer sent his personal attorney Allen Craig to prosecute the defendants. Two other railroads also sent lawyers to lead the prosecution. Carbon County legal scholar John P. Lavelle calls Packer’s roll in the trials “secret, subtle, but stunning in its impact.” A jury composed predominately of German-speakers who may not have known English convicted Doyle and Kelly who received sentences to hang. Although the first Molly Maguire trials took place in Mauch Chunk, this celebrated affair remains absent in all of the biographies about Packer. Providing legal help for a trial that almost certainly would have ended in a guilty verdict suggests a certain fear of labor critical to the success of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.