The Ancient Order of Hibernians remembered and prayed for the Molly Maguires on Saturday during the annual Day of the Rope Mass at the Old Jail and Museum where the Mollies were put to death 135 years ago.
The sashed AOH members and others in attendance sat where witnesses watched Molly Maguires Alec Campbell (for whom the AOH chapter is named), John “Yellow Jack” Donahue, Michael Doyle and Edward Kelly fall together from the gallows on June 21, 1877. Convicted of the murders of John P. Jones in Lansford and Morgan Powell at Summit Hill, the four men did not die all at once from broken necks. At least one took as long as four minutes to die.
Six other Molly Maguires were hanged that fateful day in Pottsville, while Thomas P. Fisher, James McDonnell and Charles Sharp were hanged in the Old Jail in 1878 and 1879.
The Rev. Patrick Shoenauer of St. Francis Parish in Nesquehoning, Monsignor Francis Carbine of St. Katherine of Sienna Parish in Philadelphia and the Rev. John R. McFadden, who is retired from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and now serves as associate pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Jim Thorpe con-celebrated the Mass at an altar below the gallows.
Hanged in Pottsville on Dec. 18, 1878 and buried in St. Jerome’s Cemetery in Tamaqua, Governor Milton Shapp posthumously pardoned the “King of the Mollies,” John “Black Jack” Kehoe in 1979. Sean Connery portrayed Kehoe in the 1970 film The Molly Maguires.