"Day of the Rope" Mass commemorates Molly Maguires' executions
VICTOR IZZO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Four hangman's nooses help bring home the stark reality of what occurred at this very spot 133 years ago in 1877, the execution of four men at the same time in what is now the Old Jail Museum in Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe).
On June 21st 1877, four men accused of being Molly Maguires were hanged at what is now the Old Jail Museum in Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe).
The Ancient Order of Hibernians, Alec Campbell, Mauch Chunk Div.1 of Carbon County held a Memorial Mass recently to commemorate the "Day of the Rope", the 133rd anniversary of the execution of the Molly Maguires in 1877 at the Jail.
The Mass, which was celebrated by Father James Ward, Pastor of Immaculate Conception Church, was held below the gallows, at the very spot where these men were all hung at the same time.
Those hanged in Mauch Chunk were : Alec Campbell, John "Yellow Jack" Donahue, Michael Doyle and Edward Kelly.
On that same day in 1877, in addition to the men hanged in Mauch Chunk, another six men faced the same fate at Pottsville in Schuykill County.
They were James Boyle, James Carroll, Thomas Duffy, Hugh McGeehan, Thomas Munley and James Roarity.
Later, also executed in the Carbon County Prison were : Thomas P. Fisher on March 28, 1878; James McDonnell and Charles Sharp on January 14, 1879.
The men swore that they were innocent. One man, Alec Campbell, to prove that he was innocent, placed his hand firmly on the wall of his cell and proclaimed that his hand print would remain forever as proof of his innocence . The hand print remains visible until this very day on the wall of Cell 17.
The site of these all too tragic events in local history, the Old Jail Museum, which is owned and operated by Tom & Betty Lou McBride, was an active prison up until 1995 and is now open to the public daily except Wednesdays, Memorial Day through Labor Day. For more information phone (570) 325-5259.