"Day of the Rope" Mass held in Jim Thorpe
VICTOR IZZO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS The "Day of the Rope" Mass commemorating the 135th anniversary of the execution of the Molly Maguires at the Carbon County Prison in what was then Mauch Chunk was was co-celebrated by, left to right : Fr. Patrick Shoenauer, St. Francis Parish, Nesquehoning; Fr. John R. McFadden, Retired from Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Associate Priest St. Joseph Parish, Jim Thorpe; and Msgr. Francis Carbine, St. Katharine Parish, Philadelphia.
The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), Alec Campbell, Mauch Chunk Div.1 of Carbon County held a Memorial Mass to commemorate the "Day of the Rope", on the 135th anniversary of the execution of the Molly Maguires in 1877 at what is now the Old Jail Museum in Jim Thorpe (then Mauch Chunk).
On June 21st of that year, four men accused of being Molly Maguires were hanged at the Carbon County Prison on West Broadway.
Those hanged in Mauch Chunk were : Alec Campbell, John "Yellow Jack" Donahue, Michael Doyle and Edward Kelly.
The men swore that they were innocent, and 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 there forever as proof of his innocence.
That hand print remains visible even today on the wall of Cell 17.
The Mass, which was co-celebrated by Fr. Patrick Shoenauer, St. Francis Parish, Nesquehoning; Fr. John R. McFadden, Retired from Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Associate Priest St. Joseph Parish, Jim Thorpe; and Msgr. Francis Carbine, St. Katharine Parish, Philadelphia, was held below the gallows, at the spot where these men were all hanged at the same time.
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 Schuylkill County.
They were James Boyle, James Carroll, Thomas Duffy, Hugh McGeehan, Thomas Munley and James Roarity.
Also executed later in the Carbon County Prison were: Thomas P. Fisher on March 28, 1878; James McDonnell and Charles Sharp on January 14, 1879.
The site of these events in local history, the Old Jail Museum, was an active prison up until 1995.
It is owned and operated by Tom & Betty Lou McBride and is now open to the public daily except Wednesdays, Memorial Day through Labor Day.
If interested, for more information phone (570) 325-5259 or visit www.theoldjail.com .