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Mass held to commemorate the ‘Day of the Rope’

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    The “Day of the Rope” Mass held by the AOH at the Old Jail Museum in Jim Thorpe was celebrated by Father Hugh Gillespie and was held below a full-size replica of the gallows at the very spot where four men were all hung at the same time 142 years ago. VICTOR IZZO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Published June 24. 2019 12:40PM


The AOH Ancient Order of Hibernians, Alec Campbell, Mauch Chunk Div. 1 of Carbon County held a memorial Mass in Jim Thorpe in what is now the Old Jail Museum to commemorate the “Day of the Rope.”

This marked the 142nd anniversary of the execution of the Molly Maguires in 1877 at what was then the Carbon County Prison in Mauch Chunk.

On June 21 of that year, four men accused of being Molly Maguires were hanged at the jail on West Broadway.

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 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, and James McDonnell and Charles Sharp on Jan. 14, 1879.

The men swore that they were innocent, and Alec Campbell, to prove that he was innocent, placed his hand firmly on the wall of his cell and proclaimed that his handprint would remain there forever as proof of his innocence.

The handprint remains visible until this very day on the wall of Cell No. 17.

The Mass was celebrated by the Rev. Hugh Gillespie and was held below a full-size replica of the gallows at the spot where the four men were all hung at the same time.

The Old Jail Museum was an active prison up until 1995 and is now a museum open to the public.


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