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Unveiling the Molly Maguires: Crime, Corruption, and Conflict

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Content provided by Steve and Organized Crime. All podcast content including episodes, graphics, and podcast descriptions are uploaded and provided directly by Steve and Organized Crime or their podcast platform partner. If you believe someone is using your copyrighted work without your permission, you can follow the process outlined here https://ro.player.fm/legal.

Title: Unveiling the Molly Maguires: Crime, Corruption, and Conflict

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Transcript URL: https://share.descript.com/view/IP42hKmRmn0

Description: Dive into the gritty history of organized crime, the tumultuous era of the Molly Maguires, and the repercussions of corruption during civil unrest. Tune in to our latest episode feature Friend of Ours, Joe Pascone of the Turning Tides History Podcast. https://theturningtidespodcast.weebly.com/

#OrganizedCrime #MollyMaguires #CivilWarHistory #CorruptionExposed"

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Begin Transcript:

[00:00:00] Welcome to Organized Crime and Punishment, the best spot in town to hang out and talk about history and crime. With your hosts, Steve and Mustache Chris.

Welcome back everybody. Today, I am joined as usual by Mustache Chris. We're blessed to have our, another member of our crew, Joe Pascone. You'll recognize his voice from other episodes, but you'll also recognize his voice as he is the voice of the. Organized crime and punishment commercial. So thank you so much for joining us today, Joe.

[00:01:00] Uh, I guess to come up with a term, forget about it. No problem. Forget about it. Hey. Joe is going to join us today to talk about a really interesting aspect that brings together different shades of law enforcement, different shades of crime and organized crime, and all of this kind of blurs the line between organized crime and crime.

Crime and the legal system, everything sort of gets blurred together. And that is in the story of the Molly Maguires. It might be a topic that people have heard of or heard a little bit of, but maybe don't know a lot about it, but it's a really critical aspect, but it's kind of nestled inside of many aspects of American history.

And let's, I think the best way to get into this is, let's just get right into it. Uh, Joe, what got you interested in thinking about these Molly Maguires? So the Molly Maguires [00:02:00] first came to my attention. I'm doing a massive series currently on the American labor movement, rise of trade unions, labor unions, and they were sort of the first, they're considered the first labor martyrs in American history.

Um, whether they deserve that distinction, we can get into it for sure. They were, their trial, they were railroaded, it was railroaded through, at the end of it, 20 people hung, uh, in, in, in America. Simply because they were a part of this thing called the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Uh, but, so how do you get into this?

How do you talk about something so complicated with so many levels? Uh, especially about an Irish American secret society with labor union and political organizations a part of it and all the rest. The best way to do that, I think, is with a Hindu proverb from, from India, uh, obviously. So, of course, so I got this proverb from the Mark Bullock book, The Sons of [00:03:00] Molly Maguire, The Irish Roots of America's First Labor War.

In it, the Indian king is Faced with calamity, the prime minister comes to him, says, we need to make a decision on, you know, disease, ravaging the land, catastrophe, whatever war doesn't matter. Uh, he says, okay, sure. Fine. But first I need three blind men and an elephant. Uh, so the prime minister is like, okay, I don't really see the point of this, but let's go through with this.

The three blind men and the elephant are brought before the King and the King asked the three blind men. To describe the elephant for him. So one is trying to put one of the blind men is trying to put his arms around the waist of the elephant. And he says, the, the, the elephant's like a barrel. Another one is trying to measure how high, how tall the elephant is.

He says, no, the elephant's like a tree. The last one is feeling the elephant's tusks. And he says, no, you're both wrong. The elephant is like a spear. So just like the Molly Maguire's and the elephant. [00:04:00] They are all of these things and none of them at the same time, uh, bear with me, . So they were in a sense, a barrel because they insulated and protected the Irish community that they were a part of.

They were a tree because they had branches that extended to neighboring communities and, and neighboring Irish, uh, Irish people around them in coal country and in Ireland originally. Uh, and they were like a spear, because they acted, at least in their eyes, on the community's behest. They committed crimes, they robbed people, they murdered, with the quote unquote blessing of the community.

So that's where we should start here. We could start with the Irish roots, and this is one of the main of three characters I like to describe in this story. The first character is Ireland. The next is America, specifically Schuylkill County and the anthracite region. Uh, and the final character is coal itself and the coal [00:05:00] mining trade practice.

Yeah, so it's really interesting when you dig into each of those, it really is the three characters, and it's kind of hard to believe that Cole is a character, but it really is. Cole is such a huge, huge part of the founding of American industry, and the founding of the America as we know it today, the industrial giant that the North became during the Civil War.

is directly related to coal. Uh, in my previous episode, I cover the coal wars in Colorado, which led to the Ludlow massacre, the battle of Ludlow, however you want to look at it. Uh, but in there, uh, Thomas G. Andrews, I believe is the writer's name. He makes a, uh, incredible point. The cowboy might've quote unquote, tamed the West, but the coal miner won the West more than any other profession.

They provided the cowboy with the gun, the bullets, the The knife, the hammer, uh, you know, the tools of his trade without that, uh, America would still be pretty much a desolate place [00:06:00] where a few thousand people are able to survive. But thanks to coal and the advent of steam and things like this, America exploded, not only in population and in migrant labor, but also in, um, you know, power.

But, yeah, to start this story, first place you have to start, I think, is Ireland, because this is where the the Mollie Maguires first pop their head up. And they don't do it in the traditional coal regions. They do it in the borderlands of Ulster. Uh, those who don't know, Ulster is today, or at least most of Ulster is today, Northern Ireland.

Huge tension, division still between, uh, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Uh, one of the main defining features of Ulster is a thing called the Black Pig's Dyke. This is in myth mythology, or in local legend, the Irish believe that a massive black pig created the dyke with its tusks, ramming it through the the earth.

Uh, scientists now think that these, that this dyke is actually a [00:07:00] long gone series of fortifications. It belonged to the Red Branch Warrior Brotherhood, which is a super cool name. Uh, at a, yeah, at a place called the Balinamuk, or it's, it's spelled Ball in a Muk, but I believe it's pronounced Ball in a Muk.

Local legend says that this same pig, he was stopped as he was doing his thing. By, uh, a man, who I guess was angry that he was tearing up his field, threw a rock at him, and it stopped the pig in its tracks. And that's why there's this big defile at around this same area. Ulster was originally founded during a mythological legendary race between the O'Neill clan and a rival clan.

The idea was whoever touched Ulster land first won the entire territory. So O'Neill is racing this guy on a boat. They take off from Northern England or Scotland. He realizes pretty quickly he's going to lose. This guy is making way more ground than he is on his, on his ship. [00:08:00] So does O'Neill do the sensible thing and turn around, say, you know, I'll try and get it again.

Uh, no, he chops off his own hand and he chucks it at the beach of Ulster. It touches land first, he's awarded Ulster, and that's how the flag of Ulster became the Red Hand. That's where that's from. So as the O'Neills first arrive and followed, they are followed by a huge minority population of Scott Irish and Anglo Irish.

The closest thing you can compare it to is colonization. They dominated Ulster specifically on a completely economic level. Uh, this domination didn't mean that people in Southern Ireland or Catholics in Ireland didn't hold to their culture. Unless you're like really familiar with history. I mean, Ireland was really Britain's first colony, right?

And unlike like some of the other colonies, or I say, like use India as an example, like they never really tried to replace. [00:09:00] In like Indians or Indian culture where in Ireland, they, there was an honest to God attempt to just replace the Irish. It didn't work, but it's, um, I just think that's interesting.

It's incredible. And no one talks about it, especially people who are proponents of this idea that British colonization was an overall good for the people it happened to. I don't necessarily buy that. Obviously, they did something for the people there. I'm not saying that's not the case, but the fact that something like Irish river dancing has to exist.

For those who don't know, Irish river dancing is done completely with your hands at your side. Because if you were to dance in the traditional Irish style in British Ireland at this time, you would be considered disturbing this, the peace and you'd be thrown in jail. So this was the kind of authoritarian rule that was going on throughout Ireland.

That's why the same customs had to exist. Uh, Ireland also is just completely fundamentally different from England. The way that people work, the way that [00:10:00] people believe, the way that people, um, exist, I'll give you an example in Fermanagh. Uh, the phrase to join work means to start work because you can never, they believe in Fermanagh that you can never truly start work.

You always have to join it eventually. Uh, the people were controlled in Ireland through a thing called the Conacre system. And there's plenty talked about, about absentee landlord ism in Great Britain at this time. And you can definitely find more information about that in countless other sources. One of the first main times that the Irish people try to stand up for themselves is, well, there's countless uprisings throughout history.

I shouldn't say this is one of the main ones, but this is one of the big rebellions led by a guy named Wolf Cone in 1798, also a really cool name. Uh, Basically, what happened, this was a part of the French Revolutionary War. The French sent a few thousand men to Southern Ireland to help with this rebellion.

Now, the, at the [00:11:00] Battle of Bali and Balinamuk, uh, the French are trounced and they're able to surrender. They're given full military honors, but the Irish are completely devastated. They're just wiped off the field. And this is a quote from the, uh, writing after the fact. Terrorists thousands died shaking side that cannon.

They buried us without shroud or coffin. And in August, the barley grew up out of the grave because the peasants, they would have pieces of barley. In their pocket. I don't know, for food to, to plant later, maybe in total 30 to 50,000 people died. Uh, comparatively. The Doti Mayo, um, the uprising in Madrid that's famously talked about, which was brutally put down by Napoleon, that cost the death of few hundred.

You know, the 300 people were executed. That's horrifying. But 50, 000 is, is, is, is a truly staggering [00:12:00] number. So it makes perfect sense that the original Molly Maguire's, the Irish version of this gang, secret society, whatever you want to call them, uh, were founded around the same area in Kavan and Leitrim.

They were, or they at least believe, in essence, they were these reincarnated spirits of the dead at Balinamuk. Around this same area, if you guys are familiar with the show Game of Thrones, um, this is probably where the character Craster is based on, Craster's Keep. How he had all the daughters as his wives, and he would, uh, give the firstborn males to the White Walkers.

This is based on a place called Magslecht. I don't know if that's the right pronunciation. It's called the Plain of Adoration. Apparently, this legendary Irish king, Tígur na mhás, he would ensure that his fields were, were fertile by sacrificing goats, pigs, and in some cases, the firstborn of all the family.

All the families that lived under his [00:13:00] domain. So this is where that scene in or where that setting in Game of Thrones, I believe, is based on. Um, this, this violence is just more to show that Ireland has had anything but a peaceful history. It's been a very violent place since its founding. And even before the English arrived, there were like Danish Vikings and all kinds of people, hundreds of different.

Kings and kingdoms and petty kings that were all vying for control of this island. Um, one of the big things that the Irish were super against was military conscription. They could not stand military conscription, much like the Sicilians down in Italy. That was the big deal breaker. You were not going to conscript Irish people to go fight.

Other Catholics, usually that was usually a big part of it. Um, in 1798, the same rebellion I've talked about, it was led in part by the defenders, which I'm going to talk about later as a secret, another secret society and the ribbon men, [00:14:00] uh, which grew out of the defenders and in turn, they grew into the or the ancient order of hibernians who were also Molly Maguire's.

Uh, if this is confusing, okay. Don't worry, uh, it's Ireland. In Ireland, Karl Marx famously said that, uh, secret societies grow there like mushrooms in a forest. Steve here. We are a member of the Parthenon Podcast Network, featuring great shows like Richard Lim's This American President and other great shows.

Go to ParthenonPodcast. com to learn more, and here is a quick word from our sponsors. It's interesting, uh, the similarities between Southern, uh, Italy and Ireland in some ways, where, you know, Ireland was an occupied country, give or take, for a good chunk of its his like, modern history. Southern Italy, the same thing, and they both have these [00:15:00] Secret societies basically come out of it as, uh, a reaction to the ruling authorities, right?

You have the ancient order, the, uh, Hibernians. And then in Italy, you have, uh, you know, the various different types of mafias, but probably most famously, famously, uh, La Cosa Nostra, right? Which was a secret society. And with the Hibernians, you have, like, the Mollenreguiers, which are, you And depending on how you read it, it sounds like it was like a secret society within a secret society, or the, uh, the Androngita, right?

The Androngita right now in Calabria is, the Androngita itself is a secret society, but within the Androngita So at least from the information that we have, there's a, like a secret society within that secret society. The Adrogata is usually typically known as like probably the most secretive out of all the, uh, out of all the three big mafias in Southern Italy.

Yeah, I completely agree with you. There are definitely a lot of similarities and I think it goes to show how [00:16:00] universal the strain and the oppression of colonization is to the people that it occurs to. And this is, uh, across the Across the globe. I mean, I know you spoke about India, but there were Indian secret societies that were all about getting rid of the British.

That's how the Indian National Army rose to prominence and gained thousands of members in the 1940s because so many people were fed up with British, uh, civilization and their, uh, oppression and the murder of hundreds and hundreds of of Indian people. Yeah, so it's really interesting. You're, um, you're really painting, uh, uh, painting a canvas of what's going on in Ireland.

Uh, let's start to wrap up what's happening into Ireland and then get into the really fascinating story of how that transitions into America. Sure. So, so the first reports of Molly Maguire ism. Is around the 1840s, the end of 1844, uh, also not coincidentally, I [00:17:00] believe right in tandem to start the potato blight, which killed millions and displaced another million or two.

Uh, and the first murder that they actually committed was on January 29th. 1845, they killed a guy named McLeod, and this was such a well known killing that the Molly Maguires came up with their own song for it, which goes, There was McLeod, so big and proud, I think it fit to mention, to put men in jail and take no bail, it was his whole intention.

So there's the motive for the killing right there. To liberty, as you may see, some persons did inspire, to lay him down, the dirty hound, they say, it was Molly Maguire. Uh, then in later in May, another person walking home, they get murdered. Boom. What did the locals do? They blame it on the local IRS agent, as you do.

Um, then again, June 22nd, another guy gets murdered in Kavon. A [00:18:00] magistrate was killed in Halloween in 1845. July 1845 was the real, the first real public outing of the Molly Maguire movement. This guy was arrested supposedly as a Molly Maguire hitman and he, he defamed the, the movement to the detectives.

Another guy named Philip O'Reilly claims to be a part of this movement and he actually wrote a whole manifesto where it explained the, the group's intentions and, and what their, their, their reasoning was. Behind what they were doing and why they were seeking violence against people who were, in, in their opinion, oppressing them.

So, at the same time, as all this is going on, the potato blight is, is terrible for everyone. I mean, Molly Maguire's are getting affected as much as, uh, as much as anyone else. So they're just as hard up. One of the main, the biggest murder that the MO'S committed in Ireland was against Dennis Mahan. He was a landlord for Bally Kill Klein.

[00:19:00] He forcibly deported 400 Catholic Irish people who were in his town, simply because he wanted to replace them with, with new, with new people, with new men, you know, uh, good Protestant stock, et cetera, et cetera. Uh, when these 400 people were on the way to Liverpool, their boat capsized killing hundreds. So he was deemed responsible for this whole thing.

He was killed on the road. Also, uh, to sort of wrap up this whole thing, Thomas Pakenham, who's actually a distant relative of this guy. Mahan, he says, quote, and he's writing about the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. He says, quote, the British discriminated against them at every level, making them outsiders in their own country.

But the grievance that touched them most widely was the land. So Irish. Irish Molly Maguire ism was all about the land question. It was all about tenant rights, it was all about farmers. It was about, you know, resisting unlawful convictions [00:20:00] or, unlawful convictions or evictions. Uh, so they have to escape.

They need to go somewhere. It's 23 to boat ride from Ireland to America in this day. So millions jump on the boat, on the boat, and they head not only for America, but they go to English cities like Liverpool, Manchester, et cetera, and to new Spanish territory. I do a series on Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico is just filled with Irish, um, Irish people.

Policymakers and lawmakers, but that's really the end of the I, uh, the Irish Molly Maguires. They stay around for a few more years after that, but they never gain the same prominence that they did at the height of the potato famine. They find new life in America, which we'll get into. Yeah, you really see that, uh, you don't get groups like the Molly Maguires if everything's going awesome, but you really, uh, we're, we're [00:21:00] kind of keep setting the stage that the Molly Maguires are really a reaction to what's going on and these secret societies.

Reaction is definitely a great term for it because these people, they weren't like, you know, they weren't like bleeding heart liberals or socialists or something. They were, they were socially very conservative, but they were fighting for the same rights that they felt that they had a right to enjoy.

Same thing in southern Italy, the peasants who were fighting against the national Italian army in southern Italy weren't particularly progressive or anything, but they had state rights that were taken away from them, uh, by an invading force to either their, their detriment or. To their, to their benefit.

Um, but yeah, it's the same, it's the same difference. Personally for modern, like, audiences, I think they kind of really forget that, I mean, regardless of what your politics are, like, nowadays or what have you, like, the labor [00:22:00] movement is It is what it is, right? It's particularly liberal, especially when it comes to, like, social issues and things of that nature.

But if you kind of look at these early labor movements, and I don't know if you would really consider the Molly Maguire's a labor movement. They just saw kind of injustice and decided that they were going to do something about it, uh, for their fellow Irishman. A lot of these people weren't like, they weren't like social liberals.

Like, a lot of these people were like, you know, um, Traditionalist, like, conservatives, like, you know, you get married young, you have a big family, you know, you go to church, you, it's just, I think it's something that a lot of, I don't know, it gets like misconstrued, a lot of these, like, early, uh, labor organizers, you can call them, or, I don't know, labor fighters, there's, I don't know, there's a bunch of different words you could use for them, right?

But a lot of these guys were socially conservative, and I think a lot of, uh, modern, Both conservative and left failed to, [00:23:00] uh, I don't know, to fail to realize that. I think, yeah. They failed to realize it, and they, they failed to appreciate the, the really, you know, the, the roots of, of the whole struggle. The, the, uh, I mean the labor movement back then was strictly Democrat.

It is that now, but. I know a lot of people argue that the parties have changed. I think it's hard to look at a map from 1900, an electoral map from 1900 and today, and say that there hasn't been any change, uh, but I think it's even fairer to say that almost every single decade in American history, the parties have been completely different, or there have been new parties, or they've flip flopped on some issue, or they've jumped on a bandwagon.

This has been the history of America, and especially This early American time when no one knows what the, what's going on. Oh, yeah, we'll get into it a little bit, like, especially like leading up to the Civil War and even during the Civil War, there's all these parties I bet you people have never even heard of, you know, like the, the Know Nothing Party, the Southern Blades.[00:24:00]

Yeah, which is, and the Wagga Wumps. Yeah. Yeah. And if you take a look at like the revolutions of 1848, those were in a way a very, in many ways a left wing, uh, revolutions, but the U S which was. Very conservative in many ways supported a lot of those revolutions because they felt that there was the revolutionary spirit there.

Yeah, and it goes to show that America doesn't really know which way is up. I mean, they'll change positions depending on what's going on throughout history. I mean, at one point, they're saying no new colonizers, and then another time they're invading Haiti 15 different times. Getting into where you've used this term Molly Maguire, was there an actual historical Molly Maguire?

Who is Molly Maguire? Was this a real person? Is this all make them ups? [00:25:00] Uh, so Molly Maguire was a character in Mummery. And we'll get into memory, uh, like right after this, because it's a huge part of the Molly Maguire movement. It's, it's like their modus operandi for, for their killings, at least in the early period.

So, Molly Maguire. was one of these characters. She would call the dead back to life after receiving a donation. In a mummer's play, two people fight, one person dies, you give donations, the person rises from the grave. Um, this goes a little deeper once you understand that an Irish translation to jester is magair.

And Maguire was one of the names of the famous Fermanagh chiefs. So there was a famous set of chieftains who were called Maguire. Uh, it gets even more convoluted once you start to understand that Molly Maguire wasn't always or strictly called Molly. She was originally Mary Ann Maguire. Uh, and they used this name actually until like [00:26:00] the 18, early 1850s when it finally fell out of vogue.

Makes sense. Molly Maguire makes, is a lot better of a name than Molly Ann Maguire in my opinion. Um. Another character in Mummer Plays was called Molly Maskett, so here's another layer to the, to the Mummery thing. And this helps explain, basically, a transcontinental game of telephone that took place. You know the game telephone, you played as a kid, one person said something to another, and then by the end it sounded completely different than what it was originally intended.

That's probably where the term Molly Maguire comes from. But the legendary Molly Maguire was either the mother of two dead Irish patriots who was evicted by, uh, you know, an evil English landlord, uh, or she was a completely deranged, uh, lunatic woman who, who raved that she was the leader of a new Ireland, that she's going to lead these armies and free, free Ireland from British dominion.

Uh, once you [00:27:00] understand something like Celtic myths, Uh, this starts to make more sense that people would can associate themselves with this, uh, insane version of Molly Maguire because in Celtic myth, quote, the country is a woman, the spouse of the king before her marriage. She is a quote, unquote, hag. Or a woman whose mind is deranged.

So these people who are calling themselves Molly Maguires believe that they were literally the sons of Mother Ireland. I mean, in just as many terms. But what's a mummery? I say that word a bunch. I've just mentioned it a few times. So think of Halloween trick or treating. Instead of Halloween trick or treaters, there's grown men who come to your door and they perform a combat play in your living room or in your kitchen.

Uh, this always ended in the death of one of the combatants. And, like I was saying, someone would step forward, ask for a donation of money, food, drink, whatever, and, uh, [00:28:00] from those donations, they would throw an end of the year party. Uh, in these plays, men would dress Uh, in traditionally women's clothing, they would dress in black or white face.

They would wear straw throughout their body, uh, and this is understandable once you understand that mummery comes from the French word, which means to mask oneself, uh, And these mummers usually worked exclusively with the Molly Maguires. Sometimes they were mummers, and the other half of the time they were Molly Maguires.

So there must have been a, uh, a heck of a lot of confusion if you were one of these just like poor farmers and a bunch of people show up at your house. Are they gonna kill me? Or are they gonna, are they gonna, you know, have a, uh, a good old time and I'm gonna give them some money so we can throw a party at the end of the day.

So this became a huge point of contention for the, the Irish, uh, and Irish secret societies. It was [00:29:00] definitely a love hate relationship between the peasants. I, um, I've spent a lot of time in, uh, Northeastern Pennsylvania, where a lot of this stuff will eventually happen and in Philadelphia, and they still do mummers parades in Philadelphia.

We went to the mummers parade in the early 2000s, so not that long ago, and they still did blackface at that time. I think they got rid of it with within a few years of there, but within. Memory, they were still doing that sort of thing. And they had, it wasn't I strictly Irish anymore. There were people of all different backgrounds, but they still did a lot of that stuff.

But memory was a lot more common amongst Irish. I think when they first came over, but it's, and it's condensed a lot now, but it still is going on to this very day. Yeah, just off camera, like, me and you, Steve, like, arguing about, like, how much [00:30:00] paganism is still part of, like, European culture, and, like, I've argued it's like this, it's obviously not a huge part of it now, but it's still there, right?

And I, I've argued that, like, European culture in a lot of ways is this, is this battle between, um, paganism and paganism. The Christianity that came in later, and I mean, and you can see it with this type of ritual, right? Like, there's no, this isn't in Christianity. This is straight out of paganism. And this, these traditions that probably got passed down, you know, and changed over time, but for, you know, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years.

Definitely. And, and mummery was actually one of the few things that translated from England to Ireland. So that, I think, just adds weight to your argument there, Chris. Uh, I agree 100 percent that paganism is still a huge part of Judeo Christian values. I mean, look at how many saints there are. Why are there so many saints if, if there isn't some sort of polytheism?

That's just something I think about a lot. [00:31:00] Uh, but yeah, like you were saying, it was a huge part, uh, like Steve was saying, I mean, It was a huge part of the community, still is, even though a lot of the population, uh, the Irish population was supplanted within like a generation. But it just shows how lasting the old country and the old country scars.

Remain and that how they actually transfer to the new world, mostly because some of the same practices were still going on talk a little bit about the secret societies in Ireland, which will set us up to the how they translate over to the U. S. Okay, everyone strap him. So there were the straw boys. These were, uh, uh, these were usually unmarried men.

They'd show up at your house in the middle of the night, snatch your daughter. Yeah. force her into marriage. Uh, almost always the father was of a higher social strata. So if you were a tenant farmer, this might be your landowner. You snatch your daughter and [00:32:00] now you've got your foot in the door, so to speak.

They were Ren boys. These were, um, these were also unmarried people. Whenever I say boys, by the way, boys in Ireland means unmarried men, just so we're clear. Uh, I'm not talking about a bunch of little children. They'd show to your house. They show up at your house after Christmas, like boxing day. They'd go door to door with dead birds asking for donations.

If you didn't donate, uh, they would bury this dead bird in your front yard, which is very bad luck. I mean, it would ruin your whole family's luck for the whole year. At least that's what people in Ireland believed. Um, one of the first rekindlings of secret societies after the 1798 rebellion was in around 1816, right after the Napoleonic wars.

These guys called Ribbon Men set fire to the Wild Goose Lodge and they roasted alive eight people. Uh, famously some woman was inside and she said, Please let me out, I have nothing to do with this. And the answer from outside was, You didn't heed the [00:33:00] warning in time. And they just watched it burn. Really savage stuff.

These Ribbon Men were mostly nationalistic, very interested in politics, interested in sectarianism. interested in, in, in nationalism, uh, they were most defined by the tassels they wore, the ribbons on their lapels. Uh, they were white boys. They were called the white boys because of the starch white shirts they would wear.

They were more interested in the Uh, land question. They operated mostly in Southern Ireland. They believed in a form of localism. It wasn't exactly socialism. It wasn't exactly right wing populism. It was some sort of mix of the two. It's described in, uh, the book Molly, The Sons of Molly Maguire as a localism.

Everything was about your locality. Your local community was everything. Uh, and one way they would promote local communities is through subtle threats. So a white boy gang would show up at your house. It'd be like [00:34:00] they, they pull you aside, they'd be like, it would be a real shame if, um, you know, you took this grain to market without first selling it to your neighbor at a fair price.

And that would be the, and then they just leave. And that would be the, and you'd have to like, just mull it over if you really want to, you know, risk making a little bit more money, sending your, your grain to international markets or, uh, uh, risk the ire of your entire community. So that's the white boys.

Um, so it explains, again, the transition from white boy to ribbon men to Molly Maguire slash, uh, ancient order of hibernians it throughout this entire period to massive riots and unrest against technology itself. I mean, people are destroying sewing machines in England and stuff. This is where the term Luddite comes from this guy called.

Yeah. legendary guy called Commander Ludd went about the English countryside and destroyed, uh, destroyed milling equipment and, and machinery. [00:35:00] These all usually ended up being against, or at least in Ireland, it ended up being a sort of a undeclared war between Protestant secret societies and Catholic secret societies.

I'm not even going to get into the Protestant secret societies, because it's a whole other A group of names and, and, and, uh, objectives, uh, uh, and it's just, it would just be here forever. But that's how, um, the secret societies sort of molded in Ireland. And they did so at a, as a direct response to the problems going on in their countryside.

I mean, beyond just the potato blight. Elections were, were incredibly violent. Every single election in Ireland was just devolved into rioting. And, you know, countless died just trying to go vote. It was a really intense situation. So it made all the more sense to leave that place and to leave. So in, in such vast numbers that.

Is Ireland still recovered, [00:36:00] ever recovered from the potato blight yet? Have they reached the pre blight population? I don't think so. No, I don't even think it's close. Yeah, it's like millions away still. So, I mean, that just goes to show how absolutely devastating. The potato blight was for this, for this, uh, island.

No, I think there's like only a couple of examples or I think there's more Irish, like more Irish live outside of Ireland than actually in Ireland. I think Jamaica, Jamaicans is another one. Those are two off the top of my head, but I can't really think of too many other ethnicities where that's the case.

Yeah, it was, it was a serious, I mean, Uh, some people have used the word genocide. I, I think that that's, if that's not fair, then it's, it's, it's right up against the line. I mean, it was, uh, and it's not like they were intentionally trying to starve people. It was, you know, uncaring, unfeeling government led to this massive atrocity, but one of the few things that actually ended up, uh, you know, one [00:37:00] thing that stayed the same was the, the coal mines.

Yeah. Coal is, is plentifully found in both Ireland and Pennsylvania. So it made a perfect sort of transition to people who are coal miners or people who experienced mining culture, uh, when they moved to the anthracite region of Pennsylvania. Yeah, isn't it? Um, I'll steal, we're going to talk about coal and I'll steal a little bit of your thunder, Joe, uh, Pennsylvania, that region of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

I don't think it's too far to go to say it has beautiful coal. It's almost, it's a, it's pure. It's one of the, I think, yeah. Best call in the entire world. And as a matter of fact, we're, uh, we'll get into this, but, uh, there's a chunk of call. I have a picture of my kids in front of it and their friends.

There's a piece of 1 piece of call in 1 of these towns. That's the size of our F 1 50 [00:38:00] pickup truck. And it's just yeah. It's pure, perfect coal, and that's what they were, that's what they were there for. Yeah, I've seen it where, um, some of the colleges, they make, like, complete, uh, like, football trophies out of coal.

Uh, a lot of these, uh, state colleges in, in this part of Pennsylvania, I've seen a few pictures like that, and they're just gorgeous. And coal is a really incredible material and rock. They're still mining it to this day. Are they not? Um, I'm not sure if they're mining it in the anthracite region anymore.

They might still be, uh, here and there. Definitely not at the same scale. Most of the mining in America is done in, in West Virginia now, I believe. But so what is coal? I mean, uh, we use, uh, people have used coal for thousands of years, the earliest. mention of coal is the ancient Chinese in like 3000 BC or something.

So this has not been some like new revelation only with the [00:39:00] advent of steam did it really gain traction and popularity. But coal is a decomposed plant matter. It's that has been denied any form of sunlight. Therefore, it can't break down properly. Um, this is usually found in places that used to be. Huge giant marshes, for example, along the Allegheny's.

In modern day, Pennsylvania, in Colorado, the huge seams of anthracite coal, uh, that used to be an entire gigantic swamp land. Um, so what kind of coal is there? There's. Several different kinds. There's lignite and jet, which is a derivative of lignite. Lignite is the poorest quality coal you can find. It's called the brown coal.

Jet is a gemstone that's derivative of this, uh, of this coal. Mesoamericans, they made absolutely exquisite artwork with this stuff. I mean, ancient Aztecs, they would make beautiful, um, like, uh, eagle head [00:40:00] with, uh, jet. If you know the term jet black, that's where this, that's where this comes from. Yeah. Yeah.

You never think about that. I've never thought one second where the term jet black comes from. I just always assumed what it just meant that, but it comes from jet. Next is bituminous, subbituminous coal. This is like the middling quality coal. It's called soft coal sometimes. They use this in coke fuel.

That's the big thing that this stuff is used in. This is done, any sort of smithing work, uh, ever has used coke fuel. That is probably derivative. From, uh, the, the bituminous and sub bituminous coal anthracite mentioned the word a lot. This is the, this is the grand poobah of all the coal. It's called hard coal.

It's sometimes called kill Kenny coal because of where it's found in Ireland. It burns the longest and the hottest and it's definitely the most valuable. Uh, anthracites usually found it's found all over the place. [00:41:00] Today. Yeah. China, it like outpaces every other country combined, basically. If you look at a map of Chinese coal mining, it's absolutely ludicrous to see it because it's like looking at like U.

  1. defense spending or something. It's like, well, what? Like, um, so how do these mines work? There are a bunch of different ways you can mine. Um, The most famous way, at least during this period, the most traditional ways called the room and pillar mining, uh, room and pillar, as it, uh, says is all about having a single room.

1 or 2 miners would work in it. There'd be broad avenues and streets connecting each of these rooms. It's like a city, uh. And they'd work in these mines to for hours at a time. Uh, usually they'd make their own hours. They'd have equipment. This was very individualistic kind of work. Um, another form is long wall mining.

Long wall mining, as it [00:42:00] implies, is done against a single long wall with multiple people working on it. at once. It sort of behooved you to be on shift every single day. If you missed a single day in longwall mining, you would screw not yourself, but also all the people who work beside you, because they'll be getting a lesser amount of coal.

So in spite of the individualism that was festered through longwall mining, uh, miners found camaraderie right away. Considering they're the only other living things under the earth, besides the few animals they work with, uh, camaraderie was essential. I mean, a single mistake, single careless mistake or issue could completely kill everybody in the mine, uh, and it could do so very easily.

Uh, mutual aid was like Absolute necessity in all kinds of minds and the experienced miners, the, the, the most, uh, uh, longest working miners, they would always [00:43:00] be the 1st, the line of, uh, the responders, they would be the 1st ones there. If there was ever a mind disaster. And they would work ferociously to try and save anybody that they could.

So skin color, ethnicity, religious views, political views, they did not matter one bit in the mines. Once you got out of the mine and you went to the saloon, all bets were off. Then, okay, that might matter. When you worked underground, it was a complete brotherhood of men who worked side by side for the betterment of each other and for the safety of each other.

Uh, there's plenty of issues. They had to deal with plenty of, plenty of problems. Obviously it's, uh, one of the main ones were any number of gases that could be released. So there's stink damp. This smells like rotten eggs. It's hydrogen sulfide. This could be overpowering. You could imagine that it could if you were alone in a room and you were just bombarded with the smell of rotten eggs and you had no ventilation.[00:44:00]

You would probably become sick pretty quickly. Then there was black damp. This was named because the, the, the flames that they would have to light their way would flicker black. So they would call it black damp. This was a buildup of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide chokes the oxygen. Out of any room it's in, so this could cause, uh, asphyxiation and you could die.

The worst one out of all of these, all the ones I'm going to talk about is after death. So this is carbon monoxide and coal dust. Absolutely, like, uh, uh, blown together. The carbon monoxide killed most people during any sort of explosion. This explosion was caused by fire damp, which is the buildup of methane in between the literal coal seams.

Uh, and this, once a single spark hit this stuff, it would just blow everything sky high. The worst, uh, mining disaster in American history was in West Virginia, around [00:45:00] 360 people died. Most of them were asphyxiated, but the worst one in world history happened at the height of World War II in Chinese occupied, or in Japanese occupied China, something like 1500 miners suffocated to death after Japanese, uh, soldiers who were running the mine and using these Chinese people as basically slaves, uh, they, they shut off the, they shut off all the exits to the mine, which probably asphyxiated most of them.

I mean, the explosion probably caused, way fewer casualties than the actual asphyxiation following the, the blockading of the mine, which is pretty horrifying. Um, but yeah, I, I, just for a personal story, my own great uncle, he worked for years in the sulfur mines of Sicily. For those who don't know, Sicily sulfur mines produced maybe half of the world's sulfur for a good part of the, you know, [00:46:00] early centuries.

Uh, he was crushed to death, uh, by a rock. And the person, uh, Mark Bullock, the guy who wrote the book, The Sons of Molly Maguire, his great grandpa, who he never met, was impaled by a stalactite when he was 13. So this was not work for the faint of heart. I mean, I couldn't imagine a worse place to work in my life.

I, maybe that's just like familial trauma. Yeah, and I mean, even nowadays that there's a lot more health and safety standards and it still, for a lack of a better word, sucks to work in a mine. Like, I can even speak for myself, like, my personal, like, I do a lot of For my for work, I do, uh, it's like physical labor, right?

And even with all safety mechanisms in place and stuff like that, you know, I just look around sometimes and be like, Oh, there's probably 100 things here that could kill me. If something goes wrong, it probably wouldn't happen. But it's, you know, it's only magnified when you're on top of it were. In these minds, I think it's very [00:47:00] difficult for modern people to really understand just how like ridiculously dangerous these places were.

And you mentioned you mentioned your great grandfather was sulfur. He worked on a sulfur mine, right? Yeah. Yeah. I was going to say to the audience, uh, just, um. Look at pictures of sulfur mines, uh, on, just typing it on Google, you'd be, uh, shocked just how, uh, beautiful they look. They smell terrible, but, you know, from a distance, they look beautiful.

Yeah, I, I mean, it was a, and like Steve was saying, coal is, is beautiful. I, if you look at, uh, a chunk of coal, it's an absolutely gorgeous rock. Same thing with sulfur, but sulfur was even deadlier because sulfur could burn. So I imagine there were very few flames alive down in those mines in Sicily. You were working in the virtual dark.

That must have been truly horrifying. Especially if you were one of these little kids, like you were a breaker boy or something who [00:48:00] went through the coal and the shale and you had to keep, they showed this in the Molly Maguire movement, the movie, the kids had to keep moving their feet or else it would get sucked under by the conveyor belt and they would lose their legs.

This was a, just a regular thing that they just had to adjust to. You don't think about having to do something like that, but this is something that children had to do. And, and, once you graduated from there, you became a driver. So you drove mules. And mules, for their reputation, are incredibly stubborn animals.

They could bite you, and kick you, and, and easily kill a human being. Especially a human being who's only 15 years old.

Steve here again with a quick word from our sponsors. As we move forward, we're, uh, we have to kind of step out of the, uh, Irish for a minute and start to set up the civil war because that's, that's, [00:49:00] uh, coming and that's going to really, uh, impact this whole story of the Molly Maguires, because you can see where all these things are starting to come, coal is the, uh, essentially the lifeblood, uh, Of, uh, industry at that time.

And Cole's got to come out of the ground in some way. And you're, you have the Irish who are the ones who are pulling it out of the ground, and then you have the civil war who, in a lot of ways, the Irish are going to be, uh, one of the, almost the backbone of these armies. So in a fight, that's almost not their own.

How does that all start to come together? So it comes together. Before America is even a country, before America is even a country, hundreds of thousands of Protestant Ulster men, uh, depart for Pennsylvania. Now, in Pennsylvania, they were a part of the militant backbone for Pontiac's War, Pontiac's Rebellion, which is a pre [00:50:00] revolutionary war, rebellion of native peoples.

Uh, and they, they came because They needed, they were so talented at putting down native rebellions, but in this case, they put down Irish native rebellions. They didn't put down native of American rebellions. Uh, they came at the behest of this guy named Benjamin Bannon. He was sort of this, like, overlord of the whole area.

He ran a newspaper. Uh, so we had massive influence there. Um, he was also made 1 of the draft, um. The draft commissioners for the entire area, and he would bring tens of thousands of Irish Catholics into Pennsylvania only to hate them once they arrived need for the Irish Catholics. They must have felt like, oh, my God, this is more of the same.

We showed up in this new country. And we're still being lorded over by Protestants from Ulster. This is really, this is really something else. Uh, one of the, [00:51:00] and alongside him, there's a guy named Franklin Gowen. He comes into the story in the 1870s. He was raised a hardcore Democrat. And, uh, basically he was, um, he was to go to the, he was, he was supposed to be drafted, but he paid 300 for his replacement.

Uh, his father was an incredibly religiously, uh, liberal man, so much so that he had his son taught in a Catholic school in Maryland. So, uh, this put a, a check in his box toward the Irish community, the, and in, in time he would end up being elected. Uh, and, and seen as like a community sort of organizer, he would do it in such a way that would end up in his monopolization of the entire, uh, railroad and coal industry of the area.

Uh, the 1st mention of the Molly Maguires happens in around the 1850s and they come in [00:52:00] tandem with these things called the fantasticals. The Fantasticals were this uber racist group of Irish, uh, ne'er do wells. I mean, they would get rip roaring drunk and have, like, faux parades in the middle of town.

They called themselves, one group called themselves the Santa Ana Lifeguard, and their slogan was, oh, get out. They were named after the, the, the victor of, of the Alamo, uh, of General Santa Ana, the dictator and general in Mexico. Uh, another crew called themselves the Crowboys after Jim Crow, so this adds a whole new level.

Now there's the race element. People in Ireland probably didn't have to confront back home, and they were responsible for many a race riot in, throughout Pennsylvania, but in Philadelphia especially. The first reports of the Mollies came in the late 1850s. These might have been sensationalized, uh, [00:53:00] but their public face was, like I said, the ancient order of Hibernians.

This is a benevolent society. They would provide foodstuffs, money, etc. for injured or hurt Irishmen on the job. Not exactly a union, not exactly a secret society, completely legal, uh, for the most part, save for the subsect of super militant Molly Maguire's and their movement. By 1860, uh, about 70 percent of the workers in the mines were Irish.

So you have a complete, almost a homogeneous, uh, uh, movement that's being insulated underground, that's being fed. Uh, it's being fed, uh, you know, terrible, terrible suffering through like the company shop system, the company housing system, uh, all these things that led to an intense amount of distrust between miners and their operators.

And I think for obvious reasons, once you start to understand how terrifying the. [00:54:00] The company store system was, well, I was going to say, I kind of use like a modern example is, uh, you hear these stories about Amazon building these giant factories that are going to be having like apartments above the factories, uh, and, uh, and no, but in the States for a long.

For a good chunk of it's, well, I wouldn't say like a big chunk, but there's a period there, especially like around the robber baron time, which is kind of, it's not exactly at this time period, but it's leading up to it where a lot of these workers like lived in towns that the companies themselves would build.

And, you know, it had grocery stores and everything, but people go, Oh, that's convenient. But it. It's a scary situation to be in where you're completely dependent upon a company that's not elected, obviously, right? And it's ran by, for the most part, one individual and simply, like, if you, I don't know, make a fuss about, say, a cut back in pay or [00:55:00] anything of that nature, you know, you're cut off and then where do you go?

This is how much of a lot of these early industries ran in the States. I don't think, you know, unless you're a little bit familiar with the subject. I don't I don't think most people really understand that. Yeah. And just to just to give an example of how horrifying this system was. This is from the 1840s, so in case anyone was thinking this was just the product of the Civil War, it wasn't.

This was happening in the area for years and years beforehand. So, quote, A wife or child may be very sick, and the storekeeper has no medicine. A physician may be required, who cannot be paid in store goods, and cannot be expected to attend without being paid. The storekeeper may have no flour, no meat, no butter, and if he has, he may refuse to let the workman have either of them on the order, for these are cash articles.

The poor man must take what there is, at such prices [00:56:00] as the merchant shall dictate. The result of all this is that the poor man has found himself in debt to his employer. to a large amount. Unquote. Another one, this is uh, this was like a poem written during the time. All I drew for the year was a dollar or three.

Those company store thieves made a pauper of me. And this was the daily life of, of people now. And like you were saying, if you, if you raise a fuss, if you try to start a union, which was called a combination back then, or a conspiracy back then, you would be, you would be not only fired, you'd be blacklisted from the entire trade.

You'd be evicted from your home. You'd be left literally penniless. You'd have the clothes on your back. If that, I mean, uh, for an example of another, uh, really crazy example is the Pullman town, uh, in like a generation after this George Pullman would charge for like the blinds, he would charge you for an extra window.[00:57:00]

He charged you for the good door knocker. He charged you for. You know, uh, it was a furniture. He charged you if you were on like a higher floor than someone else, and this would all come out in your pay at the end of the month, and this guy's making hand over foot millions and millions of dollars adjusted for inflation.

It's it's hundreds of millions of dollars. And this was just the norm, and this was taken from Britain. Uh, Americans like to think that we don't take a lot of things except maybe our language from Great Britain, but our whole attitude toward labor unions and things like that were, were completely based on British law.

And some of the first, uh, pro labor movements were saying, we aren't, we aren't oppressed by the British anymore, we're Americans. This is not how things work here. And this is where it was couched. And this is how something like the Molly Maguires can rear their, their head and, and do so very effectively.

Uh, all they needed was the spark. And you [00:58:00] can see how insipid that becomes where it maybe starts off, maybe or maybe not, but the company town starts off with the best of intentions that it really is to provide housing because the mine is way out away from a place that might not have a town and you start building it from there, but then it just.

It slowly like an, uh, like an octopus grows into every single aspect of a person's life. And I think today, like Chris mentioned, where Amazon's building housing and like almost recreating the, the company towns, a system, uh, the, it's not even just the private sector is doing it here in Austin, the city school district.

Is building housing because for the teachers, because the housing prices are so, uh, out of control, but you can see how like that could, how you don't even have to [00:59:00] imagine how that can turn out. Oh, well, you know, you're living in our, uh, apartment now, or you're living in our house. So you're going to work a couple extra hours a week to pay for that.

I mean, we're giving you a house and a, you know, for almost nothing compared to what market prices are. It totally skews the whole employee employer relationship. Yeah, and exactly like you were saying, this relationship is supposed to be time honored. I mean, the whole idea and the whole argument against labor unions is that they breach liberty of contract, not understanding that liberty of contract should apply to individuals making a contract together.

I mean, obviously you work at a small business. That there's no need for a labor union because the liberty of contract still exists. There's one person agreeing with another person on X amount of dollars, and that's that. But when it becomes giant conglomerates who, who, you know, the, the, the [01:00:00] health of the, the national economy is on the line, it becomes completely skewed.

And, and the authority and the power dynamics are completely off. You cannot expect some sort of equal treatment across the board for For, you know, the same thing. And, and there were, you know, there were people who owned mines who were, uh, genuinely, they genuinely cared about their workers. I'm not saying that's not the case.

But they lived in a system where exploitation was the norm. And when exploitation is the norm, that's all you really are accustomed to. You don't want to rock the boat. You don't want to, you don't want to give way to something that you consider revolutionary, like a trade union. Uh, which, uh, must've been really wild and it was, uh, incredibly brutal, the reaction to trade unionism throughout this whole era.

Yeah, because it's, it's that push and that pull of the, the corporations, which in a large part have the government behind them, [01:01:00] have pulled things in such a one way and to try and pull it back the other way with the trade unions, of course, there's going to be a huge amount of conflict. You almost, you, you couldn't, it would be outrageous to think that there wouldn't be conflict.

Mm hmm. Yeah, and, and, and most operators felt that way. They were completely divorced from reality and, and the reality that their workers were, were living through. They thought that they were being paid plenty. I mean, yeah, you have to get your rent taken out in the, in the, at, at, from your check at the end of the month.

You're getting paid a very reasonable price for the work you're doing. That's the argument at least. And in reality, I mean, people ended up owing their employers. Like I was saying, uh, people ended up going hungry. People ended up starving. People ended up being evicted if they didn't agree with whatever policy the, the, the, their boss put in place.

Uh. This all really sparked with the civil war, the civil [01:02:00] war created a labor shortage and with the massive influx of Irish migrants willing to work for a little bit less, uh, companies exploited it to the nines. They would. employ Irish people specifically because of their ability to work for less or their, their, their, um, you know, they didn't have a problem with it.

Uh, with the boom of Northern industry, this fed the workers movements. The workers movements in fed, in turn, fed labor unrest. So, almost at the start of the, the, the Civil War, 1862, there's a big strike in the coal mines. Um, almost a, a gunfight erupts between the two sides, but, you know, cooler heads prevail, et cetera, et cetera.

Bannon, uh, our old friend Bannon, he writes in the newspapers, this was because of confederates and traitors. Contrary to what Bannon was saying, the, the people of Schuylkill County volunteered en masse for the Civil War. There was [01:03:00] not a, I mean, it's very hard to convince anyone that they were literally traders when you look at the numbers.

I mean, way more than in, in other counties across the country where it's supposed to be like a Republican majority, you know, keep the union the way it is, et cetera, et cetera. Uh, so they had a massive, massive, um, uh, recruitment in this area, but that wasn't enough for The people who are running the country, they saw this as a largely democratic, uh, traitorous area.

So they pass the militia act a year later, they pass the enlistment act. This suspends habeas corpus thousands of Democrats who are deemed disloyal were thrown in jail, no charges, nothing, no, no right to legal counsel, et cetera, et cetera. Uh, Bannon is made the draft commissioner. He's going to use the draft to target Democrats specifically.

Uh, because at this time, soldiers were not actually given the vote. If you were, uh, if you returned from duty, I believe you were able to vote. And I know [01:04:00] Lincoln and the Democrat, or Lincoln and the Republicans exploited this during election time, they would send whole units back to back home. So they would vote Republican.

Uh, and I think it actually flipped Kentucky for, for Lincoln during the 1864 election. So he's, he's sweeping through the coal mines, he's, he's got this guy called Charlemagne Towers, awesome name, terrible person, uh, to lead the whole roundup, and he basically, this guy Towers, he hands in whole employment lists, and he says draft all these guys.

Not wondering are these people still working here? Are they dead? You know, uh, do they live in a different county or a different state? Are they a foreign citizen? Because this was the case too. A lot of these people were Irish nationals. So each of these Irish people that tries to get drafted, they go to the British constabulary.

Or they go to the British embassy and many, uh, diplomatic incidents break out every single [01:05:00] time this happens, but it doesn't matter. Uh, he just sort of, uh, deals with it in stride. Uh, the first killing of the Molly Maguires comes on January 2nd, 1863. There were rumors and, and, and shouts of Molly Maguire in the streets the year previous, but no serious violence.

It only really started the day. After New Year's here, the victim was James Berg. This guy was, uh, a union veteran. So far from Molly's targeting, you know, mine operators or the bosses or, you know, middlemen, they're targeting people who they consider. To be not Irish anymore. These people are traitors to the Irish cause because they fought for Lincoln's army, who's a tyrant in their eyes.

So he shot, uh, then 40 men attacked this guy, James McDonald's home. He hid in the, he hid in a mine shaft, but his wife was terrorized for hours and threatened to be shot and said that his, his husband, her husband was marked for death. And then two [01:06:00] days later. On the road, uh, two other union men were, were attacked.

When I say union men, I mean for the union, they were pro union sympathizers. One was a militia man. The other was an ardent Republican. So these people are being attacked because of what they believe. It's a very. interesting and, and, and not talked about part, I think of the Molly Maguire movement, because it's very hard to, uh, to turn these guys into, to, to good people when they're, you know, attacking, uh, army veterans in the night and, and murdering them.

So this part is definitely super, super questionable. I mean, I don't understand. Where this would even begin, I stand obvious had serious problems with, you know, the union and the way they were being repressed. And this comes to fruition when once troops start showing up and start seriously, um, infringing on the, on the rights of these people.

So, [01:07:00] in June, or sorry, in the middle of July, 1863 is the New York City draft riots. These are depicted in the gangs in New York movie by Martin Scorsese. Uh, they were distinctly racial and they were distinctly anti-Republican. This, the, these were, these people would've been considered mollies if they did this in Pennsylvania.

Uh, probably so in the anthracite, supposedly there's 15,000 armed mollies and minors waiting for like Lee's army to invade a game so they can join up. Uh, this guy gets robbed, the sergeant, uh, he gets robbed, this guy, General Whipple comes in, he holds seven men as hostages. You'd hold hostages. The fact that he held the hostages in a northern state that was fighting for the Union was pretty, uh, provocative.

Uh, and in the end, they just ended up overhauling the population throughout 1863 and the drafts went off pretty much without a hitch. Whenever you talk about this whole episode and this whole [01:08:00] aspect of the Civil War, I think it blows people's minds. I know it blew my mind. Like, Abraham Lincoln is not the sainted figure that he's turned into.

He Was a political animal and he understood politics and he did some pretty bruising politics. I think you almost sell him short by just turning him into the sainted Abe Lincoln. And you ignore that the things that he did for better or for worse to keep the union together. Oh yeah, a hundred percent. He was a decisive.

Cold and calculating man, but you can be that and also be a caring, loving, you know, father and and all around honest person and genuinely decent president. I mean, you can be all these things at once because he was just a human being. I think a lot of thing that a part that gets lost to in [01:09:00] that whole conflict that you just described is a lot of these like really hardcore Republicans slash like emancipationists at the time and you can even just reading about how kind of bizarre some of these people were like even at the time they must have been like really bizarre like these people were like by every definition of the word like Radicals, um, and, you know, as we know, with most politics, most people kind of fall in the middle or somewhat moderate.

Right? So people get this impression that, like, um, the, like, the northern states were, like, gung ho, like, Republican, and it's just not really the case. There were still a lot of Democrats, and there were still a lot of Democrats that Opposed the war throughout the entirety of it. They called them copperheads.

Uh, Republican sympathizers did, but it's not necessarily like these people were like bad people were traitors. They just, they didn't see that this war was entirely necessary. [01:10:00] Yeah, I, I think that was definitely a huge part of it. I mean, even in, with these, with these guys, the Molly McGuires, they wanted the union as it was in the constitution as it was, they wanted no radical change.

Like you were saying, the Republicans for their time and, and for the place and the ideas they held, they were the radicals. I'm not sure if either of you have heard of Harry Turtledove. He's a famous, uh, alt history writer. Oh yeah, I've read his stuff, yeah. Yeah, but he basically, in his books, uh, Lincoln becomes the head of the Socialist Party of America, the first socialist party.

And he ends up challenging, like, Teddy Roosevelt, who's this hard right, uh, you know, friends with the, the central, uh, central allies in World War I character now. I think in a lot of ways, uh, that, that view is, is not unjustifiable. If you look at some of the things Lincoln said, they would be radical today.

I mean, the things he talked about [01:11:00] with labor, things he talked about with unions, he said some pretty wild stuff. He was one of the, I mean, he's probably, The first and maybe the last president to acknowledge that the, the main source of capital is actually labor. Labor creates the capital. He was, he was one of the first people to, to say that.

And Karl Marx loved him. He loved, he loved him to Maeve Lincoln. Well, yeah, to me, that's what makes Lincoln really interesting. Everyone kind of focuses on The wrong, I don't, I want to say the wrong things, but if you look at what the Republican party was trying to do in terms of modernizing America and like their general outlook on how the economy should work, it's, it, I don't think people really get, um, in a lot of ways, like they were trying to create an autocrity, um, believe I pronounced that name correctly, where like America would be self sufficient.

To not having to be dependent on European nations or other nations for, um, its economy. And they [01:12:00] generally, they did accomplish that, you know, they were, you know, big on tariffs. They weren't like free trade people are, which is almost the exact opposite of what goes on. Well, I mean, maybe it's a little bit different now, but for the longest time, the Republican party.

You know, in our lifetime, and especially for young people, it's been like the Free Trade Party. But if you look at Lincoln's, uh, Republican Party, they had a very, uh, different view of how the economy should run in the country, for better or worse. But I tend to agree with what Lincoln said a lot in terms of how the economy should run.

Yeah, I agree with the two. I think, I mean, this is a whole other conversation, but I agree with protectionism. That's probably, that's one of like the two things that Trump did while he was in office that I actually, I actually supported. I was like, oh, okay. Um. So, yeah, to take it back to the 1860s here, uh, the middle, it's the middle of the Civil War for a really long time.

The Molly Maguire's [01:13:00] kind of go quiet throughout the summer, early fall. They kind of do anything. I think this has a lot to do with the. The, the practice of memory because they would strike it around the same time and mummers usually participated in their plays around the Christmas season. So, around this time, everyone has a little bit more free time.

They're not growing, you know, their or their barley or anything. Uh, they have a minute, uh, you know, go shoot a few mind bosses. So, uh, in late October, uh, or sorry, October 10th. This guy, Patrick Shannon, he's beaten within an inch of his life at home. He can barely use his legs ever again. Uh, same night, three other people are attacked.

So right out of the way, bang, there's, there's a whole bunch of attacks right away. A few days before Halloween, officially, the, the troops called the Invalid Corps, these were, uh, uh, this was a group of, um, soldiers who were injured and they couldn't serve on the front lines anymore, but they were used, [01:14:00] uh, in this case for labor suppression.

So they arrived to demand conscripts. So when they showed up, they were expecting 183 people to be ready outside the courthouse, you know, to receive their uniforms, et cetera, et cetera. A grand total of three people show up. So the next day, the, the cavalry clears the street of Jeansville and they, they saber, uh, a buckshot and the buckshots were another name for the Molly Maguire's, um, This guy E.

Greenlau Scott, he was a lawyer. He, he penned an, uh, a really angry letter to Abraham Lincoln. And in it, he, he includes the following exchange. He's talking to a lieutenant. The lieutenant says, we slashed four or five this morning. And he goes, slashed? What's that? The lieutenant responds, why we cut them with sabers.

Uh, Greenlau says, did they resist? Lieutenant finishes, no, but they might've been. You can't trust these fellows. And [01:15:00] from there, uh, they actually almost run down and, and murder like a 16 year old boy. He goes on to describe that. And then early in November, uh, Yorktown was served its draft notices. Um, after they were served their notices, this town, uh, the unit went to George K.

Smith's company store. And then they left. They left them high and dry. Like, you're gonna be fine. Uh, little did they know, a few nights before, They knew that this guy Smith was working with the army, so they pass a secret resolution to kill him, the Molly Maguires do, in the swamps. So this must have been a very intense meeting in the, in the swamps at the dead of night, deciding to kill a man.

And so, on November 5th, uh, George K. Smith has his house broken into by 20 odd people. They're all in blackface or they're wearing whiskers, and he gets, he gets shot one time in the head. And everyone runs as fast as they can out of the place, yelling and hollering. So this was actually [01:16:00] the first mine official, but this was, this was going to be the start of a long line of mine officials who were killed.

So, um, as a way of, of retribution toward this, uh, killing. The army shows up again. They arrest 70 people. Uh, all of them were community leaders. They were union leaders, uh, well known workers of the area. Uh, most of the charges were in fact dropped, but almost, but 13 of them were indicted for any number of things, disloyalty, treason, et cetera, et cetera.

And they were held incommunicado. Uh, alongside thousands of of confederate prisons of prisoners of war in, um, in northern Pennsylvania. So, among them was Peter Dylan. He was, like, the most well known labor organizer of this whole era and in this, uh, uh, specific place. He was well known for like, beating the heck out of people come election time, he would use his fists a lot.

In 1864, the draft was [01:17:00] initiated once more, there were some bushwhackings, but really everything went straight forward. The military was now in complete control of the coal fields there. Uh, the 13 in Philly. They served alongside, like I was saying, the POWs, but they were eventually released after the war.

And one of the great stories that I've ever read, and I hope to God that it's true, uh, John Donlan's wife, he walked the entire, she walked the entire distance from Pennsylvania coal country. Washington D. C. camped outside the White House and spoke directly with President Lincoln to get her husband released.

Uh, supposedly, Lincoln was very nice. He invited her in. They had breakfast. He paid for her. Her train ride home. Uh, from that day forth, Margaret Donlan always kept a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, uh, at like the mantelpiece in her living room and to anyone who would ask, this one was a lifelong Democrat, by the [01:18:00] way, she would say he was the greatest man who ever lived.

And the kindest, I mean, that's just that's just so powerful right there. There's no obvious proof that this happened, but with the way the White House, um, you know, visitation laws were back then, it's very possible that it could have, uh, once you, uh, and. Once you know that, uh, this guy Donlan was actually released by special order of the president, it becomes even, uh, more possible that I think this is true.

Uh, with 1864's end, the Molly Maguires kind of go to sleep for a little bit. They kind of wait until after the war. Uh, because this guy, Charlemagne Towers, resigns, uh, once he leaves and the troops leave, the miners, the mining operators left with, uh, a lot of the troops because they were like, there's going to be violence again.

I'm not, I'm not dealing with this, but that's the end of the civil war era. And that leads [01:19:00] us right into. The late 1860s, the 1870s, and the eventual end of the Molly Maguires as a, at a official capacity. We're going to leave it at that for today. I just want to mention, though, the best thing you can do to help us in this podcast is if you enjoy what you're hearing.

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Title: Unveiling the Molly Maguires: Crime, Corruption, and Conflict

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Description: Dive into the gritty history of organized crime, the tumultuous era of the Molly Maguires, and the repercussions of corruption during civil unrest. Tune in to our latest episode feature Friend of Ours, Joe Pascone of the Turning Tides History Podcast. https://theturningtidespodcast.weebly.com/

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Begin Transcript:

[00:00:00] Welcome to Organized Crime and Punishment, the best spot in town to hang out and talk about history and crime. With your hosts, Steve and Mustache Chris.

Welcome back everybody. Today, I am joined as usual by Mustache Chris. We're blessed to have our, another member of our crew, Joe Pascone. You'll recognize his voice from other episodes, but you'll also recognize his voice as he is the voice of the. Organized crime and punishment commercial. So thank you so much for joining us today, Joe.

[00:01:00] Uh, I guess to come up with a term, forget about it. No problem. Forget about it. Hey. Joe is going to join us today to talk about a really interesting aspect that brings together different shades of law enforcement, different shades of crime and organized crime, and all of this kind of blurs the line between organized crime and crime.

Crime and the legal system, everything sort of gets blurred together. And that is in the story of the Molly Maguires. It might be a topic that people have heard of or heard a little bit of, but maybe don't know a lot about it, but it's a really critical aspect, but it's kind of nestled inside of many aspects of American history.

And let's, I think the best way to get into this is, let's just get right into it. Uh, Joe, what got you interested in thinking about these Molly Maguires? So the Molly Maguires [00:02:00] first came to my attention. I'm doing a massive series currently on the American labor movement, rise of trade unions, labor unions, and they were sort of the first, they're considered the first labor martyrs in American history.

Um, whether they deserve that distinction, we can get into it for sure. They were, their trial, they were railroaded, it was railroaded through, at the end of it, 20 people hung, uh, in, in, in America. Simply because they were a part of this thing called the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Uh, but, so how do you get into this?

How do you talk about something so complicated with so many levels? Uh, especially about an Irish American secret society with labor union and political organizations a part of it and all the rest. The best way to do that, I think, is with a Hindu proverb from, from India, uh, obviously. So, of course, so I got this proverb from the Mark Bullock book, The Sons of [00:03:00] Molly Maguire, The Irish Roots of America's First Labor War.

In it, the Indian king is Faced with calamity, the prime minister comes to him, says, we need to make a decision on, you know, disease, ravaging the land, catastrophe, whatever war doesn't matter. Uh, he says, okay, sure. Fine. But first I need three blind men and an elephant. Uh, so the prime minister is like, okay, I don't really see the point of this, but let's go through with this.

The three blind men and the elephant are brought before the King and the King asked the three blind men. To describe the elephant for him. So one is trying to put one of the blind men is trying to put his arms around the waist of the elephant. And he says, the, the, the elephant's like a barrel. Another one is trying to measure how high, how tall the elephant is.

He says, no, the elephant's like a tree. The last one is feeling the elephant's tusks. And he says, no, you're both wrong. The elephant is like a spear. So just like the Molly Maguire's and the elephant. [00:04:00] They are all of these things and none of them at the same time, uh, bear with me, . So they were in a sense, a barrel because they insulated and protected the Irish community that they were a part of.

They were a tree because they had branches that extended to neighboring communities and, and neighboring Irish, uh, Irish people around them in coal country and in Ireland originally. Uh, and they were like a spear, because they acted, at least in their eyes, on the community's behest. They committed crimes, they robbed people, they murdered, with the quote unquote blessing of the community.

So that's where we should start here. We could start with the Irish roots, and this is one of the main of three characters I like to describe in this story. The first character is Ireland. The next is America, specifically Schuylkill County and the anthracite region. Uh, and the final character is coal itself and the coal [00:05:00] mining trade practice.

Yeah, so it's really interesting when you dig into each of those, it really is the three characters, and it's kind of hard to believe that Cole is a character, but it really is. Cole is such a huge, huge part of the founding of American industry, and the founding of the America as we know it today, the industrial giant that the North became during the Civil War.

is directly related to coal. Uh, in my previous episode, I cover the coal wars in Colorado, which led to the Ludlow massacre, the battle of Ludlow, however you want to look at it. Uh, but in there, uh, Thomas G. Andrews, I believe is the writer's name. He makes a, uh, incredible point. The cowboy might've quote unquote, tamed the West, but the coal miner won the West more than any other profession.

They provided the cowboy with the gun, the bullets, the The knife, the hammer, uh, you know, the tools of his trade without that, uh, America would still be pretty much a desolate place [00:06:00] where a few thousand people are able to survive. But thanks to coal and the advent of steam and things like this, America exploded, not only in population and in migrant labor, but also in, um, you know, power.

But, yeah, to start this story, first place you have to start, I think, is Ireland, because this is where the the Mollie Maguires first pop their head up. And they don't do it in the traditional coal regions. They do it in the borderlands of Ulster. Uh, those who don't know, Ulster is today, or at least most of Ulster is today, Northern Ireland.

Huge tension, division still between, uh, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Uh, one of the main defining features of Ulster is a thing called the Black Pig's Dyke. This is in myth mythology, or in local legend, the Irish believe that a massive black pig created the dyke with its tusks, ramming it through the the earth.

Uh, scientists now think that these, that this dyke is actually a [00:07:00] long gone series of fortifications. It belonged to the Red Branch Warrior Brotherhood, which is a super cool name. Uh, at a, yeah, at a place called the Balinamuk, or it's, it's spelled Ball in a Muk, but I believe it's pronounced Ball in a Muk.

Local legend says that this same pig, he was stopped as he was doing his thing. By, uh, a man, who I guess was angry that he was tearing up his field, threw a rock at him, and it stopped the pig in its tracks. And that's why there's this big defile at around this same area. Ulster was originally founded during a mythological legendary race between the O'Neill clan and a rival clan.

The idea was whoever touched Ulster land first won the entire territory. So O'Neill is racing this guy on a boat. They take off from Northern England or Scotland. He realizes pretty quickly he's going to lose. This guy is making way more ground than he is on his, on his ship. [00:08:00] So does O'Neill do the sensible thing and turn around, say, you know, I'll try and get it again.

Uh, no, he chops off his own hand and he chucks it at the beach of Ulster. It touches land first, he's awarded Ulster, and that's how the flag of Ulster became the Red Hand. That's where that's from. So as the O'Neills first arrive and followed, they are followed by a huge minority population of Scott Irish and Anglo Irish.

The closest thing you can compare it to is colonization. They dominated Ulster specifically on a completely economic level. Uh, this domination didn't mean that people in Southern Ireland or Catholics in Ireland didn't hold to their culture. Unless you're like really familiar with history. I mean, Ireland was really Britain's first colony, right?

And unlike like some of the other colonies, or I say, like use India as an example, like they never really tried to replace. [00:09:00] In like Indians or Indian culture where in Ireland, they, there was an honest to God attempt to just replace the Irish. It didn't work, but it's, um, I just think that's interesting.

It's incredible. And no one talks about it, especially people who are proponents of this idea that British colonization was an overall good for the people it happened to. I don't necessarily buy that. Obviously, they did something for the people there. I'm not saying that's not the case, but the fact that something like Irish river dancing has to exist.

For those who don't know, Irish river dancing is done completely with your hands at your side. Because if you were to dance in the traditional Irish style in British Ireland at this time, you would be considered disturbing this, the peace and you'd be thrown in jail. So this was the kind of authoritarian rule that was going on throughout Ireland.

That's why the same customs had to exist. Uh, Ireland also is just completely fundamentally different from England. The way that people work, the way that [00:10:00] people believe, the way that people, um, exist, I'll give you an example in Fermanagh. Uh, the phrase to join work means to start work because you can never, they believe in Fermanagh that you can never truly start work.

You always have to join it eventually. Uh, the people were controlled in Ireland through a thing called the Conacre system. And there's plenty talked about, about absentee landlord ism in Great Britain at this time. And you can definitely find more information about that in countless other sources. One of the first main times that the Irish people try to stand up for themselves is, well, there's countless uprisings throughout history.

I shouldn't say this is one of the main ones, but this is one of the big rebellions led by a guy named Wolf Cone in 1798, also a really cool name. Uh, Basically, what happened, this was a part of the French Revolutionary War. The French sent a few thousand men to Southern Ireland to help with this rebellion.

Now, the, at the [00:11:00] Battle of Bali and Balinamuk, uh, the French are trounced and they're able to surrender. They're given full military honors, but the Irish are completely devastated. They're just wiped off the field. And this is a quote from the, uh, writing after the fact. Terrorists thousands died shaking side that cannon.

They buried us without shroud or coffin. And in August, the barley grew up out of the grave because the peasants, they would have pieces of barley. In their pocket. I don't know, for food to, to plant later, maybe in total 30 to 50,000 people died. Uh, comparatively. The Doti Mayo, um, the uprising in Madrid that's famously talked about, which was brutally put down by Napoleon, that cost the death of few hundred.

You know, the 300 people were executed. That's horrifying. But 50, 000 is, is, is, is a truly staggering [00:12:00] number. So it makes perfect sense that the original Molly Maguire's, the Irish version of this gang, secret society, whatever you want to call them, uh, were founded around the same area in Kavan and Leitrim.

They were, or they at least believe, in essence, they were these reincarnated spirits of the dead at Balinamuk. Around this same area, if you guys are familiar with the show Game of Thrones, um, this is probably where the character Craster is based on, Craster's Keep. How he had all the daughters as his wives, and he would, uh, give the firstborn males to the White Walkers.

This is based on a place called Magslecht. I don't know if that's the right pronunciation. It's called the Plain of Adoration. Apparently, this legendary Irish king, Tígur na mhás, he would ensure that his fields were, were fertile by sacrificing goats, pigs, and in some cases, the firstborn of all the family.

All the families that lived under his [00:13:00] domain. So this is where that scene in or where that setting in Game of Thrones, I believe, is based on. Um, this, this violence is just more to show that Ireland has had anything but a peaceful history. It's been a very violent place since its founding. And even before the English arrived, there were like Danish Vikings and all kinds of people, hundreds of different.

Kings and kingdoms and petty kings that were all vying for control of this island. Um, one of the big things that the Irish were super against was military conscription. They could not stand military conscription, much like the Sicilians down in Italy. That was the big deal breaker. You were not going to conscript Irish people to go fight.

Other Catholics, usually that was usually a big part of it. Um, in 1798, the same rebellion I've talked about, it was led in part by the defenders, which I'm going to talk about later as a secret, another secret society and the ribbon men, [00:14:00] uh, which grew out of the defenders and in turn, they grew into the or the ancient order of hibernians who were also Molly Maguire's.

Uh, if this is confusing, okay. Don't worry, uh, it's Ireland. In Ireland, Karl Marx famously said that, uh, secret societies grow there like mushrooms in a forest. Steve here. We are a member of the Parthenon Podcast Network, featuring great shows like Richard Lim's This American President and other great shows.

Go to ParthenonPodcast. com to learn more, and here is a quick word from our sponsors. It's interesting, uh, the similarities between Southern, uh, Italy and Ireland in some ways, where, you know, Ireland was an occupied country, give or take, for a good chunk of its his like, modern history. Southern Italy, the same thing, and they both have these [00:15:00] Secret societies basically come out of it as, uh, a reaction to the ruling authorities, right?

You have the ancient order, the, uh, Hibernians. And then in Italy, you have, uh, you know, the various different types of mafias, but probably most famously, famously, uh, La Cosa Nostra, right? Which was a secret society. And with the Hibernians, you have, like, the Mollenreguiers, which are, you And depending on how you read it, it sounds like it was like a secret society within a secret society, or the, uh, the Androngita, right?

The Androngita right now in Calabria is, the Androngita itself is a secret society, but within the Androngita So at least from the information that we have, there's a, like a secret society within that secret society. The Adrogata is usually typically known as like probably the most secretive out of all the, uh, out of all the three big mafias in Southern Italy.

Yeah, I completely agree with you. There are definitely a lot of similarities and I think it goes to show how [00:16:00] universal the strain and the oppression of colonization is to the people that it occurs to. And this is, uh, across the Across the globe. I mean, I know you spoke about India, but there were Indian secret societies that were all about getting rid of the British.

That's how the Indian National Army rose to prominence and gained thousands of members in the 1940s because so many people were fed up with British, uh, civilization and their, uh, oppression and the murder of hundreds and hundreds of of Indian people. Yeah, so it's really interesting. You're, um, you're really painting, uh, uh, painting a canvas of what's going on in Ireland.

Uh, let's start to wrap up what's happening into Ireland and then get into the really fascinating story of how that transitions into America. Sure. So, so the first reports of Molly Maguire ism. Is around the 1840s, the end of 1844, uh, also not coincidentally, I [00:17:00] believe right in tandem to start the potato blight, which killed millions and displaced another million or two.

Uh, and the first murder that they actually committed was on January 29th. 1845, they killed a guy named McLeod, and this was such a well known killing that the Molly Maguires came up with their own song for it, which goes, There was McLeod, so big and proud, I think it fit to mention, to put men in jail and take no bail, it was his whole intention.

So there's the motive for the killing right there. To liberty, as you may see, some persons did inspire, to lay him down, the dirty hound, they say, it was Molly Maguire. Uh, then in later in May, another person walking home, they get murdered. Boom. What did the locals do? They blame it on the local IRS agent, as you do.

Um, then again, June 22nd, another guy gets murdered in Kavon. A [00:18:00] magistrate was killed in Halloween in 1845. July 1845 was the real, the first real public outing of the Molly Maguire movement. This guy was arrested supposedly as a Molly Maguire hitman and he, he defamed the, the movement to the detectives.

Another guy named Philip O'Reilly claims to be a part of this movement and he actually wrote a whole manifesto where it explained the, the group's intentions and, and what their, their, their reasoning was. Behind what they were doing and why they were seeking violence against people who were, in, in their opinion, oppressing them.

So, at the same time, as all this is going on, the potato blight is, is terrible for everyone. I mean, Molly Maguire's are getting affected as much as, uh, as much as anyone else. So they're just as hard up. One of the main, the biggest murder that the MO'S committed in Ireland was against Dennis Mahan. He was a landlord for Bally Kill Klein.

[00:19:00] He forcibly deported 400 Catholic Irish people who were in his town, simply because he wanted to replace them with, with new, with new people, with new men, you know, uh, good Protestant stock, et cetera, et cetera. Uh, when these 400 people were on the way to Liverpool, their boat capsized killing hundreds. So he was deemed responsible for this whole thing.

He was killed on the road. Also, uh, to sort of wrap up this whole thing, Thomas Pakenham, who's actually a distant relative of this guy. Mahan, he says, quote, and he's writing about the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. He says, quote, the British discriminated against them at every level, making them outsiders in their own country.

But the grievance that touched them most widely was the land. So Irish. Irish Molly Maguire ism was all about the land question. It was all about tenant rights, it was all about farmers. It was about, you know, resisting unlawful convictions [00:20:00] or, unlawful convictions or evictions. Uh, so they have to escape.

They need to go somewhere. It's 23 to boat ride from Ireland to America in this day. So millions jump on the boat, on the boat, and they head not only for America, but they go to English cities like Liverpool, Manchester, et cetera, and to new Spanish territory. I do a series on Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico is just filled with Irish, um, Irish people.

Policymakers and lawmakers, but that's really the end of the I, uh, the Irish Molly Maguires. They stay around for a few more years after that, but they never gain the same prominence that they did at the height of the potato famine. They find new life in America, which we'll get into. Yeah, you really see that, uh, you don't get groups like the Molly Maguires if everything's going awesome, but you really, uh, we're, we're [00:21:00] kind of keep setting the stage that the Molly Maguires are really a reaction to what's going on and these secret societies.

Reaction is definitely a great term for it because these people, they weren't like, you know, they weren't like bleeding heart liberals or socialists or something. They were, they were socially very conservative, but they were fighting for the same rights that they felt that they had a right to enjoy.

Same thing in southern Italy, the peasants who were fighting against the national Italian army in southern Italy weren't particularly progressive or anything, but they had state rights that were taken away from them, uh, by an invading force to either their, their detriment or. To their, to their benefit.

Um, but yeah, it's the same, it's the same difference. Personally for modern, like, audiences, I think they kind of really forget that, I mean, regardless of what your politics are, like, nowadays or what have you, like, the labor [00:22:00] movement is It is what it is, right? It's particularly liberal, especially when it comes to, like, social issues and things of that nature.

But if you kind of look at these early labor movements, and I don't know if you would really consider the Molly Maguire's a labor movement. They just saw kind of injustice and decided that they were going to do something about it, uh, for their fellow Irishman. A lot of these people weren't like, they weren't like social liberals.

Like, a lot of these people were like, you know, um, Traditionalist, like, conservatives, like, you know, you get married young, you have a big family, you know, you go to church, you, it's just, I think it's something that a lot of, I don't know, it gets like misconstrued, a lot of these, like, early, uh, labor organizers, you can call them, or, I don't know, labor fighters, there's, I don't know, there's a bunch of different words you could use for them, right?

But a lot of these guys were socially conservative, and I think a lot of, uh, modern, Both conservative and left failed to, [00:23:00] uh, I don't know, to fail to realize that. I think, yeah. They failed to realize it, and they, they failed to appreciate the, the really, you know, the, the roots of, of the whole struggle. The, the, uh, I mean the labor movement back then was strictly Democrat.

It is that now, but. I know a lot of people argue that the parties have changed. I think it's hard to look at a map from 1900, an electoral map from 1900 and today, and say that there hasn't been any change, uh, but I think it's even fairer to say that almost every single decade in American history, the parties have been completely different, or there have been new parties, or they've flip flopped on some issue, or they've jumped on a bandwagon.

This has been the history of America, and especially This early American time when no one knows what the, what's going on. Oh, yeah, we'll get into it a little bit, like, especially like leading up to the Civil War and even during the Civil War, there's all these parties I bet you people have never even heard of, you know, like the, the Know Nothing Party, the Southern Blades.[00:24:00]

Yeah, which is, and the Wagga Wumps. Yeah. Yeah. And if you take a look at like the revolutions of 1848, those were in a way a very, in many ways a left wing, uh, revolutions, but the U S which was. Very conservative in many ways supported a lot of those revolutions because they felt that there was the revolutionary spirit there.

Yeah, and it goes to show that America doesn't really know which way is up. I mean, they'll change positions depending on what's going on throughout history. I mean, at one point, they're saying no new colonizers, and then another time they're invading Haiti 15 different times. Getting into where you've used this term Molly Maguire, was there an actual historical Molly Maguire?

Who is Molly Maguire? Was this a real person? Is this all make them ups? [00:25:00] Uh, so Molly Maguire was a character in Mummery. And we'll get into memory, uh, like right after this, because it's a huge part of the Molly Maguire movement. It's, it's like their modus operandi for, for their killings, at least in the early period.

So, Molly Maguire. was one of these characters. She would call the dead back to life after receiving a donation. In a mummer's play, two people fight, one person dies, you give donations, the person rises from the grave. Um, this goes a little deeper once you understand that an Irish translation to jester is magair.

And Maguire was one of the names of the famous Fermanagh chiefs. So there was a famous set of chieftains who were called Maguire. Uh, it gets even more convoluted once you start to understand that Molly Maguire wasn't always or strictly called Molly. She was originally Mary Ann Maguire. Uh, and they used this name actually until like [00:26:00] the 18, early 1850s when it finally fell out of vogue.

Makes sense. Molly Maguire makes, is a lot better of a name than Molly Ann Maguire in my opinion. Um. Another character in Mummer Plays was called Molly Maskett, so here's another layer to the, to the Mummery thing. And this helps explain, basically, a transcontinental game of telephone that took place. You know the game telephone, you played as a kid, one person said something to another, and then by the end it sounded completely different than what it was originally intended.

That's probably where the term Molly Maguire comes from. But the legendary Molly Maguire was either the mother of two dead Irish patriots who was evicted by, uh, you know, an evil English landlord, uh, or she was a completely deranged, uh, lunatic woman who, who raved that she was the leader of a new Ireland, that she's going to lead these armies and free, free Ireland from British dominion.

Uh, once you [00:27:00] understand something like Celtic myths, Uh, this starts to make more sense that people would can associate themselves with this, uh, insane version of Molly Maguire because in Celtic myth, quote, the country is a woman, the spouse of the king before her marriage. She is a quote, unquote, hag. Or a woman whose mind is deranged.

So these people who are calling themselves Molly Maguires believe that they were literally the sons of Mother Ireland. I mean, in just as many terms. But what's a mummery? I say that word a bunch. I've just mentioned it a few times. So think of Halloween trick or treating. Instead of Halloween trick or treaters, there's grown men who come to your door and they perform a combat play in your living room or in your kitchen.

Uh, this always ended in the death of one of the combatants. And, like I was saying, someone would step forward, ask for a donation of money, food, drink, whatever, and, uh, [00:28:00] from those donations, they would throw an end of the year party. Uh, in these plays, men would dress Uh, in traditionally women's clothing, they would dress in black or white face.

They would wear straw throughout their body, uh, and this is understandable once you understand that mummery comes from the French word, which means to mask oneself, uh, And these mummers usually worked exclusively with the Molly Maguires. Sometimes they were mummers, and the other half of the time they were Molly Maguires.

So there must have been a, uh, a heck of a lot of confusion if you were one of these just like poor farmers and a bunch of people show up at your house. Are they gonna kill me? Or are they gonna, are they gonna, you know, have a, uh, a good old time and I'm gonna give them some money so we can throw a party at the end of the day.

So this became a huge point of contention for the, the Irish, uh, and Irish secret societies. It was [00:29:00] definitely a love hate relationship between the peasants. I, um, I've spent a lot of time in, uh, Northeastern Pennsylvania, where a lot of this stuff will eventually happen and in Philadelphia, and they still do mummers parades in Philadelphia.

We went to the mummers parade in the early 2000s, so not that long ago, and they still did blackface at that time. I think they got rid of it with within a few years of there, but within. Memory, they were still doing that sort of thing. And they had, it wasn't I strictly Irish anymore. There were people of all different backgrounds, but they still did a lot of that stuff.

But memory was a lot more common amongst Irish. I think when they first came over, but it's, and it's condensed a lot now, but it still is going on to this very day. Yeah, just off camera, like, me and you, Steve, like, arguing about, like, how much [00:30:00] paganism is still part of, like, European culture, and, like, I've argued it's like this, it's obviously not a huge part of it now, but it's still there, right?

And I, I've argued that, like, European culture in a lot of ways is this, is this battle between, um, paganism and paganism. The Christianity that came in later, and I mean, and you can see it with this type of ritual, right? Like, there's no, this isn't in Christianity. This is straight out of paganism. And this, these traditions that probably got passed down, you know, and changed over time, but for, you know, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years.

Definitely. And, and mummery was actually one of the few things that translated from England to Ireland. So that, I think, just adds weight to your argument there, Chris. Uh, I agree 100 percent that paganism is still a huge part of Judeo Christian values. I mean, look at how many saints there are. Why are there so many saints if, if there isn't some sort of polytheism?

That's just something I think about a lot. [00:31:00] Uh, but yeah, like you were saying, it was a huge part, uh, like Steve was saying, I mean, It was a huge part of the community, still is, even though a lot of the population, uh, the Irish population was supplanted within like a generation. But it just shows how lasting the old country and the old country scars.

Remain and that how they actually transfer to the new world, mostly because some of the same practices were still going on talk a little bit about the secret societies in Ireland, which will set us up to the how they translate over to the U. S. Okay, everyone strap him. So there were the straw boys. These were, uh, uh, these were usually unmarried men.

They'd show up at your house in the middle of the night, snatch your daughter. Yeah. force her into marriage. Uh, almost always the father was of a higher social strata. So if you were a tenant farmer, this might be your landowner. You snatch your daughter and [00:32:00] now you've got your foot in the door, so to speak.

They were Ren boys. These were, um, these were also unmarried people. Whenever I say boys, by the way, boys in Ireland means unmarried men, just so we're clear. Uh, I'm not talking about a bunch of little children. They'd show to your house. They show up at your house after Christmas, like boxing day. They'd go door to door with dead birds asking for donations.

If you didn't donate, uh, they would bury this dead bird in your front yard, which is very bad luck. I mean, it would ruin your whole family's luck for the whole year. At least that's what people in Ireland believed. Um, one of the first rekindlings of secret societies after the 1798 rebellion was in around 1816, right after the Napoleonic wars.

These guys called Ribbon Men set fire to the Wild Goose Lodge and they roasted alive eight people. Uh, famously some woman was inside and she said, Please let me out, I have nothing to do with this. And the answer from outside was, You didn't heed the [00:33:00] warning in time. And they just watched it burn. Really savage stuff.

These Ribbon Men were mostly nationalistic, very interested in politics, interested in sectarianism. interested in, in, in nationalism, uh, they were most defined by the tassels they wore, the ribbons on their lapels. Uh, they were white boys. They were called the white boys because of the starch white shirts they would wear.

They were more interested in the Uh, land question. They operated mostly in Southern Ireland. They believed in a form of localism. It wasn't exactly socialism. It wasn't exactly right wing populism. It was some sort of mix of the two. It's described in, uh, the book Molly, The Sons of Molly Maguire as a localism.

Everything was about your locality. Your local community was everything. Uh, and one way they would promote local communities is through subtle threats. So a white boy gang would show up at your house. It'd be like [00:34:00] they, they pull you aside, they'd be like, it would be a real shame if, um, you know, you took this grain to market without first selling it to your neighbor at a fair price.

And that would be the, and then they just leave. And that would be the, and you'd have to like, just mull it over if you really want to, you know, risk making a little bit more money, sending your, your grain to international markets or, uh, uh, risk the ire of your entire community. So that's the white boys.

Um, so it explains, again, the transition from white boy to ribbon men to Molly Maguire slash, uh, ancient order of hibernians it throughout this entire period to massive riots and unrest against technology itself. I mean, people are destroying sewing machines in England and stuff. This is where the term Luddite comes from this guy called.

Yeah. legendary guy called Commander Ludd went about the English countryside and destroyed, uh, destroyed milling equipment and, and machinery. [00:35:00] These all usually ended up being against, or at least in Ireland, it ended up being a sort of a undeclared war between Protestant secret societies and Catholic secret societies.

I'm not even going to get into the Protestant secret societies, because it's a whole other A group of names and, and, and, uh, objectives, uh, uh, and it's just, it would just be here forever. But that's how, um, the secret societies sort of molded in Ireland. And they did so at a, as a direct response to the problems going on in their countryside.

I mean, beyond just the potato blight. Elections were, were incredibly violent. Every single election in Ireland was just devolved into rioting. And, you know, countless died just trying to go vote. It was a really intense situation. So it made all the more sense to leave that place and to leave. So in, in such vast numbers that.

Is Ireland still recovered, [00:36:00] ever recovered from the potato blight yet? Have they reached the pre blight population? I don't think so. No, I don't even think it's close. Yeah, it's like millions away still. So, I mean, that just goes to show how absolutely devastating. The potato blight was for this, for this, uh, island.

No, I think there's like only a couple of examples or I think there's more Irish, like more Irish live outside of Ireland than actually in Ireland. I think Jamaica, Jamaicans is another one. Those are two off the top of my head, but I can't really think of too many other ethnicities where that's the case.

Yeah, it was, it was a serious, I mean, Uh, some people have used the word genocide. I, I think that that's, if that's not fair, then it's, it's, it's right up against the line. I mean, it was, uh, and it's not like they were intentionally trying to starve people. It was, you know, uncaring, unfeeling government led to this massive atrocity, but one of the few things that actually ended up, uh, you know, one [00:37:00] thing that stayed the same was the, the coal mines.

Yeah. Coal is, is plentifully found in both Ireland and Pennsylvania. So it made a perfect sort of transition to people who are coal miners or people who experienced mining culture, uh, when they moved to the anthracite region of Pennsylvania. Yeah, isn't it? Um, I'll steal, we're going to talk about coal and I'll steal a little bit of your thunder, Joe, uh, Pennsylvania, that region of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

I don't think it's too far to go to say it has beautiful coal. It's almost, it's a, it's pure. It's one of the, I think, yeah. Best call in the entire world. And as a matter of fact, we're, uh, we'll get into this, but, uh, there's a chunk of call. I have a picture of my kids in front of it and their friends.

There's a piece of 1 piece of call in 1 of these towns. That's the size of our F 1 50 [00:38:00] pickup truck. And it's just yeah. It's pure, perfect coal, and that's what they were, that's what they were there for. Yeah, I've seen it where, um, some of the colleges, they make, like, complete, uh, like, football trophies out of coal.

Uh, a lot of these, uh, state colleges in, in this part of Pennsylvania, I've seen a few pictures like that, and they're just gorgeous. And coal is a really incredible material and rock. They're still mining it to this day. Are they not? Um, I'm not sure if they're mining it in the anthracite region anymore.

They might still be, uh, here and there. Definitely not at the same scale. Most of the mining in America is done in, in West Virginia now, I believe. But so what is coal? I mean, uh, we use, uh, people have used coal for thousands of years, the earliest. mention of coal is the ancient Chinese in like 3000 BC or something.

So this has not been some like new revelation only with the [00:39:00] advent of steam did it really gain traction and popularity. But coal is a decomposed plant matter. It's that has been denied any form of sunlight. Therefore, it can't break down properly. Um, this is usually found in places that used to be. Huge giant marshes, for example, along the Allegheny's.

In modern day, Pennsylvania, in Colorado, the huge seams of anthracite coal, uh, that used to be an entire gigantic swamp land. Um, so what kind of coal is there? There's. Several different kinds. There's lignite and jet, which is a derivative of lignite. Lignite is the poorest quality coal you can find. It's called the brown coal.

Jet is a gemstone that's derivative of this, uh, of this coal. Mesoamericans, they made absolutely exquisite artwork with this stuff. I mean, ancient Aztecs, they would make beautiful, um, like, uh, eagle head [00:40:00] with, uh, jet. If you know the term jet black, that's where this, that's where this comes from. Yeah. Yeah.

You never think about that. I've never thought one second where the term jet black comes from. I just always assumed what it just meant that, but it comes from jet. Next is bituminous, subbituminous coal. This is like the middling quality coal. It's called soft coal sometimes. They use this in coke fuel.

That's the big thing that this stuff is used in. This is done, any sort of smithing work, uh, ever has used coke fuel. That is probably derivative. From, uh, the, the bituminous and sub bituminous coal anthracite mentioned the word a lot. This is the, this is the grand poobah of all the coal. It's called hard coal.

It's sometimes called kill Kenny coal because of where it's found in Ireland. It burns the longest and the hottest and it's definitely the most valuable. Uh, anthracites usually found it's found all over the place. [00:41:00] Today. Yeah. China, it like outpaces every other country combined, basically. If you look at a map of Chinese coal mining, it's absolutely ludicrous to see it because it's like looking at like U.

  1. defense spending or something. It's like, well, what? Like, um, so how do these mines work? There are a bunch of different ways you can mine. Um, The most famous way, at least during this period, the most traditional ways called the room and pillar mining, uh, room and pillar, as it, uh, says is all about having a single room.

1 or 2 miners would work in it. There'd be broad avenues and streets connecting each of these rooms. It's like a city, uh. And they'd work in these mines to for hours at a time. Uh, usually they'd make their own hours. They'd have equipment. This was very individualistic kind of work. Um, another form is long wall mining.

Long wall mining, as it [00:42:00] implies, is done against a single long wall with multiple people working on it. at once. It sort of behooved you to be on shift every single day. If you missed a single day in longwall mining, you would screw not yourself, but also all the people who work beside you, because they'll be getting a lesser amount of coal.

So in spite of the individualism that was festered through longwall mining, uh, miners found camaraderie right away. Considering they're the only other living things under the earth, besides the few animals they work with, uh, camaraderie was essential. I mean, a single mistake, single careless mistake or issue could completely kill everybody in the mine, uh, and it could do so very easily.

Uh, mutual aid was like Absolute necessity in all kinds of minds and the experienced miners, the, the, the most, uh, uh, longest working miners, they would always [00:43:00] be the 1st, the line of, uh, the responders, they would be the 1st ones there. If there was ever a mind disaster. And they would work ferociously to try and save anybody that they could.

So skin color, ethnicity, religious views, political views, they did not matter one bit in the mines. Once you got out of the mine and you went to the saloon, all bets were off. Then, okay, that might matter. When you worked underground, it was a complete brotherhood of men who worked side by side for the betterment of each other and for the safety of each other.

Uh, there's plenty of issues. They had to deal with plenty of, plenty of problems. Obviously it's, uh, one of the main ones were any number of gases that could be released. So there's stink damp. This smells like rotten eggs. It's hydrogen sulfide. This could be overpowering. You could imagine that it could if you were alone in a room and you were just bombarded with the smell of rotten eggs and you had no ventilation.[00:44:00]

You would probably become sick pretty quickly. Then there was black damp. This was named because the, the, the flames that they would have to light their way would flicker black. So they would call it black damp. This was a buildup of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide chokes the oxygen. Out of any room it's in, so this could cause, uh, asphyxiation and you could die.

The worst one out of all of these, all the ones I'm going to talk about is after death. So this is carbon monoxide and coal dust. Absolutely, like, uh, uh, blown together. The carbon monoxide killed most people during any sort of explosion. This explosion was caused by fire damp, which is the buildup of methane in between the literal coal seams.

Uh, and this, once a single spark hit this stuff, it would just blow everything sky high. The worst, uh, mining disaster in American history was in West Virginia, around [00:45:00] 360 people died. Most of them were asphyxiated, but the worst one in world history happened at the height of World War II in Chinese occupied, or in Japanese occupied China, something like 1500 miners suffocated to death after Japanese, uh, soldiers who were running the mine and using these Chinese people as basically slaves, uh, they, they shut off the, they shut off all the exits to the mine, which probably asphyxiated most of them.

I mean, the explosion probably caused, way fewer casualties than the actual asphyxiation following the, the blockading of the mine, which is pretty horrifying. Um, but yeah, I, I, just for a personal story, my own great uncle, he worked for years in the sulfur mines of Sicily. For those who don't know, Sicily sulfur mines produced maybe half of the world's sulfur for a good part of the, you know, [00:46:00] early centuries.

Uh, he was crushed to death, uh, by a rock. And the person, uh, Mark Bullock, the guy who wrote the book, The Sons of Molly Maguire, his great grandpa, who he never met, was impaled by a stalactite when he was 13. So this was not work for the faint of heart. I mean, I couldn't imagine a worse place to work in my life.

I, maybe that's just like familial trauma. Yeah, and I mean, even nowadays that there's a lot more health and safety standards and it still, for a lack of a better word, sucks to work in a mine. Like, I can even speak for myself, like, my personal, like, I do a lot of For my for work, I do, uh, it's like physical labor, right?

And even with all safety mechanisms in place and stuff like that, you know, I just look around sometimes and be like, Oh, there's probably 100 things here that could kill me. If something goes wrong, it probably wouldn't happen. But it's, you know, it's only magnified when you're on top of it were. In these minds, I think it's very [00:47:00] difficult for modern people to really understand just how like ridiculously dangerous these places were.

And you mentioned you mentioned your great grandfather was sulfur. He worked on a sulfur mine, right? Yeah. Yeah. I was going to say to the audience, uh, just, um. Look at pictures of sulfur mines, uh, on, just typing it on Google, you'd be, uh, shocked just how, uh, beautiful they look. They smell terrible, but, you know, from a distance, they look beautiful.

Yeah, I, I mean, it was a, and like Steve was saying, coal is, is beautiful. I, if you look at, uh, a chunk of coal, it's an absolutely gorgeous rock. Same thing with sulfur, but sulfur was even deadlier because sulfur could burn. So I imagine there were very few flames alive down in those mines in Sicily. You were working in the virtual dark.

That must have been truly horrifying. Especially if you were one of these little kids, like you were a breaker boy or something who [00:48:00] went through the coal and the shale and you had to keep, they showed this in the Molly Maguire movement, the movie, the kids had to keep moving their feet or else it would get sucked under by the conveyor belt and they would lose their legs.

This was a, just a regular thing that they just had to adjust to. You don't think about having to do something like that, but this is something that children had to do. And, and, once you graduated from there, you became a driver. So you drove mules. And mules, for their reputation, are incredibly stubborn animals.

They could bite you, and kick you, and, and easily kill a human being. Especially a human being who's only 15 years old.

Steve here again with a quick word from our sponsors. As we move forward, we're, uh, we have to kind of step out of the, uh, Irish for a minute and start to set up the civil war because that's, that's, [00:49:00] uh, coming and that's going to really, uh, impact this whole story of the Molly Maguires, because you can see where all these things are starting to come, coal is the, uh, essentially the lifeblood, uh, Of, uh, industry at that time.

And Cole's got to come out of the ground in some way. And you're, you have the Irish who are the ones who are pulling it out of the ground, and then you have the civil war who, in a lot of ways, the Irish are going to be, uh, one of the, almost the backbone of these armies. So in a fight, that's almost not their own.

How does that all start to come together? So it comes together. Before America is even a country, before America is even a country, hundreds of thousands of Protestant Ulster men, uh, depart for Pennsylvania. Now, in Pennsylvania, they were a part of the militant backbone for Pontiac's War, Pontiac's Rebellion, which is a pre [00:50:00] revolutionary war, rebellion of native peoples.

Uh, and they, they came because They needed, they were so talented at putting down native rebellions, but in this case, they put down Irish native rebellions. They didn't put down native of American rebellions. Uh, they came at the behest of this guy named Benjamin Bannon. He was sort of this, like, overlord of the whole area.

He ran a newspaper. Uh, so we had massive influence there. Um, he was also made 1 of the draft, um. The draft commissioners for the entire area, and he would bring tens of thousands of Irish Catholics into Pennsylvania only to hate them once they arrived need for the Irish Catholics. They must have felt like, oh, my God, this is more of the same.

We showed up in this new country. And we're still being lorded over by Protestants from Ulster. This is really, this is really something else. Uh, one of the, [00:51:00] and alongside him, there's a guy named Franklin Gowen. He comes into the story in the 1870s. He was raised a hardcore Democrat. And, uh, basically he was, um, he was to go to the, he was, he was supposed to be drafted, but he paid 300 for his replacement.

Uh, his father was an incredibly religiously, uh, liberal man, so much so that he had his son taught in a Catholic school in Maryland. So, uh, this put a, a check in his box toward the Irish community, the, and in, in time he would end up being elected. Uh, and, and seen as like a community sort of organizer, he would do it in such a way that would end up in his monopolization of the entire, uh, railroad and coal industry of the area.

Uh, the 1st mention of the Molly Maguires happens in around the 1850s and they come in [00:52:00] tandem with these things called the fantasticals. The Fantasticals were this uber racist group of Irish, uh, ne'er do wells. I mean, they would get rip roaring drunk and have, like, faux parades in the middle of town.

They called themselves, one group called themselves the Santa Ana Lifeguard, and their slogan was, oh, get out. They were named after the, the, the victor of, of the Alamo, uh, of General Santa Ana, the dictator and general in Mexico. Uh, another crew called themselves the Crowboys after Jim Crow, so this adds a whole new level.

Now there's the race element. People in Ireland probably didn't have to confront back home, and they were responsible for many a race riot in, throughout Pennsylvania, but in Philadelphia especially. The first reports of the Mollies came in the late 1850s. These might have been sensationalized, uh, [00:53:00] but their public face was, like I said, the ancient order of Hibernians.

This is a benevolent society. They would provide foodstuffs, money, etc. for injured or hurt Irishmen on the job. Not exactly a union, not exactly a secret society, completely legal, uh, for the most part, save for the subsect of super militant Molly Maguire's and their movement. By 1860, uh, about 70 percent of the workers in the mines were Irish.

So you have a complete, almost a homogeneous, uh, uh, movement that's being insulated underground, that's being fed. Uh, it's being fed, uh, you know, terrible, terrible suffering through like the company shop system, the company housing system, uh, all these things that led to an intense amount of distrust between miners and their operators.

And I think for obvious reasons, once you start to understand how terrifying the. [00:54:00] The company store system was, well, I was going to say, I kind of use like a modern example is, uh, you hear these stories about Amazon building these giant factories that are going to be having like apartments above the factories, uh, and, uh, and no, but in the States for a long.

For a good chunk of it's, well, I wouldn't say like a big chunk, but there's a period there, especially like around the robber baron time, which is kind of, it's not exactly at this time period, but it's leading up to it where a lot of these workers like lived in towns that the companies themselves would build.

And, you know, it had grocery stores and everything, but people go, Oh, that's convenient. But it. It's a scary situation to be in where you're completely dependent upon a company that's not elected, obviously, right? And it's ran by, for the most part, one individual and simply, like, if you, I don't know, make a fuss about, say, a cut back in pay or [00:55:00] anything of that nature, you know, you're cut off and then where do you go?

This is how much of a lot of these early industries ran in the States. I don't think, you know, unless you're a little bit familiar with the subject. I don't I don't think most people really understand that. Yeah. And just to just to give an example of how horrifying this system was. This is from the 1840s, so in case anyone was thinking this was just the product of the Civil War, it wasn't.

This was happening in the area for years and years beforehand. So, quote, A wife or child may be very sick, and the storekeeper has no medicine. A physician may be required, who cannot be paid in store goods, and cannot be expected to attend without being paid. The storekeeper may have no flour, no meat, no butter, and if he has, he may refuse to let the workman have either of them on the order, for these are cash articles.

The poor man must take what there is, at such prices [00:56:00] as the merchant shall dictate. The result of all this is that the poor man has found himself in debt to his employer. to a large amount. Unquote. Another one, this is uh, this was like a poem written during the time. All I drew for the year was a dollar or three.

Those company store thieves made a pauper of me. And this was the daily life of, of people now. And like you were saying, if you, if you raise a fuss, if you try to start a union, which was called a combination back then, or a conspiracy back then, you would be, you would be not only fired, you'd be blacklisted from the entire trade.

You'd be evicted from your home. You'd be left literally penniless. You'd have the clothes on your back. If that, I mean, uh, for an example of another, uh, really crazy example is the Pullman town, uh, in like a generation after this George Pullman would charge for like the blinds, he would charge you for an extra window.[00:57:00]

He charged you for the good door knocker. He charged you for. You know, uh, it was a furniture. He charged you if you were on like a higher floor than someone else, and this would all come out in your pay at the end of the month, and this guy's making hand over foot millions and millions of dollars adjusted for inflation.

It's it's hundreds of millions of dollars. And this was just the norm, and this was taken from Britain. Uh, Americans like to think that we don't take a lot of things except maybe our language from Great Britain, but our whole attitude toward labor unions and things like that were, were completely based on British law.

And some of the first, uh, pro labor movements were saying, we aren't, we aren't oppressed by the British anymore, we're Americans. This is not how things work here. And this is where it was couched. And this is how something like the Molly Maguires can rear their, their head and, and do so very effectively.

Uh, all they needed was the spark. And you [00:58:00] can see how insipid that becomes where it maybe starts off, maybe or maybe not, but the company town starts off with the best of intentions that it really is to provide housing because the mine is way out away from a place that might not have a town and you start building it from there, but then it just.

It slowly like an, uh, like an octopus grows into every single aspect of a person's life. And I think today, like Chris mentioned, where Amazon's building housing and like almost recreating the, the company towns, a system, uh, the, it's not even just the private sector is doing it here in Austin, the city school district.

Is building housing because for the teachers, because the housing prices are so, uh, out of control, but you can see how like that could, how you don't even have to [00:59:00] imagine how that can turn out. Oh, well, you know, you're living in our, uh, apartment now, or you're living in our house. So you're going to work a couple extra hours a week to pay for that.

I mean, we're giving you a house and a, you know, for almost nothing compared to what market prices are. It totally skews the whole employee employer relationship. Yeah, and exactly like you were saying, this relationship is supposed to be time honored. I mean, the whole idea and the whole argument against labor unions is that they breach liberty of contract, not understanding that liberty of contract should apply to individuals making a contract together.

I mean, obviously you work at a small business. That there's no need for a labor union because the liberty of contract still exists. There's one person agreeing with another person on X amount of dollars, and that's that. But when it becomes giant conglomerates who, who, you know, the, the, the [01:00:00] health of the, the national economy is on the line, it becomes completely skewed.

And, and the authority and the power dynamics are completely off. You cannot expect some sort of equal treatment across the board for For, you know, the same thing. And, and there were, you know, there were people who owned mines who were, uh, genuinely, they genuinely cared about their workers. I'm not saying that's not the case.

But they lived in a system where exploitation was the norm. And when exploitation is the norm, that's all you really are accustomed to. You don't want to rock the boat. You don't want to, you don't want to give way to something that you consider revolutionary, like a trade union. Uh, which, uh, must've been really wild and it was, uh, incredibly brutal, the reaction to trade unionism throughout this whole era.

Yeah, because it's, it's that push and that pull of the, the corporations, which in a large part have the government behind them, [01:01:00] have pulled things in such a one way and to try and pull it back the other way with the trade unions, of course, there's going to be a huge amount of conflict. You almost, you, you couldn't, it would be outrageous to think that there wouldn't be conflict.

Mm hmm. Yeah, and, and, and most operators felt that way. They were completely divorced from reality and, and the reality that their workers were, were living through. They thought that they were being paid plenty. I mean, yeah, you have to get your rent taken out in the, in the, at, at, from your check at the end of the month.

You're getting paid a very reasonable price for the work you're doing. That's the argument at least. And in reality, I mean, people ended up owing their employers. Like I was saying, uh, people ended up going hungry. People ended up starving. People ended up being evicted if they didn't agree with whatever policy the, the, the, their boss put in place.

Uh. This all really sparked with the civil war, the civil [01:02:00] war created a labor shortage and with the massive influx of Irish migrants willing to work for a little bit less, uh, companies exploited it to the nines. They would. employ Irish people specifically because of their ability to work for less or their, their, their, um, you know, they didn't have a problem with it.

Uh, with the boom of Northern industry, this fed the workers movements. The workers movements in fed, in turn, fed labor unrest. So, almost at the start of the, the, the Civil War, 1862, there's a big strike in the coal mines. Um, almost a, a gunfight erupts between the two sides, but, you know, cooler heads prevail, et cetera, et cetera.

Bannon, uh, our old friend Bannon, he writes in the newspapers, this was because of confederates and traitors. Contrary to what Bannon was saying, the, the people of Schuylkill County volunteered en masse for the Civil War. There was [01:03:00] not a, I mean, it's very hard to convince anyone that they were literally traders when you look at the numbers.

I mean, way more than in, in other counties across the country where it's supposed to be like a Republican majority, you know, keep the union the way it is, et cetera, et cetera. Uh, so they had a massive, massive, um, uh, recruitment in this area, but that wasn't enough for The people who are running the country, they saw this as a largely democratic, uh, traitorous area.

So they pass the militia act a year later, they pass the enlistment act. This suspends habeas corpus thousands of Democrats who are deemed disloyal were thrown in jail, no charges, nothing, no, no right to legal counsel, et cetera, et cetera. Uh, Bannon is made the draft commissioner. He's going to use the draft to target Democrats specifically.

Uh, because at this time, soldiers were not actually given the vote. If you were, uh, if you returned from duty, I believe you were able to vote. And I know [01:04:00] Lincoln and the Democrat, or Lincoln and the Republicans exploited this during election time, they would send whole units back to back home. So they would vote Republican.

Uh, and I think it actually flipped Kentucky for, for Lincoln during the 1864 election. So he's, he's sweeping through the coal mines, he's, he's got this guy called Charlemagne Towers, awesome name, terrible person, uh, to lead the whole roundup, and he basically, this guy Towers, he hands in whole employment lists, and he says draft all these guys.

Not wondering are these people still working here? Are they dead? You know, uh, do they live in a different county or a different state? Are they a foreign citizen? Because this was the case too. A lot of these people were Irish nationals. So each of these Irish people that tries to get drafted, they go to the British constabulary.

Or they go to the British embassy and many, uh, diplomatic incidents break out every single [01:05:00] time this happens, but it doesn't matter. Uh, he just sort of, uh, deals with it in stride. Uh, the first killing of the Molly Maguires comes on January 2nd, 1863. There were rumors and, and, and shouts of Molly Maguire in the streets the year previous, but no serious violence.

It only really started the day. After New Year's here, the victim was James Berg. This guy was, uh, a union veteran. So far from Molly's targeting, you know, mine operators or the bosses or, you know, middlemen, they're targeting people who they consider. To be not Irish anymore. These people are traitors to the Irish cause because they fought for Lincoln's army, who's a tyrant in their eyes.

So he shot, uh, then 40 men attacked this guy, James McDonald's home. He hid in the, he hid in a mine shaft, but his wife was terrorized for hours and threatened to be shot and said that his, his husband, her husband was marked for death. And then two [01:06:00] days later. On the road, uh, two other union men were, were attacked.

When I say union men, I mean for the union, they were pro union sympathizers. One was a militia man. The other was an ardent Republican. So these people are being attacked because of what they believe. It's a very. interesting and, and, and not talked about part, I think of the Molly Maguire movement, because it's very hard to, uh, to turn these guys into, to, to good people when they're, you know, attacking, uh, army veterans in the night and, and murdering them.

So this part is definitely super, super questionable. I mean, I don't understand. Where this would even begin, I stand obvious had serious problems with, you know, the union and the way they were being repressed. And this comes to fruition when once troops start showing up and start seriously, um, infringing on the, on the rights of these people.

So, [01:07:00] in June, or sorry, in the middle of July, 1863 is the New York City draft riots. These are depicted in the gangs in New York movie by Martin Scorsese. Uh, they were distinctly racial and they were distinctly anti-Republican. This, the, these were, these people would've been considered mollies if they did this in Pennsylvania.

Uh, probably so in the anthracite, supposedly there's 15,000 armed mollies and minors waiting for like Lee's army to invade a game so they can join up. Uh, this guy gets robbed, the sergeant, uh, he gets robbed, this guy, General Whipple comes in, he holds seven men as hostages. You'd hold hostages. The fact that he held the hostages in a northern state that was fighting for the Union was pretty, uh, provocative.

Uh, and in the end, they just ended up overhauling the population throughout 1863 and the drafts went off pretty much without a hitch. Whenever you talk about this whole episode and this whole [01:08:00] aspect of the Civil War, I think it blows people's minds. I know it blew my mind. Like, Abraham Lincoln is not the sainted figure that he's turned into.

He Was a political animal and he understood politics and he did some pretty bruising politics. I think you almost sell him short by just turning him into the sainted Abe Lincoln. And you ignore that the things that he did for better or for worse to keep the union together. Oh yeah, a hundred percent. He was a decisive.

Cold and calculating man, but you can be that and also be a caring, loving, you know, father and and all around honest person and genuinely decent president. I mean, you can be all these things at once because he was just a human being. I think a lot of thing that a part that gets lost to in [01:09:00] that whole conflict that you just described is a lot of these like really hardcore Republicans slash like emancipationists at the time and you can even just reading about how kind of bizarre some of these people were like even at the time they must have been like really bizarre like these people were like by every definition of the word like Radicals, um, and, you know, as we know, with most politics, most people kind of fall in the middle or somewhat moderate.

Right? So people get this impression that, like, um, the, like, the northern states were, like, gung ho, like, Republican, and it's just not really the case. There were still a lot of Democrats, and there were still a lot of Democrats that Opposed the war throughout the entirety of it. They called them copperheads.

Uh, Republican sympathizers did, but it's not necessarily like these people were like bad people were traitors. They just, they didn't see that this war was entirely necessary. [01:10:00] Yeah, I, I think that was definitely a huge part of it. I mean, even in, with these, with these guys, the Molly McGuires, they wanted the union as it was in the constitution as it was, they wanted no radical change.

Like you were saying, the Republicans for their time and, and for the place and the ideas they held, they were the radicals. I'm not sure if either of you have heard of Harry Turtledove. He's a famous, uh, alt history writer. Oh yeah, I've read his stuff, yeah. Yeah, but he basically, in his books, uh, Lincoln becomes the head of the Socialist Party of America, the first socialist party.

And he ends up challenging, like, Teddy Roosevelt, who's this hard right, uh, you know, friends with the, the central, uh, central allies in World War I character now. I think in a lot of ways, uh, that, that view is, is not unjustifiable. If you look at some of the things Lincoln said, they would be radical today.

I mean, the things he talked about [01:11:00] with labor, things he talked about with unions, he said some pretty wild stuff. He was one of the, I mean, he's probably, The first and maybe the last president to acknowledge that the, the main source of capital is actually labor. Labor creates the capital. He was, he was one of the first people to, to say that.

And Karl Marx loved him. He loved, he loved him to Maeve Lincoln. Well, yeah, to me, that's what makes Lincoln really interesting. Everyone kind of focuses on The wrong, I don't, I want to say the wrong things, but if you look at what the Republican party was trying to do in terms of modernizing America and like their general outlook on how the economy should work, it's, it, I don't think people really get, um, in a lot of ways, like they were trying to create an autocrity, um, believe I pronounced that name correctly, where like America would be self sufficient.

To not having to be dependent on European nations or other nations for, um, its economy. And they [01:12:00] generally, they did accomplish that, you know, they were, you know, big on tariffs. They weren't like free trade people are, which is almost the exact opposite of what goes on. Well, I mean, maybe it's a little bit different now, but for the longest time, the Republican party.

You know, in our lifetime, and especially for young people, it's been like the Free Trade Party. But if you look at Lincoln's, uh, Republican Party, they had a very, uh, different view of how the economy should run in the country, for better or worse. But I tend to agree with what Lincoln said a lot in terms of how the economy should run.

Yeah, I agree with the two. I think, I mean, this is a whole other conversation, but I agree with protectionism. That's probably, that's one of like the two things that Trump did while he was in office that I actually, I actually supported. I was like, oh, okay. Um. So, yeah, to take it back to the 1860s here, uh, the middle, it's the middle of the Civil War for a really long time.

The Molly Maguire's [01:13:00] kind of go quiet throughout the summer, early fall. They kind of do anything. I think this has a lot to do with the. The, the practice of memory because they would strike it around the same time and mummers usually participated in their plays around the Christmas season. So, around this time, everyone has a little bit more free time.

They're not growing, you know, their or their barley or anything. Uh, they have a minute, uh, you know, go shoot a few mind bosses. So, uh, in late October, uh, or sorry, October 10th. This guy, Patrick Shannon, he's beaten within an inch of his life at home. He can barely use his legs ever again. Uh, same night, three other people are attacked.

So right out of the way, bang, there's, there's a whole bunch of attacks right away. A few days before Halloween, officially, the, the troops called the Invalid Corps, these were, uh, uh, this was a group of, um, soldiers who were injured and they couldn't serve on the front lines anymore, but they were used, [01:14:00] uh, in this case for labor suppression.

So they arrived to demand conscripts. So when they showed up, they were expecting 183 people to be ready outside the courthouse, you know, to receive their uniforms, et cetera, et cetera. A grand total of three people show up. So the next day, the, the cavalry clears the street of Jeansville and they, they saber, uh, a buckshot and the buckshots were another name for the Molly Maguire's, um, This guy E.

Greenlau Scott, he was a lawyer. He, he penned an, uh, a really angry letter to Abraham Lincoln. And in it, he, he includes the following exchange. He's talking to a lieutenant. The lieutenant says, we slashed four or five this morning. And he goes, slashed? What's that? The lieutenant responds, why we cut them with sabers.

Uh, Greenlau says, did they resist? Lieutenant finishes, no, but they might've been. You can't trust these fellows. And [01:15:00] from there, uh, they actually almost run down and, and murder like a 16 year old boy. He goes on to describe that. And then early in November, uh, Yorktown was served its draft notices. Um, after they were served their notices, this town, uh, the unit went to George K.

Smith's company store. And then they left. They left them high and dry. Like, you're gonna be fine. Uh, little did they know, a few nights before, They knew that this guy Smith was working with the army, so they pass a secret resolution to kill him, the Molly Maguires do, in the swamps. So this must have been a very intense meeting in the, in the swamps at the dead of night, deciding to kill a man.

And so, on November 5th, uh, George K. Smith has his house broken into by 20 odd people. They're all in blackface or they're wearing whiskers, and he gets, he gets shot one time in the head. And everyone runs as fast as they can out of the place, yelling and hollering. So this was actually [01:16:00] the first mine official, but this was, this was going to be the start of a long line of mine officials who were killed.

So, um, as a way of, of retribution toward this, uh, killing. The army shows up again. They arrest 70 people. Uh, all of them were community leaders. They were union leaders, uh, well known workers of the area. Uh, most of the charges were in fact dropped, but almost, but 13 of them were indicted for any number of things, disloyalty, treason, et cetera, et cetera.

And they were held incommunicado. Uh, alongside thousands of of confederate prisons of prisoners of war in, um, in northern Pennsylvania. So, among them was Peter Dylan. He was, like, the most well known labor organizer of this whole era and in this, uh, uh, specific place. He was well known for like, beating the heck out of people come election time, he would use his fists a lot.

In 1864, the draft was [01:17:00] initiated once more, there were some bushwhackings, but really everything went straight forward. The military was now in complete control of the coal fields there. Uh, the 13 in Philly. They served alongside, like I was saying, the POWs, but they were eventually released after the war.

And one of the great stories that I've ever read, and I hope to God that it's true, uh, John Donlan's wife, he walked the entire, she walked the entire distance from Pennsylvania coal country. Washington D. C. camped outside the White House and spoke directly with President Lincoln to get her husband released.

Uh, supposedly, Lincoln was very nice. He invited her in. They had breakfast. He paid for her. Her train ride home. Uh, from that day forth, Margaret Donlan always kept a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, uh, at like the mantelpiece in her living room and to anyone who would ask, this one was a lifelong Democrat, by the [01:18:00] way, she would say he was the greatest man who ever lived.

And the kindest, I mean, that's just that's just so powerful right there. There's no obvious proof that this happened, but with the way the White House, um, you know, visitation laws were back then, it's very possible that it could have, uh, once you, uh, and. Once you know that, uh, this guy Donlan was actually released by special order of the president, it becomes even, uh, more possible that I think this is true.

Uh, with 1864's end, the Molly Maguires kind of go to sleep for a little bit. They kind of wait until after the war. Uh, because this guy, Charlemagne Towers, resigns, uh, once he leaves and the troops leave, the miners, the mining operators left with, uh, a lot of the troops because they were like, there's going to be violence again.

I'm not, I'm not dealing with this, but that's the end of the civil war era. And that leads [01:19:00] us right into. The late 1860s, the 1870s, and the eventual end of the Molly Maguires as a, at a official capacity. We're going to leave it at that for today. I just want to mention, though, the best thing you can do to help us in this podcast is if you enjoy what you're hearing.

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