With Our Sincere and Humble Apologies to the Ghosts of The Molly Maguires

The Old Jail Museum in Jim Thorpe, PA. The site of the 1877 Molly Maguire Executions.

The Old Jail Museum in Jim Thorpe, PA

“How long can men thrive between walls of brick, walking on asphalt pavements, breathing the fumes of coal and oil, growing, working, dying, with hardly a thought of wind, and sky, and fields of grain, seeing only machine-made beauty, the mineral-like quality of life?”   Charles Lindbergh

In the course of his recent Rose Garden rant and truculent travelogue, the President eluded to the opening of a new coal mine located somewhere between Paris and Pittsburgh. It turns out that somewhere is the small town of Boswell, PA. This community owes its very existence to the black bituminous rock that lies beneath the quaint brick homes and shops built by the Merchant’s Coal Company during the first few years of the twentieth century.  And soon, 70 more intrepid souls will join the ranks of  those that have braved the bowels of the earth in order to fuel America’s energy and industrial needs.

My own  knowledge of the collier’s plight has been mostly gleaned from conversations with old timers at the Molly Maguires Pub in Jim Thorpe, PA. Here there were plenty of tales about that secret society for which the pub is named.These sons and grandsons of  Irish immigrants spoke of a life that was as hard as the anthracite that was pulled from the clutches of those eastern coal seams. In order to keep their families fed, these early miners tolerated what amounted to an indentured enslavement to the bosses and the company town.

In this part of Pennsylvania, the role of the Devil incarnate was aptly filled by Franklin Gowen, the president of the Philadelphia and Reading Coal & Iron Company. With the assistance of his hired henchmen from the Pinkerton Detective Agency, Gowen waged a war against those who attempted to organize labor in the coalfields–creating a living hell both on and below earth. Eventually, this reign of terror and the violent response by the miners would bring about a series of questionable arrests and trials that would send ten men to the gallows in 1877 and ten more in the following year. Among the latter was John “Black Jack” Kehoe, a well-respected constable and tavern owner who had provided aid to the miners and their families, and who had also become the outspoken voice for worker’s rights.

Such has been the story of coal throughout our history–a double-edged sword yielding great success for some and greater suffering for others. Current data suggests that 80,000 deaths per year in the United States can be directly attributed to airborne chemical and particulate pollution, with emissions from coal-fired power plants being a significant source of the problem. While the majority of these plants are located in the Midwest, the pollution is not contained within state borders. The mercury emitted from these plants ultimately will find its way into the human food chain as waterways and livestock become contaminated.

The threat globally is even greater. Studies conducted by the World Health Organization estimate that between 4-5 million people will die annually because of polluted air, and nearly 35 percent of those deaths will be infants or young children. And once again, coal will be a major culprit. So even if the scientific evidence connecting human activity to global warming were proven to be somewhat overestimated, there are still a few million good reasons to substantially lessen our dependence on coal.

As to our President’s break with the Paris Agreement, I have seen this pattern of behavior repeated many times over during my own lifetime. Whether it be about clean air, clean water, pesticides, food safety, tobacco use, or just shoddy manufacturing, the oft-told tale goes something like this: First, the facts are called into question by those who stand to lose the most amount of money if they are held legally responsible or become subject to government regulation. Second, those again whose pocketbooks are threatened enlist the aid of politicians to plead their case. Next, those same politicians brand those who initially raised concerns about a particular product or practice as being on the fringe, unpatriotic, or somehow just at odds with America and capitalism. And finally, when enough time has passed to allow those affected entities to settle their legal obligations and to develop alternate streams of revenue–we then suddenly accept and adopt those policies and procedures that improve our collective wellbeing.

That is why the Shell Oil Company is building wind farms in the Netherlands, and Exxon Mobil is working on ways to run an Alpha Romeo on algae.

As for those ghosts of the Molly Maguires, I will briefly defer to the skilled pen of Jeanne Kehoe_GraveMarie Laskas from her book “Hidden America” which poetically profiles the lives of those who continue to work those difficult and dangerous jobs that support the infrastructure of our nation’s economy: “There is no design, no geometry, no melody. A coal mine greets you with only one sentiment, then hammers it: This is not a place for people. This is not a place for people. This is not a place for people.”

And on that day when the last coal mine is finally closed, the dead will rest a bit more  peacefully–and the living will breathe a whole lot easier!

Click on the article titles below to learn more about the life of John “Black Jack ” Kehoe and the restless afterlife of one of the Molly Maguires.

Posted by: Chris Poh for American Public House Review

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Every Picture Tells a Story

The Alleged Hooligans

The Alleged Hooligans

In a move that mirrors the potential arrest and prosecution of Olympic Gold Medalist, Michael Phelps after the publishing of the now infamous bong photo in a British tabloid, Carbon County officials in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania are  considering  charges against the publisher and marketing director of the on-line magazine American Public House Review. State and local law enforcement were put on high alert after a series of damning photographs appeared on the Internet.

According to one  high ranking source, who wished to remain anonymous, these images expose  the kind of monkeyshines and shenanigans that the decent citizens of Jim Thorpe can not and will not tolerate. He went on to say, “I will doggedly pursue these recalcitrant rascals…and these hooligans will be brought to justice.”

Secret court documents found in a briefcase under the third bar stool at the Molly Maguire’s Pub allege that after consuming copious amounts of Irish Whiskey at an undisclosed location in Jim Thorpe during last year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the two gentleman targeted in this investigation, Chris Poh and David McBride attempted to disrupt and lay seige to the grand procession down Broadway. The photographic evidence indicates that there were efforts made to sabotage a pipe band which led to the eventual armed conflit.

Try Playing "Scotland the Brave" Now

Try Playing "Scotland the Brave" Now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We'll Get Those Two Rascals

We'll Get Those Two Rascals

Sponsors for these two giants of the fourth estate, (several distilleries and a couple of breweries) said that they would stand behind their men… or wherever necessary in order to hold them up. When reached for comment, neither had much to say other than vowing to return for this year’s parade.

See you in Jim Thorpe on March 15th!

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Posted by: Dunmore Throop

Five months to St. Patty’s Day…not that we are counting or anything…

Friday is the 17th of October.  And you know what that means?  It is exactly five months until Saint Patrick’s Day!  What, that didn’t occur to you right away??

looking down Broadway in Jim Thorpe, PA

looking down Broadway in Jim Thorpe, PA

Well, if the 17th of every month does not make you immediately think of that great Irish holiday, then that must mean you have never been to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania on the Sunday before St. Patty’s Day for their annual parade and Celtic flavored, town wide bash.  I have been there many times, and let me assure you that once you attend, you will look forward to going back for the rest of the year.

But don’t wait for March to come around to visit this gem of a town tucked into the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania.  Before you go, check out our coverage of the best places to drink in Jim Thorpe that appeared in the American Public House Review this past March and April.  We visited a cozy café called the Black Bread, an ale house appropriately named JT’S, the only combination tavern and art gallery I have ever seen called FLOW, and the  town’s signature Irish pub the Molly Maguire’s.  Plus you can learn about how wonderful the parade can be and even discover the amazingly rich Irish-American heritage of this old coal mining town.

Posted by: David McBride

A ghostly tale from behind the walls

With all of the talk on this blog in recent weeks about ghosts and hauntings, I thought I would relay to you one of my own paranormal experiences.  It took place in a town we have talked about quite a bit, in a building whose sad story has already been told on the American Public House Review.  It was my first trip inside the Carbon County Jail in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.

Now let me begin by saying that I am not a self proclaimed medium.  I am not at all sensitive to so-called spirit activity.  I have never once walked into a place and felt a “presence” and I am somewhat suspicious of those who do.  And to the credit of the people giving us a tour of this historic site, there wasn’t really much talk of ghosts and haunting.  This was instead mostly an important local history lesson, and a compelling one.  Outside of the famous handprint on the wall, very little was said about the supernatural. 

The jail is a fascinating place.  It does have an amazingly macabre feel right down to the architecture and simple details.  But as we toured through the main part of the jail, nothing seemed at all disturbing to me outside the incredibly disturbing details of what happened within these thick walls.  Then we made our way downstairs into the basement or the “dungeon” as they used to call it.  This was where people were kept in an incredibly harsh solitary confinement.   As we descended the staircase, the air began to feel heavier to me.

I was at the end of the line, lagging behind as usually happens to me on these types of tours.  I always end up reading or looking at something for too long.  So I hurried to catch up.  As I moved down the stairs, I could feel my nerves building, though I was not at all aware of why.  I could hear the tour guide speaking about the dungeon, but didn’t comprehend much of it at all.  As I crossed into the dungeon a feeling of fear hit me.  I looked around the place, as the group listened in very dim lighting to tales of human suffering.  For a brief moment, in a cell behind the tour group to my left, I thought I saw a man, mostly cast in shadow, kneeling on the ground. There was no doubt it was a man, but I couldn’t make out a face.  I knew it was not a fellow tourist.  But who was it? 

Within an instant, I flinched to my right, putting my hand to my face as if to block something or someone from hitting me.  But nothing was there.  For some unforeseen reason, I felt as if I had to guard my face from an assault.  Now I was just downright intimidated.  Tour or no tour, I was getting out of there.

I walked quickly out of the dungeon and back up the stairs.  I could hear the tour guide asking my friends if there was a problem, but I was not going back no matter what.  As soon as I made it back up the stairs, the feelings stopped.  And then I went through all the ways I could think of to rationalize the experience.  Was that just a shadow reflecting on the wall in the cell?  Was I feeling some kind of claustrophobia down there?  Was that just a bug I saw out of the corner of my right eye?  I had no idea.  All I did know was that it was time for a drink…

by Dave McBride

The Skull of Doom

An Irish Warning I’m proud to say that there is a bit of Indiana Jones in each and every one of the staff of American Public House Review. All of us at one time or another, after a long night of editorial research, have awoke with what felt like the skull of doom – or more accurately the numskull of overindulgence. This was certainly the case after myself and our marketing director, David McBride completed our research into the otherwordly activities of the Molly Maguires.

Now as Americans prepare themselves for yet another cinematic quest for an artifact of questionable origin, those who supposedly offer the real truth behind the crystal skulls are rearing their ugly heads. The Sci Fi Channel recently aired a program about the most famous of the carved quartz craniums the  Mitchell-Hedges “Skull of Doom.” This notorious noggin was supposedly unearthed by Hedges and his daughter during the excavation of a Mayan ruin in Belize during the mid to late 1920s. It is purpoted by some that this artifact was acquired by the ancients from some space race, and that the powers contained within will either annilate or save the world from destruction as part of the culmination of the Mayan end times prophecy.

Skull and Bones In actuality Frederick Albert Mitchell-Hedges purchased the skull from Sotheby’s in 1943, and that its origin is man made circa late 19th century. The more likely threat to mankind from some demonic dome comes from the spate of U.S. leaders that were members of Skull and Bones at Yale. If we can survive these knuckleheads, there is precious little the Mayans can do. 

Skull of Hope I am though a little concerned about this structure that I discovered during a recent journey through the Nevada desert. Its implications to our future well being will be discussed in an upcoming issue of American Public House Review

Posted By: Chris Poh, Publisher

 

   

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