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Molly Maguires

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Molly Maguires

Post by Karen on Tue 13 Jul 2010 - 3:24

Developments in the Killing of Special Officer Hagney.


Phoenixville Authorities Believe That He Was the Victim of Molly Maguires or Some Other Secret Society - The Jury's Remarkable Verdict.

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 9. - The sensational incidents surrounding the mysterious murder of Patrick Hagney, the special officer of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad company at Phoenixville, were carefully concealed at the coroner's inquest. And this was despite Deputy Coroner Thomas Dugan's efforts to gain all possible light on the case. This was due chiefly to the desire of the Phoenixville authorities to keep secret for the present certain information in their possession which they think would be rendered useless if given publicity.
Samuel Elder, of Phoenixville, an employee of the Reading railroad, stated that he had known Hagney for a number of years, but knew nothing of the shooting. He also knew the man who was accused of the murder, but could not say whether he belonged to a secret organization or not. Magistrate List testified that he had taken the dying deposition of the deceased, and that Hagney swore that he recognized Mellon as the person who shot him.

A Remarkable Verdict.

Notwithstanding the dying affidavit made by Hagney, the coroner's jury returned a remarkable verdict, stating that "death was due to peritonitis, the result of a gunshot wound at the hands of parties unknown."
John Higgins, the station agent at Phoenixville, said that Hagney had told him that Mellon had done the shooting, and added:
"Mr. Hughes, the agent in charge of the station at night, called to see me on Monday night last and handed me a note, which was found where Hagney was standing when shot." The note read:

The Mysterious Note.

"It is short, but sweet. Your life is short for your dirt. Not only yours, but more. It is short, but it is sweet. You may not make it out, but it will come soon.


On the back of the paper were the words:

"Hagney, John Kane, Dennis Kelly, Phoenix."

Officer Kelly swore that Mellon had told him that he had been on the railroad on the night the crime was committed, but denied that he had done the shooting.
"Have you ever been threatened with harm?" asked the deputy coroner.
"Quite often, but not since this case has been under investigation," replied the officer.
All the witnesses testified to Mellon's bad reputation.

Believe It a Secret Society Crime.

The Phoenixville authorities have confidently counted on the release of Mellon ever since his arrest. That the crime was committed at the instigation of some secret society is believed by them, and they are conducting their investigations in that direction. That the organization is a branch of the Molly Maguires is not generally believed by the officers working on the case, but others feel that such is the case.
Chief of Police Moore, of Phoenixville, and Deputy Coroner Merrell are inclined to believe that the secret society, which no doubt exists, is composed of men who illegally sell liquor and conduct "keep mums" or "speak easies" in that section of Phoenixville known as the "North Ward." That neighborhood is said to be overrun with places where liquor is sold in open violation of the law and to the knowledge of the police.
Sundays these places are kept open in full blast, and the rough and dissolute population of the town crowd the buildings all day. Efforts were made several months ago to close the places, but without success, and since then the proprietors have almost defied those in authority to drive them out of the business.

Source: The Ogdensburg Journal, Monday February 10, 1890

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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