During the Civil War, he served two enlistments.
He later served as the bodymaster of the Tamaqua AOH.
A social butterfly, to say the least,
Kerrigan was arrested in conjunction with the murder of
John P. Jones at Lansford in Carbon County.
He was also an accomplice in the Benjamin F. Yost murder.
He earned the name "Squealer" after he testified against fellow AOH members, helping to send many to the gallows.
Afterward, he immiediately moved to Richmond, VA where he died in 1898.
Frazier: A run at the cards?
James McParlan (a.k.a. McKenna): Nothing against it.
Thomas Dougherty: Pay out a penny.
McParlan: Nickel on a pair.
Frazier: Nothing like a bit of music to make you forget the troubles of the day.
McParlan: Eeís out of tune.
Frazier: Poor old Scot. Canít tell the difference. Deaf as a post since a load of coal fell on him in 56.
Dougherty: Ya visiting ere?
McParlan: Nah, Iím looking for a job.
Dougherty: In the mines?
Frazier: Tens. In the mines?
Dougherty: Well, youíre handsíll say youíve never dug coal before in this life.
McParlan: Right again.
Dougherty: Can ya spare us a nickel?
McParlan: No. Mine for the nickel?
Dougherty: Beats me.
Frazier: Itís your deal. Terrible hard work down there, you know? Not the type of work a man comes seeking -- with hands like yours.
McParlan: Well theyíre the only hands Iíve got.
Frazier: Youíre cheatin. (beat -- pause) Youíre cheatin.
McParlan: Youíre mistaken.
Dougherty: I saw you too. Dealin' from the bottom of the deck.
McParlan: Iídíve dealt myself a better hand than that.
Frazier: You cheated.
McParlan: Well, thereís no need for the false accusations if itís a brawl you want. So which one of you do I get?
(Frazier hits McParlan; a fight ensues; Captain Davies enters and knocks McParlan across the head with his stick)
0:19:20 Captain Davies Police Compound
Davies: Sorry I hit you so hard. It was important to make it look real. More sympathy for you, that way, make it easier for you to accept you. Nothing personal. Well, youíve made a good start. The fight was a clever idea. Theyíll respect you know. Thatís all they respect around here. A blow and a hard hand. This gangís crazy, McParlan. They lost a strike, see, and they think they can win what they lost with the gunpowder.
McParlan: Thatís not crazy. Itís only Irish.
Davies: I donít find it amusing.
McParlan: Well, youíre Welsh, captain.
Davies: Now, we know that there is an organization. The Ancient Order of Hibernians.
McParlan: What of them? Theyíre legal. The Irish looking out for their own.
Davies: Ah, but inside them is another bunch, using the Hibernians as cover. They call themselves the Molly Maguires. Named after some gang of cut-throats back in Ireland. They are all over the coal fields. They sent them agents in other mines and two of them found at the bottom of shafts and one never found at all. Itís your turn here.
McParlan: Iíll do the job for ya.
Davies: The leaders. Thatís who I want. I think theyíre here, right here in this very town. But thinking is not enough. Iíve got to get them red-handed.
McParlan: Oh, youíll have them.
Davies: You treat them lightly, youíll end up like my other men.
McParlan: I didnít volunteer to fail. Iíve failed enough already in this country. The streets havenít exactly been paved with gold for me. Iíve had my share of empty pockets, captain. Iím tired of being at the bottom of the barrel. Iím tired of always looking up. I want to look down.
Davies: I want the Molly Maguires. You just bring me the evidence. Thatís your job. Bring me the evidence so we can hang the bastards. Iíll let you out in the morning.
0:25:29 Coal Superís Office -- Rainy Day
McParlan: Iím looking for work.
Super: Any experience?
McParlan: A bit.
Super: Where you from?
McParlan: Here. There.
Super: Well, you look strong enough. Five oíclock tomorrow morning.
McParlan: Five oíclock.
Super: Make sure you report sober.
A typical child laborer of the times.
0: 33:20 Minerís pay line -- day
Super: Total wages for the week 3 dollars and eighty five cents. Next.
Super: Ah, aye, McKenna. Coal mined fourteen cars at sixty-six cents a car. Total nine dollars and twenty four cents. Deduct, two kegs of powder at two dollars and fifty cents a keg, five dollars. Two kegs of oil at ninety cents a keg, one dollar eighty. Repair two broken drills, thirty cents. Pick-ax, shovel, cap and lantern, one dollar ninety. Total deductions nine dollars. Total wages for the week, twenty four cents. Next.
Brian McAndrew: Brian McAndrew.
Super: McAndrew. Coal mined thirty cars at sixty six cents a car. Ninteen dollars and eighty cents. Deduct, three kegs of powder at two dollars and fifty cents, seven dollars and fifty cents. Ground rental for a home, two dollars. Groceries, two dollars and eighty cents.
0:43:16 Colliery Path to Village -- Post Work Day
McParlan: Making it a choice between getting killed and a little information, well, Iím wanted for shoving the queer.
John ĎBlack Jackí Kehoe: What else?
McParlan: Well, thatís a belly full right there. They put you in jail for passing home made money.
Kehoe: Well, thereíre better places to hide than down a coal mine.
McParlan: Well, itís deep.
Kehoe: Another week down there, and youíll be greeting prison like itís a hotel. Try another tale.
McParlan: Iím wanted for killing a man in Buffalo, New York.
Kehoe: Why did you kill him?
McParlan: Does it matter? I didnít mean for it to kill him. We fought over a woman, and I hit him too hard.
Kehoe: His woman or yours?
McParlan: Iím not one for possesions.
Kehoe: If the police already had you, why did they let you go?
McParlan: They didnít know who they had. The Coal and Iron Police. Theyíre a bit short sighted to somebody who doesnít have any powder in his pocket. So, now you see why Iím anxious for privacy. Itís not just the jail Iím looking to avoid. Itís the hangman.
0:46:36 Mines -- Lunch Break
Dougherty: Thereís only one sure way of finding out. Turn him in.
McAndrew: Suppose heís telling the truth. Itís a terrible thing to have on your conscience.
Frazier: Sooner that than having him a spy turning us in.
McAndrew: You only want revenge for the way he thrashed ya.
Frazier: The bastard wouldnít stay down, I give him credit for that.
McAndrew: We have no proof heís a spy.
Dougherty: Weíve no proof heís not.
Frazier: Old man Raines says heís been asking questions.
McAndrew: Well, what would you be doin' in a strange town, besides looking for a pint of beer and a fight?
Kehoe: I donít care if heís a murder. But if we turn him in and heís a spy --
Frazier: Then weíre through worrying.
Kehoe: Until they send someone else.
Frazier: Then weíll take him too.
Kehoe: No, no, theyíll just keep sending others. We canít keep them out. Itís the same at every pit Iíve been at. If itís not him, itíll be another.
Dougherty: What do you say now? We just roll over?
Kehoe: Nobodyís rolling over. We did that once.
McAndrew: Thatís not all we did. We stayed out six months. Nobodyís ever done that before, stayed out of a mine six months.
Kehoe: And then we went back.
Dougherty: It was the bloody troops.
Kehoe: It took less but we were getting' worn out.
Frazier: We had to think of the kids.
Kehoe: Look, we crawled. They cracked a whip and we crawled. We tried it peaceful and ended up on our knees beggin' for the work.
McAndrew: We lost the battle, Jack. Weíll win the war.
Kehoe: Oh, I donít know what the hell weíll win but Iíll tell you what weíll do. We wonít turn him in. Cause if heís on the square, whatís the last thing to do? But if heís a spy, then we take care of ourselves.
McAndrew: So we show im that we business, is that it Jack?
Dougherty: Ainít nothin simpler than that. Donít push im out of the way the next time.
Kehoe: Heís a clever one. He can give his hand. Heís too smart for that. Thereís only one way to make sure.
McAndrew: How Jack? How?
Kehoe: Use him.
0:55:44 Mines -- Post Work Day / Secret Meeting
Captain Davies: Who did it?
McParlan: Did what?
Davies: Donít play games with me. Thereís one of my men in the hospital with his jaw broken in two places. Who put him there?
McParlan: I did. Nothing personal. Important to make it look real. They were testing me out.
Davies: I donít like losing good men.
McParlan: Youíre lucky heís only in the hospital. I say what he did to Dougherty. Whatever I gave him, he had it coming. (beat) Only a rat. You get used to them down here.
Davies: Who did the shooting?
McParlan: Gomer James. A Tamaqua man. Welsh.
Davies: Will Dougherty go after him now?
McParlan: He wants to. His pride has been hurt, but theyíre holding him back.
Davies: Well, you encourage him. The only way weíll get any of them is in the act. Weíll put a guard on James.
McParlan: Not too much of a guard. You donít want simple assault. You want murder.
Davies: I take what I get.
McParlan: How would you like to spend the rest of your life down here?
Davies: I tried it when I first came over.
McParlan: How did you get out?
Davies: Made myself useful in other ways.
McParlan: Well, I have got to get out. Iíd kill somebody if I couldnít.
Davies: Donít get confused about which side youíre on.
McParlan: I could always tell the buttered side from the dry.
An unnamed colliery
1:00:22 Mary Rainesí House
Kehoe: Now Iíll explain to you the object of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. We are joined together to promote friendship, unity, and true Christian charity among our members. You are expected to all matters a secret in your heart and none if the workings of this society are to be recalled to those not known to be members.
Frazier: Thatís right, now, thatís correct. And whatís the answering sign. No, no, the little finger. Thatís the recognition sign. Oh, then thereís the password when you go from one division to another. ĎWill tenant right in Ireland flourish?í
Dougherty: If the people unite and the landlords subdue.
McParlan: If the people unite and the landlords subdue.
McAndrew: And thereís plenty of truth in that password. Unity. Thatís the answer.
Frazier: And then thereís the calling word When youíre gettin ready to bash a stranger but you first want to make sure heís not one of us. ĎYouíre temper is high.í
Dougherty: Iíve good reason.
McParlan: Iíve good reason.
Frazier: Then you donít have to bash him, see?
McParlan: Not one little nip, Jack, to celebrate a new convert?
Frazier: Oh, he donít touch it himself.
McParlan: Is the drinking to be what youíre thinking? Is that it? Well whatíre you thinking now, Black Jack? That solemn look on your mug?
Kehoe: Iím thinking, you better be what we think you are.
McParlan: Iím what you think I am!
Kehoe: Cause if youíre not, thereís no hole deep enough for you to hide this time.
McParlan: Iím what you think I am.
1:14:33 Frazierís House @ Hibernian Meeting
Kehoe: We have a friend in the governorís chair now, and we mean to keep him there. So, itís up to you all to get out there and get the vote.
Dougherty: Politicians. They sell their mother for a vote.
Kehoe: The governor grants pardons. You could be needing one someday. Now, the raffle for Barny Bafflerís widow. You got the prize Donald?
Donald: Iíve got it.
Kehoe: Alright, see that the tickets are sold a penny a piece, and sheíll benefit from it. Any new business? Alright, the next meeting is two weeks from tonight. At whose house? Kerrigan.
Kehoe: Well, thatís it then. I declare this meeting of the Ancient Order of Hibernians adjourned. Good night all.
All: Good night, Jack.
Frazier: Stay a bit, why donít you? Unless youíre bleedin' to get back to your landlady?
McAndrew: Howís the hand?
McAndrew: Well, donít let on too quick that itís healed. Theyíll send you right back down, you know?
Kehoe: Alright. We had a request from Shenandoah. The superintendentís been giving them trouble.
McAndrew: What kind of trouble?
Kehoe: Oh, the usual. Firing without cause, lowering wages. Heís young, looking to make a good impression, and weíve been asked to make an impression on him.
McParlan: I joined to Hibernians. All things loyal and not otherwise, remember? I took an oath.
Kehoe: This isnít the Hibernians.
McParlan: Why canít they do it themselves?
Kehoe: Well, if theyíre seen, theyíll be recognized. But, there, nobody knows us.
McParlan: Heíll be surrounded by peelers. A new boss throwing his weight around. They know heís asking for it.
Dougherty: Well, then, weíll get him when they donít expect.
McParlan: We stand a hell of a risk for a quarrel that isnít ours.
McAndrew: Theyíre miners like us and theyíre Irishmen. They have the same heel in their neck as we have. Itís all one quarrel.
Frazier: Theyíd do the same for us if we asked.
McParlan: I do my own quarreling. I donít ask anyone else.
Kehoe: Youíre not on your own now.
Dougherty: They want him killed or only bashed?
Frazier: Well, he sounds deserving.
Kehoe: Iím against it. Give him a good bashing, heíll get a drift from that soon enough. And a superintendentís not worth hanging.
Dougherty: Ah, what goods a bashing. Heíll be back worse than before.
McAndrew: Give him a bashing so he wonít come back. Do it right, wonít end up on the gallows.
Dougherty: You end up on the gallows or coughing your lungs out in the pit what the hellís the difference?
McParlan: Itís the course feel of the rope I donít like.
Kehoe: Weíll take a vote.
Dougherty: I for killing.
McAndrew: I say letís bash him. See what he learns from it.
Dougherty: That kind donít learn! On our backs is where they make their impression. Theyíre past learning lessons, I say dispose of him.
Frazier: Iím for that too.
Kehoe: I vote bashin' him.
McParlan: Well, what happens with a tie?
Kehoe: We tell them we canít take the job ,and they give it out elsewhere.
McAndrew: Thereís no killing without a majority.
Dougherty: Weíre a, uh, democratic organization.
McParlan: Well, if this is our quarrel, like you say, we canít have them thinking weíre soft.
Kehoe: They can think what they like, how do you vote.
McParlan: Kill the son of a bitch.
1:23:51 Police Headquarters / Interrogation Room
Davies: Take them off the streets and put them in uniform, theyíre still scum. I had that superintendent protected like a baby.
McParlan: Well, they almost got me if thatís any consolation.
Davies: Itís not. Who did it?
McParlan: Kehoe. Frazier. Me.
McParlan: Howíd did we do?
Davies: Heís alive, but not by much. Kehoeís wife, two of her woman friends, say he was with them and the children all day, never left the house. OíFrazier was brawling in the saloon thatís how he got winged. Twelve witnesses swear to that. Raines and his daughter say that you were with them, all day.
McParlan: The daughter too? I wasnít quite sure sheíd do that.
Davies: Donít credit your charm. Most likely sheís one of them. If I could charge Frazier and Kehoe, it would be your word against theirs.
McParlan: Oh, youíll need a little bit more than that.
Davies: Oh, yes. Yes. I need them caught in the act. No chance of an alibi. And not just two of them. I want the organization, I want it smashed. Any bastard who even dreams of making trouble, I want him to wake up seating blood at what happened to the Molly Maguires. Not yet. I canít send you back unmarked.
McParlan: (now clubbed over the head, bleeding) Well, itís a pleasure to see someone who enjoys there work.
1:33:03 Frazier and Wifeís Funeral
Father OíConnor: Manís been murdered. He brought it on himself. He who lives by the sword shall perish by the sword. But his wifeís dead too and the childís been orphaned. Violence begets violence until the innocent perish with the guilty. Is there any use in my reminding you of that? Or am I just wasting my breath again? Innocent or guilties, weíre both children of God. They died victims of a sinful lust for killing. But at least they found their peace. I wish I could say the same for the rest of you.
A common funeral for a miner.
1:34:04 Kehoeís House
McAndrew: Old lady Reagan. The shots were opened, she looked out the window and she could see them running from the house.
Kehoe: And she was certain they were peelers?
McAndrew: She could see the stripes down the sides of their trousers. You figure for that kind of work, theyíd at least take off their uniforms.
Kehoe: They want us knowing who they are. Theyíre telling us it donít matter if we know or not. The law is what they say it is.
Dougherty: Thereís only one way to deal with them. An eye for an eye. Two of them for two of us.
McParlan: Donít be such a bloody fool!
Dougherty: Do you 'ave a better idea?
McParlan: They want you to retaliate.
Dougherty: Weíll be happy to ablige.
McParlan: You canít win against them that way, donít you think they know that? They only did it so youíd show yourself.
McAndrew: They murdered Frazier.
McParlan: Gah after the police, now, theyíll be waiting for you.
Dougherty: What makes you so bloody sure?
McParlan: Iíve got experience with that. Theyíll be waiting. Donít play their games.
McAndrew: Frazier was our friend.
McParlan: Jack. You know whatíll happen. You tell them. Theyíll destroy the lot of us.
Kehoe: Theyíre out to get us one way or the other. Theyíre telling us that too.
McAndrew: We donít go to them, theyíll come to us.
Dougherty: Put us down in our beds.
McParlan: Then for Godís sake, protect yourself.
Kehoe: They wonít stop now. Thatís the meaning of it. They wonít stop, so we canít stop.
McParlan: You wonít stop.
Dougherty: Weíve been battling them for killing us in the pits, you want us to stop now for killing us in our sleep?
McParlan: You donít care what happens? Do you Jack? Even if they did stop, youíd want to go on with this?
Kehoe: Thereís no where else to go.
McParlan: Knowing weíd all be destroyed?
Dougherty: Thereís no choice. Theyíve seen to that.
McParlan: You canít win.
Kehoe: Iím finished moving. Pit after pit.
McParlan: You canít win.
Kehoe: I wonít move.
1:39:05 Mary Rainesí House
Kehoe: Who sent for me?
Mary Raines: Heís inside.
Kehoe: The old man?
Mary Raines: Thereís nothing to do now but wait.
Kehoe: Hello, Father.
Father OíConnor: Iíve just come from Philadelphia. Seen the archbishop there. Dougherty is to be tried for the killing of the superintendent.
Kehoe: He had nothing to do with that.
Father OíConnor: Theyíre calling him an accomplice. I thought the archbishop might use his influence to get the charge reduced. Youíre the one I blame the most. They believe in you. They listen to you.
Kehoe: Well, the men listen to you too father.
Father OíConnor: Come back to the church, Kehoe.
Kehoe: I never left it.
Father OíConnor: You put yourself outside. Come back while thereís still time.
Kehoe: Iíve tried your way. Itís been no help to me.
Father OíConnor: Thereís grace at the end of it.
Kehoe: Sin at the start. Grace at the end. Bending your head in between. I canít accept that, father.
Father OíConnor: Then youíll die in sin.
Kehoe: What did the archbishop say about Dougherty?
Father OíConnor: Eeís as good as hanged.
Kehoe: Thereís still the trial. Theyíll need evidence.
Father OíConnor: Theyíve got the evidence. Youíve an informer in your midst.
Father OíConnor: He didnít tell me that.
Orator: The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for the county of Schuylkill, upon their respective woes and affirmations, do present that John Kehoe, Brian McAndrew, and Thomas Dougherty, an accomplice, with force and arms, and upon one John W. Jones, superintendent of the Shenandoah colliery, did make an assault and with certain pistols made of gunpowder, bullets, and other destructive material, then and there, willfully, feloniously, and of there malice of forethought, did kill and murder the said John W. Jones, contrary to the form of the act of the general assembly, in such case, made and provided and against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Judge: The commonwealth will proceed.
D.A.: I call the first witness.
Bailiff: Raise your right hand please. Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
McParlan: I do.
D.A.: What is your full name?
McParlan: James McParlan.
D.A.: What is your occupation?
Dougherty: (rushing witness) Bastard.
Judge: The condemned will stand to be sentenced. And now, having been found guilty of the charge of murder in the first degree, this court, sentences you, John Kehoe, Brian McAndrew, Thomas Dougherty, to be confined to the county prison until the date of your execution when you should be hanged by the neck until dead.
1:58:55 Jackís Cell
McParlan: Hello, Jack.
Kehoe: Come in.
McParlan: I wasnít quite sure of your reception.
Kehoe: Youíre a relief from the cockroaches.
McParlan: You got everything you need?
Kehoe: I could use some powder.
McParlan: Iíve sworn off since Iíve left the Mollies.
Kehoe: Have a seat.
McParlan: You still thinking you can do it with powder?
Kehoe: Is that what youíre here to ask?
McParlan: No, just curious. I mean, do you think you really could of won? Well, then, why?
Kehoe: You know why as much as me. You worked down there. Could you see yourself not lifting a finger?
McParlan: I wouldnít stay down there. Iíd get out.
Kehoe: And where would you find it any different? Thereís them on top and them below. Push up, push down. Whoís got more push, thatís all that counts.
McParlan: They always had more.
Kehoe: Well, we had a bit. Not enough. But a bit. Enough to push the bastards a little. And you helped us. You pushed a little yourself.
McParlan: Just part of the job.
Kehoe: And going back for Frazier? You did that on your own, I think.
McParlan: Oh, donít be so sure. It got me in better with you.
Kehoe: And you enjoyed bashing that policeman?
McParlan: Oh, hah, hah, I must admit.
Kehoe: And the fire at the store. I donít think youíre working only for them.
McParlan: Ah, it did make a lovely blaze.
Kehoe: You were a man then.
McParlan: Why didnít you stop, Jack? I tried to get you to stop.
Kehoe: Well, they had to nab us sooner or later. I do have one regret, now. Theyíre shipping another shipment of coal this week and I had plans for that one. On a bridge. Iíd 'ave blown the bridge and the train, at once. It wouldíve been a sight.
McParlan: Iídíve tipped em off.
Kehoe: Thatís true. Well, I donít regret it so much then.
McParlan: You made your sound, Jack. Youíve got no regrets there. You used your powder.
Kehoe: Aye. But you didnít come here to chat, Jamie. Nor to ask questions or to say farewell.
McParlan: Well, just leave it that I came then.
Kehoe: No, you came for absolution.
McParlan: Ah, youíre not a priest Jack.
Kehoe: You want to freed from what youíve done.
McParlan: Iím not that soft.
Kehoe: Oh, you donít want forgivin'. You can get that from a woman. Punishment. Thatís what you want. You think punishment can set you free. And thatís why youíve come. Looking for punishment. Well, maybe itís my Christian heart, but I could never stand the sight of a man carrying a cross.
Kehoe: (having been beaten down after attacking McParlan) Are you free now? Have I set you free for a grand new life?
McParlan: Iím abliged to you.
Kehoe: Youíll never be free. Thereís no punishment this side of hell can free you from what you did.
McParlan: See you in hell.
Copyright (c) 1999 by Peter A. Weisman, Undergraduate at Lehigh University.
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