Tom McBride and his wife Betty Lou purchased the Old Jail Museum in 1995. The Old Jail Museum has a dense history, most of which is unpleasant. Most notably, the Old Jail Museum was the site of the Molly Maguires hanging in 1800s. Known as the Day of the Rope, which was June 21, 1877, Alexander Campbell, Edward Kelly, Michael Doyle, and John Donohue, who were Irish coal miners, were hung. On March 28, 1878, another Irish coal miner named Thomas P. Fisher was hung. Then, on January 14, 1879, two more Irish coal miners named James McDonnell and Charles Sharp were hung.
These trials, known as the Molly Maguires are known as one of the first examples of the surrender of state sovereignty. While the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided the courtroom and gallows, a private corporation led the investigation alongside a private detective agency and a private police force. Private attorneys were also used.
It’s important to note that prior to the men being hung, many proclaimed that they were innocent. Today, many historians believe that some of the men who were hung were falsely accused and actually innocent. Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania: The Old Jail Museum - Photo: The Old Jail Museum
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