On this day 1878 John Kehoe known as the king and the last of the Molly Maguires was executed. The society called the Molly Maguires were an Irish 19th century secret society active in Ireland, Liverpool and United States. The "Mollies" were mostly known for their activism amongst Irish American coal miners in Pennsylvania.
’ John Kehoe known as the ‘ King of the Molly Maguires ‘ executed in 1878 ‘
The Molly Maguires were also active in Liverpool, England, where many Irish people settled in the 19th century, and many more passed through Liverpool on their way to the United States or Canada. The Mollies are first mentioned in Liverpool in an article in The Liverpool Mercury newspaper on 10 May 1853.
The newspaper reported that, “a regular faction fight took place in Marybone amongst the Irish residents in that district. About 200 men and women assembled, who were divided into four parties – the “Molly Maguires”, the “Kellys”, the “Fitzpatricks” and the “Murphys” – the greater number of whom were armed with sticks and stones.
The three latter sections were opposed to the “Molly Maguires” and the belligerents were engaged in hot conflict for about half an hour, when the guardians of the peace interfered”. Later Liverpool newspaper articles from the same time period refer to assaults by Mollies against other Irish Liverpudlians. The “Molly Maguire club" or "Molly’s Club" was described as a “mutual defence association” which had been “formed for the mutual assistance of the members when they got into ‘trouble’, each member subscribing to the funds”.
Patrick Flynn was the secretary of the Liverpool Molly Maguire Clubs in the 1850’s and their headquarters was in an alehouse in Alexander Pope Street also known as Sawney Pope Street.
The death of John Kehoe ended the reign of " Molly-ism " but today certain secret societies exist to assist those that are in trouble or when times are hard.