John Kehoe, "King of the Mollies," soon before his execution in 1878.
flipFlip to Death Warrant of John Kehoe, February 27, 1878.
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Head and shoulders

Credit: Courtesy of the Historical Society of Schuylkill County, Pottsville, PA

Believed by Reading Railroad president Franklin Gowen to be the "King of the Mollies," Irish Catholic hotel keeper John Kehoe was a local leader of the ancient Order of Hibernians, which supported Irish miners in the coal strikes of the early l870s. Despite the absence of any evidence placing him at the scene of the crime, a jury convicted Kehoe of murdering mine foreman Frank W.S. Langdon back in 1862. Governor John Hartranft signed the order for Kehoe's execution, despite his belief that the prosecution had "pushed technicalities to the extreme to secure a conviction and execution for a crime of fifteen years standing."

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