About the AOH
The Ancient Order of Hibernians is America's oldest Irish Catholic Organiation founded concurrently in the coal-mining region of Pennsylvania and New York City around May of 1836. Many Divisions exist in America, Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland, however, they all share a common thread, the American AOH is a seperateand larger organization.
In the mid-fifteen hundreds early Irish societies were born of a need to protect the welfare of Catholics, especially Clergy who risked death to keep the Catholic faith alive in Ireland after the Penal Laws of 1691. Various secret societies were formed across the country to comfort thier people by whatever means possible.Similary, the AOH is America was founded in New York's St. James Church on May 4, 1836 by men emulating these Irish societies, to protect the Clergy and Churches from the violent American Nativists who attacked the Church and it's Catholic Immigrants.
Follow this link to the National AOH to learn more: www.aoh.com
A brief history of our Division name
The Molly Maguires
One of the most famous episodes of the Irish battle for improved conditions for miners remains the tale of the Molly Maguires. Through the wider perspective of history, the tale of the Molly Maguires tends to shift its position in history from one of cruel violence to one of brave revolt against oppression. Their tale is one in which the roles of tyrant and hero shift in direct proportion to who tells the tale. Yet, the common thread of every telling is that here were Irishmen determined to improve the lot of their fellow workers – by whatever means necessary. The Irish who arrived in the Pennsylvania coalfields fought conditions nearly as bad as those they had left Ireland to escape. Little protective legislation for safety, working conditions or labor existed. Immigrants were faced with inadequate safety conditions, lack of sanitary facilities, low pay and high accident rates in the mines. Over 500 miners were killed in one 7-year period and approximately 1,600 were injured or crippled. The problem was not limited to adults. In 1870, an estimated 5,000 of the 22,000 workers were under the age of 16. The first battle for improved conditions was waged by John Siney and the Workmen’s Benevolent Association, which led the first strike in 1868. Another strike began in 1871 but the gains made were far from adequate.
Meanwhile a secret society was formed of miners determined to deal with the injustices in their own way. The group was christened the “Molly Maguires” named for a seventeenth century Irish conspirator, Connor Maguire. As Siney and the WBA fought their battles in the legislature, the Molly Maguires were rumored to use vandalism, robberies, threats, assaults and even actual killings to win their goals.
With the collapse of the Workers Benevolent Association, miners in the anthracite regions were left with no voice to speak for them. Violence erupted throughout the coalfields as angry miners sought to use violence to force recognition of their hardships.
In response to tales of violence in the coalfields,Philadelphia’s Alan Pinkerton National Detective Agency dispatched agents to the area to uncover the source. These agents returned with tales of a secret society known as the
Molly Maguires operating in the Carbon and Schuylkill County area.
Pinkerton engaged an Irish immigrant named James McParlan to infiltrate the society. McParlan established himself in Pottsville and then began a series of one-week trips to various places in the region where he might be able to pass himself off as murderer and forger and a former member of the AOH seeking to join a local branch. His first visit was to St.Clair where he stayed at Taggart’s hotel in the north end of town. Hearing rumors that Patrick Dormer was a “Sleeper” (a Molly and a member of the AOH), he promptly repaired to Dormer’s saloon just over the borough line and preceded to charm his way into the gigantic saloon keeper’s confidence. Speaking and singing in a broad Irish brogue, McParlan lurched around the saloon, dancing a jig, downing whiskey, singing a Donegal ballad celebrating the killing of land agent Bell by Pat Dolan’s Mollies, playing cards, fist fighting with a man he caught cheating at cards, telling stories, passing what he alleged to be counterfeit money, and dropping hints of past affiliations with the AOH. He played the wild Irish lad so convincingly that Dormer was won over and a month later, introduced him to “Muff” Lawler, the body master- the chief officer- of the AOH branch in Shenandoah. McParlan later claimed to have gained admittance to the Ancient Order of the Hibernians who were said to direct the Molly Maguire violence. According to this later testimony, members presented their grievances to the local Body-master who appointed men to deal with the situation without the knowledge of the lodge as a whole.
Yet the wider perspective of history has called into question the validity of the Molly Maguire trials. Historian Harold Aurand stated his conclusions in this way:
“The Molly Maguire investigation and trials were one of the most astounding surrenders of sovereignty in American History. A private corporation initiated the investigation through a private detective agency; a private police force arrested the alleged offenders; and coal company attorneys prosecuted them. The state provided only the courtroom and the hangman.”
Whoever and whatever the Molly Maguires really were will forever remain a mystery.Yet, they earned a place in history as men who would do anything to fight oppression.
Click Link: Molly Maguire History
On April 28th, 2013, The Patrick Dormer Division #32 officially became the newest addition to the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America! Based in Schuylkill County, Saint Clair, Pennsylvania, our Division is diverse with long standing members and an influx of new, young members that breathe a youthful and exciting energy into the organization!
Our Mission is continue in the true meaning of the AOH, Friendship, Unity, Christian Charity and to preserve the Irish Culture.
President - Joseph E. Corby Jr.
Vice President - Jim Croley
Secretary - James Manion
Fin. Secretary - Bill DeWald
Treasurer - Mike Riley
Chairman of Standing Committee -
Marshall - Bill Kennedy
Sentinel - Kevin Corby
Would love to hear your comments, suggestion, information of your Divisions events!! Thank You!!
Brothers and Sisters, I read this book, "A Molly Maguire Story", really good read and was done well on investigating the history and searching for the truth why Alec Campbell and the Molly's were hung!! A must read!