Miners' Weekly Journal

 

February 9, 1877

 

THE REA MURDER CASE.

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The Court Occupied with Hester's Special Plea-Patrick Doesn't Want to be Tried-Legal Contest-Nothing Done.

(Correspondence of Miners' Journal.)

                                                                        BLOOMSBURG, Feb 7, '77.

            EDITOR JOURNAL.- I went to the Court House this morning confident that I would be put to work by District Attorney Clark; but after sitting something like an hour and hearing no word about Hester's trial, I inquired of him when it would be called.  "Not until we get through with this case" he said and as the case was only a petty suit and the prospects were small for a conclusion of it to-day, I went to the hotel and with a few other reporters passed the time.

            At about four o'clock, however a messenger from Court informed us that the case would be called now and we again wended our way to the Court House.  Up to this time nothing had been done in the way of conveniences for the reporters.  The small room of the Court House, sixty-feet by one hundred was literally packed with a most motley crowd.  They were of course kept outside the bar.  Inside the bar there were two tables, occupied by Court officers.  Colonel West, the Philadelphia & Reading Company's stenographer, had procured a table somewhere and placed it in position.

            By the direction of Mr. George Elwell, son of the Judge and counsel for the defense, a long table was brought in by the (illegible), and a couple of chairs were stolen from the law library and we had seats.  Spreading out our paper did not take long and we were ready to begin at twenty minutes past four o'clock.

            Captain Linden with his squad of police brought in the prisoners.  Hester came first, stout and pompous looking, dressed in black broadcloth and wearing a high hat.  Tully came next looking rather nervous, and he was followed by Graham and McHugh.  Mrs. Hester and her two daughters and Mrs. McHugh came in next, and were shown seats with their friends at the defendants' table.

            On motion of Mr. Buckalew the Court admitted Mr. Mahon to practice.  He had been a member of the Northumberland bar.

            District Attorney Clark moved that in the cases of Patrick Hester, Patrick Tully and Peter McHugh, the prisoners be arraigned.

            Prothonotary Zarr then called on the three defendants named to stand up and hold up their right hands.  They obeyed him and he read to them the indictment charging them with the murder.  He asked Hester "Are you guilty or not guilty."  Hester replied "not guilty." but was checked after he said it by Mr. Ryon, who said that he desired to withdraw this plea and put in a special plea.

            The question was then put to Tully and McHugh, and they answered that they were not guilty.  Tully appeared rather sullen about it, wearing a look of injured innocence.

            Mr. Ryon read a paper which he asked to be filed.  It recited that Hester had been arrested and confined for this crime once before, and that, as the Commonwealth had failed then to give him a trial, he should not be made to answer now for the same offens; and that, if he is compelled to do so, he will suffer great injury.

            While waiting for the Commonwealth to say something in reply, the jury in the case on trial this morning came in and rendered their verdict.  The case was for malicious mischief against a man named Donovan and his wife.  They were acquitted and the costs divided equally.

            The record in the Hester case was sent for and examined by the counsel for the Commonwealth.  While this examination was in progress the audience had got up on the seats, many of them on the backs of the seats, holding on to the persons in front of them.  They reporters' table was surrounded by the curious so that it was an utter impossibility to see anything that was going at the counsels' tables.  But for the fact that Judge Elwell's seat is raised very much higher than the floor and the reporters' table was not far from him, (owing to the confined limits of the bar) we could not have seen him.  Nothing was going on to attract the audience, so they fell to discussing various subjects, until at last there was almost a bedlam.  Then Judge Elwell gave the command that the Court should not be intruded upon.  He said that the public would be accommodated as far as possible, but it had no right to intrude and obstruct the Court.  Half the people left, and the space about the reporters' table became cleared, so that we could almost see the counsel tables.

            Mr. Hughes, at half past 5 o'clock read a general traverse of the facts by the District Attorney.  He had set out the matters of the previous trials more in detail and claimed that as Patrick Hester had been discharged on a nol pros, his plea now was insufficient, and he prayed the Court to order and direct him to answer over more specifically.

            Nothing more was openly said for some time.  An inquiry by Judge Elwell as to what the cause of the delay was, was answered by Mr. Hughes that they were looking for the minutes in the cases tried in 1868, and could not find them.  The record only showed he said that an adjourned Court had been "ordered" and held, but it did not show what was done.

            Mr. Ryon then filed an additional paper, setting forth certain facts not stated in the special plea.  An additional paper denying its truth was also drawn up by the Commonwealth and they were filed with the other papers.

            Some more time was spent in worrying over the absence of a record, and then Judge Elwell came to the relief of the lawyers and adjourned the Court until to-morrow morning at 9 o'clock.  In the meanwhile it is probable that the Commonwealth's counsel will discover some loophole, and the coterie of lawyers for the defense will lay their heads together and find some new flaw in the law or a seeming flaw and will attempt to make a break in it.

            The bill against Graham has not been returned yet by the Grand Jury.  The bill against the other three was only returned this afternoon.  Graham will be indicted as an accessory after the fact.  Mr. Ryon says there is nothing in the charge, and even if there was it will not amount to anything, because it is only a misdemeanor, and the Commonwealth is now barred from prosecuting it by the Statute of Limitations.  He says it is only a misdemeanor, and that the limit for that class of crimes is two years.  As this is more than eight years, he feels very confident of getting Graham off without any trouble.  District Attorney Clark, on the other hand, through very close about the course he proposes to pursue, says Graham will be tried.

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THURSDAY MORNING, 8TH.

            At 9 o'clock this morning the Court bell rang and I immediately responded to the call.  At the Court House I found half a dozen reporters a ready in their seats.

            The crowd was awful again, and it took the clerk half an hour to call over the names of the forty-eight jurors summoned and get them seats on the front benches in the room, where they were instructed by Judge Elwell to remain until otherwise ordered.  The audience was at the same time directed to keep the aisles clear and remain quiet.

            When the calling over the names had been finished Sheriff Hoffman was directed to bring in Patrick Hester and none of the others.  In a few minutes the prisoner came in guarded by the Coal and Iron Police and followed by his wife, three daughters, and two sons-in-law.

            Mr. Hughes re-read the papers filed yesterday and asked that the matter be tried by the record.  He said the special plea so-called was no plea at all, but was a protest against going to trial.

            Mr. Ryon said he wanted to prove some matters that do not appear by the record at all (illegible): that Hester was arrested and imprisoned in 1869 for this crime.

            The minutes of the Court for the years 1868 and 1869 were read by Mr. Wolverton, and then the arguments began.  Mr. Wolverton said the record showed that Prior, Duffy and Donahue were arrested, and Patrick Hester had delivered himself up in January 1869.  That Donohue and Duffy were tried and acquitted, and then a nol pros, was entered in the Hester case though he could then have been tried, and that afterwards Prior was tried and acquitted.  He argued then that as the Commonwealth had refused and neglected to call Hester for trial, and as he was powerless to place himself on trial, he should not be called for trial now. 

            At this stage I had to close my report.

            G. F. H.

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HESTER'S PLEA OVERRULED-JURY DRAWN AND THE CASE OPENED.

[By Telegraph to Miners' Journal.]

                        BLOOMSBURG, 6:20 P. M., Feb. 8, '77.

            This afternoon Judge Elwell overruled the special plea of Pat Hester and the work of selecting the jury began.  Forty three jury-men were examined before the twelfth man was obtained.  The names of the jury as sworn are: Frank Schuman, Amos Wanich, Wm. Miller, Lewis Girton, H. N. White, Wm. Richart, Perry Christian, Abram White, J. A. Dewit, Benjamin McHenry, Elijah Yocum, and Joseph Lamon.  District Attorny Clark opened the case for the Commonwealth and Court adjourned.        G. F. H.

 

 

February 16, 1877

           

THE TRIAL AT BLOOMSBURG.

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Kelly the Bum on the Stand He Tell the Story of the murder of Alex W. Rea A Horrible Narrative.

           

            On Friday last Daniel Kelly, or Manus Kull as he should be called, was put on the stand at Bloomsburg and the story of the murder of Rea was told as follows:

            Q Where did you come from originally? A From Ireland.

            Q When? A About the year 1865.

            Q Where did you first go to? A to Wilkes-Barre, sir.

            Q In Luzerne county?  A Yes, sir.

            Q Where did you go to then?  A I worked there a while and then went to the Old Mines and then back to Wilkes-Barre again; I then went out to Malone, in York State; I worked there six or seven months and then came to Sunbury; I worked between Danville and Sunbury, and then in the winter of 1867 I went to Locust Gap.

            Q Go on and state now if you are acquainted with the three prisoners at the bar.  Hester, Tully and McHugh?  A Yes sir, I know them.

            Q When and where did you meet them? A In Locust Gap.

            Q All three at the same time?  A I did not meet Tully at the same time that I met the other two, but I met him the same winter. 

            Q Did you know them intimately? A Yes sir.

            Q Did you belong to the same society or organization to which they or any of them belonged?

            Objected to by Mr. Ryon.

            Mr. Hughes We offer this to prove the terms of intimacy upon which the witness stood with the prisoners.

            The Court There can be no objection to that.

            The witness Yes, I belonged to the society they did.

            Q What was it called?  A Some called it the Mollie Maguires and some the Ancient Hibernians.

            Mr. Ryon I object to this.

            Mr. Hughes We simply want to identify the society.

            The Court We don't se the importance of it.

            Q Well, you met them frequently? A Yes sir.

            Q As members of this order? A Well, I never belonged in Locust Gap.  I worked at the Green Ridge and McHugh worked there too and he and I often spoke about it.

            Q State if you met these prisoners or any of them in October, 1868, and if so when and where?  A I met Patrick Hester, Peter McHugh and Ed Skivington, at Big Mine Run at Barney Dolan's in the afternoon of the 16th of October, 1868.  Hester was going down the mountain and wanted to jump on the coal cars to ride down.  He and McHugh left together. But Hester came back saying that he could not get on.  We got a drink and then we went down to Ashland to Tom Donohue's saloon.  While we were there Hester said "I lost a good thing to-day down the mountain, but I have a good thing on hand yet.  There's Rea going to make the pay at Bell's Tunnell to-morrow and there's money in it, if the job is done clean."

            Q Who were present at this time? A There was Patrick Hester and myself, Peter McHugh, Patrick Tully, Ed. Skivington, Brian Campbell, Jim Bradley, Pat Muldowney, Alex Lafferty and some more I don't remember now.

            Q You were all acquainted with each other? A Yes sir.

            Q And belonged to the same society?

            Objected to.

            Q Was Dalton there? A Yes sir.

            Q Well, now go on and state what was said and done by you after you heard the proposition? A Well, we all agreed to go and Lafferty went and bought some powder and balls at a hardware store across the street.

            Q Which Lafferty was this? A Rodger Lafferty.  He was called Johnson.

            Q Well go on?  A When he came back he loaded all the pistols.

            Q Did Lafferty load them all?  A Yes sir.

            Q How many were there? A We each had one.  Well we stopped there until late that night drinking and came on in the morning; we all went out but Lafferty.  He staid behind to tend the bar.

            Q What did you go for?  A We went to the place where Rea was to come along.  Before we got there Muldowney said he was lame and went back.  He said it was no use for him to go he couldn't hardly walk and he left us at Germantown.  We got through the toll gate before daylight.  Hester left us before we got there.  He said he was going to Shamokin to buy some hair and plaster to mix in with the lime with which to fix up his house.  Before he went he said to me "Here Kelly, is my pistol, you take it and it will be surer than yours." I took it and gave young Bradley mine.  Skiffington went with Hester.  He said he would go to work so that there would be no remarks passed about it.  We then went on down to the water barrel on the road from Centralia to Mount Carmel.  On the right side of the road there was an old track in to the bush.  We stopped there a good while because it was early then yet and we did not expect him until nine or ten o'clock.  We wanted to know what should be done with the boy if Rea had his son along with him and we had to shoot the old man; we decided that we would the boy take the horse and go home, and we would not hurt him; Bradley said he was not known in Centralia, and he would go in and get some whisky and cheese and crackers; I gave him money and he went and got them, and we ate and drank; after a while a man came along in a buggy; none of us knew Rea except Dalton; it was agreed that he should go out and if it was Rea in the carriage he should give us the signal by raising his hat and we would come out; he went, but as we did not see him give the signal we kept quiet where we were; we stayed in the bush watching; we were just opposite the water trough; after the carriage had passed, Dalton came back to us; a man came along in a light wagon, but we knew Rea would be in a carriage, so we did not heed him; we were getting pretty tired and the day was going by when another carriage came along; Dalton went out and have the signal; and we came out; Campbell, Bradley and Tully were right (illegible) him and McHugh and I were down the road further on the Mt. Carmel side; we had gone down there so that if Rea in his carriage passed the three above we could head him off; we all jumped out and went up to him with our pistols cocked; we told him to get out of his buggy and deliver, and he did so; he came down and handed his pocket-book and watch to me; he did not say a word; he did not beg to be saved, or say anything about his life or his wife and family, and he did not ask us for mercy; so I said to McHugh, "What shall we do with this man?"  I didn't like to kill him without him saying anything; McHugh said "I don't want to be hunted around the world by any living man," and with that the firing began.

            Q Well, go on and state what followed?  A Well, we fired a couple of shots at him a piece and then he ran into the brush; Tully walked up to him and put his pistol behind his ear and fired another shot into his head; we went up on the mountain, then and divided the money; there was between $50 and $60 in the pocketbook; there was one $10 bill with a corner off, and that we gave to Dalton, who with Bradley and Campbell, then started for Ashland; we walked over the mountain to the breaker and then went to Graham's house; we got there some time after dinner; Tully, McHugh and I had a few drinks together there, and then I jumped on to a beer wagon that was standing there and rode home to Locust Gap; I went to Jim Dooley's and sent  out for a pair of clean stockings.

            Defendants objected to the last portion of the answer and it was stricken out.

            Q Now tell us what time it was when Rea came along?  A It was between 9 and 10 o'clock.

            Q What time did you get home?  A About 3 o'clock.

            Q What did you do with Rea in the bushes?  A We did nothing to him.  We left him lying there.

            Q How did he get there?  A He ran in himself.

            Q How far was he from the road? A About forty or fifty yards.

            Q How was he lying when you left him? A Face down.

            Q Did you turn him over? A No, sir; we went right away after Tully fired the shot.

            Q What was done with the horse?  A We had led him in from the road a piece, so he would be out of sight, and I can't tell what became of him afterwards.

            Q How many shots were fired?  A I can't tell; I fired two and McHugh one or two and Tully one at least.  I believe Dalton was the only man who did not fire any.  We did not know who fired the first shot was it me or Tully we fired so close together.  I believe, on of the balls struck him in the cheek.

            Q You fired the shot out of Hester's pistol? A Yes, sir; I had lent mine to Bradley, when Hester gave me his, and I left Bradley's at Graham's.  Mine was larger than Bradley's and smaller than the others.  The one Hester gave me and Tully's and McHugh's were about the same size.  I think they were called navy pistols or horse pistols, or something like that.

            Q How many loads could Hester fire? A Five.

            Q Did you get that loaded down at Donohue's? A I was not present at that same time when the pistols were loaded.  I was in the room but paid no attention to what was going on.  But I believe it was loaded there.  I don't know what kind of balls were loaded.

            Q Hester's was a five shooter and yours a six shooter?  A Yes sir.

            Q I bring you now to a later day.  When did you next meet Hester or either of the defendants when the murder was talked of?  A I met him on that same night at Graham's at a raffle.  Hester and Skiffinton and a whole crowd were there.  I got into a buggy together with Mr. Farley and went to Locust Gap.  Three days afterward I rode a buggy from Locust Gap to Ashland with Hester.

            Q Was there any money paid to Hester out of that you got from Rea?  A No sir; he was to have got his share, but when he knew how much we got he said it was not worth dividing and he would wait till some other time.

            Q How much did you suppose Rea had?  A They said he had between $18,000 and $19,000.

            Q Who said it? A Hester.

            Q When was Rea killed?  A On a Saturday morning.

            Q And then you met at Donohue's on Friday? A Yes sir.

            Q Now, tell us whether or not you met Hester or any of the defendants about the 17th of November of the same year, and who were with you.  A I can't tell the day exactly, Pete McHugh, Tully, Aleck Lafferty, and Jack Smith and I went up to Hester's and had the drinks.  Jack Smith told him about the arrest of Duffy and Donohue, and said that it was going near his time, and that he would have to go.  That very same night he left, and the next night we went too.  We agreed to all go together.  I left McHugh and Tully at Hester's and Smith and I went back to Harvey's in Locust Gap.  We agreed to go the next night and we did so.  Smith was afraid of being arrested for the same case along with Duffy and Donohue, and we were afraid of being arrested for this murder.  I went from home to Graham's on the road to Mt. Carmel.  Then I went to Beaverdale and from there to Frenchtown; I went on foot after dark.  From there I went on foot to Hazleton, and stopped at Owen Foyles.  I went to another man by the name of Sheridan who sold whisky.  While I was there McHugh, Tully and Smith hired a buggy and drove to Wilkes-Barre, and left me behind.  I heard that Hughey O'Donnell was after us.  Tom Boyle and a fellow by the name of Tom Cull came after they had left me, I went back to Frenchtown ad from there to Tamaqua and worked on the road for a few weeks and then I went back to Locust Gap, where I met McHugh again.  I never met Tully since.

            Q How long had you been away?  A A month or six weeks.

            Q Where was Hester when you came back?  A In jail.  After he got out he told me he had been to Illinois, but he did not say how long he had been away.  He said he thought it would be better and surer for him if he would come back and give himself up than to be taken and brought back.

            Q What became of the pocket book?  A I gave it to Mrs. Dooley.

            Q And the watch?  A I gave it to Mike Graham to keep for me.

            Q What kind of watch was it?  A A gold one with two cases.  I sold it to Con O'Gara for $20.  He was just after being married and he thought he'd like to have it.  I took $10 on account and got $10 more afterward, when I came back I heard it was mashed.

 

 

February 23, 1877

Supplement

 

REA AND HESTER.

            A Scranton Republican reporter has had a talk with Mr. Paul Thurlow, of Philadelphia, about Alex W. Rea and Hester.  The following is an extract of what the reporter has written on the subject:

            He said that the very poorest in the place found Rea a friend, and even Hester, who is now on trial for conspiring to take his life, was a frequent visitor at his office for favors.  Hester was tax collector at that time, and not being a very brilliant mathemetician (sic), he often went to Rea to help him out of some intricate situation.  The Superintendent cheerfully gave his advice and assistance, and when the burly collector entered his office would often lay aside his other work, and with his genial "Well, Hester, what can we do for you to-day?" proceeded to straighten out his accounts, prepare bills, and in other ways facilitate his duties.  "It is hard to think," said Mr. Thurlow, "that Hester could contemplate the murder of the man who thus befriended him, and yet it is possible that the fiendish thought was ever uppermost in his mind, while the unsuspecting Rea was discommoding himself to assist the ignorant fellow out of his difficulty."

            Referring to Mrs. Rea's position, Mr. Thurlow said her husband had left her comfortably provided for, and that she had taken care to giver her children a liberal education.  Ever since the black shadow of death fell upon his household, she has resided at Danville with her family, respected by all who knew her.

 

 

March 2, 1877

Supplement

 

EXIT MOLLIE MAGUIRE.

            The conviction of Hester and his associates may be reckoned the death-blow to the power of the Mollie Maguires in the Schuylkill region.  That up to this time the murderous society has not been without hope is shown by the desperate efforts made to get these men clear.  It was a test case.  Hester was an old leader, he was identified with the band in its best days, he was better known than Jack Kehoe himself, the murder for which he is indicted was committed so long ago that it might well have been forgotten in the multitude of other crimes which preceded and followed it, if its perpetrators were to be dragged to light and punished at this late day, who among the Mollies would be safe?  Regard for the future existence of the order and for the personal safety of its members made it necessary that Hester should be saved if possible.

            Besides, there was a better chance here for successful defense than any of the already convicted leaders had had.  The prisoners were not taken red-handed and too fresh from their murderous work to be able to give any account of themselves, like Kelly and Doyle, they had not made a confidant of Detective McParlan, like Kehoe and his gang, and although most of the able talent which prosecuted the Mollies to conviction in the Schuylkill county courts was present at Bloomsburg, Franklin D. Gowen, whose sharp cross-examination and eloquent appeals to the jury the Mollies fear more than all the rest put together, was not present to terrify their witnesses into silence or the truth.  The Mollie Maguires had every reason to make as strong a defense as possible at Bloomsburg and every opportunity to do it; while the fact that a previous indictment for the same offense had been voluntarily abandoned by the Commonwealth after the acquittal of an alleged accomplice in the same Court gave them an additional advantage.

            They did their best.  The old familiar alibi defense was brought out in full vigor; desperate efforts were made to break down the evidence for the prosecution; the cloud of witnesses was so great and their testimony so well constructed and so well sworn to, that even those familiar with Mollie trials and their peculiar tactics began to fear for the result; but all in vain; the jury had no difficulty in coming to a conclusion.  They pronounced the evidence for the prisoners false and found them guilty of murder in the first degree-found them guilty of conspiring against, lying in wait for, feloniously attacking, and willfully murdering a man who had never harmed them, against whom they had no enmity, but whom they killed simply because he was in their way, might expose them to punishment, for a higher crime, and they thought this was the easiest way to dispose of him.

            The Mollie Maguires reign is over  We may-doubtless we shall-have lawlessness and violence and murder in this region hereafter; but never again will a society which has for its chief objects assassination and the protection o criminals be permitted to carry on its work unmolested here.  The old society is broken up, and the people now know how to prevent a new one from gaining strength and establishing itself, and they have determined to use that knowledge whenever it is required.  There will be no more Mollie Maguire leaders elected to positions where they can embarrass law and hinder justice, the assassin's accomplice will not again be set to the task of preventing assassination, there will be no more immunity for murderers who openly boast their crimes, the officers of the law can now perform their duties without fear of their lives and the people will demand at their hands the peace and good order of the community.  The Workingmen's Union, which was also broken up, may revive, though scarcely with its old importance and power for mischief; but it stands on a different footing form the Mollie Maguires.  It is not in itself a criminal organization, its members do not need to deny its existence or disavow their connection with it; so long as they do nothing unlawful they have a right to combine as much as they please; but the Mollies cannot again shelter themselves under the wing of the Union, and we do not believe its members will permit any more Mollie outrages to be committed in their name.  The murderous band has no shelter, no rallying point, no security anywhere, and unless the signs of the signs of the times are greatly deceptive, the region may congratulate itself on being rid forever of its greatest curse and peculiar disgrace.

 

 

March 2, 1877

 

THE REA MURDER TRIA (sic).

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Verdict on Saturday last Guilty of Murder in the First Degree Scene in Court.

            The Rea Murder trial came to an end at Bloomsburg on Saturday last after a steady pull of nearly three weeks.  The Court concluded its charge to the jury about one o'clock in the afternoon.  His Honor then admonished the jury of their oaths, warned them to be swayed by nothing but the sworn evidence in the case, to pay no attention to the popular interest in this trial, and invoking God's blessing upon their deliberations he sent them out.  It was one o'clock when the last juror retired.  After the people had cleared a passage for the prisoners to retire and the audience had been dismissed, the court was adjourned to the ringing of the bell.

            After that in the hotels and under awnings knots of men gathered, discussing the probable action of the jury.  As is usual there were three sides, all confident they could predict there conclusion that would be arrived at.  The friends of the prisoners, the alibi witnesses and Mollies were satisfied that their swearing would pull them through, while a great many people expected it would have no other effect than to procure a disagreement in the minds of the jury.  There was a third party though and it was not small in numbers, who would have been terribly (illegible) had the jury done anything but convict.

            At a few minutes after three o'clock the Court bell rang and immediately there was a grand rush to the Court House.  A few women, even now when the last blow was to be struck or the irons taken off, when the most impressive and terrible scene of the trial was to be enacted, crowded to the front.

            At a quarter past three o'clock the jury came in and took their seats.  One of the jurors handed the papers and documents they had had out to a reporter who told him he had better keep them a while yet, but took them anyhow and passed them to Mr. Buckalew.  Judge Elwell commanded order and immediately a death-like silence reigned.

            The prisoners were soon brought in followed, two of them by their wives and one by his two daughters.  Helen Hester tried hard to keep back her tears, and Anna looked very pale.  Mrs. Hester hung her head low while her husband held his high as though still defiant.  Tully seemed calm and undisturbed, but McHugh was shaken.  He was very nervous and with the back of his left hand rubbed his left eye very hard.

            Prothonotary Zarr looking over the heads of the crowd between him and the jury, asked: "Gentlemen of the jury have you agreed upon a verdict?"  And the twelve good and true nodded that they had.

            Judge Elwell interrupted further proceedings and cautioned the audience that no demonstration either of applause or dissatisfaction of the verdict when it was rendered, and he instructed the officers to bring any one before the Court who attempted anything of the kind.

            The Prothonotary then proceeded to inquire what the verdict was.  Mr. Perry Christian, the foreman, replied that they had found the prisoners guilty.

            "Of what?" inquired the officer.

            "Of Murder," replied the juror.

            The juror had evidently forgotten his Honor's instructions to particularly specify the degree, and the clerk was somewhat out of patience as he inquired, "In what degree?"  With a firm voice the juror answered, "Of murder in the first degree."

            The clerk then proceeded to take the verdict as to each prisoner separately.  He asked:

            Gentlemen of the jury, what say you in your verdict in the case of the Commonwealth vs. Patrick Hester?

            Guilty of murder in the first degree, answered Mr. Christian.

            Mr. Elwell, of the prisoner's counsel, asked that the jury be polled, and as the clerk called over the names of the jury as follows, and put the question, each one arose in his seat and pronounce the death verdict: Frank Shuman, Amos Wanich, Wm. Miller, Lewis Girton, H. N. White, Wm. Richards, Perry Christian, Abraham White, Isaac A. DeWitt, Benj. McHenry, Elijah Yocum and Joseph Lehman.  When Mr. Zarr had got as far as Mr. Richards, Mrs. Hester fainted and fell back against the rail separating the bar from the audience.  Helen Hester, who was nearest her, and who with her sister Anna was now crying bitterly, picked her up and held her, while gentlemen sitting around ran for water.  A momentary stop in the proceedings resulted.  Mrs. Hester soon recovered and her husband took her hand in his while his arm went around her waist and she lay her head over on his left shoulder.  The girls then resumed their seats and continued to weep.  This incident, solemn and sad as it was, affected Mr. Zarr so much that, when he continued, his voice was husky, and tears stood in his eyes.

            He then took the verdict as to Tully and then as to McHugh, polling the jury as to each upon the motion of Mr. Elwell.

            Colonel Freeze then moved in arrest of judgment and for a new trial for reasons to be filed.

            "When will they be filed?" inquired his Honor.

            "Within the four days prescribed by the rules of the Court" replied Mr. Freeze.

            His Honor directed the motion to be filed and remanded the prisoners.  The jury were discharged with the thanks of the Court and the Court then adjourned.

            Thus ends for the present the trial of one of the worst Mollies that ever lived.  Aleck Campbell in Carbon was bad; Jack Kehoe knew no good feeling or sense of right; but Pat Hester was the very devil as Mr. Hughes called him and though he waded in blood for years, he has at last been brought to justice.  The avenging Goddess may be slow, but she is sure, and Patrick Hester and his two lieutenants in crime will find that God may for a time stay his wrath, but when he finally does pour it forth upon the heads of offenders against his law, His punishment is terrible.

 

 

April 6, 1877

 

The Hester Case.

 

            The argument on the reasons for a new trial of Patrick Hester et al., convicted of the murder of Alexander W. Rea, was made before Judge Elwell at Bloomsburg yesterday.  The decision of the Court was reserved until the May term of Court.  It is almost certain that the motion will be overruled and the prisoners sentenced to be hanged.

 

 

May 11, 1877

 

Hester, Tully and McHugh Refused a New Trial.

 

            A special dispatch from Bloomsburg yesterday morning stated that upon the opening of Court there Judge Elwell had announced that the application for a new trial in the cases of Hester, Tully and McHugh, had been overruled.  They were convicted on the 24th of February last of the murder of Alexander W. Rea, and are the first and only Mollies convicted in that county since the flood.