The Columbian and Democrat
November 17, 1876
The arrest of Hester and Graham fro complicity in the number of Alex W. Rea will be found noticed elsewhere. Those who desire to look over the evidence given in the trial of Donahue and Duffy, in this county, can find a full report of the trial at this office. In view of the probable trial of Hester and Graham it will prove interesting reading.
Readers of the COLUMBIAN will remember the trial of Thomas Donahue, and John Duffy, arraigned with Michael Prior and Patrick Hester, for the murder of Alexander W. Rea, which took place at the February term of court, 1869.
The murder was committed on the 17th of October, 1868 about a mile and a half from Centralia. Donahue and Duffy were acquitted and a nolle prosequi entered in the cases of the others.
Last week Hester and a man named Michael Graham were arrested and lodged in the Schuylkill county jail, charged with the murder of Rea, Hester as accessory before the fact and Graham as accessory after the fact. The chief evidence against them is that of a man in jail at Pottsville, charged with larceny, who has confessed the crime and given the names of the parties engaged in it, and the division of the money taken from the body after the murder. Patrick McHugh has also been arrested charged with complicity. The prisoners with doubtless be sent to this county for trial at the December court.
Since writing the above Patrick Tilley, alias Pat Brown, has been arrested near Wilkes-Barre and taken to the Pottsville jail, charged with connection with the murder.
February 9, 1877
THE REA MURDER.
Bloomsburg has not contained as many strangers during court week, sicne the trial of Thomas Donahue, Michael Pryor and John Duffy, for the murder of Alexander W. Rea, a Colliery Superintendent in 1869 at present assembled here. The defendants were acquitted at that time, and ever since there has been an effort to discover the guilty parties, but no one had been arrested until recently, when Patrick Hester, Michael Graham, Patrick McHugh and Patrick Tully, were taken in custody for the murder of Rea, on the information of one Kelley. The prisoners were brought to Bloomsburg on Friday of laws week, and placed in the jail where they are under the charge of a number of coal and iron police. On Wednesday the Grand Jury returned a true bill against Patrick Hester, Patrick McHugh and Patrick Tully for the crime with which they are accused. It will be remembered that Mr. Rea was murdered while on his way from Centralia to Mt. Carmel. The testimony of the first trial in full can be obtained at the COLUMBIAN office in pamphlet form.
At three o'clock on Wednesday afternoon, the prisoners, accompanied by their wives, were brought into court by the guard. The court room was packed, standing room being hard to find. Just in front of the jury box is R. A. West with his corps of stenographers, employed by the Phila. & Reading Rail Road. Before the Bench is a long table at which the Phila. Times, Shenandoah Herald, Miners' Journal and other dailies represented.
At the Commonwealth counsel table sit Hon. F. W. Hughes, Hon. C. R. Buckalew, W. J. Buckalew, and John M. Clark, District Attorney. For the defence(sic), John Ryon, of Pottsville (line illegible) Freeze, Capt. C. B. Brockway and Geo. E. Elwell (illegible). Upon the formal (illegible) of the accused, McHugh and Tully answered "not guilty" and a special plea in the nature of "autrefois acquit" was entered by counsel for Patrick Hester. The effect of the plea is being argued as we go to press.
February 16, 1877
THE REA HOMICIDE.
JUDGE ELWELL RULES OUT HESTER SPECIAL PLEA. -- THE TRIAL PROCEEDS.
We went to press last week too soon to give anything more than a brief account of the opening of this, the last and one of the most important of what are known as the "Molly Maguire" trials. The special plea entered by Patrick Hester was argued by Messrs Ryon and Wolverton on behalf of the prisoner, and by Messrs. Hughes and Buckalew for the Commonwealth. On Thursday afternoon Judge Elwell read his opinion deciding that the plea was not sufficient, and that the prisoner must plead over again to the indictment, to which ruling the defense took an exception. The Court then ordered that a jury be called. This occupied the entire afternoon. The jury selected is as follows: Franklin Shuman, Main township; Amos Wanich, Mt. Pleasant; William Miller, Mt. Pleasant; Lewis Girton, Hemlock; H. N. White, Scott; William Richart, Hemlock; Perry Christian, Madison; Abraham White, Organe; Isaac A. Dewitt, Greenwood; Benjamin McHenry, Greenwood; Elijah Yocum, Benton; Joseph Lamon, Briarcreak. John M. Clark, District Attorney, opened for the Commonwealth in the following speech:
May it please the Court, Gentlemen of the Jury: Patrick Hester, Peter McHugh and Patrick Tully are charged with the felonious killing on the 17th of October, 1868, of Alexander W. Rea, and this killing is beyond a doubt murder in the first degree. We charge McHugh and Tully with being participants in the murder, and we charge Hester with aiding and abetting them. The law will tell you that an accessory before the fact occupies the position of a principal and is just as guilty. Before going further I would (illegible) that up to within a year there has been an organization called the "Mollie Maguires" in existence in the coal region and though the by laws and (illegible) of this order are apparently of a proper character the practices of the order are directly opposite. We shall prove to you that robbery and murder were among the practices of the order. We shall prove that Hester, McHugh and Tully are or were members of this order, and we shall also prove that this is, if ever there was one, a "Mollie Maguire" case. Mr. Rea was murdered at a point called the "Water Barrel," on the road leading from Mount Carmel to Centralia. He was the superintendent of the Coal Ridge Improvement Coal Company, and was in the habit of paying the hands at his colliery, and we shall prove to you that Mr. Rea was murdered for the money he was supposed to have upon his person on that fatal day. He received six wound, two in the breast, one back of the left ear, two in the cheek, and one in the mouth, any one of the wounds was mortal, but so brutal were these men that even after Rea fell one of the murders walked up to him, and shot him through the head. We shall show you that on the 16th of October, Hester, James Bradley, a fugitive from justice, Jack Dalton, William Muldoon, another fugitive from justice, Ned Skivington, Peter McHugh, Pat Tully, and Dan Kull or Kelley met at the saloon of Thomas Donohue at Ashland, and hatched the conspiracy to kill Rea. They remained in the saloon all night, and in the morning went to the "Water Barrel." Skivington and Hester only went part of the way. The others continued, and Tully and Dan Kelly went as far as the "Water Barrel," where the murder was committed. By the testimony of any eye witness we will prove what I have told you, and we will corroborate this man's testimony in its minutest details. We will prove that McHugh and Tully fled the county, and why did they fly if not guilty? We will prove that at that time Pat Hester was county delegate of Northumberland county; and we shall prove that his influence was so great in the order that he was enabled to get his companions to agree to divide the spoils with him, though he did not actually help them to commit the murder. With this statement of the facts I will leave you, only asking you to do justice and return such a verdict as will accord with the evidence. We are not here as persecutors, but as the supporters of the law, and that the murder of a husband and father may be avenged. All that we ask you to do is to acquit the innocent and convict the guilty.
At the close of Mr. Clark's speech Court adjourned.
Court opened on Friday morning with a house packed to overflowing, the expectation of seeing Kelly the "informer" on the witness stand increasing the excitement of the public to a high pitch. The prisoners were brought in by the guard and placed near their counsel, the wife and two daughters of Hester sitting by him.
Mrs. Alex W. Rea, the widow of the murdered man was the first witness called. She testified as follows:
"Prior to the 17th of October, 1868, my husband lived in Danville, and at the time of his decease I lived in Centralia; we moved from Danville to Centralia; my husband was the agent of the Locust Mountain Coal and Iron Company and of the Coal Ridge Improvement Coal Company; I saw my husband last alive on October 17, 1868; he left home about eight o'clock in the morning and drove to Ashland in a one-horse vehicle, returned to Centralia; and then went to the Coal Ridge colliery; that is on the road from Mount Carmel to Centralia; I next saw my husband on Sunday morning he was dead; at the time of his death my husband was forty-five years of age."
Q. he left a widow and how many children?
"I object to that," said Mr. Ryon.
Mr. Rea left six children.
Q. Was he in good health when you saw him last? A. Yes, sir.
Cross examined by Mr. Ryon. Q. Did you see your husband leave in a horse and wagon? A. I did; I did not see him going to Ashland, but he spoke of going; I saw him got to Coal Ridge; I did not see him after he returned to Centralia, but I believe the children did; the horse he drove that morning was a dark brown, almost black; the wagon was a covered on, a falling top; when I saw it that morning the top was half down.
Q. He was not going to make a pay that day? A. A few bills had been left unpaid form the day before; the day before was pay day, at least the men were paid that day, (the rest of the text to the bottom of the page is distorted and illegible)
he had paid the men at the colliery on Friday, and that it was rather an unusual occurrence for him to do so. He also testified that after the pay was made about a thousand dollars remained, and this money was taken home by Mr. Rea, and that as a usual thing the money for a pay was expressed from Philadelphia to Mr. Rea.
Dr. E. L. Betterly Sworn.
I live in Wilkes-Barre, now but in 1868 I lived in Centralia; was a practicing physician then; I had known Alexander W. Rea from 1859; I was called to hold a post mortem examination upon the body of Mr. Rea on Sunday, October 18, at his office; I examined the body and found several pistol wounds on his body; one wound was near the left nipple, another penetrated the lungs, another penetrated the stomach, and another wound was in the face; the ball must have entered the left corner of the mouth and passed out at the shoulder; either of five of the wounds would have caused instant death.
Q. Describe the balls? A. They were such as could be fired from a Colt's revolver, and one of them might have belonged to a Smith & Wesson; I am not acquainted with the sizes.
When Betterly had finished Mr.Hughes read
THE TESTIMONY OF JAMES KEALY,
as given at the trial of Donahue: Am justice of the peace at Centralia; I held an inquest on the body of Rea on the 18th of October last; found the body perforated by six gun-shot wounds; first two wounds were in the heart; found no other wounds six, except that the skin of his right finger and thumb were rubbed; clothing not torn; the body was dressed in overcoat, undercoat, (illegible); examined his pockets and found a leather drinking cup and five keys; found no watch or pistol, but found some copper coins; the inquest was held on the body where it was found."
sworn. – prior to 1869 I lived in Centralia.
Q. Tell us how you found the body of Mr. Rea? A. Well, the first thing that I found was a glove, and I called the crowd and showed it to them; we walked a few steps further, and there in the brush we found the body of Mr. Rea; this was upon the 18th of October, 1868; the spot where I found the body is not far from the "Water Barrel;" it was on the right hand side of the road heading from Centralia to Mount Carmel; the body lay in a clear spot, but there was brush all around, and a path led from the road to the clearing; there was a pretty strong frost that morning, and the body ought to have been stiff, but I do not know; I was excited, and when I found the body I shed tears; they took the body him and Mr. Kealy held an inquest on it.
Cross examined by Mr. Ryon. – We found the body on Sunday morning, October 18, and it was pretty early; Lewis Edwards was nearest to me when I found the body; I made an examination of the body; the glove lay right on the edge of the path.
Q. Where it had been dropped? A. I suppose so, but I can't say.
Q. How was the body lying when you found it? A. On his back, face up; his head was toward the turnpike; I can't say whether his legs were doubled up or not and I can't say how his hands appeared.
Q. Where is Lewis Edwards? A. I don't know.
Q. Which side of the road is the "Water Barrel" on? A. On the left side going toward Mount Carmel.
Q. On the same side you found the body? No, sir.
Mr. Hughes – Q. When did you begin the search? A. At night; we built a fire and stayed by it till morning.
Q. Where are you from, Kelly? A. I came from Ireland in 1865, and landed at Castle Garden; I went to Old Mines, and then back again, and then to Malone, York State; in 1867 I left there and went to Sunbury; then I worked for a man named Savage, on the road between Sunbury and Danville; in 1867 I went to Locust Gap; I know the prisoners at the bar; I met all three in Locust Gap; I met Hester in the winter I went there, and McHugh at the same time, and I met Tully shortly after; I was intimately acquainted with them.
Q. Did you belong to any organizations of which they were members?
Objected to. Objection overruled.
A. Yes, sir; some called it the "Mollie Maguires;" we met frequently, but never
belonged to the body in Locust Gap; I worked at Green Ridge and met McHugh there often, and I used to meet the other men at the Gap.
Q. Did you meet these prisoners in October, (illegible) A. I met Pat. Hester, Peter McHugh and Ned Skiffington at Big Mine Run in Barney Dolan's, on the 16th of October, 1868; Hester was going down the mountain with Skiffington; Hester was goin to the Plane and he missed the train, so he came back to Dolan's and had a drink; we then walked to Ashland to Donohue's saloon; Hester said I lost something by not going down the mountain to-day, but there's a good thing to be got to-morrow; "Rea will go to Bell's Tunnel to-morrow," said Hester, "and there's money in it for us."
Q. Who was there? A. Hester, McHugh, Tully, Skiffington, Brain Campbell, Jim Bradley, Billy Muldowny and Lafferty and myself.
Q. Did you all belong to the same society? A. Yes sir.
Q. Was Jack Dolphin there? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What was done? A. After we agreed to go, Roger Lafferty, alias Johnstone, went across the street and bought some powder and ball and came back and loaded the pistols; each one of us had a pistol; we drank and drank and staid all night; all but Lafferty went out in the morning to meet Mr. Rea and rob him; when we got as far as Germantown, Muldowney left us, saying he was lame; when we got above the toll gate Hester handed me his pistol, saying, "Kelly your pistol is no good, take mine for I know it's sure," and he said he would go to Shamokin to buy hair to mix lime with, and Skivington said he would go and work in the mines to throw off suspicion; the rest of us went on to the "Water Barrel" and stopped there; we then talked about Rea and his boy, and we agreed that if the boy was with Rea we would send the boy home with the horse if we had to shoot Rea; Bradley said he was not known in Centralia, so he went and got a quart of whisky and some crackers and we eat them; five of us didn't know Rea, so Dalton got on the road to signal; soon a man came along in a wagon, but Dalton didn't shake his hat; before this man came up Dalton went out on the road to see who was coming, and then he came into the woods again; then a buggy came along and Dalton gave the signal, and when the wagon got opposite the "Water Barrel" we jumped out on him; Rea got out of the buggy when we told him to; he handed his watch and pocket book to me, and he said nothing; I asked McHugh what we should do with the man, and McHugh said, "I won't be hunted around the country by any living man;" then the shooting began; Rea ran into the woods and Tully ran up to him and shot him through the ear; we then went up the mountain and divided the money, sixty dollars; Dalton got a ten dollar bill with a corner off; Tully and McHugh and I got into Graham's some time that day, and in the afternoon I drove to Locust Gap with a beer man; when I got to Dooley's I sent Mrs. Dooley out for a pair of clean stockings; I got home about half-past two or three.
Q. When did you meet Rea? A. Between nine and ten o'clock, I think; he ran into the bushes himself, and we left him lay where he fell; he was laying face down when we left, and we left right away; we led the horse out of sight in the woods; the horse was turned off the road while we were shooting Rea; I fired two shots, but I don't know how many shots were fired; all of us except Dalton fired; McHugh fired one or two shots that I saw, and I saw Tully fire also.
Q. Who fired the first shot? A. Tully or myself, I don't know which; The shot of one of them struck Rea in the cheek; I left Hester's pistol at Graham's and I had given my own to Bradley; Hester's pistol was a sort of a navy and I think it held five loads; I believe Hester's pistol was loaded at Donohue's; (the next few lines are illegible until almost the very bottom of the page) loaded for me; my own pistol was a six-shooter, I think;
Q. When did you next see Hester and the others and talked of the murder? A. I saw Hester the same night at Graham's; the crowd was there at about nine o'clock; I drove to the Gap with Mr. Farley; I next saw Hester in about three days, and rode with him from the Gap to Ashland; Hester got no money, because there wasn't enough, and he said it wasn't worth dividing; Hester said Rea would have eighteen or nineteen thousand on him; Rea was killed on a Saturday, and we met at Donohue's on Friday.
Q. Did you see Hester about the 17th of November? A. I don't remember the exact day, but Smith, Lafferty, Tully, McHugh and myself went to Hester's; I think it was the day after Tom Donohue was arrested. Hester went away that night and we went off a couple of nights after; we met at Harvey's before we went to Hester's and as we were (the next four lines are extremely faint); we got to Hester's after agreeing to see him, and Smith told Hester that Donohue and Duffy were arrested, and Hester said, "It's near time that I should clear out," and that night he did clear out, and we stayed around until the next night; Hester didn't tell us where he was going; I went to Locust Gap that night and left McHugh and Tully at Hester's; the three of us met at Harvey's on the next day and we all agreed to clear out as we were afraid of being arrested; we went to Mike Graham's at Beaverdale, and then went to Frenchtown that night; we traveled on foot and at night we stopped with a man named Owen Cowly; we then went to Hazleton and stoped with Sheridan; the next night Tully, McHugh and Smith hired a rigging and drove to Wilkesbarre, and left me in Hazleton; it was reported that Hugh O'Donnell was after us; a man by the name of Cull and Tom Boyle were with them; I then went back to Frenchtown and then to Tamaqua; a good while afterward I met McHugh at Locust Gap, but I never met Tully; I remained away a month or two months, and when I came back Hester was in jail; after he got out he told me that he went to Illinois; he didn't tell me how long he stopped and he said he thought it looked better to come back as he might be taken out there; I had no conversation with Hester after he came back from Illinois; Mrs. Dooley got Rea's pocket-book; the watch – a gold one – I gave to Mike Graham to keep for me, and I got it form him and gave it to Con. Garrah for ten dollars, and then he it to me and I gave it to McGuire for ten dollars and gave that ten dollars to Garrah; I afterward learned that that watch was broke.
Cross-examined by Mr. Ryon. – Q. How old are you Kelly? A. About thirty-seven.
Q. Is your right name Daniel Kelly? A. Not my right name – Manus Cull is.
Q. How many names besides your right one have you borne in this country? A. One.
Q. You first stopped at Wilkesbarre? A. Yes; I don't know how long I stopped, but until the fall and from there went to the Old Mines; I landed at New York on the 2d or 3d of June, 1865; I boarded with my mother in Wilkesbarre; in Tamaqua I lived with an uncle.
Q. You robbed a Jew peddler when you left Wilkesbarre? A. No, sir.
Q. How many crimes did you commit in Wilkesbarre? A. I got into several difficulties and one time the police got me but I got away from them; when I went to Sunbury it was for helping to rob a man of his watch and money; Davy Sheehan was the man; I got some fourteen dollars and a small watch; it was at night we robbed him.
Q. Now tell us about the peddler you robbed of overcoats and watches? A. I deny that charge.
Q. You robbed John Travers in Hazleton? A. He accused me of it, but I didn't get his money, as I paid him seventeen dollars to settle; I left then because I was under banishment for the crime.
Q. Where did you change your name? A. In Sunbury.
Q. Why did you change it? A. To escape arrest.
Q. When did you work in Sunbury? A. In 1867.
Q Did you live in Shamokin? A. Yes, sir; I boarded along with Tully with a woman near the depot, I forget her name.
Q. You do? A. I do.
Q. Didn't you shoot at Weimar Young one day and try to kill him? A. I didn't try to kill him, but I shot at his once.
Q. He was sitting in his own door when you fired at him? A. He was sitting or standing; and my gun went off before I noticed it; it was the time of the eight hour law, and Young said that he would shoot the first man that passed his door, and as a crowd of us passed he stood there and I cocked my gun and it went off; more than me had guns.
Q. You robbed Anthony Early. A. I was blamed for it.
Q. Who beat him? A. Pat. Dolan, Pete Benner and Pat. Hart and the others I didn't know: I didn't beat that man, but I got part of his money and I don't deny anything that I'm guilty of; there was a warrant out for me charging me with robbery.
Q. Wasn't Graham one of the men who tried to arrest you? A. He had plenty of chances to arrest me and wasn't one of the men.
Q. Graham was supervisor and didn't he tell his man to watch for you? A. I never heard it until this minute.
Q. Didn't you tell Tom McDonnell that you would pay Graham back for trying to arrest you? A. I don't remember anything of the kind.
Q. You beat John Shiloo and left him for dead taking his hat. A. I had some words with him.
Q. Didn't you beat Hugh O'Donnell? A. No.
Q. After you robbed Early where did you go? A. After I was charged with the robbery I went to Mount Laffee.
Q. How long a time have you spent in Schuylkill jail? A. About fifty-one months. Q. When you left the jail where did you go? A. To a picture gallery.
Q. With whom? A. A gentleman sitting near you (Captain Linden.)
Q. Did you exchange? A. No, sir.
Q. Then where did you go? A. To a saloon and had a glass of beer.
Q. What boarding house do you stop at here? A. I don't know the name of the fort up here.
Q. You were in Schuylkill jail for twenty-two months? A. Yes, sir, robbing a man named Abel White.
Q. He was a farmer? A. No he was not; he was a watchman.
Q. Did you rob him? A. I was accused of it.
Q. Well did you? A. He said no.
Q. Did he tell the truth? A. Yes, sir. (Laughter.)
Q. You received a pardon for your last (the next few lines are illegible till the bottom of the page.)
Q. Where did you get that suit of clothe? A. In Pottsville jail.
Q. From whom? A. I can't tell.
Q. From Philadelphia? A. I don't know; I didn't order it and I didn't pay for it and didn't steal it, (illegible till next line) I asked no questions.
Q When they gave you a suit of clothes and boots, socks, and shirt, did they give you a pair of kid gloves? A. No; they thought I was refined enough without them, I suppose
Q. Did a man named Helms tell you in that prison one day that you were the murderer of Alexander Rea? A. No, sir.
Q. Didn't he tell you that he hid in the bush that day and saw the whole affair, and that he saw you walk up to the buggy and pull Rea out of the wagon and shoot him? A. No and he would have been foolish to say that, as he wasn't there.
Q. Didn't you tell Ben. Thomas in jail that Hester was innocent of the murder of Rea? A. No.
Q. Didn't you tell him that you would swear to anything to get out of jail, and that you didn't care a damn for an oath? A. I never held such a disclosure in my life; I never told Dan. Higgins that I would swear fifty men's lives away to get out, but him and me had some trouble and I struck him, and he said he would be revenged; I never went to John Gammon to try to get him to swear to a lie, and I would have gone to the wrong man, for he is too much of a man to swear to a lie; the mayor of Wilkes-Barre never arrested me for robbing a crippled soldier.
At this point court adjourned until nine a.m. on Saturday morning.
On Saturday morning Mr. Ryon began the cross-examination of Kelly as follows:
Q. When you were in Pottsville didn't you attempt to rob Mr. Sol. Foster jr., of sixty dollar, which was paid to him in the rooms of the democratic standing committee, of which he was chairman? A. I don't know the man at all.
Q. Didn't you stand over him with a knife and tell him that you must have money. A. No, sir; not that I remember.
Q. Didn't you rob Dalton of his pistol? A. No, sir, but Hester and me stole three barrels of whisky from Hall's stable.
Q. You stole a watch from Jack Smith once? A. No, sir; I didn't know that he had one.
Q. You know James Dorsey? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You stole his watch. A. No, sir.
Q. Where did you board at Locust Gap? A. I boarded a bit with Charlie Boyle, and I stopped with Charlie and Johnny Gannon.
Q. How much a week did you pay Boyle for board? A. Twenty dollars a month I guess.
Q. Did you board with him a month? A. I don't think I did.
Q. Then out of a year and a half you only boarded less than a month? A. I didn't live for a year and a half at Locust Gap; I was there off and on; I went to Germantown and Dark Corner and back again; I went to Corner in the spring of 1868; I was electioneering around there.
Q. When did you go electioneering? In 1868 or 1869; anyway it was when Kase was running against Fiske in Shamokin (he means Northumberland county); I went around with Hester, as I was a favorite of his; I electioneered for Kase.
Q. Who did you call on? A. Oh, on all the boys in the society.
Q. How long did you take to canvas Locust Gap? A. Oh, I don't know.
Q. After politics gave out what did you do? A. I went from place to place; some of the "Mollies" of the region would want me to help do a job and I was always well taken care of, and so it continued until I got sick and tired of hearing of robberies; Kelly got sick of it himself and at last said to Mr. Ryon, "I'll own up to all that I have done but I defy any man to prove that I ever stole until I joined the "Mollie Maguires" and after I joined the society I would do anything; the first robbery that I ever committed was in Wilkesbarre and was egged on to it by a man named Peebles, who kept a saloon and who used to drug his customers that I might rob them and divide with him.
"Your plan was to knock a man down and then pick his pocket, wasn't it," asked Mr. Ryon.
"No." was the answer, "it wasn't; I used to get my man drunk first, if possible and then when he had lain down, go through him."
March 2, 1877
THE REA MURDER.
JUDGE ELWELL'S CHARGE TO THE JURY.
The following is a verbatim report of the charge of Judge Elwell, in the recent murder trial.
Gentlemen of the Jury: Over two weeks ago you were selected according to the solemn forms of the law to sit as the tribunal to pass upon the facts in this important case. During the whole of this protracted investigation you have submitted with the commendable patience to the confinement incident to a trial of this nature, and I have observed that from the first opening of the case to this time you have given to it your undivided attention and have listened to the evidence and the argument of counsel with the evident anxiety to ascertain the truth in regard to the homicide charged against the prisoners at the bar. Such interest in the discharge of duty deserves all praise and is especially your due for the uncomplaining manner in which you have borne the hardship of being separated from your families and from the pursuit of your own private interests and business.
You have been warned by counsel against prejudice and prejudgment. Your answers to inquiries when called to those seats forbid the idea that any caution from the court in necessary on that subject. I cannot bring my mind to fear that the verdict of twelve upright and intelligent jurors, selected by lot from the mass of their fellow citizens will be founded upon anything besides the applicable to the case and the facts as established by the evidence.
This case has been prepared by the counsel on both sides with great industry and has been presented and argued with marked ability and learning. Where their labor ends your task begins. They duty of the court will end when we shall have instructed you as to the law of the case, and rendered to you such service as may be in our power to please at your disposal, to assist you in the responsible office of applying the law to the facts. If we discharge these duties in the fear of God and according to the best of our judgment and ability, neither the prisoners at the bar, nor the community in which we live, will have just cause to complaint.
(Major parts of this article are faded, have creases, are blurred, or are just illegible like the article concerning the first week of the trial from the Republican, transcription of he legible text makes no clear sense since it is so broken.)
Judge Elwell ended his charge at one (line illegible) decision of the twelve men who held in their hands the fate of three prisoners. At a little past three o'clock the tolling of the Court House bell gave startling notice that a verdict had been reached, and then ensued such a scene as (illegible) before witnessed in Bloomsburg. In a moment of time the streets were filled, as if by magic, with scores of excited men and women who rushed frantically to the court room to hear the verdict. No one doubted what it was -- the short time that the jury had been in consultation precluded the possibility of any other finding that that of "guilty."
The excitement in the court room was intense -- every eye was bent on the prisoners until the jury appeared, when they in turn became objects of the most anxious and excited scrutiny. McHugh was the only one of the prisoners who showed signs of emotion. Judge Elwell cautioned the audience to abstain from any demonstrations, whatever the verdict might be, and then the Clerk of the Court asked the momentous question, "Gentlemen of the jury, in the case of the Commonwealth against Patrick Hester, how do you find?" The solemn silence which ensued was broken by the voice of the foreman (illegible) the jury, "Guilty of murder in the first degree." Mr. Elwell asked the jury to be polled, and each member answered "guilty," but before all had answered to their names Mrs. Hester fell fainting from her chair. The long suspense and the bitter ending had proved too much for her strength. The verdicts were taken and Tully and McHugh were in like manner pronounced "guilty of murder in the first degree."
It was indeed a sad scene and one not likely to be forgotten by those who witnessed it. The weeping wife and daughters of Hester and the grief stricken, gray haired wife of Tully appealed strongly to the sympathy of all, and many eyes were moist.
With but little delay the prisoners were handcuffed and taken to jail, and the court room was speedily vacated. It is said that when the jury took the first ballot it stood eleven for conviction and one for acquittal, and that the second ballot showed twelve for conviction.
There has never before been a conviction for murder in the first degree since Bloomsburg has been the county seat.
March 9, 1877
Captain Alderson, Messrs. Rowbottom, (illegible) Horn have been detailed as guard at the county jail during the imprisonment of the men convicted of the murder of Rea.
Daniel Kelly, the "Bum," is lying in jail under arrest for the murder of Alexander Rea. He will probably be tried at May court, and convicted on his own confession.
The Monroe Democrat in speaking of Hester's connection with the murder of Mr. Rea, says:
He was the first to suggest the murder of the Superintendent, and on the day of the tragedy led the gang of murderers to the spot where the crime was committed. When it was found that Rea did not possess the money of which they intended to rob him, it was Hester who gave the order to kill him, saying, "Dead men tell no tales," and it was he who fired the fifth and final shot which penetrated the brain.
As Hester was not present when Rea was killed, a fact conceded by both prosecution and defense, it is difficult to see how he could have fired the "fifth and fatal shot." The whole story is a yarn. Hester didn't lead the murderers to the spot, nor go himself, nor did he fire any shot any where at anybody. Such flagrant misrepresentations are inexcusable in view of the many correct reports of the trial which have been put in print.
May 11, 1877
On Thursday morning, the court ordered Hester, Tully, and McHugh, convicted of the murder of Alex. Rea, to be brought up to hear the decision on a motion for a new trial. Mrs. Hester accompanied her husband. In an exhaustive opinion by Judge Elwell the motion was overruled. The prisoners all shed tears at the result, but were not greatly moved. They were remanded to the sheriff's custody, and will be sentenced with a few days. We will give a full account next week.
June 1, 1877
The death warrants of Hester, Tully and McHugh were received by the Sheriff on Saturday, but at so late an hour that the reading of them to the condemned men was necessarily postponed until Monday. At about nine o'clock in the morning Sheriff Hoffman visited the jail on his solemn errand, accompanied by the following gentlemen: J. G. Freeze, of counsel for the prisoners, District Attorney J. M. Clark and W. J. Buckalew of counsel for the Commonwealth, C. B. Brockway and G. E. Elwell, solicitors for the Sheriff, James C. Brown of the Republican, B. F. Zarr, Prothonotary, William Krickbaum and M. Millard, Deputy Sheriffs. The prisoners had been prepared for the ordeal by their counsel, and were perfectly calm. The warrants were read by C. B. Brockway, at the request of the Sheriff, and were listened to with composure by the prisoners, who made no remarks. Each one of the men was taken to an adjoining room apart from his companions and the warrant read to him. A writ of error will be taken out at once.
June 8, 1977
There are in the county jail, at present writing, seven prisoners; the three condemned men Hester, Tully and McHugh, Kramer, under charge of setting fire to the Exchange Hotel; Archie, colored, surety of the peace; Kelly the witness in the Hester trial and John B. Wright, Berwick, for robbery.
The man Kelly now in prison on the charge of having murdered Rea, and who on his own confession, not only aided in committing that foul deed, but is guilty of countless other heinous crimes, is permitted to roam at large throughout the jail premises and is treated as though he is an honored guest. He is an aknowledged felon of the deepest dye, and until legally released should not be treated with any more consideration than Hester, Tully and McHugh.
June 22, 1877
Seven additional Coal and Iron policemen arrived in town on Wednesday and proceeded at once to the jail. This increase in the number of guards was, we presume, made in view of the rumors afloat concerning the rescue of the prisoners. The whole police force of the town and five additional men patrolled the streets at night and will continue to do so until after to night.
July 18, 1877
HESTER ET AL. VS. THE COMMONWEALTH. --
The Writ of Error, in the above stated case, will be argued before the Supreme Court of the State, sitting in Pittsburgh, on the coming first Monday, being the first day of October. Of course there will be no execution on the 9th of August, the writ being a supersedeas (sic), and a certified copy of it having been served on the sheriff by Col. Freeze. The Paper Book in the case, containing all the evidence, the charge of the Court, special pleas, history of the case, argument of counsel &c., will make a volume of over 500 pages, and will be of great interest and value. A few extra copies will be printed, and persons desiring any should at once send their orders to J. E. Eicholtz, Sunbury, Penna. The price is $2 a copy.
October 5, 1877
THE MOLLIE MAGUIRE CASES AT PITTSBURG
Mr. Kaercher returned from Pittsburg, having finished the argument in the Kehoe case on Monday afternoon. He is confident that the rulings of the lower court will be sustained by the Supreme bench. Greatly to the surprise of everybody no paper book was prepared in the case of Thos. Fisher, convicted at Mauch Chunk of the murder of Morgan Powell, and at the request of the Commonwealth's representative a nol. pros. was entered. Fisher's last hope is the clemency of the Board of Pardons. The argument in the Hester, Tully and McHugh case was finished on Tuesday afternoon.
In the latter case Messrs. Clark, and Hughes appeared for the Commonwealth, and Messrs. Freeze, Wolverton and Ryon for the defendants.