The Williamsport Sun and Lycoming Democrat


March 20, 1878.


No Hope for the Mollies.

            Harrisburg, March 19. The board of pardons refused to interfere with the Molly Maguire cases of Hester, Tully and McHugh.  They will be hung on the 26th of March, at Bloomsburg.



March 27, 1878.


Into Eternity.






Execution of Hester, Tully and McHugh in Bloomsburg.



            Bloomsburg March 25

            Hester, Tully and McHugh, the three Molly Maguires convicted of the murder of Alexander Rea, were executed in the prison yard at seven minutes after 11 o'clock this morning.  Neither of the men made a public confession.


            The gallows used for the occasion was brought from Mauch Chunk, where it had previously done service in the execution of the Mollies at that place last summer.  It was erected in the prison yard in full view from the windows of the cells of the condemned men.


            Hester leaves a wife and four daughters, two unmarried, with absolutely no provision for their future.  He was possessed of some property at the time of his arrest, but it has been so covered with liabilities for counsel fees and the printing of the evidence in his case that it has been swallowed up.  Nominally he leaves a house in Mount Carmel, where used to be tax collector, supervisor and school director, and another in Locust Gap, where he formerly kept a hotel.  He was 53 years old, was born in Roscommon, Ireland, and came to this country in 1848.  He weighs 220 pounds.  Last night all his daughters were with him, weeping and bewailing his fate, but he remained calm.  To-day his wife and youngest daughter have been in his cell much of the time, and when they departed they seemed overwhelmed with grief.  He averred his innocence to the last.

            Pat Tully was born in the county Cavan, Ireland, is 47 years old, and came to this country in 1863.  He married a widow name M'Cullough who had five children, and she says he was "a good man" to her and "loved the children like they was his own."  His little step son, four years old, slept with him on Saturday night, and his parting with him to-day was very affecting.

            Peter McHugh was a native of Donegal, Ireland.  He was single and his only near relation in this country was a brother who is in Texas.  A cousin here paid him occasional visits.


            The condemned men were attended to the scaffold by Fathers Schlutter, McGovern and Koch.  The later is the Shamokin priest who sent Hester to the penitentiary five years ago.  He attended by special request of the Hesters.  It is said that three years ago he told Hester that he had better confess his crimes, make his peace with God, and then be hanged before he sinned any more.

            After the execution the bodies of McHugh and Tully were taken to Wilkesbarre for interment, and that of Hester to Locust Gap, where it will be waked to-night, after which it will probable be buried at Shamokin.


            Bloomsburg is crowded with people from a distance, many hundreds being miners, but owing to the excellent precautionary measures of the authorities good order prevailed throughout.


            [Alexander Rea, a mining superintendent, was a peaceable and inoffensive man, but naturally fearless, for in the pursuance of his duty in a lawless region he was never armed.  He had a wife and six children, and was considered an estimable gentleman.  About 9:30 o'clock on the morning of October 17, 1868, Mr. Rea was riding in his buggy in the highway in Conyngham township, Columbia county, in the direction of the Coal Ridge Improvement Company's colliery, and when near a roadside spring where had been erected a rude watering trough, he was fired upon and killed.  The excitement ran high.  Pat. Hester, Pat. Tully, and Peter McHugh were arrested, with others for the murder.  Finally the 9th of August last was to have seen their swinging off, but the inevitable writ of error came in the way, and hanging day was put off until to-day.]