Great Railroad Strikes of 1877: July 26th (Series: Part 4)

The events of July 26, 1877 focused on preparing for the anticipated clashes between strikers, and the military presence in Scranton. The relatively calm day is reflected in Mayor McKune’s papers though a telegram to Governor Hartranft and letter from the Central Railroad Company of New Jersey.

Mayor McKune proposed a special police group, that would later be renamed the Scranton Citizen’s Corp, to help respond to the strikes. In order to sign up for the newly created police force, a citizen was required to be a businessman, be willing to defend the city, and keep the group a secret from other members of the community. Many people notified of its creation believed that such measures might further incite violence and refused to join. By the end of the day, 116 men had signed up and Ezra H. Ripple was elected captain of the Scranton Citizen’s Corps.

During these events, Mayor McKune contacted Governor Hartranft to let him know that troops would not be necessary in the city that day.


In consulting with my advisory committee. They do not deem troops necessary. Will advise against home troops.


The potential property damage caused by the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 continued to weigh on the mind of those in the city. Mayor McKune received a letter from the Central Railroad Company of New Jersey stating that the city was responsible for any damage, violence, or injuries resulting from the strikes in Scranton. Similar letters would be issued from other railroad and coal companies throughout the day.

You are hereby notified that as Receiver of the Central Railroad Company of New Jersey I am in possession of the Rail Road Tracks, Cars, and other property of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company (known as the Lehigh and Susquehanna Rail Road) leased by that company to the Central Rail Road Company of New Jersey and that as such Receiver of Cars. Freight, and other Personal Property belonging to the Central Rail Road Company of New Jersey upon, attached to and used in connection with the above Railroad tracks and property. A portion of the property is within your city.

I have reason to apprehend the injury and perhaps destruction of the Property in large part by violence of a mob or mobs in your city. I now give you notice of this fact and call upon you to protect this Property from any such violence, injury, and destruction as in case of any such injury or destruction in your city. You will be held responsible for all loss and damage that may be sustained by the above company or by me as receiver in consequence of any such injury or destruction. As my appointment was made by the Circuit court of the United States for the Western district of Pennsylvania. This Property is in the custody of that court and it will assist you in the discharge of your duty to give notice to any person threatening to interfere wherewith. That they thereby subject themselves to liability to attachment for Contempt and punishment by find and imprisonment in the discretion of the court. F. S. Lathrope Receiver

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