The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 and Mayor McKune: August 9 (Series: Part 9)

In the aftermath of the events of August 1st, Alderman Patrick Mahon issued warrants against twenty-two members of the Scranton Citizen Corps. The group, which included William Walker Scranton, Ezra Ripple, and Wharten Dickson, were charged with willful murder of Charles Dunleavy, Steven Phillips, Patrick Langan, and Patrick Lane. When the arrest warrants were carried out on August 8th, General Huidekoper sent troops to protect the men from being taken from their homes. A newspaper article from the Scranton Republican reported on the events on the morning of August 9th.

In Mayor McKune’s documents, a letter written from Alderman Mahon showing his displeasure at the actions taken by General Huidekoper to block the arrests.

H. McKune Mayor Sir, In reply to yours of this date informing me that Gen. Huidekoper says he is ready at the time you “I” shall name this A.M. to deliver to you” (me) “the parties for whom you” (I) “have issued warrants on the finding of the jury.” I would say that neither Gen. Huidekoper nor any other man in this land has any right to prevent the arrest and commitment of any person found guilty of murder by a Coroner’s jury and therefore the constables who have the warrants of commitment for the persons so found guilty of murder, will not proceed to act under such warrants until said Huideoper and the military under him cease to obstruct them in performance of their duty. Respectfully Yours, Mahon, Alderman & Acting Coroner

On August 10th, the men were released on $3,000 bail to await their trial on November 26, 1877. Only six members of the Scranton Citizen Corps would appear at the trial in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Everyone who was arrested on the charge of willful murder was found not guilty due to the belief that the men had reacted in a heroic way when faced with a riot.

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