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Mollie Maguires, Munley and McAllister,
Arrested for Murder of Thomas Sanger and William Uren
February 10, 1876

Thomas Munley and Charles McAllister were arrested February 10, 1876, charged with the murder of Thomas Sanger and William Uren, at Raven’s Run, near Ashland, Wednesday, September 1, 1875.

These two Mollie Maguires were brought to trial in June 1876, at Pottsville. Munley was tried first, before Judge D.B. Green, and a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree was returned July 12.

It was in this case that Hon. Franklin B. Gowen, assisting the prosecution, made his memorable address against the Mollie Maguires.

To return to the crime, which followed in two weeks the murders of Gomer James and Squire Gwyther.

Facts brought to light by James McParlan, the Pinkerton detective, who joined the Mollies under the name of James McKenna and lived among them until he collected sufficient evidence to send so many to the gallows that they ceased to function as an organization, are as follows:

On the eventful morning, Hiram Beninger, a carpenter connected with the colliery owned by Heaton & Company, near Ashland, was on his way to work, when he noticed two strangers sitting on some lumber near the carpenter shop, but such being a common occurrence he passed by, but remembered their personal appearance. John Nicolls noticed three strangers resting on some idle trucks as he passed by to enter the colliery, one of whom addressed him, when he returned the salutation and almost immediately noticed the two others, where the carpenter found them. He also remembered how they were dressed, and the fact that they spoke to him, he could recall many details in their clothing and personal appearance.

About fifteen minutes afterward Thomas Sanger, a boss in Heaton & Company’s colliery, accompanied by William Uren, a miner, who boarded in his family and who was employed in the same mine, came along the road, carrying their dinner pails in their hands.

Sanger was a man greatly respected by his employees and neighbors, about thirty-three years of age and while he had long been in the employ of the firm, he had failed to make any enemies, excepting among the Mollies. He had been several times threatened, but more recently believed the anger of his organized enemies was buried, forgotten, or appeased. This proved to be a great mistake.

Sanger and his companion had not gone far from the Sanger home, when they were both fired upon and both mortally wounded, by the same strange men noticed by the carpenter and Nicolls.

Beninger heard the shots, and rushed out of the shop, and saw Mr. Robert Heaton, one of the proprietors of the colliery, firing his pistol at and running after two of the murderers.

Two of the five assassins at this moment stopped in the flight, turned and fired their revolvers at Heaton, but without hitting him. Mr. Heaton boldly stood his ground and continued to empty his revolver at the strangers.

The five men then quickly turned and ran up the mountains. Heaton followed and when opportunity offered he continued to fire at them, but apparently none was wounded.

It was this dogged and determined courage of Mr. Heaton which made him a marked man for the nefarious organization of murderers, and which eventually drove him from the coal regions to reside elsewhere.

Had any of the others who witnessed the exchange of shots between Mr. Heaton and the Mollies been armed and helped in the uneven chase, some of them might have been killed or captured.

The assassins made good their escape in the timber and bushes of the mountains.

Both Sanger and Uren were removed to the home of a neighbor named Wheevil, where every attention was given them. Mrs. Sanger soon arrived and almost immediately that a physician came into the house Sanger expired. Uren, who had been shot in the right groin, about same place as Sanger had been hit, lingered until next day, when he died. Neither man retained consciousness long enough to give any coherent description of the manner in which they had been attacked.

Mr. Heaton was eating his breakfast when he heard the firing, and at once his mind reverted to the men he had seen sitting by the carpenter shop. He seized his pistol and ran out of the house. He first saw Sanger, groaning on the ground, who said: "Don’t stop for me, Bob, but give it to them!"

Heaton then gave the chase, as before related.

A young Williams, who wanted to join Heaton in pursuit, was prevented by his mother, but they both saw the men attack Sanger and were able to related the manner in which the cold-blooded murder was committed.

The careful description of the story of this murder as related in the Shenandoah Herald, gave McParlan the clue which he pursued in running down the murderers. It was at this time that he was believed to be the worst Mollie in the world and was in constant danger of being killed by people who did not know his true character.

On February 10, 1875, Captain R.J. Linden, a fellow Pinkerton operative with McParlan, captured Thomas Munley at his home in Gilberton. Charles McAllister was apprehended at the same time.

McAllister demanded a separate trial and George Kaercher, Esq., the District Attorney, elected to try Munley first.

McParlan voluntarily testified in the case, and his evidence was so accurate and convincing that no other verdict could be possible.

The wonderful address of Mr. Gowen, and those of General Charles Albright, Hon. F.W. Hughes, and Guy E. Farquhar, Esq., added just the argument which the jury required to find a just verdict of "guilty of murder in the first degree."

In November McAllister was convicted.

Munley was hanged in the Pottsville jail August 16, 1876 and McAllister was hanged later.

Source: Today’s Story in Pennsylvania History -- Daily Stories of Pennsylvania. By Frederic A. Godcharles, Milton, Pennsylvania. 1924.

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