Coal mining society

Below are several views of the world in which miners and their families lived.

"A Coal Miner and His Wife" and "A Dreaded Pennsylvania Officer"

"A Coal Miner and His Wife" and "A Dreaded Pennsylvania Officer"

Heckersville, Pennsylvania

Heckersville, Pennsylvania

The 1870's were a period of economic instability and of labor unrest and violence.  The Encyclopedia of American History (New York: 1965) states:

    [The] "Molly Maguires," a secret organization of miners...promoted labor violence in Eastern Pa., beg[inning] 1862. As a result of prosecution instituted by [the] Philadelphia & Reading R.R. and evidence gathered by a Pinkerton detective, 24 Molly Maguires were convicted (fall 1875)...10 [were] hanged for murder, [and] the others [were] sentenced to jail terms of 2-7 years (p. 551).

The author of the article in Leslie's demonstrated his bias by writing that "[t]he danger in the occupation is not so much from accident in the mine as from the wicked combinations of men in the secret order of 'Molly Maguire.'"

The story of labor-management conflict in the coal fields is an important aspect of American history in the Gilded Age and the twentieth century.

Images of the unrest among the miners:

Arresting miners

A Police station