Molly Maguire (1)
X:1 T:Molly Maguire  M:C L:1/8 R:"A Country Dance" S:Joyce - Old Irish Folk Songs and Music (1909), No. 673 Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Ador AGEG A2 Bd | edBd edef | gedB ~G3A | BGAF GE E2 | AGEG A2 Bd | edBd edef | gaba gfge | dBGB A2A2 :|| ageg a2 eg | ac'bg agef | gede ~g3a | bgaf ge e2 | ageg a2 eg | ac'bg agef | gfef gfge | dBGB A2A2 | ageg a2 eg | ac'bg agef | gede ~g3a | bgaf ge e2 | ageg a2 eg | ac'bg agef | gaba gfge | dBGB A2A2 ||
MOLLY MAGUIRE . Irish, Country Dance (4/4 time). A Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The character of Molly Maguire (for no such woman is actually known to have existed) appears in several Irish tales of the mid-nineteenth century. She is said by some to have been an Irish woman of large proportions who sported a brace of pistols and led raids against the English or a madwoman who fantasized she commanded vast armies, but the most prevalent story has it that Molly was an aged widow who was evicted by her English landlord in 1839 from the land she tilled. The eviction story struck a resonant chord in the Irish of the time, victims of crop failures and famine, and liable more than ever to being driven from homes when they could not pay rents. The name became identified with Irish resistance to landlords of the period (one of whom received a letter with the veiled threat "Molly Maguire and her children are watching you!") and increasingly was associated with Irish gangs of intimidation. By the 1840's a popular song included the chorus:
So let the toast go merrily round,
Each Irish heart conspire.
Those tyrant hounds will be crushed down,
By matchless Molly Maguire!
When the Irish emigrated to America in droves to escape famine and English oppression the Molly Maguire symbol of resistance was not forgotten and re-emerged in the Pennsylvania coal fields of the 1860's and 1870's in response to similar oppression by coal companies. Several company officials were murdered and eventually the resistance was broken by Pinkerton informers, notably dectective James McParlan who infiltrated the organization, hired by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, which owned coal mines. The informers may or may not have fabricated information which led to the conviction of 24 and hanging of some ten "conspirators" in 1875.