Who killed Police Officer Benjamin Franklin Yost? A Mollie Maguire Story


Chapter 24 - Kerrigan Moves To Virginia

Despite his attempts to get a job via Gowen, Pleasants, and even Kaercher, James Kerrigan found himself, “in a reduced condition at present myself and family, and no prospect of any supper.” (Riffenburgh, page 163). Franklin Gowen, the President of the Reading Railroad Company, had offered a reward of ten thousand dollars (according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics the equivalent of $240,000.00) for information leading to the detection and conviction of the persons who committed crimes against his company, and “so certain is it that the informant would be murdered, that in addition to the reward, he offers protection to his person, and safe transport and expenses to another country” (Somerset Herald, Page 2). He and his family were eventually resettled in Virginia, where he held a position as a fireman with a railroad. (Riffenburgh, page 163). His residence was located at 15 East Third Street, Manchester (later annexed to the City of Richmond), Virginia.

In order to provide anonymity to his family and self, James Kerrigan changed his last name to Higgins, his wife’s maiden name. James Higgins (Kerrigan) would later add to his criminal record in Richmond, Virginia, in at least two separate incidents. The newspapers reported, “J.W. Moody and James Higgins fighting in the street. Fined $5.00 each” (Times, June 21, 1885). “James Higgins was required to give bond to keep the peace and be of good behavior for sixty days” (Times, September 1, 1892). James Higgins (Kerrigan) would later die, peacefully, at home on October 1, 1898 and was buried in Maury Cemetery, without a grave marker. His death would not have been known, except, that his widow applied for a pension. An investigation started, and it was learned that Kerrigan had been living in Virginia. He did all in his power to keep his past life a secret, and his widow followed until want forced her to apply for a pension. Kerrigan was a member of the Union Army during the Civil War (Denver Post, October 18, 1903).

            James Kerrigan's residence at 15 East Third Street, Manchester (Richmond), Virginia