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


Chapter 18 - James McParland’s Reports

            Before continuing with the story as I know it, there is a final observation to be made about McFarland’s reports for July, 1875. Although the covering letter under which they were sent to Mr. Gowen expressly states that they cover the period from July 1 through July 24, 1875, the reports for the five days during which McFarland went to the Tamaqua area to investigate the Yost murder are all missing. The expense accounts for those five days, July 15 through July 19, are included in detail. Only the results of the detective’s investigation are missing. The question of why the notes of activities for those days are missing is a valid inquiry. Their absence casts doubt upon the reliability of the reports as a systemic recording of events at, or near the time, they occurred. Much later, the Pinkertons supplied the District Attorney with a narrative for those days, to be used in obtaining convictions against those whom the Pinkertons accused of the murder of officer Yost and a related murder. However, that the five days were not included in the original report summary to Mr. Gowen permits the inference that their original content differed from what was later given to the District Attorney (Burke, page 141).

I now know after reading McFarland’s expense reports that his testimony in the Yost case was full of other lies. He swore that on July 15, he went to Campbell’s saloon to find out who had shot Yost. His expense report shows he had not gone to Campbell’s; rather he had actually gone to a different saloon. He further swore that on July 17, he went to Campbell’s and got information from his son. The expense account shows he actually went to a different saloon and got information from that saloonkeeper’s son. He testified that after the party to celebrate the opening of McGeehan’s saloon, he went back to Campbell’s place. The expense report shows he went to a different bar entirely (Burke, page 179).

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