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


Chapter 13 - Other Witnesses 

During Daniel Shepp’s testimony, the following is taken from the trial,: Shepp was asked: “You said that Yost and Kerrigan had considerable difficulty, and Yost arrested him several times. How often do you know that he arrested him? I cannot mention the number of times, but I think half a dozen at least. Do you know that Yost was in apprehension that Kerrigan would take his life? Yost always told me, in connection with this, that he was afraid of those two – Kerrigan and Duffy; he always put them together; he told me that six or eight times” (Bimba, page 95). Additionally, Mr. Shepp testified that he asked his dying brother-in-law, “Might you not be mistaken?”, but Mr. Yost was very emphatic in saying that Duffy and Kerrigan were not the men. He returned to the subject, and said, “May you not be mistaken, and was it not Duffy and Kerrigan who did this?” and Yost answered, “No, I am not mistaken, the men were strangers, but I had seen them before.” Lastly, Shepp had said that Officer Yost removed that impression when he said they were strangers, and he described one as a large man and the other not so large (West, page 17).

Barney McCarron stated on the stand, that he had heard two shots, fired and saw the figures of two men retreating, one a large man and the other not so large. They ran in the direction of the cemetery (West, page 15).

Mr. Schindel testified that he heard a portion of the dying declaration of Officer Yost, as follows,:  “…when two men approached and shot him; that he did not know the men; they were strangers, but he had seen them before; one was a large man than the other” (West, page 15). Officer Yost had also told Squire Lebo, that one man was larger than the other (West, page 16).

Pat Nolan testified that James Kerrigan, “…came into my saloon on July 5th, at about 10:30 p.m. He called me into the back room and asked me if I would lend him a pistol (Barrett, page 122).  Edward Gillespie, born in Tamaqua, Schuylkill County, about 1846, said that he was on his way home on July 5th, and “Kerrigan called over to me and asked me for a revolver. He said he was going to shoot a cop. I assured him, I had no gun.” (Barrett, page 135). Thomas Trainer, born in England in 1843 and a neighbor of Kerrigan’s, said that, “Kerrigan turned to me and said – Tom, you know Yost made a hellish roar when he was shot.” (Barrett, page 127).

Patrick Duffy testified that Kerrigan was once sent to jail after a fist fight. Duffy swore that Kerrigan said, “When I get out, I’ll kill Yost the first chance I get.” (Barriett, page 127).  Patrick Duffy also said he was not a Molly Maguire and knew no secrets, “I was with Kerrigan the night and heard Kerrigan say he would kill Yost when he got a chance.” Gowen then asked Duffy, “You are a brother of Thomas Duffy?” His answer, “I am sir.” Gowen retorted, “That is all.” (Barrett, page 210).

William H. Evans, a mine foreman, provided testimony that James Boyle worked on July 6th. He and his buddy, Pat Dawson, loaded six mine cars on a sixty-eight degree pitch (Barrett page 123).  Pat Dawson, of Summit Hill, swore he saw James Boyle at work on July 6th. “I loaded coal from his mine breast. He worked all day. We started at 7:00 a.m., and quit sometime between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. We didn’t work less that day than any other day.” (Barrett, page 128).

Mrs. Alex Campbell swore that Kerrigan was not in her home on July 6th, as he had stated, and the black pistol admitted as evidence, “Looks like the one he gave me to keep for him on December 13th, 1874” (Barrett, page 127). “It was black and resembles that revolver there.” She was asked, “You know that McGeehan was charged with shooting Yost with that gun?” She answered, “ I heard Kerrigan say so.” (Barrett, page 213).

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