Chapter 9 - Who Blacklisted Hugh McGeehan?
During the trial, Pinkerton Detective James McParland testifies to the following, “McGeehan also told me about his coming over to Tamaqua to kill Yost. He said that John P. Jones had refused to give him, McGeehan, work under the Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Coal Company, the company that owns the mine he worked in previous to the suspension of 1875. He stated that his object for having Jones murdered, at that time, or at least, for the commission of the murder of Yost, was to procure men to murder Jones, and his object for having Jones murdered was from the fact that he refused to give him work, and a man named William Mulhall; and he stated that there were some others, but he did not mention their names. He said that he and Mulhall had then left Carbon County and went to Luzerne.”
“He also stated that after obtaining work in Luzerne County, at some place adjacent to Hazleton, I believe it is Black Creek or Harleigh, they were there informed, after working about half a day, by the boss or superintendent of the colliery, that they could work there no longer. They then went to Wilkes-Barre and saw Mr. Charles Parrish, who, I understood, was President of the company, to give them a grant of the work, and that he considered the General Superintendent, Mr. Zehner, was willing he should work, as being present at the time that Mr. Parrish gave them a grant of the work, and that when they went to get their work they were positively refused, and he considered through no other influence than the influence of John P. Jones.”
James Kerrigan testified that William Zehner, the chief superintendent of the mine, was the one who had ordered the blacklisting of McGeehan, not John P. Jones. This eliminated the McGeehan and the Campbell motivation for killing Jones (Campbell, page 98).
Hugh McGeehan later made a statement, while awaiting execution, to a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer, that he was never employed, paid or discharged by Jones. As to the story about his enmity against John P. Jones, he says there is nothing in it, as he was never employed, paid or discharged by Jones, and had no feeling whatever in regard to him, and the story about the murder of Jones being a trade for that of Yost, so far as he was concerned, was totally unfounded in every respect. He says he never knew Yost or heard of him until after the murder, and he denounced Jimmy Kerrigan and McParland most bitterly for testifying to what he calls a pack of infernal lies.