Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Pinkerton Agent Murdered

The state of TIAH

June 21st, 2006

in 1877, the body of James McParland, who had been using the alias of James McKenna to infiltrate the Pennsylvania miner's group known as the “Molly Maguires,” was found in a mine shaft in Schuykill county in Pennsylvania. A note saying, “This is the fate of all traitors” was found in his clothing, along with his Pinkerton Detective Agency identification. Although this killing was the most famous to date of the infamous Mollies, it was not their most audacious crime. In 1879, they kidnapped Franklin Gowen, President of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, who had brought in the Pinkertons in the first place to bust the unions in Pennsylvania. The Mollies demanded $100,000 in return for Gowen. Even though the ransom was paid, the only part of Gowen that the Mollies returned was his head. Their reign of terror lasted for ten more years, until moderate unionists began taking over the coal mining and railroad work in the state; bosses were eager to encourage unions over the more violent Mollies. Once union reforms began taking the danger out of life as a worker in the mines, the Mollies faded away, except for one incident in 1892. Coal boss Arlo Mooney ordered several workers into a shaft that he knew to be unsafe, which collapsed and killed them. A jury packed by the coal company with the affluent cleared Mooney, but his body was found in front of the mine the next day with a note saying, “The Molly Maguires still watch over their brothers.”

in 1916, Mexican rebels under the command of the legendary Pancho Villa engaged US General John Pershing's expeditionary force at Carrizal, Mexico. A lucky shot by one of Villa's men brought down the general, and they carried his body away with them as they retreated from the more numerous American soldiers. When he heard of this incident, German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann hatched a plan to embroil the United States in war with its southern neighbor, in order to keep it out of the war in Europe. German arms soon began flowing to Pancho Villa, who used them to stage raids on what he called “Mexico del Norte”, the southwestern United States. President Wilson, after seeing that the Mexican government could do nothing to stop Pancho Villa, sent in fully half of the US Army at the time, vowing to bring the Mexican revolutionary to justice. When American troops crossed the border with Mexico and began shooting Mexican citizens, the already weak government of Venustiano Carranza fell, and Pancho Villa stepped into the void. He rallied all of Mexico to his cause, and with German arms and an alliance with the Central Powers, was able to hold America to a stalemate over 7 harsh years of war. When the war in Europe ended, Villa sued for peace with the new administration of President Calvin Coolidge, promising an end to the raids and peace between the neighboring countries. Each side had acquired some territory from the other – Texas had expanded slightly across the Rio Grande, while New Mexico and Arizona's borders were now considerably north of where they had been at the start of the war – so, with much grumbling on both sides, they accepted the new borders, after much fortification, and declared peace on March 17, 1924.

Today's "Six Degrees of Star Trek" challenge: Connect Pancho Villa to Star Trek. Place your answers in the comments and see the Forum for previous results. For more on 6 degrees games, click here.

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