By David Roddy
Note: this is the second post in a series on the Haywood, Moyer, and Pettiboone trial.
|Famed Pinkerton private detective James McParland.|
The agency, commonly called “Pinkertons,” established a reputation during the last decades of the 19th century as a private security force industrialists could rely on to infiltrate, intimidate, and bust worker associations. Carnegie Steel even hired an army of 300 Pinkerton agents to open Homestead Steel Works in Pennsylvania to strikebreakers during a summer strike in 1892, which culminated into a gun battle between striking steel workers and the Pinkertons. The hiring of the agency by Gooding signaled the Governor’s intention to prosecute the union itself for the crime.
The agency sent James McParland to take charge of the investigation. McParland previously received national attention for his investigation of the “Molly Maguires,” an alleged secret society of radical Irish Catholic anthracite coal miners in 1870s Pennsylvania. His work led to the eventual arrests and executions of ten men accused of violent labor activism. He later worked for railway baron Jay Gould to infiltrate the Knights of Labor during the 1886 Railway Strike.
Carlson, Peter. Roughneck: The Life and times of Big Bill Haywood. New York: W.W. Norton, 1983.
Lukas, J. Anthony. Big Trouble: a Murder in a Small Western Town Sets off a Struggle for the Soul of America. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1997.