James Carroll was born August 27th, 1840 in Packerton, a small coal patch in Luzerne County near Wilkes-Barre. His parents had emigrated from Ireland. James married a niece of Margaret O'Donnell, matriarch of the extended Donegal-born family of Wiggans Patch. He was thus linked by marriage to both the O'Donnells of Wiggans Patch and Jack Kehoe.
There is more to James Carroll's story.
In 1872, Carroll moved with his family to Tamaqua, in Schuylkill County where he opened a hotel, the Washington House. Later, he took over Alexander Campbell's saloon in Tamaqua after Campbell moved to Summit Hill. The Union House Tavern, 132 East Broad St., and the Washington Hotel, 326 East Pine St. are both still standing.
An active member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, he was secretary for the group. He was also listed as a bodymaster and member of the alleged secret society, The Mollie Maguires.
James Carroll was implicated in the assassination of policeman Benjamin F. Yost when it was alleged that the plot to murder Yost was planned in Carroll's saloon. He was hanged at Pottsville on June 21, 1877, for his role in the Yost case. He repeatedly denied any involvement in Yost's murder.
It is said that James Carroll's wife cried bitterly for her husband, proclaiming his innocence. A monument stands in the Old Immaculate Conception Cemetary, Jim Thorpe (Mauch Chunk), erected by the family of Annie and James Carroll. It reads
He has gone from his loved ones
His children, his wife
Who he lovingly toiled for
And loved as his life
God, how mysterious and strange
Are thy ways
To take from us this loved one
In the best of his days