DECEMBER 10, 1875

Shenandoah Herald News

Exerpts from the Shenandoah Evening Herald   Dec. 11. 1875


About three o'clock yesterday morning one of the most atrocious outrages that has been perpetrated in this county was consumated by the murder of Charles O'Donnell and Ellen McAllister,
his sister, at Wiggan's Patch. Just before dawn a body of men supposed to number between forty and fifty
entered the patch. The majority of them spread themselves over what they supposed to be the most advantageous positions while six or seven of them broke in the back door
of Margaret O'Donnell's house, Mrs. O'Donnell is a
widow who keeps a boarding house. When the house was
broken into it contained the following inmates: Charles
McAllister, and Ellen, his wife, James McAllister, Charles
O’Donnell, John Purcell, James Blair, Thomas Murphy and Mrs.
Margaret O'Donnell. The door smashed in open into the
kitchen, back of which was a bedroom, occupied by Charles
McAlister and his wife. The two latter were awakened by the
noise of the breaking of the door and McAlister at once
jumped out of bed telling his wife to lay still, opened
the cellar door which opened into his bedroom and
prepared to descend. His wife however did not heed his
request and arising went to the door of her room and saw
the men just entering the kitchen. Before she had
time to speak, one of the party fired, the ball
entering the nipple of the right breast. Saying I Am shot
the unfortunate woman fell dead. Seeing his wife fall
and thinking that he need expect no mercy from the
party her husband ran into the cellar and from there
escaped into the next house which is occupied by Mrs.
Cassily. Another shot was fired and the bullet penetrated
the dividing wall of the two houses and was picked
up yesterday morning in a flattened condition in
Mrs. Cassily's kitchen. Mrs O'Donnell, who slept
in the second story, on hearing the firing, jumped
out of bed and going to the door of her room was met
by two men, one of whom clapped a revolver to her
cheek. His companion knocked it up and then gave her a
terrible blow upon the right temple, which knocked her
down. Thomas Murphy an old man of about sixty five was
then visited and found in bed. One man presented a
cocked revolver at him but another swinging a lantern in
his direction threw the light in the direction of the
bed and seeing the age of the man said" That’s an old
man, don't meddle with him."


                                       ABOVE:  Ellen O'Donnell McAllister


Wiggans: Tom Murphy's testimony

 The first thing I heard was men rushing upstairs;
I heard no shooting up to that time the first rush
they made was to pull Charles out of bed, that’s what
I saw. While I was in bed one man stood over me with a
pistol while the others were taking Charles down. while
in bed I heard a shot fired downstairs. While I was
in bed one man stood over me with a lantern and said
to the one with the pistol "Don't meddle with him
he's an old man the other said put your hands outside
the clothes or I will put a ball in you. All then
went down stairs. They took with them James McAlister,
James Blair, and Charles O'Donnell, they tied John
Purcell to the bed post. The man who held the pistol was
the last man to go down the stairs. Then there was
shooting outside. (Here the door leading into the room
in which the inquest was being held was violently
opened and John Kehoe yelled out "We want the
Shenandoah Herald man out here. We are not going to have him
in the house. Send him out we want him and he has
no right here.") The Herald man was not of such
pliable stuff as to comply with the insulting demands of
that character and didn't go out but remained were he
was until the business was finished. After the
interruption, witness continued) Six or seven men were
in the house to the best of my belief, the other one who
stood over me was masked, I didn't know any of them. I
saw no stars up then. I came down stairs after the
mob left when I came downstairs it was dark I saw
Ellen lying on her back with her head against the door
and the blood running out from her breast. She was
dead. I saw Charles O'Donnell body burning outside
across the road, his clothes were burning.

The Herald Man
is Thomas Foster, the Editor

Map of Mahanoy Township circa 1875

Note the location of Boston Run Colliery and houses (lower left of map) compared to Wiggans & Treible Colliery patch houses, as well as location of the main road.