Women and the Lattimer massacre: Mrs. Gallagher

There are some really interesting female figures associated with the Lattimer massacre trial and aftermath.  They showed a great deal of strength in the face of authority at a time when women couldn’t even vote.  Take for example Mrs. Mary Gallagher of Harleigh, who lived about a mile from Lattimer.  In the Hazleton Plain Speaker (02/21/1898) Mrs. Gallagher made quite a stir when she turned the defense into a laughingstock with her damning testimony and wit:

“Mrs. Gallagher seemed somewhat annoyed at [Defense Attourney] Lenahan’s questions and her tilt with Lenahan caused some amusement.

She replied to Lenahan’s laughter: ‘I did not think I came to a theatre.  You seem to be the principal actor.’  The woman said: ‘The wounded man lay about 500 feet from where the deputies stood.  I did not see any weapons on the man.  Going down farther I saw another wounded man.  He was about 400 feet away from the deputies’ position; the man was terribly wounded in the stomach.  He was dying.’  She continued: ‘The next man was lying near by, and was wounded directly in the back.  he was about 400 feet away from the deputies.  I saw a man lying on the embankment.  He was bleeding from the arm.’

Lenahan and the woman had another tilt and she seemed to have the best of it, so the attorney appealed to the court to compel her to respect his objections.  Their tilt caused considerable amusement in the court room.

Mrs. Gallagher continued:  ‘I furnished bandages for that man and then went down and found another who was lying along the trolley tracks.  He was only about 19 years old and all my sympathy went out to him.  I said it was red handed murder.’

Lenahan objected again and there was more laughter.  Referring to a man she said: ‘He was not the sheriff.  He was a very respectable looking man.’ (Loud laughter)

She said: ‘I spoke my mind rather freely and denounced them all.  I suppose I am not allowed to tell what I said.’

During her testimony there was frequent bursts of laughter and even the court smiled.

Lenahan seemed afraid to cross examine the witness and said: ‘You can go Mrs. Gallagher.’

There was more laughter as the witness swept out fo the court room.  As she passed she said: ‘It was a massacre, Mr. Lenahan.  Thats is what it was.  You are a very good lawyer for a damn bad man.'”

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About LM Project
The LMP is a collaborative endeavor which aims to recognize the events surrounding the Lattimer Massacre, an incident that changed the labor movement and impacted the world by bringing to light economic disparities and ethnic tensions in the anthracite region of PA.

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