Chapter 6: The Irish, the Killers, and Squire McMullen

McMullen. His name was a synonym for power. As a young man, he was “Bull,” pugnacious, a fighter, a figure worthy of fear and respect. People followed him, because he was the personification of Irish Catholic success. He would become the “Squire,” whose whisper could get a man a job, free him from prison, or run him for office. Moyamensing was his feudal land and he was there to protect it any way he could. His whisper could have a man shot.

He was born in 1824. His father was Archibald McMullen, an Ireland native who hauled cargo away from the docks on a “low, sturdy cart” until he had saved enough to open a little grocery store in Moyamensing. …

McMullen’s Moyamensing was full of young men without families at home and an Irish minority culture that taught one lesson: Fend for yourself.

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