In the summer of 1873, James McParlan, a young Irishman attached to the Pinkerton Detective Agency at Chicago, was requested by his employers to visit Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, as a detective. He was told that a criminal organization, called the "Molly Maguires," was supposed to be in existence there, and that it was to be his duty to join the organization, and, if possible, learn its character and purposes. McParlan consented to undertake the task, but remarked that he did not believe that an organization such as described was possible. "Schuylkill County is in the mining region, is it not?" he asked. "Yes." "You will find," he said, "that the workmen there make their money hard and spend it freely. On pay-day they get drunk, and whilst they are under the influence of liquor, and in the heat of passion, quarrels arise, and men are sometimes killed; but that does not imply organization, nor is there likely to be the kind of work for a detective among them that is supposed."<br><br>He came to the anthracite coal regions with the expectation that in a few months he would be able to satisfy his employers that no such criminal organization as they supposed had any existence. A few weeks' residence there satisfied him that his impressions as to the condition of affairs had been wrong, and that the "Molly Maguires" were a terrible reality.