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Morewood Massacre: A part of Mount Pleasant history revisited

MOUNT PLEASANT — Walking the quiet, tree-lined streets of Mount Pleasant, it is hard to believe, if not completely inconceivable, that a little more than a century ago the town was a bed of discord and unrest — the center of disgruntled miners and strikers.

When one hears the word “massacre” one usually thinks of the famous “Boston Massacre” where the people of Boston threatened a British sentinel, resulting in several deaths of townspeople and fueling the impending American Revolution. But local history relates that a “massacre” happened one night on the tranquil streets of Mount Pleasant, resulting in bloodshed, heartache and death.

The “Morewood Massacre” or “Morewood Riot” as is also referred to, is a very thought-provoking, somewhat tragic event that took place in spring 1891. It occurred on the street outside of the Morewood Coke Works in Mount Pleasant, and resulted in the shooting deaths of several strikers.

The Mount Pleasant Historical Society has recently re-released a short book titled “The Shots Fired At Morewood.” The book details the evening of the tragedy, and also outlines the events leading to the massacre and the aftermath of the shootings.

The book was written in 1996 by Emoke Pulay, who wrote it as part of her internship for college. In conjunction with the Southwest Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission and the Mount Pleasant Area Heritage Prevention Committee, Pulay researched and compiled this 72-page book in 12 weeks, and offered it for public sale in August 1996.

“This is the third reprinting,” explained Mount Pleasant Historical Society President Richard Snyder, of Mount Pleasant. “The first two were just copies done on a machine and not of very good quality.”

The society contacted a professional printer and had the books redone and bound with plastic binding to give them a more polished and professional appearance.

“People were calling and requesting it,” said Snyder. “We’ve sold over a dozen of the reprints.”

The book itself is well documented and researched. Pulay, not being able to locate any direct documentation from any of the workers involved, used the vast resources of several libraries and newspaper achieves to construct the story. The book is not written from Pulay’s opinion, but compiled of all the information that she gathered, some of the sources contradicting each other and some concurring.

“(The Massacre) is part of the history of the area,” stated Don Bischoff, historical society volunteer. “A lot of people aren’t even aware of the existence of it or that anything like that ever happened.”

The book also contains several old black and white photos and maps of the area at that time.

“She (Pulay) did an excellent job researching this book,” explained Snyder. “She did a lot of running around.” The book is on sale on at the Historical Society office located in the In-Town shops on Main Street in Mount Pleasant. The price is $10. Office hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays. The telephone number is 724-547-9115. Calling ahead is recommended because the office is staffed solely by volunteers.


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