MOUNT CARMEL - One hundred years ago - on Memorial Day, Friday, May 30, 1913 - thousands gathered in Mount Carmel to honor the memory of a late public official - former state Rep. Daniel F. Gallagher - for his efforts on behalf of anthracite miners.

The ceremonies that were conducted and the man whose life's work was celebrated are practically forgotten today, but physical evidence of the event remains in a large monument that was unveiled that day at his gravesite in St. Mary's Cemetery in Beaverdale.

Gallagher, a Mount Carmel Republican, served just one term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. But during that time, 1889-1890, he led the fight for the successful passage of the Anthracite Miners Certificate Law, a measure designed to promote high standards for mine safety by preventing the employment of incompetent workers.

Gallagher died Oct. 30, 1906, at the age of 45, at his home at 250 E. Seventh St. after an illness of eight months, but his efforts on behalf of anthracite miners - both as a state representative and as a private citizen who was active in union organizations - were appreciated by those who toiled in the mines. In 1913, District 9 of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) decided to erect the monument, built from black granite and weighing about nine tons, in his honor.

The ceremonies brought thousands of UMWA members to Mount Carmel. According to accounts of the dedication in the Mount Carmel Item, special trains on the Lehigh Valley and Reading railroads were added that day to transport miners and union officials from throughout the anthracite fields. The Item recounted that among the dignitaries taking part in the dedication were John P. White, national president of the UMWA, and James P. Matthews, of Shenandoah, District 9 president.

The day's activities began with a Mass in Gallagher's memory that was celebrated in the Church of Our Lady by the Rev. Aloysius Meuwese, his pastor. After the Mass, a large parade consisting of three divisions and comprised of UMWA officials, local bands, the local ceremonial committee, members of the Gallagher family and thousands of UMWA members formed in and near Mount Carmel town park. At 2 p.m., with the sounding of the Sayre Colliery whistle, the parade moved through Mount Carmel streets to the cemetery.

Following brief ceremonies at the cemetery that included an invocation by Meuwese, the dedication by White and a selection of hymns by the Anthracite Glee Club, the procession made its way back to town park where speakers addressed a large crowd from a platform that was erected on the eastern side of the old school house. The Item reported that White, the main speaker, credited Gallagher with doing more than anyone else to raise the standards of the working man in the anthracite region.

Gallagher was obviously considered to be one of the most influential men in this region in the late 19th century since his biography was among those included in "Bell's History of Northumberland County," which was published in 1891 and remains a major historical reference. The biographical sketch in Bell's book and obituary information published in The News-Item in 1906 identify Gallagher as a son of Irish immigrants. He was born in Big Mine Run, Schuylkill County, and came to Mount Camel as a young child when the family moved there. Born in 1861, he began working in the mining industry as a slate picker, as many young boys did, at the age of eight. He had very little, if any, formal schooling, but was described as self-educated as a result of much time spent at literary societies in Mount Carmel.

He was married to the former Fannie McCauley, and was survived by six sons and two daughters.

In 1913, almost a quarter-century after the passage of the certificate law - Gallagher's singular and far-reaching accomplishment as a state legislator - the significance of the measure and its positive impact on the mining industry was felt by UMWA leaders and the union's rank and file.

As White told the crowd that gathered May 30, 1913, in the Mount Carmel town park: "The certificate law, the law of our protection and the chalice of our faith, is declared by many to be injurious to our industry, but if you did not have this law and a union to fight for its enforcement, your lot in life would be very much worse."The ceremonies brought thousands of UMWA members to Mount Carmel. According to accounts of the dedication in the Mount Carmel Item, special trains on the Lehigh Valley and Reading railroads were added that day to transport miners and union officials from throughout the anthracite fields. The Item recounted that among the dignitaries taking part in the dedication were John P. White, national president of the UWMA, and James P. Matthews, of Shenandoah, District 9 president.

The day's activities began with a Mass in Gallagher's memory that was celebrated in the Church of Our Lady by the Rev. Aloysius Meuwese, his pastor. After the Mass, a large parade consisting of three divisions and comprised of UMW officials, local bands, the local ceremonial committee, members of the Gallagher family and thousands of UMW members formed in and near Mount Carmel Town Park. At 2 p.m., with the sounding of the Sayre Colliery whistle, the parade moved through Mount Carmel streets to the cemetery.

Following brief ceremonies at the cemetery that included an invocation by Meuwese, the dedication by White and a selection of hymns by the Anthracite Glee Club, the procession made its way back to Town Park where speakers addressed a large crowd from a platform that was erected on the eastern side of the old school house. The Item reported that White, the main speaker, credited Gallagher with doing more than anyone else to raise the standards of the working man in the anthracite region.

Gallagher was obviously considered to be one of the most influential men in this region in the late 19th century since his biography was among those included in "Bell's History of Northumberland County," which was published in 1891 and remains a major historical reference. The biographical sketch in Bell's book and obituary information published in The News-Item in 1906 identify Gallagher as a son of Irish immigrants. He was born in Big Mine Run, Schuylkill County, and came to Mount Camel as a young child when the family moved there. Born in 1861, he began working in the mining industry as a slate picker, as many young boys did, at the age of eight. He had very little, if any, formal schooling, but was described as self-educated as a result of much time spent at literary societies in Mount Carmel.

He was married to the former Fannie McCauley, and was survived by six sons and two daughters.

In 1913, almost a quarter-century after the passage of the certificate law - Gallagher's singular and far-reaching accomplishment as a state legislator - the significance of the measure and its positive impact on the mining industry was felt by UMWA leaders and the union's rank and file.

As White told the crowd that gathered May 30, 1913, in the Mount Carmel Town Park: "The certificate law, the law of our protection and the chalice of our faith, is declared by many to be injurious to our industry, but if you did not have this law and a union to fight for its enforcement, your lot in life would be very much worse."