Death on the Railroad

Death on the Railroad

2013, History  -   18 Comments
Ratings: 7.55/10 from 76 users.

In 1832, in Pennsylvania's backwoods, Irish immigrants were building one of the America's first railroads.

The workers were building Mile 59 of Philadelphia to Pittsburgh mainline, at a place known as Duffy's Cut.

They left Ireland, a land almost destroyed by starvation, disease, and crime, in hopes of a new life, but within few days they would all be dead and their bodies would be concealed in an unmarked tomb.

What happened to these people has remained a secret for almost two centuries. Their disappearance was covered up by some very influential forces.

Now, an accidental discovery by twin brothers, Bill and Frank Watson, has brought to light this abandoned secret. It's a story that exposes a very dark chapter in the American history. The brothers teamed up with other historians and scientists to expose the truth behind the death of these lost Irish railroad workers.

Using a mixture of forensics and old school detective work, they unravel the true story behind Death on the Railroad.

The finding of a secret file detailed how the Irish immigrant workers were hired to work on Mile 59. It also acknowledged that when the men died the railroad went to great lengths to keep the men's deaths hidden.

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18 Comments / User Reviews

  1. DustUp

    Regarding some of the above comments: It would seem, if people wanted to look at history or observe people in current times, that drinking alcohol is a past time worthy of deleting on one's own accord. I've never seen it improve anyone's life but have seen it ruin several lives. I posit the question how many more crimes are committed under the influence? How many assuage their guilt via alcohol? How many sit there grumbling about the rot of the world then take a drink of some liquefied rotted vegetation and call it a day rather than doing something?

    Theories about the prison system, maybe this, maybe that, are excuses to make one feel better because they don't want to, can't bring themselves to believe their wonderful govt is composed of some evil bastards with a plethora of wimps who look the other way with both their hands out, rather than folks just trying to do good.

    Unless you have had any experience with the court system (how people end up in jail) you will continue to make excuses for what you prefer to believe. Judges, far too many now a days ARE those evil greedy ego maniacal bastards. Not all but far too many. You can read notable retired judges words on the subject if you so choose. However, they don't begin to deal with the severity of the corruption that exists. I've sat in court watching judges lie, quote law that absolutely doesn't apply, collude and conspire with their attorney friends, fabricate improper jury instructions that would make any clueless jury (as many don't realize what is really going on and how they have been buffaloed by the jury instructions) convict, sending numerous WHITE guys whose mothers of their kids want them out of the picture.

    A number of years ago when DNA become more mainstream thing, DNA evidence was compared to the evidence used to convict and it was concluded that about 25% of those in jail shouldn't be there based on that DNA evidence. Wish I could recall the study's name. I can only assume extrapolation of the sampled population was done since they didn't check everyone in prison.

    In short, in my personal observations, many judges could care less about the law, only on getting court fees, causing their lawyer tribe to get mega fees, and convictions to look like they are doing their job, when the exact opposite is true. And the appeals courts cover for them in many cases. Hell even the supreme court maligned two bits of the constitution. Obamacare taxation and enabling a municipality to condemn your property and hand it over to some other entity who desires it, promising to pay higher taxes.

    Corruption knows no bounds when it comes to lawyers, which judges are.

  2. Leslie Payne Simmons-Hale

    Excellent documentary!!

  3. JWindsor

    ffs, how is anyone even surprised by this? genocide and general disregard for human life is an american past time.

  4. SamMoss

    If it weren't for alcohol the Irish would rule the world....

  5. Rohypgnosis

    There are always 'Dark Chapters'... Who knows what will be referred to as today's Dark Chapters?

    Might it be the intentional socio-suppression of large swathes of the USA in order to ensure a ready supply of young men for the military?

    Might it be the USA having the largest prsion population (mainly Black & Hispanic) in the world in order to ensure a ready supply of modern-day slaves who, by the way, manufacture 100% of all the uSA's military helmets,
    ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents,
    bags, and canteens. US prison workers also supply 98%
    of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and
    paintbrushes; 92% of stove assemblies; 46% of body armor; 36% of home
    appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office
    furniture sold in the USA....

    or might it be the shocking educational suppression of many of its citizens? The USA is unique amongst nations for having a high level of 'development', but a remaining 'belief' in superstitions and religions. Indeed, more US citizens now believe in ghosts than did in the 1950s!! I think the religio/commercial suppression of education in the USA, particularly in predomnantly Afro-American/Hispanic areas, in the late 20thC will be perhaps considered, in due course, to be one of its darkest chapters.

    1. ryan

      Wow, where to start.

      You first make the rather absurd assumption that those in jail do not deserve to be jail. If one looks at the amount of murders and violent crime alone we get 1.4 million acts each year. This tells a thinking person that MILLIONS will be locked up and rightfully so. Certainly we have issues in terms of racial discrimination in the sentences passed out and our drug laws need to be desperately be reformed.

      As for the “intentional socio-suppression”. Well, since you provided no evidence whatsoever of said “intentional socio-suppression” one cannot take your claim seriously whatsoever. Al one can do is point out that poverty or near-poverty has existed in the US and the world for thousands of years. This then places the onus on you to not prove the conspiracy,but also to show how the poor now are any different from the poor of the past.

      Your evidence of our lack of education is the belief in Gods and Ghosts? Really? I hate to break it to you, champ, but there are plenty of highly educated people who believe in such things.Professors, scientists, pilots, military leaders…you can find people in every field who believe in gods and ghosts. I would also point out that the Catholic Church was the creator of many of the worlds and US’s greatest universities and that Islamic culture contributed greatly to mankind’s base of knowledge.

      Your comments betray an appalling lack of knowledge and feeble reasoning skills.

    2. Rohypgnosis

      Regrettably you are 'religious' and thus indcotrinated to believe your views are unassailable. I doubt you'll grasp, or use your keyboard to reearch yourself, the points I will (again) raise.

      I'll cover 'Prisons' to start with and then ask if you want me to cover the other topics:

      You cite 'Violent Crime' in order to justify your answer. Unfortunately your argument ignores the facts. USA 'Violent Crime' has declined dramatically over the last 40yrs. From c.100 VCs per 100,000 population in 1973 the rates are now c.47 VCs per 100,000 population. So, the rate of violent crimes has more than halved and yet the USA's prison population has, in the same period, risen from about 330k to a little under 2.5m, (i.e. >50% reduction in violent crime, yet a c.800% increase in prison population. Thus a 1600% ration increase in real terms. Furthermore <10% of sentenced prisoners in Federal Prisons are there as a result of Violent Crimes, (n.b. 10% of 2.5m is 250k... so here really was no need to capitalise your wording when you wrote 'MILLIONS'. All you succeeded in doing was drawing attention to your own ignorance!).

      So... your argument falls rather flat. Yes... you exhibit impressive 'Fox News/Religio' rhetoric, err, but as a result your points are rather lacking in accuracy and rationality.

      There is an odd disparity between the likelihood of receiving a custodial sentence in the USA nad your skin colour. vis a vis: for every 100 whites arrested and 100 blacks arrested the black American is twice as likely to receive a prison sentance.

      Since the USA prison population is set to work manufacturing goods for the military/domestic consumption it is, you must admit, a 'motive' to maintain a healthily large prison population? I therefore stand by my statements regarding prison populations and the USA.

      In summary: The USA has a significantly higher prison population per capita than anyone else in the world. SInce violent crime has fallen dramatically, and yet prison populations have rocketed, the USA must be motivated into finding 'other reasons' to imprison ever increasing numbers of its citizens. That skin colour affects your chances of incarceration, and once in prison you are potentially manufacturing goods being paid "slave rates", it seems more reasonable for me to make the claim of 'institutional slavery' against the USA, drawing upon (at the very least) circumstantial evidence, than for you to deny it, (err... jusitifying your stance with nothing other than 'belief' and 'emotion').

      Do you want me to carry on? I could highlight your lack of thought and knowledge on the subject with regards to: The correlation in the USA between race/social deprivation and military service? Or the fact that c.97% of Scientists in the USA are Atheist/Strongly Agnostic and do not believe in deities? Or the fallacy in using the tautological argument that 'religions inspired learning' and without it there would have been none? (n.b. Islam began as a liberal secular religion, and that is when it acted as a catalyst for learning and contributed much to Humanity... but when 'belief' started getting in the way, following Imam Hamid al-Ghazali's teachings the rest is, as we'd say, "History" - and Islam has since the late 1100s contributed nothing that I can think of. ..and THAT'S despite having 1.2bn 'believers'!!

      I feel sorry for you. It's good you are watching documentaries, though. I hope you, one day, become a calmer and more enlightened Human and no longer need the poor crutch of belief to blinker your narrow, ill informed, view of Our World.

    3. zopiclone

      about the prisons, just for the sake of the argument someone might say that modern tech (DNA, CCTV, internet) has resulted in a higher conviction rate per 100000 (and ability to enforce certain laws) that outweighs even societal reductions in violent crime and population growth

    4. Rohypgnosis


      That's a pretty good question. However, the UK is the most CCTV covered nation on Earth and even the Police's own data shows they very, very, very rarely are the sole piece of evidence that becomes relevant in a criminal case. For example: a criminal committing a a crime that receives a custodial sentence is, if they've pre-planned the crime, likely to take steps to make themselves less identifiable on CCTV. Even when considering minor offences, (e.g. grafitti, anti-social behaviour, minor drunken brawls), London's Metropolitan Police stated a few years back that less than 1 in 1000 cameras have led to the apprehension of someone. DNA results have led to many perpetrators being identified sooner rather than later, but the evidence suggests that in many, many cases convictions would have resulted anyway via old-fashioned pre-DNA policing methods. Other Western countries approved the use of DNA results before the USA and make more use of it than the USA, so DNA, again, isn't a significant factor. DNA features highly in TV detective programs and in high-profile cases on the news, but doesn't play a pivotal role in the vast majority of crimes solved.

      So, CCTV and DNA have played a role in convictions, (and, of course ensuring that the 'right' person is prosecuted... because the fact remains a worrying number of felons are prosecuted and convicted for crimes they did not commit), but their minor impact is effectively 'lost in the roundings' and doesn't impact the underlying data. n.b. I haven't seen any data about how the internet may have influenced crime so can't comment on that.

      Comparing various country's conviction rates doesn't help in any analysis as countries have a varied portfolio of prosecutable crimes and different thresholds for progressing with court cases. For example: Japan has a conviction rate of 99%, whereas some USA states have conviction rates around 60%, (many countries average around the 80~85% mark).

      One factor that undeniably does affect incarceration rates is the number of laws by which citizens may be convicted. The USA has notably more laws by which to convict its people, (and introduces more new laws each year than many other countries introduce in a decade), than any other country on Earth. So few nations allow their prisoners to manufacture consumer goods for retail sale that I can't find any comparisons to see what percentage of convicts so employed is usual, (n.b. Globally it's abnormal).

      So, the fact remains that the USA has the highest number of imprisoned citizens in the world. The fact remains the USA has more laws than any other country on Earth.

      I think some factors that may be factors are: (a) The exceptionally high levels of religious belief in the USA, (levels of religious belief are notably out of kilter with other developed nations). (b) The USA has amongst the greatest disparity between the wealth of its richest and the poverty of its poorest, (this often leads to higher levels of theft crimes, e.g. "I want what they have"). Add to this that the USA has many privately run jails, (I suspect most people in the world wouldn't even believe that private jails exist anywhere!), add to that those jails make money from their inmates, (I suspect that most people in the world wouldn't believe that people make money from convicts anywhere), add to that that the USA has more laws than any other country... and that's possibly why the USA has the world's highest prison population.

    5. Space_Cadet_1952

      Thank you for this snippet of information. And I thought it was China which was the bad boy in supplying goods wrought by 'slave prison labour'. A case of the pot calling the kettle "black", when America needs to examine its own human rights abuses.
      The only thing missing is the whippings....

  6. Glen

    Would have been a few accidents with picks etc.???

  7. Bill Farley

    It may be a "dark chapter in American history" but trying to totally eliminate Native Americans was darker by a long shot.

    1. Roi Truax

      It certainly was... But this isn't about that.

  8. dmxi

    we irish...the "niggers of europe", have a true historical story to tell which excels that of our neighbouring fellow man in points of enduring hardship.with pride & not whimmering,a drunken smile characterizing our mindset...defeated but always in memory of the forgotten bretheren.

    "When we drink we get drunk,
    when we get drunk, we fall asleep,
    when we fall asleep, we commit no sin,
    when we commit no sin, we go to heaven,
    So, let’s all get drunk and go to heaven"

    - Sláinte! -

    1. sirbazalot

      Don't forget thief's and murderers!

    2. dmxi

      @sirbazalot whom i quote(the thieves & murderers ,that is!): "May you be in heaven half an hour,
      before the devil knows you are dead"

      -one old irish poet under the influence-