John P Lavell

Judge and Author of The Hard Coal Docket

judge lavell from philadelphia usa

John P. Lavelle’s mother Sarah Ann McBride came from Creeslough before emigrating to Philadelphia, USA. Where she married John Lavelle from Co. Mayo they had two children John and Joseph.

John P. Lavelle became “The Honourable John P. Lavelle President Judge of Carbon County”  when he was sworn  in on  3/1/ 1978 

A 1953  graduate of Villanova University with an AB degree in Philosophy and Literature, he received his Jurist Doctor (JD) degree from Villanova University School of Law in 1958.

USA Army

As  a member of the U.S. A. Army Signal Corps  he carried out  military assignments  in Italy and Austria in 1954 and 1955.


For eighteen years Judge Lavelle had a distinguished career as an active municipal and trial lawyer. He served as Carbon County Solicitor from 1971 to 1978. His extensive involvement in numerous community and charitable causes demonstrated his high energy and commitment to public service.

During his twenty-two years on the bench, he has been dedicated to improving the Court system  with computer technology and innovative case management techniques.

Judge Lavelle and his Wife Marianne live in Lehighton, Pennsylvania, USA. and have four children, Marianne, John, Jacqueline and James. 


In 1996 Judge Lavelle  wrote and published  “The Hard Coal Docket ” which is a history of Carbon County as seen through the prism of the legal system. The book features his due process analysis of the famous “Mollie Maguire” Trials in Carbon County  in the late 1870’s.

The six Irish men of Mollie Maguire’s  (AOH) were convicted of murder. Five were hanged: Doyle, Kelly, Campbell, Donahue and Fisher, Mc Kenna got nine years in jail.

When the film of the Mollie Maguire Trial was being made, Bill McClafferty from Creeslough worked as an extra on the film.

The Carbon County seat has changed it’s name to Jim Thorpe. It is in eastern Pennsylvania about 80 miles North of Philadelphia and 100 miles west of New York City.  This town is also historically known as the burial site for the body of Native American sports legend Jim Thorpe.

Published by mairead collett

Living the rural Life in Donegal, raising children and writing about my local area.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *