Hisloric8/ SDciebJ Janualfj - Februalfj /999 VDL~No. /
Chinese-Irish love affair blossomed, then withered
·····::~ffif~:ng~ withth~ ·:·x" ":. ','. • : . .::~:·,·times;~VVti~ we began
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th~hhe.1ir'$t 601ssues of Th$:sh$n~hle have Prpughtto light have only scratched the surface of the history of our people and their contributions to thiS state. Much research r~ain$ undone on such topics as the Irish in 0010(PktlSe hUll to P",e 2)
n the recently published anthology, The New York /n"sh, an entire chapter is devoted to the fairly common 19th century custom of Chinese-Irish marriages. "Chinese-Irish marriages were sufficiently noticeable in New York City," writes John Kuo Wei Tchen, "to merit regular comment in the city's newspapers, even warranting caricatures and drawings, which dominated the media's representation of Chinese in New York City. "Harper's Weekly reported in 1857 that 28 Irish women selJing apples have 'gone the way ofmatrimony with their elepbant-eyed, olive skiIUled contemporaries ... And decades later, in 1890, Harper's Weekly devoted a double-page centerfold spread showing a Chinese-Irish couple and their children. "Those familiar with New York immigration and settlement patterns would not be totally surprised by this Irish-Chinese phenomenon. Chinese immigrants could be found in the Fourth and Sixth Wards of Lower Manhattan ... Many Irish lived in these two wards up until the time of Italian and Jewish immigration ..."
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This 1880 vintage cartoon depicts the close relationship o/Chinese and Irish in New York City in that era. Although it is not mentioned in The New York Irish, there was at least one COIUlecticut tie in all of this: In 1892, Katie McCormack, an Irish girl from Hartford took up with a New York Chinese resident named Chu Fong.
The romance began when Katie, "a young woman \\,ith fair skin and blue eyes," took the train from Hartford to visit relatives who were among the Irish living in Chinato\l,TI. (Please turn 10 Page 3)
Etiquette stressed at Irish dancing prof's New Year gala A reception sponsored by dancing instructor P.H. Kelley known formally as Professor Kelley - was one of the major events of the holiday season in Meriden in 1897. The reception was held on the evening of Dec. 30 at the Grand Army of the Republic Hall. Kerr's Orchestra provided the music and
those attending included 50 of Kelley's students from Meriden along with their partners and large delegations from the Irish instructor's dancing classes in Southington and New Britain. "Elaborate preparations have been made for the event," commented the Meriden Morning Record, "not the least of which is
a novel program issued by the instructor. The cover represents a life-like, hall:tone photograph reproduction of Professor Kelle\, and on the rewrse side a pen and ink reproduction of the correct waltz position with the motto, 'So stands the statue that enchants the world.'" (Please hUll to Page 1)
FAMINE JOURNAL Perspective The arrival of 1849 brought no relief from the Famine in Ireland. In fact, 3 1/2 years after the potato crop fIrst failed in 1845, the death and destitution were as widespread as ever. Death by starvation was common, death from disease was on the increase in the crowded workhouses and the death toll was mounting from an outbreak of cholera in illster. Also increasing mpidly was the pace of evictions. Reports from throughout the country indicated the new year would bring an even larger emigration than the early years of the Famine. "It is a growing expectation in Ireland," the London Times said in an editorial, "that we are now about to witness one of the most momentous opthe emtions of society removal of a people en masse to a distant shore. The half million who have got off with no very great stir in the course of two years are but an advanced guard to the main body that follows ... every one of the half million who have safely effected their retreat consecrates his flfst earnings to the pious work of rescuing a parent, a brother, or a sister from Ireland.
Published bimonthly durIng the l50th anniversary of the Irish Potato Famine. Copyright 1999, Connecticut Irish-American Historical Society, P.O. Box 120020, East Haven, CT 06512.
January - February 1849
Conditions In Galway In Early 1849 Gort Union, Board of Guardians, Jan. 20, 1849 - The Gort Union, in common with others situated on the Connaught coast, has been a serious sufferer from bad or inferior crops during the past season. Owing to late ~ sowing, imperfect tillage and insufficiency of manure, in addition to the geneml blight, the crop of potatoes may be almost said to have failed; few, if any, having arrived at full and perfect growth, while a great portion were blasted before the formation of the tuber, and the remainder consisted principally of half-grown roots, small in size, bad in quality and frequently black and decayed in appearance. Potatoes, we may say, are nearly exhausted, more especially among the poorer class of occupiers. We have, however, reason to believe that some of the larger farmers are holding a portion for seed and we observe that some are still brought to market, where they bring from 6d. to 7d. per stone. These are almost invariably smail, wet and diseased. Turnips are more plentiful; a fair quality of these roots may be had in some localities at Is. 6d. per cwt. Of livestock, the number in the hands of tenant-farmers is evidently diminishing. The decrease is observable in all descriptions - cows, sheep, horses and swine, particularly the latter. We do not perceive agricultural opemtions with a view of preparing for a future crop, progressing to any extent among the farmers generally. Many of the small holders have left their land, up to this, altogether untouched and few of the larger occupiers are making extensive arrangements for the coming season. Moreover, the quantity of land surrendered, deserted or the last occupier of which was removed, is considemble and is now in great measure waste. This coupled with the roofless cottages, dilapidated fences, and almost total absence of cattle or sheep, stacks of com or pits of potatoes, from the fIelds, gives to many districts of the union a desolate and disheartening appearance, and affords but a gloomy prospect for the next harvest ... There is scarcely any employment now for the labouring population of this union, with the exception of two or three of the larger proprietors who still keep a few men at work, chiefly consisting of small holders of land who are not eligible for reliefunder the poor law, there is little or no demand for agricultural labourers ... The recent increase of disease - principally fever and dysentery - has added another item to the difficulties of the union. Probably arising from cold and wet, superadded to insufficiency of wholesome food and the absence of proper covering, the progress of sickness amongst the poorer classes since winter set in has been mpid, and in many cases fatal ...
Evictions In Dingle London Times, Jan. 6, 1849 - The Limerick Chronicle publishes the subjoined 'black list' of evictions in Kerry: From the lands of Cahirtrant, the property of Lord Ventry and in a parish whence that nobleman's title is derived, 36 families, comprehending 188 souls, have been expelled. From the lands of Dunshean, the property of Lord Ventry,24 families including 113 individuals, have been exterminated. From the same townland, belonging to the same nobleman, 7 families of conacre holders, comprehending 37 persons, have been driven forth. From Cahirquin, the property of Lord Ventry, II families, numbering 49 human beings, have been thrust out by process of law. From Clountys, in the parish of Dunurlin, the property of Lord Ventry, 10 families, numbering 40 human beings, have been deprived of house or holding. From the townland of Cappagh, in the parish of Clahane, not far from the shores of Brandon, and belonging, too, to Lord Ventry, 19 families, comprising 97 Christian beings, have been ejected by a posse of bailifTs acting under the power of English law. Total of recent evictions from Lord Ventr)'s property near Dingle, 170 families; 532 souls.
... And Elsewhere London Times, Jan. 5, 1849 - The Athlone Sentinel has the following statement: The number of ejectments tried last week at the Roscommon and Meath Quarter Sessions incredibly exceeds the usual numtx.'r for hearing. Verv few of the unfortunate creatures were able to take defence, and were in almost all ~s ejected. A fresh mass of human beings will, con· sequently, be sent on the world to augment the existing misery.
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Hartford lass fell for Chinese merchant while visiting New York (Cottlinuedfrom Page 1) While there, she was introduced to Chinese immigrant Chu Fong, a street vendor. Chu Fong "was sitting in front of his old stand in Pell street one day when he was presented to Katie by a young woman of the family she
was visiting. After that, according to Chu, Katie made a dead set for him and he fell in love with her because she was so pretty and had such winning ways." Chu visited China, where he continued to correspond with the Irish lass. Upon his return to New
York, "He made love in warm style and she quickly said yes to his wooing. It was soon after that he gave her a diamond ring, other jewels, some rich wearing apparel and $500 with which to buy her trousseau." Katie, however, turned out to be a fickle yOWlg
lady and, ''Next thing he knew she had gone to Hartford with a man who said he was a cousin of Chuck Connors, and promised to get her a place on the stage in the company of which Mr. Connors is the star." SOUl'u: Meriden Morning Record, Sept 22, 1897.
Black men attending military review heard stirring appeal for freedom An African-American spoke out strongly for freedom at Chappell's Tavern near Norwich in October 1845 during "a military review of the colored population" of that community. "My countrymen and fellow citizens," said a black official whose name unfortunately was not mentioned, " ... we are well aware of the many disadvantages we labour under from the great prejudice that exists amongst the commWlity at large and superstition, bigotry, fanaticism and slavery that have cursed our race from the foundation of this government and most
sensible I am that the day is not far distant when a purely democratic government will burst our fetters and proclaim to an outraged world that the colored man is free. "Free in thought, free in body and the election franchise throughout this widespread republick. Then and not until then will this be a happy country or a happy people. "However much remains to be done by our people and for that reason I would wish to impress upon the minds of ail our peopie the great necessity of organiza-
famillJ historlJ Old city directories, available in many public libraries and in archives such as the Connecticut State Library in Hartford, are a treasurehouse of infonnation for the genealogist. The foilowi..,g is a list of Irish names extracted by Paul Keroack from the Bridgeport Directory and Annual Advertiser of 1867-68. Searches of ofuer city ana town directories could prociuce equaliy vaiuaoie listings. Abbreviations used in tile directory inciude: n for near, h for house; c for comer, !xis for boaros; av for avenue; ED for Eastern District; H for Housatonic Railroad; ext for extension; ft for foot; mach for rnacilinist; mech for mechanic; n for near, IT for railroad. Ahern, John, fish and meats, 284
Wurin. Barry, John,
maicer, h 19
tions, overt concert in actions and indomitable spirit of perseverance that alone will insure our speedy triumph. "Let us be up and a doing then and use every possible efTort to inform ourselves and others in knowledge and Wlderstanding. Let us endeavor to cultivate in our minds good, honest, upright principles in our dealings with mankind and show to the world although our complexion be dark by our daily proceedings and good conduct that we are men possessed wih1 the same natural intelJect and powers of mind as
the white man and why are we deprived and cut ofT from the rights and privileges we are entitled to. Our forefathers fought, bled and died to gain the freedom and liberty of our country and why not ought we to enjoy the lawful rights of our country as well as the white man ..." SOUl'u: New London Morning News, Oct. 29, 1845.
Editor's IIOte: In recognition of the bond between our historical society and tile other societies in the Ethnic HeriJage CenieI', and to foster appreciation for all 1'tu;es anti nationalities, we print in eadl issue of The Shanacitu one story about another efnnic grollp.
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Barry, James, laborer, h 19 High. Barry, John 2d, laborer, h Pacific n H Railroad. Barry, Michael, laborer, h Main c Congress. Bohen, Francis, laborer, h Leverty n liarraI av. Bohen, James D., mech h Greene n Water. Boland, William, laborer h 10 Pequonnoci.. Bonan, Brian, laborer h Washing';on av n Grand. Bourice, Martin, grocery h :2. Main c Crescent ED. Bowen, Wiiliam, MD, h Golden Hia c Harrison. Bowen, ~vr.cnce, tai~or, h Wood n Wasi1ington av Bowlen, JOM, brass founder bds Congress n Main. Bowlen, Edward, laoorer Ods Congress n Main.
Boyan, Edward, laborer h George. Boyhen, Thomas, orakeman h 16 Milne. Boyle, Anthony, mech h Pembroke n Coleman. Boyle, Richard, currier h Milne n Washington avo Boyle, Joseph, clerk bds Pembroke c Coleman. Boyle, Mrs. Mary, h Gold c Water. Brady, John, laborer h Leverty n Washington avo Brady, Patrick, cannan h Gold n Water. Brady, Michael, laborer, 34 Arch. Brady, Michael 2d, tinner h Division n South avo Branagan, Patrick, mach bds Greene n Walter. Bray, Lucius, mach h Pembroke n California. Bray, Nelson, sadaler h 13
Gilbert. Bray, Patrick, laborer bds 340 Main. Bray, William, blacksmith h 15 Arch. Breen, Patrick, laborer h Warren n South avo Brennan, Bryan, laborer h Washington avo Brennan, JaI11es, plumber h High n Washington avo Br8IU1on, John laborer h South avo
We wiil continue to publish names collected by Paul from both the Bridgeport and Norwich directories as space permits. ln the meantime, perhaps otiler members would be interested in volunteering to extract names from directories of other cities and to"ns. lfwe can collect enough names from a number of directories, they can be filed in our archives and will be of great use to fiunijy researchers.
TfJe Sbanacbie .
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Connecticut lrish-Ameriedn Hisloriedl Sociehj March - April 1999 VoL XI, No. II ...............
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..---THE NEBRASKA CONNECTION SOUTH DAKOTA
Thanks to one of our long-range members, we have stumbled upon the Nebraska connection. A resident of O'Neill, Nebraska, Ann Pomgratz Is a descendant of Irish emigrants who settled In Norwich, Connecticut, in the 1850s and then Immigrated once more to Nebraska in the 1860s. Research on her family turns up some other fascinating links in the history of the Irish of Connecticut and Nebraska.
Omaha. R I V
Nebraska's Irish colonies Although not known as a state with a large Irish population, Nebraska did attract its share of immigrants from the Emerald Isle, and very early on at that. In her history of Nebraska, Dorothy Weyer Creigh comments: "When the Indian moved over, the Irish moved into Nebraska, they say, for Irish inunigrants were among the first settlers in the territory." And Ray Allen Billington in his book, Westward Expansion. points
out, "Nebraska boasted six predominantly Irish colonies in 1890." Settlement of Omaha began in earnest after an 1854 treaty opened tile territory up. Among those listed as settiers in Omaha County in the late 18508 was Patrick Quinland, who may have been of the Quinlan families mentioned by Paul Keroack in his story on this page about Norwich people settling in Nebraska. A listing of marriages (Please hun to Page J)
Norwich families went west By PAUL KEROACX For about 20 years, Norwich was home to a group of Irish immigrants Wil0 were among tile pioneer settlers of Dawson, Neb., in the years after the Civil War. Irish by tile thousands poured into Connecticut from the 1840s on, filling a growing need for labor in new raiiroads and miils, and after 1845, neeing the Potato Famine, as weI!. Norwich attracted many of these immigrants because it was
the largest city in the eastern half of Connecticut, grov.ing rapidl\ from a population of 7,000 at th.: opening of the Norv.ich & Worcester Railroad in 1840 to 10,000 a decade later. Of these immigrants, th.: Quinlans were apparentl\' the earliest to arrive in Norwich. several Quinlan famili.:s living there by 1848. William and Winifred Quinlan and John and Mary-Ellen Quinlan had adult children at hom.:, whil.: Patrick
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FAMINE JOURNAL Perspective Cholera, which had been devastating Europe and which made its appearance in Belfast in early 1849, spread throughout the country and especially in the west and southwest during the late winter and spring of that year. Already worn down by years of famine, peasants had few reserves left to fight the disease. Starvation and large-scale continued and evictions strange scenes were reported in courtrooms where suspects in the hope of bettering their chances of getting regular nourishment, pleaded to be sentenced to jailor to be transported across the seas. For the same reason, at emigration continued extraordinary levels and was welcome by influential people in England as presenting an opportunity to rid Ireland of the Celtic race.. Sir Robert Peel, who was prime minister when the Famine began, even proposed a plan for the colonization of Ireland. His idea was for bankrupt estates, which were becoming more numerous as the Famine years continued, to be sold to English or Scottish entrepreneurs and for them to bring over with them cadres of peasants and farmers who would take over the tilling of the soil from the native Irish.
FAMINE JOURNAL Publlahed bimonthly dUJinl the l50th lUUIiversary or the Irish Potato Famine. Copyrlaht 1997 by the Connedieut Irish-American Hbtorical Society, P.O. Boll 120-020, Eat Haven, cr 06512.
March - April 1849
Cholera Spreads In West And South
Black Hole Death
London Times, March 2, 1849 -The cholera. This dreadful scourge has at length appeared in the south oflreland. The Limerick Chronicle of yesterday thus reports:- "The flfSt case in Limerick this year was that of Martin Boyle, a servant out of place who was brought into Barrington's Hospital on Monday evening, when Dr. Geary saw the unfortunate man and at once pronounced it a case of marked Asiatic cholera. The patient died about noon yesterday, after exhibiting a total prostration of strength, eyes sunk, voice reduced to a whisper, partial discoloration of the skin, with general collapse of the system. The second victim yesterday was Mary King, who, after a very few hours' suffering. died at 5 o'clock, having been attended by Drs. Gelston and Kane, with symptoms exactly similar to the flfSt. Last night there were three more cases in the hospital. also very bad, attended by Dr. Gore and the other physicians ... The names of the four persons in cholera at the hospital this day are Mary Mannix, James Byrces, Jane Connors and Francis Duggan ...
Cork Euminer, April 18~9 - On Friday, the 20th of April, a weak tottering man or the skeleton of what once might be called a man staggered into the workhouse in Youghal. He was lean and hungery ....ith the voracity of a wolf On Frida\ and Saturday he was supported by the bountiful charity of the: Poor La....". and on Sunday morning, instigated by hunger, this ....Tetched being allempte:d - what'} To commit what tenible crime'} Murder'} No, to steal a morsel of bread This was the sole crime of which the pauper Patrick ConollY was guilty .. (He .... as placed! in what is rightly called the Black Hole, a den \~ithout air or I1ght and measuring e:ight feel t>~ '1\ Into this hole the: staning mJn was thrust, his mis~rat>k meal having been tom from his hungr:. eyes and wollish appetite ... The da~ rolkd on. the day dedicated b\ the Christian world to thoughts of peace and love and holiness and at 2 0 'clock death. more merciful than man. laid Its (old hand on the h~art of the pauper victim.
London Times, April 9, 1849 -The Most Rev. Dr. Crolly, the Roman Catholic Primate. expired yesterday in Drogheda after an attack of cholera of nine hours duration ... As soon as the announcement of his death was made public the shops in Drogheda were nearly all closed and the shipping in the river had their flags raised half mast high. He was about 70 years of age, bu t from active habits and strong constitution looked to be much less advanced in age. London Times, April 27, 1849 -The cholera. Superadded to the affiictions that have fallen upon the devoted province of Conaught, the present epidemic seems to have set in there with far more fatal effect than in any other portion of the kingdom subjected to the visitation. The accounts from Ballinrobe in the county of Mayo, continue to be of a most distressing nature; the disease sweeping the people off by scores each day, while the cases of recovery are so few as to be scarcely worth mentioning. The subjoined extract of a letter dated Tuesday evening, tells its o....n tale - "I cannot regret to have to tell you that the cholera has made its appearance here, and the town is in a frightful state this morning. The vice guardians wish to get the dispensary for a hospital. They say there were upwards of 20 new cases of cholera this morning. I hear of more since. There were several deaths last night through the town and in the vicinity. Persons are lying dead and no one to bury them. May the Lord protect us - the visitation is awful." The pestilence has also broken out with great virulence in the workhouses of Ballinasloe - "Ballinasloe, Tuesday evening The greatest consternation prevailed here since yesterday morning in consequence of the appearance of cholera in one of the au.xiliary workhouses with which the town is crowded. Up to the present. w~ understand, there have been no less than 87 cases of ....hich 22 have already proved fatal. The disease, \-Ie are informed, has now broken out in a second of the houses where 12 cases have alr~adv occurred and two d~aths. We fear that humanly speaking there is every probability of the malady committing fearful ravages in this town ... "
An inqu~st \~as hdJ anJ th~ follo\\ing was th~ \erJi.:t of the JU0-
"We lint.! that on SunJ;J\. the 22nd of April, Patnck Conoll\. a pauper in Youghal \\orkhou~. was confin~J in a pla(~ (alkJ the Black HoI.:, hcing at the: same time d~priveJ of hiS rations and while so conlin~J. being seized \\ith si(kn~ss shortly atler diL'd~ and th~ JIln tind that said Patrick Conoll\ came by his death m consequence of h.:mg so contined in said Black Ilole and being deprived of his rations, and the jurors ....ish to put on rL'Cord their marked condemnation of the Black Hole of the Youghal workhouse."
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after Civil War To reach Dawson's Mills, located in Richardson County in the southeast comer of the state, they walked 20 miles from the nearest railroad stop. Satisfied with the prospects, the other Connecticut immigrants were advised to follow, which they did later that year and in 1868. They were Johanna O'Brien Fenton, her sons Dennis, William and Jerry Fenton, with his wife and two daughters; Thomas Ryan, his daughter Bridget and grandson Martin; Civil War veterans Pat and James Clancy and John Fento~ Hugh O'Grady, his wife and children; John and Mary Carver and their children; Michael O'Donnell, Timothy O'Sullivan, M.B. Miller, who was a grandson ofBryan Riley, Denis Maher, William "Billy" Murphy, and John, Michael and Billy Quinlan. In 1873, widow Bridget Kean, her grown sons James and David, and nephew George, who had been living in Moosup and Wauregan in Connecticut, bought a farm in Dawson. The family had left COWlty Mayo in 1848 and lived in Canada and other New England states before moving to Connecticut An 1874 outbreak of grasshoppers forced some ofthe new settlers to leave Nebraska, including the Keans, but they later returned to farm there. The last of the group, Thomas and Mary Gill Ryan, cousins of the first Thomas Ryan to immigrate, left Connecticut in 1886 for Dawson. Descendants of all these families continue to live in eastern Nebraska. Many have gone into business, banking and politics in later years. Other members of the families who did not go West have descendants in Connecticut today. SolUca: U.S. CDUIU lor ColUIeCIicMI, 1850,1'60; U.S. CeulUlor N_uka, 1870; VII#I RM:OI'u olNorwidt, CtHUt.; Norwidt city tIU«ItIria, 1157-1861; SL Mary'. C__. , ItUllno_, Norwidt; inlomullioll frotllllllftily .0fU'CG .~ pliH by M,.., A"" Fmtoll POIIIlrtU:. 01 O'Neill, N.h.,' bialfUlfllilJl r«:ortllor Dtlt4WolI, N.JJ" 1976; "Bio6rllpltic Sk«cJt 01H_1IbI6 J~ FMIDII, " by W.m- F_II, 19JJ.
German school in Meriden
As ;hown in this sketch, crowded trains were the vehicle ofwestward immigration in the 1860s-70s.
Colonies attracted Irish to Nebraska (ConJimledfrom Page 1) in Nebraska in the 1932 issue of Nebraska Genealogical Record includes two other Quinlans: March 31, 1861, Hermann Walther and Mary Quinl~ Jan. 1, 1863, John BlackJaw and Margaret Eliza Quinlan. Were any or all of these precursors of the later larger immigration from Connecticut to Nebraska? Whether that was the case or not, some Connecticut Irish apparently were attracted by one of the colonization schemes promoted by certain Irish leaders as a means to get immigrants out of cities on the Eastern Seaboard. Father Jeremiah F. Trecy, a native of COWlty Tyrone, established the first such colony in June 1855 when he and II Irish immigrants organized the mission of St. John in Dakota COWlty just across the Missouri River from Iowa in northeastern Nebraska. In April 1856, Trecy brought 25 more families to St. John, or St. Patrick's as it was also known, from the Irish settlement of Garryowen in Iowa. In the spring of 1857, Trecy came east and spent time in Washington, D.C., and New York talking up his colony. According to Sister Mary Gilbert Kelly in an article on Catholic colonization projects, Trecy visited Connecticut during his so-
journ in the East. While here, he apparently did some recruiting for Kel1y adds that a "group of factory workers from Woodstock, Hartford and other parts ofConnecticut" decided to resettle in Trecy's community. The best known of the Nebraska Irish colonies was that organized by Gen. John O'Neill. A native of COWlty Monaghan who served in the Indiana cavalry in the Civil War, O'Neill was the commander of several of the Fenian incursions into Canada in the late I 860s. In the early 1870s, O'Neill organized a colony in northeastern Nebraska in what subsequently became the town of O'Neill. A group of 13 men, two women and five children arrived there on May 12, 1874. The colony prospered despite some shady land deals and grasshopper plagues. Today, O'Neill has what it calls the world's largest shamrock, 65 feet by 55 feet, painted in the middle of its main downtown intersection. So"rca: "BeJou Totllly, TIt~ History 01 HoII CtHUIIy, N«wuktl" by ,..,.0;" S..ytler, YO#,' "CtIIltolic 11ftmi6rMl Colofliv,tioll Project," by sUter Mil')' Gilbnf K~Uy itr U.s. CtJdIoIic His toriclJl S oci«y M OIID,rllpll
"Nurukll, " Dorodty W"'lIr er.,lt; "Wm-rt/ E.JcpcIuioll," by R"Y AU- &IJiIqfo1l.
In 1879, the German community in Meriden opened a German-American school in the Turner Hall in that city. The haH was fitted over with desks and chairs purchased from a German gentleman named Hirunan, who was "the Meriden agent for school furniture." The cost of refitting the hall to serve as a school was $200. The rental for the hall was $225 a year "and these expenses have been provided for by the generous contributions from our German American citizens." Some of the expenses were recouped by charging the approximately 60 students a fee of $ I per month. Families that sent two children paid $ 1.50 a month and those that sent three paid only $2 a month. To teach in the new school, which opened in the autumn of 1879, the Germans retained a Mr. Roeth who previously was principal of the Martha Institute in Hoboken, N.J. It was said that Roeth came highly recommended. He was assisted by his wife who was "a very accomplished lady." On the day the school opened nearly every seat was filled and the Meriden Morning Record believed '1he school cannot fail of being an excellent one." SOlU'u: R~cortl,
SepL 6 iutll SepL 12.
1879. EtIiIor'. 1U1t~: I .. r«Of.un- of du boIuI _ _ ItisIoriL:IIi ~
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CDnnecticut lrish-Amedun HistDriul SDclellj
Mag - June 1999 VDL XI, No. III .... '
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LURKING BEHIND CONVENT WALLS ••• To 19th century Irish immigrants, convents were simply communal dwellings for women pledged to celibacy and devoted to teaching or helping the poor. New England Yankees, however, suspected that behind convent walls lurked dark secrets ofyoung girls held against their will. Fanned by accounts ofwomen said to have escapedfrom convents, such suspicions led to more than one incident of violence against convents by those who espoused the nativist view that the Irish represented a great threat to America. Below are stories oftwo such incidents linked to Connecticut.
Hartford nun lived through 1855 threat to convent in Providence was in full stride in Rhode Island as it was tltroughout New England. Springing from about equal parts of anti-Catholicism, antiIrish sentiment and concern that immigration was threatening American life, the agitation focused on politics, religion and education. Nativists wanted to limit the influence of the Catholic Church, disband Irish militia units and keep a close eye on convents, Just a month after Sister Barbara took her vows, Rhode Island newspapers began to allude to secret gatherings promoting the nativist, or Know Nothing, cause. In local elections that November, voters put a number of nativist
On May 27, 1854, Bernard O'Reilly, second bishop of the Diocese of Hartford, presided as three Irish young women took their vows as Sisters of Mercy. One of the three, Sister Barbara - nee Mary Jordan - was to spend most of her career in Hart· ford as supervisor at the orphanage conducted in connection with St. Catherine's Convent for more than 32 years and as a teacher at St. Patrick's School. At the time Jordan entered the order, the diocese comprised both Connecticut and Rhode Island and her flfst assignment was at St. Xavier's Convent on Broad Street in Providence. In the 18505, nativist agitation
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Connecticut minister aroused nativists who burned Boston convent The most famous of the convent incidents OCCWTed in a suburb of Boston, on Aug. ll, 1834, with one of the leading characters a Connecticut-born clergyman, the Rev. Lyman Beecher. The Ursuline convent was established on Mount Benedict in the then rural community of Charlestown in the 1820s as a
boarding school. Its staff comprised primarily Irish nuns educated in France, and the school developed a reputation for excellence that drew students from as far away as Canada and New Or· leans. Many of its students were drawn from affluent Protestant families of Boston, a fact which
greatly concerned orthodox ministers in that city. One of those thus concerned was the Rev. Beecher, a native of New Haven, a graduate of Yale and a Presbyterian minister. Beecher, one of whose 13 children was Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, served in East Hampton
on Long Island and in Litchfield in Connecticut before becoming pastor of the Park Street Church in Boston. According to one historian, Beecher was "a revivalistic preacher whose fiery sermons earned his church the popular designation of 'Brimstone Comer.' (please turn to page 2)
FAMINE JOURNAL Perspective While English newspapers and members of Parliament in London scolded the Irish for their indolence, the Famine raged on in many parts of Ireland. A government official in Dublin stated in early May 1849, "The deaths from privation within the last month outnwnber those of the whole winter of 1846-47 and that a more fatal season has yet to come inasmuch as ... what in April and May is no worse than scarcity will amount before Midsununer to positive famine." What made 1849 different from 1847 was that the focus of the tragedy had now shifted from the cottages of the poor to the workhouses most of which had neither the space nor the financial means to provide for the mass of those needing assistance. Mortality reports indicated that thousands were dying in the workhouses and that other thousands were fle.:ing from them, preferring to die on the road or in their homes. Adding to the turmoil was the continuation of large-scale evictions, with hundreds of peasants being turned out on the roadside and left to their fate. And all anxiously awaited harvest time, fearing still another potato crop failure. If there were, peasants could but lie down and die.
FAMINE JOURNAL Published bbnonthly durinl the l50th anniversary of the Irish Potato FamJne. CopYJilht 1999 by the Connecticut Irish-American Hbtorical Sodety, P.O. HoI 120-020, East Haven, cr 06512.
May - June 1849
Havoc In Kerry
Gentry Dying, Too
London Times, May 4, 1849 - State of the Kenmare Union ... Of the misery which the population of this district endure some idea may be formed from the fact ... that no less than eight persons have perished on the roadside of sheer exhaustion and hunger within the last 10 days. Six of those ill-fated individuals were coming away from the workhouse. Some say they had been turned out, and while striving to reach the place where once stood their homes, they fell and perished on the road. This happened last week - there was an inquest as if the cause of their death was a mystery. The verdict of the jury has not transpired but the verdict of the public was "Death from starvation."
London Times, May 18, 1849 - Subjoined is an extract from a lady in the county of Roscommon, giving a melancholy sketch of the distress at present existing among the gentry in that part of the country: - You have no idea of the state of the gentry in this county. I mean those who have nothing but estates; they are starving. Yes, indeed, starving! A lady who has an estate of 300 acres of land for ever at 6d. per acre has just been to tell me that for 27 hours her family have not tasted food! There is, I am told, a society in Dublin for affording relief to distressed Protestant families. Could you inquire about it, it would be an act of mercy to this large and suffering family... , The fear of Poor Law officers prevents the lands from being let in grazing or for tillage; as there are two years' poor rates due and the cattle and crops would at once be seized and sold to pay them. It is a melancholy site to see all the lands waste and the owner and his family starving.
The other two cases occurred - one on Friday at a place called Whitestrand and one the morning following at West Cove. The parties were brothers of the name of Shea. On Thursday, they had traveled from near Waterville to Sneem, a distance of at least 22 miles to try and get their names put on the outdoor relieflists ... on their way back from Sneem on Friday, a bitter cold day, too, they got as far as Whitestrand and there sunk exhausted. The dispensary physician, Dr. Barry of West Cove, hearing of the occurrence hastened to the spot and found one brother just dead and the other beside him expiring. A little brandy poured into the mouth of him who still breathed revived him and then by a great deal of persuasion, the doctor induced a couple of men to assist him in bringing the poor sufferer to the doctor's own residence ... on Saturday morning, the wretched man breathed his last, more fortunate than his brother, in that he was not allowed to perish like a brute beast, and that ... he had time to have the last rites of the church administered to him.
Workhouse Toll London Times, May 4, 1849 - The mortality in the workhouse ofFermoy for the last four months has been as follows: January
Choice Of Deaths London Times, May 3, 1849 - ... In Ballinrobe, the deaths in the workhouse for the week have been 146, and upwards of 400 have absconded preferring to die by the wayside rather than become victims of disease in that charnel house. The cholera is said to be on the increase in Ballinrobe and the surrounding villages.
Cholera In Galway London Times, May 4, 1849 - Up to Tuesday the return of cases amounted to 840 of which 320 proved fatal. The local authorities have hit upon a novel method of getting rid of the disease. It is this - The 68th Regiment yesterday fired at the Square, Galway, 20 rounds of blank cartridges each rank and file, at the express desire of local authorities, for the purpose of purif)'ing the air and expelling cholera.
Tipperary Eviction Tipperary Vindicator, June 10, 1849 - We have heard that no less than 450 notices of ejectment have been made on one or two properties not many miles from Borrisokane and we learn that 300 miserable beings were sent in the world from a property near Clonmel, that five houses were leveled and 40 persons were turned out on the lands of the Knocknaclara, 36 persons off the lands ofKnockakelly near Slievenamon, 106 off the lands of Ashgrove near Caher ... 41 off the lands of Rarnclough, 28 off another property, 78 off another and 20 off another. Good GOO, where is this sweeping system of wholesale extermination to end?
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Pa98 3
Hartford Gaels honored Irish poet Thonlas Moore Traditional Irish music, poetry and language filled Parsons Theater in Hartford on Sunday, May 29,1904. The occasion was the anniversary of the death of the famous Irish author Thomas Moore. A writer of both prose and poetry, Moore is perhaps best known for his publication of collections of Irish melodies. To commemomte the anniversary, the Gaelic Society of Hartford organized a progmm filled with Irish traditions. A Mr. and Mrs. O'Donnell, whose first names unfortunately are not given in the newspaper announcement of the program, were the featured perfonners.
"Much interest," said the paper, "is being shown in this first appearance here of Mrs. O'Donnell whose lecture-recital will be the chief feature of the program, as her reputation as an exponent of Irish music is
9th Regiment lauded for chivalry during Civil War In the years just after the Civil War, an Irishman, John Francis Maguire, visited the United States because he wished, in his own words "to ascertain by personal observation what the Irish thousands of whom are constantly emigrating as it were from my very door - were doing in America ... ')
In New Orleans, Maguire was told of the pmiseworthy conduct of the 9th Connecticut Regiment, the state's Irish unit, during the Federal occupation of that city. "Its officers," he wrote, "maintained the chivalrous character of the Irish soldier, who fought for a principle, not for plunder or oppression ... They would not take possession of the houses of the wealthy citizens, which, according to the laws of war, they might have done. 'We came to light men,' said they, 'not to rob women. ' They soon won the confidence and respect of the inhabitants." A soldier of the 9th, Maguire said, was assigned to sentry duty in front of a grand home that Gen. Butler of Massachusetts intended
to tum into his headquarters: "The sentinel was suddenly disturbed in his monotonous pacing to and fro before the door of the mansion by the appearance of a smart young girl, who with an air half timid and half coaxing said, 'Sir, I suppose you will permit me to take these few toys in my apron? Surely, Gen. Butler has no children who require such things as these?" "'Young woman!' replied the sentry in a sternly abrupt tone that quite awed his petitioner, 'my orders are preemptory not a toy or a thing of any kind
Japanese sailor aided In the winter of 1884, a tugboat from New Haven was sent out into Long Island Sound to rescue several crewmen suffering from frostbite on the ship Mohawk. One of them, a Japanese sailor named Tomma Diaz, had such a severe case that all his fmgers had to be amputated at a New Haven hospital. When released from the hospital, Diaz went to the Seaman's
rI ~miTri (.]. ~ LJ. • ....... r.-I
widespread. She will sing 1~"iilllil about a dozen numbers of • Hartford directories: Gedifferent types, including nealogist Paul Keroack has a couple in the Irish prOVided a sampling of en, tongue. Mr. O'Donnell tries from the Hartford city who plays the accompadirectory for 1867 and 1868. niements will also have The entries show the value some piano solos, illustraof directories for genealogitive of very ancient Irish cal research. The entries compositions." include: Father Walter J. Shanley presided at the concert Brady, Andrew, porter, bds 80 Pearl and gave a brief summary Brady, Christopher, teamster, of the life and works of Moore, 30 Baker h who died in 1852. Other melodies were sung by Brady, Mrs. Catherine, h 215 Commerce Mrs. Sinnott, Miss Kline, Mr. Brady, Patrick, book maker h Lynch and Mr. Radicon 30 Baker SOUTU: Hartford COUTant, May 18, Brady, Patrick, laborer h 215 1904. Commerce Brady, Philip, h Hawthorn Braisil, Terrence, laborer, h 25 West can pass this door while I am here. Branagan, William, laborer h But, miss,' added the inflexible 63 Spruce guardian, in quite a different tone, Branegan, Mrs. Frances, 63 'if there is such a thing as another Spruce door, or a back: window, you may Brannan, Michael, laborer, take away as many toys as you can bds 20 Talcott fmd, or whatever else you wish. I Brassil, Dennis, silkworker h have no orders against it, and the 47 Morgan more you take, the better 1'11 be Brassil, Francis, engineer h pleased, God knows.' 18 Cedar "The palpable hint was Brassil, Michael, tinsmith h adopted and it is to be hoped that 18 Cedar something more than the toys was Brazel, Matthew, laborer h 93 saved to the owners of the manMaple sion." Brazel, Patrick, h 91 Arch SOUTce: The Irish In America, John Brennan, James, 27 Spruce Francis Maguire. Brennan, John. pistolmaker bds 103 State by New Haveners Brennan, Michael. laborer h Bethel, a sailors' hostel in New 20 Talcott Haven. Unsuccessful in fmding Brennan, Mrs. James, h rear employment for Diaz, the direc23 West tor of the hostel raised enough Brennan, Thomas, gardener money to pay for his passage h rear 23 West back to Japan. Brennan, Thomas, polisher h EdiJor's note: In recognition of the rear 28 West bond between OUT historical society Brennan, Timothy. carman, h and lite other socidin in lite Elltnic 53 Talcott Herilage Cmter, and to foster a~ preciDlUJn for all races and nationBrennan, William, joiner h 4 alities, we publish in each issue of Franklin ct The Shanachu one story about anBrennan, William, laborer h ollter dltnic group. 213 Front
Connecticut Irish-AmeriW'1n Historical Sociehj
JullJ-August 1999 VoL XI, No. 4
Ihe Almighty has been pleased to grant us a signal victory on Lake Champlain in the capture of one frigate, one brig and two sloops of war of the enemy:
ach day, dozens of motorists drive by a small stone marker just across the street from St. John's Church on North Main Street in Middletown scarcely aware that it commemorates an Irislunan described by President Theodore Roosevelt as "the greatest figure in our naval history" up to the time of the Civil War. Commodore John Barry, the Wexford native known as the "father of the American Navy," you say? Wrong. The monument honors not John Barry, but Commodore Thomas Macdonough, an IrishAmerican who soundly defeated a British squadron in the Battle of Lake Champlain on Sept. II, 1814, thus ending British hopes of invading the United States from Canada during the War of 1812. Macdonough was born at The Trap - now named Macdonough - in Delaware on Dec. 31, 1783, just at the end of the American Revolution. He joined the Navy as a midshipman in 1800 Wld spent several years on the Ganges, a vessel protecting AmericWl shipping from French attack in the West Indies. In 1802, he served on the Constellation carrying out a similar protective mission for American
ships endWlgered by the Barbary pirates in the Mediterranean. A year later, he was assigned to the Phi/adelphia on the same station. The assignment proved a fortunate move for his career. The Phi/adelphia captured a pirate ship, the Mirboka, and Macdonough was put aboard it as part of the prize crew. Subsequently, the Philadelphia itself was captured by Tripolitans and
Macdonough played an important role in a daring escapade in which a crew picked by Lieut. Stephen Decatur boarded and destroyed the Philadelphia while it was in Tripoli harbor. In October 1806, Macdonough was ordered to Connecticut to superintend the construction of four Navy gunboats at Middletown on the COImecticut River. While here, he made
the acquaintance of Nathaniel Shaler, a prominent merchant and musician, a British sympathizer during the Revolutionary War and the father of a large family including a channing, 16-year-old daughter, Lucy Arm. A year later, Macdonough left Middletown on an assignment to the ship Wasp carrying dispatches from America to Europe, but not before a romance had blossomed with Lucy Arm.
(]3orn of CDu6Cin stoclt "Our family is of Irish extraction. My grandfather came over about the year 1700, probably some few years aUer that period. He came from near Dublin with two other brothers, one of whom settled in the City of New York ... Another '" went to the West Indies, his name was Augustine ... The third brother, named James, settled in the state of Delaware. This latter was my grandfather, he had a large family ... and was a man of respectable character and standing ... My father Thomas was educated well and became a physician, practicing a short time when he joined in anus with the rest of his countrymen in the struggle for independence. He was major in Col. Haslitt's Regiment, was in several severe battles, was in Brooklyn at the time our troops retreated from Long Island, was wounded by the bursting of a shell on the knee. Uncle Michael was in the anuy, captain ... James, my brother, was midshipman in the Navy ... and lost his foot by a C8IUlon shot in the main top of (Commodore) Truxton's ship, the Constellation. The family name by the female side in Ireland was Coil." Commodore Thomas Mtudonough
When the War of 18 12 began, Lieut. Macdonough was ordered frrst to Washington and then to Portland, Maine, to take command of a division of gunboats. On Sept. 12, 1812, he was named commander of the Navy forces on Lake Champlain With orders to prevent the British at all costs from gaining control of that strategically vital water route down into New York. In December that year, he took time from his new duties to travel south to Middletown where on Saturday, Dec. 12, he and Lucy Ann Shaler were married. The newlyweds had no time for a formal honeymoon. Their only time alone consisted of their trip up through Connecticut, Massachusetts and Yennont to (please turn 10 page 2)
FAMINE JOURNAL Perspective In late swnmer 1849, the potato blight reappeared in Ireland. Reports from the rural districts indicated the typical withering of the leaves and putrification of the potatoes themselves. But the situation was mitigated, just about everyone agreed, by the sporadic nature of the disease. In previous years, the appearance had been followed by rapid decay ofevery potato plant in a field.
In 1849, the disease seemed limited to just those plants that were frrst attacked, while the remainder of the crop continued to bloom bountifully. The hopes for the crop were dimmed by the knowledge that in large areas of the country the economy, such as it was to begin with, had ground to a virtual standstill with people continuing to die from want of food even as thousands of acres lay untilled. In August, 12 years after she was crowned, Queen Victoria made her first trip to Ireland. The London Times saw in the large and enthusiastic crowds that greeted her arrival an omen of better times ahead for Ireland and greater understanding between the English and Irish peoples.
FAMINE JOURNAL Published bimonthly durlJa& the l50th llIUIivenary of the
Irish Potato FIUII1De. Copyrlaht 1999 by the Conneetkut IrWt-Ainerican HIstorical Soelety, P.O. 801 120-010, EMt Havea, cr 06512.
July - August 1849
Blight Reappears, But Less Virulent
Ireland In Chaos
Cork Reporter, Aug. 1, 1849 - A gentleman called at our office this morning with some potato stalks which had been what is commonly called blighted. About a fortnight ago some of the leaves asswned the appearance of blight, became brown and rotted. The owner, of course, thought, as many others have done, that his crop was diseased and would be destroyed, but was agreeably surprised some time afterwards to fwd the diseased stalks throwing out new and green leaves. These shoots are still growing although the blighted ones, which appear to have been struck by lightning, remain on the stalk that is perfect and sound. We rather fancy that a similar attack in other cases has been the cause of the panic that is prevalent among certain parties who cannot believe that the crop can be sound or would desire that it should be.
Letter to the Editor, London Times, July 5, 1849Sir, ... The condition of the country is this. The masses which should be engaged in producing food are now scarcely sustained alive in its consumption, and this at the expense of those whose whole means were depended on the independence of those very masses which they have now to feed in their helplessness.
London Times. Aug. 16, 1849 - The accounts of the potato crop, I regret to state, are still of an unfavourable character, and all doubt of the existence to some extent of the disease in its worst fann is unhappily set at rest. Some samples were to be seen in town yesterday, which were sent up from the county of Longford, the appearance of which was positively loathsome, they being little better than a mass of putridity. The Mayo Constitution says: Considerable anxiety prevails as to the fate of this precarious article of food. Reports are quite prevalant that the blight has again appeared and we are sorry to say that such is the fact. But its spread has been very limited and we trust that by \Pe blessing of Divine Providence, little injury will result to the crop this year. At present, the vast bulk of the potato tillage has nigh reached maturity so that the same devastation which this visitation has committed on former years cannot possibly occur this season. Fine potatoes are being sold in every market throughout the county at very low prices.
The poor rates from which the famine stricken paupers have now to be fed are drawn from property itself, only of value when labouring men are sources of profit upon it, when occupiers can and will pay the rent of their occupations.
Dublin EvenIng Mail, Aug. 23, 1849 - The state of the potato crop is still a most anxious subject, but every day adds to the hope that it will not suffer in any great or material degree from the blight in its present mitigated form. We have been well assured that in large tracts of country which so long ago as three weeks exhibited the premonitory taint upon the leaves, and put forth the still more onimous odour which in former years denoted the actual presence of corruption, not a single bad potato has been found, nor does the progress of the fruit to maturity appear to have been checked. A gentleman who cut down the stalks of some of his drills about that time, covering them with freshly dug earth to the depth of a couple of inches says thAt they are budding forth anew over the surface and that the work of vegetation underground is proceeding as in the most propitious season. Belfast Newsletter, Aug. 26, 1849 - The general impression seems to be that, though unquestionably the epidemic ... has again for the fifth time made its appearance, the disease seems at length to have exhausted its virulence and to be slowly departing with its causes, atmospheric or otherwise, from the country ... Our Banbridge correspondent thus \Wites: There is a good deal of talk here about the blight in the potato crop, but I think the farmers in this neighbourhood are not much alarmed yet. No doubt the disease has appeared very generally in this part of the country, but in such a mitigated form as to cause very little apprehension in the minds of the people of their being able to save the greater part of the crop, as it is not making that rapid progress which it did in former years ...
The whole order of society is now reversed and still the rates increase. The labourer labours no~ the occupying tenant has either thrown up his occupation and become a pauper or he has fled with what capital he possessed to Ameri~ or he holds on til his dwelling is unroofed over his head, in a state of indigence which cannot pay anything or in a state of obstinate despair which looking on all around as one common wreck, determines him to float on on anything he can, be it his own or the property of another. Thousands of acres lie untilled and yet more than 100,000 men might be found, ready and capable of work, who are now only undergoing a very expensive but rapid training for the grave. An equal number are fed and lodged to do work not wanted, at an expense which could have applied their power to the securing of food and the fuel for want of which thousands must yet perish ... S.O.Q.
Arkansas 'travelers' to attend second O'Neill reunion By Maureen Condron Delahunt As I write this, my extended O'Neill family is preparing for its second reunion at the Madison Surf Club. We will come together on Sept. 12 to tell stories, share history, generally update each other on our travels through life to the present and discuss our goals for the future. In 1998, we held our first reunion to celebrate the 100 years since John J. O'Neill of County Kerry married Honora Agnes Foly of County Clare in St. Mary's Church, New Haven. The family has now grown to over 300 members including children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and spouses. One of the highlights of last year's gathering was the presence of six family members from Altus, Ark. Cousin Peggy Murray Post came with five of her eight children. It was wonderful to greet all of them. For most of us, it was a frrst time meeting since that branch had moved away in the throes of the Depression almost 60 years ago. They are descended from Margaret Loretta O'Neill, the fourth child of John and Nora. She was born Sept. 18, 1904, in Sneem, County Kerry, after her parents returned there with their frrst three children who were born in New Haven. At the age of 18, Margaret crossed the Atlantic by herself to join her older sisters and brother who had already returned to the United States. Upon arival at Ellis Island, she was held for a possible quarantine because some
passengers were suspected of having tuberculosis. Managing to get a boat to the mainland, Peg caught a train to New Haven and a trolley to her uncle's home. In 1926, she married Russell Murray, a Baptist who converted to Catholicism and in 1940, Russell accepted a shipyard superintendency in Seabrook, Texas. He moved his family, then consisting of five children and arrived in Texas on Easter Sunday 1940. In 1942, Russell was commissioned an officer in the U.S Navy and went to war. Like so many wartime wives, Peg took charge. She worked occasional jobs, kept a garden and was chauffeur for the boy's basketball team, for which she demanded and received extra gasoline tokens. At the end of the year and at the age of 41, Peg gave birth to her seventh child. At this time, Russell tried his hand at farming, first in Texas and then in Arkansas. At frrst it didn't go well for !Urn. When they moved to Arkansas
in 1949, they left their oldest daughter in college in Houston and their only living son was soon drafted for the Korean War. Within a few years, things were looking up. Their children were married and presented Peg and Russ with a total of 33 grandchildren. Russ passed away in February 1981 and Peg died in June 1984. On the day after the reunion last year, my Aunt Chris and I joined the Arkansas cousins at St. Lawrence Cemetery. The quest was to frnd the grave of Peg and Russell's frrst child, John Russell Murray. The st8fT at St. Lawrence's was wonderful to us. The records indicated that baby John, who died at the age of one week, was buried in a section referred to as Baby's Field. The graves were unmarked and only identified by a metal pin marker. With the aid of a metal detector and two grave diggers, the site was frnally discovered. The cemetery would levy no charge for all the work. We then made our way to the monument works and found out what the options are for children's grave markers. The rest of the day was spent in locating houses in several New Haven neighborhoods where the family had resided, culminating at the last house on Halleck Avenue in City Point. We are looking forward eagerly to meet another group of the Arkansas "travelers." (Maureen Condron DeIa1tunl is secretary of the Connecticut IrishAmerican Historical Society.)
Meriden's Swedish Baptists enjoyed annual summer outing The Swedish Baptist Church of Meriden held its annual summer outing at Ulert's Grove in Wallingford on Saturday, July 10, 1909. A special trolley car left Meriden at 10: 15 a.m. "for Sunday school scholars and others who want to go." A bountiful dinner was served at noon at the park and the program ineluded a short religious service conducted by the
Rev. J.E. Klingberg of New Britain and the Rev. N.J. Linde of Waterbury. All Scandinavians were invited. EdiJor's note: In recogllilion of the bond between our historical society and the other societin in the Ethnic Heritage Center and to foster apprecUllion for all raCQ and naJionaliJies, we print in each issue of The Shanachie one story about another efhllic group.
family history Hartford directories: We continue this month a sampling of entries from the Hartford city directory for 1867 and 1868. The entries include such valuable information as occupation, place of residence and clues to family relationships. The entries were collected by our genealogist Paul Keroack.
Agan, Daniel, laborer, h 35 Pleasant Agan, Edward, laborer, h 243 Commerce Agan, John, printer, h 91 Spruce Agan, John, printer, h 91 Windsor Agan, Kearn, laborer, h 32 West Agan, Keron, laborer, bds Wavarre av Agan, Michael, laborer, h 34 West Agan, Michael, laborer, h 108 Wells Agan, Michael, laborer, h 77 Spruce Agan, Mrs. Catherine, h rear 18 Grove Agan, Pat, helper, h 35 Pleasant Agan, Peter, laborer, bds 10 Shelton Agan, Thomas, stonemason, h 367 Front Agan, Thomas, laborer, at 38 Prospect Ahearn, James A., plumber, bds 265 Front Ahearn, John J., laborer, bds 42 Avon Ahearn, Matthew, marbleworker, bds 27 Chestnut Ahearn, Morris, laborer, h 91 Windsor Banning, Michael, laborer, bds 41 Mechanic Bannon, Daniel, laborer, bds 41 Mechanic
CoaaecUcut 1Jzfsb-An.:IBl2fcaa Hfstol2fcal Socfst,}' SeptsrnbBl2 - OctobBl2 2999 Vol. XI, No. ~
1855 Enfield survey found many Irish, but few attending school
n 1855,anEnfieldresistances to circwnstances dent, who identified which no one can control himself or herself only as circumstances which may L.S.P., did some research on amoWlt almost to a positive the population of the Thompnecessity. sonville section of town out of "I am well aware that it is a concern for the schooling of with feelings of the deepest rethe children of residents. gret that many parents feel The results of the research, compelled to take their chilwhich the Hartford Courant dren from the school to the published in a letter to the ediworkshop. And I think it true tor composed by L.S.P., are inalso that some parents prefer teresting from the standpoint the income from their chilof Connecticut's ethnic hisdren's services more than their tory. proper education; that just the The letter, while telling time when they are enabled to something about Irish people This sketch ofthe Thompsonvi//e section ofEnfield was drawn by give them an opportunity for in our state, speaks also in Connecticut artist John Warner Barber in the 1830s. schooling, is just the time they broader terms to such impordo not. tant issues in Connecticut and abstract of our population: England, a village enumerating ''But be that as it may, the pracAmerican history as child labor, Irish 960 so many children, where only a tical fact for us is that in a manuthe Nativist movement, the IndusScotch 355 fraction over one halfare enrolled facturing population many children trial Revolution, and ethnic immiEnglish 335 upon our school registers, and must spend the best season of their gration. Americans 360 that too when our schools are in youth for schooling at labor, that Germans and French 120 full operation, is a startling fact, often at 12 years of age they must The letter, as it appeared in the Total 2,129 and a fact which should excite se- enter upon that labor which is to be Courant on Feb. 6, 1855, is reprinted below: "We enumerate betwixt the rious apprehensions lest the their future ocupation. Children "Mr. Editor - With much la- age of four and 16,608, of which proper education of the rising thus situated have the weightiest bor and care, I have just completed there are enrolled upon our generation be too little cared for. claim upon parents and the com"That children in manufactur- munity, and there is no way in a census of our village, for the pur- school registers, 344; number enpose of procuring a better knowl- gaged in factories, 150; numbers ing villages Wlder the age of 16, which even partial justice can be are compelled to labor, I am well done to them except by gi ving edge of our educational condition engaged nowhere, 114. "That there should be in New aware, is owing in many inand wants and the following is an (Continued on page 2)
Wreath laying will honor Civil War Irish Regiment
In what hopefully will become an annual event, the Connecticut IrishAmerican Historical Society, the Irish History Roundtable and the Civil War Roundtable are sponsoring the laying ofa wreath at the monument in New Haven to Connecticut's Civil War Irish unit, the 9th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers. The ceremony is scheduledfor Sunday, Nov. 7, at I I a.m. and will be followed by ucoffee and" at the Knights ofSt. Patrick Hall, J533 State St. Please plan to attend. For directions andfor more information about the organization and service of the 9th Regiment, please tum to page 3.
FAMINE JOURNAL Perspective The seemingly neverending epic of the Famine took another twist in autwnn 1849. Frightened by reports of the return of the potato blight, peasants and small farmers throughout Ireland began to harvest crops by cover of night and send them to distant places for sale. In many cases, the crops had already been "distrained," that is, awarded to the landlords by the courts. The government saw the peasants' actions as an organized attempt to subvert the laws and to cheat property owners of their rights. Peasants and rebels saw it as a justified seizure of crops by those who were starving and who could expect no equity from the political system. Meanwhile, evictions of tenants - "extermination" as it was called - continued at a high rate and emigration was reported at some port cities as being greater than ever before. Some used proceeds from the sale of crops to purchase passage to America. Officials basked in the afterglow of Queen Victoria's summer visit to Ireland, suggesting that it clearly showed the loyalty of the Irish people to the queen and to England. A Dublin man who was arrested for decorating his house in mourning during her visit begged to ditTer.
FAMINE JOURNAL Published Wmonthly durin& the l50th annIvenary of the
Irish Potato FamJne. CoPyr1lht 1999 by the COMecticut Irish-American HIatorical Society, P.O. Box 110-010, ElIat Haven, cr 06511.
September - October 1849
Crop War Atblone Sentinel, September 1849 - The system of removing crops at night and on Sunday, which were previously distrained for rent, has become very general and widespread in this neighbourhood. On SWlday last a large party of men assembled on the lands of Crosby, near Moste, the property of Mr. Arthur Browne, J.P., and commenced cutting down and carrying away corn which was distrained for rent. When Mr. Browne heard of the circumstance, he inunediately sent for the police ... Mr. Browne, as a magistrate, read the Riot Act, and after a good deal of altercation and some exhibition of an inclination to violence, the parties dispersed. But they were determined not to be frustrated '" for they returned in the nighttime and suceeded in canying away the corn ... Tipperary Vindicator, September 1849 - The cutting down of ~rops and carrying them otT the lands to evade the rent is become general through the COWlty, the tenants justifying this proceeding by stating that they have no choice and are compelled to resort to that, the sole means that is left them, for supporting life. They say that the alternative is presented them of becoming dishonest and withholding the landlords' rents or starving ...
Boyle Gazette, October 1849 - On Sunday last upwards of 200 men assembled on the lands of Cartron, near Crossna (Co. Roscommon), and reaped a large quantity of oats which were inunediately conveyed away on carts to some district, the object being to evade distress for rent, poor rates and county cess. The important fact in occurrences of this sort, that a considerable number of strange persons can be assembled on a short notice and from distant localities, clearly proves that a secret, but widespread organization exists ... London Times, Oct 3, 1849 - Dungarvan, Wednesday, I am sorry to say that the carrying otT the crops for the purpose of evading distraint for rent is ... not confmed to Clare, Limerick, Tipperary or any other locality. I happened on Monday to witness the result of a transaction of this nature. The crop, it appeared, of a tenant to an extensive fanner in the neighbourhood of Cappoquin was removed on the previous SWlday night, although distrained for rent. The crop was traced to a farmer's premise at Abbeyside ... and the Dungarvan police having arrived soon after, two prisoners, a man and a woman, who had custody of the distrained corn, were sent to prison ... The taking away of crops on a SWlday is not confmed to those poor tenants who, by such an act of dishonesty, sometimes endeavour to obtain the only feasible means of enabling them to emigrate from their native land to a more prosperous clime ... A certain fanner who had always been deemed a most respectable man, recently waited on his landlord to whom he paid more than 200£ a year in rent, and demanded of him a reduction of 5s., an acre, which he said would enable him to remain in the COWltry, but which the landlord preemptorily refused. On the following Sunday, 300 men cut down this fanner's crops which were conveyed the same night far and aw'!y beyond the landlord's reach, whom nobody pitied. The fanner who was considered up to this time an improving tenant, turned the crops into cash and is now probably on his way to free America....
Blight Spreads Evening Mail, Sept 11, 1849 - We regret to say that the accounts from the COWltry this morning all speak of the spread of the potato disease.
Fear The Worst Londonderry Journal, Sept 13, 1849 - Since the issue of our usual monthly report, on this day week, the progress of the potato blight has been rapid beyond that of any years since 1846.
The growth of the crop may now be said to be over, but that would be of comparatively little consequence, as they are in most places pretty well gro~ but the disease has set in so fast on the roots that we fear the worst consequences may be expected. During the past week we
had the close night and morning fogs which have always been the precursors of this sad calamity .....
All Over Ireland London Times, Oct 3, 1849 - Unhappily there is no longer any conflicting testimony as to the extent of the fatal blight.
It has set in everywhere and in some districts with a rapidity far exceeding anything that marked its destructive progress in former years. From north and south, east and west, the accoWlts scarcely vary, and the most sanguine are now reluctantly compelled to admit that no reliance can be placed on the late crop as an article of food. The people are night and day employed in digging them out, to save as much as possible from the impending ruin, and the markets are literally glutted with the produce, which in many instances is only got otT hands at barely nominal prices.
9th was Connecticut's Irish regiment in Civil War The 9th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers was organized in September 1861 as the state's Irish regiment. The 9th was mustered and trained in New Haven at Camp Welch, named in honor of the city's mayor. The majority of its members were recruited from New Haven, but other I areas of the state were represented, too. Co. D, for example, included a number of men from Bridgeport, while Co. F had a strong contingent from Waterbury and Co. K had men from Hartford, Bridgeport, Derby, Griswold, Bethel, Easton, Winchester, Simsbury, Fairfield, Newto\W and Danbury. Interestingly, while the unit was composed mainly of Irishborn and Irish-American troops, its ranks also included a number of immigrants from other lands. Lt. Christian Streit, leader of the regimental band, and his brother, Cpl. Simon Streit, were natives of Germany, while one of the regiment's chaplains, Rev. Leo Rizzo, was born in Calabria, Italy. The youngest member of the regiment in 1861 was drummer boy Richard Hennessey, not yet 12 years old and the son of Capt. J.P. Hennessey. The 845-man reginlent lell
New Haven on Nov. 4, 1861, and' after a brief sojourn in Massachusetts, sailed for Ship Island, Miss., where Union forces were gathering for an assault on New Orleans. On the occasion of St. Patrick's Day that year, an anonymous member of the , \ regiment wrote a letter to the New Haven Register assuring readers that members of the 9th, like other Irislunen, would give a good accounting of themselves. "The adopted cItIzens of New Haven," he wrote, "need not fear but what the Ninth will do their part, when they are led forth in defence of the country which gives more freedom to the stranger than any other on the face of the Earth. Irishmen have fought for France under Sarsfield, for Russia under Delacy and for Spain in their short sleeves under O'Donnell, at Bull Run under Corcoran; and the adopted sons of Connecticut will prove themselves as good as their ancestors either in France, Spain, Russia or America." When New Orleans surrendered in April 1862 aller a week of bombardment by the Union fleet commanded by
Adm. David Farragut, himself Irish on his mother's side, the 9th was among the occupation forces. In the sununer of that year, it took part in a campaign 400 miles north on the Mississippi River where the Union army made an unsuccessful assaul t on the Rebel stronghold of Vicksburg. The regiment remained in the Mississippi theater of war into early 1864 when it was transferred to the Shenandoah Valley where it served under Gen. Phil Sheridan. The monument to· the 9th Regiment in New Haven was constructed in 1903. Michael P. Coen of Naugatuck, secretary and treasurer of the regiment's Monument Committee was selected to pose as the soldier depicted on the monument. Dedication ceremonies were held on Aug. 5, 1903, with Gov. Abiram Chamberlain leading a large contingent of dignitaries. Directions to 9tb Regiment monument: From the west, take 1-95 to Exit 46, at end of ramp twn right, go under bridge, turn left at traffic light, at next light go lell onto Howard Avenue, park is on lell just over bridge. From the east, take 1-95 to Exit 46, at end of ramp go left, at second light go lell onto Howard Avenue, park is on lell just over bridge.
Hartford Courant bemoaned political clout of Irish "No American who loves his country and her institutions could fail to see as he visited the polls on Monday last that the destir.ies of our city are in the hands of the Irish. The taxpaying community are governed by them. Without property themselves, paying no taxes, ignOi'ant of the workings of our laws, they
elect the Democratic Common Council who, with little responsibility in the way of taxpaying on their own shoulders, foolishly waste and throwaway the public money and use it to the advantage of themselves and their Irish dependents. Hartford city is under the control of the Irish and the rniser-
able demagogues they elect to office. No wonder our city expenses have reached such a pitch as to deter men of property from settling among us ... Can it be possible that all the large cities of the land are to be thus brought under by Irishmen?" Source: Hartford April 15,1857.
famillj historlj Register now: The Connecticut Society of Genealogists is sponsoring an 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. genealogy seminar on Saturday, Oct. 30. The seminar will be at Manchester Community-Technical College, Wetherell Street, Manchester. It will feature presentations on using the Internet, doing oral history, National Archives facilities in New England, etc. Exhibitors will include Jonathan Sheppard Books, National Archives, Archival Products Co., Connecticut Gravestone Network and others. For information and registration, call (860) 5690002. Irish Families: Our society has purchased The Book of Irish Families Great and Small for use by members in our library at Southern Connecticut State University. The book, which includes 20,000 family entries, may be purchased from Irish Families, Box 7575, Kansas City, Mo., for $36.95. For information, call or fax (816) 454-2410. The company is also preparing a series of books on families from each Irish county. The county books contain more than 1,000 family entries and maps and cost $32 each. President Jeanne Whalen has donated the book for County Cork to our library in memory of her grandmother Catherine Barry who came from Cork. Other county volumes available include: Kerry, Clare, Limerick, Galway and Dublin. Anyone wishing to donate a volume in memory of their family should contact Jeanne at (203) 392-6126.
TtJ Sbanacbie ..............
Twain al home
Iwilh Pal and Katy
uring the years he and his family resided in Hartford, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, counted as virtual members of his family two Irish domestic servants - coachman Patrick McAleer and maid Katy Leary. The affection and trust in which the writer and his wife, Olivia, held McAleer and Leary stands in vivid contrast to the ridicule of Irish servants engaged in by some of those in whose social circles the Clemens traveled. McAleer was born in County Tyrone, Ireland, in 1846 and came to America in 1862. He lived for a time in New York City before moving to western New York. Actually, McAleer was hired not by Clemens himself but by his father-in-law, Jervis Langdon, a wealthy entrepreneur of Elmira, N.Y., who had made his money in the coal business. As a surprise wedding gift, Langdon bought, furnished and staffed a home for Sam and his bride, Livy, on fashionable Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. Concerned about his new son-in-Iaw's prospects, Langdon put up money to enable Clemens to buy into the ownership of the Buffalo Express newspaper. The day after the wedding at the Langdon home in Elmira in February 1870, the wedding party and guests were whisked off to Buffalo in a private railroad car, also arranged by Langdon. The bride and groom were gi ven a sleigh ride around Buffalo and then taken to their new home where Langdon handed the newlyweds a package containing the deed to the house. Later that evening, Sam and Livy met their coachman. In his autobiography, Clemens wrote, "Patrick McAleer, that brisk young Irishman, came in to get his orders for next day, and that was our first glimpse of him." The well-known journalist was inunediately impressed by McAleer, describing him as "a brisk and electric young coachman." His first impression was lasting. Within a few years, Clemens in a letter even included Patrick along with Livy as one of the blessings of his life: "Have got a lovely wife, a lovely house, bewitchingly furnished, a lovely carriage & a coachman whose style & dignity are
Connecticut lrish-Ameriedn Historiedl Sodetv Hoyember-DWcemberl999 VoLXI,Ho.6 .
simply awe-inspiring - nothing less ..." In another letter, Clemens told how he bought Patrick a high hat and a pale blue coat with a deep cape. He described going off to church on Sunday morning with the ladies riding inside the coach and he and Patrick on the driver's seat, "Patrick with his fearfully tall and fearfully shiny hat Do you know that coat of Patrick's cost me more than did any ever I wore and it is so handsome. It did not seem to me that a man's coachman ought to wear a finer coat than himself and so, under way, I swapped coats with Patrick." McAleer apparently was a man of many talents for when a fire broke out in a neighbor's house in March 1870, Clements wrote, "Patrick climbed out on the roof and put it half out with ·snow before we succeeded in getting buckets of water to him. After he got it under complete control a couple of (fire department) stearn engines came ..." When the Clemens family moved to Hartford, McAleer, by then married and raising a family that would eventually number eight children, came to Connecticut with them. So much did Clemens think of his coachman that he built him a house adjacent to the stable at the Hartford mansion, which today is a restored tourist attraction known as the Mark Twain House. The Clemens family moved into the home in 1871 and remained there, with some years off in Europe, until 1903. McAleer was not only a dignified gentleman when driving Clemens around Hartford, but also a congenial and witty addition to the family comprised of daughters Susy, Clara and Jean in addition to Sam and Livy. On one occasion, Livy rejected Clara's repeated requests for a pony on the grounds that it could be dangerous for her. Patrick consoled Clara by introducing her to a calf just born to his cow. He told Clara that if she took good care of the calf, it would grow into a pony. Clara named the calf Jumbo, and brushed and walked it every day. Eventually, McAleer sold the calf and that caused such a ruckus with Clara that Clemens ordered his coachman to (please turn 10 page 2)
FAMINE JOURNAL Perspective As the fifth winter of the Famine settled upon Ireland, the focus of the suffering shifted from cabins and cottages to the workhouses.
The financing of the workhouses was removed from general taxation and placed on the shoulders of property holders in the various poor unions. Large numbers of them were approaching or actually in bankruptcy and often there simply was no money with which to purchase food for the starving. Paupers had to be turned away from the workhouses and from outdoor relief with the result that deaths from starvation, general destitution and disease n:mained at a high rate. British papers continued to complain of the laziness of the Irish people and to suggest that a change of population was the only real solution for Ireland's woes. Conflicting reports were printed about successes or failures of schemes for planting the country with English and Scotch settlers, as had been done two centuries earlier in Ulster. Emigration continued at a rapid pace and the movement among the peasantry to force rents down to realistic levels was gaining support in large public meetings.
FAMINE JOURNAL Published bimonthly durinl the 1~ lUUIivenary or the Irish Potato Famine. CopYJilht 1999 by the Connecticut Irish-American HIstorical Society, P.O. Boll 110-020, Eat Haven, cr 06512.
40 Die On Ferry
Umerick Chronicle, December 1849 - Not withstanding the exertions of the local board and poor law inspectors, the in-door paupers were obliged to go to bed without dinner on Tuesday night.
London Times, Dec. 18, 1849 - On Wednesday evening at 5 o'clock, intelligence reached the town ofKiIrush that a large number of persons, most of whom were paupers who had been seeking outdoor relief, were drowned while crossing the ferry on their return to Moyarta ...
London Times, Dec. 5, 1849 - The committee have in this report endeavoured to give a faithful picture of the deplorable condition of the Limerick Union. It may not be difficult to foresee the alarming future, should the present causes of evil remain unmitigated and without remedy
No less than 33 dead bodies were washed ashore on the northern side of the ferry ... It appeared upon the inquiry that no less than 43 or 45 persons ... were allowed to crawl into a crazy and rotten boat, which has been plying on that ferry for the last 40 years.
The farming classes fmd it still more difficult to extend or even to continue their ordinary demand for labour; and the committee have observed with regret that lands are frequently deserted and left without means of meeting any engagements. In some cases, lands are thrown back upon the owner encumbered with arrears of poor-rate incurred not by him but by default of another, for these arrears his freehold estate is made responsible and under the act of the last session may be sold.
The master brought the state of the house, as regards want of provisions for that day, before the board, when soup and chopped turnips grown on the land was the only food available. The outdoor paupers are in a desperate state, crowding the depots and following the relieving officers by thousands to town to get into the workhouse, but the day's admissions so crowded the auxiliary that admission was impossible. It is fearful to think of the state of the Kilrush union, nothing but starving creatures from the country to be seen pouring into a starving workhouse .. , The coroner attended an inquest on a man who was found in a dying state on the road near Kilrnurry. Mortality in the workhouse has been small, but owing to the able-bodied on the outdoor relief being struck 01I, the deaths in that department are every day increasing to a frightful extent. Relieving officers complain that they must bwy their dead without cofTms. The board yesterday agreed to petition the Poor Law Commissioners on the state of the union and said that the guardians would not be morally responsible for the deaths that may occur through starvation.
The boat moved on as far as the middle of the ferry when a sea broke over her stem and filled her at once. She upset instantly and the miserable living freight were immerged in the merciless waters ... With the exception of four, the victims were all paupers who had frequently come to the town in vain to seek outdoor relief and were returning that sad evening to their wretched hovels in the parishes ofMoyarta and Kilballyowen ... It is stated that the unfortunate creatures forced their way into the boat as it grew dark, and that act would appear as if they were reckless of their lives or as if Heaven awarded them a more merciful death than the starvation by which they probably would have perished in a few days more ... They came in many times to Kilrush seeking for relief and were crowded in squalid groups around the workhouse gate, the most miserable spectacle that ever shocked the eye of humanity. The doomed beings were obliged for the last fortnight to return to the country without receiving one pound of meal ...
Under these circumtances where cultivation is rendered unprofitable it will cease and lands must become waste.
In the electoral division of Castletown, Union of Newcastle, consisting of 9,656 acres, 2,397 acres are already waste ... A large and increasing emigration of a new character has extended greatly, adding to the difficulties of employing labour and of paying rates. Farmers and occupiers of land who can still command some share ofunexhausted capital are flying from the ruin they anticipate... The committee are unable to furnish any distinct evidence of the mortality that has taken place though it is undoubtedly very great, but the diminished number of marriages and of births is undeniable; the deaths in the workhouses and the cofTrns given away for outdoor poor are formidably great ...
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devotion of a pair of Irish domestic servants very plain. I could understand it, I tell you. It was in English and I could understand it, the bad part and I enjoyed it, too." Several nights later, as was her custom, Livy asked Leary what book she was then reading and without thinking the servant blurted out its name. Livy ordered Leary to bring the book to her and Katy obeyed, although lamenting, "I hated to give it up before I'd read the whole story." While living in Hartford, Katy maintained some connections to the Irish community. "I dressed myself up fme for the occasion," she said of one Hibernian ball she attended. "I had a red silk dress covered with black lace .. I thought it looked very nice and was very much pleased with myself. "We danced all them old square dances. I never danced round dances, you know, because the Catholic Church didn't approve of rOWld dancing in them days. J872 hadn't struck the world then. So we did, well, just money musk, lanciers and quadrilles. We danced lots of them dances and we had a grand old time ... " If Katy Leary shared in all the joys of the Clemens family, she also partook in full measure of their sorrows. In the summer of 1896 she was at Susy's side when the Clemens' daughter contracted spinal meningitis. Just before she died, Susy reached up and touched Leary's face and said, "Mamma." Leary attended Livy when she died in JWle 1904. At Christmastime 1909, Katy found Jean, who was an epileptic, dead from a seizure in the bathtub. And the Irish maid was at the bedside with Clemens' daughter Clara and her husband when Sam died on April 21,1910. Mary Lawton, who joined the staff long after Leary, wrote, ''From the very beginning of my intimacy in the Clemens house-
hold, the doings of that delightful family were an everlasting joy to me. In that House of Enchantment - for so it always seemed - besides the magic figure of Mark Twain, the gentle presence of Mrs. Clemens, and those three diverting children, Susy, Clara and Jean, was another figure: the unique figure of Katy Leary, for more than 30 years their faithful and devoted servant. "Katy Leary, whose quaint sayings and philosophies and fwmy stories of the family happenings bubbled up like the FOWltain of Life, and were an unfailing source of delight to all who heard them." Lawton recalled her ftrst day in the employ of the family: "I remember that it was Katy Leary herself that opened the door. I can see her now as vividly as she stood then - a handsome, smiling, stalwart, unique and very kindly figure on that gracious threshold. Her /lashing black eyes still /lashed, although behind large spectacles. Her thick wavy hair, that must have been in the early days as black as the proverbial raven's wing, was iron-gray. A fine ruddy color burned in her welcoming face a face that was ftrrn and roWld and happy as a girl's." "In fact the ftrst impression that Katy Leary gave was one of happiness, bubbling happiness, and after that the flash of her humor was the thing that struck one most and made one feel that it would be an amusing and enlightening experience to talk with Katy Leary... " ... And that is Katy Leary as she looked; but when she spoke - ah, then it was that you began to laugh with and love Katy Leary. The things she said in her soft, deep and rather quiet voice were inimitable. The Irish wit of her, the Irish quickness of her,
the Irish deftness of her, and sometimes when necessary, the Irish blarney of her, was something to think over, something to laugh over, and something sometimes, alas, to weep over!" Years aller the death of Sam Clemens, Lawton went to live for a time with Leary who had returned to the home where she was born in Elmira. The purpose of her visit was to recapture for posterity the magic of Katy Leary and the Clemens' household by getting Leary to retell all the old stories of the family. From that visit came a book, A LIfetime With Mark Twain, The Memories OfKaty Leary... "Here is the story as Katy and I lived it again together not long since in her Ii ttle house in Elmira where she was born nearly seventy years ago," Lawton wrote in the introduction to the book. "There I fOWld her - older, sadder, I must admit - but still one glimpsed the Katy Leary of old. The quaint sayings and furmy stories that used to come all tumbling out, now hWlg haltingly, the unforgettable riot of gay words seemed hushed forever, the precious memories lay scattered through the twilight of the years, and only the thin flame of the past glowed in that quiet room. "For anxious days that flame burned low and fitfully and then - out of the smoldering embers, the ftres leaped up once more; the years were swept away and the magic of those happy, laughing days came back again - and Katy with them!" Sources: Mary LinWon 's book, A Lifetime With Mark Twain, u a delightfuL coLJedjon ofstories by and aboUl Katy Lury al/d PalrU;k McAleer. The ones quoted here are only a tiny portiol/ of the whole. Obituary notices ofPalrU;k McAleer appeared in the Hartford Courant on Feb. 16 al/d 18, 1906. References to PalrU;k and Katy can be found in most ofthe many biographies ofSamuel Clemens and coUections of hu letters.
Black minister visited state In his autobiography, the Rev. L. Tilmon, "pastor of a Colored Methodist Congregational Church in New York City," described a journey he made in 1844 to eastern Connecticut. "While there," he wrote, "I stopped with a colored family by the name of Anderson. There are quite a number of colored people in that place who are living without any regular established organized system of religion among themselves. "I held meetings for them several times and then I left for the city of Norwich. Here, I fOWld a still larger number of colored people who were more desirous of improvements in social, moral and religious habits for the accomplishment of which they had associated themselves in times past and built for themselves a meeting house, but being of different opinions in relation to the mode of religious worship, dissensions and divisions had crept in their midst which finally resulted in serious alienations so much so that the house was closed and seldom opened for religious meetings except when a stranger would pass along. On the eve of my departure from them, they urged me to visit them again, which I promised to do within three weeks but was Wlable to do so, being more successful in other places." Source: "A Brief Miscelumeous Nanative of the More Early Pari ofthe Life of L Tilmon. " EdiJor'!I note: In recognition of the bond between our historical socU1y and the other !locieties in the Ethnic Heritage Center, and to foster apprecUuion for aU races and nationalities, we publish in eaclt usue a story aboUl another etJrnic group.