From Famine Ireland to Immigrant America
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
Table of Contents
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I thank, first, my mother, Frances Allen Dunn, who started me down this road and helped at every step, and my father, Walter Charles Dunn, who died in 1991 but was very much interested to see it happen and would have been pleased, and probably surprised, when I found some of his family in County Kildare in 1992. I thank my sons, Daniel Dunn...
Introduction and Methodology
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The Irish have a long past, and yet it is paradoxical that so many Irish-Americans possess only a short history which stops at the Atlantic in the nineteenth century, a history abridged by the trauma of uprooting and relocation that was their forebears’ exodus from their native land in famine time or earlier. Family Interrupted: they don’t know where they came from....
Chapter 1. The Story of Ballykilcline
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In the third year of the Great Famine and the thirteenth year of their contentious rent strike, the people of Ballykilcline were forced from their Kilglass Parish homes in Roscommon by British government agents, who evicted them from Ireland. In seven struggling groups during 1847 and ’48, the several hundred tenants—couples, children, single and old...
Chapter 2. Shifting Ground in Roscommon
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By the 1830s, when the rent strike began, the Irish had opposed the British in Ireland for centuries. A major battle in the Williamite War took place at the River Boyne in 1690 when the Protestant William of Orange defeated the Catholic King James II for the Crown of England, an outcome with enormous repercussions for Ireland. Soon after, the English...
Chapter 3. Resettling in Rutland
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Nathaniel Hawthorne described the bustling port of Burlington just as John and Sabina Brennan Hanley arrived in Vermont from Ballykilcline and as their relatives and neighbors at home began their rent strike. The couple may have been part of the “infinite tribe” that mesmerized Hawthorne, though no information on the Hanleys’ route has survived. Hawthorne...
Chapter 4. To Battle with a “Two-Edged Sword”
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When the British went after Young Ireland’s firebrand leaders in Dublin in 1848, John Cain made certain that his Rutland Courier readers knew about it: “The Government have [sic] arrested W. S. O’Brien, and Messrs. [Thomas Francis] Meagher and [John] Mitchel [sic], for sedition” (April 12, 1848). Cain’s columns kept the Irish in Rutland informed...
Chapter 5. Family Paths [Includes Image Plates]
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An individual’s actions and a family’s choices after eyeing the paths open to them may reveal their conflicts, priorities, memories, and daily experience in making their way. How the tenant farmers of Ballykilcline behaved around Strokestown, where perhaps their greatest losses occurred, may tell what the subsequent record does not, but what happened...
Chapter 6. Quarry Actions—Striking Again
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Their experience breaking rocks on the public works in famine Ireland equipped the Irish for marble quarrying, it has been said (Healy communication, July 2002). More likely, though, it was the Kilglass men’s experience in the stone quarries of their home parish or the limestone ones in adjacent Kilmore, whose product was used both for construction...
Chapter 7. Still Standing in the Gale
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Many of the Ballykilcline immigrants in the United States avoided the worst fears envisioned for them by their primary storyteller, Robert Scally, who worried darkly after resurrecting their history that they might have ended up as skid row charity cases (Scally 1995, pp. 226, 227). In fact, many of them did far better than Scally envisioned, though...
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Just as Ballykilcline Rising headed to press, the independent Vermont researcher William Powers and the author found new data about some of the Colligans in Rutland, whose story is told in a family letter in Chapter 3, which identified them certainly as Ballykilcline evictees. The family is that of Patrick and Annie Colligan and their six children. While Patrick...
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2008