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Showing posts from September, 2013

Gilmore's song, When Johnny Comes Marching Home, first performed in Boston on September 26, 1863

The classic war anthem, When Johnny Comes Marching Home , was first performed at Tremont Temple in Boston on Saturday, September 26, 1863 by Patrick S. Gilmore and his Orchestra.  The concert was announced in the Boston Daily Evening Transcript as described as a sacred concert. Gilmore originally published the song - also known as the Soldiers Return March - under the pseudonym Louis Lambert for reasons unknown, but later acknowledged that he authored the piece.  The song appeared during the height of the American Civil War, and was meant as an optimistic tribute "dedicated to the Army and Navy of the Union."  Henry Tolman & Company of Boston was the publisher. The late Gilmore expert Michael Cummings surmised that Gilmore took the song for an earlier Irish marching song called Johnie I Hardly Knew Ye, which was apparently sung by Irish regiments fighting for the British in Ceylon in the early 19th century. It has remained popular ever since and

Commodore John Barry Memorial along Boston's Irish Heritage Trail

Visitors to Boston's Irish Heritage Trail will notice a small memorial to Revolutionary War naval hero Commodore John Barry , located on Boston Common along Tremont Street, between Lafayette  Mall and the Visitor Information Center . Barry (March 25, 1745 – September 13, 1803)  was born in  Tacumshane, County Wexford in 1745, and emigrated to Philadelphia in 1760.  He joined the American forces at the outbreak of the war, and was the first Catholic appointed to command a vessel by the Continental Congress.  Barry's ship, Lexington , was the first to capture a British vessel under the American flag.  During much of the war, Barry commanded ships out of Boston Harbor, including the Delaware and the Alliance . After the war, President George Washington assigned Barry to help create the United States Navy.     For many years, Bostonians commemorated the anniversary Barry's death (September 13) on Boston Common dating back to 1919.  For a time in the 1940s

Boston Irish Labor Advocate Maurice J. Tobin, Served as Boston Mayor, Massachusetts Governor and US Secretary of Labor

Photo courtesy of Public Art Boston This Labor Day, the  Boston Irish Tourism Association  pays tribute to Boston native  Maurice Tobin  (1901-53).  Born in Roxbury's Mission Hill,  he was the son of immigrants from Clogheen, Tipperary.  He had an illustrious political career, which culminated in his serving as US Secretary of Labor under  President Harry S. Truman . Tobin became Massachusetts' youngest state representative at age 25, and in 1937 made a surprise run for mayor against his mentor, James Michael Curley . Tobin defeated Curley in 1937 and again in 1941, serving through 1944.  He then won the race for Governor of Massachusetts, and served as Governor from 1944-46.  Governor Tobin advocated for the Fair Employment Practices Bill, and helped increase unemployment insurance and benefits for workers. He helped campaign for President Truman, who appointed Tobin as US Secretary of Labor from 1948 to 1953, where he continued to advocate on behalf o