On June 11, 1837 a brawl erupted in downtown
when an Irish funeral procession and a
volunteer fire brigade returning to the station reached an intersection at the
same time. In what became known as the
Broad Street Riot, the firemen and their supporters chased the Irish along
Purchase and Broad streets into their houses, which were then attacked by the
enraged mob. Boston
“The air was full of flying feathers and straw from the beds which had been ripped up and emptied into the streets,” according to historian J.B. Cullen. Mayor Samuel A. Eliot ordered 800 National Lancers, a military group, to quell the riot and maintain peace.
Excerpt from the book, Irish Boston: A Lively Look at Boston's Colorful Irish Past.