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Showing posts from September, 2018

Boston's Patrick Collins - US Congressman, Boston Mayor, US Ambassador

  Patrick  A. Collins (1844-1905), the city's second Irish-born Mayor, died suddenly while on vacation at Hot Springs , VA , at 10:15 on September 14, 1905. The cause of death was acute gastritis, an ailment he had endured for some time.  His son Paul was at the bedside with him when he died. His sudden death shocked Boston 's political establishment and its residents, as well as the Irish-American community, because Collins was considered one of the city's great statesmen. Born in 1844 in Ballinafauna, a townland outside of Fermoy,  Cork , Collins came to  Boston  in March 1848, with his widowed mother, part of the mass exodus from  Ireland  due to the  Irish Famine .  They settled in  Chelsea , where the anti-Irish Know Nothing movement was fully blown in the 1850s.  Patrick got a job as an office boy with  Robert Morris , an African-American lawyer, and later become a lawyer himself.  He entered into an upholstery apprenticeship, where he eventually becam

Irish-Born US Naval Hero Commodore John Barry, Shipping out of Boston

Commodore John Barry   (March 25, 1745 – September 13, 1803) was a naval hero of the American Revolutionary War.  B orn in  Tacumshane, County Wexford in 1745, Barry 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.    Barry settled in Philadelphia  and died there at age 59.  He is buried at St. Mary's Churchyard on S. Fourth Street. In 1949, Boston Mayor  James Michael Curley  spoke at the  Charitable Irish Society  annual dinner on March 17, and  vowed to build a memorial to Barry in 60 days, saying Barry had been ignored for too long. 

Boston's Maurice Tobin, U.S. Secretary of Labor under Harry S. Truman

Maurice Tobin and his wife Helen Photo Courtesy of Harry S. Truman Presidential Library This Labor Day, the Boston Irish Tourism Association pays tribute to Boston native Maurice Tobin (1901-53), who served as mayor of Boston and governor of Massachusetts before being named US Secretary of Labor by President Harry S. Truman. Born in Roxbury's Mission Hill, he was the son of immigrants from Clogheen, Tipperary. 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 c