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Showing posts from March, 2021

USS Jamestown Sails from Charlestown Navy Yard on Humanitarian Mission to Help Ireland, March 28, 1847

  Painting of USS Jamestown, courtesy of the artist Edward D. Walker  On March 28, 1847, the USS Jamestown set sail from Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston Harbor on a humanitarian mission to Ireland, carrying 800 tons of supplies for the victims of the Irish Famine. The mission was led by Captain  Robert Bennet Forbes , a wealthy sea merchant living in Milton, MA. With Forbes on the journey were 38 crew members who had signed on to help. In February, Forbes had petitioned the US Congress for the loan of a naval ship to bring supplies, and permission to use the USS Jamestown had been granted. As the boat left the harbor on the morning of March 28, crowds lined the wharf and the shores, cheering as the ship headed out to open seas. The fifteen day voyage faced foul weather and rain, sleet, wind and fog. The ship landed in Queenstown (now Cobh), County Cork on April 12, 1847. Back in Boston, the newspapers enthusiastically reported on the trip, failing to note the cruel irony that became ap

Mary Boyle O'Reilly of Charlestown was a Social Reformer, Intrepid Traveler and Journalist Who Covered World War I

Mary Boye O'Reilly (1873-1939) was a lifelong social activist and reformer whose passion was protecting children and young women.  Born and raised in  Charlestown , Mary was the daughter of Irish leader  John Boyle O’Reilly .   Like her father, Mary was committed to improving society and righting wrongs.  She was also a gifted writer and an intrepid traveler.  In 1901 O’Reilly and others established the Guild of St. Elizabeth, a Catholic settlement home for Children in  Boston ’s South End.  From 1907-1911 she was Massachusetts Prison Commissioner, and also a trustee of  Boston ’s  Children’s Institutions.  In 1910, disguised as a mill worker, she exposed the notorious ‘baby farms’ in  New Hampshire . In 1913 she became a foreign correspondent for the Newspaper Enterprise Association, reporting from  Mexico  and  Russia , and heading up the London Office.  When World War I erupted, she entered  Belgium  disguised as a peasant to cover the action.  The Germans briefly imprisoned her