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Showing posts from November, 2021

On November 23, 1885, Boston unveiled memorial to Irish Patriot John E. Kelly

Photo by Barbara Rotundo On November 23, 1885, a monument to the Irish patriot John Edward Kelly was formally dedicated at Boston’s Mount Hope Cemetery in Mattapan. Fellow Irish patriot John Boyle O’Reilly gave the impassioned oratory at the ceremony.   A native of Kinsale, Ireland, Kelly emigrated as a youngster with his parents to Nova Scotia and he eventually moved to Boston, and later New York, where he became involved in the Fenian movement brewing in the US.   Kelly returned to Ireland to help stage an uprising in 1867 but was captured during the Fight at Kilclooney Wood. He was sentenced to life imprisonment to a penal colony in western Australia at age 19.  In 1871, Kelly was among Fenian prisoners released in the British Government’s general amnesty, according to the Fenian Graves website. He lived in many places but eventually made his way back to Boston. When he died in January 1884, he was in poor health from the living conditions at the prison and from a hard life on

Roxbury's John F. Collins, Mayor of Boston from 1960-1967, Professor at MIT

John Frederick Collins (1919-1995) served as Mayor of Boston for two terms, from 1960 to 1967.  Born in Roxbury on July 20, 1919, his father, Frederick “Skeets” Collins was a mechanic for the Boston Elevated Railway.  Collins attended Suffolk University and served in World War II, and after the war married Mary Patricia Cunniff. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1947, representing Jamaica Plain, Collins ran for City Council in 1955.  During that race, he and his four children were struck by the polio virus.  The children recovered, but Collins himself became paralyzed and never walked again.  He won the election and in 1959, when Mayor John B. Hynes announced he would not seek another term, Collins was a long-odds candidate against the popular John E. Powers, the state senate president from South Boston . Collin’s victory was considered a major upset, but it gave him the freedom to carry out his duties unfettered. “I owed them nothing and they owed me n

Cardinal O'Connell Parkway Dedicated in Lowell on November 17, 1918

On November 17, 1918, more than 30,000 people gathered in Lowell to honor a favorite native son, William Henry Cardinal O'Connell, who was at that time the Cardinal of the Boston Archdiocese. Officials unveiled and dedicated a fountain of granite and bust of O’Connell along a parkway in front of City Hall. The fountain and bust were designed by Henry L. Rourke of Lowell.   Prior to the unveiling and in the pouring rain, a massive parade took place through the city, as described in the Lowell Irish blog .   At the unveiling, Lowell industrialist Humphrey O’Sullivan addressed O’Connell and the crowd, “For years we have been involving in our minds how to give expression to our love and fealty for your Eminence,” he said. “This beautiful fountain and bust erected in your honor, represent in concrete form the pent-up love and esteem we have in our hearts, which also finds expression in this great gathering.” Cardinal O’Connell said, “It is natural for a man to rejoice that his home

In 1988, Boston City Council Proclaimed November 16 as GOODY GLOVER DAY IN BOSTON, honoring an Irish Woman Falsely Hung as a Witch in 1688

  On November 16, 1988 Boston City Council officially proclaimed Goody Glover Day in tribute to Goodwife Ann Glover, an Irish immigrant woman who was falsely accused of being a witch and hung from the gallows in 1688. Puritan leader Rev Cotton Mather and other town leaders were involved in the trial and execution of Glover. Glover was an Irish indentured servant sent to Barbados in the 1650s. Her husband died on the island, and by 1680 Goody and her daughter were living in Boston, employed as housekeepers by John Goodwin. In summer 1688 four of the five Goodwin children fell ill. The doctor concluded "nothing but a hellish Witchcraft could be the Origin of these maladies." Martha, the 13 year old daughter, confirmed the doctor's diagnosis by claiming she became ill right after she caught Glover stealing laundry. Glover was arrested and tried as a witch. In the courtroom there was confusion over Glover's testimony, since she refused to speak English, despite know

In November 1818, St. Augustine’s Cemetery in South Boston became the city’s first Catholic cemetery

After the Revolutionary War, the Puritan's strident objections to Catholics living in the Bay Colony had lessened, thanks in part to the bravery of French, Polish and Irish soldiers fighting alongside the colonists during the colonial war against Britain.  But it wasn’t until November 1818 that the Town of Boston’s Board of Health gave "that group of Christians known as Roman Catholics" permission to erect their own cemetery, later to be called St. Augustine's , on the South Boston peninsula. Prior to that, the Irish were buried at Central Burying Ground on Boston Common, Granary Burying Ground on Tremont Street or Copp’s Hill in the North End, according to historian William J. Gurney in his research, A Short History of St. Augustine’s Cemetery.   The first burial to take place at St. Augustine's, in December 1818, was for Father Francis Matignon , a beloved French priest who had administered the sacraments to largely French and Irish Catholics since 1792. It was