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Showing posts from 2022

Irish Immigrant Thomas White from Kilkenny Participated in the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773

Thomas White (1739-1820), a native of Kilkenny, Ireland who emigrated to the American colonies in 1760, was one of 100+ Boston Tea Party colonial raiders who boarded ships in the middle of the night and dumped tea into Boston Harbor.  The incident became yet another flash point in the escalation of tensions between the colonialists and British that led to the American Revolution.   According to Ancestry , White was born on March 19, 1739 in Kilkenny , County Kilkenny, and emigrated to Boston around 1760, at age 21.  He moved down to Maryland around 1770 and married Elizabeth Jones in Philadelphia in 1871. By 1773 he was back in Boston and had joined one of the local militia groups.   The Boston Tea Party, as it eventually came to be called, was led by the Sons of Liberty,  a secret society of Bostonians who were frustrated by the increasing taxes being levied upon the 13 colonies by the British Government to pay for its wars. Disguised as Native Americans, the men dumped 300 chests of

Irish Land League Advocate Michael Davitt Speaks in Boston on December 5, 1886

Image Courtesy of AOH Irish republican and agrarian activist Michael Davitt spoke at the Boston Theatre on December 5, 1886 before a sold-out standing-room-only audience.  The son of parents who were evicted from their home, Davitt was introduced by Boston Irish leader and U.S. Congressman Patrick Collins , who praised Davitt, creator of the Land League, for "turning his own misfortune into glory." Davitt described his efforts “to band together tenant farmers of Ireland in the Land League to defend their homes and earnings from the rapacity of an idle and non-producing landlord class."  He spoke of Irish farmers, who "cling with tenacity to their land, for the reason that they have no other means of livelihood." He described how the land league issue had turned around public perception of the Ireland-England struggle, saying:   “A few years ago the Irish question was involved in obscurity: today the whole world is discussing its merits.  A few years

The Boston Celtics and the Irish Green Theme

  Many people wonder why the  Boston Celtics  wear shamrocks on their green uniforms and have a giant leprechaun smoking a cigar as their team logo. And why the team mascot is a guy named Lucky who looks like he stepped out of a box of Lucky Charms? According to the Boston Celtic’s official web site, the name came about in 1946 when owner Walter Brown started the team. He and his public relations guy, Howie McHugh, were throwing out potential nicknames, including the Whirlwinds, Unicorns and Olympics. It was Brown who had the epiphany, saying, “Wait, I’ve got it – the Celtics. The name has a great basketball tradition from the old Original Celtics in New York (1920s). And Boston is full of Irishman. We’ll put them in green uniforms and call them the Boston Celtics.”  Chuck Connors, Boston Celtic Player in 1946-47 In fact, one of the early stars of the 1946-47 Boston Celtics team was  Chuck Connors , who played in 53 games over two seasons, and later went on play baseball for the Brookl

Gaelic Language greeting from Ireland's President Eamon DeValera is Published in Boston Media on December 1, 1963

  On Sunday, December 1, 1963, Boston's popular television station WHDH-TV 5 advertised a special greeting from Ireland President Eamon DeValera in The Boston Globe. The advertisement was touting the station's "Dateline Boston" series, which was entering its seventh year as a local, educational program produced in association with the Mass Department of Education. The newest Dateline Boston program being announced was "The Green Roots," a five-part series that explored "Ireland today - its people - its customs - its hopes for the future - and the warm personal ties that exist between Ireland and countless New England families." According to the description, the show was "filmed in color on location in Ireland," and included a greeting in the Irish language by President De Valera.  The greeting, translated into English as a footnote, read, "To you, then, speakers of Irish; may God grant you happiness and prosperity; and may you e

Boston's Mayor of the Poor, James Michael Curley, Born on November 20, 1874, in Roxbury

  James Michael Curley was born on November 20, 1874 on Northampton Street in Roxbury to Irish immigrant parents Michael Curley and Sarah Clancy from County Galway. A dominant figure in Boston and Massachusetts politics for half a century, Curley  served four four-year terms as mayor of Boston, in 1914, 1922, 1930 and 1946. He was  Governor of Massachusetts  from 1935-37, and served as   US Congressman  from 1911-14. In his autobiography, I'd Do It Again , published in 1957 by Prentice Hall Publishers, Curley conveys his humble beginnings and his rise to fame.  "The Clancys and the Curleys, joined the Galway colony in Roxbury, formerly known as The Highlands," he wrote. "My mother, Sarah Clancy, was 12 years old when she came to Boston with two sisters - Margaret, who was never married, and Catherine, who married Joseph Walsh, and their parents.  My father Michael, fourteen, and two half-brothers, Daniel and Patrick, also came over on the 'Irish Mayflower'...

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

  Ann "Goody" Glover ( 1640s – 1688) In 1688, Irish immigrant Ann “Goody” Glover was the last woman hanged as a witch in Boston, MA, part of a frenzied witch mania that overtook 17th century Puritans.  Based on no evidence but lots of innuendo, which was the tenor of the times, the court convicted Glover of witchcraft and sentenced her to be hanged on November 16, 1688.  Three hundred years later, on November 16, 1988 Boston City Council officially proclaimed Goody Glover Day in tribute to this Irish immigrant woman who was falsely accused of being a witch and hung from the gallows.  That same year, a plaque to Ann Glover was placed at Our Lady of Victories Church in Boston's South End, and has since been moved to St. Stephen's Catholic Church on Hanover Street in Boston's North End.  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 housekee

Boston Massacre Memorial Is Unveiled on Boston Common on November 14, 1888

On November 14, 1888, state and city officials and citizens from throughout greater Boston officially unveiled  the  Boston Massacre Memorial  on the Tremont Street Mall on Boston Common.    The memorial commemorates the infamous episode in which five men were shot and killed by British soldiers in Boston on March 5, 1770, an event that helped launch the Revolutionary War.  The five martyrs were Crispus Attucks, Samuel Gray, Jonas Caldwell, Samuel Maverick and Patrick Carr.  Carr was an Irishman and the last to die from his wounds.  Read more about the Irish connections to the Boston Massacre. Governor Oliver Ames attended, along with  Mayor Hugh O'Brien , the city's first Irish-born mayor of Boston.  The chairman of the memorial committee was William H. Dupree , a former slave who fought in the American Civil War with the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, an offshoot of the famed 54th Regiment of Black soldiers.  Also on the committee was Irish immigrant John Boyle O’Re

On November 13, 1922, Irish Activist Hanna Sheehy Skeffington Speaks in Massachusetts about the Irish Civil War

 Photo: National Museum of Ireland  Irish activist  Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington  spoke to 1,000 delegates of the Irish Republic and Defense Committee of Massachusetts in Corinthian Hall on Washington Street in Boston on November 13, 1922. She was in the United States to describet on-ground conditions in Ireland during the Irish Civil War and to raise funds for anti-Treaty prisoners.     She had just arrived in Boston from Pittsfield, MA, where she spoke in front  of the  MacSwiney Club , and the day after her Boston appearance she was returning to New York for more lectures. Speaking about the Irish Civil War underway at the time between Free State and anti-Treaty forces, Hanna told her audience that "plans are underway to deport 10,000 Irish political prisoners to Schelles Island off the coast of Africa and that British General Nevil Macready is still in Dublin Castle directing the military operations of the Free Staters as he did those of the Black and Tans," according to  The

East Boston Native Frederick W. Mansfield, Son of Irish Immigrants, was Boston's 40th Mayor, 1934-37

Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress Frederick W. Mansfield was the fortieth mayor of Boston (1934-37) as well as a prominent attorney and leader in the Catholic community.    Born on March 26, 1877 in East Boston, he was the son of immigrant Irish parents Michael and Catherine (McDonogh) Mansfield.  He served in the US Navy during the Spanish American War of 1898.  He studied law at Boston University Law School and received his LL.B. degree in 1902 and was admitted to the US and Mass bars the same year.    In 1914 he was elected state treasurer, the first democrat to hold that office.  He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1917 and 1917.  He ran for mayor in 1929, having been endorsed by the Good Government Association, and was beaten by James M. Curley.  Four years later Mansfield defeated Malcolm E. Nicols for mayor and served from 1934-37.  He was succeeded by Mayor Maurice J. Tobin, who served from 1938-44.   According to the Boston City Archives, Mansfield “led the city in the m

Central Burying Ground on Boston Common: Resting Place for Indigents, Immigrants and Early Bostonians

  Central Burying Ground on Boston Common, Fall 2022 Tucked away in a shady plot at the corner of Tremont and Boylston Street on Boston Common is the Central Burying Ground , cemetery established in 1756 as Boston's fourth cemetery.  It was originally called the South Burying Ground, and was used to bury foreigners, strangers, indigents and soldiers. "This is the only historic burying ground (in Boston) where you will see a large number of Celtic crosses carved into the slate headstones," according to a booklet published by the Boston Parks Department entitled A Self-Guiding Bicycle Tour of Boston's Historic Burying Grounds. "These mark the graves of the earliest Irish settlers, before the establishment of the Irish-Catholic cemetery at St. Augustine's in South Boston." The booklet was published in 1990 during the Administration of Mayor Raymond L. Flynn, under the direction of Parks Commissioner Larry Dwyer, and written by Kathy Kottaridis as part of Bo

Boston Irish Poet + Writer Louise Imogen Guiney

Boston's Louise Imogen Guiney, a leading Catholic poet and essayist of her day, died in England on November 2, 1920. Born in Roxbury in 1861, Louise was the only daughter of Irish immigrants. Her father, General Patrick Guiney of the Massachusetts Irish Ninth Regiment, was a war hero in the American Civil War. As a child, Louise traveled with her mother to Virginia, where her father was stationed. In 1881, at age 20, Guiney began publishing poems in the Boston Pilot . Initially she published under the initials P.O.L. with references to Latin, Greek and Medieval poetry, and readers assumed she was ‘a bright Harvard boy.’ By year's end she was publishing under her full name. She published a number of books, including Songs at the Start (1883), Goose-Quill Papers and The White Sail . Her final work was entitled Happy Endings . In 1894, President Grover Cleveland appointed Guiney as the Postmaster in Auburndale, just outside of Boston, and her appointment prompted protests b

On October 28, 1726, Dublin Writer Jonathan Swift Published His Classic Satire, Gulliver's Travels

On October 28, 1726, Dublin Writer Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) published his classic satire novel  Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World .  Dean Swift was a leading clergyman, satirist, essayist and political commentator of the 18th century, and Gulliver’s Travels was his best known work. The famous book, which Swift later said he wrote "to vex the world," not entertain it, traces the fictional steps of Dr. Lemuel Gulliver, a ship surgeon who ends up in different worlds, including a Land of Lilliputians and a Land of Giants.  There is an interesting connection of the book to Milton, Massachusetts, according to a book published in 1889 called The Story of the Irish in Boston by J. B. Cullen.  According to Cullen:  "Anthony Gulliver was born in Ireland in 1619, and died in Milton in 1706,"  spawning a "large number of able and influential men and women who have been prominent in the history of church and town affairs in Milton for nearly

In October 1832, Blind Irish Harpist Matthew Wall Settles in Boston as Performer + Teacher

  Advertisement in the Boston Post, October 23, 1832   Matthew Wall, a blind harpist from Ireland who emigrated to Canada around 1830 before eventually making his way to Boston in 1832, is o ne of the first Irish musicians cited in public records to perform and teach Irish music in Boston. The Boston Evening Transcript ran a notice on, October 6, 1832 and October 12, 1832, announcing that Wall would be performing at the  State Museum, corner of Court and Howard Streets  in Downtown Boston near Scollay Square.  Wall was described as "a celebrated performer upon the Irish Harp. As this is the first instrument of its kind ever in this country, the lovers of Music will do well to avail themselves of this opportunity to witness the sweetness of its tones...This was the instrument used by the bards of olden times, and is well calculated to touch and arouse the feelings."  On October 23, 1832, the Boston Post printed an advertisement from Wall, in which he  "tenders his servi

On October 16, 1998, Ireland's President Mary McAleese Visited Boston's Irish Famine Memorial

Photo: President McAleese and Tom Flatley Receive flowers from School Childre n at Famine Memorial Ireland's President Mary McAleese visited Boston's Irish Famine Memorial on Friday, October 16, 1998, joining the memorial's Chairman  Thomas J. Flatley , local public officials and leaders from Boston's Irish-American community. A children's choir from St. Mary of the Hills grade school in Milton serenaded the attendees.  The president's visit to the memorial park was part of a 12-day visit to the United States and Canada. While in Boston, McAleese visited the staff and patrons of the Irish Pastoral Centre of Boston and the Irish Immigration Center.  She visited the Connolly House at Boston College, the new home of the college's Irish Studies program.  She  spoke at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The day she spoke at the Memorial, McAleese shared with the 200 people gathered that the Nobel Peace Prize Award had just been given to John

Siamsa, Ireland's National Folk Theatre, Performs at Boston's Shubert Theatre, October 4-9, 1976

Siamsa , an Irish cultural group from County Kerry, performed at Boston's Shubert Theatre for eight shows on October 4-9, 1976. Also known as Ireland's National Folk Theatre, Siamsa was comprised of 28 cast members, ranging in age from 11 to 68, who performed a variety of Irish dances, including a dance with milk pails.  The group also sang a variety of seasonal songs, work songs and love songs, all in Gaelic.  The show focused on the rural aspects of Irish life. Founder Fr. Pat Ahern described the show as "a very entertaining evening of songs and dances while also preserving the traditions, folklore and heritage of the people of Ireland."  The show was well received, according to the Eire Society Bulletin, which quoted glowing reviews in the Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, Boston Herald American, Quincy Patriot Ledger and The Boston Pilot .  Father Pat Ahern Globe theater reporter Kevin Kelly called the show "an absolute don't nee

John 'Honey Fitz' Fitzgerald, Grandfather of John F. Kennedy, Dies in Boston on October 2, 1950

    John ‘Honey Fitz’ Fitzgerald, mayor of Boston and grandfather of President John F. Kennedy, died on October 2, 1950 at the Hotel Bellevue in Boston after a long illness. At his bedside were his wife Josephine, two sons, John and Thomas, and their wives, along with his nurse. His daughter Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy was in Paris and was notified, according to the Boston Globe. Fitzgerald was an audacious, colorful politician whose melodious singing voice earned him the nickname Honey Fitz. Born in Boston's North End on February 11, 1863, he was the son of Irish immigrant Thomas Fitzgerald of Limerick and Mary Josephine Hannon of Acton, MA. His daughter, Rose Fitzgerald , married Joseph P. Kennedy from East Boston, spawning the Kennedy political dynasty that dominated Boston for most of the 20th century. Fitzgerald's political career happened quickly. He worked his way up from the Boston Common Council in 1892 to state senate in 1893. In the congressional primary held in Septe

Irish Poet William Butler Yeats Lectures in Boston on September 28, 1911

  Photo courtesy of the Burns Library at Boston College Irish poet and playwright  William Butler Yeats  addressed an audience at the Plymouth Theatre in Boston on Thursday, September 28, 1911 on the subject, "History of the Irish National Theatre and its Purposes."  The lecture was part of a national tour Yeats was undertaking, as  managing director of Dublin's  Abbey Theatre ,  to introduce a new literary movement taking place in Ireland that he hoped would be "the awakening of the mind of Ireland." The  Plymouth Theatre , located at Eliot Street (now Stuart) and Tremont Street, was a brand new playhouse, described as "a cozy, compact and home like-arrangement, with the seats in all parts of the house as near the stage as possible."  The Abbey players christened the new theatre with their productions. The Irish plays on opening night included "The Shadow of the Glenn" by John M. Synge, "Birthright" by T.C. Murray, and "Hyacin