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Showing posts from January, 2022

Henry Knox Delivers Ticonderoga Cannons to George Washington in Cambridge in January 1776

  Knox Trail Marker in Cambridge, MA  On January 24, 1776,   25 year old Boston bookseller and American revolutionary war hero Henry Knox reported to General George Washington in Cambridge that he  and his volunteers had just transported 59 cannons and artillery  300 miles,  from Fort Ticonderoga in  New York  to  eastern Massachusetts, in the dead of winter .   Image Courtesy of  Marching the Knox Trail The plan was to position the cannons atop  Dorchester   Heights  in South Boston and aim them at the British fleet in  Boston   Harbor .    On March 5, British General Howe saw the guns aiming down at his fleet, and by March 17, 1776, the British troops, along with their sympathizers, evacuated Boston, ending the eleven month Siege of Boston. The daring standoff was known as Evacuation Day, and is still celebrated in Boston each March 17th.  Read more about Dorchester Heights . Knox (1750-1806) later became a Major General and artillery commander through the Revolutionary War, and was

Bostonians Hailed Brian Friel's Play, Translations a Masterpiece in January 1983

  Described as a 'masterpiece of boundless grace' by a leading Boston theater critics, Translations by Irish playwright Brian Friel was a big hit in Boston in winter 1983.  Presented by Huntington Theatre , Translations ran at the Boston University Theater at 264 Huntington Avenue from January 13-30, 1983.  It was Friel's 14th play and solidified his reputation as one of the most innovative and accomplished Irish playwrights in Ireland's storied literary tradition.   Theater critic Kevin Kelly, writing in The Boston Globe, called Translations "a profound play of great beauty, rich in language and thought, and, in its piercing reach into Ireland's past, stunning in its self-fulfilling prophecy.  It is a clear-cut masterpiece."  Critic Joyce Kulhawik called the production "A beautiful, eloquent and spirited piece of work by the Huntington Theatre." Born in Killyclogher, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland on January 9, 1929, Friel was raised in the

Thomas Cass, Civil War Hero + Massachusetts 9th Regiment Commander, Born in 1821 in Ireland

Boston Civil War hero Thomas Cass, commander of the Massachusetts Ninth Regiment , was born on June 4, 1821 in Farmleigh, Queen's County (now County Laois).  His family immigrated to Boston when he was an infant, and settled in the North End, at that time a heavily Irish neighborhood. Cass was a member of the Boston School Committee and a successful businessman.  During the 1850s, he organized a local militia unit of Irish immigrants known as the Columbian Artillery but the group was dismantled by the nativist Know-Nothing movement in 1855.  When the Civil War broke out, and with the encouragement of Governor John Andrew , Cass gathered his men to form Boston's first Irish troop, the Ninth Regiment. Colonel Cass reported with the regiment of 1,022 men at the State House on Tuesday, June 25, 1861, to receive the state flag and to be reviewed by Governor Andrew.    Fellow Irish immigrant Patrick S. Gilmore and his Band played at the ceremony and a large crowd gathered to see t

Hugh O'Brien, Boston's First Irish-Born Mayor, is Inaugurated on January 5, 1885

A new era in city government took hold on  Monday, January 5, 1885, when  Hugh O'Brien became  Boston's first Irish-born mayor.  O'Brien's victory at the polls in December finally broke the hegemony of old-line Yankees who had run local government since Boston was incorporated as a city in 1822.  For decades leading up to O'Brien's victory, many Bostonians had been anxious about the inevitable transition from Yankees to Irish leadership.  They feared the Irish would not have the leadership qualities and personal character needed to run a great city like Boston. Indeed, many Bostonians looked down upon Irish immigrants, who had been settling  in Boston and throughout New England since the Irish Famine of the 1840s drove many of them here.  In addition to an anti-Irish sentiment found among Yankees, there was also an anti-Catholic prejudice that had been in place since the Puritans settled here in 1630. But O'Brien proved to be the perfect catalyst in making