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Showing posts from November, 2022

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