Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2023

Meet Charles E. Logue, the Immigrant who Build Fenway Park in Boston in 1912

Charles E. Logue, courtesy of Logue Family  As the Boston Red Sox prepare for the seasonal opener against the Baltimore Orioles at 2:10 p.m. on Thursday, March 30, 2023 at world-famous Fenway Park, read about the man who built this iconic park 161 years ago.  His name was  Charles E. Logue (1858-1919), an immigrant County Derry in Ireland who emigrated to Boston in 1881 at age 23.  He formed the Charles Logue Building Company in 1890 and was quickly recognized for his carpentry and construction skills.   According to Boston historian Dennis Ryan, Logue became a major contractor in the city, building Boston College’s campus as well as churches for the Boston Archdiocese.  He was part of a storied tradition of Irish builders and skilled craftsmen in the Boston area.  In 1905, Mayor Patrick Collins appointed Logue to the Schoolhouse Committee, citing the need for a practical builder, and Mayor John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, President John F. Kennedy’s grandfather, relied on Logue to build

On March 28, 1847, the USS Jamestown Sailed from Charlestown Navy Yard for Food and Medical Supplies to Ireland

  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

Sara Agnes McLaughlin Conboy, Union leader for women and children workers in Roxbury, Lawrence and across the United States

  Sara Agnes Mclaughlin (1870-1928) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 3, 1868 to Irish immigrant parents, and grew up in South Boston. She would become a pioneering union labor who successfully advocated for women factory workers and for men and child workers as well. Her father, a laborer, died when she was 11, leaving his wife and five children, so Sara left school in the fourth grade and began working, first in a candy factory and then in a button factory. In February, 1887, at age 18, Sara married Joseph P. Conboy, a mail carrier who died two years after the wedding, leaving her as a single mother with a baby. She became a skilled carpet weaver, and while working at a Roxbury carpet factory she led a strike for higher wages with 119 women in 1909. The strike ended in May 1910, and it was stated that the union made very few concessions. At the labor day parade, the Roxbury carpet factory workers, glad in white and composed of about 100 women in three floats, marched togeth

Why Boston Celebrates Evacuation and St. Patrick's Day on March 17 Dating Back to the 18th Century

March 17 is a big day in Boston, Massachusetts, and has been ceremoniously observed, commemorated and celebrated going back to the 18th century. It is commonly recognized as Evacuation Day and St. Patrick's Day, two occasions that have been entwined in Boston going back centuries. Evacuation Day March 17, 1776 is the date when American colonists forced the British troops to flee Boston Harbor by aiming cannons on the British fleet from the highest hill in Boston, Dorchester Heights. It was a turning point in the struggle and was a major boost to the colonial forces trying defeat the British. Indeed, a few months later, on July 2, Congress voted to declare independence, and on July 4, 1776, voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence.  The British presence in Boston began in October, 1768, when 4,000 British troops arrived in Boston after local citizens objected to a series of British taxes on the residents. Their presence led to a number of physical confrontations, starting w


Along the  Boston Irish Heritage Trail,  one of the most popular stops is  Boston Common , the nation’s oldest public park, created by English Puritans in 1634 as a training ground and grazing field for cattle. The 50 acre park has been a staging ground for rallies, protests, marches, speeches, concerts, celebrations and commemorations for nearly 400 years. Here is a select chronology of historical events that pertain to the Boston Irish, from the 17th to early 20th centuries. In the early days of the colony, the town's Bridewell House of Corrections was at the top of Boston Common, and the Puritans were not shy about imprisoning numerous Irish indigents and runaway indentured servants. The Common has the inauspicious honor of publicly hanging the last witch from the public gallows in 1688.     That was Ann 'Goody' Glover, an Irish-speaking servant, who was mistakenly accused of being a witch by Minister Cotton Mather.    A fter frantic trials and local hysteria, Goody was

Boston Common: 50 Acres of Irish History

Clockwise, Top Right: Shaw Memorial, Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Boston Common signage, Boston Massacre Memorial, Commodore John Barry Memorial Anywhere you travel in Boston, you’ll find evidence of deep-rooted Irish connections dating back to the 17th century. To appreciate the Irish and Irish-American contribution, we created the Irish Heritage Trail in 1994 to chronicle the illustrious history of the Boston Irish. It includes 20 downtown and Back Bay sites, and an additional 20 sites in the city’s neighborhoods.   One of the most popular sections of the Trail is Boston Common, the nation’s oldest public park, created by English Puritans in 1634 as a training ground and grazing field for cattle. The 50 acre park has been a staging ground for rallies, protests, marches, speeches, concerts, celebrations and commemorations for nearly 400 years.  The Common has five public landmarks with Irish connections, from an early burying ground meant for Catholics, foreigners and outsiders

An Irish Presence in the Boston Public Garden

Established in 1837 as the nation’s first public botanical garden, Boston’s Public Garden is one of the city’s most cherished open spaces, with majestic swan boats gliding across a lagoon, seasonal flower arrangements delighting visitors, statues of important Bostonians and the iconic Make Way for Ducklings statues that delight children of all ages.  The 24-acre park is maintained year-round by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department with support from the Friends of the Public Garden .  The Public Garden is a stop along the Boston Irish Heritage Trail, a collection of 20 landmarks from the waterfront to Fenway Park that takes you on a 300+ year journey through the city's illustrious history.   Here are a few places to visit the next time you are in the Public Garden. Swan Boats  Public Garden Lagoon  The majestic swan boats in the Public Garden lagoon were created in 1877 by Irish immigrants, Robert Paget and his wife Julia (Coffey). A boatbuilder by trade, Robert developed a

Visit the Mural to Thomas 'Tip' O’Neill in Cambridge, MA

  Legendary politician Thomas P. Tip O’Neill was born in Cambridge in 1912; his grandfather and brothers had emigrated in the 1840s during the Irish Famine. The famous U.S. Congressman from North Cambridge was the 47th Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1977 to 1987, having worked his way up the political ranks by understanding the truism he learned in his neighborhood: All Politics is Local. Tip passed away on January 5, 1994 and his legend remains intact.  On December 9, 2012, to celebrate the centenary of Tip’s birth, the North Cambridge Neighborhood of Barry's Corner unveiled a  mural to Tip O'Neill  at the Mildred Anne O'Neill Branch of the Cambridge Public Library, located at 70 Rindge Avenue. The mural was designed and painted by David Fichter and Joshua Winer.  Learn more about Irish-themed landmarks, statues and memorials in greater Boston by visiting .

The Role of the Colonial Irish in the American Revolution, found along the Boston Irish Heritage Trail

Did you know that Irish immigrants played a pivotal role in the Revolutionary War? From Commodore John Barry and General John Sullivan to Boston Massacre victim Patrick Carr and the Scots-Irish who fought at Bunker Hill, the Irish were everywhere during the quest for independence.  The  Boston Irish Heritage Trail  gives a fascinating overview of Irish landmarks on Boston Common, the Massachusetts State House, Granary Burying Ground, USS Constitution and Bunker Hill Monument.  Many of these landmarks intersect with  Boston's Freedom Trail,  which provides an important introduction to Boston's instrumental role in the American Revolution.  Visit the  Boston Common Visitor Information Center  at 137 Tremont Street for a free map of the Irish Heritage Trail, and take a self-guided tour.  Here are some Revolutionary landmarks with Irish connections.  Granary Burying Ground The  Granary Burying Ground , established in 1660, is located on Tremont Street in downtown Boston, about two

Irishman Patrick Carr was the last of the Boston Massacre Victims to Die in March 1770

On March 5,1770, British troops fired into a crowd of Bostonians; four people were killed and a fifth victim died a few days later. Irishman Patrick Carr was one of five people shot to death in front of the Old State House on State Street on March 5, 1870 after a scuffle between colonists and British solders erupted into gunfire. The Boston Massacre, as it became known, was the flash point for the American Revolution. Daniel Webster said it marked "the severance of the British Empire" in the minds of the American colonists. Little is known of Carr, except that he was an Irish immigrant in Boston and likely a Roman Catholic. Because he was Irish, he was alleged to have been a "mob expert" by prosecutor Samuel Adams during the trial of the British soldiers who opened fire. Ironically the soldiers were part of an Irish regiment from Dublin, led by Captain Thomas Preston, an office of the 29th Regiment of Foot. Carr lingered for over a week and was the last of the f

The Boston Common, Filled with Irish-American History

Created in 1634 by the early Puritans, Boston Common is the nation's oldest public park. The 50 acre park has been a staging ground for rallies, protests, marches, speeches, concerts, celebrations and commemorations for nearly 400 years.   References to the Irish on Boston Common go back to the 17th century, when Ann 'Goody' Glover, an Irish-speaking servant, was hung on the gallows after mistakenly being accused of witchcraft.  According to Samuel Barber's book,  Boston Common , published in 1914,  Irish immigrants from Londonderry, Northern Ireland, set up spinning wheels on the Common in 1730, and "showed great skill in the machine which was worked by the foot. Spinning wheels were brought into the Common and worked by the ‘females of the town’ all vying with each other to attain the greatest speed." And in 1787, "John Sheehan, a native of Cork, Ireland was executed on the common for committing Burglary in the house of Mr. T. Elliot on the previous Jun