Posts filed under: Letters & Documents

James McDevitt was born into a large Irish family around the year 1845. His home was in a small cluster of houses– known as a clachan– which operated an infield and outfield farming system known as rundale (see here). James...
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The latest in the Document Focus series see us return to the Aran Islands, off the west coast of Co. Galway. It looks at another emigrant family who experienced loss in the American Civil War, and how one of the...
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Many Irish Fenians enlisted in the Union cause during the course of the American Civil War, seeking to gain military experience in advance of a hoped for military confrontation with the British. None had closer ties to the Fenian cause...
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On 26th October 1861 Kerry native Andy Moriarty made his way to Fort Leavenworth to join the United States Regulars. The 26-year-old had been making his home in Kansas Territory’s Davis County, where he ran a small farm. But now...
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Cornelius Callahan was an early enlistee in the Union cause. He was barely 18-years-old when he volunteered in Philadelphia. A founder by trade, he was described as having a light complexion, blue eyes and light hair. Knowing that Cornelius’s parents...
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In late 1863 the town of Plymouth, New Hampshire needed men. One way or another they had a quota of enlistments to fill, and in anticipation of the draft they determined to add financial incentives in order to meet it. In...
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The site regularly returns to the topic of letters written to inform families of the death of a loved one (see Communicating Death & Creating Memory on Fredericksburg’s Streets). As we have seen, these communications occasionally didn’t hold back in...
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The key focus of my research is on examining the letters of Irish emigrants in the Widows Pension Files. These letters, and the stories which surround them, have an incredible amount to tell us about Irish emigrant life. One of...
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The site has consistently returned to the many members of the Irish community in the United States whose nativity was neither Irish or American. Many of these Irish-Americans had been born during the process of step-migration, in places such as...
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Perhaps the greatest value of the Widow’s and Dependent Pension Files is in what they can tell us about the lives of female Irish emigrants in the 19th century. There is surely no other source that provides the same level...
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