Posts filed under: Microhistory

The first months of the newly dawned 20th century found Peter Keefe drawing his final breaths in his rural home of Corloughan, Co. Kilkenny. The 60-year-old had the comfort of his nearest relative Betsy by his side, and the knowledge...
Continue Reading →
In 1865 Ellen McCann of 87 Mulberry Street in New York’s infamous Five Points district went in search of a pension. She was not a typical widow. By the time her husband Francis had elected to join the Union cause...
Continue Reading →
In 1911 John Fitzgerald of Liscelty sat down to write a letter to America from the rural fishing village of Dunmore East. He was doing so on behalf of a local fisherman, a man named John Dunne. By then in...
Continue Reading →
A couple of weeks ago I began my holidays on beautiful Arranmore Island, off the coast of Co. Donegal. Aside from being a great place to visit, I was also there to meet local historians Seamus Bonner and Patrick Gallagher....
Continue Reading →
My primary area of research relates to wartime letters written home by soldiers and sailors, and which widow’s and dependents parted with in order to provide the Bureau of Pensions with evidence to support their claim. However, letters were not...
Continue Reading →
The Widow’s and Dependent pension files allow us reconstruct elements of the lives of working class 19th century families in unparalleled detail. In some cases, these individuals had never even set foot in the United States. Such is the case...
Continue Reading →
While I have read vast numbers of letters preserved in Federal pension files over the last number of years, very few of them were written on the day of an engagement. There are numerous reasons for this, but perhaps chief...
Continue Reading →
Mary Hogan emigrated from Co. Clare to America with her family around 1851. There she and her husband Michael–almost twenty years her senior–settled into life among the Irish community of Cincinnati, Ohio. Michael was among a number of Clare emigrants to...
Continue Reading →
It will come as little surprise to readers that my analysis of Irish American correspondence during the Civil War has revealed that they were overwhelmingly pro-Democrat and anti-Republican. When they expressed a political opinion, they showed a general antipathy towards Abraham...
Continue Reading →
The pension applications of widows and dependants for Civil War pensions pull back the curtains on the hardships that many 19th century working class Irish American women suffered at the hands of their husbands. For many, physical abuse, alcoholism and...
Continue Reading →