Posts filed under: Microhistory

The event which led to the recording of the lives of the three Mary Driscolls occurred along the Gulf Coast of Texas in September 1863. On the 8th of that month, a small contingent of largely Irish American Confederates under...
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The men who entered the Union military as substitutes from 1863 onwards are among the most neglected and maligned groups associated with the American Civil War. History–and many historians–have overwhelmingly focused on the negative aspects of their service, highlighting their...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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....
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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