Tag Archives: Irish Emigrant Letters
Turf being taken home in Kerry at the turn of the 20th century. A scene that would have been familiar to Charles (Library of Congress)

‘All Abouth Home’: An Illiterate Emigrant’s Letters from America to Kerry in the 1850s

As I often reiterate, the greatest value of the widows’ and dependents’ Civil War Pension Files lies not in what they contain about the American Civil War, but in what they tell us about 19th century Irish emigrants and emigration. There are few finer examples of this than the file associated with Charles Greaney. The […]

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Fifth Street, Leavenworth, Kansas as it appeared in 1867.

“I was Forewarned by a Dream”: 1860s Emigrant Letters between Kansas & Kerry

On 3rd September 1863 Private John Shea of the 1st Kansas Infantry, Company B, died of Chronic Diarrhoea at Natchez General Hospital in Mississippi, having fallen sick just over a week before. The pension file his mother subsequently claimed based on his death centres around a series of letters written home to Ireland by John […]

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The envelope which contained Peter Finegan's letter to his parents, which is analysed below (Fold3.com/NARA)

Analysing 19th Century Emigration, A Case Study: Dissecting One Irishman’s Letter Home

As regular readers are aware, I have long been an advocate of the need to study¬†the thousands of Irish-American letters contained within the Civil War Widows & Dependent Pension Files. This unique resource offers insights into 19th Century Irish emigration that do not exist anywhere else. Their value to Irish, as well as American, history […]

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Hickey's death as recorded in his Confederate Service Record (Fold3.com)

Boston Immigrant to Crescent City Soldier: The Poignant Letters of William Hickey

I was recently contacted by historian Ed O’Riordan, who a number of years ago saved a remarkable series of letters sent home to Tipperary by an Irish emigrant in America, William Hickey. The letters chart the story of a young man who experienced the loneliness and uncertainty of life in a new country and his […]

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