Our immigrant ancestors usually arrived in a rather modest state. They were most often listed on ship passenger lists as laborers or farmers, and a considerable number arrived in American cities with very little money at all. Families saved as they could, and some gathered enough capital to open a business of their own, whether it was a pub, grocer, bakery, or confectionary. Arthur Murphy was a third-generation Irishman who did just that. He soon learned that such a life was not without its own share of both rewards and peril.
Let’s consider John J. Kernan and Family, on the occasion of his son Edward's 1st Communion. Edward was John and Sarah's 13th child. Dad was a railroad man, and the family lived in the shadows of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s Mount Clare Shops.
Many desperate Irish who experienced the tragic years of the Great Hunger saw no other option but to flee. Yet that flight itself could sometimes mean their demise: whether while at sea or on land just as they arrived with a hope of beginning again. Such was the plight and final days of Thomas Brennan, who traveled with his wife Bridget Shaughnessy Brennan from Galway.
This series continues to present the realities of life for desperate emigrants aboard ship, new arrivals in America and the dramatic ways they cared for families as they settled in Baltimore. Food, of course, is central to any people's story...as it is to our own experiences today as we make our own best decisions about meals during the present crisis.
The horrors of the Great Hunger did not end as they boarded ships bound for America, but often were magnified by terrible conditions on board, and at sea.
Greetings and salutations from the Irish Railroad Workers Museum. We’re a place for both head and heart, researching and presenting compelling stories that inform us about our heritage, and yours. Among those stories we consider is how much our ancestors sacrificed just to emigrate to new lands.