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> Irish > Timeline: 1750-1849
- 1763: After the defeat of France in the Seven Year's War, King George III
promises that Catholic subjects in Canada can practice
their religion. However, in Puritan New England, Catholic
are still considered "subversive of society."
- 1770: March 5th, Patrick Carr of Ireland is killed during the
- 1775: John Stark, a New Hampshire veteran of the French and
Indian Wars, recognizes that the British are attempting
to flank the American forces at the Battle of Bunker
Hill on June 17th. He shifts his regiment just in
time to beat back the British and prevent a route
of the American army. Stark, along with half of his
regiment, was Irish.
- 1776: March 17, General George Washington uses the password
"'St. Patrick" as the secret code for American
troops on "Evacuation Day," when the British
pulled out of Boston. Washington's staff officers
include: General John Sullivan, of Limerick, Colonel
Stephen Moglan of Cork, Colonel John Fitzgerald of
Wicklow, and Colonel Francis Barber of Longford.
- 1779: Massachusetts Constitution is drafted and includes a
Bill of Rights protecting Catholics
- 1788: First recorded Mass is celebrated by French priest Father
Louis de Rousselet and a French and Irish congregation
at the old Huguenot church on School Street on November
- 1798: Several thousand Irish flee to America.
- 1799: Church wardens John Magner, Patrick Campbell, and Michael
Burns along with Owen Callahan, John Duggan, and Edmund
Conner abandon the French chapel and buy, with the
congregation's donations, land on Franklin Street
for their own church.
- 1803: Many Irish flee to Boston in the wake of the Act of Union
joining England. Bishop John Carroll says the first
mass at the Franklin Street Church of the Holy Cross,
a building designed by the young Charles Bulfinch.
- 1807: James Sullivan (1744-1808) is elected Governor of Massachusetts.
He is the son of John of Limerick who immigrated in
1723. His brother was Major General John Sullivan
who conquered the Iroquois.
- 1815-1845: One million Irish emigrate to the United States
and British America.
- 1817-1818: A Famine devastates Ireland prompting emigration
to the United States.
- 1820: Approximately 2,000 Irish live in Boston.
- 1820-30s: Irish laborers work on Mayor Quincy's construction
projects such as rubbish and street cleaning, draining
the Town Dock, moving the sewer outlets to the flats,
filling Mill Creek, and Old Market Place, and construction
of the Market House behind Faneuil Hall.
- 1825: Approximately 5,000 Irish live in Boston. Anti-Irish
gangs attack people and property on Ann and Broad
Streets. Mayor Quincy stations six night watchmen
to keep the peace.
- 1828: St. Mary's Church in Charlestown
- 1829: The Jesuit newspaper, which in 1836 changed its name
to the Pilot, is founded.
- 1830: Over 7,000 Irish live in Boston
- 1830s: Samuel Morse and Reverend Henry Ward Beecher publish
anti-Catholic polemics suggesting that the Irish are
secret agents in a Popish plot to undermine Anglo-Saxon
- 1833: Andrew Jackson visits Boston after his election as President.
He is a favorite of the Boston Roman Catholic Irish
who see him as a champion of the poor and one of their
own. Jackson is greeted by Col. William Prescott,
the President of the Boston Charitable Irish Society.
- 1834: August 8, Ursuline Convent in Charlestown
is burned down by mobs incited by a rash of anti-Catholic
newspaper articles, the vituperative sermons of Reverend
Lyman Beecher, and the stories of Rebecca Reed, a
woman who was supposedly held prisoner in the Ursuline
Convent. No one is charged in the episode. A period
of harsh Nativism begins.
- 1835: Patrick Tracy Jackson hires 190 Irishmen and 60 Yankees
to reduce Pemberton Hill, southwest of Beacon Hill.
The fill was dumped north of Causeway Street where
North Station was constructed.
- 1837, June 11: The Broad/Bond Street Riot breaks out
after local firemen collide with an Irish funeral
procession. All the city fire engine companies rush
to help their co-workers. Mayor Samuel Eliot eventually
brings in militiamen to quell the disturbance. Three
Irishmen are jailed for the incident but no Yankees.
- 1837, September 12: Thousands of Bostonians surround the barracks
of the Montgomery Guards, the Irish Militia Company
named after Irish born General Richard Montgomery
who died in the Revolution leading an attack against
the English at Quebec. None of the other militia companies
or police come to the Irish soldiers aid. Only the
mayor's appearance prevents a riot. Six months later,
the Irish company is disbanded "in order to prevent
- 1840: There are 1,000 registered Irish voters in Boston.
- 1845-1849: An Gorta Mor: The Great Hunger. A full 1/3
of the Irish population emigrate and one million die.
- 1846: John Bernard Fitzpatrick becomes Bishop of Boston. He
helps raise approximately $150,000 in aid for Irish
victims over the course of the Famine. The U.S.S.
Jamestown sails to Cork to deliver food from the
people of Boston.
- 1846-1855: 37,000 Irish flee the Famine to Boston.
- 1847: 13,235 Irish emigrate to Boston during the worst year
of the Famine known as "Black 47." Boston
City Council establishes a quarantine station on Deer
Island in Boston Harbor. Over 5,000 Irish are quarantined,
and 852 are buried there.
- 1849: 28,917 Irish live in Boston.
See 1645-1749 | See 1850-1949