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Home > My Ancestors > 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 Boston Massacre.
  • 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 2.
  • 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 is established.
  • 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 New England.
  • 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 further disturbances."
  • 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




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