Irish Emigration to New York City

Powerful Essays
Irish Emigration to New York City

The Potato Famine - How, Why, and When the Famine Started

Many historians equate the Irish immigration to America with the potato famine of the 1840s, but is is clear that a considerable number of Irish had made their way to Great Britain’s colonies on the North American mainland before 1800. For example, many Irish families came and settled the colonies in the early 1600s. Harbors and towns were named after settlers. Some of these settlers even became Royal governors; one example is Sir Thomas Dongan, who became governor of the colony of New York in 1682. Some other examples of early settlers: in 1670, Charleston, South Carolina was settled by Irish and English emigrants. Sullivan's Island in the Charleston Harbor was named after Captain Florence O'Sullivan who had commanded one of the settler's ships. In 1683, Salem County, New Jersey was settled by Irish immigrants from Tipperary. In 1710, the Blue Ridge region of Virginia was settled by three families from the north of Ireland. In 1762, the house of John Marshall at Mount Pleasant, near King's College (later Columbia) was the site of the first recorded celebration of St. Patrick's Day in New York City. In 1768, the Wesley Chapel in New York City was established by Irish Methodists. This was the first Methodist Church in America.

At the beginning of the 19th century, agriculture was Ireland’s dominant industry. The English prohibited the Irish from practicing their Catholic faith. The English stripped a number of wealthy Catholics of their wealth, their positions, and their homes, which left them paupers.

Moreover, no Irish Catholic was allowed to own land, vote, hold office, receive an education, own a gun, or eve...

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... Social Experience in the American City, 1760-1900. New York: Cambridge Press, 1989.

Byrne, Stephen. Irish Immigration to the United States. New York: Arno Press, 1969.

Ernst, Robert. Immigrant Life in New York City, 1825-1863. New York: King's Crown Press, 1949.

Ewen, Elizabeth. Immigrant Women in the Land of Dollars. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1985.

Pencak, William, Selma Berrol, and Randall Miller. Immigration to New York. Philadephia: Balch Institute Press, 1991.

Potter, George W. To the Golden Door; the Story of the Irish in Ireland and America. Boston: Little, Brown, 1960.

Stansell, Christine. City of Women. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1982.

[1] Robert Ernst, Immigrant Life in New York City, 1825-1863 (New York: King's Crown Press, 1949)

[2] Ernst, Immigrant Life, 59.

[3] Ernst, Immigrant Life, 67.
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