Dependents: Portraits of 50 Irish People in New York Poorhouses, 1861-1865

Really interesting breakdown by historian Damian Shiels of Irish immigrants in New York Poor Houses in the 1860s. Lots of Irish counties and surnames.

Irish in the American Civil War

On 4th August 1865, an Irish emigrant woman from Cork City gave birth to a baby girl in New York. The child -Mary- had been dealt a tough start to life. Her mother was a pauper, and Mary had entered the world in Richmond County Poor House. Mary’s brother and sister were also paupers, and her mother was described as ‘intemperate’- there were no details regarding her father. Circumstances allowed Mary to be discharged from the Poor House on 12th May 1868, but by 3rd November 1871 she was back in her birthplace. At least she was being given some education, as by 1875 she was able to read. Poor House staff noted that ‘she will soon have to go to service’ and remarked that ‘this child bids fair to be a good servant she is being taught all the requirements of the institution.’

Underground lodgings for the poor of New York around 1869. Many people who ultimately ended up in Poor Houses would have been familiar with such scenes (Library of Congress) Underground lodgings for the poor of…

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About Eamon

Eamon Loingsigh is the author of the Auld Irishtown trilogy: "Light of the Diddicoy," (Three Rooms Press 2014) and "Exile on Bridge Street," (Three Rooms Press 2016).
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