Friday, March 16, 2007

The Irish in the Midwest

The American Midwest, a hefty volume full of fascinating facts. (And my UW professor brother James Patrick Leary is a senior consulting editor).

In honor of the wearin' of the green in Chicago, a few of them. Though it may seem everybody's Irish this time of year, the German-Americans outnumber us (and perhaps the English, though we will just say that softly, softly.) And the first Irish in the Midwest likely came with the French to serve with their army in the posts of Detroit and St. Louis.

During the famine in the 1840's thousands came, many migrating West working on the railroads. Though most in the Midwest settled in the cities, 30 % settled on farms and in small towns in small clusters. By1880 a majority of the Irish had settled in the Northeast, but 25% were here in the heartland.

And for good or for ill, in Chicago.

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