A Brief History of the Irish in Minnesota


1839

The entire body of an Irish-born sergeant, John Hays, washes up in the Mississippi—St. Paul’s initial recorded murder. Henry Sibley, then justice of the peace, arrests a different Irishman, Edward Phelan, a violent Fort Snelling military buddy. But he dodges conviction.


1861

Right after emigrating with his moms and dads from Kilkenny in 1852, John Ireland becomes ordained in St. Paul and serves as chaplain in the Civil War with the Fifth Minnesota, a mostly Irish regiment.


1867

James J. Hill marries Mary Theresa Mehegan, a devout Irish Catholic who went to school with John Ireland’s sisters. The Protestant railroad baron demonstrates a desire for choosing Irish contractors when developing his Good Northern line.


1881 

Bishop Ireland settles thousands of Irish on land together the Good Northern. But when a colony of 24 Gaelic-talking family members at Graceville operates into the wintergeddon of ’80-eighty one, they

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