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Irish Immigrants in Michgan

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To leave or stay was the question for the Irish in the nineteenth century. In Ireland, people suffered persecution, poverty and famine. America offered freedom and opportunity. For those who left and came to Michigan, the land's abundant natural resources encouraged them to become loggers, miners, fishermen, traders and farmers. Others became rail workers, merchants, lawyers, soldiers, doctors and teachers. Governor Frank Murphy advocated for civil rights. Sister Agnes Gonzaga Ryan administered schools and hospitals. Charlie O'Malley provided generously to suffering Irish people. Lighthouse keeper James Donohue never let physical disability deter him. Prospector Richard Langford discovered iron ore and then left others to mine its wealth. Authors Pat Commins and Elizabeth Rice share one story from each Michigan county about Irish immigrants or their descendants.



A History in Stories

Pat Commins and Elizabeth Rice