How The Irish Won The West by Myles DunganJohn Reed and Ross Cox begin this story of the Irish in the West. John Jacob Astor founded the American Fur Company and sent the two Paddies on an expedition to find and trap the valuable beaver pelts which were the basis of his fortune which includes the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in NY City. Thomas Fitzpatrick competed with Astor but was run out of the business by Astor’s cut-throat tactics. The fate of the Donner party is well known. Amongst the group were three Irish families; the Breen’s, the Murphy’s and the Dolan’s. Patrick Dolan came up with the idea of drawing lots to pick a food source for the starving party. Ironically, Pat died shortly thereafter and was cut up, cooked and eaten by his fellow travelers. Jacob Donner suffered a similar fate. His children survived with their daddy as food; roasted heart and liver were a part of the main course. One of the cannibals, Patrick Breen, died twenty years later in California. The fur trapper, Thomas Fitzpatrick, reappeared in the 1850’s as a chief diplomat to the Indian tribes of the West. The Buffalo herds had been decimated by the U.S. government and the tribes signed numerous treaties which were later broken. Fitzpatrick kept the peace until his death in 1854. The Cheyenne chiefs called the Irishman a good and honest man. Sir George Gore, an Anglo-Irish baronet from Dublin, spent three years killing thousands of buffalo, elk and bear, just for the fun of it. Eric and Donald Trump, Jr. carry on the tradition of the great white hunter. In 1882, Oscar Wilde toured the U.S. The miners of Colorado challenged Oscar to a whiskey drinking contest. They lost. The writer had a high regard for the American West. Most of the women who came to America from Ireland remained in the east; N.Y., Boston and Philadelphia were the favored cities. Many worked as household servants. An exception was Nellie Chapman. The Irish born woman opened a boarding house in a mining town in Nevada in 1872. After three years and numerous deaths from gunfights, Nellie moved to British Columbia and then to Arizona. She established a hotel and restaurant there and led a campaign to build a Catholic church in town for the growing population of her brethren. She spent the final twenty years of her life prospecting for gold in Alaska. Most of her estate was left to Catholic Charities. Dungan adds some comic relief in the form of Lola Montez, a Sligo born prostitute of some notoriety; two of her better known conquests were Tsar Nicholas I and Alexandre Dumas. After a colorful life, Lola died at the age of forty in NY’s Hell’s Kitchen. A few pages are given to Thomas Meagher, a short time governor of Montana. Read Timothy Egan’s “The Immortal Irishman” for a comprehensive account of his life. In the 1860’s, 1,775 miles of railroad tracks were spiked into the ground by thousands of Chinese and Irish immigrants. Lawrence Murphy and Jimmy Dolan (not the MSG guy), were two of the biggest cattle dealers in Lincoln County, New Mexico. They battled for control of the industry with others of questionable character. In the midst of this overlong and tedious chapter appears Billy the Kid, born Henry McCarty in N.Y. City. He played a minor role in the Lincoln County Wars. Hollywood made him famous. The folklore of the west is uncovered and set straight by How the Irish Saved the West.
Book review: How the Irish won the West
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The role of the Irish in the American Revolution has often been written out. Who led the assault on Quebec [General Montgomery] and shed early luster on our arms, in the dawn of our revolution? Who felt the privations of the camp, the fate of battle, or the horrors of the prison ship more keenly than the Irish? Washington loved them, for they were the companions of his toil, his perils, his glories, in the deliverance of his country. Yet, the role of the Irish has often been written out. The long-accepted proper imaginary of the typical American patriot was that of an Anglo-Saxon who descended from early English settlers. This popular perception became a permanent part of the national mythology, in regard to the people who were seen as having been most responsible for sustaining and winning the revolutionary struggle.
This is a book by an Irishman that seems to have plucked its material from that available on the Internet and ignore those Irish who really helped to settle the.
life is about making memories