Saturday, March 15, 2008

Remembering the Irish Railroad Workers of Antebellum Itawamba County

During the late 1850’s the Mobile and Ohio Railroad was being constructed through western Itawamba County. The line ran through the old Itawamba towns of Verona, Saltillo and Campbellton and the construction of this important railroad resulted in several more towns developing including Tupelo, Guntown and Baldwyn.

Railroad construction work was slow and difficult during antebellum times and by 1860 the Mobile and Ohio’s construction was in full swing in the northwestern portion of the county. The railroad company hired many men from the area and other southern states, but most of the men who constructed the railroad were laborers from the North, with the vast majority being born in Ireland.

The 1860 Federal Census gives a wonderful documentation of these workers constructing the railroad in northwestern Itawamba County. They will probably be missing from their home states because they were down South in Itawamba County, Mississippi building a railroad. Below is a listing abstracted from the 1860 Itawamba County Federal Census honoring those men from Ireland who helped forge a railroad through the hills of northeastern Mississippi:

Davis Wren: 35, Ireland
Michael McMarrow: 27, Ireland
John Ryan: 25, Ireland
John Davis: 26, Ireland
James Kahn: 28, Ireland
John Dunn: 30, Ireland
John McKinley: 32, Ireland
Archibald Wilson: 30, Ireland
Michael O’Bryan: 26, Ireland
Levi Smith: 30, Ireland
David Frolly: 23, Ireland
Simeon Hassett: 30, Ireland
Martin Hanley: 27, Ireland
Edward Burke: 35, Ireland
Daniel Carry: 35, Ireland
Edward Donahoe: 20, Ireland
John Murphy: 40, Ireland
Andrew Kelly: 30, Ireland
Michael Flannigan: 45, Ireland
Patrick Smith: 35, Ireland
George Matthews: 47, Ireland
James M. Sains: 21, Ireland
Richard Nolen: 25, Ireland
Dennis Cary: 35, Ireland
Owen Logan: 33, Ireland
John Collins: 23, Ireland
Patrick McVilly: 30, Ireland
Roderick Coleman: 28, Ireland
John Book: 35, Ireland
Robert Sullivan: 30, Ireland
Patrick McCarter: 25, Ireland
Jno. Kernes: 55, Ireland
Michael O’Bryan: 25, Ireland
Joseph McDonald: 20, Ireland
Edward Smith: 30, Ireland
Jery McKay: 35, Ireland
Thomas Farrell: 35, Ireland

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