JOURNAL ENTRY 1860 of Johnny “T” Fitzpatrick
I try to stay on but the times here in Ireland are tough. As the potato famine gets worse instead of seeing an end in site I see no end. My friends are few now and those that are left have left this land that has deserted us, those who have loved it and lived for it. Those who are left went to America. I too, have decided to leave all that I have ever known for another, another which holds hope and promise. I have lost all that held me to this land, there will always be a deep calling to this land for all my ancestors have walked these rolling hills and breathed the deep green of the Emerald Isle, but I must hold this close to my breast, tuck the mist and the leprechauns into my heart and carry it with me to America. I will be able to work maybe even the land that has turned its back on me, but in America the land is new. Earn a living, have a family and start my own memories of a land that welcomed me, not reject me. I will begin my long journey in the next few days, I have lived my life near the water yet I have very rarely been on a boat, this boat journey scares me as the idea of the new life does, but one that I will embrace.
I have made it, made it to the new hope. The Boat ride was the worst; surely if I can survive this I will most assuredly survive anything. They stuffed us in that ship one on top of another, treating us as though we did not pay good money for our tow. Death surrounded us, I left because all I knew died, yet here the death rode with us. (Kinsella, 1996) All I can pray is that it will go back to Ireland on the ship and not stay and linger in my coat pocket. During our trip some men kept at many of us to join them when we arrived in the new land. They told stories of black gold under the sod in America, how we could become men of means. I however did not trust them; they had odd eyes and a smirk like a leprechaun wore when he was teasing you with his gold that you would never touch. Now friends of the men that have been harassing us have came on the boat to greet us. These men are referred to as runners. (Kinsella, 19966) When I did not seem interested in their offers they become gruff, almost too pushy to be considered polite. I tried to remain decent thinking and hoping this was not the normal for this America. I was on a different route, the black gold did not interest me, and however the land was in my blood. I would do the thing that coursed through my green veins, farming was what my ancestors had done all their lives and I would continue on with that in my new life. I had made friends with a gentleman named Stewart who was joining his mother, father and sister in a place called Kentucky. They had been in America for five years and had made well. Stewart told me tales of woe for my Irish brothers, poverty and dislike by the Americans and of course Stewart reminded me that most Americans dropped from the English womb and many thought of the Irish brethren as slaves. (Kinsella, 1996) As we made our way through signing the books we made plans for leaving this Pittsburg city as soon as possible. As we made our way through the town we saw many signs looking for workers but many had signs stating “NO IRISH NEED APPLY”. (Kinsella, 1996) Making our way through this city we try to overlook all our Irish friends begging on the street corners. (Kinsella, 1996)
Finally, Kentucky and en-route to this Kentucky we stayed in shantytowns, small communities of our kinsman. (Kinsella, 1996) We began working immediately with Stewart’s father; he did not have his own land yet, but would soon. The Kentuckians were very interested in men with our knowledge of the land and were not scared of the hard work involved with seeing the land turn.
Stewart’s sister, Maria, was a very hard working girl, who caught my eye. Maria had a friend that went to Ohio, they wrote of great opportunity for farms there. I decided that I wanted to farm this Ohio land and I will take Maria with me, first I will ask her father for her hand in marriage.
Maria and I made it to Ohio, Rosewood. In Ohio there is a shantytown we have found with great friends from our home; maybe we won’t miss it so bad this way.
Kinsella, Jim. March 17, 1996. Kinsella genealogy. Retrieved from
http://www.kinsella.org/ September 5, 2006