News in Cortland NY

April 30, The Irish Immigration to Cortland County

3 pm, East End Community Center, 46 Elm Street, Cortland. Mary Anne Kane, director of the Cortland County Historical Society, has spent 30 years researching and lecturing on Cortland County’s early Irish generations.

Mary Anne Kane's research included her great grandfather, Patrick Kane, who settled in Port Watson in 1853. Little information on their past lives was revealed to later family members, and wide gaps often exist in genealogies.

The New York State census of 1855 reveals Cortland County’s growing Irish population of farmers, laborers, and domestics who fled the disappointments of their homeland to struggle anew within the emerging cultural patterns of our communities. From these statistics we can determine where they lived, and to some extent, what they did for a living, but can only speculate why most chose to settle in Central New York.

We are aware that the 1846-48 potato famines resulted in mass immigration from Ireland to the United States. But that disaster was not the impetus for Alexander McKevitt who claimed to have arrived in the Town of Truxton in 1809, or for the Gallaghers of the Town of Solon who date back to 1820.

Join Mary Ann Kane as she unravels some of the mysteries surrounding the Irish immigration to Cortland County. Reservations are strongly advised. Please call the Cortland Youth Bureau at (607) 753-3021.

Irish immigrants comprised the membership of this volunteer fire company, the Emerald Hose Co., formed in 1878. The building housing the fire company, decorated in appropriate fire fighting symbols, stands at the corner of Central Ave and Church Street. In competitions against other fire companies throughout the Northeast, Emerald Hose members held the world’s record for 13 consecutive years, for speed in laying and attaching hose to a hydrant. Their silver parade carriage (show in photo here) won many honors for the Emeralds and Cortland village.

An 1884 photo of workers at Wickwire Brothers factory. Can you recognize the McCarthy’s, Kelly’s, Conway’s and O’Leary’s among the men and boys?