Chronology

1718 Large groups of Ulster immigrants begin arriving in Boston led mainly by Presbyterian ministers and continuing to 1738
1737 17 March: Charitable Irish Society founded by twenty-six men of Ulster birth or ancestry
1743 Charitable Irish Society has 116 members including wealthy sea-captain Patrick Tracey, a Wexford native
1744 New Church of Presbyterian Strangers built on Long Lane site donated by John Little, a Charitable Irish Society founder. Its Pastor and Co. Derry native, Rev. John Moorhead, was also a Charitable Irish Society member.
1761 Since 1737, 173 members enrolled in the Charitable Irish Society--89 of whom were still active
1765 Charitable Irish Society removes requirement that officers be Protestant
1770 12 June: Charitable Irish Society aids Irish sailor John Ryan wounded in confrontation between HMS Rose and Pitt Packet on April 22, 1769
1775 Out-break of the American Revolution reduces flow of Irish immigrants and meetings of the Charitable Irish Society suspended
1784 26 October: First meeting of the Charitable Irish Society since the outbreak of the American Revolution
1799 Charitable Irish Society begins holding all annual meetings on March 17 (Saint Patrick’s Day)
1803 Church of the Holy Cross, designed by Charles Bulfinch, is dedicated and financed by Boston Catholics and a few Protestants
1808 Boston Archdiocese established
1809 Charitable Irish Society is incorporated and opens membership to all men of Irish birth or descent
1815 Andrew Carney, a Co. Cavan native, arrives in Boston and later is a major benefactor for Boston College, the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Carney Hospital as well as Irish Famine Relief
1821 Patrick Donahoe arrives in Boston and builds a career in journalism and business to become the richest Catholic in New England by 1872
1825 Bishop Benedict Joseph Fenwick appointed
1831 Rev. T. J. O’Flaherty, Kerry native and medical doctor, becomes the first and only clergyman to be President of the Charitable Irish Society
1832 2 May: Sisters of Charity arrive in Boston and start first school. In 1843, they establish St. Vincent’s Female Orphan Asylum.
1833 22 June: President Andrew Jackson visits Boston and declares pride in his Irish heritage to the Charitable Irish Society
1834 Rise of anti-Irish, anti-Catholic sentiment in Boston
11 August: Ursuline Convent in Charlestown destroyed by a mob of nativists
1835 Young Catholic Friends Society formed by Irish immigrants to assist poor boys with clothing and basic needs
1836 The Jesuit is renamed the Boston Pilot by newspaper editor Patrick Donahoe
1837 Montgomery Guards established by Irish immigrant leaders Andrew Carney, Thomas Mooney, and Edwin Palmer
17 May: Governor Edward Everett speaks at the centenary of Charitable Irish Society and President Boyd welcomes increasing numbers of Catholics to the society
11 June: Irish American militia men of Montgomery and Sarsfield Guards attacked during the Broad Street Riot between Irish and Protestants
12 September: City Guards and other anti-Irish militia companies refuse to muster with Irish Montgomery Guards on Boston Common for annual review
1838 1 April: Governor Gardner bows to Protestant nativist hysteria and disbands the predominantly Irish Catholic Montgomery Guards
1845 The population of Boston is 114,000 (8,000 born in Ireland)
Friends of Ireland formed to support political/constitutional reform In Ireland
Native American Party later known as the Know-Nothing Party formed
15 September: Potato Blight appears in Ireland damaging about 35% of potato crop
Irish organizations in Boston raise initial funds for famine relief, totaling about $19,000
1846 Bishop John Fitzpatrick appointed
Catastrophic failure of Irish potato harvest (90%) endangering the life of 4 million people
1847 Relief efforts for Ireland launched throughout the USA following appeal of New York Quaker Jacob Harvey
20 January: RMS Hibernia arrives in Boston carrying harrowing accounts from Irish and British press of Irish starvation, death, and disease
7 February: Publication of Bishop Fitzpatrick’s appeal for funds for Irish Famine Relief
18 February: Mayor Josiah Quincy calls Faneuil Hall meeting where leading Bostonians establish the New England Committee for Irish Famine Relief after powerful appeal by Edward Everett
Robert Bennet and John Murray Forbes propose using USS Jamestown to ship food supplies to Ireland
1 March: Petition to Congress for use of USS Jamestown for Irish relief effort
3 March: Congress approves the loan of the USS Jamestown and the USS Macedonian to ship food to Ireland
17 March: Mostly Irish Boston Laborers Society begins to load the Jamestown
28 March: Jamestown sails from the Charlestown Navy Yard with 800 tons of provisions
10 April: More than 1,000 Irish immigrants arrive in Boston in one day
12 April: Jamestown arrives at Cobh Harbor, Co. Cork
15 April: Cobh elite give Captain Forbes a lavish reception despite the misery and death surrounding them
17 April: Distribution plan for Jamestown supplies formulated to cover the whole of County Cork
22 April: Jamestown sails from Cobh
9 May: Jamestown returns to Boston and Captain Forbes works to expedite sending more supplies on the USS Macedonian from New York
17 May: English Brig Mary with 46 Famine refugees refused entry to Boston and Revenue Cutter quells passenger mutiny
29 May: Deer Island Quarantine Hospital Opens for immigrants ill with fever. Hundreds die there.
10,21,26 June: Strong opposition to Irish famine refugee immigration appears in Boston Daily Transcript and in public protests
14 November: Large anti-immigrant meeting in Faneuil Hall demands legislature to increase the bonds paid by immigrants
31 December: By year end, 37,000 Irish have arrived in the Port of Boston and crowd into North End, Fort Hill and wharf areas
Long Wharf Immigration Station opens
1848 Heavy immigration from Ireland continues
1849 Cholera Epidemic and work of the Sisters of Charity for ill is widely praised
27 July: Irish temperance leader Father Theobold Mathew visits Boston and over 4,000 take temperance pledge
7 October: Brig St. John is wrecked at Cohasset with death of over 100 famine refugees from Galway and Clare
1854 2 June: Two Irish militia units assist in return of Anthony Burns to slavery, followed by retaliatory attacks on Irish Homes and premises and the dissolution of the Columbian Artillery
Landslide Know-Nothing Party election victories for local offices and state legislature in spring and fall
1855 The population of Boston is 160,000 (46,000 born in Ireland)
1858 1 April: St. Vincent Asylum for orphan girls opens new large $120,000 facility on Shawmut Avenue
1860 Lincoln carries Massachusetts but loses in Boston
House of the Guardian Angel established and serves many poor and orphaned Irish boys
1861 1 April: “The Fighting Ninth” is formed, a mostly Irish Massachusetts Regiment, recruited by Columbian Guard leader Thomas Cass, Pilot editor Patrick Donahoe, and Andrew Carney. It fought 43 engagements in which 250 were killed and 650 were wounded.
10 March: Church of the Immaculate Conception, designed by Irishman Patrick C. Keely and financed by Andrew Carney, is dedicated
25 May: Bishop John Fitzpatrick receives an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Harvard University
Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul assist newly arrived immigrants
1862 The Pilot encourages readers to enlist in the Union Army following April 1861 attack on Fort Sumner
1863 3 March: Congress passes conscription law to fill Union Army ranks
9 June: Carney Hospital opens with Sisters of Charity caring for many civil war wounded and the poor. Andrew Carney gave an endowment of $75,295 for hospital.
14 June: A minor riot erupts in the North End in response to marshals serving conscription orders on Irish residents. Six are killed.
Catholics of New England donate $43,466 for Irish relief after a poor harvests and minor potato blight
1864 Eliot Charity School on Channing Street becomes the first Home for Destitute Catholic Children 
3 April: Andrew Carney dies having donated over $200,000 to Catholic charities and educational institutions
1 September: Boston College opens on Harrison Avenue after receiving endowment of $20,000 from Andrew Carney
1865 The population of Boston is 192,000 (48,000 born in Ireland)
Boston Fenians, including Patrick A. Collins, attend Fenian Brotherhood Convention in Cincinnati
1866 1 January: The Sisters of Charity take charge of the Home for Destitute Catholic Children and move the home to a larger building on Common Street in December.
13 February: Death of Bishop John Fitzpatrick
11 March: Installation of Bishop John J. Williams at St. James Church in Boston
Approximately 5,000 students enrolled in Catholic schools in Boston comprising 3 academies, 9 girls schools, and 4 boys schools
1867 Patrick A. Collins, Famine era immigrant, elected to represent South Boston in Massachusetts legislature
1868 St. Elizabeth’s Hospital established
1869 15 June: Patrick S. Gilmore, Irish born composer and bandmaster, organizes a four-day National Peace Jubilee with 50,000 in attendance, including President Ulysses S. Grant, for the benefit of Civil War orphans and widows
1870 2 January: John Boyle O’Reilly, escaped political prisoner, arrives in Boston and joins the Pilot staff. He later becomes its editor and co-owner and renowned local literary luminary.
1871 1 October: New Home for Destitute Catholic Children opened on Harrison Avenue costing $100,000 dedicated by Bishop John J. Williams
1872 9 November: Great Boston Fire destroys Patrick Donahoe’s Pilot Office and Emigrant Savings Bank on Franklin Street, eventually leading to his bankruptcy
1873 Catholic Union established by Irish Catholics to advocate for religious rights of Catholics, especially for those in state or municipal institutions
1875 The Population of Boston is 342,000 (70,000 born in Ireland)
8 December: Holy Cross Cathedral, designed by Irishman Patrick C. Keely, dedicated
Boston becomes an Archdiocese
1876 17 March: Five Fenian units totaling 200 men march in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Catalpa voyage rescues six Fenian prisoners from Australia and raises morale of Irish American nationalists
15 April: John Boyle O’Reilly and Archbishop Williams purchase the Pilot from Patrick Donahoe
1877 17 September: Soldiers and Sailors Monument, sculpted by Co. Sligo native Martin Milmore, dedicated on Boston Common
1878 4 March: Centenary of birth of Irish patriot Robert Emmet celebrated at Tremont Temple with speeches by John Boyle O’Reilly and Patrick A. Collins
7 December: Former Fenians Michael Davitt and John Devoy meet John B. O’Reilly in Boston to discuss the New Departure plan to unite Irish political groups with a campaign for Irish land reform and self-government
1879 Return of famine conditions in the west of Ireland leads to large donations from the Boston Irish community and a big increase in Irish immigration to Boston
6 September: In a letter to the Pilot, Anna and Fanny Parnell urge the Irish in the United States to send money to relieve distress in Ireland. The Pilot editor, John Boyle O’Reilly, opens a subscription fund at the paper to quickly forward donations to Ireland.
1880 12 January: Charles S. Parnell, M.P. visits Boston area to raise funds for the Irish Land League and Home Rule
10 February: Charitable Irish Society donates $1,000 to Irish Land League to help alleviate the food crisis in the West Of Ireland

17 March: Charitable Irish Society cancels its annual dinner and encourages donations to Irish Land League

15 April: John Boyle O’Reilly, Patrick Collins, and John Dillon, M.P. speak at Faneuil Hall and organize Boston chapter of American Land League to support agrarian agitation in Ireland
5 November: Boston Land League packs Faneuil Hall for speeches by Irish land agitator Michael Davitt and John Boyle O’Reilly on progress of Irish Land War against exorbitant rents and evictions
Census records show 7,172 Irish-born women employed as domestic servants in Boston
9,099 Irish immigrants arrive at the Port of Boston during year
1881 19 May: Fanny Parnell, founder of American Ladies Land League, honored at Boston reception where she thanks Boston Irish for their financial and moral support
1882 Peak of post-Famine Irish immigration to Boston and growth of widespread Boston Irish support for Irish land reform agitation and Home Rule
20 June: 7,000 assemble at Mechanics Hall to hear Michael Davitt, founder of the Irish Land League, on his plan to eradicate landlordism in Ireland and build a peasant proprietorship
10 November: Charlotte Grace O’Brien, daughter of Young Ireland rebel William S. O’Brien, advocates building a home in Boston for newly arrived Irish young women to prevent their exploitation
1883 8 February: Charitable Irish Society organizes a large protest against a British government assisted immigration scheme as a plot to depopulate Ireland
Clover Club founded as a social club for Irishmen
1884 Hugh O’Brien elected as first Irish-born mayor (re-elected 1885, 1886, and 1887)
1885 The population of Boston is 390,000 (68,000 born in Ireland)
1886 Boston chapters of Irish National League and other Irish organizations hold numerous meetings to provide financial and moral support to Charles S. Parnell, M.P. and the Irish Parliamentary Party in their campaign to secure passage of William E. Gladstone’s Home Rule Bill of 1886. John Boyle O’Reilly and Patrick A. Collins are prominent in these efforts.
8 June: Irish Home Rule Bill is defeated in the British House of Commons
1887 Irish Catholics including Hugh O’Brien and John E. Fitzgerald hold major city offices
17 March: Charitable Irish Society celebrates its 150th Anniversary and John Boyle O’Reilly recites his famous poem "The Exile of the Gael"   
1889 James Bernard Cullen publishes The Story of the Irish in Boston, relating many Irish successes in business, government, the legal profession, and the cultural life of the city.
17 March: Charitable Irish Society confers Honorary Memberships on Irish leaders Charles S. Parnell MP, Michael Davitt MP, and William O’Brien MP
1890 10 August: Death of John Boyle O’Reilly at Hull, Massachusetts
2 September: Memorial service for John Boyle O’Reilly at Tremont Temple attended by thousands. Other services held in 12 Massachusetts towns as well cities across the country
1892 John F. Fitzgerald elected to Massachusetts Senate
Boston Irish hold many meetings in support of Irish Home Rule Bill of 1892
Martin Lomasney elected to the Board of Aldermen
1894 Immigration Restriction League formed
22 April: 5000 attend the dedication of St. Cecilia’s Roman Catholic Church. The church was financed principally by Irish-born domestic servants employed by Boston elite families of the Back Bay and Beacon Hill.
1895 The population of Boston is 497,000 (72,000 born in Ireland)
1896 30 June: Dedication of the John Boyle O’Reilly memorial by Daniel Chester French at the Fenway entrance. This is the first memorial to an Irish man in Boston.
1898 James Michael Curley’s first run for public office
1900 7 May: Ancient Order of Hibernians holds national convention in Boston. On May 9, 1,200 AOH members parade through the city.
1902 Patrick A. Collins elected mayor
1905 14 September: Mayor Collins dies in office
John F. Fitzgerald elected first American-born Irish Catholic mayor
1907 30 August: Death of Archbishop John J. Williams and William H. O’Connell succeeds as Archbishop
4 September: Cardinal Gibbons officiates at Archbishop Williams’ funeral at Cathedral, attended by 5 archbishops, 13 bishops, hundreds of priests and religious figures as well as prominent lay Bostonians
1909 19 June: 35,000 attend Garden Party for Ground Breaking of new Boston College Chestnut Hill campus, designed by Irish born Charles D. Maginnis and Timothy F. Walsh
1911 30 November: Archbishop O’Connell elevated to Cardinal in Rome
1912 Boston Irish again rally in support of the 1912 Home Rule Bill which passes in May, but is suspended because of World War I
18 March: Charitable Irish Society's 175th Anniversary Dinner at Somerset Hotel with President William Howard Taft and Cardinal William O'Connell among the 800 guests.
17 May: Opening of Fenway Park, built by Irish contractor and Charitable Irish Society member Charles E. Logue
1915 The population of Boston is 745,000 (64,000 born in Ireland)

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