The Story of the Leadville Irish Memorial Leadville, Colorado USA
A presentation by Dr Jim Walsh
Historian for the memorial project and Clinical Associate Professor of Political Science, Denver University. Naming Unnamed Irish Immigrants in a 19th Century Rocky Mountain Pauper Cemetery.
Leadville, Colorado, at 10,200 Feet in Elevation, is the highest town in North American, during the early 1800's, 20% of the population consisted of the most politically important Irish immigrant community in the Rocky Mountain West. This working class immigrant community occupied the most difficult jobs, struggled unsuccessfully to improve their working conditions, many died very young from harsh winters, sickness, mining accidents, and epidemics.
The Catholic Free section of Leadville's Evergreen Cemetery holds the remains of thousands of Irish immigrants, buried in sunken, unmarked graves. The average age of death was twenty-three and nearly half of them are children. Today, a major memorial to these 19th century Irish immigrants in under construction, naming those in the unmarked graves and standing as a visual reminder of the human toll that industrial labour took on Irish immigrant communities across North America.
Prof James Walsh will tell the remarkable journey that lead him to discover the history of the thousands of poor Irish Immigrants who died in tragic circumstances in Leadville. His discovery that one-third of the immigrants came from Allihies in west Cork and how an ongoing genealogy partnership project with the staff of the Allihies Copper Mine Museum unearthed the surnames of numerous local people buried in the unmarked graves revealing the harrowing story to many of their existing relatives.
(The talk runs in conjunction with the First Church Freedom Festival that celebrates the life of Thomas McCabe (1786), United Irishman, liberal thinker, humanitarian, radical Presbyterian, founder of Belfast Charitable Society and parishioner of First Church who stopped the formation of a slave ship company in Belfast. The festival is a series of events to highlight the loss of freedom experienced by many in our society today)
Free Entry with Music & Drinks.