Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

March 15, 2014

AC History by Enfys McMurry


The Daily Iowegian

---- — March 17 (multiple years): There were many Irish among the diverse immigrants that came into Appanoose County. They spoke English. This made their assimilation easy. The first were the Irish Catholics who laid the Chicago, Rock Island and Southwestern track. They shopped at Irishman Patrick Walsh’s grocery shop and post office on the Levee’s east side at 1219-1221 S. 18th St. Walsh Street commemorates the location. They celebrated mass on Sundays in the Clinton Hotel just north of the Rock Island depot sharing a priest with other communities until the first St. Mary’s Catholic Church was built on the site of the present church. With the beginning of coal mining, more Irish arrived, including the McConville brothers. They were Irish Catholic ironstone workers in the granite mines of County Down. They’d been forced to coalface work in Scottish mines by the Irish Potato Famine. In Appanoose they became coalowners. But some Irish, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, expounding upon the virtues and achievements of St. Patrick, got drunk and started fighting with rocks, bricks, curses and “vile execrations.” Those who were sober declared they were Fenians ready to fight any Englishman. (88, 99 & 204).