Elkhart Historical Society acknowledges the Irish with presentation by Paul Beaver

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[March 24, 2015]  ELKHART - "If it hadn’t been for the Irish; where would we be without the Irish" was Lincoln College Historian Emeritus Paul Beaver's theme for his dinner/talk at Wildhare Cafe, Saturday evening, March 21st.

Beaver discussed the historic migration of nearly 8 million to the shores of America, many of whom got caught up in the chaos of our American Civil War. He noted that the Irish soldiers demanded there always be a Catholic Chaplain in their regiment and that five Catholic chaplains from the University of Notre Dame were in these Irish Regiments. Gen. William T. Sherman’s widow in the 1890’s visited the University of Notre Dame to present a large bronze plaque, inscribed with words of gratitude for the efforts of these priests.

Beaver explained the various reasons the Irish immigrated to America, the reception they received, and the impact they had on the areas they settled. He pointed out that many Irish men were able to get factory or farm jobs to help the northern war effort.

The terrible downtrodden times of Irish segregation in this country was explained with many photos to illustrate it in a full-length power-point presentation. Beaver highlighted the greatness of this Irish influx. He pointed out the contributions and successes of several of our national and local personalities, many as the result of the struggles of their ancestors. Among them were boxer John L. Sullivan, President John F. Kennedy, Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, Liam Neeson, and Drew Barrymore.

Paul included information and photos of American livestock from the mid-1800's through mid-1900's, which were much superior to the Irish livestock — primarily due to much less crop abundance to feed them.

Irish immigrant William Scully scuttled his failed attempt to raise sheep as his family had done in Ireland. He then concentrated on dredging the Central Illinois prairie in order to raise crops and livestock — realizing early on that the fertile loam soil of the mid-west was much superior to that of his homeland.

Photos and name captions of the Elkhart Dwyer, Hickey, Gleason, Hegerty, Smith, Dee, Murphy, Walsh, and Tierney families were featured. With the ditty, Danny Boy, playing in the background, a choice of tasty corn beef and cabbage or meat loaf and mashed potatoes were served.

The next dinner talk will be on April 18th at the Wildhare Cafe. Lincoln College's Dr. Dennis Campbell will present "The Life and Times of Logan County Mammals". The talk will focus on three of the county's time periods: prehistoric, mid-1800's, and the present.

For more information and registration, go to http://www.elkharthistoricalsociety.org/

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Additional information:

Notre Dame and General Sherman
Although Sherman was an agnostic, his wife Ellie was a pious Catholic. Her favorite cousin was Mother Angela, a Holy Cross nun who ran a hospital for Sherman's wounded soldiers in Memphis, Tennessee. (Angela Boulevard in South Bend is named after her.) Ellie was also acquainted with Notre Dame's founder, Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C. In 1862 she enrolled her son Willy as a minim at Notre Dame and sent her daughter Minnie to St. Mary's College. Sadly, Willy died in October, 1863, while visiting his father in Memphis. Notre Dame's Father Joseph Carrier, C.S.C., was at Willy's bedside when he died, and his presence was much appreciated by the Shermans.

In September 1864, Ellie moved her entire family to South Bend and enrolled her son Tommy in the Notre Dame minim program. On June 7, 1865, General Sherman spoke at the commencement exercises. Moved to tears by stories about his beloved Willy, Sherman promised that the boys of Notre Dame would always be dear to him. Sherman's granddaughter, Eleanor Sherman Fitch, donated family papers, photographs, and memorabilia to the Archives of the University of Notre Dame prior to her death in 1959. The photographs on display in this exhibit have been selected from the Sherman Collection and were publicly exhibited at the Snite Museum for the first time.

Source:  http://archives.nd.edu/research/

Sherman was a practicing Roman Catholic up until the Civil War. After the war Sherman, possibly due to trauma the war caused, claimed to have stopped partaking in organized religious life for the latter part of his adult life, although his wife, Ellen Ewing Sherman, was a devout Catholic and their son Thomas became a Catholic priest. According to his son, Sherman attended the Catholic Church until the outbreak of the Civil War but not thereafter.[131] In 1888, Sherman wrote publicly that "my immediate family are strongly Catholic. I am not and cannot be."[132] A memoirist reports that Sherman told him in 1887 that "my family is strongly Roman Catholic, but I am not."[133] Sherman was buried at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William

[Phil Bertoni]


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