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Kinney, Thomas P. / Irish settlers of Fitchburg, Wisconsin, 1840-1860

Irish Lane settlement,   pp. 48-55 PDF (2.6 MB)

Page 50

The stables at the Kinney farmstead in Newcastle Townland near Swinford, County Mayo, Ireland.
The family immigrated to Canada in 1831, and later to the United States. The round tower in the
background was built in the eighth century as part of the defense of an early Christian monastery.
Photo taken in 1991.
Lane Settlement also became active in local government. For
example, Matthew Gorry was chosen to be one of the three
town supervisors in 1854. William Hamilton became treasurer
in 1860. Others served as supervisors of some of the fifteen
road districts in the township.107 Before running for office, most
immigrants focused on building their homesteads and breaking
their fields.
One element that helped to unify the people of the Irish
Lane Settlement was that most families were from small farms
in Ireland. They had a common interest in establishing larger
and more productive farms and escaping the potato blights and
civil unrest of Ireland. For instance, the Gormans, who emi-
grated on Famine's eve in 1845, left Ireland "because they
could only own a few acres of land, which made the conditions
undesirable." The Patrick and Bridget Gorman family farmed in
Pennsylvania until coming west via stagecoach to Fitchburg in
1850. Later, the family moved to the Town of Dunn school sec-
tion, and their Whalen Road homestead in Fitchburg was occu-
pied by William and Ellen Gorman.108
Two families who left Ireland during the Famine were
the Cullens and the Sweeneys, from County Wicklow. They
departed in 1849 and purchased tracts of land on Byrne Road
in the southern part of the Irish Lane Settlement. Before the
Cullens built their Byrne Road home, they first constructed a

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