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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 52

Bridget and James Monks were Irish immigrants who reached Fitchburg in 1855 during the wheat-growing era and
built a log cabin in the Irish Lane woodland. They soon expanded their farm onto Syene Prairie and owned one of
the largest farms in Fitchburg.
Lynches were the first Famine-era Irish to take up residence
in Fitchburg.10 Samuel and Mary McGaw were Protestants
who emigrated from County Londonderry in 1849 and reached
Fitchburg in the late 1850's. The McGaws rented an Irish Lane
farm northwest of the intersection with Caine Road from the
Ward family Later, they bought property on East Lacy Road,
and lived near the entrance of the present-day McGaw Park."'
The new arrivals at Irish Lane were hard-working farmers
and they succeeded in improving their properties. The James
and Bridget Monks family, ancestors of today's Faheys, Greens,
and Hartys, arrived in 1855 and eventually expanded their farm
of 160 acres to 480 acres, making it one of the largest in Fitch-
burg. The Monks' homestead was located on the north side of
Irish Lane a half-mile east of the intersection with Fish Hatch-
ery Road. An unplowed part of the field marks where the log
cabin once stood. During dry years, Julia Monks Fahey would
ride horseback while herding her cattle to be watered three
miles south at Lake Barney in the Fox Settlement. Julia's hus-
band, John Fahey, lived for a short time at the large Irish settle-
ment in the Town of Westport before coming to Fitchburg.112
Some families have not remained in Fitchburg for as long as
the Monks' descendants, and one group left as early as the 1850's.
The McLaughlins, Hawkins, Shields, Caffreys, McFaddens, and
one of the Kinneys used their profits from wheat cash crops to
buy farmland in Pierce and St. Croix counties in northwestern
Wisconsin, where they moved to establish new homesteads."3

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