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

Departures from Fitchburg,   pp. 68-73 PDF (2.2 MB)

Page 72

The ruins of a pioneer family's stone house on West Lacy Road. Nearly a century and a half after
masons crafted these walls, the stones are returning to the earth from which they came. Photo
taken in 1990.
Richmond. John Hawkins, of train-dueling fame, farmed in
Hammond in his later years.141 (Two other groups from Dane
County also sent settlers to this area: the Norwegians and
the Germans. Many families in Pierce, St.Croix, Eau Claire,
Chippewa, Dunn and Pepin counties have Dane County rela-
tives to this day)
Unlike those in Fitchburg, the first Irish settlers in Erin
and other St. Croix County townships were railroad workers
who were laid off when construction halted on the Superior
and Bayfield Railroad. Railroad failures occurred in 1857, and
many unemployed laborers who were living in Hudson decided
to begin farming. 144
Besides northwestern Wisconsin, areas to which the Fitch-
burg Irish moved in the latter half of the nineteenth century
include Minnesota, Iowa, and the Dakotas. (Again, Norwegians
and Germans did the same.) When Mrs. Flora Keenan's brother
James returned from the Civil War in 1865, he went west and
established a farm in Spring Valley, Minnesota. James and Mary
Fox moved in 1880 from Pepin County, Wisconsin, to the
wheat-growing prairies of Brookings County, South Dakota.45
A number of families from Irish Lane moved to the Dako-
tas in the 1880's. In 1883, James and Harriet Matthews moved
to Osceola township, South Dakota. They lived across the
border from Harriet's cousin, Catherine, and her husband

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