them longer here to gain the Political upper hand, really until the late teens and early twenties of this century.
The story of Irish domination of county and city offices since then has been told too many times and is too recent to need retelling here. Suffice it to say that the Irish held political offices in numbers disproportionate to the size of their community. 'While still quite strong today, Irish political power peaked here in the 1930's, with sons of Erin holding so many county and city offices that it was startling and, of course, the reason why the Slavic people here formed the anti-Irish Democratic Cosmopolitan League.
Contributions of the Clergy
One of the most important contributions the Irish made to this city lay in the field of education. This resulted from an equally important contribution they made to their Church -they became priests and nuns by the hundreds. They became elementary school teachers and Biblical scholars, pastors and laborers for Christ in far-flung mission fields. They were seemingly everywhere in this city.
The priest played an exceedingly important role in the Irish community of Cleveland from the earliest days. In addition to their normal role as spiritual counselors, they were also deeply involved with the temporal welfare of their flocks. They were letter-writers, job-getters, domestic-peacemakers, .....
career-motivators and, on more than one occasion, the subduers of the rowdy element. A consecrated hand can be formed into a fist as well as an unconsecrated one.
They were also the community's matchmakers, seeing over the doings of such social clubs as the LaSalle, and arranging boy-meets-girl sessions. (Sure'n she's a lovely lass from a fine family and it's better to marry than to burn.") They were just as determined that some Irish lads and lasses would never marry -- while vocations may well spring from the Creator, quite a few in Cleveland were instigated in varying degrees by the good fathers.
As Nelson Callahan points out in his overview, the Irish priests of Cleveland were men to be reckoned with, what with their policy-making gatherings and secret accords. They came to be feudal barons, reigning autocratically over their baronies and fiefdoms, with an input of their thinking being an all too real factor in the everyday life of the Irish community.
The role of the clergy here and how its members affected the lives of Cleveland's Irish, predominantly for the good, cannot be overemphasized. In various cases in many decades, the priests and nuns provided the warp that held the fabric of the community together. Needless to say, they were also its woof.