Chapter 3


       Whatever the toll it took in lives, the Ohio Canal, among other things, made Cleveland a very important city. It transformed it into a strategic location, an exchange point for goods from the South, as well as the East, not to mention foreign shores. In no time long lines of wagons jammed its streets and vessels of every description crowded its twisting river, the Cuyahoga. By 1830, with the canal only a bit more than half completed, Cleveland was on its way to becoming a boom town.

What is Meant by "Irish"

       The debate still goes on as to who were the first Irishmen to settle in Cleveland. As the Jesuits are wont to say, argument without a definition of terms is absurd. Thus it 611 comes down to what constitutes an Irishman, the genuine article, as opposed to hybrids such as the Anglo-Irish or Scotch-Irish, which were created by implantation and immigrated to this land from the English fiefdom of Ulster.

       In this background piece I purposefully omitted mention of the Province of Ulster for two reasons: first, in the period of .....




Irish emigration it was peopled primarily by non-Irish, and second, so much has been written about it of late that everyone should be familiar with its role as England's last vestige of an empire. Whether its people had been there for centuries during the migration or merely decades, they were not Irish by the normal ways of measuring a race -- language, blood relationships, culture and religion.

       However, as to the Irish in Cleveland, we could note that there were men with Irish surnames in the Connecticut Land Company, the organization responsible for the city's existence. Then, too, is the fact that Cleveland's first mayor was a man named Alfred Kelley. Another man named McIntyre stoutly defended the city durina the War of 1812, even though the British attack failed to materialize. But these men were not Irish in the true sense of the definition. Irish surnamed, yes, but not Irish in thought, word or action, and especially not in the intangible called culture.

       So for the purposes of this work, the Irish will be those who emigrated from the 26 counties that lay outside Ulster and those very few from within who were not of the Orange Order. The Irish are those who followed the wav St. Patrick laid out for them and not Good Kinq Billy. While those requirements may seem stringent, they are eminently fair when one considers that 95% of all the peoples who lived on that island fit those standards.