If the Irish have any trouble with their faith, it's only because they know it too well and are so fond of it that they feel they can deviate from its tenets, should a particular occasion arise. The Irish are firm believers in St. Francis of Assissi's assertion that the body is a recalcitrant donkey that inhibits man in his quest for spiritual perfection. Sure, and it's Brother Ass who prevents the Irish from being a phalanx of solid saints and nothing else. The Irish always have made up for their peccadilloes in a manner that can only be described as grandiose. Consider, for example, that at one time not too long ago, Irish missionaries comprised 27% of the Roman Catholic Church's world evangelizers. What a staggering statistic that is a nation of six million souls supplying more than a quarter of all those who labored in foreign mission fields. In comparison, Americans represented 6% of the total number of missioners and, at that time, were some 40 million strong.


       While the Cleveland Irish of the 1850's might rage about their treatment at the hands of the established natives, they were quick to recognize a flaw in those Yankee "Swells." The owners of the mills they worked in and docks they toiled on had, however begrudgingly, given them the vote. It would only be a matter of time until the Irish would overcome. The Irish saloons took on yet another function -- it would be precinct quarters for the .....




Irish who aspired to political office, the base upon which the famed Irish political machine would be built.

       It is interesting to note that the Irish in Cleveland were rather slow to develop any real political clout in this community until after the turn of the century. Admittedly, they ran their own turf and often made a difference in a particular elective race, but they didn't make the kind of splash that their brothers did in other large American cities. In New York, for instance, 18 Irish'Catholics were elected to political office as early as 1852. In 1873, with the political demise of William Marcy Tweed, they took over Tammany Hall itself.

       There were a number of reasons the Cleveland Irish political clout remained latent rather than becoming blatant. The foremost of which had to do with their numbers. The Yankees and immigrants from other nations were still the large majority. Secondly, the Irish were assigned the anathema role in society, the role blacks have been cast in today. The only other group of immigrants to give the Irish meaningful support were the Germans, who, although they thought the Irish improvident wastrels, nevertheless saw in them something charismatic. It is even more interesting to note that nearly a century later, when the Slavic peoples of Cleveland formed a group to oust the predominant Irish from political office, the Germans alone stood by them. But that is getting far ahead of the story.




The Old Irish Settlement upper right behind Standard Oil Company's work. In 1880's.


The Old Superior Street Railway Co. horse car barn on Superior Ave. and Willson Ave.

(Plain Dealer)