The Mysterious Death of 57 Irish Immigrants

Fifty-seven Irish-American rail­road work­ers sup­pos­edly died of cholera in 1832. It turns out the they may have been mur­dered, per­haps because of fear that they might be car­ry­ing cholera.

Researchers from Immac­u­lata Col­lege and Penn­syl­va­nia state and local gov­ern­ments have been over­see­ing an archae­o­log­i­cal dig at the site since 2004. In 2009, they announced that the first two skulls unearthed appeared to have suf­fered from blunt force trauma.

The Penn­syl­va­nia his­toric marker, vis­i­ble only briefly in the CNN video below, reads:

Duffy’s Cut Mass Grave

Nearby is the mass grave of fifty-seven Irish immi­grant work­ers who died in August, 1832, of cholera. They had recently arrived in the United States and were employed by a con­struc­tion con­tra­tor named Duffy, for the Philadel­phia and Colum­bia Rail­road. Prej­u­dice against Irish Catholics con­tributed to the denial of care to the work­ers. Their ill­ness and death typ­i­fied the haz­ards faced by many 19th cen­tury immi­grant indus­trial workers.

Duffy’s Cut is the name of “a stretch of rail­road tracks” near Malvern, Penn­syl­va­nia. Below is the lat­est from CNN.

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