Irish Community

The Irish Community of Cortland

Posted by  //  March 5, 2023  //  Articles

By Jaxyn Boyce

During the 1830s an emergence was created as the first Irish settlers landed in Cortland, New York. Later on, in the year 1840, a large group of Irish immigrants traveled to this county due to the devastation of famine. Moreover, the Hathaway family, locals native to the area, welcomed the Irish with the promise of work and stability. Over ten percent of the entire immigrant population started out working on the Erie Canal. Then they transitioned into helping the railroad business.

Thus, the Irish were thriving in our community and decided to venture out for their own success. Many wanted to become businessmen or politicians. Yet, there is one company that stands out in this period and that is the Emerald Hoseland Fire company. As a historical symbol of our important history, the building still stands on what is now the corner between Church street and Central avenue. Something interesting to note is that this company had community outreach, especially with its well-known competition. They held the title of best running.

Not only did this create a sense of pride in the Irish group, but demonstrated a collection of shared culture. Lawrence Fitzgerald stood as a representative of the Irish dream: owning the Cortland Wagon company in 1885. Similarly, Hugh Dunphy was best known for his Doud’s or death business. Even more fascinating was that the Irish immigrants changed Cortland county through religion. Catholicism was introduced as churches began to pop up. Finally, in today’s celebration, there was the Celtic festival that brought Cortland’s finest history to the surface. Now, a revitalization could happen to continue with the culture and sense of belonging for the local Irish communities.

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