Reburial of woman in native Ireland highlights 183-year-old murder mystery | US news | The Guardian

Originally posted in The Guardian.

Catherine Burns will be buried in her native County Tyrone in Northern Ireland on Sunday, 183 years after her attempt to create a new life in the United States came to a grim end in a railroad shantytown outside Philadelphia.The identification of her remains, their return home, and the insight her story has provided into the lives of Catholic Irish immigrants who sailed to the US fleeing prejudice is the result of a remarkable history research project.That project ultimately revealed Catherine’s murder more than a century and a half after it happened. She was 29 years old and already a widow when she left home and sailed from Derry, County Derry, as one of 160 Catholic Irish immigrants bound for the US on a ship called the John Stamp. When they landed in Philadelphia, Catherine must have been hopeful. She soon found work with 57 other Irish Catholic immigrants at a railroad construction called Duffy’s Cut, 30 miles outside the city in the town of East Whiteland. But the immigrants were dead some six weeks after their arrival in 1832.For years, memory of the deaths was little more than a ghost story, and the name Duffy’s Cut had all but been forgotten. The place would be referred to as Dead Horse Hollow for many years. Newspapers at the time reported deaths along the railroad in the camp, but just eight, and all were attributed to the…

via Reburial of woman in native Ireland highlights 183-year-old murder mystery | US news | The Guardian.

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