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1. The Arrival


From Mourne to Montana


"Oh the sun is on the harbor, love.  And I wish I could remain
For I know it will be a long, long time. Till I see you again"

On July 10, 1915, my Grandfather, Henry J. Doyle from Kilkeel boarded the SS Tuscania in Glasgow for the nine day crossing to New York arriving at Ellis Island on July 19, 1915. Henry J. travelled as a steerage passenger and gave his final destination as Butte City, Montana. He was already in possession of a ticket to Butte and of $30. The ship manifest for the SS Tuscania, records Henry J. as being healthy, 5’10” tall with a fair complexion and brown hair. He gave his occupation as "seaman". His place of birth was recorded as Kilkeel, Ireland.  Mrs. Doyle, of Newcastle St., Kilkeel was listed as his next-of-kin in Ireland. This was Anne Doyle (nee Quinn), the widower of James Doyle who had died nine years previously. This was Henry’s first trip to America and he stated that he was going to see his friend John Rooney who was already living in Butte City.
SS Tuscania - the ship that Henry J. Doyle traveled to New York, USA in 1915. Ellis Island, Miners of Mourne, Butte, Montana, mining, mines, genealogy. SS Tuscania was the largest and finest ship of the Anchor line, built in 1914 by Alexander Stephens & Sons, Ltd., at Linthouse, Govan. The Tuscania was a ship of striking and imposing appearance: length - 567 feet, breadth  - 66 feet 6 inches, depth - 45 feet, gross tonage -  14,000 tons and a displacement of 20,000 tons. The ship was able to accommodate 271 first class, 246 second class, 1,900 third class passengers. The Liner was modern in every particular. The first class public rooms were on the promenade "A" deck, and consisted of a writing room, lounge room, smoking room, gymnasium, and veranda cafe. The special accommodations for second class passengers were on the shelter deck at the after end of the bridge. The third class passengers dining saloon and the galley, pantry, and scullery were in the main deck amidships.
SOURCE:  Steven Schwartz
His friend John Rooney, (son of Patrick Rooney from Moneydarragh), had sailed from Liverpool a month earlier on the SS Saint Paul arriving in New York on June 13, 1915. John gave his final destination as the residence of his cousin John McCarten at 67, East Copper St., Butte, Montana. John McCarten himself had travelled to the United States three years earlier with his friend Joseph Chambers (son of Hugh Chambers, from Glassdrummond) on the SS Caledonia arriving in New York on April 1, 1912.
Researching the Ellis Island records reveals that Henry J. and his friends had plenty of company from other young men from Kilkeel and Annalong who had made the trip to the mines of Butte. Eight years previously, in September 1907 Hugh and Andrew McConnell along with their cousin Robert Burden headed to Butte to stay with Robert’s brother. Then on September 25, 1908, Joseph Maginn crossed the Atlantic and resided with his cousin Hugh McConnell. Joseph Maginn, in turn, sent money home for his 21-year old nephew Patrick Joseph Rogers to join him in 1914. Patrick joined his Uncle at the boarding house at 67, East Copper St., Butte, Montana. A few weeks after Henry J’s arrival a cousin of his friend John Rooney followed in his footsteps. James Rooney, (son of Patrick Rooney from Ballymartin), arrived in New York aboard the SS Saint Paul on August 07, 1915. He too was heading for 67, East Copper Street and work in the Butte mines.








Back in Ireland times were tough, with money, employment and transportation scarce. Europe was in turmoil, with the war in France in full swing. In contrast to today's mechanised world the local postmen normally spent a long day on a bicycle travelling many miles up hill and down lanes (referred to locally by the name of loanins) to deliver to the usually small isolated farmhouses. The equivalent of today’s local telephone service, part of his job was carrying the local gossip. It was a happy day for him when he could reveal to his avid listeners that his bag contained a ‘letter from America’. Everyone knew, that this meant cash and support in the months ahead for the lucky recipients. However no one dreaming of the land ‘where the streets were paved with gold’ and wondering how to get there, will have known just what had been the full cost of those dollars to the immigrant carving out a new life away from their loved ones.


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