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Irish in Minnesota (The People of Minnesota)

Irish in Minnesota (The People of Minnesota)

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 by Ann Regan

A concise history of Irish in Minnesota including farming, politics, and community organization.

Irish immigrants to Minnesota performed two surprising feats. Contradicting the stereotype of Irishmen as bad farmers, they built some of the country’s most successful and enduring Irish farming communities, including near Belle Plaine, Le Centre, St. Peter, and Winona and in the Red River Valley. In St. Paul, despite being outnumbered by German immigrants, they left a lasting legacy, and today most Minnesotans think of the city as an Irish town. Author Ann Regan examines the history of these surprising contradictions, telling the diverse stories of the Irish in Minnesota. A personal account relates one woman’s immigration experience, from her Atlantic crossing to her connections with family already in Minnesota to settling in and finding work as a domestic—a storyline that played out for many Irish Americans on their way to establishing their own households. As farmers and laborers, policemen and politicians, maids and seamstresses, their hard work helped to build the state. Wherever they settled, the Irish founded churches and community organizations, became active in politics, and held St. Patrick’s Day parades, inviting all Minnesotans to become a little bit Irish.

Paperback. 100 pages.

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