Posted in Posts and podcasts

Bridget – 1900


 White Star liner S.S. Teutonic 1900  Photo:John S. Johnsten
White Star liner S.S. Teutonic 1900
Photo:John S. Johnsten

Had Only the Gaelic Language and a Shilling to Begin New World With.
A lonesome blue-eyed little Irish girl from County Galway landed the other day at the barge office in New York from the White Star line steamship Teutonic. She would not have been so lonesome if she had not been the only person in the ships company who had
no English. There was not a soul among all the Irish immigrants who could talk the Gaelic with her and she made herself understood by signs and smiles.  She had so many of the latter
that she made friends of all the Irish aboard who all regretted for her sake that they were not of the stock that have regained a knowledge of the language of their fathers.
All the baggage the child had was a big valise and all the money she displayed to the inspectors was a bright I shilling piece. The interpreters tried to make out what was her object in coming to America. None of them succeeded. Then somebody recalled that
Peter Groden the barge office plainclothes cop was an expert in Gaelic. He was sent for and came in a hurry. There is nothing delights Peter more than talking Gaelic.
The girl opened her eyes when Peter began crooning to her in her only tongue. Then her smile broke out like a sunburst and she clasped her hands about Peters neck, greeting him as a cousin. Peter is not her cousin but she considered that anybody who could talk her language in America must be at least a cousin.
Peter was much impressed with the girl. She told him between smiles that she was Bridget Coughrey and that she was the eldest of five children. Her parents rent a farm at Clifden, County Galway for which they pay $80 a year. She had learned from letters in Gaelic written by her uncle, Patrick Coughrey of Plttsburg, that there was a chance in America for an energetic girl to make a good living and she had persuaded her father and mother to let her come to her uncle.
They said they would and the uncle sent her a ticket entitling her to passage from Queenstown to New York aboard the Teutonic. She told Peter  that times were hard at Clifden and she expected to make enough by working in Pittsburg to pay a good part of the yearly rental of the Galway farm.
Peter took her over to the Mission of Our Lady of the Rosary at 7 State street and Father Henry took care of her She said that the buildings in the lower part of the town were much bigger and finer than any at Clifden or Cork.

Her uncle has been asked to send her fare to Pittsburg. He probably will but if he does not Bridget will be sent
to Pittsburg at the expense of the mission.


B.A., M.A.(Archaeology); Regional Tour Guide; Dip. Radio Media Tech; H.Dip. Computer Science.

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