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Roscrea (Tipperary)
24 Apr 1904
Martin Maher was 60 years old when he decided to emigrate to the US

He worked as a Herdsman all his life and when his wife Margaret died he reared his family alone until they were old enough to work. As there were few opportunities in rural areas for work, when they were old enough they each decided to emigrate for a better life.

Two of his sons Denis and William lived with him in Ballyhenry, Bournea, Co. Tipperary and two other sons Joseph and Marty had emigrated to America some years before. They had secured work in the Westpoint Academy training camp in New York. Denis was working locally as a farm hand and when William was old enough both he and William wanted to join their brothers in Westpoint New York. It is thought that despite this desire to leave Ireland, they didn’t want to leave their father alone so Martin decided to go with them.

They boarded the Etruria from Queenstown on the 17th of April arriving in New York on the 24th 1904. Martin couldn't read or write but his sons could, they had very little money on them, only about $5 each. They were going to stay with Joseph in Westpoint, New York. It is interesting to consider how the life of this family would have been different had it not been for the death of Margaret. Perhaps all of the brothers would have emigrated anyway, especially given the fact that some had already successfully established themselves and were anxious to help the others. The leaving of Martin is particularly sad though, as the Epic Journeys exhibition listd only a few people over 50 to emigrate. It may be the case that had Margaret lived, Martin would have remained in Ireland too. 


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