Hard Graft & Grasshoppers: Irish Homesteaders in 1870s Nebraska

Irish in the American Civil War

The middle of the 19th century saw substantial numbers of Irish emigrants journeying west in search of land and livelihoods. One of their destinations was the Nebraska Territory, which was organized in 1854. Newspapers like the New York Irish-American Weekly kept their readers in the east informed of events there from the earliest days of settlement, and reported on the potential opportunities and pitfalls of making a home on the frontier. Irish emigrants went to Nebraska as individuals, in groups and sometimes as part of Irish and Catholic settlements. In 1867 Nebraska was admitted to statehood. The completion of the Transcontinental Railroad and the opportunities for acquiring land through the Homestead Act saw many more Irish and others arrive in Nebraska during the 1870s. This post looks at an example of one of these families, and shares some of the detailed advice that was provided in the press to prospective Irish…

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