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The Irish In New Haven: Work

The Irish in New Haven held a variety of jobs. A few of the main large employers were the Railroad and Winchester Repeating Arms. Many other Irish immigrants worked in the Carriage building trade. As mentioned on the main page, During the Civil War era New Haven’s “Carriage Industry” became one of the nation’s largest. You will note in the census and vital records that many occupations are listed as “carriage painter” and others related to this growing industry. A few also became Trolley conductors. There was also a large amount who owned small shops, groceries, pubs etc. Other Irish workers went to work on the Farmington Canal.

The following is from Immigration to United States: Connecticut

the Irish formed the state’s largest immigrant group up to the 1850’s. They came as weavers, spinners, and unskilled railroad and canal workers. During the second half of the nineteenth century, many of them became police officers, firefighters, omnibus drivers, and railroad conductors.

Ithial Towne home on Hillhouse Ave.

Ithial Towne home on Hillhouse Ave.

While some female Irish immigrants ran small shops or even pubs in New Haven, the majority of those who were working, worked as domestic servants in wealthy homes in the city. I had ancestors who were everything from maids, laundresses, private nurses to housekeepers in a variety of private homes in New Haven. There were many large homes on Hillhouse Avenue, such as the Ithial Towne house (left), however, there were also a lot of homes near Edgewood Avenue that employed many Irish servants.

Read more on the Irish servant class here:For “Irish Bridgets,” Life Wasn’t Downton Abbey

Many of my ancestors and other Irish immigrants worked for the New York New Haven Railroad. The Irish immigrants were the Railroad’s primary source of un-skilled laborers.

Railroad

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