Photo Album: John Harrington

The Mine of Allihies, Beara, Co. Cork, a drawing by Lady Chatterton published in 1838, just a decade before the Harringtons emigrated.

Submitted by Jane Harrington, Rockbridge County, Virginia
February / March 2015

John Harrington

John Harrington

My great-great-grandfather John Harrington’s family had probably been in the Beara peninsula of southwest Ireland for many generations before he emigrated in 1848, during the Great Hunger. In Irish, the ancestral name was probably Ó hIongardail (anglicized to Harrington for ease of entry into tenant logs after the land seizures of the 17th century), a name associated with an ancient Cork tribe.

John and his wife Julia (a Sullivan who also had deep Beara roots) lived in Ballydonegan, a community of copper miners described in an 1841 Parliamentary report on mine conditions in the British kingdom as being in such a state of poverty that the people “barely exist[ed].”

Most likely evicted just a few years after that, when there was a mine closure caused by the inability of the laborers to work due to hunger, John and Julia took their two surviving children to Boston, where the family worked in the glass industry in East Cambridge. The picture at right was probably taken shortly after his arrival in America.

By the late 1860s, they had saved enough money to buy a house in the Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York, and the family remained in that neighborhood for nearly a century, wholly existing as businesspeople, municipal employees, lawyers and teachers. The last Harrington to be raised there before the family scattered throughout the United States was my father, Joseph, who will celebrate his 93rd birthday this coming May. ♦


Please send photographs along with your name, address, phone number, and a brief description, to Adam Farley at Irish America, 875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 201, New York, NY 10001.

You can also e-mail the picture to submit@irishamerica.com.    

2 Responses to “Photo Album: John Harrington”

  1. Robert Harrington says:

    Interesting. I have an ancestor, also John Harrington, wife’s name is Elizabeth and son William who emigrated from Cork in 1852. I hope to get back to this area to visit sometime. All I know is the ship they traveled on. Nothing before that.

  2. Maryellen Harrington hoffmann says:

    My family is Harrington from cork
    My dad named John
    His dad John
    His dad also John
    Could be related…they settled in
    Boston also.
    I believe brighton….or charlestown

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