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Heritage Runs Deep

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

One of the really cool parts about being an American is all of the incredible stories from your family history that show how your ancestors worked hard, fought hard, and sacrificed a lot to achieve the dream of having a better place for their children and grandchildren to call home. Not two stories are the same although we may have a few shared themes. Our heritage runs deep! For example, one branch of my family is from the most Irish town in America: Butte, Montana.

In the late 1800s, thousands of Irish immigrants made their way to Butte, because of the Potato Famine back home. One of the Copper Kings, Marcus Daly, promised that there was a job waiting for every Irishman that wanted one and seemingly overnight the town boomed with its new workforce.

[Portrait of Marcus Daly]. Davis and Sanford, between 1885-1900. MHS Photograph Legacy Collection. Montana Historical Society. 941-880
Marcus Daly courtesy the Montana Historical Society

Today the Irish have spread out from Butte and Montana, but many Irish Americans can trace their roots back to "the richest hill on earth." This makes Butte a great travel destination for St. Patrick's Day if you can't make it to the motherland or a great spot to explore history at any time of the year!

Last summer my Mom took us for a day tour of the Berkely Pit, where much of the copper was mined.

Then we made our way up past Montana Tech to the World Museum of Mining. This was an amazing mining town put together with historic buildings, mining equipment, and all the interpretation you could ever hope for to show you what life would have been like in Butte during its mining boom.

It even has a memorial for the men who lost their lives in the mines. I managed to find at least one ancestor's name, though I'm sure if I looked longer I would have found a few more!

I'm grateful to the courageous men and women in my family history who braved a new world to create a better future for me. As we celebrate this St. Patrick's Day with our corned beef and cabbage, festive decorations, green clothing, and bagpipe music I'll be looking forward to the next time I get to dive deeper into that history in Butte, Montana. Maybe one day I'll even make it all the way to the Emerald Isle!

Do you have a connection to Butte, MT? Have you ever visited/lived in Ireland? What is your favorite way to celebrate St. Patrick's day?

Thank you, fellow adventurers! You can follow the lilmissbearpaw blog page on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @lilmissbearpaw for sneak peeks into upcoming posts and my adventures. This will also be a great place to share your own adventures!

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1 Comment

Britt K
Britt K
Mar 18, 2020

I am a huge history buff and love learning about different locations, family ancestry, etc. So, this was SO interesting to read! Thank you for sharing!

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