Search using this query type:

Search only these record types:

Advanced Search (Items only)

Centennial Monograph: The Irish People in Maynard


Dublin Core


Centennial Monograph: The Irish People in Maynard


A review of the Irish community's arrival and impact on the Town of Maynard.


Ralph L. Sheridan





Document Item Type Metadata



The Irish were not long after the English and the Scotch in settling in the little village of Assabet. The building of the carpet mill by Maynard and Knight in 1846 attracted many of this nationality, and by 1850 there were more than fifty in the village, At first most of them, settled around what is now upper Main Street, Spring Lane and Pine Street. The closest Catholic church to the village was St. George's Parish in Saxonvllle and these early settlers had to journey there, many of them on foot, for religious ministrations.

Beginning in I85O, and for the next fourteen years Father George A. Hamilton came to the village to celebrate Mass. It is believed the first Mass was said in the home of Cornelius Cleary, end on later visits in the homes of Mr. Farrell, Mr. O'Donnell, Mr. McManus, Mr. Crowley and Mrs. Roache, all on upper Main Street. On one occasion Mass was said in the open air on an Improvised altar in the shelter of a large tree.

By 1857. the number had Increased and it was necessary to hire Union Hall on the corner of Summer and Main Streets for religious services. In 1865, the first Catholic Church in Assabet Village was built at what is now 200 Main Street, and in January 1871, the year the town of Maynard was Incorporated, the Catholic community of the town became St. Bridget's Parish. In 1884, the present St. Bridget's Church was dedicated. In September 1965. St. Bridget's Parochial School was opened at the beginning of the school year.

Four male members of the parish entered the priesthood and six young ladles have become members of religious orders.

Like the other ethnic groups, the Irish organized their own societies and clubs. On June 1, I89O, St. Bridget's Temperance Society was instituted with thirty-nine members in the basement of St. Bridget's Church. J. Albert Crowley, who later became a priest, was elected President, Michael P. Mullin, Vice-President, John E. Hannon and James J. Eilferty, Secretaries, and James J. Mullin, Treasurer. The first meetings were held in a tenement house at the foot of Spring Lane, but after six months the society moved to the Riverside Co-operative Building, In 1902, it moved to larger quarters in Music Hall. The organization lasted until 1911.

In July l899, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 44, was instituted at Riverside Co-operative Hall, with John Moynihan the first President. This was a fraternal benefit society of men of Irish birth or descent. Meetings were held at Hibernian Hall, now the United Co-operative Building on Main Street. This society went out of existence in the early 1920's.

A Ladies' Auxiliary of Division 44 was instituted November 3, 1905, with Margaret McCarthy the first President. This group held meetings at Hibernian Hall, Riverside Hall, Masonic Hall and Knights of Columbus Hall. The last big event of the auxiliary before its demise was the thirty-fourth anniversary dinner in 1939.

The people of Irish origin and descent have played a prominent part in the history of Assabet Village and the town of Maynard. Of the thirty-six men who enlisted from Assabet Village in the Civil War, thirteen at least were Irish; while a large share of those from Maynard serving in all wars were of the same ethnic group. They have been well represented in the field of athletics, and have played an important role in town government from the incorporation of the town to the present.