Over on his LowellIrish blog, Dave McKean tells us the story of one of Lowell’s earliest Irish immigrants – Denis Crowley. Read this exerpt and follow this link for the full tale.
The trip between the towns of Lowell and Boston was a long one, about 45 miles. Driving it along mostly unpaved roads that were dusty in the summer, muddy in the spring and fall, and frozen in the winter, made the journey arduous no matter what season you were called on. And if he was carrying a double or triple load, well that just made Denis Crowley’s day. Sure there were some places where the road was paved and even cobble stoned, but that was the exception. Work was work; it paid the rent. Besides he was performing one of the corporal works of mercy. Surely the good Lord would look kindly on him when it was his time to meet his maker. You see it was Denis Crowley’s calling to bring Lowell’s Irish Catholic departed to the consecrated, burial ground of St Augustine’s Cemetery in South Boston. Sometimes he would have to continue on and drive his wagon up the hills of Charlestown all the way up to Bunker Hill Cemetery where Irish Catholics were just given permission to bury their dead by Boston’s city fathers who had denied burials to Catholics.