PATRICK JOHN MORAN

(My Grandfather)

atrick John Moran was born in Crossmolina Parish, County Mayo, Ireland on December 11, 1876. He was one of ten children born to Michael Moran and Mary Caden. When Patrick was young, his father participated in political activities that got him in trouble with the British authorities.

This was probably connected with the Irish Land League which was founded in County Mayo, by Michael Davitt in 1879. Davitt founded the League in Straide, a village near Castlebar in County Mayo not that far from Carrowkeel. Davitt had been born in Straide. When he was five, his family, mother, father and two sisters were thrown out of the house in which they lived in Straide and the house razed before them.

The English more than ruled Ireland, they owned it. The English had taken control of most all the useful land through force or law. In 1641, Catholic Irish still owned about half the land in Ireland. After the 1700's, despite the fact there were three times more Catholic Irish in Ireland, Protestants owned more than eighty percent of the land. Most every Irishman was made to feel the power of English control no matter how remote there home. The English occupied the land in Ireland and the Irish were made to pay rent to live and farm land that had been in their families for centuries.

The Landlord in Ireland, usually an absentee Englishman, had total control over the land and therefore the people. Often literally referred to as "the Master", he could raise rents whenever he chose, evict tenants at will whether the rent was paid or not. Since he owned his tenants land, many landlords believed they owned the tenant and his vote. Even worse, some landlords took it further and acted as if they owned a tenant's wife and daughters. It was a form of economic slavery. The landlord who owned Carrowkeel (as shown in the records of 1856) was Mervyn Pratt. Mr. Pratt's holding included a very wide area which he overlooked from his stately home in Enniscoe.

Mervyn Pratt from a painting hanging at what was his home at Enniscoe

........<The Pratt home at Enniscoe

Michael Davitt dedicated his life to improve the conditions of the Irish tenant farmer. He formed the Land League to redress high rents and rack rents and to aid small farmers gain ownership of the soil.

He chose County Mayo to begin his campaign of "land for the people." Mayo was where the practice of rack renting and evictions was among the worst in Ireland and where he and his family were evicted.

1879 was also the worst year since the Great Hunger. Poor crops matched with falling prices brought strife to many a farmer's household. The Land league, supported by many priests, told the farmers to think of the needs of their family before paying rents to the landlords. The Land League next organized tenants to tell landlords to reduce rents or no rent would be paid. The landlords responded by claiming an illegal conspiracy was interfering with their property rights. This resulted in many evictions. Between 1874 and 1881 there were more than 10,000 evictions. Evictions were followed by incidents of the landlords livestock being hamstrung or otherwise mutilated. Barns were set on fire and land agents beaten up by angry mobs. The Land League naturally denied any connection to these activities. The League worked hard for legislative land reform. Charles Parnell joined with Davitt in seeking legislative land reform and became President of the Land League.

Meanwhile, in Mayo the struggle continued on the land. A new word was born when in County Mayo, Captain Boycott, a land agent for Lord Erne refused to accept the Land League's suggested reduced rent his tenants should pay. He was scorned and shunned, eventually losing all his servants and crops. Boycotting spread to those who took over the tenancy of a man evicted. Mail was not delivered, nor other services available to those under boycott. The blacksmith had no time to shoe uncooperative landlords horses or those of his employ. The baker seemed to not have bread available. Steam packet company employees joined the effort and refused to load any cattle or crop of a landlord deemed to be unjust.

The Land league succeeded by using English law. They paid the legal costs of bringing a landlord to trial where rent, valuation and other matters were debated in public courts. The Land League called for injunctions that would not allow landlords to rent land that was involved in an eviction. In other words it was tenantless and profitless. The English government responded by declaring the Land League illegal and put its leaders in jail. Anyone protesting the actions were persecuted. Men were shot, priests arrested. On May 5, 1882 a group of boys, twelve years old and younger, organized a march in support of the Land League through Ballina, County Mayo. Blowing tin whistles and beating tin cans, they marched down the street where they were met with English buckshot and bayonets. One boy died and several were injured. This was very close to Carrowkeel and may be the incident that got Michael Moran involved - if he wasn't already. The Land Leaguers moved underground and continued the protest.

Parnell's sister took up leadership of the cause and the Ladie's Land League continued the work of the now outlawed Irish Land League. The English found they still had the problem. The ladies prevailed. They stopped the British coercion and obtained the release of the Land League leaders from jail.

While the land issue was ultimately decided in the tenants favor, with respect to rent, most of the land is STILL owned by English landlords. It took another ten years for it all to be worked out and meanwhile the evictions and reactions continued.

Michael Moran was most probably involved and implicated in some of the turmoil in his area connected with the Land League. He became a wanted man. Rather than leave Mayo or Ireland, he hid.

Eventually the family let it be known he had died. In fact, he was on the family farm, out of anyone's view. If anyone came to visit he hid somewhere on the farm. This continued for many years.

With his father in hiding and the claim that he was dead, Patrick John Moran, with only a First Grade education, took over as head of the household with all its responsibilities. His mother was a cripple and depended on Patrick for many things. The other Moran children took their assignments on the farm from Patrick.

The English, unhappy they were unable to capture Michael Moran, kept tabs on the Moran family. In 1900, when Patrick was in his early twenties, they let it be known he should be joining the English Army. The situation in the family and the area had settled. Michael Moran came out of hiding and was counted in the 1901 Census. The other boys were old enough to run the farm. Patrick made plans to leave for America. He was twenty-four.

Patrick was the first of his family to leave for America. He left Ireland on February 15, 1900 and arrived in America noting the day as George Washington's Birthday, February 22, 1900 in a small notebook.. It was hard for him to leave Ireland, he wasn't sure he wanted to live in America.

A young Patrick John MoranHe stayed with family in New Jersey until July when he traveled to Boston. He made up his mind about Ireland and became a U. S. citizen the same year. Patrick Moran eventually brought out two brothers and four sisters. Michael Moran, his brother and the third son, stayed in Ireland and took care of the farm and his parents.

When Patrick Moran received letters from his mother back in Ireland, it would bring tears to his eyes and he would cry. He always sent money to his mother, even when it was difficult to do. He returned to Ireland for family visits in 1902 and 1904. During the latter visit he met Bridget Traynor of Knockfree. She was eighteen and he was twenty-eight. She was called "Bea." Bea already had a boyfriend. She and Patrick could only share a dance or two at the local dances.

Patrick returned to the United States in 1904 to Boston where he had settled. After working in a number of jobs he found work on a streetcar for the Boston Electric

Company for $1.27 an hour

 

Patrick John Moran, Motorman>

The streetcars were all open in those days. If you have ever been to Boston in the winter, you know how uncomfortable that must have been. Patrick Moran worked his way up from Motorman to Conductor.

While on a trip visiting friends in Jersey City, New Jersey, Patrick again met Bridget Traynor. Patrick made just one more trip to Jersey City and then three months later in April 30, 1908, married her there. Patrick took her back to Boston to his apartment in Melrose.


In early 1909, Patrick was laid off from the streetcar company. Patrick Moran was able to find work as a meatcutter for the Cudahy Meat Company located near Faneuil Hall. The family moved closer to his work at 491 East Third Street in South Boston. Their first child, Francis Patrick Moran, was born there on March 10, 1909.

Go to Patrick John Moran continued