Irish in San Francisco After the Gold Rush

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This work chronicles the arrival of the Irish in San Francisco and provides an overview of their subsequent history in this city between 1848 and 1900 giving causal factors. The absence of political and religious oppression and the variety of business opportunities available in San Francisco enabled these Irish pioneers to make significant contributions to the economic, social, cultural and religious life of San Francisco in its developmental years and it highlights their successes.

This work is a significant contribution to the history of Irish immigrants in America and the way they adapted and assimilated into their new localities and how those who traveled to the West Coast significantly improved their lives and literally grew the city of San Francisco.


“Garcia’s interesting new study reminds us of the important role of the Irish in building San Francisco, the West, and indeed the United States…there is something special in being Irish. They understand themselves as somehow different. Their troubled history might be a burden, but it instilled in them a desire to build a better world.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Burns,
Archivist/historian for the San Francisco Catholic Archdiocese
Director of the Academy of American Franciscan History at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkley

“…this book gives an overall view of the contribution of the Irish migrants to all aspects of the development of San Francisco. It will serve as a valuable material to all scholars with an interest in the Irish Diaspora.”
-Prof. Laurent Legendre,
University of Claude Bernard Lyon

Table of Contents

Foreword by Jeffrey M. Burns
Preface and acknowledgements
1: It is an Irish life: Ireland
1:1 Background of Irish migration
1:2 The Great Famine
1:3 American wake
2: Going to America: California dream
2:1 Background of the Irish in the United States
2:2 Gold Rush
2:3 Go west
2:4 San Francisco
2:5 The Paris of the West
2:6 Barbary Coast
2:7 The Know-Nothing Party
3: Trying their Irish luck: Irish pioneers
3:1 Most notable immigrants
3:2 Irish pioneers
3:2:1 Timothy Murphy
3:2:2 Jasper O’Farrell
3:2:3 David Colbreth Broderick
3:2:4 Dr Hugh Huger Toland
3:2:5 Frank McCoppin
3:2:6 Michael Maurice O’Shaughnessy
3:2:7 Samuel Brannan
3:2:8 John Sullivan
3:2:9 Thomas Hayes
3:2:10 The Donahue Brothers
3:2:11 Bartholomew Dowling
3:2:12 Joseph A. Donohoe
3:2:13 James Phelan
3:2:14 Eleanor Martin
3:2:15 Eugene Casserly
3:2:16 Daniel O’Connell
3:2:17 Michael Wrin
3:2:18 James Graham Fair
3:2:19 James Clair Flood
3:2:20 Denis Kearney
3:2:21 Frank Roney
3:2:22 The Kennedy Sisters
3:2:23 Thomas John Welsh
3:2:24 James ‘Shanghai’ Kelly
4: Staying in San Francisco: Work
4:1 Building their own city
4:2 Irish people at work
4:3 Domestic Servants
4:4 Agriculture
4:5 Police department
4:6 The San Francisco Committee of Vigilance
4:7 Fire department
4:8 Irish businesses
4:9 Media
4:10 Entertainment
4:10:1 Tom Maguire
4:10:2 Lola Montez
4:11 Labour movement
4:12 Who or what is to blame
5: Things that keep the Irish going: Support system
5:1 Associations
5:2 Church
5:3 Church-related groups
5:4 Military associations
5:5 Political/Fenian associations
5:6 Benevolent/General associations
5:7 Events
5:8 Art/Literature groups
5:9 Gaelic groups
5:10 Education
5:11 Remittances
5:12 Letters

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