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Chapter Ten

The Kilmartin’s in Bradford and Leeds

Before departing from the European shores, we must remember that Thomas and Ann Kilmartin spent at least 10 years in the area of Bradford and Leeds, in the county of Yorkshire, England. We can only give a sketch book picture of the area. Bradford was the principal seat of the worsted manufacturers. The population in 1801 was 13,264 exploding to 103,788 in 1851. The town is pleasantly situated in the junction of three picturesque valleys on one of the tributary streams of the River Aire. It is located ten miles west by south of Leeds, and 196 miles northwest of London. The appearance of the town from a distance is very striking. Parts of it lies in a low area, with larger portions on surrounding hills. Some of the hills rise gradually, while others rise abruptly to a considerable elevation. Houses are built of stone, with some of the older houses in the lower parts narrow and irregular. The Parish of Bradford abounds in those important mineral substances; coal, iron, and excellent building stone. (Tom was listed as a mason laborer.) The Parish was ten miles long, nine miles wide, on 33,710 acres of land. It was broken into hills and dales, including an extensive range of high moorlands, and Bradford Canal with its 12 locks. At the opposite side of town is the Lancanshire and Yorkshire Railroad Station of the Great Northern Railway. Mount St. Marie Chapel is at Slott Hall in a neat edifice, built in 1824 and enlarged in 1837. A new St. Patrick’s Church building is now on Westgate, built in 1849. There is a Roman Catholic school at John and Queen Streets.

North Bierly, a township celebrated or its extensive coal and iron works, has 11,711 inhabitants, 3090 acres of land, and is located 2 to 4 miles south of Bradford. Michael, my grandfather, was born at 110 Vincent St., in 1857. Leeds is also noted for its coal mines. It could have been that Thomas first found work in Leeds, as his first child was born in Leeds in 1851. He then followed the work to either Bradford or North Bierly.

Fare to America was not very expensive. It varied in 1850 from $18 to $25. Most of the ships came out of Liverpool, England. The early voyages to America, from 1800 to 1850, were in sailing ships. Some of those ships had very hazardous crossings. In the 1840’s and 50’s many lives were lost because of overcrowding, disease, lack of food, poor sanitation, and greed by ship owners. They would take as many trips as possible with no regard for the safety of the passengers. Great crimes were committed by Lord Palmerton, a large landowner in Sligo, along with other landowners. They were evicting tenants off the land, and shipped them off to Canada. Thousands died in Canada while others were turned back from New York. This caused a special Emigration Commission to be set up in New York. Its purpose was to regulate all movements of ships carrying emigrants to New York. At the time of Thomas Kilmartin’s crossing, many of these safety factors were in operation.

Chapter 11

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