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Iowa Kielty's
Picture 183 Picture 162

In 1851 Patrick Kielty Left his home in County Mayo, Ireland and traveled to America arriving in New Orleans in 1852. Patrick was one of over 2 million who had left Ireland between 1845 and 1855 to find a new life and future in America and Australia. We know from family history that Patrick traveled to Kentucky from new Orleans. Patrick married Catherine Geraghty in kentucky after his arrival there. Catherine was also a native of country Mayo, Ireland

Patrick and Catherine then traveled to Virginia and then on to Ohio. They moved to Iowa in 1855 and settled in Clayton county, Iowa. From 1855 to 1865 Patrick worked in the employ of others where he engaged in farming. In 1865 Patrick purchased land of his own and resided on it for eleven years. In about 1877 Patrick and cathrine moved to Fairview township, allamakee county, Iowa where he purchased another farm and steadily worked to improve it until his death on September 10, 1907, at the age of 90. Patrick was buried at St. Patricks, Monona Iowa, catherine died on february 26, 1916, at the age of 94 and was buried with patrick at St. Patricks, lot 6, Monona, Iowa.

The following pages hope to outline the family of Patrick and cathrine kielty, through the last 7 generations. Where possible we have included maternal family lines. Additionally we have tried to provide a sense of what 1850s america was like for the irish immigrant and more specifically what 1850s iowa must have been like for them.

Irish Immigration To America

by 1730 there were approximately 3,000,000 people in the colonies, growth was moderate up to the revolution when all immigration was suspended.  The period between 1820 and 1870 saw 8,000,000 come to America of these approximately 2,800,000 were Irish, of these 65% were between the ages of 15 and 40.



1820 - 1830


1831 - 1840


1841 - 1850


1851 - 1860


1861 - 1870


1871 - 1880


Given that New York seemed to be the most used destination from Ireland between 1845 and 1900 New Orleans seemed a strange port of entry for Patrick. It appears that New Orleans was the least expensive to get to and did offer the advantage of travel on the Mississippi and other Rivers to the points patrick would ultimately travel to. Kentucky, Virginia and Ohio and then ultimately to Northeastern Iowa. From that prospective it seems a reasonable choice. 

Immigration from Ohio in 1854-55 was very very busy, newspapers of this period speak of 8,000 plus immigrants a month coming to Iowa for its abundant farm land and opportunity. Government land during this period could be had for $1.25 per acre and over the next 10 years could still be purchased from private companies such as the Iowa Railroad Land Company for between $3.00 and $ 7.00 per acre. This abundance of land, the ability to plant without significant time to clear land of trees and rocks and the favorable soil and weather made Iowa a land of opportunity for those coming from the east. Land speculation during this period was also rampant and in many cases land near the large rivers ( Mississippi, Missouri, Des Moines ) could become extremely expensive or in a lot of cases not available at all.

For the irish immigrant the opportunity for work was also very good in Iowa during this period. Skilled workers could make as much as $2.34 with board and $3.09 without board per day. Skills like Blacksmith, plaster, stone cutter and wheelwright were in high demand as well as Bricklayers, cabinet makers, coopers and painters. Farm labor for experienced farmers could expect to make between $1.34 and $ 1.84 during the summer and between $ .97 and $ 1.40 during the winter. Ordinary farmers made $ .40 to $ .50 less than experienced farmers.  A hard working ordinary farmer could earn an average over the year of about $ 25.00 per month. it appears that patrick worked for the better part of 10 years before purchasing his own farm as either an ordinary farmer or experienced farmer.  We have no way of knowing how much patrick and catherine could save during this period, but if he managed 10% of his earnings to savings in 10 years he could have purchased outright between 50 and 100 acres in clayton county.

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