Celtic Coal Region


My Irish ancestors began their immigration to the United States ca 1830’s, mostly from parts unknown. They all planted seeds in the coal region of Schuylkill County. Many stayed there, some traveled to neighboring Northumberland County.

My own mother was born in the coal region of Northumberland County – Locust Gap. Her family moved to Philadelphia ca 1954/55 for work. To find work is more likely the cause.

Although I was not born there, that area – both counties – were an integral part of my childhood. I’ve long wanted to do some kind of photo essay or documentary on the region. So, I am starting.

My gram Shannon imparted boundless stories and history on me about the region, the Irish in it and their part in the region’s scape. I was always proud to be of coal region irish descent.

The stories about the hardships out ancestors faced as they attempted to navigate this new area in search of a better life for themselves and future generations, often met by prejudice and harsh conditions due to their ethnic and religious background.

There is a lot of history still in the coal region that is lost on those not from or not connected to it. I’d like to uncover that and tell the story.

Before I begin, I’d love to hear YOUR coal region stories. When did your Irish ancestors land in the coal region? Any traditions they brought with them or that they started and have passed down? Any “Mollies” lore in your lineage? Any other stories about your Irish immigrant you wish to share?

Please email us at brian@brianmengini.com and put “coal region” in the subject. Thanks!!

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