The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Irish War, by Anonymous
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.
Title: The Irish War
Author: Anonymous
Release Date: March 09, 2021 [eBook #64763]
Language: English
Character set encoding: UTF-8
Produced by: Stephen Hutcheson and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
The Irish War


Prepared by the staff of the
Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County

One of a historical series, this pamphlet is published under the direction of the governing Boards of the Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County.


B.F. Geyer, President
Joseph E. Kramer, Secretary
W. Page Yarnelle, Treasurer
Willard Shambaugh
Mrs. Sadie Fulk Roehrs


The members of this Board include the members of the Board of Trustees of the School City of Fort Wayne (with the same officers) together with the following citizens chosen from Allen County outside the corporate City of Fort Wayne:

James E. Graham
Arthur Nieneier
Mrs. Glenn Henderson
Mrs. Charles Reynolds


Irishmen who had recently immigrated to the United States were the chief source of labor for the construction of the Wabash-Erie Canal. Much strife among the canal workers stemmed from regional antagonisms in their homeland, and personal violence resulted on more than one occasion; the so-called “Irish War” was one such episode.

David Burr, one of the canal commissioners, made the following report on the incident. It was printed as an Indiana state document and is often quoted as authority for statements made about the “Irish War.” It is now out-of-print. Because the Boards and staff of the Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County consider it valuable source material, it is reprinted here, together with the accompanying letter of transmittal. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation have been changed to conform to current practice.



December 31, 1835
Read and referred to the Committee on Claims

Executive Department

Indianapolis, Indiana

December 30, 1835

The Honorable C. B. Smith

Speaker of the House of Representatives


I lay before the House of Representatives the particulars, in writing, of the late riots upon the line of the Wabash Canal, which details were furnished at my request by one of the canal commissioners. With this history, I also submit the claims of the commandants, Captains Murray and Tipton, who, at the heads of their companies, repaired to the scene of disorder in support of the civil authority and liberally advanced money and provisions for the service. It will be seen that the laborers along the line in the adjoining counties had assembled in preparation for battle, making Wabash County the theater of their riotous conduct; consequently, that county would seem to be chargeable with the expense of the arrests and the prosecutions which followed. But as the occurrence was one of an unusual kind, growing 2 out of, and threatening the progress of, the work in which the state is engaged, it is believed the treasury of that county is not justly chargeable with the expense. It is recommended that the commissioners appointed to assess damages to private property or one of the fund commissioners be authorized to examine the different claims and to direct their payment, so far as would be right, out of the canal fund.

Respectfully, Noah Noble


Indianapolis, Indiana

December 30, 1835

The Honorable Noah Noble

Governor of Indiana

Dear Sir:

In conformity with your request in relation to the disturbance amongst the Irish laborers on the Canal, it is proper to state that many persons of the two parties into which they are unfortunately divided, “Corkonians and Fardowns,” had been engaged in those bloody affrays at Williamsport in Maryland and at the “high rocks on the Potomac” within the last two years. They had come since September in 1834 to the Wabash and Erie Canal with, as it is said, many of their leaders. Of course, they had brought their animosities with them. And from that time up to the twelfth of July last, when the general riot took place, they manifested their ill will to each other by merciless beatings on such persons of each party as chanced to fall in the power of the other.

On a considerable portion of the line there was no justice of the peace in these newly organized counties. As these frays were confined to the Irish alone, and to the least worthy amongst them, not much effort was made, and perhaps could not have been made, by the civil authority to suppress them. This exasperating course of hostilities increased until it became unsafe for the Irish to travel from one part of the line to the other without great precautions for their safety. Events proceeded to such an extent that they were mutually afraid that each party would have its cabins burnt and the inmates slain in the night.


Because of mutual fears and for safety the laborers had so hired out to the contractors that they had about equally divided the line between the parties; the Corkmen worked on the upper part, and the Fardowns on the lower part of the line. The beatings of such persons who were caught away from their friends increased to such a degree, and the parties became so exasperated, that about the first of July a determination became general that one or the other should leave the line. The worthless amongst them, by carrying threats of burnings and murders which were to be committed by falling on the defenseless in the night, so excited their fears that they left their houses and cabins and hid out in the woods without light or fire to betray their hiding places. The whole line, armed in military array, worked generally in the daytime until some idle report would get in circulation that one party was marching to fight the other. Then they would leave their work and hasten with great rapidity to the supposed point of danger.

From the fourth to the tenth of July, these alarms were constant and were aggravated by the threats and outrages of the worthless. The length of line occupied by these belligerent parties was nearly fifty miles. On the tenth of July the parties hastily collected; or rather, they left their work and commenced a march towards the center of the line for a general battle.


Two days before this, I reached that part of the line, heard there was to be a turnout, but supposed it only rumor without foundation. I saw several persons and tried to convince them that no such thing would take place. On the tenth, however, one of the engineers reported that all the workmen on the lower end of the line were armed and were marching to the reputed battlefield. I met them about half a mile from my residence. They were in very orderly array and well armed; not a noisy or a drunken man was amongst them. They were forced, so they considered, to fight in order to protect themselves and to avoid being slain and to keep their property from being burned at night. They stated that the civil authority did not, or could not, protect them; that their families could not stay in their shanties but had to sleep in the woods; and that they had no resource left but a battle. They further stated that the weaker party should leave the line; that they wished to work and remain peaceable but could not; and that they would rather fight fairly in open day than be subject to these depredations at night. With the assurance that order would be restored and that I would negotiate a suspension of hostilities with the other party, I prevailed on them to wait until I could see their belligerent friends.

I then went to the reputed battlefield with three or four persons whom I supposed had influence with them. I found them fully prepared, well disposed in a strong military position, and exceedingly exasperated; and I had some difficulty in saving those who went with me from being killed. They expressed the same fears as the others but, after some persuasion, consented to appoint persons to agree on terms of peace with the Fardowns. They also agreed to suspend hostile operations until the result of the meetings between the persons deputed to negotiate the peace could be known.

In the meantime, the citizens at Huntington had become exceedingly 8 alarmed at seeing this hostile array; three or four hundred armed men on each side had the avowed intention of meeting in battle; the civil authority was completely powerless. Fearing their persons and property would not be safe, they sent to Fort Wayne for aid of the militia. A company immediately was collected and in a few hours was sent to their relief. Meanwhile, the citizens of Huntington had collected and organized a company also.

By this time, the citizens of Lagro became alarmed; they sent to Huntington for the troops to come and protect them and aid the civil authority. As soon as I learned that the militia had turned out from sixty to one hundred in number, I thought the force altogether too small to do any good against seven or eight hundred armed men. Therefore, I sent to Logansport and requested assistance, which was promptly rendered. The militia at Lagro, at my request, marched to Miamisport and met the two volunteer companies from Logansport; and all marched back to Lagro.

Two magistrates, an associate judge, the sheriffs of Huntington and Wabash counties, and the militia arrested and committed eight of the ringleaders. There was no safe jail on the canal line. Therefore, in order to remove the cause of contention, these men were sent under a strong guard to Indianapolis for safekeeping. Here they were confined until they were liberated by a writ of habeas corpus because of some informality in the proceedings.

There were more than six hundred armed Irishmen, and I am satisfied that no course other than the one pursued would have been sufficient to restore order. The commissioning of justices of the peace and the organizing of militia companies at Wabash, Lagro, and Huntington have restored, and I trust will preserve, order.


The commissioners, Messrs. Johnson and Lewis, were at Fort Wayne at the time; and I had not the benefit of their advice. As soon as order was restored, the canal board took more decided steps in their regulations. They now require each contractor to dismiss any laborer who may engage in a broil and to give his name to the engineers so that he may not be employed on the line.

The militia turned out on the first moment’s warning; many of the men just happened to be in town and marched off without any preparation whatever. They had of necessity to be supplied with money and provisions for their subsistence. These were furnished by many of the contractors and people on the line. Amongst those incurring the greatest expense was Captain Elias Murray, of Huntington; he took command of the temporary garrison at Lagro, assisted the civil authority in making the arrests, and, with his company, marched the prisoners to Indianapolis. He was engaged some three weeks in the service.

Colonel John Spencer, of Fort Wayne, who headed the militia from that city, and General John Tipton, who was active in forwarding the volunteer companies from Logansport, paid a large portion of the expenses. One of the prisoners who had been sent to Indianapolis was arrested on his return to the canal line, was convicted, and was sent to the penitentiary. On his way there he escaped from Mr. Johnson, the sheriff, who offered a 11 reward of $100.00 and paid it for his apprehension. Wabash County was also at great expense in sending the prisoners to Indianapolis. Other persons on the line were also at much expense in money and provisions.

This expenditure was absolutely necessary for the preservation of order; it was the means of saving many human lives by preventing at least seven hundred armed and highly exasperated men from fighting a battle. It was also the means of preventing a total suspension of canal work which might have ensued for the greater part of the season since July. It would, therefore, be very desirable indeed if some provision could be made by law to remunerate those persons who have been at so great expense.

Some of the bills for the money expended are in the possession of the Board of Canal Commissioners. But, as they have only a small part, the appointment of some person to hear and examine claims and to authorize payment is respectfully suggested. The selection of a member of the Board of Fund Commissioners, who had no part in these transactions and would therefore constitute an impartial tribunal, is also suggested. As the matter in question grew out of the operations on the Canal, and as the commissioners have the funds in their possession, such an appointment would seem to be suitable.

With great respect, David Burr

Transcriber’s Notes

Updated editions will replace the previous one—the old editions will be renamed.
Creating the works from print editions not protected by U.S. copyright law means that no one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation (and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without permission and without paying copyright royalties. Special rules, set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to copying and distributing Project Gutenberg™ electronic works to protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG™ concept and trademark. Project Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you charge for an eBook, except by following the terms of the trademark license, including paying royalties for use of the Project Gutenberg trademark. If you do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the trademark license is very easy. You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and research. Project Gutenberg eBooks may be modified and printed and given away--you may do practically ANYTHING in the United States with eBooks not protected by U.S. copyright law. Redistribution is subject to the trademark license, especially commercial redistribution.
To protect the Project Gutenberg™ mission of promoting the free distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work (or any other work associated in any way with the phrase “Project Gutenberg”), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project Gutenberg™ License available with this file or online at
Section 1. General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg™ electronic works
1.A. By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg™ electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property (trademark/copyright) agreement. If you do not agree to abide by all the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy all copies of Project Gutenberg™ electronic works in your possession. If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project Gutenberg™ electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.
1.B. “Project Gutenberg” is a registered trademark. It may only be used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement. There are a few things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg™ electronic works even without complying with the full terms of this agreement. See paragraph 1.C below. There are a lot of things you can do with Project Gutenberg™ electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg™ electronic works. See paragraph 1.E below.
1.C. The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation (“the Foundation” or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project Gutenberg™ electronic works. Nearly all the individual works in the collection are in the public domain in the United States. If an individual work is unprotected by copyright law in the United States and you are located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg are removed. Of course, we hope that you will support the Project Gutenberg™ mission of promoting free access to electronic works by freely sharing Project Gutenberg™ works in compliance with the terms of this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg™ name associated with the work. You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project Gutenberg™ License when you share it without charge with others.
1.D. The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern what you can do with this work. Copyright laws in most countries are in a constant state of change. If you are outside the United States, check the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project Gutenberg™ work. The Foundation makes no representations concerning the copyright status of any work in any country other than the United States.
1.E. Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:
1.E.1. The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate access to, the full Project Gutenberg™ License must appear prominently whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg™ work (any work on which the phrase “Project Gutenberg” appears, or with which the phrase “Project Gutenberg” is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed, copied or distributed:
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.
1.E.2. If an individual Project Gutenberg™ electronic work is derived from texts not protected by U.S. copyright law (does not contain a notice indicating that it is posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees or charges. If you are redistributing or providing access to a work with the phrase “Project Gutenberg” associated with or appearing on the work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the Project Gutenberg™ trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.
1.E.3. If an individual Project Gutenberg™ electronic work is posted with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional terms imposed by the copyright holder. Additional terms will be linked to the Project Gutenberg™ License for all works posted with the permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.
1.E.4. Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg™ License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg™.
1.E.5. Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project Gutenberg™ License.
1.E.6. You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary, compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any word processing or hypertext form. However, if you provide access to or distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg™ work in a format other than “Plain Vanilla ASCII” or other format used in the official version posted on the official Project Gutenberg™ website (, you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon request, of the work in its original “Plain Vanilla ASCII” or other form. Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg™ License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.
1.E.7. Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying, performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg™ works unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.
1.E.8. You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing access to or distributing Project Gutenberg™ electronic works provided that:
• You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from the use of Project Gutenberg™ works calculated using the method you already use to calculate your applicable taxes. The fee is owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg™ trademark, but he has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. Royalty payments must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax returns. Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the address specified in Section 4, “Information about donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.”
• You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg™ License. You must require such a user to return or destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of Project Gutenberg™ works.
• You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days of receipt of the work.
• You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free distribution of Project Gutenberg™ works.
1.E.9. If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg™ electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the manager of the Project Gutenberg™ trademark. Contact the Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.
1.F.1. Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread works not protected by U.S. copyright law in creating the Project Gutenberg™ collection. Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg™ electronic works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain “Defects,” such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by your equipment.
1.F.2. LIMITED WARRANTY, DISCLAIMER OF DAMAGES - Except for the “Right of Replacement or Refund” described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project Gutenberg™ trademark, and any other party distributing a Project Gutenberg™ electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal fees. YOU AGREE THAT YOU HAVE NO REMEDIES FOR NEGLIGENCE, STRICT LIABILITY, BREACH OF WARRANTY OR BREACH OF CONTRACT EXCEPT THOSE PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH 1.F.3. YOU AGREE THAT THE FOUNDATION, THE TRADEMARK OWNER, AND ANY DISTRIBUTOR UNDER THIS AGREEMENT WILL NOT BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR ACTUAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES EVEN IF YOU GIVE NOTICE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.
1.F.3. LIMITED RIGHT OF REPLACEMENT OR REFUND - If you discover a defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a written explanation to the person you received the work from. If you received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with your written explanation. The person or entity that provided you with the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a refund. If you received the work electronically, the person or entity providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund. If the second copy is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further opportunities to fix the problem.
1.F.4. Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you ‘AS-IS’, WITH NO OTHER WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PURPOSE.
1.F.5. Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages. If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by the applicable state law. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.
1.F.6. INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone providing copies of Project Gutenberg™ electronic works in accordance with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production, promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg™ electronic works, harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees, that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg™ work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any Project Gutenberg™ work, and (c) any Defect you cause.
Section 2. Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg™
Project Gutenberg™ is synonymous with the free distribution of electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers. It exists because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from people in all walks of life.
Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the assistance they need are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg™’s goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg™ collection will remain freely available for generations to come. In 2001, the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure and permanent future for Project Gutenberg™ and future generations. To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4 and the Foundation information page at
Section 3. Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service. The Foundation’s EIN or federal tax identification number is 64-6221541. Contributions to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state’s laws.
The Foundation’s business office is located at 809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887. Email contact links and up to date contact information can be found at the Foundation’s website and official page at
Section 4. Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
Project Gutenberg™ depends upon and cannot survive without widespread public support and donations to carry out its mission of increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be freely distributed in machine-readable form accessible by the widest array of equipment including outdated equipment. Many small donations ($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt status with the IRS.
The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United States. Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up with these requirements. We do not solicit donations in locations where we have not received written confirmation of compliance. To SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any particular state visit
While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who approach us with offers to donate.
International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from outside the United States. U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.
Please check the Project Gutenberg web pages for current donation methods and addresses. Donations are accepted in a number of other ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations. To donate, please visit:
Section 5. General Information About Project Gutenberg™ electronic works
Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the Project Gutenberg™ concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared with anyone. For forty years, he produced and distributed Project Gutenberg™ eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.
Project Gutenberg™ eBooks are often created from several printed editions, all of which are confirmed as not protected by copyright in the U.S. unless a copyright notice is included. Thus, we do not necessarily keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.
Most people start at our website which has the main PG search facility:
This website includes information about Project Gutenberg™, including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.