Women on Nantucket voted for the first time in No. When the ship British Queen bound for New York from Dublin with 246 Irish passengers (5 cabin passengers, 66 in the “second cabin,” and 175 in steerage) went aground off Muskeget Island in December 1851, there were already close to 150 Irish people residing on Nantucket. Most of them had come in flight from the Potato Famine that had begun in 1845, but there had been Irish-born residents of Nantucket much earlier.
Eleanor Boyle was accused of selling rum without a license back in 1743. In 1747, Henry Fitzgerald married a Nantucket wife, and their descendants carried on through many generations on the island. The Quinns were operating an inn and a laundry in Newtown in 1763 when the “Indian Sickness” struck. It was said that Molly Quinn was the only non-Wampanoag to contract the disease. She recovered and later denied that she had ever been sick, but Nantucketers were quick to blame the Irish, claiming that the epidemic had originated from an Irish “plague ship” in close proximity to Nantucket or to clothes sent from a ship to Molly Quinn’s laundry.
: GPN815, circa 1880 – Portrait of Robert Mooney.